On almost any other day, the Cerulean Forest would be peaceful.
Not on this day.
A rather curvaceous young woman of moderate stature, dressed in the rugged leather trappings of a hunter, ran through the forest as fast as she could. Her face was covered with scratches from the blue twigs that hit her as she ran. Her hands, body, and legs were covered in blood. Some of it was hers, some of it was not. In any case, she was fearful and in pain. She shouldered her worn hemp backpack and dashed even faster. However, she feared simply running would not be enough. Indeed, she knew that her panicked running would leave easily noticeable tracks. In a desperate gambit, she delved into the blue shrubbery to her left and started forging a path through the dense undergrowth.
She kept pushing through the dense blue foliage, occasionally looking backwards. Eventually, she stopped running and simply looked back. After about two minutes of looking behind herself and seeing no sign of pursuers, the woman slumped onto the ground. Her breathing was labored, and her chest heaved up and down erratically. For the first time in nearly a day. she spoke, although there were no listeners besides herself.
"Well, Teagan, you've gotten yourself into quite the mess now."
The woman, who shall be henceforth referred to as Teagan, lightly dropped her backpack and opened it. She withdrew a few bandages, and began to patch up her wounds. When she was finished, Teagan returned the remaining bandages to her backpack and withdrew something else. It was a small latched wooden box with a number of holes in the top. Teagan unlatched the box, opened it, and smiled in a sinister fashion. Inside, three tiny humans cowered in the corner, desperately trying to escape. They were talking in their strange language, no doubt begging for mercy. Teagan, however, had lost all empathy for the tomkins when they razed her small burg and killed everyone they could. Now, when Teagan looked at a tomkin, the only thing she saw in them was a possible use - be it entertainment, an outlet for rage, or as... nourishment.
Teagan raised one of the tiny tomkins, a little man with dusky hair, to her face. When she licked her lips and eyed him hungrily, the tomkin started to scream. Indeed, he had reason to.
That night, Teagan slept in discomfort. Her wounds constantly ached, and she was hungry despite her recent meal. Compounding upon this was the fact that there was most likely a legion of trackers searching for her in the surrounding area.
The next morning, Teagan staggered warily to her feet. The sun barely peeked over the horizon, and the ground was wet with dew. She shoved her now empty wooden box into her backpack, took a swig of water from the flask at her side, and set out to the east. She was headed for Whitebreeze Keep, the last stronghold of humanity. At least, that's what she'd heard from some. Others said that Whitebreeze Keep was simply a lie, created by the leader of some desparate party to keep spirits high. Teagan, however, wasn't going to just sit around if there was even the slightest possibility of such a safe haven for humankind to exist. She had learned of the keep from a cynical trapper. When she asked where it might be, he said that he didn't know, but he did know someone who might. Teagan was now off to find an old man living in a peat bog, sequestered away from the grasp of the tomkins. Teagan's muscles ached in protest with every step she took, and her stomach rumbled audibly, but she continued, determined to find safety. She had just escaped from the clutches of a group of slavers, tomkins who captured, subdued, and enslaved humans. It wasn't long until Teagan stumbled out of the last of the bluish bushes that surround the Cerulean Forest and made it to an open plain. The trapper told Teagan that from here, she'd have to keep going forward until she hit a river with green water. Teagan sighed and staggered forward. She was hungry, her water was running low, and she was covered in cuts, bruises, and scratches.
"My prospects aren't looking too well... eeurgh."
Teagan groaned as her leg started to cramp. This journey was a disaster, and she was likely to be murdered by tomkins before she even made it to the old man. Despite the seemingly bleak future ahead, Teagan forged ahead, looking in vain for a river. She reached for her flask to take a sip of water, but when she lifted it to her lips, only a few drops rolled out onto her parched lips. Teagan angrily tucked her flask back into her belt and fished out a tiny glass bottle filled with a light brown liquid from her backpack.
"Nothin' like a bit of whiskey to whet the palate."
Teagan took a small sip of this precious resource before returning it to her backpack. It was going to be a long day.