It was growing late in Rustwood and the sky was darkening steadily. Above, the stars had begun to emerge from their hiding places as they did every evening. Odd as it was, even in the dark Rustwood didn't lose the heavenly glow it was known for. There was a young human girl wandering among the trees, she would have found the scenery breathtaking if she had come under better circumstances.
A quarrel with her parents brought the young girl (known as Maria) to run away, quite literally she ran and ran until she had found herself here. As native of Shoal, she wasn't familiar with the area and had already found herself lost. It didn't help that her older brother Marcus had spent the previous evening trying to spook her with stories of a sinister witch who supposedly lived within the trees of this quiet place.
"An evil witch, how silly. How gullible does he think I am, no witches live around here.." She repeated this fact over in her head to boost her morale. Over time she seemed to be traveling deeper and deeper into the trees, while her real goal was to get away.
"I bet if I don't get home soon Mom and Dad will come look for me." She thought optimistically. Though Maria's optimism soon faded when she realized that the trees had seemed to have lost their ghostly glow, she could hardly see a thing.
Her steps had become more cautious, every little twig that snapped or leaf that crunched underneath her feet seemed much louder than before.
Minutes ticked by and she was no closer to home then she had been before. What if she never got home? It was getting cold out, what if she froze?
As she trudged along something caught her eye, a glittering blue glow could be seen up ahead. "How long has that been there?" She wondered aloud. What if that was a sign of shelter, or maybe it was someone looking for her!
Maria then took off running as fast as her legs could carry her, as she came closer to the strange light the area was once again becoming visible. "Hey Mom, Dad it's me, I'm here!" She shouted.
There was no reply, because there was no one else around. "If...it wasn't someone looking for me, then where did that light come from?" As if on cue, her question was answered.
A few feet in front of her she noticed a run down old shack, covered in the blue light. For a second she was distracted by the fact that she hadn't noticed that a minute ago, but she pushed the thought out of her mind.
Slowly the girl approached the run down structure, the outside was visibly covered in cob webs and the old rusted door was hanging off its hinges.
"Hello? Anyone home?" She called out. Though she was met with the silence she had expected. At this point she had reached the front door, spontaneously pushing it out of her way, she walked inside.
The inside of the shack was well lit thanks to the glow. The whole room was coated in a thick dust and the floorboards creaked underneath her as she walked. "This definitely not a place I would want to stay in over night." Shelves were lined up everywhere on the walls, and on them were many dusty jars. So dirty that guessing their contents was impossible.
Wandering, she found herself in the shacks second room, and the blue light was much stronger here. "Woah, what's that?" In the corner of the room she noticed something that resembled an over sized soup bowl, filled with a glittering blue mixture that she assumed was the source of the glow that had led her to the house.
Looking at it, she found herself mesmerized. The liquid seemed to dance in front of her eyes, bubbling, temping to touch...
"Woah!" She exclaimed. Started to realize her face had been just inches from it, she jumped back. With her sudden movement, the bowl swayed until it came to a booming crash. The contents spilling to the floor like liquid diamonds. Just like that, all light had left the room.
Maria gasped and made to run but tripped over some unknown object. While laying hurt and blind on the floor, she could have sworn she heard footsteps coming her way.
First they were soft, but they began to grow swift and pounding, much as her heart was in her chest. In a flash light flew back into the room and she was staring into the most hideous face she had ever laid eyes on.
Her skin was oily green and festering with boils, her hair was gray and untidy, her faded black robes ripped and worn. "Get away!" Maria screamed, scrambling to her feet. But the witch came closer, her bony fingers were reaching out to grab her and then..
"Ah!" Maria awoke with a jolt. Looking around she found herself in her bed, covered in sweat. "I was...dreaming? I was dreaming, I'm safe!" At this realization she hopped out of bed, to further express her joy.
Only to find that her floor was wet and sticky. "Oof!" She had lost her footing and fell to the floor. "What's all this?"
A curious blue liquid had begun to ooze out from underneath her bed...