A dying world looks for a reason for its state, and blames an innocent child, because even in the midst of total destruction, people are going to point fingers. A group of adventurers make a last gasp at saving the child, and in effect, the world...against their better judgment.
Gopher knew of a variety of states of being. In this way, he was a bit of an amateur philosopher. He knew the state of happiness, and sought it frequently. He’d experienced the state of grief, and hoped against hope that one wouldn’t come poking around too often. He was well acquainted with the state of confusion, mostly because of women in general.
His favorite state, however, was the state of inebriation.
Gopher stumbled along the pathway, gasping and laughing. He clutched the bottle of rum in such a way that it would always be the very last thing to touch the ground should he happen to fall. Considering the amount of times he’d already fallen, he was getting rather skilled at this. In that way, he’d finally found something that he was naturally good at, and it was his drunkenness that prevented him from breaking down and weeping over that truth.
He stumbled, hiccupped, and gave the ground a sly wink. The ground did not respond.
Thick, defiant grasses sprouted throughout the pathway the further he got from the village. On most roadways throughout the country, the wheel-grooves were deep and thick, often accumulating water. Here, the earth filled the ruts, making them little more than a mirage of an old roadway.
Gopher continued his awkward hike.
He glanced back over his shoulder. His village, Hurm, still slept. No lights glowed, and no smoke puffed from chimneys. “Boring town, in-anyway,” Gopher slurred, and took a pull from the bottle. He wiped his mouth with the back of his arm and sniffed. “Needsss more some of that (whats-it-called again?)…oh yeah, culinary. Art and music and pottery. Somethinging to be proud of.” He shook his head sadly and succeeded in staying upright. “Bloody culinary would do my town a world o’ goodness. People might actually visit.”
Gopher couldn’t remember the last time Hurm had visitors. It was a town that took care of itself.
He continued up the pathway, singing a hodgepodge collection of song excerpts, blending them into a perfectly dreadful medley. He could see the Lost Woods up ahead, and he blinked at them. “Loss Woods,” he mumbled. “Bloody stupid name. Found them, haven’t I?” And he roared laughter at himself, despite the fact that everyone in Hurm had told this very same joke more times than they could count.
It took him a bit to reach the edge of the woods, what with all of the falling down, and by the time he’d reached it he was a sodden and muddy mess. Gopher took a lengthy pull from his bottle, actually sucking air once he was finished. A contented sigh escaped his lips, and then he chucked the empty bottle into the trees. “Now it’s a Lost Bottle, innit?” he cackled.
In the darkness, a large shadow fell over him. Gopher didn’t notice. He was admiring his act of defiance against nature.
 It was the sort of town that distrusted anyone from outside of town and referred to them as “Forners.”