My entry at Lightbox Expo: Box of Mystery - Character Design Challenge.
A merchant fox, who travels the world trading all sorts of things, magical or not, ends up finding a mysterious object. Although nicely decorated looks useless, but at some point on the way to the next destination, the object starts glowing faintly... and then brighter as they reach an old temple-like building inside a forest.
Intrigued, the character decides to take the object inside, and by placing it in an old and forgotten pedestal from the object a spirit is released. The spirit that once was the guardian of that land explains to the fox that others have been trapped within the object for a long time and they need to be freed. The world has been dying as magic started to disappear without the spirit guardians doing their work, protecting the land and maintaining the balance of nature. For that the traveler would need to take the object to those lands, guarded by the spirits.
That's how the journey starts.