Pallet Town, it seemed, was never safe. To the north of the town were the Meadows, the remnants of a Route between Pallet and Viridian. The Meadows were used both as a training area for the Called and their pokémon, and as a meeting place for the town. Townsfolk would often visit when their daily duties were finished to view the wildflowers and watch the battles. To the east and the west of the Meadows was the sea. Originally, trees grew in thick, twisted woods around both the Meadows and the town, but they had been cleared for lumber and safety. Other than a few lone trees about the old Route and the grove in the Dome, one had to venture north of the Meadows to find a forest.
In the time since the Upheaval, Viridian Forest had grown dark and twisted, and had exceeded its bounds, swallowing the city that was its namesake, and creeping ever closer to Pallet. Rumors claimed the forest lived, and that its malevolent will was focused on devouring the town. Yet it was from this very forest that Pallet derived its sustenance. Within were the herbs used to make medicines to heal both man and pokémon. Within were the nests that eggs containing the pokémon of future Called were pillaged from. Within were the pokémon that provided meat for the people. In its heart was the Fallen Viridian, and from it had come Viridian's few survivors of the Upheaval.
Despite its bloody past and dark present, the Forest was the first step in the journeys of the Called. Those recently given their pokémon were free to do as they saw fit, so long as they did nothing to hurt the town. However, after some time - a period that varied according to talent and the number of Called - they generally were given tasks that directly helped the community. Those who distinguished themselves were often put in charge of important tasks, or worked for Oak in the far reaches of Kanto. Those who lacked ability remained at low rank, and rarely survived.
Thus, it was to Viridian Forest that Red ventured the next day, Nyoromo nestled in his bag. He stood in the shadows of the trees, gathered his courage, and stepped into the woods. To any observer, it was as if the darkness swallowed him. To Red, it was the death of his youth, and the beginning of his journey.