The Girl Beneath The Tree

One - A Simple Quest

"Thank you, I'll be off right away," he said, his words overflowing with excitement and confidence. "Alright, I'm counting on you Zack," the blonde-haired woman said cheerfully.

And with that, he was off. He had been waiting for this moment for what felt like forever. All the years of training and watching others come and go before him had finally paid off. For this young warrior, known by the name of Zack Grime, was finally eighteen. The year at which a child can become a knight. The year at which Zack would finally be able to prove his worth and show off all his hard work.

Heading towards the southern entrance to town, Zack hears a voice calling his name. Turning around, he comes face to face with the blonde-haired woman from before. "Sarah?" he asks confused as to what else she might have needed. "Sorry, I forgot to give you this before you took off" Sarah hands him a piece of paper folded up neatly. When opened it reveals a map, which has a circle marking the area he's supposed to be searching for the requested items, and just past this circle is a giant red skull.

"Now I'm sure you are already aware of this Zack, the woman says before taking a deep breath to begin her explanation " But, this area marked by the red skull is the "Dark Hollows" and it's incredibly dangerous. The last group that went into this area was a group of highly trained warriors, and they haven't been seen since. So no matter what you decide to do, promise me that you won't go past the area I have circled. The last thing I want is for you to wander off and have something horrible happen to you on your first quest.

"Alright, I promise not to do anything too dangerous while I'm out there, thank you Sarah" Zack turns around as he finishes his sentence and begins heading back on his way towards the entrance. Once there he is stopped by some men guarding the door who quickly begin opening it once they realize who he is. "Good luck out there Grime," One of the guards says. "Try not to do anything too reckless, will ya. After all, this is only your first quest." says the other. Although Zack didn't know the first man personally, he had seen him around a few times during his training.

As for the other, his name was Strall Sterr, and he was a close friend of Zack's father who had kept in touch with Zack after his father's unfortunate death in the last war. Because of this, Zack referred to him as Uncle Sterr. "Hey Uncle Sterr, thanks for the advice, but don't worry it's a simple quest and I'm confident that I can get everything needed. If I work fast enough I might even be able to get a little more done and still be back in time for dinner."

"It's that kind of thinking that I'm worried about Zack. Listen I understand you want to impress everyone and show off how much you've put into this, but you're going alone. I don't care how simple a quest seems, even the strongest of warriors will fall when they try to do too much by themselves. For now, just do what you've been asked and get the items on the list. Finishing that quest and all the others that come after it one by one is how you will truly impress people, now get going."

"Yes sir," Zack says mildly disheartened because he knows he speaks the truth. After Sterr's unnecessarily long lecture, Zack finally leaves through the large wooden gate to start his quest.