A lone horseman quietly journeys through the dark, predator infested woods, smothering him and his horse. It is clear at first glance that he is fully prepared for combat: resting on his left shoulder is a longbow of finest craftmanship; it was carved of silver birch-wood and had an unusual black band towards the bottom of the bow. The rider himself was roughly medium hieght and had long black hair held back by a plain black bandana across his forehead. His build wasn't the largest; his muscles' shape are visible through his brown garments, but in no way gigantic. It is clear from the yellowish tone of his skin that he is not from these parts of Sava; humans here had fairer, whiter skin, and usually had brown hair. He wears a light- weighted armored breastplate underneath a dark green cloak. On his cloak, near the left hand side of his neck, is a rounded silver broach with a sapphire stone set in the middle of it. The amour is of a dull metallic colour, ridden with a small amount of scratches, presumably from previous conflicts involving blades of some variety. On his back is a black scabbard, which was thinner than the average one, a sign that it held no ordinary sword within it. On his left hip was another scabbard, yet it was shorter in length, and appeared to be an off-hand weapon. Resting on right side of his belt is a quiver, almost full with arrows. Each arrow was tipped by a dull silver head, and appears to be made of a strong iron alloy. At the end of each one was a brightly coloured set of feathers, with an eye pattern in the middle. Yet his cloak seems to hide more than be seen...

His dark brown horse seemed unfazed by its eerie surroundings, and trotted along un-hastened. The trees seemed to bend down on the rider, trying to clinch him and his horse from the ground, smothered with blood-red leaves. The sky above is hidden by the colossal-sized trees' canopy, making it seem like midnight hour all the time. A low, chilly wind swept the ground below the horse's hooves, disturbing the leaves all around. The air is thick with the stench of decay; the previous battles left many dead creatures strewn on the soil below. It did affect the rider though, for he is a mercenary, and had seen far worse situations.

An opening in the dark forest lies in front of the rider, and the glorious sunshine fills the land as the horse steps out of the forest. The mercenary pauses for a moment to take in the fine weather (hardly surprising after being in such a dark place) before continuing on his journey. On the grass he rode on is a path made by the thousands of orc soldiers who trod on the ground an age ago. He thinks about the battle that took place here, where a vast majority of the orc flank were slain before they could cause harm to the rest of world in the War of Sava.

In front of his path stood a moldy wooden sign bearing the words:
WELCOME
TO HEROTINE
VILLAGE

GOOD FOOD
& DRINK
SERVED
IN INN

Looking up from the rider sees that the path ahead runs very close a village. He continues down the path with no intention of stopping in the inn; he ate only a few hours ago, and had thoroughly enjoyed feasting on a succulent quadrig he had hunted in the woods he was in (a quadrig is a cross between the head of a boar, the size of a bull, a thousand razor sharp teeth, a spiked back and the temper of a troll; it'll kill everything that moves. It varies in colour depending on its environment, having very good camouflage abilities. Tastes much like honey roasted pork). As he draws closer to it, he makes out more of the details of the village. He notices that the houses are made of timber, and are roughly 10" tall, which is a good signal that the village is inhabited with humans.

However, as he passes the village, a short, old man with white hair frantically runs towards the rider, signalling for him to stop. Although he is wearing his bedroom robes, the rider immediately can see that the man is a commoner; the old man is well dressed, as he wears a velvet robe, and appears to be in great health for his apparent age, if it wasn't for his panic-stricken face. As the old man reaches the rider's horse, he begins to talk to him.

'You there! Please, I beg of you, you have to help me!' begs the old man in between sharp inhales of breath. 'And what makes you think that I can be of any assistance to your problem, to which I have no clue as to what it concerns?' queries the rider. 'You are a mercenary, are you not? Only a mercenary bears the broach of Morla.'

The rider is taken aback. It is not common knowledge that the broach he wears means that he is a mercenary. By knowing this, the rider knows that the old man used to work in the lines of a large company, or for a wealthy lord, or used to be one.

'I'm sorry, I'm not working at the moment, and I'm on my way.' Just then, the rider sees the old man take out a fairly large, brown bag from the interior of his robe. The kind of bag you'd associate money with. Lots of money. The rider thinks to himself that the old man is a lord.

The rider continues. '.and no matter how much you have in that bag of yours, you will not convince me otherwise. I am not hungry for money, nor do I desire to be wealthy.' However, the old man holds it up to the rider in his left arm and puts forward his case.

'No! You don't understand! You MUST help me!' pleads the old man. The rider will have none of it, as the words he spoke were the truth: He is not the type of person who dreams to makes oceans of money, for he cannot think of a good reason to have such a large sum of money. The rider turns his horse away to the path ahead as the old man makes one last plea to the rider's back.

'Please sir! A life is in danger!' The old man buries his head in his hands, shaking his head softly. Upon hearing this, the rider stops his horse. He pauses for a moment before turning back to the old man.

'Is a person's life in immediate danger?' The rider asks the old man.

At first, the old man is slow to react, not fully realising that the rider is now actually interested in taking up the job. As the old man's face emerges from his hands, his weary eyes give a very small light, as a glimmer of hope is now given to him.

'Yes, my daughter is in a dire situation right now. Last night, a raiding party of orcs came into our peaceful village and started to take things like food, livestock and such items. We didn't put up a fight, for they had weapons made for wars, and we had none, and retaliating would only mean hurting ourselves, so we let them take their goods.'

The rider was sympathetic to this, and judged it as a wise move. He had rode past a few burnt-down villages with many casualties because the village tried to protect itself from raids. He knows that orcs nowadays wish to conserve energy and do not desire to shed blood when they are not required to. The old man went on.

'but then, one of them went into my house, breaking down the front door in the process. I was already outside when it did this, and I didn't stop it from doing so. But when he came out, he had my daughter kicking and screaming on his right shoulder and a bag of the family jewels in his left hand.'

The old man pauses for a moment, and lifts his head up to the sky, his face slightly twisted in grief.

'I pleaded with the orc, and tried everything to get him to let my daughter go, but to no avail. I even told him where the rest of the jewels were, but he did not seem interested. Right then, my son had had enough. He took a pitchfork resting near him and was about to lunge at the orc when he got stabbed by another orc. He is being treated now by one of my neighbours now. But my daughter, she has not been seen since.'

The old man then looks the rider in the eye.

'Please lord mercenary! If you take up this job and succeed, I will give you all that I physically own, just bring my daughter back alive to me.'

The old man falls to his knees and puts the base of his hands together in front of him, a sign in Sava that means that he is begging.. The rider jumps off his horse and lands on the soft grass below. He puts his right hand on the old man's left shoulder and responds to him.

'Take it easy, old timer. I told you before, I have no desire to be rich, and I do not wish to leave you sau-less [sau are the currency of Sava, which rhymes with 'towel'. If it was to be converted into pound sterling, it would be worth roughly two pounds. The minimum currency is a 'Tenneth sau' meaning a tenth of a sau, or roughly twenty pence. 'Sau' is both the singular and plural word e.g. one sau, ten sau.]. Just give me enough sau to get me some food for the road home when I get back, I get awfully hungry after physical job.'

The rider surveys the surroundings in depth for the first time. The sun is low in the East, where he was heading, which makes the woods he came from West from the village. In the South, the rider notices two large, dark coloured mountains. In between them is a dark valley, which is always in a shadow of one of the mountains. An eerie atmosphere surrounds the area, and a light fog surrounds the area. Between the valley and the village stood a murky swamp, which is small in size (compared to usual swamps, but it is still the size 16 football pitches, four by four). Basic instincts and common sense tells him that the orcs are over there. A quick check with the old man confirms this, and the rider saddles up.

On his way down to the swamp, the rider sighs. 'Everquest is going to be mighty furious at me again. I'm going to be later than I told her I would be again. And I'm bloody going to be hungry again!' Life is hard.