This story is related to my previous illustration here: [link]
"The Wild Lands are not kind to strangers who linger beyond our protective walls. The beasts there have mercy neither for the lost, the weak, nor the young. However there is a tale, surely just a myth, of a girl who was orphaned deep within the forest. She belonged to a family of traders on route between the kingdoms. Depending on whom you ask, the family was slaughtered by a band of highwaymen or ravaged by a pack of dire wolves. In any case, the girl survived and they say, and I’m not saying it’s true… but they say she befriended a young bear. Ridiculous, I know! But the legends say she grew as wild as her companion and as agile as the prey they hunted.
I recall a few years back of a hunter that shot an arrow at a bear down in the grasslands. He created a lot of ruckus throughout town about it. Apparently he feared for a young girl who was alone in the same area. Of course he was probably just seeking attention, as many do these days.
Now I’m not saying that I believe this, because I don’t. But recently there was word of more sightings along the roads that pass through the deep wood. Apparently both traveling bandits and royal guard alike have been attacked by a mysterious wild girl. Hah! I mean I truly do laugh at the mere thought! Still, these so called survivors often refer to their sighting as a “savage beast girl,” a “shadow of death,” or a “crazy *&#@!” However, as word of this girl’s combat prowess passes from town to town, she is most commonly referred to as the “Dancing Dagger.” This started after our king’s champion swordsman came retreating into the city gates one cold morning, all bloodied and maimed. You would figure him mangled by a pack of wolves. With a sputtering tongue, he confessed of his encounter with half-naked girl with feet so swift they appeared to never touch the ground, and with a blade so furious he could parry no strike. Personally I think he just took a tumble and hit his head, but other folk seemed to believe him.
Now it seems like every self-proclaimed master of combat has journeyed into the Wilds in hopes of challenging the illusive girl. Apparently the king has promised gold and glory to the one champion to bring him the head of the Dancing Dagger. That’s all just hearsay to me, but there is one thing that I know for certain… The beasts beyond the walls have mercy neither for the lost, the weak, the young, and certainly not the foolish."