“Where are you going?” The building is empty, an abandoned temple with bloodstains on the floor. Still, the voice is there, echoing around the room as Cass looks for its source.
“Who are you?” Cass asks. This is not normal, not even the usual not normal.
“Why are you here?” the voice demands to know.
“What’s going on?”
“You have reached a crossroads,” another girl who Cass is positive wasn’t there the minute before explains. She’s younger than Cass, maybe eight, and looks washed-out; her only color is her emerald green eyes. “I cannot let you go further.”
“I am the guardian of this gate, kid. I’m not having another massacre on my watch.”
“I need to get through.”
“I need to find my sister.”
“She’s all I have left.”
“My entire village is gone.”
“The king demanded it.”
“Then how are you and your sister still alive?”
“We were out gathering food when they came. We hid. We ran. I need to find her. Please let me through.” The girl sighed.
“What is your name?”
“Cass of River’s Keep.”
“What is your quest?”
“To find my sister.”
“Do you swear to stick fast to this quest and leave once it is done?”
“Fine. Jane of the Fourth Gate grants you passage to the Outside. Best of luck, Cass Riverkeep.” Cass thanked her as she walked through the glowing doorway into a new world.