"Are you George?" She spoke with folded arms to hide her uncertainty.
The man she'd been directed to looked very little like a knight, let alone a dragonslayer. In fact she barely convinced herself to call him a man at all, if he really was as young as he looked.
Straightening, he swiped back sweaty blond curls and set the head of the axe on the ground, leaning on the handle. "George is my name, aye. May I be of service, my lady?"
Una wasn't quite sure what to make of him. It was said he was raised by the Fairy Queen herself, and he did have the peculiar fairy accent, but here he was chopping wood outside a little hut hardly fit for a nobleman.
As she opened her mouth to answer, someone bumped her from behind. Starting, she pulled to the side, her veil catching in some low hanging twigs. A dwarf grunted at her and waddled past with a chunk of log on each shoulder.
"Victor," George abandoned his task and covered the distance between them in a few strides. "Please forgive Victor's manners, my lady,"
"Not at all." Una lied, currently more concerned with her veil than etiquette. It had belonged to her mother and she would never forgive herself if it got torn, especially for so trivial a reason as this.
Unable to disentangle herself on her own, she gave the young man a nod, and with her permission, he fiddled with the twig. Una frowned, unable to see, hoping he knew enough to be cautious with the gauzy material. But after a moment, she felt it come free.
"There," George stepped back to a more suitable proximity.
She reached back and ran her finger over the affected area, and, feeling the fabric still intact, Una offered a smile. "Thank you."
"It is a pleasure to be of service," He said, and Una believed him. He seemed to say it more sincerely than others, who said it merely as one of many appropriate modest responses to gratitude.
"What else can I do for you? I assume you didn't come here to get caught in branches."
Una masked a smirk, folding her arms again. "Indeed not. I am here on an errand of grave importance."
It sounded so strange saying this now. She'd rehearsed a speech in her mind during those long months it had taken here to travel to the Fairy Realm, over the ocean, through storms and sea monsters, dark foreboding woods, and long, scorching stretches of desert.
All to be standing before this young man. George, he was called. Simply George. A name as unimpressive as himself. He bore neither the stature nor the countenance of one who could withstand talon, fang, and flame from the horrifying creature that plagued her homeland.
And yet..... in his bearing, and even his eyes, which were not the soft brown she'd expected to find, there was something noble. Nay, not the appearance of a knight, but, perhaps, the heart of one.
George waited in patient silence for her answer. She looked at him, long and hard. The Fairy Queen had vouched for him; he was the only man in the land with courage enough to stand before the monster that threatened to destroy Una's kingdom. He was, by rights, her only hope.
Drawing herself up, and meeting this young man's gaze with the soberness of what she was about to say, Una spoke,
"Sir George, Knight of the Fairy Realm, my name is Una, daughter of the King and Queen of Cambria. I have travelled long in search of one strong and great enough to free my people from a terrible affliction; a monstrous creature so powerful it makes even our most seasoned warriors tremble in fear."
George's expression became intent and serious.
"In my travels, I have heard of one name above others; yours. Upon arriving here, I spoke with the Fairy Queen -- your Mother -- and without a shadow of hesitation, she bade me come here to you, and implore that you would assist me. I do not ask this lightly. The dangers that await you on this journey and in Cambria are beyond description. It will take a special courage to achieve victory."
Una once again beheld the strange knight before her. During her discourse he had not moved, nor flinched, nor hardly blinked, utterly intent on her words. Nay, more than her words; her plight, and that of her people.
At last, she nodded, her voice only a murmur. "I do believe you have that courage."
And, to her surprise, she found she did. If she were to be faced with a row of the finest knights in all the realms, she would still choose this simple young knight with the fire in his eyes.
"Your highness," George said. "I will go."