As the tavern was shaking in its foundations, Roderick quickly went to the barkeep and said:
“What danger ails thy noble establishment good barkeep, are those forces of evil to be kept at bay behind the tavern doors? Vile fiends, I shall deliver upon thee my righteous and glorious fury.”
And he bravely stormed out of the tavern, leaving behind a carnage of broken chairs and a door he destroyed in his chivalrous enthusiasm.
Clary was ready to embark upon this mighty quest of protecting a tavern as well, but Magizor and Darkshadow returned to their seats and started nonchalantly lollygagging.
“Why should I care about this, if we are not getting paid? Not that I care about money or anything, I abhor the idea of money as it is a marking of a broken societal system that brings endless torment and suffering to my soul”
His rambling continued, but his voice was overshadowed by the loud complaints of Magizor, who had his own elaborate reason for not participating in opportunity for a quest he so craved just moments ago.
“I will not waste my extraordinary powers on some puny weaklings that threaten a common dirty tavern filled with uneducated wizards. Besides, the knight has obviously already fallen to my beguiling influence and became my thrall, and so it is with my command that he shall encounter this pesky nuisance of a foe that disturbs our search for a “proper” quest.”
Seeing this, Clary already felt the scorching gaze of her deity: The Game Master” focused on these two strange beings and so she let them know of her god’s divine guidance.
“The Game Master tells me that this was supposed to be the first challenge we were to overcome as their champions, and that if we do not proceed according to their wish, he shall abandon this world and leave it in ruins.
Upon hearing these words, Magizor and Darkshadow looked at each other, and with arrogant disdain and brooding angst respectively made their way towards the exit.
“Fall to my blade, kindling of impurity, I shall bestow mercy and redemption to you with the tip of my blade”, were the shouts of bravado that were to be heard once the trio of stragglers found their way out of the drinking-hole.
Roderick equipped with his trusty zweihänder was swinging wildly with it, as to threaten a creature that was standing just a few dozen feet away from him.
The creature was a vicious beast that marks the start of every good story. It was a giant rat, but it was no ordinary giant rat, as it was armoured and seemed that it was trying to communicate with the champions.
“No need to threaten that thing, fool” said Darkshadow, “It seems to be willing to talk, and when something is willing to talk, I can convince it to do our biddings with my dark and tormented charm. Can anyone here speak rat so they can translate my beguiling words of despair?”
There was a moment of silence that was accompanied by a shaking of heads, before Clary said:
“My god tells me that can speak rat Magizor”
“I can?!…Well of course I can, My knowledge of everything is unparalleled as I have lived for thousands of years and there is no subject that I know nothing of. So my brooding thrall, I give you my permission to go talk to that thing and I will convey your words into the intricate language of…rats.”
And so Magizor and Darkshadow went to the mighty beast of unfathomable strength to parlay. Roderick had to be taken aside by Clary, for he remained adamant in his glorious goal to redeem and purify evil creatures by killings them.
After several moments of intense discussion, the four allies were reunited again, side by side and the results of the conversation were conveyed.
“Well the situation is something like this”, Darkshadow said and immediately continued.
“This all is one huge misunderstanding, that rat guy has almost as messed up and dark past as I do. He comes from a long line of giant rats, and for generations, his kin were massacred by some murderous devils he calls adventurers. So he decided that it was time to take up arms and train himself, so he could defend his family and take revenge upon these monsters that destroyed his childhood.
The problem is that well… he only knows that adventurers inhabit these things called taverns, and he had no idea there are so many taverns in the world. Once I cleared out to him that I would never harm a giant rat, or a rat in general, because they are almost as misunderstood as I am, and I find their ability to spread plague to population a very cute trait; so he says that he is sorry and that if we ever encounter someone who knows about the killers of his family, we should let them know.”
And so the situation was heroically deescalated by Darkshadow who proved his masterful skill of seduction and persuasion.
The adventurers saved the day in a genius manner, and they were ready to return to the tavern to finally receive their promised quest, but as they turned back, the tavern was no longer there.
All of the four brave adventurers (who of course have nothing to do with the adventurers that eradicated the giant rat family) quickly fell into despair upon realizing this, even Clary, who was up to this point renown by the other party members for her composure and tranquillity when faced with adversity, even though they hadn’t known each other for a long time.
With that, Clary quickly grabbed Magizor by the hand and thus turned his pale white skin into a shade of red, and dragged him towards the leaving rat warrior.
With translation, she asked the rat if it knew of any fabled quests in the area, as they had been robbed of their quest, and they had to find some to fuel their cravings for a worthy adventurers.
The rat said only little, but it was more that the adventurers hoped for. According to him, there was an ancient abandoned ruin that was filled with monsters, and thus not exactly abandoned. From what the rat knew, that’s where one could find a worthy quest to follow.
“Very well then, we shouldn’t tarry any longer as we have a quest to find, Onward!” shouted Roderick”
“I shall not be denied my birthright and I shall not be robbed of what was promised to me, this quest shall be mine.” Added Magizor
“I don’t really care about quests really, but I believe that this company is full of despair, torment and dark back-stories, so I shall tag along for now, but stay away from me or I will hurt you.” Brooded Darkshadow
“I just hope that the Game Master knows what he is doing and that this guidance of his has been thoroughly prepared, or else…” Threatened Clary her god.
“What have I gotten myself into.” Said the god of the universe as he watched these four characters embark towards the ancient abandoned, but not really abandoned ruins.
The Quest for the Quest had just begun.