He pushed open the doors to the Yellow Jacket Stinger. It was busy, people playing cards, drinking and eating. He walked up to the bar counter and slid the engraved coin forwards, "I'd like a room."
"Very well, sir, I'll bring you your meal for the night."
"I didn't ask for that."
"Lady Diane gave you this, right? Take a seat, the meals are included."
"Okay then," He sat down at the bar and yawned. He look at the rest of the inn.
"Never seen you here, travelling?" He turned and saw a Celenstial sitting next to him, "Darkkin don't take it kindly when you are rude to Celenstials in this town."
"What is your name then?"
"I am Justia, and who might you be?"
"Vidian, nice to meet you."
"Never seen you around here, what are you doing here?"
"Came to see the god that lives here, Lord Fendian, nothing else."
"Where are you from?"
"I am from the Great Desert, far from here."
"You came all this way to see the Lord of the Night?"
"Mhm, that seems to surprise you," Vidian said as he began eating, "I assume you are from here."
"You guessed well, but what are you really doing here?"
"I came to see Lord Fendian, nothing else."
"You must be here for another reason," He shakes his head, "Well, isn't that funny, wait, Vidian of the Great Desert? I am the priestess of his altar, so you are the one he was talking about, he didn't define you very well, as he often does," A large, burly man with a beer belly and a long, ginger beard entered the inn, "You are lucky, you get to meet one of the lesser gods already, Lord Belanos."
"Give me a drink, or 5," He laughed as he lumbered to the bar counter, "Justia, who is this guy you are talking to?"
"Vidian of the Great Desert, the one coming for Lord Fendian's blessing."
"Ah, that weak sauce guy who can barely do anything on his own? At least, that is what I heard," He laughed, and Vidian glared at him, "What, did I hurt your feelings?" He downed his drink, "Another, maybe you can start your first work? Mine."
"What is it?"
"Take a drink, then we speak, give him one."
"Why do I need to drink for this work? God, okay, what about it?" He downed the glass at the same speed as Belanos, "This is pretty good."
"Of course it is, if it wasn't, I wouldn't be here," Belanos laughed, "Take another one."
"What are you trying to do?"
"If you can hold 10, I'll give you your work, with a little advantage."
"I'm down for that."
"Bring us the drinks," The barmen placed 16 cups on the bar counter as everyone began to look at them, nearly stopping what they were doing. Vidian and Belanos looked each other in the eyes and began drinking, one after the other. Vidian took breaks to eat as he hadn't eaten since the lunch he had with Gabriel, back in Bloodwater. After the last glasses were down, they both stood up and got in each other's faces, "You know how to hold your drink, huh."
"Course I do, what do I do now? What's my work?" Belanos swung his fist at Vidian, who stopped it with his arm glowing with markings, "I have to fight you, huh?" He hurled him out of the door and ran out to follow up, jumping and slamming two metal fists into him. Belanos flung him off of him and he slammed into a stone wall, "Damn, that hurt," Belanos roared as he charged to follow up in the toss. Vidian lowered his body and countered the charge by slamming into him and lifting him off of the floor. People had left the inn and were watching the fight, betting on either one of them. Vidian hurled him into the air and placed his knee to give him a bad landing.
"STOP!" Vidian let Belanos fall and turned, seeing a man wearing a black cloak with two horns laying on his head, peeking out of his hair, everyone kneeled, "Belanos, what is this about?"
"Oh, this is Vidian, of the Great Desert, he has completed my work, Lord Fendian, I gave him a head start."
"Sorry about him, I am Fendian, the Lord of the night," He held out his hand and Vidian shook it, "Are you staying in the inn? Or do you need a room?"
"The lady of this town gave me a room in the inn, but thank you."
"Come with me, you'll meet the others, and you, Belanos, before you do things so stupid, tell me, at least I will know that you aren't a complete drunk nor a lightweight that you got too drunk to control yourself."
"I am the god of drinking, how could I get too drunk?"
"Being a failure of a god, that is how," Fendian turned and walked towards a temple that was near the town hall, "Excuse his poor manners, he isn't the brightest, now, to meet the other gods," The temple doors opened as he neared them and they walked in, "Where are all of you? Did you not hear me enter?"
"I am right here, my lord," The man was kneeling in front of a small symbol, with a skull and flowers near it, "I always am."
"This is Malvenon, god of the dead," He wore a white robe with a purple cloth over his shoulder, he wore sandals and held a small necklace like item in his hand, with a small symbol, the symbol of the dead.
"Nice to meet you, Vidian."
"I don't recall telling you his name."
"You haven't, I knew he was coming, I heard you talking to Lord Eternum."
"Ah, well, doesn't matter," A man hopped down behind them from the beams of the temple, "That is Dratkin, god of thievery," He wore dark clothes and a black hood and a mask that covered up over his nose, just under his eyes. Vidian spotted four blades held on the chest piece of his clothes. A woman walked in, she was wearing a skirt that went to the floor that, when she walked, revealed her left leg. She had strip of cloth leading to a hoop under her chest and a thin top that only covered her chest, "This is Diabellariana, goddess of sex and lust, you've already met Belanos and there is Sionar, god of rage."
"I am right here," He said appearing out of thin air, "Did you forget how I wander around, out of sight until I feel like it?"
"I remember, just that a human can't see you when you are invisible."
"I agree with you, that is its purpose."
"So, Vidian, these are my lesser gods, you shall begin your work with Diabellariana, you will start now, follow her," She smiled at Vidian and gestured for him to follow her with her finger, "She'll give you your second work, you will need three more after."
She was lying on her side, on the bed. He stood in front of her, as she smiled at him for a while, "Tell me, Vidian, what is with you and shirts?"
"I haven't had time to get a new one, and this is easier to fight without," He sits down on the bed, "What is my work?"
"Slow down, slow down, I am not in the mood yet, I am picky."
"If you say so, you are the only goddess here, right?"
"Yet mostly males worship me."
"I can guess why," She giggled, "I realize there is a second sense to what I said, well, why do you dress in this way?"
"I feel free, and it fits the character my stories have when they represent me."
"Lust and Sex, very specific."
"Do you take into account everything from those two things?"
"Ah, I see what you mean, yes, those things are the same for me."
"I guess so, why are we in your room again?"
"This is where my work will happen, I told you already, Vidian, you know, I really like that name, it sounds heroic, something you would find in human epics, you see what I mean, right? I think that you could be a character of an epic, about you."
"You don't know why I am gathering the blessings, do you?"
"No, Lord Fendian hasn't told me, why? Is it important?"
"You brought up the hero part, well, I thought that you would know, you are a lesser god after all," Vidian turned his head to her, "I'll join you as a god in some time."
"I don't think I get you."
"Lord Eternum gave me a quest, a crazy quest, to kill the Death of the World."
"Ah, I see, well, that doesn't matter, you have to complete my work, it might not be good for combat, whatsoever, but I think that it can be useful."
"Tell me what the work is them," He turned as she untied the knot of her top, "Should've guessed, should've guessed."
He woke up the next morning, someone was holding him, he turned and saw Diabellariana, asleep still, tightly holding him. He laughed and then leaned his head back, "I wonder if I passed her test."
"You are good at acting asleep."
"Come back again tonight, after your next work, to try again, but not right now, you barely missed it."
"That was tiring."
"That's why, it shouldn't be, well, get dressed and go tell Lord Fendian that I told you to move on and try it again later."
"Thank you, Lady Diabellariana."
"You don't seem mad?"
"No, why would I? I need to improve, so it doesn't bother me, it wasn't too bad either, see you tonight then," He walked out of the room and saw Lord Fendian kneeling in front of a bizarre skull, it had four horns that curve towards the front and four massive sharp teeth descended from the top set of teeth. He slowly walked towards Lord Fendian, trying to not disturb him. Lord Fendian placed his hand on the skull and then looked up at the sky.
"Thank you, Mother, for giving me strength."
"Um, Lord Fendian," Lord Fendian turned to look at him, "Lady Diabellariana told me to try again tonight, but that I can continue with my works."
"She is picky, isn't she?" Vidian nods, "Just so you don't ask, my mother is Lady Diana, the goddess of the moon, well, go to Malvenon, he will give you your next work."
"Thank you, I'll be see to that right away," He left the room and walked down to the entrance, where Malvenon was sitting with a crying woman. Vidian sat down on the bench behind them.
"How did your girl die?"
"I don't know, I don't know if she is dead or not, but now that you said that."
"Did she get kidnapped?"
"Yes, I received a message from a group of bandits, demanding a ransom."
"Have they given you her body? Back?"
"No, I haven't paid."
"Vidian, I know you are there, I have a favor to ask, no need for my work, as Malvenon, the god of the dead, I can't stand the non-respect for the dead, kill those bandits, and bring back the girl's body, if she is indeed dead, I could be wrong."
"They are south of the town, take the path of the Great Desert, the road that leads to the Great Desert, they will probably try to steal from you, you will be able to enter their hideout, if you can either pay them, or kill them."
"Thank you, my lady, I will bring your girl back."
"If she is alive, bring her back, if she isn't, the same stands," Malvenon got up and sighed, then left them.
"She isn't dead, she can't be, she must be alive."
"I am leaving now, I'll find your girl, what is her name?"
"How does she look?"
"Brown hair, pale skin, she has a birthmark on her left elbow, you should be able to find her."
He jogged out of the temple, and out of town, ignoring the merchants that talked to him. He was running, not jogging, sprinting down the road the Great Desert's Tail, the road the woman had talked to him about. He hoped that he wouldn't be too late.
He spotted a large bridge like structure that was two towers connected by a pillar bridge that crossed the river, which was large at this point. He slowed to a walk, then walk towards the building. As he expected, two bandits stopped him.
"Pay up or die."
"How much is it?"
"I think I'll take from you instead, your lives," He head-butt one of the bandits and drove his fist into the other, making his nose burst with blood. He created claws on his hands, long, straight claws and drove them into the broken nose bandit, driving them right through him. He walked over to the stunned bandit as she slowly got to her knees, lifting the hand that hadn't turned back into its normal form, in the air.
"Why are you doing this?"
"I have work to do," He brought the claws down diagonally and slashed her across the chest then punched her head with his other hand, now a metal hand, shattering her skull as she was projected to the wall, "Two down," He slowly opened the door and saw no one in the entrance. He created a hooked claw on his right finger as he noticed someone at the top of the stairs, alone. He slowly walked up the stairs and then grabbed him, covering his mouth and slitting his throat with his claw. He let his body slide down the stairs before moving on. He looked out towards the bridge part of the building and saw a couple bandits standing watch. He morphed his arm into a bow and drew an arrow, aiming it towards the opposite tower's guard, the one that had the least chance to be spotted. The arrow soared through the air and lodged itself deep into the left eye of the guard as he fell backwards, it seemed as if no one had realized it. He looked at the three guards walking on the path, there was always two of them looking one way and the other two in the other, it could give him enough time to do it quickly. He drew three arrows, resting them on his hand, letting loose one at the isolated guard then the two others at the remaining guards. He expected there would be a guard on top of the tower. He withdrew his bow and his left forearm morphed into a beast's arm, a thick hide creature's arm with large fingers he punched open the door to the tower, knocking over the guard behind it, sending them crashing to the wall. He drove his fist into the guard's head as it lay against the wall, exploding it. He turned and caught an arrow that another guard fired at him before hurling it back, hitting him right in the eye, killing him. He looked around and saw no guards left in the tower, but no girl either. He walked out and picked his arrows from the dead bridge guards and absorbed them into his arm. She had to be in the other tower. He kicked open the door and blocked the downward slash from the battleaxe wielding bandit and slammed the still formed arrow under his jaw and kicked it upwards. He pulled out the arrow and absorbed it into his arm. He ran up the stairs and found nothing, he went to the top of the tower and found a cage with a girl, terrified at the dead body that was laying in front of her. He took the arrow out and looked at her. Brown hair, pale skin, and a birthmark on her elbow.
"Who are you?"
"Your savior," He created a hammer with his hand and slammed it against the lock, and with the aid of the Blessing of the Conqueror, it shattered into a million pieces. The door slowly opened as he held out his hand to her.
"What are you?"
"Your savior, your mother and Lord Malvenon send me, I must return with you, to Nocturnus," She was a human girl, Nocturnus was a mixed city, "All the guards are dead, you don't have to worry, are you hurt?"
"Not really, just really scared," She took his hand and he pulled her up, "And a little weak," She stumbled into his arms, "I don't know how long I have been in there, treated like a dog."
"Let me carry you," He turned around and knelt down, "Hold onto my back, I'll do the rest," She climbed on and he stood up as if nothing, "At least, Lord Malvenon was wrong, he thought you were dead."
"Thank you so much."
"Don't thank me," He walked to the top of the tower, "Hold on," He jumped down as the Blessing of the Conqueror activated on his legs. She screamed as they slammed to the floor and Vidian continued to walk, "See? Nothing to worry about."
"Are you a god?"
"Nope, but their blessings are very useful, that is why I killed these guys to save you, Lord Malvenon's work was to save you, or bring back your body," He continued to walk with her on his back, it was nearly mid-way through the afternoon, early evening, "At least you will be back at home."
"Thank you so much."
"Don't worry, I am fine with doing this for you, your mother, Lord Malvenon," Vidian said as they were walking on the path to the town, "Why were YOU targeted?"
"I was travelling alone, even if I paid the ransom, they captured me."
"So, this is your money?" He said as the pouch on his belt rattled with coins, "I'll give it back to you when we are in town."
"I guess you took more of it?"
"Yeah, I don't think I can waste it, so I'll do something good with it."
"Why are you doing this?"
"Because it is the right thing to do? I guess, I don't know actually."
"You are so kind."
He walked into town with Lilly still on his back. He hurried to the temple where her mother was still sitting there. He knelt down and let her down, she hurried to her mother, nearly leaping into her arms and she cried of joy. Vidian smiled as Malvenon walked towards him.
"I was wrong, I rarely am."
"I think I know why you said that."
"I think that what you see, I mean saw, Lord Malvenon, is true, if it had been a regular human, a man of just will, no actual power, she would've died, I think that your vision was correct, but I changed it," Vidian sighed, "I killed all of them."
"I know, I see the amount of blood on you, from that one you drove your arrow into," Malvenon began leaving the room, "My work is done, thank you."
"Don't thank me," Lilly and her mother walked up to him.
"Thank you, thank you so very much, you didn't even ask for anything, nothing in return, nothing, there has to be something you want in return."
"No, not at all, not at all, I did this for my quest, so, it's normal."
"What is this quest that you speak of?"
"A quest a god gave me, are you sure you are fine, Lilly?" She nodded, "Well, I hope you recover well, may the gods guard you."
"And may they watch over you," Lilly's mother said as she helped Lilly walk. Vidian noticed this and let Lilly lean on him. He took the pouch off of his belt and stopped, placing a golden coin in his hand then grabbing Lilly's. She looked at him weirdly as he moved his hand away and continued to walk with them. She looked down and saw the golden coin, and looked up at him. He nodded as they walked away from him. He smiled at them and returned to the temple. He walked in and sat down on the benches of the temple.
"So I actually failed a work, huh?" He shrugged, "More work then, I don't know how I can do better, hmm," Fendian sat down next to him, "Lord Fendian."
"People don't worship us at night, the people don't come to the temple like they did in the past," He sighed, "Lady Diana isn't the same, revered goddess she used to be, Zenith is the one that most prefer, for work, for comfort, the people here worship us because we are gods and even some people come from far to talk to Diabellariana, to Malvenon, or just to ask for guidance, not as much as before, when the cities that housed gods were always full of people, some cities have completely changed, but most of the cities that still house gods, are, still popular, more than other cities, this town just happens to survive thanks to the river."
"How can I improve? With Lady Diabellariana."
"She is special, she is my lover, as the legends say, I know how to make her break, but that wouldn't be fair for her if I told you," He laughed, "She is actually very shy, and does like when you listen to her and let her speak, try that, maybe it'll work this time."
"Thank you, Lord Fendian, I am going to go eat at the inn, thank you again."
"Of course, Vidian, I don't want to face the Death of the World again."
"So you know."
"I do indeed."
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