-I pair the Chadborn easily with Hephaestus-chan/
Synopsis: He'd been in a brutal, life and death battle. A foe that was so far beyond him that it was a miracle he had survived, let alone wounded it. However, despite his many feats, and the skills and abilities, he had honed and developed; he was unable to triumph over his destined enemy! Or at least not yet, his surroundings might have changed, but his adventure was not finished, not yet!
Posted on: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13378472/1/The-Last-of-his-Kind (Greed720)
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Chapter 1-3 (exceptional)
With a groan of pain Azoth sat up.
His body was aching all over, and his head was pounding worse than it ever had before, including after that one particularly raunchy night he had had in the Bannered Mare in Whiterun that one time.
Groaning again as he felt his stomach turn, and a hint of bile rise up in his throat, Azoth tugged off his helmet, gasping slight as the sweat, blood and pile that bathed his face was suddenly hit by a gust of cold, fresh air.
Retching slightly as he properly sat up, he quickly had to turn to the side and dry heave.
A few moments later, his head still pounding and his body still aching, he glanced once at his Ebony Helmet, noting as he did so, the large, eight inch long slash that went nearly all the way through the faceplate.
It was not a lost cause, and it could be fixed, but even so it would be a pain in the arse to do so!
Just what in Oblivion's name had happened? He thought to himself, bringing his gauntleted hand up and wiping the blood and filth off of his face, the rough, leather covered mail that protected his palm feeling coarse against his otherwise smooth face.
Why was he feeling so rotten and battered, and why was his enchanted armour in such a weary way?
Oh yeah, now he remembered, that damned dragon, Alduin!
He had been in Sovngarde fighting against the overgrown, pitch black lizard!
For three days and two nights he had fought that beast, man against dragon, hero against monster. Both of them had tried to deal horrific, deadly wounds on the other. Only for his enchanted Ebony Armour to protect him, and Alduin's thick, magic resistant scales to protect the World Ender.
Even now he knew the only reason he had survived was due to that one Shout, Dragonrend. Without it Alduin would have made mincemeat of him. Hell, even with that Shout, his years of experience, and his enchanted armour and weaponry, he hadn't managed to defeat that monster.
The most he had managed to do was smashed his axe into its eye socket, permanently blinding the giant, immortal, black dragon in one eye, and even that much had almost killed him!
He wasn't sure what had truly happened, but he did remember how, after inflicting the wound, Alduin had released a massive explosion of pure force and had come after him with all his millennia of fury. The dragon had flown at him, caught him up in its jaws and flew into the air.
In response he had hacked and slashed at the dragon's head, scoring his snout and face with wounds as he tried to get free. He had even unleashed a Shout, his personal favourite, Unrelenting Force, right into the beast's face.
After that all he remembered was falling, man and dragon locked in an unending, life and death battle as they toppled off of the realm of Sovngarde and into the void.
Casting his helmet to one side at that thought, the battle worn, hand crafted helm landed on the soft grass with a dull thud.
That's right, they had fallen off of the immortal plane of Sovngarde, the Nord's Heaven, and into the swirling, chaotic realm of infinity that wallowed between the different realms and planes of existence.
What did that mean though? He was here and alive, despite his aches and pains, whilst Alduin was gone.
Did that mean that he had won?
Or was he dead, and thus Alduin had won?
No that couldn't be true, if he were dead he wouldn't be feeling this rough, or sore. Not unless he had been sent to one of the realms of the Daedric Princes. Though if that were the case, he suspected he would know it. The pain he was feeling now, would be nothing to what he would be feeling if he had indeed died, and his soul had been taken by one of the Daedra, even one of the nicer ones.
With that comforting thought in mind, he raised his gloved and gauntleted hand and ruffled his sweat drenched, short, white hair. His long pointed ears twitching slightly as the wind caught them, his pale, violet eyes gazing around at his surroundings as he did so.
If he wasn't in one of the Nine Heavens, or in a Daedric Realm, then where was he?
Looking around properly he quickly got his answer.
He was lying on a grassy bank on the edge of a forest.
The nearby trees were large, and verdant, and covered in healthy green foliage.
The sky above him was bright blue, and there was barely a cloud in the sky. Overhead he could feel the sun shining down on him, warming his rapidly drying face.
There were worse places he could have woken up.
With that thought in mind he struggled to his feet, sagging slightly at the weight of his enchanted Ebony armour, but only for a moment before he made it shakily to his feet. His head spinning slightly as he rolled his neck, a chorus of soft pops and cracks sounding out from the action.
Looking down he then inspected the rest of his being, his armour was all but wrecked, and covered in a multitude scratches and dents. That said it had seemingly served its purpose, he still had all of his limbs, which was good. He was still breathing, again good. On top of which, after a cursory inspection he didn't' feel any broken bones, and the few wounds he had were flesh injuries at worse. None of them seemed to be fatal.
So again, that was good. He wasn't in any danger of dying any time soon!
Now that that was resolved, he then turned around and started looking for his weapons, hoping against hope as he did so that he had managed to keep a hold of his weapons!
As the Harbringer of the Companions it would be distinctly embarrassing if he had somehow lost the tools of his trade.
Glancing around, and checking his belt and back strap, Azoth quickly let out a sigh of relief.
Dawnbreaker, the Daedric artefact, and the gift from his beloved, if sometimes difficult, patron, Meridia, was still sheathed at his right hip, as flawless and perfect as they day he won it.
Next was Wuuthrad, the ancient, legendary, two-handed axe that was once wielded by the equally legendary, Ysgramor. Fortunately that was still there too.
Sure it wasn't strapped on his back where it usually was, but it was sitting there safe, and thankfully in one piece, near to where he had awoken. The large, distinctly Daedric looking axe, resting gently, and in one piece, in the grass, its blade still noticeably encrusted with Alduin's golden blood.
That was good, he didn't think Aela or Eorlund Greymane, would have ever let him live it down if he had lost the Companion's sacred weapon.
Then finally, and least importantly of all, yes, his nameless Daedric dagger was on his left hip too. Sure the weapon had been forged by a Master Blacksmith, and then enchanted by a Master Enchanter, and thus was worth an awful lot of gold.
But since he was the one that had made it, it would not have been too difficult for him to make another one.
The weapon, like many of the weapons and pieces of armour he had created over his five years of adventuring, was easily replaceable. It wasn't unique, nor did it have a storied history like his other two weapons, nor the same sentimental value. It was just a tool, one he had long since accepted would either be destroyed, lost, or replaced if he decided he wanted to make something better.
His other two weapons however, Dawnbreaker and Wuuthrad, they were significantly more important. Both of them were immensely powerful, and had a rich history. On top of which they both also represented two of his greatest achievements.
Wuuthrad, represented his becoming the Harbringer of the Companions, his proudest moment.
Whilst Dawnbreaker represented his becoming the Champion of Meridia. Again another proud moment, even if at time he did question the wisdom of bargaining his soul with the ancient Daedric Prince, for power and her sacred sword.
Azoth shook his head at that thought, he had long since accepted his decision, and he had no real regrets. He had done an immense amount of good with his sword, and had saved many lives, and vanquished many foes.
In fact over his five years of Adventuring he had achieved many feats, some of which were far grander than becoming either the Harbinger, or the Champion of Meridia. In his time he had defeated the First Dragonborn, Miraak. He had rose to the position of Legate in the Imperial Army and had personally defeated and destroyed the Dark Brotherhood, saving the Emperor of Tamriel's life in the process. On top of which he had crushed the Stormcloak Rebellion, ending the civil war which threatened Skyrim and the entire Empire.
But no, despite these achievements, his true greatest triumphs, or at least in his mind, were becoming the Daedric Prince's Champion, and proving himself worthy of being the Harbringer of the Companions.
These two more than any of his other triumphs and achievements represented the journey he had been through.
From an orphaned, sewer dwelling member of the Thieves Guild, a literal pickpocket and grave robber, to a Champion. From little more than a common bandit and cutthroat, to the leader of a band of honourable warriors.
From a penniless street rat, to the legendary Dragonborn.
He had risen from nothing, and had become a legend.
He was also pretty humble too…
Or at least most of the time.
Admittedly it was a bit hard at times to maintain a level head when, throughout Skyrim and further abroad, he was known, and recognised, as the legendary Dragonborn; a renowned weapon's master, Master Enchanter and Blacksmith, and Master of the Thu'um.
It was hard not to develop a least a bit of an ego when bards throughout Skyrim sang songs of your deeds.
Not that he was perfect, or excelled in everything of course.
Unfortunately despite his elvish blood he was only adept at wielding magic, so much so that he wasn't even offered a place at the College of Winterhold, even after he saved their ungrateful arses! On top of that his archery and alchemy skills were pitiful. But still, despite this, he was proud of everything he had achieved.
Especially since he was only twenty one!
Azoth grinned to himself at that, even as he leaned down, groaning again as he picked up his heavy battle-axe, wiping some of the blood off on the grass below as he did so, before he then holstered it on his back.
Looking around again, Azoth paused only long enough to scoop up his helmet, and then pull out one of his few remaining health potions, downing it in one as he did so, after which he started heading for what looked like a nearby road.
The moment he took a step forward however, his aches and pains rapidly diminishing thanks to the potion, he nearly stumbled over. His hand instinctively coming down to grip the hilt of Dawnbreaker, even as his sharp violet eyes flicked back and forth surveying his surroundings.
Something felt wrong.
Maybe it was because his body was no longer wracked with pain, and his mind was a little clearer. But suddenly he felt a sudden emptiness inside of himself, almost as if there were a piece of him missing, a connection that he had once had, but which was now lost.
Twisting around, Azoth once again stared around at his surroundings, even as concentrated intently, desperately trying to sense what was wrong.
Suddenly his eyes opened, and his body sagged a little.
His connection to the Warrior Standing Stone, it was gone.
His connection to his Patron, Meridia, the constant drumming in his head, urging him on to hunt down undead and necromancers, and to kill them, it was gone. For once there was silence.
And most profoundly, his spiritual connection to the Divine being, Akatosh, the source of his powers as a Dragonborn. It was no longer there.
All three of these connections, all of which had been a part of him for years, they had all suddenly been severed.
It honestly felt like a part of him was missing.
Panicking slightly at this, Azoth drew his sword, his pounding heart calming slightly as he felt the familiar fire and fury rushing through him as he drew the golden coloured blade. The gem on the hilt glowing as fiercely as ever, even as he felt the part of Meridia's power imbued into the blade flaring to life.
It was not the same as the connection he had previously had, but still, the familiar feeling of the energy now coursing through his veins, strengthen his limbs, comforted him.
Sheathing the blade, but keeping a hand on the hilt he then took a deep breath, calming himself even further as he then released it.
Turning to face the clear open land in front of him, Azoth took another deep breath, only this time he drew upon his knowledge of the Thu'um and on the power of all the dragon souls he had consumed.
"FUS ROH DAH!" Azoth bellowed, a wave of intense blue energy visibly erupting from his lips and expanding outwards, a wall of force that shredded and destroyed anything in its path. The wave of unrelenting force expanding ever outwards, even as it travelled close to thirty metres, before finally dispersing.
Letting out another sigh of relief at that, Azoth nodded. He at least still had access to his powers as the Dragonborn, even with his connection to Akatosh having been severed.
Then again from what little he knew, most of which was courtesy of the Greybeards and rumour, his title and abilities were due to him having been born with the soul of a dragon, only within the body of Mer, not his faint connection to the god Akatosh. That had merely been a by-product of his being the Dragonborn, nothing more.
Nodding at that, Azoth continued walking towards the road, pushing aside his discomfort at the lingering emptiness he was feeling.
It was an odd, and unpleasant feel, but not a debilitating one. It did not physical hurt him or anything, instead the pain was more spiritual.
Even as he walked, he couldn't help but dwell on how something within him was missing.
He had never met Akatosh, so had no personal feelings towards the Draconic God. But still, he had had his connection to the being ever since he was born, even if he only really became aware of it when he slew his first dragon, near Whiterun, at the tender age of sixteen.
As for Meridia, he had met her certainly, and she had been cold, callous and caustic. She had been so consumed with her hatred for the undead and for those who manipulate the dead, so much so that she had barely batted an eye when the young, sixteen year old, Azoth, still a fresh adventurer, had singlehandedly cleared out her temple of the necromancer and his undead horde that had taken up residence.
Even so, he had been delighted when she gave him Dawnbreaker and named him her Champion. It had been one of his first ever proper quests as an adventurer, and the sword, which he had carried and wielded ever since, had not only saved his life countless times, but it had symbolised that success.
That and it also represented who he was as an adventurer, a Hero who fought for the living against the forces of evil!
Admittedly when thinking back on it now, it seemed childish, but at the time he had been sixteen, scared, and feeling very much as if he was in over his head.
Like seriously, one minute he was thief causally sneaking into an Imperial camp to copy some battle plans that his Guildmaster, Mercer Frey, had then wanted to sell to the rebel Stormcloaks, and the next he had been captured by Imperial soldiers and sentenced to death.
From there things had just escalated.
Smiling bitterly to himself at that thought, Azoth finally made it to the road, his armoured feet thudding as he then began to walk along the road's cobblestone. His violet eyes looking back and forth as he searched for a sign, or some kind of landmark he could use to work out just where in Tamriel he was.
Rolling his shoulders as he walked, Azoth continued on in that vain for nearly half an hour, just following the surprisingly peaceful road, and enjoying the sights and sounds of life around him.
Again there were worse places he could have ended up.
As he walked along the winding, cobble road, the feeling of hollowness inside him fading to a background ache, Azoth couldn't help but ponder on his life so far, and what it would mean if this was some kind of afterlife.
He had done a lot in his life, and had created quite a legacy, one which would probably become a part of popular folk lore long after he was dead and buried.
Unfortunately though that legacy was intangible, one day, maybe many years from now he would be forgotten, after which he would have nothing left behind on this world. After all during his years of adventuring, despite his many liaisons with the fairer sex, he had had no children, or at least none that he knew of. As such he had no sons or daughter to carry on his bloodline.
This was especially bad, because he was also probably the last of his race.
He might have been orphaned as a babe, a foundling that had been discovered by adventurers near city of Solitude, after which he had been sent to the orphanage in Riften to grow up.
But that didn't mean he hadn't searched for his parents in his twenty one years of life, or looked into his heritage.
His appearance after all was quite distinctive.
Pale, flawless skin, angular, pointed facial features, long, pointed ears, pale, violet eyes, and a complete, and natural resistance to the cold.
It hadn't taken him long to realise that he was not like the other elves that roamed the land.
He was not green skinned, nor tusked, like Orcs, or Orismer, as they were also known.
Nor was he as tall, or as golden skinned as the Altmer, or High Elves. On top of which he had no natural affinity for magic.
He was not as lithe, or as dark skinned as the Bosmer, or Wood Elves. Plus his archery was terrible, and woodland animals were certainly not fond of him. The amount of bears and wolves he had had to kill was evidence of that.
Then finally he had neither the red eyes, nor grey skin of the Dark Elves, or Dunmer. Plus where they were resistant to fire and had an affinity for that element. He was the opposite and was resistant to frost and the cold.
This he had discovered from a young age. Which of course begged the question of just what he was.
The answer he had found, during his years of adventuring, was that he was a Snow Elf, an Aldmeris, as they had been known, or a Falmer, as they had unfortunately become known.
Azoth was, as far as he knew, the last true Snow Elf. The rest of his kind were all blind, mutated monstrosities that infested the dark places of the world, and haunted the old Dwemer Ruins.
In truth they were savage monsters that ate the flesh of both each other and anyone, or anything, else that dwelled to deeply into their domain.
Azoth was a true Snow Elf, as they had been during their peak. He was the last of an ancient and noble race, the true natives of Skyrim. A proud race that had been crippled by the invading Nords, and abused, enslaved and deformed by the cruel and callous Dwemer.
It was a lot to take in really, and a heavy burden to bear, what with him being the last of his kind.
Shaking his head at that thought, and gripping the hilt of his sword tighter, Azoth pushed those grim thoughts to one side. As he instead he focused on the matter at hand, his expression becoming tighter as he sensed more than saw, an ambush up ahead.
Continuing on a few steps, Azoth soon crested a hill and found himself looking at a massive, walled city in the distance. Near to the city some league or so away, he could see a thriving port town. But mainly his gaze was locked on the truly immense and breathtakingly tall tower that dominated the city, and the landscape all around it.
This place certainly didn't ring a bell in his mind.
There was no place like this in either Skyrim or Tamriel, or at least none that he had heard of before, and considering just how tall and grand the tower was, he suspected he definitely would have heard of it before had it existed in Tamriel.
Which of course brought up the issue. If this was not Tamriel, then where was it? Another continent perhaps? Or maybe another plane of reality?
He had been cast into the infinite void whilst fighting Alduin after all, and after his years of travelling and the many wonders he had seen, and planes of existences he had visited, it would not be all that surprising if this place where he currently was, just happened to be another plane of reality, one very far removed, and completely disconnected with his own.
It would certainly explain why he had lost his connection to Meridia and Akatosh.
Nodding at that thought, Azoth barely even blinked as moments later he unsheathed his sword, Dawnbreaker, and twisted around. His movements; swift, deadly and efficient as he lashed out with his sword, the tip slicing through the throat of some small, skinny grey skinned creature, even as it leapt out of the nearby tree line a stone axe clasped in its hand.
Moving to the side, Azoth ignored the dead creature, even as it burst into flames, the sickly scent of its burning skin filling his nose.
Instead he raised his other hand and drew on his magicka, cold, mist radiating from his hand, even as he sent a burst of frost at another one of the creature. The burst of the novice spell, Frostbite, killing the creature in moments as it literally froze the blood in its veins.
Whatever these savage little things were, they were weak.
Hell, he had fought Reiklings that were tougher.
With that thought in mind he danced forward, his movement still smooth despite his cracked and damaged armour. His sword easily cutting through five more of the creature in seconds. All of whom, like the first, burst into flames as he did so. Before, a few seconds later, they exploded into black dust.
"Hmm, interesting," Azoth mused, sheathing his sword a few moments later after looking around and searching for any more foes.
There were none, they were all either dead, or had fled into the forest.
Walking forwards a few moments later, Azoth picked up a small dark, crystal shard, within which he could see some kind of swirling purple energy.
It was strange, each of the creatures he had destroyed had exploded into dust, like some kind of conjured creature, and left behind these small crystals, each of which was little more than an inch long and a centimetre wide.
Pocketing six of the crystals, Azoth then raised the last one and inspected it. The crystal almost looked like some kind of soul gem, admittedly it was smaller than even a petty soul gem, but still, it was fascinating.
With that thought in mind he once again unsheathed Dawnbreaker and pressed the shard in his hand against it. Closing his eyes as he did so, Azoth could almost feel how the enchanted sword absorbed the energy from the shard of crystal, recharging a small amount of its power as it did so.
"Very interesting," Azoth muttered, these gems, or crystals, acted in the same manner to soul gems. Which meant they could be used for enchanting armours and swords, and for recharging the enchantments on weapons.
Looking down at his battle ravaged armour, Azoth couldn't help but smile, at least there was that. If he accrued enough of these, significantly more powerful of course, he could forge and enchant himself a new set of armour.
Sheathing his sword again, and brushing some of the black monster dust off of his armour, Azoth continued walking down the cobblestone road and headed for the large city in the distance. Orario apparently, or at least that was the name given on a passing sign.
For now he had a couple of goals he wanted to pursue. First things first he needed to find out just where he is, and whether his theory of being in another world is correct. Which if it is the case would mean finding lodgings whilst he is here. A tavern would be the first place he would go once he reached the city, those places tended to be the places to go if you want to get information on an area, or hear the local rumours.
Secondly he needed to acquire a lot more of these monster crystals, though ones on the level of a filled Black Soul Gem, after which he would need to gather the material he would then need to re-forge, and re-enchant, his armour, making better and stronger than before.
Then finally after that he would need to find out whether Alduin was also in this place. His quarrel with the one eyed black dragon was not yet over, and if he were here then he would need acquire the equipment, and hone his skills, so that he could finally end the World Eater, once and for all!
Upon finally reaching the walled city of Orario and entering it, Azoth, had to admit he was impressed.
The city was absolutely massive, and from a first glance, looked very wealthy. The streets were absolutely filled with people; from shouting merchants selling their wares, to richly citizens shopping about, and armour warriors, and cloaked mages doing whatever it is warriors and mages did on their days off.
The place was crazy, everywhere he looked he saw something that surprised or confused him. In the distance, looming over the many tightly packed town houses, and the labyrinth of streets, he could see the occasional palatial tower, or extravagant mansion, or colossal, opulent castle.
More than that though were the people, looking around Azoth now knew for sure that he was not in Tamriel. Sure there were humans wandering around, humans of every colour and creed, some of whom were noticeably armed with weapons and wearing some kind of armour, whilst others were dressed in normal traveller's clothes, or the outfits of gentry.
Noticeably though he could see some, mainly; tanned, fit and attractive, dark haired women, were wearing scandalous clothing that wouldn't be out of place in a bedroom or a brothel. Those few that he passed, he made sure to pay extra attention too, partly because of their choice of revealing clothing, and partly because they seemed a little different than the other humans.
That said there were not just humans in the city. Intermingling with the multitude of humans of every creed, colour and gender, he could see elves, or at least what he thought were elves.
They were certainly more beautiful than the average human, with the delicate angled features and long pointed ears his kind often boasted.
But these elves did not have the nut brown skin of Wood Elves, or the grey skin of Dark Elves, nor even the golden skin and hair of High Elves. They certainly didn't have the very pale skin colour, and white of the Snow Elves, or rather they didn't resemble him that much.
Instead they looked like just more attractive humans who just happened to have long pointed ears, with them having the same skin colour as the Nords, Imperials and Bretons, and a multitude of eye and hair colours, with them being as varied as the humans were in that regard.
It was, for Azoth at least, very bizarre.
That was not all though, even stranger still he could see what could best be described as animal people walking around, and he wasn't talking about the cat like Khajiit or the reptilian Argonians that he knew.
No, these animal people had the faces and appearances of humans, only with them also have additional animal like appendages. Some of those he passed, he could see had cat ears and tails, whilst others had dog ears and wagging dog tails, and there were still others that he didn't recognise, or at least he couldn't tell what they animal their tails and ears were supposed to be from.
Honestly it was fascinating, everything and everyone around him was just so different, and so alien from what he was used too. From the merchandise and food that the stall and shop owners were attempting to sell, to the people he passed by and the topics of conversation they spoke of.
Many of those he passed, mainly those with some kind of weapon or staff, regular mentioned 'going into the Dungeon', and talked about monsters they had encountered, fought and killed, and crystals they had acquired.
Hearing this, Azoth couldn't help but smile beneath his helmet's battered, Ebony visor. During his time as an Adventurer he had fought his way through many dungeons, cave systems, castles and tombs, and going off of the little ambush he had dealt with on the road just outside of the city, he had a good idea about what they were talking of when it came to monsters and crystals.
It appeared that life here was not too different to the one he had lived in Skyrim.
That said the way they spoke of the dungeon, monsters and crystals was a bit peculiar.
They spoke of the crystals like they their main source of income, with some of those he passed chatting to their companions about 'farming' the upper levels of the Dungeon, with that being Dungeon singular, so they could get some crystals and make a few 'Valis'.
Azoth by this point had guessed that 'Valis' was the currency in this place.
Shaking his head at this Azoth continued on, not caring one jot about the odd looks that were being occasionally sent his way as he strolled down the high-street in his battle scarred, blood encrusted, Ebony Armour, complete with his mangled helmet and deadly looking weapons.
By this point in his life he was used to the looks he often received, mostly awe, fear and suspicion, and now no longer bothered even reacting, and even if he was still bothered, he still probably wouldn't have cared. No, at present he was too consumed by all the new sights, sounds and smells around him to bother about anything else.
That said he did hear the occasional passer-by reference him as he walked passed them.
"Looks like he's had a rough day in the Dungeon!"
"Must have gone down to the lower levels, especially for him to be a state like that!"
"Hey I don't recognise that guy, he looks tough as hell though! Do you know what Familia he is a part of?"
"I thought the Dungeon was in the other direction?"
"Maybe he's back from a quest outside of the city!"
"Ha! I doubt it, everyone knows the monsters on the surface are much weaker than those in the Dungeon!"
Taking in these comments as he passed, Azoth slowly began to build up a picture in his head of just what was going on in this city.
The place, by the sounds of it, was based on the top of some massive dungeon, one which had many, many levels.
Due to this the city attracted a lot of warriors, mages and adventurers, probably from all over the world, some of whom formed Guilds, or parties, like 'The Companions'. After which these parties, which they apparently called Familia's, ventured into the depths of the dungeons. Probably they did this because the lower you went in the Dungeon, the more monsters there were, and the more powerful these monsters would be.
No doubt all these Adventurers made their money in a similar manner to Azoth too, by hunting down and killing strong monsters/ foes, and then looting their remains for weapons, jewels or material they could sell.
Though mainly it seemed that they harvested the monster crystals and sold them, likely to enchanters, smiths and mages who could make use of the energy contained within these monster soul gems, or use the materials from monsters or veins of ore that were in the Dungeon.
Nodding to himself at this realisation, Azoth made his decision.
Like he had initially planned, he would find a tavern and get the proper lowdown on what was going on in this city and where the entrance to this Dungeon was. After which he would start venturing down there, make himself enough money on the upper levels to afford a decent home, food and potions and what not.
Enough for him to set up a base of operations for his time in the city. Following on from which he would venture deeper and deeper into this Dungeon, as deep as possible, as by the sounds of it the further into the dungeon you go the stronger the monsters, hence the bigger and more powerful the monster soul gems, and the more valuable the materials and loot.
Yes, if he wanted to forge and enchant himself some new battle armour he might need to go very deep into the Dungeons, and honestly, a part of him was pretty excited about it too.
These monsters, they sounded fascinating. Already he could barely wait to get down there and kill a few. It was in his nature to hunt down the strongest of the strong, challenge them, and prove himself their superior. On top of which, who knows what kind of things he could make from what he harvested from them!
That was the smith in him thinking.
Grinning to himself at that, his heart beating fasting in excitement at the thought of fighting new challenges and reaping the rewards, Azoth quickly approached a nearby stall owner.
If he wanted to do any of that he needed to first find an inn so he could get some more information, it was the way you got information in Skyrim, that or you visited a Jarls court and question the steward.
"Ah, h-hello," The young girl at the store stuttered. With the girl in question, being very short, yet unusually busty despite her height, something her obscenely tight and short white and blue dress seemed to showcase. "Do you want a fried potato?"
"Erm, what?" Azoth replied bemusedly, looking away from the very attractive, dark haired, blue eyed girl, and instead to the paper box in her hand, and the fried potatoes he could see inside.
"Fried potatoes, they come with a number of different sauces depending on what you like!" The girl chirped, overcoming her nervousness, over his height and appearance, at the possibility of a sale, her odd head band, which had two long springs topped with what looked like miniature, fake potatoes, bouncing about as she did so.
"No, sorry I am not really looking to eat at the moment," Azoth replied, pushing down his hunger, and the gurgle of desire he could feel building up in stomach at the thought of some food. It had been a couple of days now, if not longer, since he had last had a good meal. But no, no he had something he had to do first, and once that was done, then he would eat. "I'm actually just wondering whether you know of any good taverns nearby?"
"Oh, so you're not about to buy something…" The girl replied, a put out look on her face. The look however only lasted for a moment though, before she perked up. "Well never mind, I can think of a few taverns nearby. Though I am surprised you don't know of any, I mean you look like a pretty tough Adventurer, surely you've been to a few in your time?"
"I'm actually new here, only arrived today." Azoth replied with a slight chuckle, the girl had a good attitude, and seemed the helpful sort, he could appreciate that. "That's why I am looking for a tavern, in my experience it's where you pick up all the juiciest gossip and titbits!"
"Wait your new to the city, really!?" The girl suddenly beamed, with her practically bouncing up and down with excitement now, her chest noticeably moving up and down in response as she did so. "Does that mean you don't have a Familia?"
As she said this the girl's eyes trailed over his expensive, yet battered looking armour, and his powerful, yet well-used looking weapons.
No doubt she could see he was not some inexperienced fledgling Adventurer, maybe she could even feel the power of his magic weapons and enchanted armour.
"No, I've not joined up with one yet." Azoth shrugged, not too bothered about sharing that. It wasn't like he needed a party to get by after all. He had done fine thus far by himself, and he had probably fought against foes that would make most of the warrior and mages in this city quail with fear.
So no, he wasn't too concerned about venturing into this Dungeon by himself. Normally, and at most, it was just him by himself on his adventures, though occasionally he did bring a supporter along for the ride. With it often times being that sarcastic pain in the arse, Lydia, after all 'she was sworn to carry his burdens'.
Bloody Lydia, always getting in the way and making snippy comments!
Still she got the job done, and was tolerable enough company, most of the time.
"Wait you've not, t-then, would you like to join my Familia?" The girl asked, her voice once again going nervous as she looked up at him, hope shining in her bright blue eyes.
"You have a Familia?" Azoth asked in surprise.
This girl didn't look like a fighter. She looked too soft, and too naive. The warrior women he knew held themselves like fighters, and they walked and talked like veteran warriors. This girl, harsh though it might seem, did not give off that effect. She seemed pleasant, yes, but just a bit weak…
"Well of course I do, I am the Goddess Hestia after all!" The now named Hestia replied proudly and confidently, her hands on her hips as she looked up at Azoth, a mixture of hope and pride on her face as she gazed at his battled scarred helmet, and barely visible violet eyes.
Azoth, in response couldn't help but smile in bemusement at the girl's words.
Fortunately though his smile could not be seen, and so the girl wouldn't be able to see his amusement at her comment. She seemed a nice kid, but even so for this human girl to call herself the 'Goddess' Hestia, it was pretty damn presumptuous.
Not even the most arrogant of bandit warlords, archmages, generals or emperors had called themselves that. The Aedra and Daedra that Azoth knew of would have not allow for such an insult after all, in fact he suspected that any being that did dare to make such a claim would not have a very long life expectancy.
That said, maybe the gods of this world, and yes by now he had realised that this was not Mundus or any of the realms of Oblivion, were a bit easier going and thus allowed such blasphemy.
But even so, it was a pretty arrogant thing to call oneself, and one he honestly didn't expect from this seemingly nice and pleasant girl.
"So how would you like to join?" Hestia continued brightly, her eyes still shining with hope.
"Well, erm, Hestia," Azoth began, he refused to call her 'Goddess Hestia', he didn't want to encourage her ego after all. "Thanks for the offer, and I will definitely think about it!" He wouldn't. "But for now I am just hoping to find a tavern so I can get the lay of the land so to speak!"
"Oh, ok…" Hestia replied, visibly wilting in resigned disappointment as she did so. It looked like the girl had expected such an answer, but despite that, had still allowed herself to hope. It kind of made him feel a little guilty. "Well that's fine, as long as you keep my offer in mind!"
"Absolutely." Azoth nodded kindly, before shuffling awkwardly. "So about the tavern?"
"Oh, yeah, right, there is one just down the street from here about a five minute walk, you can't miss it. It's called the Hostess of Fertility." Hestia said with a nod, gesturing down the high-street, in the direction he had previously been walking.
"Thanks." Azoth nodded, reaching into the pouch at his side and pulling out a single gold coin as he did so, after which he handed it to the slightly downtrodden girl, catching her completely by surprise. "I appreciate your help."
"Oh, err, it was no problem at all!" Hestia chirped, her large blue eyes blinking in surprise as she stared at the large, gold coin in her hand. Thankfully she had the good grace not to bite it to test that it was real. "You didn't need to pay me or anything, I was happy to help."
"Still, take it as a thank you from me for being so helpful." Azoth replied kindly, waving her words away. She was a nice, if slightly egotistical girl, the Goddess Hestia indeed, and she had helped him when she didn't need to, he wouldn't begrudge giving her a gold coin for her time.
"Well thanks then!" Hestia beamed up at him.
Azoth nodded in response, even as he turned around and began heading in the direction she had pointed. The hustling, bustling crowd around him moving out of the way as his large, armoured mass strode through them.
"Remember my offer too!" Hestia called out after him as he quickly head down the street, giving a backwards wave as he did so.
( - )
(A few minutes later)
A few minutes later found Azoth, still in full armour, entering the tavern that Hestia had pointed out to him.
The Hostess of Fertility, it was a large, homely looking place which was filled with plenty of wooden chairs and tables, with a large bar against one side of the room, behind which Azoth could see a number of girls in green dresses and white aprons, a uniform of some kind, bustling about.
The moment Azoth entered the bar his violet eyes surveying the dozen or so patrons already inside, most of whom were sitting around in small groups around the sides of the room. Before he could take more than a step into the tavern however, a loud, stern voice called out to him, catching his attention.
"No helmets, hoods or masks in the bar!" The strong, female voice rang out abruptly, catching Azoth's attention as he looked to the bar and saw a stocky, middle aged woman, with a kindly face and long, brown hair, which was tied up into a pony tail, looking at him sternly.
"Right, right, I hear you." Azoth nodded, approaching the bar as he did so, even as he started to unbuckle his helmet. With him placing the damaged helmet on the top of the bar, moments before he sat down heavily on one of the empty stools that were lined up along the bar.
"Sorry about that, I should have thought." Azoth chuckled, messing up his already messy white hair to get rid of his helmet hair, even as he let out a sigh of relief as his long, pointed ears were open to the air once more. Helmets were incredibly useful in his line of work, but they sure as hell could be stifling sometimes.
"No harm done," The woman huffed good-naturedly, eyeing him as she did so, no doubt taking in his angular, elven features, the scar which crossed his face, and his snow white hair and violet eyes, grabbing a wooden tankard from under the bar as she did so. "Drink?"
"An ale if you serve it?" Azoth replied, hoping beyond hope that they served something like the ale of his homeland, Skyrim, even as he shifted on his stool to make himself comfortable.
"Aye, we've got it, if you've got the coin that is?" The woman replied bluntly, eyeing up his ragged appearance, yet expensive equipment, shrewdly.
Pulling his pouch of gold off of his belt, and pulling out a gold coin, Azoth slid the coin across the bar surface. "I am new to Orario, not changed my coin to the local currency yet, do you take gold though?"
"As long as it's real." The woman nodded, picking the coin up and giving it the bite test as she did so, before nodding approvingly.
"Then I'll have an ale, and some food, something heavy, with lots of meat, some vegetables, bread and gravy." Azoth nodded, opening his pouch as he did so to show that he had a lot more gold where that came from.
"I like your style." The woman nodded, her lips curling upwards in amusement, even as she called out an order to a nearby serving girl, a pretty, greyed haired, grey eyed human girl, and then filled up a tankard of ale for him. "The names Mia, Mia Grand, what about you stranger?"
"Azoth," Azoth replied with a nod, taking the ale from Mia with a grin and having a sip as he did so. It was pretty damn good. "It's good!"
"Well of course it is, I brewed it!" Mia replied with a hearty grin and bark of laughter. "So a newcomer to Orario then? You don't look like some newbie, in fact you look like you've been through the wars!"
"It's funny you should say that," Azoth replied with a chuckle, thinking on the civil war he had been embroiled in as he did so. "I was involved in a pretty brutal war not that long ago, but that was a few years ago now. Mostly I am an Adventurer, and not a soldier."
"Aye, I can see that. That must have once been a pretty decent set of armour, and are those some magic weapons I see too?" Mia nodded, looking him up and down again as she did so, taking in his wrecked armour, and the battle-axe on his back and sheathed sword on his hip. Her sharp eyes gleaming, and holding the look of an experienced warrior as she did so. "What Familia were you in, I might have heard of it?"
"They were yeah, and Familia, it depends on what you mean by Familia?" Azoth replied, his brow furrowing in confusion, making the straight scar that went across his cheeks and nose crinkle up as he did so.
"What do you think I mean by Familia, the god who gave you their Falna, their Blessing?" Mia asked, her own brow furrowing as she sent the elf an odd look.
"Oh, okay, so that's what you mean." Azoth muttered, pushing aside his surprise that these Familia that every seemed to be a part of, were actually groups of warriors and mages who had been blessed by gods. It also, much to his guilt, made him realise that perhaps that Hestia girl hadn't been being arrogant.
Then again, he found it hard to believe that that little girl was a god. Not when he compared that chirpy, distinctly human looking girl, to the Daedric Princes he had met.
Still it seemed he needed more information now, especially if there were gods giving out their Blessings willy-nilly, and said same people, Adventurers, were wandering around in gangs they called Familia.
"You didn't know what Familia were?" Mia asked, a look of disbelief on her face.
Taking another sip of his ale to give himself time to think, Azoth shook his head. He was a pretty canny guy, and as such he knew he shouldn't reveal his ignorance of the commonplace things in this world, or that he was a stranger here. With gods apparently interacting with mortals on a regular basis, who knew what kind of trouble the suspicion over his ignorance would bring him.
"As I said I am new to Orario, and not really from here." Azoth began carefully, his mind a whirl as he began to pull on half-truths. "Familia is not a term I am, well familiar, with. I did have a Divine Being, Meridia, as my patron though. She gave me her Blessing, and this sword." Azoth patted Dawnbreaker fondly as he said that. "But I was the only one that she Blessed or the only one that I know of, and she didn't call me her 'Familia', but instead her Champion."
"Ah," Mia nodded, taking his empty tankard and absentmindedly refilling it as she did so. Noticeably a number of the waitresses had gathered about too in the current lull in business, one of them the grey haired human from before, with the others being two cat people, another blonde human, and the last, an attractive, green haired elf. She, the elf that is, certainly caught his eye. "Explains the gold and the fact I've never seen you before, I suppose. So Meridia eh, can't say I've ever heard of her, sounds eccentric though?"
Azoth's lips quirked upwards in a smile at her implied question. "She was certainly that. If I were to be honest, I would say she was cold, callous at times, blunt and above obsessive. But she meant well, and she certainly helped me out, or at least she did when I was doing what she wanted me to do."
"Definitely sounds like a god." Mia said dryly.
"I'm guessing there are a lot here then?" Azoth queried.
"This is the Dungeon City, Orario, the centre of the world and the home of the Dungeon. Most of the gods that descended from heaven to live among the mortals reside here, and most of them have Familia!" Mia laughed, shaking her head in amusement at him. "Your goddess must not have done much explaining."
"Clearly not." Azoth chuckled.
"Well then like I said, the city is filled with gods and their Familia, all of which do numerous different things from farming to exploring the lowest levels of the dungeon." Mia shrugged, after which she gave him a rundown on the specifics of Orario and the way things worked here.
A few minutes later, after her brief explanation, and whilst she was pouring him another tankard, Mia spoke once again. "So what are you doing here then, has your goddess decided to move to the city?"
By the sounds of it Mia was quite interested in his answer, and he wasn't surprised, from what he had heard the arrival of another goddess and her 'Familia' might have a significant impact on the already delicate balance of power here in Orario.
"No," Azoth quickly shook his head a few moments later, thinking on how he had completely lost his connection to Meridia as he did so. "She's gone, my connection to her has been broken and she is up in the heavens no doubt doing whatever she wants. I meanwhile, well I have to make my own way. Hence why I am here."
The waitresses behind Mia all looked sad at that. The brown haired woman however just looked nonchalant. "That's just the way of gods I'm afraid, their all flaky, flighty beings."
"You're telling me." Azoth chuckled, he had had his fair share of meeting Divine Beings before, and personally he would have added in insane, capricious, evil and deadly too, but apparently the gods here were very different to the Divine Beings he was used too.
"So what's the plan then, you're new to the city, but you must have come here for a reason right?" Mia asked abruptly.
"Well I suppose you could say that the main plan is to head down to the Dungeon." Azoth nodded, idly scratching his chin as he did so. "First things first though I'll need to find the entrance."
"Afraid not kid. Since you're new to the city the first thing you'll need to do is join a Familia that is if you want to go down to the dungeon, and then register with the Guild. They're pretty prickly about that, they won't allow anyone without a Falna, and who is not a Familia, into the Dungeon. They don't want some stupid kids, or idiots wanting to play tourist, to get themselves killed down there. It's why they have the policy, it is their insurance so they can avoid any backlash from something bad happening down there." Mia cut in, an amused smile on her face as she saw the Snow Elf's expression.
"Well that's annoying." Azoth frowned, he had been hoping to head down there straight away and start making money and gathering materials and large monster soul gems to forge some new armour.
"You'll be fine, you're clearly not a newbie, and you have gold and magic weapons, most Familia would be happy to let you in, you just need to apply." Mia waved him away, only for her to suddenly smirk. "The most annoying thing for you is that they will insist that you have a Guild Advisor, it is also a part of their policy that newcomers to the Dungeon all have them for at least a couple of weeks, even if you aren't starting off as a Level One."
Pushing aside his confusion about what Mia meant by Level One, he was sure he could work that out later.
Azoth instead just frowned at the inconvenience. That said, as he thought about it, he could see the potential advantages in having a Familia. You would have some backup if you need it, a place to stay and a group to go into the dungeon with if necessary. If he joined a suitable one he could even get a fast track down to the lowest levels.
On top of which, from what Mia had said before, to have a comfortable life in the city, and to cash in gems, enter and use the Dungeons and the facilities in the Tower of Babel, the massive tower in the centre of the city, you needed to be a member of a Familia.
Being a member of a Familia was a necessity in this place.
"Fair enough," Azoth nodded after a few moments of thought, finishing another tankard of ale as he did so. The ale here was pretty great. "Do you have any you would recommend?"
"Depends what you want to do?" Mia shot back, taking his tankard without him asking and filling it up for him again.
"I want to head down to the deeper levels in the Dungeon, I need to pick up some materials and monster stones so I can sort myself out some new armour." Azoth shrugged, seeing no point in hiding his intentions, it wasn't like they would harm anyone. Except Alduin of course, but that was probably going to be much, much further down the line.
"Oh, so you want to get money fast and some new armour. In that case I would suggest either the Freya or Loki Familia, they are the two strongest ones in Orario and exploration Familia's that regularly go on expeditions to the lowest depths of the Dungeons, every time attempting to get lower and lower." Mia nodded, her keen eyes flicking over his armour, her gaze intense as if she were imagining what it must have looked like when it was still in perfect condition. "If I had to guess, for a set like the one you're wearing, well it would probably set you back upwards of one hundred and fifty million Valis. So yeah Freya or Loki would be your best bet!"
Behind Mia, the two human waitresses and the two cat people ones all let out several eeps at the amount of money Mia had just stated, all of them staring at the ragged Snow Elf in shock.
Turns out he was walking around wearing a veritable fortune.
After a few moments, Azoth however shrugged the money off, he didn't know how much it meant when compared to Skyrim gold, but it sounded like a lot. That said considering he would be the one crafting it, it really didn't bother him.
"I doubt it'll be that much. I am just heading down there to get some materials and monster gems so that I can forge myself a new set of armour, just like I forged this one!" Azoth replied, a grin on his face.
He might be a renowned warrior, but it was his Enchanting and Smithing that he really took pride in, Eorlund Graymane had nothing on him!
Mia blinked in surprise at that, but only for a moment before she smirked. "Well if that really is the case I don't think either the Loki Familia or the Freya Familia will suit you after all. The Hephaestus Familia however, that one would suit you to a tee."
"Oh?" Azoth queried.
"Yeah, they're a Familia that revolve around smithing and are led by the Goddess of Smiths herself, Hephaestus. They also regular join the Freya and Loki Familia on their expeditions down to the lower levels, acting as support and repairing weapons, in return for a share of the profits and access to high quality materials." Mia rattled off, her gaze following the grey haired girl as she suddenly emerged from the kitchen with a large platter of food, which she then placed in front of Azoth with a coy smile and slightly pink cheeks.
Smiling and nodding at the girl in thanks, Azoth then turned back to Mia. What she had just described sounded perfect for him. He would have access to a forge, and be able to join other Familia on expeditions to the lowest levels of the Dungeon where he could harvest monsters for their parts, potentially mine ore, and get himself plenty of powerful monster soul gems. It was ideal.
"Sounds good to me, how would I go about joining this Hephaestus Familia?" Azoth asked curiously, ignoring his food for now as he instead focused on the stocky, friendly, older woman in front of him, even as some of the other waitresses, those that had previously been listening in, began to disperse as more and more people started entering the tavern.
It appeared that they would soon be entering the tavern's early evening rush-hour, no doubt a lot of these people were Adventurers fresh from the Dungeon, or trades people that had just closed up their stalls for the day. No doubt the tavern would rapidly get busier, and busier, as the evening closed in and more of these types ventured out for food, drink and good company.
"Get back to work girls!" Mia called out, filling up Azoth's tankard one last time as she did so. No doubt his bill at the end of the night would be pretty hefty. "As for Lady Hephaestus, she can usually be found in her workshop in the Tower of Babel, the fourth floor. Head to the tower tomorrow and ask to see her, they'll let you in if they know you want to join a Familia, and bring along a piece you made yourself as an example of your skill when you do so, and then I'm sure she'll happily let you into her Familia."
Azoth nodded at that, his left hand toying with the hilt of his Daedric Dagger as he did so. It sounded like he now had a plan in mind for tomorrow. "Sounds like a plan."
"Glad I could help," Mia nodded, a kind smile on her face for a moment, before the expression suddenly became stern again. "Now get to eating, May in the kitchen didn't slave away on that for it to go cold. You eat up and when you're ready order more!"
Azoth smiled at that, and nodded. She might be helpful and friendly, but she was also, obviously, a consummate business woman through and through.
"Good, now if you'll excuse me I need to deal with the dinner rush. It's going to be hectic in here tonight, especially since Loki has already booked up two tables to celebrate her Familia returning from their most recent expedition." Mia grumbled under breath, even as she headed further along the bar to serve some newcomers.
Azoth cocked an eyebrow at that, he was kind of curious to see what a top Familia looked like.
Even as he thought that though, he felt another person move to stand in front of him.
Looking up as he did so, he soon found himself looking into a pair of placid, yet curious, blue eyes.
It was the green haired elf that worked here.
Azoth opening his mouth at the sight of her, however, before either of them could do more than look at one another, they were both distracted by the grey haired waitress suddenly crying out.
"Bell! You came!"
Turning slightly in his seat, Azoth watching as a short, young looking, skinny Adventurer, devoid of armour or weaponry, entered the bar, only for the grey haired waitress, Syr apparently, to usher him onto the seat next to where he was sat.
Even as he thought that though, he felt another person move to stand in front of him. Looking up as he did so, he soon found himself looking into a pair of placid, yet curious, blue eyes.
It was the green haired elf that worked here.
Azoth opening his mouth at the sight of her, however, before either of them could do more than look at one another, they were both distracted by the grey haired waitress suddenly crying out.
"Bell! You came!"
Turning slightly in his seat, Azoth watching as a short, young looking, skinny Adventurer, devoid of armour or weaponry, entered the bar, only for the grey haired waitress, Syr apparently, to usher him onto the seat next to where he was sat.
( - )
( - )
"Come in! I saved a seat at the bar for you!" Syr called out brightly, running around from behind the bar as she did so, before she then began to push the young looking, white haired Adventurer, Bell, towards where Azoth was sitting.
Glancing at the boy, Azoth honestly couldn't say he was all that impressed.
As the Nords would say, the boy looked like a milk drinker through and through; weak, the kind of fool who would either die an early death, or get an arrow in the knee one day and give up on adventuring altogether.
Bringing his wooden tankard up to his lips at that uncharitable thought, and taking a sip of the strong, hoppy liquid, Azoth couldn't help but feel a slight surge of guilt as he watched the very nervous looking teen get ushered onto the stool next to him by the gregarious, grey haired maid.
He was kind of judging the kid without even knowing him.
Everyone started somewhere after all, and Azoth had been no exception. He had been weak once, and no doubt seasoned Adventurers had looked down on him too.
Shaking his head at that thought, Azoth forced a smile on his face. There was no need to continue the cycle of dismissal and disregard, not when he could offer a kind word and a supportative comment instead. He was the Dragonborn after all, he was supposed to be a hero and a role model, not an arsehole.
In front of him, the pretty, green haired elf took his once again empty tankard and silently refilled it.
"You alright kid, had a good day in the Dungeon?" Azoth asked, sending the doll like elf a smile and a nod of thanks as he did so, only to get a curious look back, the girl's bright blue eyes not leaving him as she continued to eye him with a mixture of fascination and suspicion.
It was admittedly a bit odd, and slightly unnerving.
"Uwah, what, me?" The kid, Bell, replied nearly jumping off of his stool in shock as he realised that Azoth was addressing him.
"Who else do you think I was talk too?" Azoth replied amused, the human's reaction was somewhat funny, he kind of acted like a startled bunny.
"Oh, well sorry," Bell muttered shakily, his red eyed gaze taking in Azoth's armour and weaponry, clearly identifying him as a high level Adventurer. "But, well, no it's not gone great…"
"That's sometimes the way it is," Azoth shrugged, accepting his refilled tankard with a grateful smile to the she elf, before he took another sip and once again went back to his food. "We all have rotten days every now and then. Weapons breaks, armour fails, you make mistakes, your enemy turns out to be tougher than you expected. It happens, the mark of a true Adventurer is how you respond to things when they go bad, learn from your mistakes and better yourself!"
"R-right!" Bell nodded loudly, a startled expression his face at Azoth's words.
"Wise words," The she elf commented softly, once again attracting Azoth's attention due to the contradictory nature of her somehow both melodic and emotionless voice. "One must always be prepared for when the worst happens."
"You were an Adventurer yourself?" Azoth asked, eyeing the lithe, green haired woman up and down as he did so.
"Once upon a time, now I am just a waitress." The girl replied dryly, blinking for a moment as she did so, as if she had surprised herself in how readily she replied to him before.
"The name's Azoth," Azoth said for both the green haired elf and Bell's benefit, smiling and giving a half wave to both as he did so. "I'm an experienced Adventurer, but new to the city all the same."
"Ryuu Lion," The elf maid nodded calmly, her gaze roving over Azoth's youthful face, porcelain white skin and angular elven features curiously, as if she were trying to solve a puzzle.
"Erm, my name is Bell Cranel," Bell added on awkwardly, glancing between the two elves as he did so, as if unsure about whether or not he was included in the conversation. Not that that stopped him from asking a follow up question. "But erm, Mister Azoth, sir, how can you be an experienced Adventurer if you're new to Orario?"
It was a good question, Azoth had to concede, and a tricky one to answer.
Fortunately though he was saved from having to answer by Ryuu.
"There are monsters outside of Orario, Bell, those that escaped the Dungeon and bred in the traditional way." Ryuu said simply, tearing her gaze away from Azoth as she instead looked down at Bell. "Many Familia's operate outside of the city and deal with these monsters."
"O-oh," Bell nodded. "I guess that makes sense, I-I mean I knew that monster were living outside of the Dungeons, I just didn't realise that there were other Familia out there dealing with them."
"It's not just Familia outside of Orario that deal with the weaker, rogue monsters that live on the surface, the Guild here in Orario sometimes offer quests to deal with them too." Ryuu said with a nod.
"Interesting," Azoth muttered, his brow furrowed. A few Quests outside of the city might be good for earning a bit of money and getting the proper lay of this land.
Ryuu raised an eyebrow at his muttered word.
Before she could ask though, she was interrupted by the cheerful Syr returning once again. The grey haired girl practically bouncing as she finished delivering some food to one of the tables and came back to speak to her 'friend?' Bell?
"I wasn't sure if you would come tonight," Syr voiced through a fit of giggles, taking a seat on the other side of Bell, capturing his attention as she did so. Which Azoth took as a sign to go back to finishing his meal, whilst Ryuu was called away by Mama Mia telling her to start dishing out beer to some of the most recent newcomers. "I'm so happy you accepted my invitation!"
"W-well," The white haired boy muttered, visibly nervous as he edged away from the pretty, exuberant girl, reaching behind his back as he did so, after which he grabbed a wrapped up box which had previously been attached to his belt. "I had to return this, so…"
"Oh of course, my lunch box!" Syr smiled brightly, clapping her hands together with delight. "Thank you for returning it. I hope you enjoyed the food! I-I made it myself," noticeably her cheeks went a little pink as she accept the box off of him.
"I-It was brilliant. Thank you." The red faced Bell muttered back.
Azoth, from where he was sitting couldn't help but let out a snort of laughter, nearly spilling his ale as he washed down the last of his food.
Immediately the two teens turned to look at him. Bell looking distinctly embarrassed, whilst Syr looked faintly irritated.
"Sorry," Azoth chuckled, wiping some foam from around his mouth and pushing his empty plate across the bar so that one of the cat like serving girls could take it, a coy smile on her face as she eyed him up. "It's just amusing to see young love again, it reminds me of when I was your age, and fumbling around with courting a woman for the first time."
Almost immediately both Syr and Bell went bright red, the white haired Adventurer stuttering out denials, even as the grey haired maid suddenly found her services needed elsewhere. With her only sticking around long enough to call for Ryuu to come over and take Bell's food and drinks orders.
"Was it something I said?" Azoth asked the green haired elf as she came over to where he was sat.
"I don't believe they have defined the terms of their relationship, or even known each other long enough to be even close to forming one." Ryuu commented lightly, her blue eyes moving from the still pink cheeked Syr, who was at that moment serving a short, bearded man on the other side of the bar, to the still red faced and stuttering Bell.
"Oh I had thought otherwise. Maybe it's just cultural differences. Back in my homeland, in the far north, life is tough and often times short. The humans, and some of the other races, up there don't bother with prolonged courtship. If you like a person and feel desire for them, then you express it. If they reciprocate you couple up until one or other of you either die or grow bored." Azoth shrugged, scratching his chin idly as he pondered over the cultural differences between the hard, cold, tough lands of Skyrim, and the Dungeon City of Orario.
Turns out there might be a lot.
"W-what!?" Bell squeaked, his face so red now that Azoth thought he was about to pass out.
"That is a simplistic and rather blunt way of viewing something as delicate and meaningful as a relationship." Ryuu commented mildly, her blue eyes studying Azoth curiously. "From where do you come Mister Azoth?"
"The far north, a country of ice, snow and monsters." Azoth replied with a shrug, not too offended by her words. "As I said it is a rough place to grow up, cold, cruel and inhospitable, and as such those who grow up there have had to adapt and evolve to survive. What about you Ryuu, where does such a beautiful and enchanting elf such as yourself come from?"
"I came from Ryumilua Forest in the west, but it has been many year since last I walked through the ancient trees of my homeland." Ryuu said, the slightest hint of sadness entering her voice as she did so, but only for a moment before her gaze sharpened. "As for your compliments, please do keep them to yourself Mister Azoth. You do not know me, and I am not one of your kin, and thus do not follow your crude courtship customs."
"Ouch," Azoth replied mildly, his violet eyes twinkling, despite the rejection. "Still not unexpected, I apologise if I offended you."
"You need not apologise, for you have not caused me any offense." Ryuu shot back, her lips curving upwards into a smile for the slightest of instances.
"I'm glad." Azoth nodded, meeting Ryuu's intense blue eyes with his own violet ones.
Before anymore could be said, a sudden gurgling noise interrupted the moment. The sound causing both elves to turn and look at the source, only to see that it was the red faced Bell, with the sound having been his gurgling, rumbling stomach.
"Oh, Mister Cranel, forgive me, I forgot to take your order." Ryuu said suddenly, tearing her eyes away from the other elf as she instead gave a bow of apology to the stuttering, red faced boy and quickly took his food and drinks order. After which she retreated to the kitchen to tell the cooks.
"You're not particularly good with women are you kid," Azoth said blandly, watching the still stuttering, pink faced, boy with a bemused expression. Seriously had this kid never even met or spoken to a member of the opposite sex before? What kind of upbringing did he have?
Bell, if possible, just flushed an even deeper shade of red at Azoth's blunt comments. Fortunately though he was saved from replying, by the now recovered Syr, who chose that moment to come over, noticeably sending Azoth the stink eye as she set a new tankard of ale in front of the Snow Elf.
Apparently he didn't need to even ask anymore. No doubt Mia had given standing order for his tankard to be refilled whenever it was empty. Which was good in the way that the ale here was delicious, and bad, because even with his Dragonborn and Werewolf, the perks of being in the Companion's inner circle, constitution, he was beginning to get drunk. That and it would probably hit his finances hard.
"Have you started behaving?" Syr asked Azoth, her grey eyes narrowed as saw him grin in response to her pointed, rhetorical question, after which she turned to Bell, her cheeks going pink as she gave him a bright smile. "Do let me know if he continues to run his mouth, Bell, if he does I'll set Mama Mia on him!"
With that said she then disappeared into the back room, leaving Bell alone with the amused Azoth, the white haired boy clearly completely confused now.
This was probably not how he had expected his night out at the tavern to go.
"Like really, I make a single innocent comment and the girl gets all snippy." Azoth muttered, taking a sip of his ale as he did so.
"Oh, so is that why little Syr was all out of sorts, you were causing trouble?" Mama Mia spoke up jovially, the grinning woman laughing loudly as she sidled over and put a large plate of some kind of fish dish in front of Bell.
"Apparently so…" Azoth shrugged dryly.
Mia let out another laugh at that, her brown eyes twinkling at Azoth, before she looked down at Bell. "So you're the kid, Syr, mentioned before? It seems she has taken quite a liking to you!" With that said she gave the nervous kid a broad smile that was both warm and welcoming. "The name's Mia Grand, but everyone calls me Mama Mia. I'm the owner of this fine establishment!"
"I-I am Bell Cranel. Syr helped me out this morning, so I'm here to, um…" Bell muttered sheepishly.
"Pleasure to meet you Bell," Mia interrupted cheerfully, her smile brightening as Ryuu came along with two other large dishes in her hands. "Now eat up, I've added an extra bowl of pasta on the house! We need to get you beefed up if you're to be going into the Dungeons! The last thing I want is for Syr's new friend to get himself killed down there!"
"O-oh, er thanks!" Bell replied, blinking in shock at the sheer size of the mound of food in front of him, even as he dutifully began to eat up.
"And you, little elf!" Mia said turning to look at Azoth again as she did so, the grin on her face taking any real heat from her words. "I've decided that you can buy another order of the pie to make up for bothering poor Ryuu with your perverted attentions and embarrassing innocent Syr!"
"Wait what?" Azoth replied, blinking with surprise as Mia slammed the large plate of food down in front of him. His eyes flicking up to look at the green haired elf, who just shrugged to show she had no idea what was happening, after which he caught the wicked smile on Syr's face.
Oh, so this was the girl's revenge for embarrassing her.
That was fair enough, he might not have done it on purpose, but still, he had embarrassed her.
Besides if this was the extent of her revenge then he would take it good naturedly.
"You heard me!" Mia smirked.
With that said Azoth rolled his eyes and started eating without complaint. The food was good, and admittedly he was still kind of hungry.
"Now tell me because I'm curious and didn't ask properly before," Mia continued, leaning against the bar, both Syr and Ryuu noticeably lingering nearby, even as they continued to serve the other customers. The number of new clientele having noticeably diminished over the last half an hour or so. "Just what have you been up to wreck your armour like that?"
Azoth cocked his head to one side at the question, finishing a mouthful of food as he pondered over what to say.
"I took on an opponent I thought I was ready for. Turned out I wasn't, and the bastard tore me a new one for my impudence. Were it not for my armour and equipment being as good as it is, well I would probably be dead right now!" Azoth finally said, thinking back on that final battle in Sovngarde with Alduin.
"Ahh, so you bit of more than you could chew." Mia stated sagely.
"Aye, for three days and two nights we fought, man against beast! But in the end that damned dragon got the best of me." Azoth grunted, and honestly it really did hurt his pride to admit such a thing, that he, the ultimate dragon slayer, had not been able to slay a dragon.
"A dragon eh?" Mia asked, leaning in with more interest now, an odd look in her eyes as she looked over the horrific rents and gouges in his all but ruined armour.
"Yes, one as black as night, with a wingspan that could cover an entire town in shadow, and spikes and horns as sharp as the most deadly of blades, and teeth that are longer and sharper than the most powerful of swords. A monster of incredible power and unimaginable rage and fury." Azoth muttered, his tone unconsciously becoming colder, more furious and more intense as he thought back on his destined foe.
Not noticing as he did so how the four people listening in had all leaned closer and were hanging on his every word, their gazes filled with fascination.
Ignoring the looks, Azoth pulled his double bladed battle-axe, Wuuthrad, from his back. Power and fury coursing through the ancient, enchanted weapon and up his hands and into his as he studied the intricate, carvings, and screaming faces on the axe's blade, one of his fingers absently trailing over the dried golden blood, Alduin's blood, which was still encrusted on one of the edges.
Unknown to Azoth, Ryuu, flinched at the sight of the axe. Her heart skipping a beat as her natural affinity to magic picked up the incredibly powerful enchantments on the axe, as well as the hatred and fury emanating off of it, a hatred and fury which to her senses felt personal.
Just from a single glance the elf maiden could tell that this axe had taken the lives of thousands, if not tens of thousands. But more than that there was a malevolence surrounding the axe, a bloodthirsty rage that made her heart tighten, her gut clenched and her skin crawl.
"A one-eyed black dragon, that is who I faced, and that is who I failed to kill." Azoth muttered to himself, his violet eyes hard and cold as his finger still traced the encrusted blood on the axe. "But I gave as good as I got, and landed more than a few blows on that monster, enough to spill its blood!"
At those words there was a sharp intake of breath from all four of the listeners, all of them looking at Azoth in shock as they registered just who he was talking about.
"You fought the One-Eyed Black Dragon and lived?" Syr asked in awe, not doubting his words for a second, as there was no way anyone was a good enough actor to fake the fury and emotion Azoth had just shown.
"You've heard of him?" Azoth asked sharply, looking up at Syr, before he then turned to Mia, his eyes widening as he saw the pale look on her usually ruddy face. Her eyes unerringly fixed on his axe.
"It's the last of the Three Great Beasts, everyone has heard of it!" Ryuu said sharply, her eyes not on the 'cursed' blade, but on Azoth's face. "For over a thousand years that monster has plagued the lands. Thousands of Adventurers have fallen to its fury, and entire towns have disappeared over night at its passing. Not even the combined might of the Zeus and Hera Familia's, the most powerful Familia's of all time, were able to defeat it!"
"A thousand years…" Azoth muttered, his eyes narrowing. Was this the same beast he had fought, or just a coincidence?
"I had heard," Mia suddenly said, her voice tense and much quieter than normal as she leaned over the bar to speak to Azoth. "I had heard the rumour that the One-Eyed Black Dragon had the golden blood of the gods. But to truly see it!" Her eyes snapped up to Azoth as she said this. "And you say you fought it and survived?"
"If we are talking of the same dragon then yes." Azoth nodded slowly, a frown on his face as he took in their reactions, noticing as he did how Bell had frozen, his jaw slack and his fork hanging in the air halfway to his mouth. "The one I fought, well the people of my land knew him as Alduin, the World Eater."
Mia let out a hiss at that, her hand gripping the wooden bar's table top hard enough to crack it. "Don't say that name out loud! It's bad luck!"
Azoth blinked in surprise at that, looking to Ryuu for an answer as he did so.
"When the dragon first arrived, over a thousand years ago, it caused so much death and carnage that gods and mortals alike don't speak its name. To do so is considered bad luck, a curse, as it is feared that by just speaking its true name you would summon it to you." Ryuu said calmly, her gaze and expression back to being placid now.
"Ryuu's right, we don't speak its name, and instead just call it the One-Eyed Black Dragon. In fact that has been the tradition for so long, that only the gods that have been here for the longest, and their most trusted Familia members, remember or know its name." Mia muttered, her hard gaze surveying both Bell and Syr, the look in her eyes obvious.
They were to tell no one of the beast's true name, nor were either of them to mention what they had heard here today.
Azoth nodded at that, not at their fear of the World Eater's name though, but instead at the confirmation that the two dragons were one and the same. Alduin was here and still alive, and apparently he had been in this world for over a thousand years. Perhaps a side-effect, a peculiarity, of the way they had been transported here.
"Do you know where he is?" Azoth suddenly asked, looking at both Mia and Ryuu, the two women that, by this point, he knew were experienced Adventurers, after all Mia had said so herself, only those in old and powerful Familia's knew the details surrounding Alduin and his presence in this world, and his deeds.
"I don't know, I've not heard of anyone seeing the beast, not since it decimated the Zeus and Hera Familia fifteen years ago." Mia shook her head, calming down significantly now, though she still kept a curious, cautious eye on Azoth. "By the sounds of it, you're the last one to have seen it, so surely you should know?"
"That's the thing, I don't know." Azoth muttered irritably, putting his axe away now as he instead drummed his fingers on the bar. "At the end of our fight he hurled me away, and then I just woke up here, just a few hours outside of the city, alone, and battered, but alive."
Mia and Ryuu frowned in confusion at that. Bell and Syr meanwhile just exchanged a glance, it seems both of them knew that they were out of their depth in this conversation.
"Then it seems you are at an impasse." Ryuu said simply.
"Yes," Azoth nodded, pausing his drumming now as he instead looked up at the green haired elf. "But all is not lost, I'll forge myself some new armour, hone my skills, and get more powerful. After that I will track the overgrown lizard down again and finish it off once and for all!"
"Ha!" Mia laughed, the loudness of her voice startling all four of them, after all previously they had all been whispering. "You don't half aim high do you elf?!"
"It's in my nature," Azoth shrugged absently. "I am a born dragon slayer."
Mia's lips twitched upwards in amusement at that. "I like you kid, you're crazy, and clearly have a death wish. But I like you all the same!"
"Erm thanks, I think…" Azoth replied dryly.
In response Mia shook her head. "Follow your dreams kid, but try not to get killed. The world would be a much more boring place without you." She then nodded, turning away to get back to work as she did so, however before she left she paused long enough to say something else. "As for your issue with the dragon. Share with the Guild and your goddess what you know when you join a Familia, they should be able to help you. Other than that though, try to keep it to yourself. That dragon is a touchy subject, and shouldn't be bandied about thoughtlessly."
Azoth paused as he heard her advice, but still nodded all the same, her words made sense.
"The same goes for the rest of you, especially you Syr and Bell, it would be best if you forget, or don't think about, what you learned here tonight." Mia added on, her eyes flicking over to the two teens now, her gaze as intense as it had been before.
In response both Bell and Syr nodded, both of them sending Azoth partly cautious, partly curious looks as they did so.
Ignoring these looks, Azoth instead downed his tankard of ale and handed it to Ryuu to get it refilled, aware as he did so, that the green haired elf was watching him closer than ever, an inscrutable expression on her face.
This girl would be damned good at poker.
"The group reservation has arrived, nya!" One of the cat girl waitresses suddenly called out loudly, distracting Azoth from his musings as Ryuu put another full tankard in front of the tipsy Snow Elf. With him, as well as the rest of the tavern quieting down and turning towards the door at the girl's words.
As he did so, he saw several unfamiliar people walk into the room, each of them carrying themselves proudly, even as the entire tavern turned to watch them.
Shifting fully around on his stool so he could get a proper look at them them, his tankard in hand, Azoth's violet eyes flicked back and forth, surveying the members of the vaunted Loki Familia as they entered the tavern on mass.
The first of them was a striking, and beautiful, green haired elf, she Azoth certainly noticed. The next was a short, blond child, or at least a man that looked like a child. After which there was then a grey haired young man that had the scent of a wolf about him, after which a short, stocky, brown haired man followed along.
After him walked a skinny, red haired woman, who toddled along casually behind the others, wearing obscenely tight and short clothing. With two, tanned and admittedly attractive dark haired humans walking along behind her, both of whom were just as obscenely dressed. With another striking, blonde haired, golden eyed human and a long, brown haired elf maiden following after the rest.
All of these people were members of the Loki Familia, one of the most powerful Familia's in the world.
And honestly, Azoth wasn't impressed.
It might be the drink talking, or the fact that they all, or at least most of them, seemed so young and cocksure, but they didn't look like powerful, experienced Adventurers to him.
Sure there were some exceptions, the short, stocky man and the green haired elf, they had an air of power, age and skill about them. As too did the blonde child, surprisingly.
The others though, they just looked like kids playing at Adventurers, powerful kids sure, but kids all the same. They didn't look hardened and weary, nor did they walk like people who had faced down certain death, and not only come out of it alive, but come out of it stronger than they had been before.
Again it might be uncharitable, and judgemental, it was one of his flaws, and he would certainly blame the drink, but he just wasn't impressed.
Still, regardless of his opinion, the Loki Familia had, in recent years, according to Mia, become one of the undisputed top Familia's in the world. The growth of their top members, most of whom were apparently quite young, had been much faster than most other Adventurers. So much so that many of their top executives were called prodigies.
Mia had even suggested that he join either the Loki Familia, or their equal, the Freya Familia, or at least she had before he had made his interest in Smithing known, and considering what he knew of, and had seen of, Mia thus far, he was inclined to take her at her word.
Drinking more ale as he watched the group, Azoth didn't miss how the white haired kid, who was still beside him, cheeks suddenly went bright red as he saw the young looking blonde haired human, like seriously she couldn't be more than sixteen.
Then again that was how old Azoth had been when he had started Adventuring, so who was he to judge.
Still, despite this Azoth smirked into his mug as he saw Bell's reaction. It seemed the horny little kid who couldn't even talk to a woman without stuttering, fancied the blonde swordwoman.
It was cute.
Not that he would say anything about it, he didn't want to embarrass the kid any more than he already had after all, or at least not yet. Nor did he want to upset that Syr girl. The last thing he wanted was for Mia to ban him from her rather delightful establishment for upsetting her waitresses.
"So those are the top Adventurers of the Loki Familia." Azoth muttered, leaning back on his stool as eyed the large group of rowdy Adventurers, even as more and more of them streamed into the tavern, the group quickly taking over the two largest, circular tables in the centre of the tavern, with some of them spreading out over the rest of the busy tavern, as even those two tables didn't have the capacity for all of them.
"They're regulars here at the Hostess of Fertility. Their goddess loves this place." Syr explained from behind him, her voice soft as she looked between the two white haired men. "In fact, that redhead over there the one in the short shorts, she is the Goddess Loki, believe it or not."
Azoth frowned as he heard that, ignoring Bell as he asked more questions of Syr, instead he focused on the skinny, red haired woman, taking in her half closed eyes and fox like features. Again this goddess didn't give off the aura of a Divine Being, not like the ones Azoth had met before.
Then again, as Mama Mia had said, the gods had descended from the heavens and taken on the forms of mortals, sealing away their divine power, their Arcanum, as they did so. Perhaps that was the reason why the gods felt so mundane, because for all intents and purposes they were. Or at least they were as long as they didn't unseal their Arcanum.
"Alright, good work on the dungeon expedition! Today's a feast so let's get this party started! Cheers!" Loki shouted out as her Familia got comfortable, and all the waitresses, including Ryuu and Syr headed over and started serving them drinks of ale, wine and many other types of alcoholic beverages and spirits, some of which Azoth didn't even recognise.
"Cheers!" Many of the Adventurers chorused, even as they began to drink and celebrate, shouting and cheering somewhat obnoxiously, as food was brought out, and drinks were drunk, their voices quickly blending with all the other voices in the tavern as everyone else went back to what they were doing before, the atmosphere quickly returning to what it had been previously, if not a bit rowdier than before.
Save for Mama Mia and her girls, all of whom were rushing about bringing pre-ordered food and drinks to the Familia's tables.
Smiling slightly at this, Azoth downed his most recent tankard of ale and turned back to face the bar.
They might be kids, or at least most of them, but they looked like they were having fun. Honestly it reminded him of how he used to party late into the night and early morning with the warriors of Jorrvaskr after a successful quest.
It was nostalgic, and made the idea of joining one of the Familia's all the more tempting, he liked company and drinking with comrades, especially after a hard fight.
"Hey, Ais! Why don't you tell them the story of the Tomato Boy?!" A particularly rowdy voice, the one belonging to the wolf boy, suddenly sounded out over the crowd. "You know, the kid that got covered in Minotaur blood down on the fifth floor!"
From beside him, the somewhat drunk Snow Elf saw Bell tense and pale slightly.
The kid had said he had had a bad day, he was inferring here, but maybe this was a part of it.
"I mean come on, tell us the whole story! I only saw the kid running away covered in blood and screaming! I really wish I had been there to watch what happened to get the little shit that worked up!" The grey haired man shouted out with a loud bark of laughter, the pair of grey dog like ears on his head and his bushy grey tail twitching as he continued to laugh. "He was just running around, screaming. Blood was flying everywhere! I mean seriously you guys should have seen it!"
The wolf like teen laugh again at that, some of his companions, like the two tanned girls and quite a few others, joining in at the picture he paint, even Azoth felt his lips twitching upwards in spite of himself, out of context the story did sound amusing.
The green haired elf sitting next to him however just frowned in the grey haired teens direction, "Why ask Aiz to tell the story Bete, when you are doing a fine job of it yourself?" The scorn and disapproval in her voice was clear to hear.
"Hah?!" The now named, and clearly drunk, Bete, laughed, looking over to the pretty blonde human, Aiz, as he did so. "Aiz was there and she knows more about it than I do, I just turned up at the end! So come on Aiz spill, did he cry and scream, oh, oh did he piss himself too, you know before you saved him? It looked like he did, please tell me he did!?"
Azoth's smile faded and he frowned slightly as he heard this, and began to understand what this Bete was talking about. He was no saint, he had mocked others before, and had not always been a graceful winner. But he had never acted like this, deliberately and harshly scorning a weak, inexperienced Adventurer for not being able to deal with more than he was capable of.
It was shameful.
Looking to the side he could see the kid, Bell, looking at the floor, his hands at his side, visibly shaking. He could also see a cold look on Ryuu's face, and looks of distaste on some of the other Loki Adventurers and tavern goers faces. The expressions becoming more and more prevalent as Bete continued to cruelly and crudely rip into the younger, weaker Adventurer he spoke of for failing to fight or stand up to a monster, that, by the sounds of it, was far stronger than he could realistically defeat.
The man's mockery was verging on cruel now.
"Come on Bete, it's not that funny," One of the tanned girls finally spoke up, the one with the longer hair and bigger chest, a frown on her face as she by this point had stopped laughing. "I mean come on, the kid was just a Level One and he was against a Minotaur, he never stood chance! Besides the whole thing was our fault anyway!"
"What, so it's our fault that the kid couldn't handle a single Minotaur? Give me a break, Tione!" Bete snarled, a flash of irritation crossing his face at being called out, especially by someone who had previously been in on the joke and laughing.
"It kind of is, Minotaurs aren't supposed to be in the upper floors, you know that. If we hadn't let them run away from us, then that kid never would have gotten in trouble," The other tanned girl, the one with shorter, spikier hair and a flatter chest said.
"You too, Tiona?! You were laughing your ass off at the time, too!" Beta complained, scowling at the two tanned girls now, a put out expression on his face.
"That's because it was funny at the time, I mean the kid wasn't hurt, but was running about covered in blood, screaming. But still, it might have been funny, but that doesn't make it any less our fault, though." The now named Tiona commented with a shrug, her, 'sister maybe?', nodding along in agreement.
Bete growled at that, before he turned and looked over to the blonde haired swordswoman again, "What do you think about it, Ais? A little coward like that couldn't hope to make it as an Adventurer, you agree, right?!"
In response the blonde haired girl just tiled her head to the side, her expression and golden eyes emotionless as she just looked at Bete.
Apparently she wasn't much of a talker.
The green haired elf though, seemed to have had enough. "That's enough Bete, it was our fault those Minotaurs were down there, not the boy's. We all start somewhere Bete remember that, just because he is weak now and understandably couldn't fight a Minotaur at his current level, doesn't mean he will remain weak."
"Hn! You're giving the kid too much credit, he'll end up dead sooner or later, and good riddance too, if you're too weak, and can't keep up, then you don't belong down in the Dungeon." Bete snapped, his words holding a bit too much weight and emotion to them than Azoth expected.
Apparently he wasn't just being an arsehole, but had a personal stake in this too. Not that that excused his dickish actions.
Now, it might be the twelve or so tankards of strong ale talking, but Azoth decided it was time to say something, time to set the grey haired kid straight on how the world really worked and how he should and should not be treating and talking about his fellow Adventurers.
By which he meant that it was time to do what he loved best when he was in a tavern, in a dour mood, and drunk, it as time to challenge some idiot to a brawl!
Ignorant of Azoth's internal decision, the wolf boy continued yapping. "What, not you too Riveria? The kid is a waste of space, and would be better off giving up on being an Adventurer, you know that!"
"Azoth!" Syr suddenly called out in surprise, her grey eyes widening as the white haired Snow Elf stood up off of his stool and started walking over to the Loki Familia's table. "What are you doing? Don't cause any trouble!"
Azoth however only sent her a grin in response. He wasn't going to kill or maim anyone or anything like that. He was just going to challenge the wolf boy to a fight, kick him around a bit, and put the little yapping puppy in his place. He wasn't going to do anything too bad, right!?
( - )
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