Life without the Dungeon
Idle chatter among lovers and friends, glasses clicking, the drunken yelling and sounds of fights behind him, Astora heard these things every night at the local tavern. It didn’t take long for the stories of Astoras’ failures in the dungeon to reach the surface, ever since he returned no one would talk to him, everyone laughed behind his back as he would walk past them.
“You have come here every night for the last four months and yet you haven’t run out of money yet, it really is amazing with our prices.” A waitress said as she came over to collect the steins Astora had already drank dry.
“I was an adventurer for seventeen years you know, saving the money from killing bosses and items is pretty standard and it adds up really fast… did add up.” Astora said without lifting his head to see the waitress.
“Really? Do you have any stories you could share from your adventures?” the waitress asked with excitement as she leaned down beside him.
“I have plenty of tales to tell, such as the time I fought Grengore the Siege Beast, or when I first discovered the Halls of the Damned, or even this one time I found a dwarf trying to get an elf to teach him how to use a bow!” Astora said with enthusiasm as he remembered some of the greatest moments in his life.
“Oh my! You sure seem to have loads of dungeon experience!” The waitress said as she took a seat beside him. “Hey, hey, every good adventurer had an equally good party right? Where is yours?
Astora froze up, all the joy in his face had been replaced with despair, he had almost forgotten the party that had died under his care, the one thing closest to a family he had ever had. His grip on his newest stein of ale had tightened, his teeth began the clench, and his breathing became heavy.
“Are you alright, mister?” the waitress asked as she jolted up from her seat and put her hand on his back.
Tears began to slowly flow from Astoras eyes as he emit low whimpering sounds, all he could think of was the last time he had seen them before they died.
“It would be in your best interest to not associate yourself with a dog such as him.” A voice called out from behind Astora and the waitress causing Astora to tense up.
“What do you mean by that?” the waitress said with annoyance as she turned to face the person who said that.
Astora knew the voice well, an elf with a very high opinion of himself that loved nothing more than to torment failed adventurers.
“Pardon my rudeness, the name is Athtar Moonbow and I can assure you that serving our table would be a much more profitable and enjoyable choice.” Athtar said with a cocky demeanor.
“I do believe I am already busy with a customer.” The waitress said trying to keep her cool.
“Huh… well then so be it wench, tend to your pathetic dog, the miserable dog that killed his own family.”Athtar said as he and his friends walked away laughing.
“What? What does he mean by that? You didn’t…” the waitress said as she slowly stepped back from Astora.
“No… no… my party… my… family…” Astora said weakly.
The waitress still kept her small buffer distance but could hear what Astora was saying.
“The dungeon killed them… the dungeon and my delusions killed them…” Astora said.
Quickly, he stood up leaving a small pouch at his table and quickly walked towards the exit. As he tried to leave, a foot was stuck out in front of him causing him to stumble and fall.
“My, my, I think you have had too much to drink there mister.” Athtar said as he looked down on Astora from his seat and laughed.
Astora quickly rose up and kept walking away, the chatter of people lingering on.
“Isn’t that Astora? I heard he quit the guild.”
“I heard that he got his party killed and then tried to save himself.”
“Hey that’s Kingslayer Astora? What a waste of a title.”
Athtar and his friends got up from their table and began following Astora out the door.
“Hey, you gotta pay for your drinks!” a waitress yelled.
“Put it on our tab, you are lucky such high class elves even come to your run down waste of space.” Athtar yelled as they left the tavern.
Astora, aware that Athtar and his friends were following him started walking down alley ways and side streets in an attempt to lose them without having to fight, but he knew that a fight would be necessary.
“And where do you think you are going at this time of night, a dog should be in bed right now.” Athtar called out from behind Astora.
“Give us your Gilda and we might just let you go with your legs intact.” One of the elves said.
“Trash like you belongs in the dump, we are just doing our duty to clean up the streets.” Another elf said.
Astora remained silent, but had his hand firmly on the hilt of his sword.
“Looks like you want to try and fight.” Athtar said as he put his hand on the hilt of his rapier.
Astora began mumbling incoherent words which greatly annoyed Athtar.
“If you have something to say then speak up rodent!” Athtar yelled.
“Until my goal may be complete, I ask of thee to be my sword and take all those before me as sacrifices to the greatness of your being. Such high and noble souls be yours at the cost of your appearance.” Astora said as he turned around to face Athtar.
“What dumb things are you saying?” Athtar said as he began to draw his rapier.
Astora drew his sword and proceeded to cut into his hand with it. Crimson red blood flow down the blade, dripping onto the ground.
“Reapers casket.” Astora said as he looked into Athtars’ eyes.
A thick black smoke started seeping from the ground around Astora, as casket appearing over him slowly started to open.
“What the hell is that? What do you think you are doing?” Athtar yelled.
“Take their souls as payment of my request.” Astora yelled as he pointed at the group of elves.
The black smoke snaked along the ground around the elves feet, binding them where they stand.
“Astora what are you doing!” Athtar yelled as he looked at him in shock
“Your time is up.” Astora said.
The elves started to be slowly dragged towards the casket, fear overwhelming them as they screamed and begged for mercy.
“Do you ask the dungeon for mercy when you are looking death in the eyes?” Astora said as he looked at each elf.
“We give up! We give up!” Athtar screamed as he inched closer and closer to the casket.
“Hmmm.” Astora grunted as he raised his left arm and signaled the casket to halt.
The casket and black smoke faded out of existence as the elves fell over, looking at Astora as if he was death itself.
“A hex drop from the boss of floor forty-two, just leave me be.” He said as he turned around and continued to walk away.
Athtar sat on the ground, the fear being replaced with rage. “You bastard!” he screamed as he charged Astora with his rapier.
Astora drew his sword and spun around performing a well-placed strike on Athtars’ rapier sending it flying from his hands. Athtar gulped as Astora put the tip of his blade to his neck.
“Leave. Me. Be.” Astora said as he returned his sword to its scabbard.
Athtar fell back onto his rear, fear taking him over again.
Astora continued his walk home uninterrupted, only the foolish would try to pull something on him.