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supernal

I smell a rat [level 0 quest] Complete

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Seeing the bartender's back disappearing around the corner, Theo then decided to focus the job at hand. His own well being was at stake here so he has to take it seriously. Looking at the things the man gave him, he immediately went to work. Using the firestarter that was given to him, Theo lit up the torch and brandished it down towards the basement. The torch didn't really give up that much light, around a few feet of vision and even then it was still unclear.

"It's just rats, right? How hard can they be." With this in mind, Theo managed to gain confidence in himself and trekked downwards to the basement. But there was a question at the back of his mind though, which really puzzled him. If it was just rats... then why did they need a stranger to do it for them?

"They're probably just too busy to handle this trivial matter... yeah, let's go with that." He said to himself in a reassured tone, convincing himself that there wasn't really a threat in the basement.

...

An orange light from the torch engulfed the entrance as Theo arrived in the basement. He could still hear the very faint sounds of loud voices and footsteps of the people from above, but other than that it was eerily quiet. Theo could only see a few feet around him, and the rest was just pitch black. As he moved forwards, he could hear scuttling sounds of what he presumed were the rodents all over the floor, probably hiding behind the rows upon rows of wine barrels.

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It did not smell pleasant in the Tavern's basement. In the light of the torch Theo could discern that there were food crumbs strewn all over the floor, and leaky pipes overhead dripped condensation down into growing puddles; where the food and water met, mold and fungi were beginning to sprout.

As Theo passed his fifth row of wine barrels, he was hit about the face and neck with the thick, almost tangible odor of feces, rotting flesh, and wet dog. Lifting his torch up on high so that its light could reach further revealed a knee-high, hunched over, vaguely humanoid body. When the torchlight crept from its back to shine on its face, the creature turned around suddenly.

And when the rat-creature's eyes fell on Theo, flames sprouted on its back and shoulders like the feathers of a swan.

Then it rushed at Theo, sharp fangs slicked with drool and glinting in the torchlight in a rabid attempt to bite the man.

Spoiler

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Terrenus Landing Page

Edited by supernal

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What the- Theodore was startled. When he took on the task of clearing the basement of rats, he thought of tiny little rodents that would pose no threat to him at all. But the... monster in front of him was clearly no ordinary rat. Right at that moment, Theodore had a moment of realization. No wonder the tavern staff requested for "adventurers" such as him to take care of the matter down at the basement.

But they had unfortunately hired a man who was unqualified for this task. Before this, Theodore didn't have any experience in fighting monsters in the wild, even along his travels. Even the more common bandits that would wait for unsuspecting merchants and travelers haven't come across Theodore yet. Was a guardian angel watching over Theodore during his travels? The idea was absurd, but as of right now he wished there was a guardian angel looking over him.

Theodore didn't know what to do. He just stood there in shock when he saw that horrifying creature dashing towards him in an attempt to attack him. Luckily, he snapped out of it quickly. Realizing that there was not enough time to draw out his staff, Theodore used the torch instead. He waved the flame towards the overgrown flame rat in hopes of intimidating it.

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This particular class of vermin was not put off by the flame of Theo's torch; his own back sprouting fire should have alerted Theo to favor a different tactic, but so shaken and nearly paralyzed with fear as he was, this misstep was almost to be expected.

And if it could be forgiven, the rat would not be the one to do so.

One of Theo's frantic swings struck the rat across his face. The rat whined. It bled. It snarled and threw itself bodily onto Theo's arm, wrapping its clawed limbs around the forearm and sinking its jagged fangs into the meaty part of Theo's arm just underneath the back of his wrist. He broke the skin and drew blood – rather than chomping at him repeatedly, the rat clamped down and tightened its grip so that Theo had now to deal with a flaming rat viced to his arm.

The flames burned brighter. If Theo didn't come up with a plan, he'd wind up with a cooked limb.

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Theodore could only wince in pain as the flaming rodent clamped on his arm and was adamant on not letting go. The searing heat of the flames on the rodent's back grew bigger and bigger time passed, given enough time and his arm would burn.

Theodore tried punching the rat in the face. If it didn't flinch, he would punch again, and again, until this damnable creature would let go of him.

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The rat flinched at Theo's first blow but remained tightly encircled around the man's arm. The second blow only made the creature bite deeper. The third, fourth, and fifth each softened the rat's grip, however, with the fifth and final blow causing it to go slack. The arms hung loose – it remained fixed to Theo's arm through the sickly curve of its fangs embedded in his flesh, and Theo would have to pull the rat from his arm with his other, good, hand to be rid of it.

On so doing, Theo found that his arm had a large patch of red spanning from his wrist down to his elbow and that it was tender to the touch. A burn in the first degree.  

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The rodent looked lifeless as it hung on his arm, it's grip no more but it bit in so deep that it's mouth was still clamped on his wrist. Seeing that there was no more reaction from the flaming rat, Theodore pried open it's mouth and the body fell on the floor lifelessly.

Blood gushed out from the wound, and he could feel the searing pain of his forearm as he discovered that he eventually got burned during the scuffle. The pain was unbearable, but if he didn't treat to his wounds, he would lose an arm. Sitting down on the ground, Theodore tried calming down his mind amidst the pain he was suffering. He thought the only healing spell that he knew way back when he was a kid. He focused on the incantation for the spell, and sure enough, a white glow surrounded Theo's free and undamaged hand.

"Bright light, shining light, heal my pain with all thy might." He brought his glowing hand which was filled with light magic, and hovered it over his burnt and bloody forearm, "Cure".

After he said that, the white glow from his hand slowly enveloped Theo's damaged forearm and if one would look closely the bite wound from the rodent before was now starting to heal itself in a rapid pace. The superficial burn on his arm also started to subside as his skin slowly turned back to it's original state. The pain was still there which was deeply burnt in Theo's mind, but at least his wounds were now tended and healed.

He endured through the pain and grabbed the torch, which was still lit surprisingly,  that he had dropped when he was bitten on his arm. Now, Theodore was given the proper opportunity to closely examine what the rodent was.

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Theo's voice echoed through the annals of the Tavern's basement. The tail end of his chant faded away as it slipped between heavy barrels and bounced off walls. His prowess proved sufficient to heal him without incident, and allowed him the peace of mind necessary to analyze the beast before him.

The rat-creature had bits of wood in its teeth, a little tar staining the tips of them; remnants of a torch perhaps? It was not breathing. Theo had caved its skull in and now a dark pool of blood pooled beneath its head, fanning around its body like a liquid crimson aura. The flames on its back lived on but guttered, and would soon die out.

The sound of claws skittering against concrete drew Theo's attention upward to two pairs of eyes floating in the darkness, glinting red from the reflected torchlight. Holding the torch up higher so the light could reach further, that light crawled over the bodies of two rat-creatures identical to the one Theo had just killed. Almost as if in response to his torchlight, fire sprang up along their backs.

And then the two rats attacked.

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Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you.

It was understandable for Theodore's blunder from before, and it was within reason. It was his first time to be in actual combat, and with a feral monster such as a fire rat at that. He had never been taught how to properly fight and was just self-taught in the ways of using a staff. He could defend himself from wild animals, but against a monster or someone with experience in fighting, he would definitely be at a disadvantage.

But now, after that whole scuffle with the previous fire rat, Theodore couldn't afford to be careless against these rodents. Considering that their backs were lit up, Theodore didn't really need the torch at the moment. He can finally focus on attacking with his staff. Setting the torch on the ground, Theodore drew the staff from his back. Twirling it around to gain momentum, Theodore directed his staff towards the one nearest to him. Maneuvering his staff around, he smacked downwards at the fire rat, aiming at it's head. Successfully using 'Smash' on it, the rat's head caved in from the immense force carried by the staff's momentum and died immediately.

As if it wasn't fazed by it's brethren's deaths, the last Fire Rat pounced at Theodore right after the other's head was smashed. But Theo wouldn't give it a chance to bite him. A good thing about staves is that after you attack, you can easily follow up with another attack with the other half, especially when you're in a situation where you are being surrounded by multiple enemies.

Seeing that rat pounce at him, Theodore maneuvered the other half of his staff to smack the rat who was mid air. The fire rat's attempt was failed and sailed through the air until it fell on the ground. The smack wasn't strong enough to kill it, but it was enough to disrupt it's attack though. Shaking off the attack it received, the fire rat once more stood up and the flames on it's back grew even wilder but it's gaze was met by a thin wooden pole descending upon it.

Splat.

The sound of it's head being smashed reverberated in the dark wine cellar as the last of the attacking fire rats was finally dealt with.

Taking a step back, Theodore withdrew his staff. He was heavily panting as he had given it his all in the fight. He didn't fully recover his stamina after the fight with the previous fire rat who had injured him before two rats suddenly appearing from the dark and launching themselves at Theodore. It would be a lie to say that Theodore wouldn't be exhausted after all that.

The basement once more returned quiet after the commotion, and no more sounds of tiny rat feet skittering against the concrete floor could be heard around him. Theodore wished these three were the only fire rats in this damned wine cellar because he was really tired. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, Theodore noticed something.

He turned around to see light in the distance.

Another entrance? Theodore wondered as he guessed what that source of light was. Curious to know what it was, Theodore grabbed the torch from the side, and walked towards it.

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Advancing towards the literal light at the end of the figurative tunnel, Theo passed a number of hallways on either side of him. More hallways under the floor of the tavern than the top of it suggested there should be. And holding his torch up so he could see further revealed that each one, rather than terminate, took a sharp turn, so that he could see only if he went further in – the layout suggested that he was in a maze of sorts.

He reached the other end without concern. The light came from what looked like an external cellar entrance; rickety wooden steps led outside.

"Hey that wasn't too bad. You got all three of them right? It sounded like you fought three of them anyway."

Gryn the bartender was out there waiting for Theo, had extended so that the youth could steady himself as he made his way up out of the basement to solid ground. When their hands released their respective grasps, Gryn gathered up a linen covered bottle he had laid on the floor next to him. He presented this to Theo.

"Like I said so long as you keep your tastes simple, food and drink are on the house for the night. This here's that special something I was telling you about."

Unwrapping the cloth from around the bottle revealed it had no label or distinguishing features. The brew

"Homebrew. Some kind of special tea win. I've had it before, it's good. Strong too. One shot hits you like two, and thing is boss has some alchemy guy cook it up for him. It makes you strong too. Think he said for about an hour after taking a dose, you'll have increased endurance, and there's ten full shots in that bottle. Hope that helps you out some; come by the bar and sell it off to me if you don't want it."

With a hearty clap on the shoulder, Gryn made his way inside and took his spot behind the counter, leaving Theo to his thoughts and his destiny.

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Terrenus Landing Page

Edited by supernal

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