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The grand city of Elmon was laid out before him, the central castle could be seen towards the centre of the city, rising high above the many rooftops that plagued the city. A final defence in case the walls were breached, its many towers providing watch over the city. Elmon itself was a fortified walled city, as were most cities that could afford it. Elmon was more fortified than most. Many towers, killing fields and fortified defences stood ready to protect the bustling city. Its garrison was trained and elite, the seven red stitches on the garrisons uniform showing just how many times the city had repelled a siege.

A city which Rohl was now traversing as he followed the guild employees' directions to the letter, they did not let him down. Lode blacksmiths was to his right offering quality, dwarven made weapons. Grythorn street laid to its left, a busy street with a large variety of shops and inns. From apothecaries and armourers to craftsmen and artisan shops. The market was at the end of the street selling everything from food to exotic animals. Akos street was a small street situated in the corner of the market, the panacea clearly visible within the street, where a few other temples and more medically focused shops were fixated.

Inside the panacea Rohl found it had a very similar layout to the one in Furbrough, it even had the exact same altar. However unlike in Furbrough, there was a small reception desk placed to the right of the entrance, a healer stood ready behind it, waiting to help the next client.

They were quick to point him in the direction of a hallway in the same location as the Furbrough panacea, his stop was room seven. It was larger than his had been and contained two beds at each side of the room. A curtain stood around the beds offering a small amount of privacy.

Without taking a moment to collect his thoughts, he pulled back the curtains. And there they were. His sister and mother laid perfectly asleep, looking as if nothing was wrong in the world. As if waiting to be awoken from a blissful sleep.

Yet Rohl knew no matter what he tried there was nothing he could do to wake them. He had even attempted to bring forth his blessing as if he could command them to wake, unfortunately, all this led to was him standing in a room saying phrases like "wake up," in a pleading voice. Only for nothing to happen.

It was a sad heart-breaking sight for Rohl. One that brought tears to his eyes. All he could do with sit down on the edge of their beds and clasp their hands tightly, praying that they would wake up, that if there was anything that he could do to wake them up, then he would do it. That he would not stop until he had found a cure and slain the beast that had caused him so much suffering and pain.

If no healer could wake them then just maybe the answer laid within the beast that had done this, maybe killing it, and studying the body might help healers derive some sort of cure. And for that Rohl knew he would need to get a lot stronger.

He did not stay much longer with his family, there was nothing he could do and seeing them like that just brought him more pain. Pain he wanted to end.

I will find a way to save you, I swear it, Rohl thought mournfully to himself, his heart full of grief and pain

After leaving room seven with tears still fresh in his eyes, he returned to the healer near the entrance and enquired about how much medical treatment would likely cost. His voice still shaky with grief.

To Rohl's great relief, Governor Sampson was covering the cost of every villager's care and treatment should it be discovered. Something Rohl discovered was a common act by the governor, who greatly disagreed with the crowns decision to stop funding panaceas, therefore, forcing them to charge sick patients.

Still, Rohl could not leave without at least giving them some of his money, as a donation. To at least cover some of the cost, as a thank you to the panacea for everything they had done for not only his family but his entire village, many of which lay endlessly sleeping in the many rooms of Elmon panacea.

With one last heartbroken look back, Rohl returned to the streets of Elmon, a burning desire for vengeance now taking root in his heart. However, he was not going to rush headfirst against a sacrilegious beast without a plan, without becoming stronger.

This is where becoming an adventurer helped, it could provide him with much-needed experience and training. Given it was still early afternoon, Rohl figured he may even be able to look at some monster contracts after he had secured lodgings at an inn. Hopefully, one where he could be a bard in exchange for lodgings. Adventuring costs money after all, weapons, potions, and supplies did not come cheap.

Fortunately for Rohl, the solution to his lodgings problem came from a small family-run inn. A small way down Gitriz road, down a side street near the central market, was a small inn named the Halleway inn.

The Halleway inn was not busy this early in the morning or at any time, given the high level of competition in Elmon. Giving Rohl a chance to speak with the owners about his proposition without disruption. Halleway inn was run by a man in his late 50's with a stern yet kind face with greying hair, yet there was a glint of wisdom in his eyes. Rohl soon learned his name was Philsen Kutcher, his wife Alicen, was an equally stern yet kind woman. She was currently stood by her husband's side as they listened to Rohl's proposition. Her hair remained its dark brown colour, she did not look her age compared to her husband.

Philsen Kutcher had two daughters possibly 1-2 years younger than Rohl by his estimation, they were stood listening to the conversation from the doorway at the back of the inn, which Rohl assumed led to the kitchen.

Currently, Rohl and the Kutchers were sat on one of the several tables in the main dining area. A bar littered with flagons of ale and kegs of cider stood towards the back of the room, near the doorway and a set of stairs stood to the bars left possibly leading to rentable rooms. In all Rohl found that the Halleway inn had a small yet cosy feeling, with the right patrons and atmosphere, it looked like it could have real potential.

"So let me get this straight, in exchange for a room, you will perform songs for us every night that you are available. Given your job of adventurer," Philsen asked Rohl, his face screwed up in deep thought.

"Yes, would it help if I gave a demonstration?" Rohl asked trying to persuade them into accepting the deal.

"No, that won't be necessary lad, I can see from your face that you aren't lying to about your bard skills," Philsen replied.

"It doesn't seem like a bad deal to me, honey, maybe we should accept," Alicen added, looking at her husband with contemplative eyes.

"Hmmm, if you excuse us for a second lad id like to run it over with my daughters," he said not really asking Rohl's permission to leave the table.

Rohl nodded and muttered an "Of course."

Both Kutchers left the table before conversing with the two girls in a whispered discussion, Rohl could not make out their words yet noticed the occasional glances the family made towards him, making him feel weirdly self-conscious and anxious.

He did his best to blot out these feelings, still, his palms soon became sweaty as he subconsciously rubbed them together from the nerves, he always hated emotions like these and thought he had long gotten used to them given the side work he did in his village. Maybe it was the fact that these people were complete strangers that made their glances so impactful. Once it was over or he got on stage he would be fine, his performances often made it easy to blot out any feelings of nerves once he got going.

A few minutes later Philsen returned to Rohl "We accept, I won't lie this place could do with a little music, however, I have conditions. Firstly if you prove to not be worth the room, either through a lack of performances or if they have no impact on this places business, then I will have to let you go. I can't afford to let a room go for no gain. Secondly, you must also perform tonight, not only to give us a sense of your skill but also to see if you bring in any customers," Philsen said reaching out his hand.

Rohl's soon stood up and moved to shake the taller man's hand. He had of course wiped the sweat away before doing so.

"Thank you, I shall not let you down," Rohl said in gratitude, this was a good deal for him as well, not having to pay for a room or food whilst he was here could help save a lot of money. After all, he would only be performing for a few hours every few nights in return. Famous, popular bards could make good money but Rohl lacked the experience or fame for that kind of lifestyle.

"Excellent, now your room is the last one on the right, just up the stairs here, it's not much but it has a comfy bed as well as wardrobe. Your welcome to have a look now or if you have any business to attend to first that is also fine."

"I have a few bits and bobs to sort out first if that's okay," Rohl answered back, thinking on returning to the adventurous guild and picking up some new clothes on his way back. Only now noticing the rather basic and plain panacea shirt and trousers that he was wearing. A few new sets for both his personal and adventurer lifestyles would be needed.

"Ah, however before you go let me just introduce you to my daughters here." At this the two girls stood out from the doorway, greeting Rohl with polite nods which he returned in kind.

"On the left is Nia," Philsen said moving to stand behind a short girl, possibly, 1-2 years younger than Rohl, with straight black hair reaching down to her lower back and a petite nose giving her an overall cute appearance.

"And on the right is Lola," Lola stood next to her sister but differed greatly in appearance, she was taller than both Nia and Rohl if only marginally. Her hair was not quite as long as Nia's but hung to one side. It was a vibrant blonde which contrasted the freckles on her cheeks. Yet both sisters shared the same eye colour, a dark brown.

"Nice to meet you both," Rohl said politely with a small bow of the head. A common greeting.

"It's nice to meet you as well, it'll be great to finally have a bard, oh I'm so looking forward to it. I can't wait. Ooh ooh ooh, do you know the Prince of Wallchester, or the fairy's midnight breeze. Are you going to practice before tonight, can I watch, please," Nia busted out in a very excitable manner, a huge smile adorning her face. Rohl was barely able to follow along, never mind being able to answer Nia's questions.

"Calm down will you, he said earlier, that he had to leave for business, weren't you paying attention." Lola appeared much calmer and collected, quickly containing her sisters excitedness. Much to Rohl's relief, who was struggling to keep up with the conversation. Both the older Kutcher's were quietly laughing to themselves, clearly used to the sister's separate behaviours.

"Ah yes that was right, I do need to be heading off soon, thank you." Rohl was eager to not only explore the large city but possibly see if he could afford new equipment, some armour would be useful Rohl knew, though he wasn't sure if he could afford any given his rather meagre financial situation. Clothes, armour, and weapons would surely drain his meagre finances.

"Of course, dinner is served from 5 onwards if you're interested, now if you'll excuse us, we must get back to work," Lola said keeping her polite work attitude, Nia was being pulled along looking as if she was about to enter another excited ramble.

With their departure, Rohl gave a quick goodbye to the other Kutchers before leaving in the direction of the local guild. Thankfully, the inn was only slightly off the route that Rohl had taken to reach the panacea, making the return journey easy enough. Although the street remained as busy as ever with many of the residents for Elmon traversing the streets for whatever reason. It was a huge change for Rohl, he was not used to seeing so many people going about their daily lives. A huge change from the quiet county life.

What was more of a shock was seeing a handful of members from different species. The rare elf, dwarf and fae could be seen within the crowds. At one point he even thought he had caught a glimpse of a member of the Animia but that could have just been his imagination. As Offa was a majority human nation, it was extremely rare to see species other than humans in the more rural-based areas. Only the cities had attracted permanent settlers of other races. However as migration between the many elven, Dwarven, fae and human nations increased, Rohl hoped such diversity would not only be restricted to the cities. Rohl was a firm believer in strength through unity in the fight against the Felldom and their twisted creations.

After dwelling on such thoughts, Rohl quickly arrived back at the guild. Kayiela motioned him over before handing him a small, wrapped package. Due to the lack of new members recently, they had managed to get it rushed through for him as a way of apology.

To Rohl's great surprise and pleasure inside the package was a small silver card with three words engraved upon it.

Rohl Bluedawn: Beginner

In the top left corner was a small engraving of Rohl which bore great resemblance to him. This was his adventures ID card; with this, he could accept monster contracts and use guild services.

Pride flowed through Rohl as he stared down at the card, it was a possession he would treasure greatly. An unshakeable smile was now plastered upon Rohl's face as he slowly rubbed his thumb over the card. He was now officially an adventurer.

Even after staring at the card for several seconds, the smile on his face remained firm. Eventually, he managed to get over the pride and joy he felt, allowing him to secure his adventurer's card within his knapsack. With that done he headed towards a board hanging in the centre of the far wall, a board which had several papers nailed to it.

Papers which as Rohl expected were indeed monster contracts, there were contracts for adventurers ranked from trainee to divine rank. The divine was for a mountain drake that had taken route in the Caspargian mountain range, far to the north of Elmon. Its bounty would be enough for Rohl to live a life of luxury for the rest of his life, not that he or anyone in Elmon currently had the strength to take on such a contract.

The trainee contract was for goblins, a twilling for each goblin killed, ears would be required as proof. In the beginner's section, he saw contracts placed on a pack of bugbears that had been attacking merchants on the main road, a wolf pack in some nearby woods and finally a hill troll. Unfortunately, these would require a party of at least three beginner rank adventurers. Rohl was not looking forward to finding a party to do these with. Fortunately, given the high monster population, there wouldn't be a shortage of work anytime soon giving Rohl plenty of time to gear up, explore, train, and work tonight before he went looking for a party to team up with.

It was after reading these contracts where Rohl had the idea to use one of the guilds training rooms to practice his blessing, finding a party would be hard but Rohl knew that he had to bring some value to the party, no party would bring along deadweight after all.

This led Rohl to the first empty training room he could find, he knew his blessing could be useful in a fight, that had been thoroughly proven after all, but it wouldn't be much use if he couldn't control it at will.

And so Rohl stood in the centre of the room and tried to recreate the emotions, the feeling, the sense of power from the battle. It worked in a way, as Rohl reached deep within himself, the power answered, bringing itself out from within him, fighting to be unleashed. Rohl felt a surge of this divine power break out from him, causing a strangled cry of pain from Rohl, a cry which filled the room with his power.

Here came the problem Rohl realised, there was no way to know how effective that power had been, all Rohl knew was that it left him strained and exhausted. It was not like he could ask the walls if they felt powerful or extra angry today.

This left him one choice, he would have to test this power in the heat of battle once again, there were no monsters within Elmon and no one he trusted enough in Elmon to use his blessing on. It was too dangerous to ask a random stranger, especially if his blessing filled them with hate forcing them to attack and kill everyone around them. It was too much of a risk.

Still, Rohl knew how to look on the bright side, the bright side being that he could draw out this power when he needed to even if it exhausted him. Besides, the joy and thrill of wielding a blessing made any pain, any exhaustion worth it.

With this endeavour sorted, Rohl left the room and returned to the guild ignoring the tiredness of his body as he did so. There were still a few more tasks he needed to complete before he returned to the inn. And so Rohl the beginner adventurer left the guild with the goal of finding an armourer because he had no armour and the previous battle had definitely shown just how useful it could be.

With that sorted Rohl began his search for an armourer, muttering to himself as he did so. Muttering about which monster to take on first and how he could go about getting some training, he wouldn't get strong enough to take on that sacrilegious beast by sitting around all day after all.

To Rohl's great disappointment, he could only afford the most basic of armour, a simple leather chest piece as well as a short sword to replace his dagger, still, it was better than nothing. He was surprised he'd even been able to afford that much with the supplies and spare clothes he had been forced to buy as well. You couldn't wear only clothes received at panaceas' after all.

With his business concluded, Rohl returned to his room at the inn and practised for his performance tonight, his first real performance, something which made him both excited and nervous.

 

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