Savoring the last drop of his ale, partly because he enjoyed proving to his anvil chested companion that there were some things that a Dwarf could do better than an Elf, Dwarf Shaman set down his mug as he directed his attention towards his cheerfully feasting companion.
"Is it really that good Scaly? Far be it for me to question the dining selection of a hard working adventurer, but a little variety now and then goes a long way to keep you on your feed".
Watching in amusement as the reptilian adventurer consumed the rest of cheese that had been given to him by their human colleague, the magic using Dwarf found himself nodding his head in agreement with the reply he received.
"True. But surely you can understand the importance of combining the joy of filling one's belly with the equally important task of fulfilling one's soul? Or do you not derive pleasure as well as sustenance from the drinking of spirits"?
Conceding the point with a chuckle, and noticing the less than amused expression of their less ravenous companion, Dwarf Shaman allowed a slightly teasing smirk to spread across his face as he refilled his mug.
"I suppose you have a point there. And unlike a certain leaf eater I could mention, I am fully able to enjoy more than one sip of drink before I lose my sense of balance".
And as expected, his comment served to inspire a comeback from the easily provoked immortal.
"The only reason your able to keep your sense of balance is because 80% of your weight is in your gut".
Allowing a slight frown to cross his features, the bearded adventurer was about to deliver his own insult, one that would once again point out the Elf's somewhat lacking feminine figure, only to be interrupted by the unmistakable approach of the most contradictory adventeruer he had ever met.
Gulping the entirety of his recently refilled mug, for he suspected that he might need a little bit of liquid courage to witness a certain anvil yell at a man whose tactics were as brutal and they were imaginative, Dwarf Shaman was more than a tad surprised to hear the voice of their less experienced comrade speak from Vader's shadow.
Allowing a smile to cross his aged features as he turned to face the rather odd couple, for the black armored adventurer towered over the young cleric, Dwarf Shaman cheerfully returned the greeting.
"Good morning Priestess. Vader. I trust that both of you are well"?
Earning a nod from each of his comrades, and uncaring of the fact that Vader's was perhaps a little more stiff than the shorter human, the Dwarf had to sigh as a certain pointy ear archer once again provided a clear example that Elves possessed no tact.
"Considering that he's still wearing that armor, kind of a stupid question to be asking Dwarf".
Expecting the towering adventurer to either flinch or use his weird magic to make them feel like they were standing on a frozen mountain top, Dwarf Shaman was greatly surprised by the man's response.
"Despite my continued need to wear this...armor, your response to your comrade's inquiry is somewhat inaccurate".
Grinning at the Elf Archer's open mouthed expression, the bearded spell caster was prevented from teasing his green haired companion due to the spoken interest of a certain cheese loving reptile.
"Truly? Then that is indeed splendid news! May I ask then about the current state of your well being? For to be healed by one's comrades is something to truly appreciate as well as celebrate".
Agreeing with Lizard Priest's suggestion, primarily because it gave him another excuse to order another round, Dwarf Shaman was disappointed, but not really surprised by Vader's less than informative answer.
"Improvements have been made. However. The specific of my state of health is something that will remain between myself and those directly involved with my...healing".
Shooting the gulping cleric a sympathetic smile, for there was no mistaking the threat in the towering adventurer's tone, Dwarf Shaman nodded his head in the face of Vader's guarded words.
"Sounds sensible enough. As long as a person's health doesn't negatively impact those around them, its nobody else's business. Though I hope you'll indulge a rather minor question".
Doing his best to keep a friendly expression on his face as the black armored figure crossed his arms in a manner that was somewhat threatening, the bearded spell caster released a tiny sigh of relief when he received a curt nod.
"Since you've already demonstrated that your quite the unstoppable force before Priestess made her...offer, am I wrong in suspecting that you'll only be more of an assesst on future quests"?
Though he could not see his face thanks to the skull like helmet, Dwarf Shaman nevertheless got the impression that a small smirk was currently being worn by the armored adventurer.
However, before Vader could give a more verbal answer, preferably one that had words instead of that off putting breathing of his, the unmistakable voice of their more...focused companion made itself known.
"Good. Your all here. I have a...".
"Let me guess. A request to exterminate another group of goblins"?
Shaking his head in amusement at the immortal archer's accurate, if somewhat rude interruption, Dwarf Shaman stroked his beard with a considering hum as Goblin Slayer gave his answer.
"Perhaps. The contents of the letter were scarce in details, but the religious leader of Water Town makes it clear that our services are required".
Upon hearing this, a certain blond haired cleric stiffened in a manner that amusingly enough reminded the bearded spell caster of his younger self.
"Did...did you just say the religious leader of Water Town is asking for our help"?
Receiving a single nod from the shoddily equipped human, Priestess let out a squeak that was part excitement, part indignation as Goblin Slayer gave a more verbal reply.
"Yes. Though I fail to se why that would matter".
Chuckling at the man's inability to let important details get in the way of his obsession, Dwarf shaman had to frown as Goblin Slayer all but trivialized a piece of information that should have been mentioned before the news about their next quest.
"Oh that reminds me. The Guild staff wants to see the pair of you before we go. Something to do with receiving recognition for the previous quest you completed".
Though he lacked a certain anvil's inability to hold their tongue when someone displayed a total lack of social skills, the bearded adventurer nevertheless nodded his head in agreement as High Elf Archer voiced her displeasure with the Goblin specialist.
"And you pick NOW to tell us? THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE FIRST THING YOU OPENED WITH INSTEAD OF GOBLINS".
Despite the fact that it had been years since he cared about his perceived rank, though he had to admit his quest to find his son had been much easier after he had managed to redeem himself in Sidious's eyes, Vader nevertheless felt slightly happy for receiving acknowledgement of his deeds.
Even if it did remind him of his remaining years in the Jedi Order.
"Well, everything seems to be in order. So let me be the first to congratulate you Vader for advancing from porcelain rank to steel rank".
Accepting the offer of congratulations with a nod of his helmet, the armored Force user nevertheless was a bit confused by his...promotion.
"I thought that the obsidian comes after porcelain".
Receiving a nod from both the pony tailed girl and her 2 companions, the first being another of the guild's receptionists while the other was the well endowed companion of that overly confident spear user, Vader allowed the ghost of a smug grin to cross his restored features as he listened to the girl's explanation for his...advancement.
"You are correct. However, due to the reports written by your companions, and your past solo exploits, my superiors have decided that your skill set deserves a more substantial form of recognition".
Accepting this line of reasoning with another nod, the armored former Jedi found himself once again nodding his head in approval as Guild Girl continued her explanation.
"Of course you understand that part of this promotion also stems from your reliability. It is not enough for an adventurer to have great power. They must also be recognized as using their abilities for the common good. And since your actions have resulted in not only benefiting your party, but also those that have, and would have suffered at the hands of evil creatures, I would not hesitate
to say that you have accomplished this".
Pleased to have his efforts recognized, especially since Guild Girl's words carried none of the disproval he had experienced from the Jedi Council, or the flattering tone of the monster that had introduced him to a new form of slavery, Vader couldn't help but voice something that revealed that he was working to soften the solitary brooding image he had lived with for the past 24 years.
"And what about the girl? Is she to also in line for...a promotion"?
He received a smiling, but nevertheless firm nod to his question.
"Yes she is. However unlike yourself she will only be advancing to the next rank rather than skipping it like you have. But considering her current record, that is by no means unremarkable".
Nodding his head to show that he was satisfied with this answer, Vader silently accepted the piece of metal that signified his current status within the organization he belonged to.
It was during this exchange that he recalled a conversation he had had with Kenobi during the early years of his Jedi training about the importance of belonging to an organization instead of being a free agent.
For while he could get people to follow his instructions/obey his whims through a clear demonstration of his abilities, it was far simpler to achieve this by simply stating that he was a member of a recognized pillar of society.
And one that had no issue in giving him the recognition that he deserved.
Though she could no longer use her eyes to see the world like she had once used to, the voluptuous Archbishop could nevertheless honestly say that her clarity had never been higher.
For thanks to the divine blessing of her deity, she could now see what others could not.
However, this gift occasionally caused her nothing but frustration since there were times were she would have liked to see what type of body could house such unique souls.
Of which the most recent example were 2 of the 6 adventurers making their way towards her.
The first 4 were simple enough to picture in her mind since she had run across such spirits before.
A source of unshaken faith and purity of one that had already glimpsed that there was evil in the world.
A proud and ancient soul that still possessed a sense of wonderment that one could expect from a child.
One that had been tainted by sadness, but had recovered by finding joy in the present.
And one that bore the power of a beast, but would only resort to violence when there was no other course of action.
By using her ability to see their auras, Sword Maiden had little difficulty in correctly deducing that these souls belonged to a no longer sheltered cleric, an elf that was not yet weary of the passing of the seasons, a dwarf that lacked the insular nature of his people, and if her ears weren't playing tricks on her, one of the more beastly races that disliked using what most would consider to be proper footwear.
But these paled in comparison to the 2 that possessed the most unique souls she had ever seen.
The younger one bore obvious signs of being traumatized during the early stages of his life. But rather than let them overwhelm him like she partially had, this adventurer seemed to have utilized this forced upon darkness in order to provide him with the strength of will to unflinchingly meet every challenge that stood on his way.
The older presence however, that one was as terrifying as it was mesmerizing.
For while it was steeped in darkness, both of it's own making and from the influence of a great evil, Sword Maiden could nevertheless detect that the being whose breathing echoed throughout the TEMPLE was fighting to ensure that this darkness didn't consume the remaining light that existed within his soul.
And from what she could tell, he seemed to be succeeding even if the chosen method was something that most would consider to be unhealthy and dangerous.
However, since she was in no position to act against the evil that plagued the city she would have to hope that she wasn't making a mistake in enlisting the aid of such a person.
For she knew all too well that it was nearly impossible to be free of the evils of the past.
Especially when you were one of the unfortunate ones to not only be a victim, but also an agent of said evil.
Annnd that's another chapter done XD.
Apologises for the lack of action...that sweet GAAAAWWWWBLINNNN slaying action, but I'm working to it XD
While I have no intention of taking down the poll yet, it appears that more ppl favor Vader being involved in some pairing than against it, but will make no decision until much later lol
As for the promotion bit, not sure if the series actually has characters advance more than one rank at a time, but I think we can all safely say that Vader would get a higher promotion due to his skill set.
Anyways, hope you all enjoyed this.
Plz review, no flames.
Til next time.