Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 42: 42.Guild Log

”Are you serious? An adventurer ’s guild? Isn´t this a little TOO much like a game? ”, Seth shouted out. Fin looked at the young man having an emotional outbreak with a puzzled look.

”What does the guild have to do with games? It is a renowned organization which manages the entrance to dungeons, not some gambling den! ”

Seth pinched the bridge of his nose trying to process what Fin told him. It was pretty much exactly like in novels and fiction. The Adventurer Guild was an institution of the system, similar to the System Church. They specialized in the organization of dungeons and people who would enter them, adventurers. And like the church which followed the God of the System, the guild followed a different god: The God of Dungeons.

Legend had it that in a time immemorial, both hit it off with each other and became best buddies during a summit of the gods. They had a drinking contest and subsequently fell into a drunken stupor. Of course, nobody could confirm this, so it stayed a legend.

The fact stayed, that the two gods had a synergistic relationship. Wherever the system opened the Pathworks, dungeons appeared. They would grow in suitable places and had no high requirements, which means they could grow literally anywhere. The dungeons would spawn monsters from other dimensions and pose a challenge to members of the system. Or a terrible catastrophe, if it was world without system. The monsters would gain strength and break out to attack the surroundings, if they were not regulated or closed in time.

”Wait! Does this mean there will be dungeons on Urth, too? ”, Seth interrupted Fins monologue.

”Naturally, and the guild will follow them. Don´t worry. Thanks to the system nobody really dies in a dungeon, as long as there is no dungeon break. ”, she calmed his worries.

Fin kept going, saying that nobody died within a dungeon. Players would only loose a chunk of experience and maybe items. They would resurrect in the closest guild branch if they were registered. And in a world where no system existed, but dungeons… those people were down on their luck.

”And that ’s why the guild always follows the dungeons, and there is absolutely no need to worry! ”, she smiled satisfied with her own profound knowledge.

There was no way around it anymore. Seth had understood everything so far and could not come up any more questions and Fin started sweating, trying to come up with any more information to convey.

Both could no longer avoid the big elephant in the room:

1. There was a guild branch here, so there should be a dungeon, too. Right?

And most importantly 2.

2. Why did the branch look so empty and rundown. And why- Why in god ’s name, was the whole place in front of it stained as if covered in dried blood?!

The guild was a grand and robust, stone building. Townhall or guildhall would be the first thoughts that came to mind when seeing it. But the windows were broken and the shutters were crooked, some barely held by a last pitiful hinge.

The stairs leading to the big entrance were covered in what could be dried blood with marks all over the place in front. It was unclear whether it had flowed OUT OF the building, or something had dragged bloody corpses INTO it. One could imagine the entrance once sported a majestic pair of double winged wooden doors. Now it was just a yawning, dark void, only shadows being visible past the entrance.

Fin was nervous and even more disturbed than Seth by this sight. You have to know, that the guild was a combat specialized organization. Even the staff would be able to deal with a crisis, to a certain extend. Something that had managed to devastate such a place gave the fairy goosebumps.

”The place looks old. The blood has long dried, it´s almost black. Should we go in? ”

Fin nearly lost her soul when Seth nonchalantly suggested to enter this scene of gore. Seth, on the other hand, felt that he had seen worse. You could say, any terrible thing he came across in his world was more disturbing than some old blood. He squinted and looked at her. He had even seen a blood covered fairy berserker turn a kraken into minced meat.

Leaving the baffled fairy behind, Seth strode forth to take a look inside. An unmanned guild office could hold all kinds of treasure and information! Don´t think he just wanted to loot the place now!

It was also important to find out, what caused this. If something like this was still within these ruins, it would be better to find out what it was, before they met it face to face.

Fin followed him reluctantly. She was surprisingly meek when it came to scary stuff. Flakes of dark crimson dust came loose as he climbed the stairs.

The inside of the guild was not as dark as it looked from the outside. Sun fell in through the broken windows and the airs was heavy with dust particles, sparkling in the light rays. The hard-wood floors were caked in a layer of old dried blood. The air smelled stale, not like blood at all. Tables and furniture were smashed, deep scratches covered the floors and wooden counters. There was a bar! But it was completely smashed and littered with glass shards.

No piles of bones. No desiccated corpses or parts of them. He had even expected a nest of bones or something, but nothing. Whatever caused this blood bath had brought away all signs of it, except the blood.

Time to loot! Seth jumped over the guild counter and started rummaging the drawers with practiced hands.

”Hey! Stop that! Shouldn´t we first find out what happened? ”, Fin interrupted him indignantly.

Seth rolled his eyes, pulled out a stack of papers and waved it in front of her. When his eyes wondered over the documents, he understood one thing: he could not read it!

The signs on the buildings were easily understandable, the spoken word was understandable, but the writings here weren´t! But he did not lose hope! It was time for Fin the multi-use fairy to show her skills!

Seth could only facepalm when the fairy started reading the documents like a 4th-grader! She was not a resident of the empire herself, he could probably count himself lucky she was even able to decipher the meaning.

Most of the stacks were different quests. Like in most novels, the guild did not just regulate the dungeons, but was also a hub to find workforce for different tasks from mercenary work, to hunting and other miscellaneous stuff.

They only got two pieces of information from this. These Ruins were called Ivicer, which now also appeared as a label on his map. And there were two dungeons in these ruins. One had grown in an actual dungeon under a mansion they regarded as the house of the governor or noble, or maybe the king of this city. The other was located in a big structure in the middle of the city they called a temple. According to Fin, all the quests were processed up to one certain date and then completely stopped. Form the state of the guild, it must have been years since then.

”I guess we won´t find anything more important down here. ”

They had investigated most of the drawers, but found nothing useful except some silver and bronze coins.

”Maybe in the offices upstairs? I´m sure at least the office of the guild master should have something important! ”, the fairy suggested.

So, they started to systematically search the other rooms of the building. Some were meeting rooms, others personal offices. The papers they found there were of no help. Some contracts reaffirmed the period of when this branch had stopped operating, but they found nothing about why.

The most interesting for Seth was the personal living space of the guild staff. He found some spare weapons and armor there that gave off a faint light in the dark. His showed him basic options, so they were probably enchanted! The options were nothing extraordinary. Slight decreases or increases in damage or defense or tiny buffs on attributes. He would look further into it later. Now was not the time.

Finally, they reached the office of the guild master. It was the highest floor, right below the roof. It had a big desk in the middle and a window looking out onto the ruins. It was remarkably similar to Simon´s office, it also had these walls of books and miscellaneous stuff stored on shelves. As the items of a guild master and former adventurer, these were a lot more interesting to Seth, than the kitsch the priest collected.

With his he found a bunch of interesting crafting material on the shelves!

Aside from several common and uncommon minerals he could not really use, there were three tiny lumps of dark-silver dirt that turned out to be mithril ore!

Another very interesting thing he found was a tooth!

< Drake Tooth, Crafting material. Uncommon The tooth of a young drake. As the tooth off a dragon-race it has inherent penetrative force that can easily pierce steel and stronger armors.>

As he was looking over the shelves for a second time, to make sure he had not missed any goodies, he heard a gasp behind him.

Fin had done detective work, while Seth was distracted. There were logbooks of the guild master stored in the shelves, but the last one was missing. After looking around she had found some blood sprinkles on the dirt-caked carpet that covered most of the floor. The had followed the trail that abruptly ended in front of a bookshelf. Obvious signs of a secret door! So, she started pulling out books left and right.

The fairy had just taken a break. She gasped when suddenly a part of the shelf in front of her swung open. Did Seth do something?

Behind the shelf was a small cabinet. A desk, a chair, writing utensils, a safe and – a desiccated corpse. The skeleton´s face only covered in dried-up skin and a long beard was frozen in an expression of fear and pain. It desperately pressed a big book to its chest. The clothes it wore had been drenched in blood, which had also spilled on the floor and the book. This was probably the guild master! He had a big wound in his stomach. He must have fled up here to hide and bled out in his hideout.

The book he held in his last moments, was the missing log about the latest guild operation.

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