Aspiring Adventurer - Paiko in the Paperverse: Occupational Hazard

Published Jan 30, 2023, 4:56:44 AM UTC | Last updated Mar 20, 2023, 3:51:51 AM | Total Chapters 3

Story Summary

A collection of written short stories as part of Paiko's character development challenges. Enjoy.

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Chapter 1: Occupational Hazard

#49 - Job

Does your character have a job besides adventuring? An old occupation they set down to go off on their journey? A career they wish they could have? Show your character at their job-- past, present, future, or dream.

-

Staring it down was not helping it go away. It wasn't something he could run or hide from, but a necessary obstacle to overcome.

An application form.

Paiko let out a frustrated sigh, pulling his ears down in front of his eyes to avoid looking at the stack of paper on the table. "I can't read," he lamented, voice muffled behind his hands and ears. "And I can't write either." 

"Who says you need to do that? No one reads the fine print anyways."

The drakon glanced up, spotting a familiar blue-haired vampire across the counter. Aras. 

"What do I do, then? There are so many blanks spaces on this page. For words. I assume." Paiko flipped through the packet, looking more and more dejected with each page.

"They're places to sign your name, of course." Aras' attention was mostly fixed on an ice cream bon-bon he had procured from somewhere up his sleeves, so Paiko's distressed expression went unnoticed by the vampire.

Almost ashamed by what he was going to say next, he squeaked out, "I do not know how to write my name."

"Oh? Then just sign it with your blood. Works just like a name to identify you."

Before Paiko could make some horrified interjection at this idea, another voice blessedly saved him. 

"Stop it, Aras. You're scaring him."

"Aw. But he's so easy to scare." 

"Exactly why you should stop." Aurolin came up behind Paiko and peeked between his ears. "Do you need help, Paiko?"

The relief that flooded through the drakon was enough to make him light-headed with joy. "Yes. Please." He spread out the papers for her to see. "I do not know what any of this means."

The dark elf mused over the application papers for a couple of seconds. "Oh, I see, you're trying to apply for the adventurer status. I'll help you; this form really doesn't take that long." She patted her pockets, expression changing to one of dismay. "I don't have my notebook and pen on me. I must have left it somewhere... well, we can just find someone else who can write."

Paiko swept his ears back and glanced around furtively, scanning the room for people who might be able to help. Would he have to ask every single person? Besides the slim chances that they would have a writing utensil with them, literacy wasn't a trait you could judge just by looking at someone -

Oh, maybe it was. 

He swiped the papers off the counter and slid out of his chair, timidly approaching an elf sitting at one of the other tables. Pen in hand, notebook open in front of them as they wrote down some thoughts or observations. Yes, this person knew how to write, for sure.

"Excuse me." Paiko approached the journaler, holding his own papers so tightly that they were crinkling at the edges. "You are... Quinn, right?"

The journaler, Quinn, looked up from writing, then looked down to locate who had addressed him. He brushed his hair away from his eyes, but quickly let it flop back to conceal one part of his face, where there were faint traces of scars. The drakon's own scars tingled over his hidden right eye. 

"Oh, it's you. The tiny dragon kid." Quinn glanced at the papers in Paiko's grasp. "What's this, a business proposal?"

Paiko blinked. "I-I, um... no? I am not here for business. Just a small favor. If you would like compensation, I can see what I have--"

Quinn smirked at the flustered, stammering drakon. "That depends on the favor. I might be feeling generous."

Aurolin stepped in. "Just an application form. You know, the one for adventurer rank?"

"I haven't done that one yet. 'Adventurer' isn't my full time job." Quinn exhaled and cracked his knuckles. "But if you need a scribe, I suppose I can lend my services."

"Many many thanks," Paiko said, with a grateful dip of his head. He climbed onto the seat and set the paper in front of Quinn, as Aurolin sat nearby to help explain any of the questions.

Quinn read the first blank. "Full name."

"Paliskobengar." Paiko scratched his ear. "Spelled how it sounds. I think."

The elf scribe gave a half shrug. He was trying his best. "Age?"

Paiko cringed. "That is... complicated. Does it matter?"

Aurolin smiled. "Just pick one, if you don't really remember."

"O-okay. Um... Seventeen."

Quinn wrote it down. "Next. Previous occupations."

When Paiko only stared in confusion, Aurolin clarified, "A job you've had before. Something you did for a living."

The half-drakon looked down at his hands, opening and closing his fingers. "I was... a sperix. A project. Of the Visors. Under Zyklare, specifically."

Quinn muttered something under his breath about unknown names and words that he didn't know how to spell. Aurolin prompted, "Could you tell us more? Were you paid to be in that position?"

"I was compensated. With a second chance at life. If that counts." Paiko wrinkled his nose at the question. "Why do they need to know about my past?"

Flicking some pencil shavings off the table, Quinn remarked, "Probably so they can make sure you're not part of some shady dealings or making some world-destroying weapons. And other occupational hazards."

"Which you don't need to worry about," Aurolin said with a reassuring laugh, "since you probably don't fall into those categories, right?"

The two elves watched Paiko for several moments, wondering why he wasn't speaking. Paiko's tail swished back and forth stiffly, giving away his tumbling thoughts. At length, he replied,

"Oh, no, I think that was exactly what they accidentally achieved. I am probably an occupational hazard. An unhappy side effect of the testing. I have destroyed a world once. Hopefully it will not happen again... I do not wish to be disqualified from being an adventurer."

More silent moments ticked by. No one knew what to do with that information.

Quinn cleared his throat. "So, uh, next on the list. Current living situation..."

-

1000 words

Thank you to Wyverntoots (Quinn), Minimaid (Aurolin), and SchwarzerAlptraum (Aras) for letting me borrow your characters! ^v^

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Comments

  • Jan 31, 2023, 3:01:01 PM UTC
    Wonderful! This is very sweet. I love your portrayal, and Paiko is such a treat.
    • Feb 1, 2023, 3:07:45 PM UTC
      Thank you Minimaid! Aurolin is very sweet, she was a pleasure to write ^-^

      (Totally not me staking out Adventurer's Guild just to take observation notes on everyone's character interactions and dynamics heheh--)
      • Feb 2, 2023, 4:13:42 PM UTC
        Yes, she is pretty cute - my awkward, short weirdo elf. I loved her.

        And lol - that’s a lot of staking out of the guild!
  • Jan 30, 2023, 9:50:25 AM UTC
    I love this. I love Paiko. This is amazing Dance Heart
    • Jan 30, 2023, 1:48:02 PM UTC
      Thank you Wyv! <3 I had fun writing Quinn, hope I did him justice ^-^

      It was 90% exposition before the little bit at the end that actually had to do with the "job" prompt hahaa... got a bit carried away Giggle
      • Jan 31, 2023, 12:40:54 AM UTC
        You did!!!! Grin

        Getting carried away is fine, you conveyed the characters so well and the story flows nicely Heart