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"Why Beethro Became a Dungeon Exterminator" - techant

Since the age of 10, Beethro could remember wanting to be a chef, not just any chef but a red - hot - open air - fire grilling - roach cooking - chef extraordinaire.

Cooking had become Beethro's passion the summer that the great roach cookoff had been held in Dugandy, and not far from his home either. There seemed to be a booth for every possible way to cook a roach at that cookoff. Most cooks seemed to like boiling their roaches. Some shelled them first but most cooked them in their shells and then broke them open with a large hammer. But, Beethro thought that boiling them left them flavorless no matter what broth you cooked them in or what sauce you used for dipping.

He had even gotten a chance to try cooking for himself at the "Cook Your Own Roach" booth, but it was the "Giant Grill" that he just couldn't get out of his brain. That red, hot, fire breathing, grill. The chef at the grill had chopping the legs off a dead roach with an ax and then had tossed the roach right onto the red hot grill.

He cooked it with its hard shell still on. He turned it a couple of times on the grill and just as the shell began to split open from the heat he shoved spices into the big cracks. Sparks flew everywhere as some of the spices hit the flames. This chef had his own secret recipe of spices but Beethro had recognized some of them. Half the fun that night as he lay awake in bed was to try and figure out all the spices in the mix. He recognized sajum, red pepper, hardened eyeball shavings and callerum but all the others would stay a mystery for many more years.

That day at the cookout was many years ago now and right now he was face to face with the biggest roach he had ever seen. Actually it was the first living roach he had ever seen, and this one was looking right at him, not more than three paces away.

Getting to this day had been a lot of hurry up and wait. Coming from a long line of Smitemaster dungeon exterminators it wasn't hard for Beethro to come by a sword, but apprentice jobs were harder to come by and it had taken some effort to find one. You would put the word out that you wanted to be an apprentice and then wait. Most Smitemasters liked to work alone and only took on an apprentice when the extermination job needed to be done extra fast or if the dungeon was so complex or large it required the extra help, and then only if they could charge an extra fee because they needed to take on an apprentice to do the job.

As everyone knew, no one could use the title "Smitemaster" unless they were a guild member. And you didn't get into the guild without being someones apprentice first. So that was the rub, you needed a way in or the wait might be years before some would remember to ask for you. So Beethro had called in a few favors, asking some old family friends to put in a good word for him at the guild meetings, so that when a job did come up his name would be the first one on anyones lips.

Now that day had come, he had gotten the message mid-morning, after eating a very heavy breakfast which he was now regretting doing very much. Most jobs came up suddenly, just like this one had, and there wasn't any time or money to waste on training so most of his training would take place on the job. You might get plenty of practice before hand on some old stuffed roach shells but you didn't usually see the real thing until your first day on the job. That was why they called that day "The First", not a real original name, if you ask anyone but a Smitemaster, but that was what it was.

"The First" was actually your first day on the job and after all the contracts and waivers were signed you were the first one sent into the dungeon. You were to kill the first roach you found and bring it back to prove your worthiness as an apprentice. If you succeeded, and you didn't die or run away then you were a full fledged apprentice and it was off to the dungeon with you, until the job was done. That might be months or even years later.

Beethro knew first hand that applicants didn't always make it past "The First". He knew of two that had been severely wounded, and one that had died. One guy had come running out of the basement he was sent into, screaming and ranting, and for weeks would not leave his bed. Now he was working on a ship in the Wilmish Ocean. He had said he never wanted to get close to one of those roachs again, ever, so he planned to stay at sea for the rest of his life.

For Beethro quiting wasn't an option. His dream awaited him and this was the best way to it, no matter what the danger, he was determined to succeed. Besides think how many more customers he could draw in with a sign that read, "Smitemaster at the Grill". He saw himself standing at his grill with customers all around him.He would hack off the roachs legs with his sword rather than an ax and then toss them on the grill just like he had seen it done so many years before. He had already developed his own secret spice recipe. There was also the added benefit that he would never need to worry about his suppliers cheating him, if they ever got too greedy he could always restock his pantry himself.

Right this minute though, his thoughts were not on recipes nor on how many more customers he could draw in, but on the very very big, huge roach looking him right in the eye. He had heard his grandfather tell stories about how much bigger they were alive then when they were dead. He and his sister Vonnifa, had both thought it was all a bunch of "eyeball wash", but now face to face with this one he was beginning to worry that all those stories he had heard might be true. Maybe it was their legs that it gave them more height. Even though it was still only half as tall as he was it was still very deadly looking, In later years he would see many roachs much bigger than this one but your first one always seemed the biggest.

But how big it looked didn't really matter right now, what mattered was killing it before he got killed himself. "Should I swipe right or should I swipe left, what was that rule, again?", he thought out loud. Then his mind flashed back to that cookoff so long ago. He stepping forward two steps, sword first and skewed that roach right through the middle, then he tossed it to the side placing it on his imagery grill, just like he had watched the chef do so many years before.

After a quick trip back up to the surface to show off his trophy. Where they ceremonially tore off his bloody shirt, cleaned his sword with it, signed and dated and stamped it with the official guild seal and presented it back to him with a new shirt, embossed with the symbol that signified his status as an apprentice, it was back down into the dungeon again for him.

That dungeon had quite a lot of levels and it took over 8 months to clear. He learned a lot about roach behavior in that first dungeon. That was where he learned the best ways to herd roachs and how to time roach births. He also learned about traps and the best and quickest way to avoid eyeballs seeing you. He hated snakes anywhere that he met them but in a dungeon they were worse, so much harder to trap then when you found one outside, it was here that he learned the secret of getting behind them to bait them into turning the way you wanted them to go. Beethro would clear many more dungeons in his career as a Smitemaster and he would find that he had quite a talent for it and despite the long hours, danger and filth he really did like his work, but he never gave up on his dream of opening that grill.

Later at his grill, when asked how he had become such a renown Smitemaster,he would say, "I always looked at my prey as just another dish to be cooked up, then served up hot and tasty."