Hero Tale A pretty obvious reader avatar for this power fantasy

This article is a non-canonical fanfiction.

The Demi-God of Death was not as intimidating as most would think.

When Ankou chose to reveal himself to his new paladin in person, he chose to appear as a goblin in his mid 20s. He wore simple traveler’s clothes and a plain straw hat. He held a walking staff which had a lantern bolted to the top of it that held only a faint glow in the normal spectrum, but as his paladin could see its true brightness, that of which he could barely stand to squint at.

“Talgun Malday Mithrim.” Ankou said in a perfectly normal, if abnormally low and calm goblin voice. Though because Talgun just so happened to be chosen by The Lord Shepherd to be one of the few mortals to carry out his will in the fadelands, he also heard the extremely intimidating but also strangely comforting whisper of a demi-god level spirit.

Yes Master?” Said Talgun, surprise written in his thoughts and words. He knew that Ankou rarely communicates with his followers, and had never heard any mention in his studies of him appearing in any sort of visual form.

”I hope you know what comes next for you.”

Talgun saw no reason to lie to his god so he timidly said “I do not, I hope you forgive my inexperience”

Ankhou chuckled, ”No, no the fault is all mine. I have not introduced you to my more... jaded followers so you would not know of my examination trials.” Ankou paused and drew his cloak over his small form. For an instant, he shimmered and lowered his cloak to reveal a new form as a lanky dwarf with black hair and a long, lightly braided beard. He wore robes and carried a book with strange markings on the front. His voice did not change as he spoke “Say I assigned you to find out if one of your race was avoiding death in an unnatural way just by this appearance, how would you do that?”

Talgun thought for a moment and examined his god’s form more closely. “Well I would start by starting up a polite conversation with you...”

”Remember, using physical appearance only”

”Okay then... then I would start by getting a good look at that book you have, I would research that symbol to make sure its not associated with necromany. The robes would indicate that you don’t do physical activity very often, that pegs you as a scholar or caster which have better access to unnatural life. The dwarf part indicates some risk, more risk than elves or dragon kin, but less risk than humans and halfings. A longer beard genrally indicates older, once again, more risk.“

”So what would you do to this person if you found out that that symbol on the book was a symbol of Dwarvish Necromancy?“

“Well then, I guess my falchions come out.”

Ankou looked severely disappointed “No! Why did you attack them based on appearance alone? You also did not pray for guidance! If you are to be a well rounded Paladin, you should learn there is more than just the physical!“ Ankou sighed and changed back to the goblin. “You must know the value of thinking things through beyond just light research and talking your way through things.”

“I see, I will strive to be better in this matter,” Talgun said with a slight flush.

Still,” Ankou sighed, “You are a capable paladin as shown by your recent 3 trials, so I will give you this final examination trial.”

Ankou looked directly at Talgun as his form started to fade, “I want you to examine and, if necessary, eliminate the halfling called Crystalfoot.”

To be continued...

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