Those Who Hunt Monsters
By Kent Steichman
For many of us here, dying is just a fact of life. So long as it doesn't come at the hands of a major villain during a cutscene, most of us are back up on our feet with a quick Phoenix Down, or a trip to the inn, or a good old fashioned green mushroom.
This is something most of us take for granted, of course, but what about those who might see it as a curse? Sure, it helps us get on with whatever quest we're on, but what if you were the object of the quest? Think about it, if every day some ragtag bunch of adventurers came down to pry your rare sword from your cold dead hands, it would get old, wouldn't it?
So, to find out what it's like, I set off for Vana'diel. Journeying to the Dragon's Aery, I eventually found the notorious Fafnir. He was, well, less than pleased to see me.
"Is it that time again already?" the beast groaned as I approached, before looking at me critically. "Where's everyone else? You don't look like a hunting party. Hell, you don't even have a sword!"
He didn't seem to get it at first, but after explaining for a little while, I finally got it into his head that I wasn't there to kill him. I guess he doesn't have a subscription. Once I convinced him that I wasn't a threat (and more importantly, he didn't have to eat me), I asked him what it was like, being such a sought after boss.
"Well, it's not all bright sunny days," he said matter-of-factly. "Sure, I get plenty of time to myself, and I meet lots of interesting people, but they all want to kill me, and most of them do."
He waved a claw absently, "Sure, I can usually take down one or two of the stragglers, but it's gotten damned hard to wipe the little blighters out. They're persistent, anyway."
I asked him why he was so, ahem, popular. "Oh, it's this sword I've got. Called the Ridill. Those guys are nuts over it." I took a good look at Fafnir. I had to ask, just what did a 30 foot long dragon, without any hands to speak of, need a sword for?
"Bugger if I know," he said, rolling his eyes. "I know I can't use the thing, and believe me, I've tried. It won't fit in my claws, it's too small for my tail to wrap around it, and if I hold it in my mouth, I can't talk and I get all kinds of nasty cuts in there."
He paused, then gave a bitter chuckle, "Hell, sometimes I don't even have the thing. I try to tell the little bastards, tell'em they're wasting their time, but they don't listen. And then, once I'm dead and they get nothing out of the deal, they have the nerve to yell at me, as if it's my fault."
Fafnir sighed. "I don't even know where the thing comes from. I just respawn, and hey, there it is. Sometimes, I think, what if I set up a shop, just sell the things? But I only ever have one at a time, so that just won't work."
At this point, the doors opened, and a group of adventurers came in, staring down the dragon. "Oh, you'd better get going," Fafnir told me. "This is probably going to get ugly," he added with a bit of resignation as I filed out past the warriors, "Especially when they find out all they're getting today is a Dragon Talon."