What is lost

Chapter 5: Gregory's Lost Love

Gregory House lifts his head from the stone slab it had been resting on for an unknown amount of time. The back of Gregory’s head is bruised, and he feels a slight headache originating from that spot. Upon looking around, Gregory recognizes that he’s in a small dungeon cell. Rats scurry to and fro, taking the quickest routes from one hole [in the wall] to the next. Gregory finds his arms and legs bound to the slab he’s been laying on. One cord raps around his torso and another around his legs, affording him the movement of his arms below the elbow.

After a few moments, a person arrives. Gregory instantly recognizes him as one of the local clerics. Gregory interrogates the man and finds out that he’s being imprisoned by the clerics because they feel he isn’t fit to be the ruler of town, him being a stranger and all. Gregory fiddles around and pulls out his BAD (Big Ass Diamond) and offers it as part of a trade. The clerics eyes widen to an obscene width and he agrees to all the terms Gregory states: In return for the ring and Gregory giving up his position as ruler, the cleric would have to give Gregory 2 bodyguards and let him go free. The cleric opens the cell door and takes the diamond from Gregory and promises to come back once he’s stored the ring. The cleric runs out, locks the door and leaves the premises.

After a few more moments, the Cleric returns, opens the door, releases Gregory from his slab and stands by. Gregory exits the cell and sees, across the way, another cell containing his beloved Princess Rosalue. Gregory pretends not to see her and continues towards the stairs leading out. At the top, he presses the door slightly open and peeks out. He recognizes the grand hall of the cleric’s temple. Not far away, he can see the stand were the clerics preach, and across the hall are the doors to enter and exit the temple. Gregory closes the door, turns around, and knocks out the cleric that had been holding him captive. Gregory hauls the cleric back down to his old cell, takes his clothes and straps him down. He then takes the cleric’s keys and releases Rosalue from her cell.

“Why do you think they’ve taken us captive?” Asks Gregory.

“I can only assume it’s because you’re a complete stranger and are ill-fit to run the city, and the clerics have always had their eyes on power. I assume that’s why they’ve chosen your demon friend to represent them in the tournament,” responds Rosalue.

Demon friend…I don-. Oh. Malkith. Gregory thinks to himself as he comes to the realization.

“Right, well let’s leave this place,” objects Gregory.

Gregory takes Rosalue’s hand and they flee the temple, no one being the wiser as Gregory dons the appearance of a local cleric. Meanwhile, the tournament is just ending.

“Can we please have ”/characters/kara" class=“wiki-content-link”>Aria and Glorindu Nightblade report to the contestants desk. Aria and Glorindu, please report to the contestants desk."

Aria lightly struts her way to the desk, as if she were stepping on fragile leaves, feeling confident after mauling her companions in her new-found bear form. She enjoyed the power and strength she had while being a bear. She reflected back to the teachings of her mentor: “Remember Aria, the power of a druid cannot be taken likely. It’s infatuating and addicting. Mind yourself while you use it.” Aria makes it a point to remember these teachings. I won’t fall. Not like the others.

As Aria arrives at the desk, the person sitting there gives her a look of fear. “Ah, the bear girl. Thank you for r-reporting. We’re just waiting on the dwarf.”

“Oh, I can wait,” snarls Aria. She pulls her hand up and looks are her nails. They look as if they’ve been filed to a point, giving them a sharp appearance. Aria quickly pulls her hand down and hides them in the folds of her green dress.

After an hour or so, Glorindu doesn’t show. The person at the desk looks at Aria and nervously states that she’s won by default. Aria let’s out a huff, “That dwarf to yella to fight me huh? Smart.” Aria struts away, again as if she were walking on fragile leaves, her dress flowing as if pushed by a gentle breeze. She makes her way back to her convenient companions. They’re sitting at a table, waiting for the announcement of the upcoming fight.

“Do you guys think Nightblade even has a chance? Aria…she’s no normal druid. We could take a simple bear, but Aria slashes and bites with a fury I have never seen before. I wonder if- Oh! Aria! What happened? Aren’t you supposed to be getting ready for the fight?” Verro gives her a confused look.

“Oh, it seems as if our dwarf companion has chickened,” Aria puts her hands in her armpits forming chicken wings and momentarily changes her arms into wings, “out of the fight. It’s a shame, I wanted to see who was the strongest of our group,” she states, her words filled with faux innocence. “I was sure Glorindu would have put up a good fight,” she says as her eyes dart to Ilaria. “I guess we all need to attend the award ceremony now.”

The party, consisting of Ilaria, Aria, Verro and Malkith, make their way to the ceremony hall. Upon arriving, an important looking man sits atop the platform at the front of the hall.

“And we have our champion! Aria, representative of our ever-so important farmers, please come receive your prize!”

Aria peels away from her companions and floats to the front of the hall. Instead of using the stairs, she performs a graceful flip onto the stage, landing in front of the important looking man. The crowd let’s out some “oh’s” and “ah’s” as she lands. The important looking man, who’s holding an old leather witch’s hat, jolts back out of surprise but quickly composes himself.

“Our champion, Aria, fought her companions valiantly representing our farmers. Unfortunately her last opponent didn’t show up, so she won by default.” The crowd mumbles a bit, making it obvious they were hoping for another fight. "

Her reward: the village’s rarest item – Forgnur’s Hat, as well as majority shareholding of the town for the farmers." The important looking man bows his head forward, presenting the old hat. Aria delicately takes the hat, and before too long, Malkith seemingly appears behind her.

“I would love to look at that lovely hat of yours,” Malkith breathes, his words soothing, into Aria’s ear, only for her to hear.

“Um, maybe once we leave here,” she states, frightened by Malkith’s quick movement.

The crowd let’s out a cheer as Malkith raises Aria’s arm like a champion, “Let’s hear it for Aria!”

Malkith and Aria leave the stage and return to the rest of their companions, Malkith keeping a careful eye on Aria’s new possession. The rest of the group praise Aria on her victory. She bathes in the praises. After not too long, Gregory and Rosalue barge into the ceremony room, drawing the eyes of everyone. Gregory hesitates for a bit before quickly striding over to his companions.

“We may need to skip out of town a little early,” he whispers to his buddies.

“Where have you been bud,” asks Verro, obviously concerned about one of his more favored party members."

“Uhhh, I’ve been in the cleric’s temple but that’s-”

“Why were you in there?” Quickly objects Malkith. “I’m the one that represented them, why didn’t they come to me?” There’s a tinge of jealousy on Malkith’s tongue.

Verro looks dumbfounded at Malkith. “Dude, he’s a cleric. That’s where clerics go.” Verro mumbles something incoherent under his breath and Malkith backs off, dejected.

“That’s not important. We really ought to leave though.”

Verro takes charge in the moment of chaos. “Okay everyone, let’s just get out of here for a bit so we can talk all this over, okay?”

The group look at each other and agree to leave. They make their way to the exit, receiving approving glances from the passersby. They reach the doors and push them open, exiting the colosseum. Once they’re all outside, Verro looks at Gregory, expecting answers. Before Gregory can say much, Illaria points off to a nearby field.

“Has that always been there,” she asks, giving a scarecrow in the distant field an inquisitive look. Verro looks at Illaria, then look to the field, and back to Illaria, brows furrowed.

“Uh, yeah? It’s a scarecrow, in a field, Illaria, don’t be paranoid. Now Gregory, why do we need to leave? The town obviously loves us.”

Meanwhile, Malkith turns to Aria, who’s been staring intently at her new hat, struggling to discern its magic properties. He whispers, “Are you having trouble there love? Let me have a look.”

Frustrated by the difficulty, Aria passes the hat over to Malkith. Malkith takes the hat and closes his eyes. He sees a man, holding the hat. The man thinks about another man, then puts on the hat. Once the hat is on, the original man’s appearance becomes that of the man he was thinking of. Ah, I know what this hat does, thinks Malkith. He opens his eyes and looks up from the hat, then turns towards Gregory.

“He probably screwed something up at the temple, like he always does,” sneers Malkith.

Gregory looks down at his feet, remembering his failed attempts at healing his party members in the past. Malkith did have a point, he tends to screw up a lot. Malkith’s comment hits hard once Gregory remembers his days at the monastery. Gregory becomes angry at the thought.

“No!” Gregory quickly states. He then approaches Malkith, getting close to the drow’s face. “I wasn’t screwing things up, Malkith. In fact, maybe you should be watching over yourself more, what with you trying to represent the clerics despite your questionable history.”

Malkith backs away and shuts his mouth. I’m getting sick of these “companions”, he thinks.

Gregory turns back to Verro and the rest of the party. “I think I was taken captive by one of the clerics. He stated that they kidnapped me was because they believe I’m not fit to rule this town alongside my lovely Rosalue, but I have reason to believe it’s much more personal than that,” says Gregory as he quickly flits his eyes towards the princess and back towards Verro.

“Well, you are a complete stranger, and…Okay guys come on that thing has to be moving, right?” Illaria points to the scarecrow again, though this time it’s much closer than before.

Aria narrows her eyes while looking towards the scarecrow. Verro looks over, a look of surprise on his face. Then, within a fraction of a second, the scarecrow starts a full sprint towards the party. Everyone takes a ready stance except Malkith, who takes a few steps away from the party.

The scarecrow charges its way towards the party with eyes locked on one person in particular: Malkith. Verro deduces that this nasty enemy is probably weak to fire. Gregory quickly recognizes the scarecrow’s target and swiftly sticks his foot out, tripping it. As the scarecrow falls, a ball of fire and an arrow fly through the air it previously occupied. Gregory’s companions weren’t as quick and attempted to hit the scarecrow before it went down. The fireball passes close by Malkith, who’s retreating further away from the scarecrow, but the arrow lands true, piercing Malkith in the shoulder. Malkith let’s out a grunt of pain and braces his shoulder, eyes darting to the origin of the bolt: Aria. Aria’s eyes widen as she realizes the missed her target and accidentally hit her companion.

The scarecrow hops up and looks at the origin of the fireball. It gives Verro a nasty look, filled with magic dread. Verro’s thoughts are suddenly filled with flames. Burning. Screaming. Verro holds his head, trying to rid himself of these invasive thoughts.

Meanwhile, Malkith straightens, ignoring the pain in his shoulder and calmly raises his hand towards the scarecrow, letting an eldritch blast free. The blast connects with the scarecrow and blows portions of its straw all over the place. At the same time, Illaria notices the scarecrow’s concern with Verro and let’s a fireblast of her own, striking the scarecrow and setting pieces of it aflame.

The scarecrow let’s out a scream and leaps after Malkith, clawing him. At the same time, two frog-looking demons appear behind Malkith, also mauling him. He falls to the ground as the creatures rip him to shreds. Aria, feeling remorse for her ill shot arrows, sprints past her companions to malkith. She takes a hit from the scarecrow, but shrugs it off, using it as a distraction so she can heal Malkith. Previously unconcious, Malkith opens his eyes to see Aria by his side, then swiftly loses consciousness as one of the demons attacks him again.

Malkith’s companions off a demon, but one the remaining demon slithers its tongue over to Malkith and take the hat. Verro finally discards the invasive thoughts and targets the scarecrow, throwing another ball of flame. The ball flies through the air and engulfs the scarecrow, exploding it into the air around them. Pieces of straw fall to the ground burning.

The sole demon stars running/hopping away, but it doesn’t get far before an arrow sprouts from the back of its head, and it falls to the ground, sliding a ways before finally coming to a stop. Right at that moment, the princess leaves her hiding spot and quickly snatches the hat. Once the hat is in her possession, the princess starts running towards the cleric’s temple. After running a few feet, she glances back towards Gregory and gives him an impish smile.

Angered by the theft of her hat, Aria morphs into a bear. The princess doesn’t get far before she finds a couple tons of fur pinning her to the ground as she quickly loses consciousness. Ilaria join the bundle of fur and looks at the bear apprehensively. The bear gives a look of approval before Illaria takes the hat from the pancake of a princess. The bear finally peels itself away from the pancake which then takes a huge breath and regain consciousness. The princess is questioned, and she tells the party that she’s always wanted the hat because her father used to play with her while wearing it, so she sent her father out to die so they could hold a tournament and she could claim the hat. Devious. Gregory feels betrayed. The princess gets knocked out again.

Moments later, footsteps could be heard approaching the party. Some onlookers identify a group of ruffians assaulting their beloved princess, and rush off towards the nearby guard station. Illaria takes the hat and Gregory, taking the appearance of Rosalue when wearing the magical head garment. She then calls for a town meeting. Meanwhile, Malkith wakes up coughing. He’d taken a beating, and everyone had forgotten about him. That was the last straw. He got up and hobbled towards the party, seeing Gregory and Illaria leave. It was just him and Verro next to an unconcious Rosalue.

A group of guards finally arrives at the scene of the assault. They accuse Verro and Malkith of assaulting the princess. The two ‘companions’ convince the guards that this is a doppleganger, and that the real princess is holding a town meeting at that very moment. The guards ask them to take care of the doppleganger considering they’ve dealth with them in the past, and Malkith takes that as a request to kill the princess. He aims his hand towards Rosalue and prepares his spell. Verro quickly pushes his hand out of the way, sending the projectile into the ground next to Rosalue’s head. Veroo wasn’t quick enough, and the spell took off Rosalue’s ear and some skin on the side of her face. The guards decided it would be better if they took her away. That way they could study dopplegangers. The guards leave and Verro chews Malkith out for being rash. Malkith gets offended and walks away. Verro says “good riddance” and goes to join everyone at the town meeting.

Meanwhile at the town meeting, Illaria as Rosalue convinces the town that the original Rosalue is an imposter. The town is fine with that, and the party convenes at the barracks to get weapons and armor. As they’re stocking up on things before they make their grand exit, they hear screams and loud noises. They exit the barracks and see a demon absolutely trashing the cleric’s temple. Once it eats a few people and obliterates the temple, it climbs back into its demony hole. The party rushes to the temple to find a meditating Malkith.

“I’ve been expecting you.” Malkith opens his eyes and glares at the party.

“That’s enough death and destruction Malkith. You don’t deserve to live any longer.” Verro let’s out a bolt of magic, as does the entire party. Malkith does very little before being obliterated by his once-companions. Verro walks over to the drow’s corpse, places a hand on his face, and burns the flesh away till there’s nothing left but bones. Gregory (who didn’t actually help in the fight cuz he’s a pansy) then walks over and separates the skull from the rest of the body, making absolutely sure that Malkith, Speaker of Demons was no more. The party then decides to head east towards the woods, leaving death and destruction in their wake.

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