The Long Road Home

2) Instilling Hope

Don Grace's PoV

Don Grace = Garrett Victor Rios = Dwayne Jarrod = Joseph Ryze = Kazz Sergei = James Keyleth = Kalen

It seemed we’ve fallen out of the frying pan…

I sighed, then shook the hand of the large, granite man who has taken up the mantle of leader among the group of Lost. As we walked away, I was greeting by a small child, offering up a cup of what might have been coffee. I went to refuse, but upon seeing the eyes of the child, I didn’t have the heart too. I took the coffee and took a big swig. I smiled and began nodding to the child. “MMMMM ‘ood!” A smile erupted across the face of the child, and then the child was gone. I spat the coffee out and tried to clear my mouth. Liquefied mud… It had to be…

I walked off with my group, and we began to talk. It appeared that this was not an official freehold. Apparently they were lacking a vital part. They don’t have a ready and reliable source of glamour. No, the ‘king’ and his entourage that banished us was hoarding it all. Seems like this group of Lost had plans to take it.”

Thus were our options. Do we stay, and try to help the Lost obtain the resources needed to survive, while at the same time removing a tyrannical ruler, or do we move on and find another freehold? There were a thousand freeholds that we could go to for protection and support. All it would take is a simple car ride, or a walk in the hedge, and we would be in another city. Thus another opportunity to be granted shelter.

But that seemed like a small thing to me right now. What was bothering me was the ‘king.’ He was denying the Lost their god given rights. He was eclipsing their hope, standing between them and their salvation. I felt it was our right, our ‘Duty,’ to remove him from his throne. Thus, I voted to stay and help. The others were of the same mind.

We looked at one another, and nodded our agreement. “It seems we have a long road ahead of us. How about it? Do you guys want to band together? Officially, I mean. There is power within names, Thus I suggest if we continue together, then We should plan accordingly.” We nodded our agreement, and thus we stood together, prepared to shape the world, if need be. We’d need a fitting name, and eventually decided upon “Knights of Mayhem. Mayhem wasn’t my cup of tea, typically, but when the need called, and mayhem was required to inspire hope in others, then I would indulge myself into it wholeheartedly.

And on that note, we stood together. We placed our hands atop one another, and pledged ourselves to the cause:

“Here we stand, joined by fate for the passing of a season. We stand together and will not falter, no matter the forces arrayed against us. Blessed be our harvest, and grant us aid in protecting our brothers should they fall. Let he who holds betrayal in his heart or actions be bound by fate to suffer the fruits of his misdeeds.”

I felt a breeze swirl around us. A smile came over me as I closed my eyes and raised my face to the sky, rejoicing. Our voices were heard, it seemed. I opened my eyes and saw that the rest felt it too. It was official, then.

We decided to part ways in order to assist our adopted freehold. They needed a source of Glamour to call themselves a freehold, but they only way to take the other freehold was to use said Glamour. This they were stuck. So if we were able to harvest enough Glamour to help them out, then it would greatly increase our chances of survival.

I felt the best place for me was the Hospital. I had a knack for inspiring hope in my patients. Thus it was a surefire way to collect Glamour. So I spent the better part of my day taking care of the sick and injured. I took a personal interest in all my patients, getting to know them and making things as comfortable for them as possible. Not only the patients, but the families of them, as well. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t it only for the Glamour… No, I had been doing this for most of my life…

I was in the middle of prescribing some medicine to a patient when I got a page. I smiled at the nurse and gave my thanks. I made sure to finish with the patient, then I headed to the front desk. Apparently it was Victor. I stepped outside and called him up. Apparently Tik-Tok met up with him and decided to cash in his favor. We were to watch over a group of three. One of whom was deeply injured and needed my immediate help. I let him know that this was fine, and to come into the back entry.

I stood there waiting as Victor’s Mazda 6 pulled up at the door, and he helped out a scaled looking man with half his face ripped off. My face froze for a moment upon seeing the huge ‘My Little Pony’ bandage on his face, then I shook myself. I took in his condition and decided that he wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared. “What’s your name, sir?” The Dragonkin looked up and replied; “Sergei. My name… is Sergei.” I nodded to him. “Relax, Mr. Sergei, you are in my care now. Everything will be alright.”

I waved to Victor and began helping the patient inside. I comforted the best I could while I got him on a gurney and wheeled him into an operating room. I sedated him and began to work. Like normal, I spoke to the patient whether or not they were conscious. Good practice. “You are doing very well, Mr. Sergei. I will have you fixed up as good as new in but a few moments. You took quite a beating; I wonder what the other guy looked like, haha.” I glanced at the removed bandage, and noticed a rather pretty scale stuck too it. “Hmm… I might keep this one.” Then I took a closer look at him. “On second thought… they grow back quickly enough…” Thus I gathered about seven scales of modest size, and set them aside. With that done, I proceeded with my healing magic.

Thirty minutes later, I had him awake and prepared to leave the hospital. Victor had paged ahead saying he was on his way, so we walked outside. The Mazda 6 pulled up to the curb a minute later, and we got in. I noticed two extra heads in the car, and I greeted them once introduced. One was a snow angel named Keyleth. And the other… was a very familiar scarred man with knives for fingers… “RYZE!”

The man looked up, and shock flashed across his face. “Doc? Holy shit it’s you!?! Damn! It’s been a while! What have you been up too man?!?”

I just stared at him. Disbelief apparent on my face. “Our master had me believe that you were dead… When we made our escape… She lead me back to her, and proclaimed that she grew bored of you, and thus she was happy to ‘dispose’ of you… What happened?”

But he just looked at me with a horrified face. “She caught you? The entire time she knew what we were doing? Damn… I didn’t have a clue. Once we made it into the hedge, I arrived home, to find a fetch had taken over my life. So I left and joined the free hold here in Nashua. Until the ‘King’ tried to frame the three of us, that is. We beat his challenge, but left anyways…”

And thus we began conversing, catching up on old times. After a while, we arrived at the park. We headed down the narrow path and emerged into the freehold. We were greeted by the Reigning leader, and he looked bothered that we had brought friends. But Victor announced that they were; “More of Tic-Tok’s foundlings. Apparently they had proved themselves in combat.”

He seemed to approve of that, and lead us inside. He pointed out food and a place for them to sit, and the three proceeded forward. I watched Ryze sit and converse with the others. A small child ran up to them, carrying cups of what had to be that mud coffee. I chuckled as they each accepted one, but my focus returned to Stonebeard when he returned to us. “Plans are moving forward quickly. We should be able to move out very soon. Your newcomers may be very useful in the upcoming events.”
Victor asked if there was any way to accomplish the necessary tasks without needless bloodshed. And Stonebeard replied: “Oh yes. Our only goal is to dethrone the kind and take his place. None of the other members needs to die. If they but lower their weapons, and refuse to fight us, then there will be no blood spilt but that of the false king.”

I turned to see Victor nodding grimly. “We got some more people here to help. They’re making plans in the study if you’d like to join them.” He directed us to a side room. So we proceeded forward, and walked through the door that Stonebeard opened for us, revealing one of the last people I was prepared to see… Hound. I quickly grabbed hold of Victor’s shirt as he started charging forward, intent obvious. That man slaughtered our kith and kin; he assassinated the king and queen of the summer court; and he was responsible for us having to relocate… I didn’t know how long I could hold Victor back…

Or how long I was willing to…

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