Zosimo was the first out of all them to notice that Riviera's eyes had gone from a syrupy cute brown to a menacing solid black with red pupils. She snarled, her mouth wide and her now very sharp teeth glinting in the moonlight. Her demonic eyes were locked on Thodios. It didn't take long for Zosimo to connect the dots on what she was about to do.
Growling again, the group turned and suddenly noticed the transformation, their eyes all wide. Riviera hissed, her eyes still glaring at Thodios like a leopard watching potential prey. She was in hunter stance, her nail-claws sheathed and ready to pounce. She lunged...
Before anyone could react, before Riviera was too far in the air or anyone else in the plaza realized what was happening, Zosimo grabbed the sledgehammer he had made for Randus out of his backpack, and in a 180 degree arc, swung it smack dab in the middle of the monsters face, knocking the creature out cold.
"Okay," Cathy said, breaking the thoughtful silence, "I know she was annoying. But you have to admit, a Flower Princess who's secretly a monster is an excellent plot twist for my next story no one will see coming."
No one said anything. They were at Thodios' house. Riviera, or the monster, was tied up to a wooden column so she couldn't escape. Almost immediately after the incident, Thodios had spotted the group and the knocked princess-monster, and quickly understood what had happened, or was about to. He had told the group to follow him to his house, and the did so, Chomski levitating the unconscious body. Along the way, Gorret had asked Thodios if he had recognized her.
"Yes," he had replied simply. "She was my apprentice."
None of them had known what to say after that. Now they were all standing around Rivera, each of them silently pondering the situation.
Thodios was a gracious host, and had gathered them all sleeping beds to spent the night in, and was now cooking dinner for them all. Despite being an old and wise wizard, probably in his 60's, Zosimo had guessed, he would have expected such an prestigious magician to live in something more grand than a village hut. Still, the place had an heir of charm to it, and the fireplace roaring in the corner made the place quite cozy.
"What I don't understand" Randus spoke up, "Is exactly what kind of creature she is."
"She's a demon." Zosimo stated.
They all turned to him, eyes holding confusion.
"How did you know that?" Thodios asked, looking up from his brew of stew.
"Well, despite the fact she survived a sledgehammer to the face," Zosimo began, "She disguised herself as a human. And in the demon world, there are certain people born with that ability. We call them Rojshas."
"Ro...what?" Cathy said.
"Okay," Gorret said, turning to Thodios, "What I want to know is why was she about to attack you? If she's your apprentice, why isn't she here? Training?"
Thodios sighed. "Simply put, that's quite a long story."
"Well quite frankly," Gorret replied, a hint of frustration in his voice, "I have the time, now that we've wasted it deviating from our original quest. If we're going to be sidetracked, I want to know the what's behind it."
"Okay, okay." Thodios began. "Wow. I just...well, I have no idea where to begin-"
"Start from when you met her." Gorret said curtly.
"Okay, okay. Lemme think. Well, as I remember, she was young, but old enough to get by on her own in the world," The old wizard said, beginning his tale, "First off, she is not Princess Riviera. Her name is Klamia. Although there is a Princess Riviera in the Flower Kingdom, who looks an awful lot alike Klamia..." He stopped, then continued.
"She had stumbled on to our village at the age of 13, or so the age she claimed. I didn't know her background at the time. None of us did. But she seemed to be an orphan, and held great magical ability. So the Mage Elders decided to take her in. And I was granted the honor of being her teacher."
"During the early years, everything was fine. She was learning magic so beautifully," Thodios said with an heir of nostalgia, "She was going to be a fantastic witch. She could learn spells quickly and efficiently. She mastered them within weeks, sometimes days. She was one of the best of our students, despite being an orphan." He sighed. "Then, when she turned 16, that's when everything changed."
"As you, Demon Sir, may know, that when a Demon comes of age and beings to go through, well, puberty, they start having biological changes." He said, and Zosimo nodded. Then his eyes went with wide with understanding.
"And she couldn't control her Fire abilities, could she?" He had guessed. You needed your parents, Zosimo knew, to teach you that.
"No." Thodios said grimly. "She couldn't. I was the only one to know her secret at first. I realized why she had been so good at magic...she was a demon. If the elders found out...she'd be banished." He continued. "I told her not to worry. I told her not to be afraid, that when she turned 18, just two years later, she'd be a mage and the elders could never renounce that title even if they chose to banish her. She was able to keep secret for almost a year..."
"But Klamia's magic faltered, as it became harder for her to control it and hide who she really was. She began failing her tests, and couldn't learn anything new, no matter how hard I tried to help. One of the Apprentice masters, one of the people in charge of taking care of the students when they're not learning, called her in, and must have told her that should she keep failing, she'd never become a true magician. That's when Klamia broke." He paused.
"Her power unleashed, and she burned the building down. Her secret was out, and the truth was revealed. She ran away, and I never saw her again. At least, never thought i would. Needless to say, the Elders all voted to banish her ten times over. She was not only now a rouge apprentice, she was wanted by us. It's no surprise she blames me for all this..."
"This was all only 3 years ago. The elders where furious with me, as well. I was one of their best Wizards, or, I think so," He gave a sad smile, "But because I had lied to them, had kept this secret that had cost them our Apprentice Academy, I was never allowed to teach anyone magic again, or for that matter, use magic while I'm still here. I'm allowed to stay here, so long as I just keep to myself."
The room was dead quiet. Even the roaring fire seemed to have hushed itself. Gorret was staring at Thodios with a mix of pity and frustration. Finally, he said, "Look, I don't feel hungry. I'm going to bed. Tomorrow, we're going to buy supplies, and then we're leaving." He explained, "And no, we are not stopping by to visit the Flower Kingdom," he eyed Zosimo. "K, goodnight everyone."
Zosimo didn't feel in the mood to go to the Flower Kingdom anymore. His thoughts were focused all on Riviera, or, Klamia. He understood all too well what is was like to feel that alone; to be the monster among humans. To scare people, to have to keep certain things secret. The rest of the group didn't seem too shaken by her story as he was. Soon, Cathy and Randus were in a heated game of cards, each debating their interpretation of the rules; Mar was sharpening each of her weapons, deep in thought; Chomski was cheerfully helping Thodios cook, and Hank and Assistant seemed, as crazy as it sounds, to be talking to each other.
Zosimo didn't feel like eating or sleeping; he wasn't in the mood. Whenever he looked over at Klamia, he didn't see a sleeping monster in-disguise as a human; he saw someone who people didn't understand, someone who never really had a home, who people feared because she was different. Finally, he stepped outside to get a bit of fresh air.
Outside the dark sky was brilliant. A glowing white moon hung in the sky, and glittering stars lit the air with wonder. And as he lay in the grass, admiring the sky from below, he couldn't help but think of how small all their petty problems were in comparison with the rest of the big, pretty world they called home.
1d1 ==> The Princess turns out to be some kind of monster that tries to kill Thodios.
1d15 ==> 15 + 2 (agility) Zosimo notices Riviera and swings the sledgehammer just in time.
1. In the morning, the group decide to bring Thodios on their adventure (Gain Thodios as an Ally)
2. In the morning, the group decide to bring Klamia on their adventure (Gain Klamia as an Ally)
3. Gorret says enough is enough, and the group bring neither Thodious or Klamia on their adventure.
4. In the morning the Group decides to bring both Klamia and Thodios on their adventure (Gain Klamia and Thodios as allies)
5. WOOF - write a chapter from Hank or assistants point of view. What were they arguing about? (flip a coin to determine: heads = hank, tails = assistant)
*If Game Master allows, the authors may vote on whether to bring Klamia, Thodios, Both, or Neither, on their adventure.*