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Greg Argos

Choosing Paths

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Greg Argos

((Continued from here))

 

Greg exited the Great Hall and headed in the direction of the Grand Staircase, ready for some grand exploration. Him, Arianna, and Aara had met up and created their plan of action; now it was time to execute. He stretched back a little, limbering himself up in case any serious running or climbing was to be done. Who knew what they would encounter in a school like this? Monsters, traps, hidden passages...the possibilities were endless.

 

Leading the two girls through the main corridor, Greg looked around for any sign of anything, well...out of the ordinary. He didn't want to just stumble upon something ordinary and plain. There were a couple of other students passing through, and Greg tried to see where they were headed; tailing someone was also a good strategy for finding hidden things. However, the little group soon come across an intersection of corridors.

 

Straight ahead was more hallway, with a large wooden door set about 10 feet from the intersection. It seemed like an ordinary door, except, here in the less noisier part of the school, Greg cold swear he could hear a faint humming coming from behind it. Down the left hallway was an open hallway, with light streaming in from numerous open windows looking out into the courtyard. Down the right was a hallway decorated with numerous paintings and portraits, most of them moving. Greg turned to his accomplices, and asked, "Which way do you want to go?"

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Arianna Wright

Instead of answering Aara, Greg had just got up and left the table, expecting them to follow him she supposed. That was kind of rude. Arianna decided to answer for him. "Greg thought we should start on the second floor and work our way up from there, but I suggested we start on the first," she got up, "so I guess that is where he is heading now."

 

She followed her housemate's retreating back into the first floor corridor. He seemed to be doing some kind of exercise...was he expecting to be jumped or something? She stood there and crossed her arms, watching him bend backwards a bit and heard a substantial crack. Maybe he had been sitting too long today. Classes did seem to have that effect on a student. Figuring she might as well stretch her back out herself, she brought up her arms, clasped them together, and leaned backwards hearing a satisfying crack from her own back. That felt good.

 

He continued walking and Arianna was starting to wonder if they stopped, would he even notice? "He kinda has a one track mind, don't you think?" she whispered to Aara as she followed Greg a couple feet behind. It didn't take long before they came to an intersection and had to choose a direction. They had come to a place that Arianna hadn't been so far so she stood there and took it all in. There was a weird clicking sound up ahead. To the left there was glorious sunshine. She kind of wanted to go down that corridor but since it opened up to the courtyard, it didn't seem very likely that there would be many castle secrets there. Looking left, she saw a whole bunch of paintings and portraits, all of them moving and talking with one another. Arianna had already been there a week and she still wasn't used to it.

 

When Greg asked them which way to go, Arianna was unsure. She didn't really want to go where the clicking was...it didn't really seem like it would be a secret, more just a couple students doing something weird. She looked longingly at the corridor to her left and started with "I think we should.." and then paused. Talking portraits...they had been here for, like, forever right? Wouldn't they have seen any sort of hidden passageways that students had taken in the past? They also traipsed all over the school so by talking to one portrait, you could find out so much about the entire castle. "Let's go right" she said abruptly, mind made up.

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Aara Aydelston

Aara giggled quietly at Arianna's comment. “I know what you mean.” She whispered back. Aara did not mind though. He was focused on the mission. He had the sort of focus that meant things would be accomplished. Under his command their little adventuring club would turn into something grand. “At least you know we'll definitely find something tonight.” She added for a positive spin, less their “leader” overhear.

 

There was something monumental about the intersection they encountered. It was as though the decision they made here would set the stage for the remainder of their journey. Did they play it safe and go toward the sunny corridor? Did they follow the faint hum behind door number two? Or did they go down the least obvious of choices and pick the regular looking corridor. Aara could not of cared less about flowers or sunlight. The hum, while intriguing, seemed like the obvious choice. Her instincts told her that the obvious choice would, most likely, lead to disappointment.

 

 "Let's go right,” Arianna suggested, while Aara pondered their options. She nodded in approval.

 

“Good choice.” She too had been leaning toward future adventure #3: portraits to the right. She glanced at Greg for confirmation, but, since he had already been out voted, there was really no room for argument – even if he was the president. Walking toward the corridor, Aara smiled as she took in all the portraits. Yes, she had been excited all day, but now it was really beginning to feel like an adventure. Aara had grown up with portraits that could move or talk, but these ones were far more interesting than the portrait of her dear Great-Great Aunt Betty.

 

“Keep an eye on the portraits. They might have clues.” A portrait of a boy in corridor, similar to the one they were walking through, caught her eye.

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Greg Argos

Greg could hear the two girls whispering to each other as he led them to the intersection, but he couldn't really make out what they were saying. "Let's go right," Greg heard the two girls' decision. Greg stared at the door straight ahead for a few moments, longing to see what was behind there. Could it be magical items, or a whole new part of the school? It seemed they would have to save that for another day. The girls had already voted on going right, and Greg, believing in democracy, decided to head down that way as well.

 

The group headed down the dimly lit corridor, glancing left and right at many of the amazing portraits and landscapes depicted within. Most of the paintings were moving, some people chatting with others, others doing some activity, others taking a nap. It was really interesting, as he could hear the murmur and chatter of the noises coming from the paintings, even though they were only two-dimensional. Magic is really something, he thought to himself.

 

"Keep an eye on the portraits, they might have clues." Greg heard a boy in one of the closer portraits mention to them in passing. "Thanks," Greg replied, still shocked that the people in the portraits could even see them. He wondered what life must seem like from inside a painting. The group walked a little further, and they soon came to a large portrait, the frame covered in gold design and strange symbols. Greg thought they looked a little like Greek letters, but he was no expert on old languages, so they could be anything really. Walking up to the portrait, they could make out a wizened old wizard in blue robes and a black hat, sitting behind a large oaken desk, with three pieces of paper spread out on it.

 

"Hello?" Greg tried to get the subject's attention. The old wizard looked up from what he was writing and glanced at them quickly. "What do you want?" he croaked back. Greg tried to sound friendly and amicable. "We're looking for hidden rooms or passages in the school. Know of anything interesting?" The old wizard paused for a few seconds and inspected the three students. "Well," he went on. "I do know of some places. But first, I need you to take a look at these three pieces of paper." Greg and the girls moved closer and tried to make out what was on the three mysterious pages.

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Arianna Wright

They started walking down the corridor that Arianna had chosen and she heard Aara say next to her to pay attention to the paintings, they might have clues. She was glad that she wasn't the only one who had thought of that. She would have felt pretty stupid bringing it up, I mean, come on, let's go talk to portraits to find a secret passageway. It did sound a bit ridiculous. Consumed in her thoughts, she didn't realize when Greg stopped in front of a particular portrait and walked right past him. Figuring out that the rest of the club wasn't with her, she turned around and walked back to them, determined to say if they asked that she was just checking out the portraits farther down the hall.

 

When she arrived at the portrait that Greg had chosen, she immediately wondered why he had stopped there. There didn't seem to be anything particularly unique or intriguing about the graying wizard sitting at a desk. However, things did get more interesting when Greg asked him if he knew of any secret passageways and the man, after contemplating the three eleven-year-olds showed three pieces of paper and asked them to look at them. Why did he want to show them something? Was it his artwork that he wanted them to praise or something? Deciding to take a closer look, Arianna took a step forward and concentrated on the paper to her left.

 

At first, there didn't seem to be anything on the mysterious paper, but as she stared at it, a drawing slowly took form. At first it was just a lot of squiggly lines, but then it started becoming clear. It didn't take too long before Arianna recognized her own house's mascot, the bold lion. It was turned to the right, rearing, seeming as if it was trying to interact with the page next to it. She looked at Aara next to her and, looking over her shoulder, asked "What've you got? Mine's a lion."

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Aara Aydelston

Aara followed Greg to the portrait of an old man in an ornate, antique frame. It was the sort of picture that looked as though it had been hung in the halls of Hogwarts for centuries. If any portrait knew of secret chambers, passageways, or hidden histories, this one was likely to give them a good start. Aara watched intently as Greg initiated conversation. Aara could not shake the feeling that something exciting was about to happen.

 

Bold and brash as ever, Greg did not beat around the bush and opted to ask the Old Man directly for help. Aara would not have been so direct, but if it got them to their destination she supposed it did not matter. The portraits response, however, surprised her. Three pieces of paper? Was this going to be the sort of information that came in the form of terrible, mind boggling, wit melting clues? She certainly hoped so. Aara could not wait to go back to the common room and see the look on Liddy's face when she told her friend that she and her Gryffindor chums had found a super secret chamber because an old man in a portrait had show them strips of parchment. Priceless.

 

“I wonder what that means?” Aara whispered back to Arianna, for fear that a louder voice would make the papers disappear. Arianna had turned a lion to the left, leaving two more clues hidden. Turning her attention to the middle piece, Aara watched with amazement as slowly the image of a portrait appeared. It showed a lone boy sitting on a rock by the lake. “Interesting.” She remarked in a hushed tone. She glanced at Arianna and Greg, excitement in her eyes. Turning back to the Old Man, the on the third piece of parchment appeared the number 3.

 

“What do you think it means?” Aara asked her companions. The Old Man stared down at them, and the images of a lion, a boy in a portrait, and the number three danced on the pieces of paper.

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Greg Argos

Greg watched as the image of a lion wad formed on the left piece of paper. He wondered if this was one part of a clue, or meant something to each individual person, or something else equally strange and mysterious. Glancing at the other two pieces of paper with slight anticipation, Greg saw the faint image of a picture frame with a boy inside of it, sitting on a rock by a lake. Greg looked closer at the picture, and realized he could see the Hogwarts castle in the distance of the picture in the image in the portrait (woah!).

 

Turning to the last piece of paper, Greg could make out the number "3" in a large, complex design. He stepped back a moment, trying to take in everything he had seen so far. They had found a painting of an old wizard who had shown them three pieces of paper. They each showed a lion, a boy in a picture frame, and the number three. He wondered if the lion had anything to do with the Gryffindor house insignia; looking closer at it, he realized it did slightly resemble the lion on the Hogwarts crest. He didn't know where to begin with the picture of the boy, and maybe the number three had to do with three students, or three members. Secret and powerful things always seemed to come in groups of three.

 

Greg suddenly realized that there was another person looking at the papers: the old man. He asked rather frankly, "So what do these all mean?" The old man had to know something, otherwise he wouldn't have shown them these images. "Find the portrait." Greg paused a moment, then decided to ask again. The old wizard repeated his previous answer. "Find the portrait." Greg frowned a bit, then asked his companions what they thought of this recent development. "So, any idea what we're looking for here. It seems like we have to find the portrait on the middle paper, maybe near Gryffindor Tower or something. But I still don't know what the three means."

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Arianna Wright

The other two papers completely befuddled Arianna. What did any of these have to do with each other and what were they supposed to get out of it? Thankfully, Greg asked the question that was on her mind. "Find the portrait!" was the reply. Well, that seemed simple enough. Eager to get going, they had a lot of paintings to look at, she was about to leave when she heard Greg ask the same question again. She looked at him puzzled, wondering how he could have not understood that. "Find the portrait" seemed pretty obvious to her, simple instructions on what to do next. What else was there really to think about? Go to the area, look for the portrait.

 

"So, any idea what we're looking for here." ...yes, a portrait. Didn't you just hear the painting? "It seems like we have to find the portrait on the middle paper, maybe near Gryffindor Tower or something." That does make sense. "But I still don't know what the three means." That last part got her to thinking. Suddenly hit with an idea, she hesitated. If she told them now what she thought it was, then they would just go there and do it, but if she didn't she would look pretty impressive, wouldn't she? Liking the second option, she simplified her response to leave out key thoughts about the number. "Well, I think that the papers were probably in that order for a reason, so I guess we go to Gryffindor tower first, and then look for the portrait from there. I'm sure we'll figure out what the 3 means once we get there." There. No lies. She would see if what she thought the three was about was right when they got there.

 

A bit reluctant to present Aara with the location of Gryffindor tower, she hesitated before heading off to their destination. She had been told never to show anyone else where their common room was. Maybe if they just said it was in the general area? Yeah, that would be good. And if she did find out that the Fat Lady was the entrance, they would just have to make her show them the entrance to her common room to even it out.

Edited by Arianna Wright

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Aara Aydelston

"Find the portrait." The Old Man repeated. Well that was rather cryptic. Aara was intrigued, and a bit frustrated. They finally had a solid clue to follow! But Hogwarts was massive. Would they actually be able to find the portrait in one evening? Aara listened intently to her companion's suggestions. They were logical and sound deductions. She could not argue with anything they had suggested, and instead chose to keep silent.

 

Aara was the type to never leave a single stone unturned. Millions of ideas were flitting through her mind. Were she to voice them all, they would end up with so many options, they would never get started.

 

What if the lion wasn't Gryffindor tower? What if there was a lion statue somewhere with the number three carved on it. What if you have to tap your wand on the number to open a secret chamber where the portrait was hidden? What if the portrait was in the very corridor they were standing in? What if the boy had been a Gryffindor and you had to tell him three jokes about his house before he told you were his secret hide out was? The possibilities were endless, and Aara was overwhelmed with all the options. It was better to let the decisive Gryffindors get them started.

 

"Sounds like a plan." Aara nodded, as she let them lead the way toward the towers. Letting herself get lost in her thoughts, Aara mulled over the clues while they started up the stairs.

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Greg Argos

Greg listened to the other two girls' ideas about the mysterious clues on the mysterious pieces of paper inside the mysterious mirror. All this riddle stuff seemed to have an answer to it; Greg could feel it just out of reach, waiting for that extra jolt of mind power to solve. If they had only had some Ravenclaws with them, they might have a better chance of actually finding a secret. He hoped some would join the club as soon as they held their first meeting.

 

Greg muddled over the clues once more, pausing over the number three. Many things came in threes, everything from storybook items to packs of pastries. He doubted that the three meant anything about food; come to think of it, Greg could feel the beginnings of hunger setting in. He made a quick mental note to grab a quick bite to eat from the kitchens after this little excursion.

 

The lion seemed to greatly resemble the Gryffindor mascot, but Greg doubted that a seemingly ancient secret had anything to do with just Gryffindor. Besides, he wanted all houses involved in this club, not just the "adventurous" Gryffindors. He pushed lion ideas to the side, concentrating on the portrait of the boy. The old man seemed to hint that that portrait was in this castle, and since that was the best lead they had at the moment, he decided to give it a shot. Turning to the girls, he said, "Want to try and find that portarit? It shouldn't be too hard if we ask around?" Come to think of it, he turned around and asked the old wizard politely, "Do you know where we can find this boy?" The old man paused for a moment, then replied, "Remember the clues." Greg frowned, getting tired of all these riddles. "Well," he turned back to the girls. "Let's try near the Gryffindor Tower, since it's our best lead. Aara led them down the corridor, the lamplight seeming to get darker and darker as they proceeded onward.

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Arianna Wright

Surprisingly, it didn't take them long to get up to the correct floor. The staircases must be being nice to them she mused as they stepped off of the last one. The other two seemed to be lagging a bit behind, deep in thought. She looked back and called "Hey, let's go" before turning back around and trotting down the hallway, glancing at all the portraits. They might as well do this with some speed. She spied a group of hags having tea in one of the portraits, cackling about something or other and many wizened old men. Weren't there any wizened old women? Actually, come to think of it, she hadn't seen many portraits that depicted women alone.

 

After about 3 minutes of searching, Arianna stopped in the middle of the hall, breathing a bit more heavily than she normally would have if walking. She bent over, resting her hands on her knees and took deep breaths, glancing around. Suddenly, a tapestry caught her eye. Was that there before? "Hey, what about that?" She asked the other two, walking over to it. It was rather unassuming, and did not depict the boy in the picture, but the fat lady was hidden behind a tapestry, maybe this one was too? She grabbed the edge of the tapestry and pulled it to the side, revealing a silvery frame and blue water...

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Aara Aydelston

By the time they reached the seventh floor, Aara was exhausted. It was only excitement and an extreme curiosity that kept her going. It also did not hurt that she had a pocket full of chocolate frogs. Chocolate in any amount was enough to keep her happy. She nibbled on the leg of a frog, as it squirmed in her fingers. Scouring the walls for any sign of the mysterious boy in the painting.

 

The walls were covered with painting after painting. She’d never realized Hogwarts had so many! It was almost dizzying to take them all in. Thankfully, Arianna suggested, “hey, what about that?”

 

Perking up, Aara scurried close. A tapestry. “Oooh.” She murmured, fancy things were always hidden behind tapestries. She watched eagerly as Arianna pulled at the fabric, and glanced at Greg with excitement. This had to be something special. She could feel it, and usually her feels were spot-on. It felt like an eternity as Arianna pulled the material from the ornate silver frame. As blue water was first reviled, Aara’s eyes went wide. This is it!

 

They had found the portrait.

 

“Do you know any secret chambers?” She blurted out – apparently Greg was not the only one who could be blunt. The boy turned around an looked at her quizzically. He was only just older than them, and had short brown hair. He wore Gryffindor colors, and as he looked at her he frowned -- particularly when he noticed the green on her robes. "Why should I trust you Slytherin?" Aara bit her lip, a bit fearful that he presence would ruin everything. Glancing at Greg, she stepped back to let him take the lead. He was, after all their President and the only other boy.

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Greg Argos

Their little group trekked up the castle floors, having only a small piece of paper with a picture on it, inside of an even more mysterious picture, to go off of. Greg saw Aara nibble on some Chocolate Frogs she had produced from her pocket. Some people eat when they're anxious, others nibble their fingernails, he commented to himself. Having just eaten a large meal before, he decided not to ask for any sweets.

 

They walked down an ordinary hallway near the Gryffindor Tower. Greg hoped that they would be able to find some place to meet with the whole club...that is, if anyone was interested at all. It had been a few weeks since the start of the term, and he had heard very little about anyone else being interested in the club. Optimistically, he just hoped that people would hear about it sooner or later and have some interest in joining.

 

Suddenly, he heard Arianna gasp and say, "Hey, what about that?" He turned to where she was standing, in front of a large tapestry decorated in swirling gold and red patterns, the colors of Gryffindor house. No real picture was depicted, but the swirls and intricate patterns made for a stunning display. Greg watched silently as Arianna pulled the tapestry away, and a film of dust was thrown into the air, forcing a light cough from the trio. They peeked behind warily, and found a silver-framed portrait depicting a young student sitting next to lake. They had found something! At least, something that a wizened old man in a portrait had secretly revealed on a (drawn) piece of paper.

 

"Do you know any secret chambers?" Aara blurted out instantly. Greg smiled a bit, knowing that he had done the same thing just recently, and found that it did not seem like a good plan after all. "Why should I trust you, Slytherin?" the boy mocked as he turned around and saw the green on Aara's robes.

 

Greg stepped in front, trying to keep the boy calm. "Hey, no need to get angry, we're just talking here," he casually offered. "We were told to find your picture from the old man in the first floor portrait, you know, the one with the desk. He said we would find some sort of secret here." Greg stopped, waiting for a response from the strange boy. "Ah," came the reply. "Let's see. You obviously found me, and have the required amount of people. You may enter." With that, the painting swung aside and revealed a small hole behind it, much like the entrance to Gryffindor Tower. A faint gasp of air blew out, and Greg assumed that this entrance hadn't been opened in a long, long time.

 

The trio entered cautiously, forgetting that they were probably entering into some forbidden chamber or arrea of the castle. Nevertheless, Greg decided he could count on these girls, as they had stuck with him and his idea so far. They walked into a medium-sized chamber, a few lanterns hanging dimly on the four walls of the room. The ceiling was about twenty feet above, slightly sloping. They must be near one of the towers, Greg mused.

 

But it was what was inside the room that really counted. Laid out on a half dozen tables were lots and lots of maps. Large battle maps, small folding maps, maps that constantly moved and shifted design...Greg looked around, stunned at this impossible find. He spotted what looked like a map of Hogwarts, noticing the four-paneled crest on it, with the respective animals on it. A few dozen or so stools and chairs were spread out around the tables or set up next to a fireplace, and a large bookshelf on the far wall seemed to contain books and trinkets; Greg could see a set of keys, some old lanterns and flashlights, and even a couple of metallic objects that looked similar to hooks. Greg turned around to his companions. "Guys," he said quietly. "This place looks perfect for meetings. How did that old guy know what we were looking for?"

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Arianna Wright

As soon as she finished unveiling the painting, she knew they had the right place. She took to examining the picture, the lake, the boy, and only looked away when she heard Aara's exclamation. That was definitely one way to go about it. That was something that both her and Greg had in common. Arianna, however, was less likely to ask for help than the other two seemed to be. If you asked, some of the adventure seemed to be taken out of it. Curious for the response, since the question had already been asked, she listened for the boy's answer. However, when it came, it was not what she was expecting, and sudden dislike for the boy blossomed within her. "Hey!" She furiously called at the boy, "there's nothing wrong with Slytherins. She's our friend so you better shut up!" She was about to continue on to give this snobby boy a lecture when Greg cut in. Huffing, Arianna fell silent.

 

When the boy told them that they had the right number of people to enter, Arianna's heart sank. That was all there was to it? She was sure that her idea about what the three meant had been right. So much for that. Her disappointment didn't stay around for long though as the portrait swung open revealing a completely decked out room with red and gold everywhere. She gave a nervous glance over to Aara, considering it was in only one house's colors and that hardly seemed fair, but thinking about it, it made sense since the boy guarding it was a Gryffindor. She whispered to her "We'll find a color spell or something like that in the library to change the color scheme to match all houses, ok?"

 

Arianna really liked the look of this room and thought that it would be a wonderful place to meet, but something kept on nagging at her mind, something about that number "3". As soon as Greg said something about this being the meeting spot for the club, she realized what had been bothering her. "Um...Greg? Didn't the portrait say that we were the required amount of people? Doesn't that mean only three people can enter? If we get more people in the club, that could become a problem." Maybe this could just be their administrative office. She kind of liked the idea that there would be a special room just for them. After all, they were the original three of the club, and that deserved some special privileges, right?

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Aara Aydelston

While it was only natural for an Gryffindor from times past to be suspicious of a Slytherin, Aara had not expected such a strong reaction from Arianna. She looked at the other girl with surprise at her outburst. They were friends and founding members of the Adventuring Club, but it rather amazed Aara to be defended so forcefully. Her surprise quickly turned into pleasure. With that one gesture, Arianna had been upgraded from friend to close friend. Granted it was only a portrait..., Aara thought to herself, but was touched by the gesture none-the-less.

 

Happy and excited once again, Aara was nothing but smiles and curiosity as the portrait opened to reveal a super awesome, top-secret chamber. The gold and red was a bit overwhelming, and momentarily Aara wondered if they had brought her to the Gryffindor common room by mistake. Yet at Arianna's comment she was reassured it was indeed their own super awesome top-secret chamber. It could have been orange with green and pink stars on the walls, for all Aara cared. It was a secret chamber. They had found it. And it was theirs!

 

“Sounds good.” She smiled at Arianna, grateful for the consideration.

 

The room was the most impressive thing she had ever discovered. Aara was ready to dive into the maps, books, and charts. She could not wait to discover all their secrets. Who knew what kind of secret, mystical knowledge, or power the many piles of scrolls strewn across the table held? Fantastic. Like a fly to honey, Aara began unrolling scroll after scroll searching for that special one. Only half paying attention to the others, she only just caught Arianna's remark.

 

“I don't suppose we'll know until we try...” And if they could not get more than three people in the room at a time, it would be extremely embarrassing for a first meeting. However, Aara was not sure she wanted to share this room with anyone else... She most certainly didn't want anyone finding a super spectacular scroll before her. Not being much for logistics, Aara was quickly distracted by her surroundings.

 

At the edge of the table sat an ornate set of keys atop a map that looked suspiciously like the castle grounds. “I wonder...”

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