It’s really difficult to find an excerpt where Gregorio Roman shines. People want to see more of him, so here we go. Enjoy this piece from War of Nytefall: Rivalry.
Standing amid the hovering tables, Lost struggles to focus on keeping them in the air and moving one in a specific pattern. Wearing a fresh pair of pajamas, the pointy-eared Dawn Fang is temporarily distracted by the warmth of her own clothes and nearly drops all of the furniture when she considers going to sleep. She closes her crimson eyes and tries to feel her targets with her powers instead of relying on her sight, but her sensitive hearing kicks in to reveal that a pair of mountain lions are fighting outside Gregorio’s lair. Fearing that she has already failed the test, Lost panics and hurries to stack the tables in a way that makes them resemble a dragon. She is almost done when one of the other students, who are gathered at the edge of the room, sneezes and causes her to turn in his direction. The vampire is about to yell at the boy when she notices that he has taken his shoes off and his socks are exposed. A foul smell of sweaty feet hits her nose and she immediately collects the furniture above her head. They crack and crunch together to form a giant stake that she aims at the other womb-born, who is frozen in terror. Before Lost can attack, a golden sheen coats the room and her telekinesis cuts off, which causes the heavy construct to fall on her head. Trapped beneath the wreckage, she can only shake her fist at the vampire as he scrambles through the nearest doorway.
“Everyone can go back to their personal studies or relax,” Gregorio declares as he approaches Lost. The bald, vampiric gnome removes the power negation field and swiftly ducks to avoid his student’s pet bunny, which crashes through the wall. “It’s been two years and you’ve not made much progress. You’ve been exceptionally distracted and temperamental for the last month. I haven’t received nearly as many hugs from you as I used to. What’s been on your mind lately?”
“Nothing and everything,” Lost answers while lifting the ruined tables over her head with one hand. She tosses the mangled wood to the side and goes about trying to piece the furniture back together, but she causes more damage. “Mom said I could live at the Scrumptious Siren once I turned eighteen. Part of me wants to since we’re getting along, but I don’t know if I can do it. Socks are a problem, but there’s more. There might be too many minds for me to tinker with, which means somebody will be left out of my fun. I still don’t have my mom’s chest, so I’d feel out of place too. See? No growth, Grandpa Roman.”
“Seems we need to teach you shame and decorum again,” the ancient inventor states after he quickly stops her from lifting her shirt. He flicks his dark goggles over his sensitive eyes to get a better look at the half-elf’s face, which is etched with worry. “You’re making things up to avoid talking about your real problem. Follow me to my office and we can discuss this in private. I doubt anyone is going to blow anything up after your display. We’re probably going to find another pile of ashes that used to be socks too.”
Calling her bunny to her shoulder, Lost silently follows the robe-wearing elder across the barren room. She abruptly darts ahead to open the door, the gesture enough to earn her a blood candy from Gregorio. Feeling happier, she skips into the office, which is filled with cabinets surrounding a desk that is too large to fit through the doorway. Taking her usual seat, Lost places her bunny on the chair next to her and watches as it sits with its decrepit ears standing straight up. Worried that the animal is too filthy for such a meeting, the Dawn Fang grabs a mug of liquid from the table and dumps it on her pet. The aroma of coffee fills the room and the rodent starts to spin in a circle in an attempt to catch its own tail. Before it can move from its spot, Gregorio slams a tall container over the bunny and chair. Clamps at the bottom of the tube slam into the stone floor and hold strong as the hyperactive animal rattles around inside. The clanging is enough to make Lost’s ears bleed, so she thrusts her hand through the side to catch her pet by the scruff of the neck and places it on her lap.
“Bunny needs to stay away from coffee,” she explains with a smile. Stroking the animal’s knotted fur, she folds her legs beneath her and tries to rock on the creaky chair. “I wasn’t really lying. Mom wants me to live with her when I feel comfortable and we agreed that the youngest I could be is eighteen. I decided that my birthday was two weeks ago. The problem is that I don’t know if I really belong there. Maybe I should go to Nytefall first since I’ve yet to visit. Bob said I could stay with the other Vengeance Hounds and they have the best snacks. Clyde even offered to give me a cabin in the fortress, but I think he meant forest because nobody puts a cabin in the middle of a fortress. Then, there’s the boy I kissed last month, but that didn’t taste right. I’m worried about the brewing war between Serab and the Yagervan tribes, which a corrupt noble in Gods’ Voice is trying to create. The price of radishes is getting far too high in the village to the north, so they might have to find another vegetable for their afternoon salads. I keep hearing about this Vampire Queen too. Windemere has so many problems that I’m not sure if I should stay in one place or try to fix them. I can make the bad people behave, which will improve the world, right?”
“That’s a lot to consider,” Gregorio says while he leans back in his chair.