The Gloomy Doctor Contest Submission #17

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Name: The Gloomy Doctor by Connor Dykstra

The Gloomy Doctor, the First Born, or one of the other names he has gone by (his original name was forgotten many lantern years ago) is the most admired and feared member of his settlement. I feel the best way to tell you about him is by telling you his story.
He was the first child born to the settlement, sired by two of the settlement’s original founders. With such a lineage, it was small wonder he was raised to be a warrior. As he grew, he developed a rivalry with a younger boy born shortly after him. They grew older and developed a deep respect for each other, but then one day, the other boy, now a young man, vanished. When he heard his friend’s voice, the young man went to the door of his home and saw the colossal spider taunting him. Enraged, he gathered a group of experienced hunters, indebted to his now deceased parents, to hunt the Spidicules.
It was the young man’s first hunt, but his comrades were skilled and experienced. It would not save them. When they encountered the Spidicules, they were overwhelmed. As one after another fell, the young man became more and more enraged. With only one comrade left, an insane and bizarrely insightful man named Gerald, the young man was cast down into the stone faces. As he gathered himself up he looked forward and saw a bug with his own face. His mind snapped and he become completely mad. With his mind in tatters, Gerald whispered a terrible secret into the young man’s ear. The young man saw/heard a darkness like a vast ocean and discovered how to move through it.
Transformed, the man disappeared from from Spidicules’s view only to reappear and cut off leg after leg of his target. Being unable to pinpoint its target, Spidicicules was defeated and the young man stood before the babbling ball before gathering it, and the grim remains of his dead comrades, and began the trek to his home, with only Gerald at his side. But fate was not kind to him, and soon Gerald was snatched up in the clutches of another Spidicules. Determined to save Gerald, the young man pushed forward towards his settlement
Fortune continued to fight him though, as he was lost in a clinging mist. He traveled, lost and confused, before being confronted by a young screaming antelope. Starving from being lost for so long, the young man pulled upon his dark new powers and fought the antelope, barely defeating it with his life intact.
At last he returned home, a changed man. They were surprised to see him return, bringing with him a huge bounty. But there were no cheers, for he was cold and unnerving to be around. Yet, the settlement assented to allow him to assume leadership (after all, who was going to say no) as he led yet another fight against Spidicules, this time with him as their veteran leader.
A number of lantern years later, as a dying wish to an old friend of his, he led a party deep into the woods he had traveled so often. There, they encountered and fought the Flower Knight. During the fight, one of the young man’s followers, the old crone’s son, was slain. After the fight, the young man collected the flower that bloomed from his corpse with sudden inspiration.
Returning to the settlement, he had one of the less desirable of the settlement consume the follower and watched as his friend was revived. Inspired, he took it upon himself to attempt to find a cure for the strange plague that broke out shortly afterwards. In the process he learned how to use acanthus and other plants to repair almost any damage to his allies.
Now, he leads his people in the darkness. He is seen flitting around the battle field, appearing next to the injured to roughly repair the damage they have received. It is hard to say what the survivors are more scared of, the monsters in the dark, or their Gloomy Doctor.

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