A dragon dead before them. The sounds of swords clashing around them. The feeling of relief as many of their friends are safe now. The Champions’ minds turned towards hope as the battle raged on around them. They had saved many people and stopped many enemies. Though they relish in the fact of their accomplishments, they knew it was not done yet as there were more to save. With Ari high above the battlefield, she points out that Trinia, Grunt, and Cressida were in danger. They were surrounded on all sides and it seems as if their squads were decimated.
The group made the decision to save Trinia first since they assumed she was the weakest and needed saving the most. Before Ari could see the rest of the battle before her, the Champions bolted towards the innocent bard running away from a Black dragon.
They reached her before the dragon could destroy her, firing arrows and spells to draw the dragon’s attention. However, the heroes realized it wasn’t alone as several Gray Maidens moved in to apprehend the supposed Kingslayer. Blackjack, Anja, and Orion decided to split from Ari and Brealyn to save Trinia, while the two of them debated how to bring down a dragon.
Firing arrow after arrow, Ari used her divine might to damage the creature as Brealyn caused Jade to grow wings, flying up to the terrible wrym to distract it. All the while, the others fought against a cadre of Gray Maidens surrounding Trinia. One by one, the heroes were able to fend off the unrelenting attacks of the fanatically armored warriors. Though some damage was taken, the fall of the Dragon from the sky signaled their victory in this skirmish. After making sure Trinia was fine and telling her to keep other important creatures distracted, they darted to where Grunt was last seen to save Anja’s lover.
They arrived to see Grunt standing alone against his enemies. Defiant in the face of the largest black dragon on the field and his Red Mantis entourage. With a roar, Grunt engaged his enemies, believing it would be his final fight. His acceptance of death swiftly turned into hope as his friends came to his rescue.
Ari began raining vengeance-imbued arrows upon the massive beast as everyone else rushed to Grunt’s side, showing their defender that he is not alone in this fight. Blackjack and Anja focused on the assassins along with Grunt, as Orion began to climb the back of the dragon. Brealyn had Jade disrupt their movements as best as she could, beginning with keeping the dragon on the ground instead of letting it fly off.
Almost reminiscent of old times, their teamwork prevailed in fighting off the gigantic black terror before them. The assassins fell to their blades but before the final blow against the dragon was struck, the beast took off in flight, finally getting away from the earth elemental keeping him grounded.
Orion held on as best as he could, trying to get some precise attacks in while the beast flew off. Distracted by the pest on his back, the dragon didn’t realize the archer upon a flying carpet giving chase. Ari poised herself in a long ranged stance, took aim, and released a single arrow towards the black shadow in the sky. Finding its mark within the nape of the draconic scourge, the dragon’s final breathe is that of a roar as it plummeted back to the ground. Orion used his feather fall ring to allow safe passage back to the earth.
Adrenaline pumping through their veins and victory in their minds, the Champions rejoiced as their friend was safe once again. Anja held him close as Blackjack made sure no other assassin was coming. Brealyn, relieved that her old friend was safe, joined them in celebration, and Ari watched content that Grunt was safe. Orion booked it back to the group as fast as he could, hoping to regroup before the next threat came their way.
But their joy was for naught, as another body flew by their heads, crashing beyond them with a sickening crack. The lifeless body’s face twisted in horror from the onslaught it just endured. The Champions looked towards where the body was flung to see a new yet familiar face sneering at them. The rejuvenated face of their sworn enemy, the one who united them in the first place, Gaedren Lamm stared them down. He laughed as he believed his vengeance was finally at hand. Snapping his fingers, he revealed that he had picked up some help along the way to kill them, with Grau, Strog, and Clara bearing weapons and spells, ready to unleash upon the Champions.
The heroes’ final bout with the terror of the past was before them. The final page of their terrible beginnings was about to come to a close.