Phoulkanus seated and bound in the shadow of a very angry Arenwe speaks quickly to prove his value alive vs. dead. He explained that the Princess was tricked into drinking a sedative and smuggled out of camp shortly after our departure. She is to be publicly executed in Merikesh tomorrow. The sniveling wizard continues to profess his innocents, that Draco had forced him into these foul works. Then suddenly a growing shadow on the wall catches my eye, but before I can react it has torn it’s self from the wall and drove it’s hand through Faelwyn’s chest and collapsing the young cleric to the ground. Aden Kell shouted a cry of warning and shoved me out of the way from two more, taking their killing strikes in my stead. At total of four living shadows surrounded us, when the ywisted sword maiden’s eyes took on a new life and used as a vessel for Draco. He spoke to us stating we have interfered for too long and that Phoulkanus should have kept his mouth shut. He issued an order to kill us all and then left the host body lifeless on the stone floor.
Armor provided no protection from the Night Shades’ touch, draining one’s life essence with each icy embrace. Harder still was connecting one’s blade with the creatures as they could shift to one side becoming paper-thin. Phoulkanus fended off one while Kara and Andrew slew another. Arenwe wounded from the battle before was violently drained and collapsed, we all feared the worst. We three rallied over our fallen comrade and slew the remaining three. In a miracle Arenwe and Faelwyn still lived, not so fortunate was Aden Kell, but in the end he died the way he began, a hero.
Phoulkanus now more frightened then ever told us that Draco had always had the gift of sorcery, but only recently had his power grown, much more then could be explained by use of the Dragon’s Eye, which has been shrunk in size to fit as a facet on his sword. Draco’s knowledge has passed what was taught to him from Phoulkanus, he must have a new teacher, perhaps even the Dark Lord himself. Phoulkanus tells us of a portal here that can take us to the Keep in Merikesh. We decide to wait to use the portal until closer to the time of the execution as the keep will be empty then. While showing Kara and me the portal Phoulkanus offers to share Arenwe’s secrets gleamed from his mind. Kara is interested in hearing of Arenwe’s feelings regarding her and the recently fallen sentinel. I urged Kara to respect Arenwe’s privacy and trusting she’ll make the right decision left her to choose. I tended to Aden Kell’s body so that he may be buried properly once the Princess is saved.
We made camp that night in the warmth of the hatchery. Andrew had adopted some strange abomination founded earlier, a cross between a lizard and a dog. Phoulkanus confident in our victory tomorrow tries to persuade us into allowing him to journey with us going forward. He makes offers of knowledge of legendary treasure and to help Arenwe find the lost people of Arcania(edit?). We questioned Arenwe who shares that he believes the inhabitants of Arcania(edit?) may have been transported to a different realm and not actually destroyed as most believe during the Great War. He searches for a way to find them and the magical spires may be the answer. We of course have no desire to align ourselves with such a devious companion and I explain to Phoulkanus he’ll be tired by the people of Jeh’an for his crimes.
I could hardly sleep a wink. Choosing to wait till the keep is empty, but at the risk of being too late to save Princess Anneka is the hardest decision I’ve yet to make. I pray to the Maker that she’ll remain safe.
The next day after fetching our horses we gather at the portal. With less than half an hour till the execution my nerves are at their breaking point. Phoulkanus attempting to open the portal sighs that Draco has locked it from the other side, but not to worry he can override it. After several tense moments he does and true to his word we appear inside of the royal keep. We are faced with a more conventional lock, but before I can bash the door down Andrew pulls out a few strange tools and opens the lock as if he owned the place. Who really is Andrew Rowe? Certainly a question best suited for another time.
We exit into the streets and fall into the masses slowly moving to the city gates. The city-folk are being forced to attend the execution of their beloved princess. The entire city assemblies just outside the city gates where a small army awaits to hinder any attempt by the rebels to rescue Anneka. Then I see her, the radiant Princess looking both defiant and noble despite being chained to a post. Draco in a dramatic fashion circles above riding the giant flame drake female called Reign. With a thunderous claps the beast lands demanding the attention and silence of all. Draco addresses the city announcing that with the death of the rebel princess the Jeh’an people will finally be united once again and under his rule they’ll march against the Argon nation and then the whole of the Midlands. Princess Anneka calls Draco mad and promises he will be stopped. With a laugh Draco asks if she is making reference to the new champion, who he had just killed the night before.
With nods of readiness from Kara, Andrew and Arenwe I mount Goliath and break away from the crowd yelling out Draco’s name and identifying myself a both Dragon Knight and Champion of the Jeh’an. The surprise doesn’t last long on Draco’s face as he welcomes the opportunity to slay me before all of his subjects. He dismounts Reign and tells her to kill me, while he dispatches Kara and Arenwe who are now standing apart from the crowd. The city soldiers are directed to stand down, but kill anyone attempting to flee the melee.
I charge forward and trade sword blow for claw with the Flame Drake. Protected by a spell from arrows Draco clashes swords with the elf. Kara makes her way to Princess Anneka has Andrew sneaks out of the crowd. Kara frees the princess, causing Draco to send Reign to break away from me and attack Kara. She is struck by a mighty fire ball. Andrew distracts Draco long enough for Kara to take a healing potion and rejoin the fight. With much effort I fell the monstrous Reign with a final slash of Dragon’s Bane. Furious Draco charges at me and his magical blade cuts through my plate mail as if it wasn’t there. When our blades meet a strange sensation of magic courses through me and by the look on Draco’s face, he as well. Wound for wound I manage to give as good as I get and he is already injured previously by Kara, but the battle is finally turned when she disarms Draco and captures his magical blade. He calls forth a gust of wind in an attempt to flee, but at the Princess’s command the soldiers heed their last instruction to kill anyone attempting to flee. A hundred arrows detour Draco back to the ground. It seems with the rise of Princess Anneka and the death of the Flame Drake the people have grown embolden against their tyrannical leader.
Cornered and furious Draco summons forth a great and deadly storm of lightning to kill Princess Anneka, but his rage out matches his control of sorcery and he is consumed by his own power. In a flash he is reduced to a pile of ash.
Princess Anneka and I share a quick embrace before she steps atop the dais to a cheer of the crowd and promises the nightmare to her people is finally at an end.