The party stood in shock at this revealing of information. Crysx looked at his hands, taking note of a very very dull glow emanating from his body. He felt amazed, betrayed, wounded, thankful, blissful, confused, a thousand different emotions all at once.

“Why did you hide this from me,” Crysx asked his father.

Eitger stared into his son’s eyes, “I’m so sorry I had to do that to you… Come. We have a quarry to hunt, we can talk later.”

Crysx’s mind was less than focused on the task at hand now that he had all these questions swimming in his mind. Lisbeth placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder,

“Let’s go. Everything will reveal itself in time, just as this had.”

They followed the paladins into the dark. Seeing how their direction was the only way forward, they had no choice but to continue on the winding, tube shaped halls until something revealed itself. The lack of activity left Crysx to be a victim of his own mind. Discomfort among the group hung in the air like a dense fog, the only sound was the clatter of boots on the stone flooring echoing around them. Much to everyone’s relief, the hallway opened up into a room. there were three doorways, one opposite and one on either side. The opposite doorway looked as if it were about to capsize but there was clearly movement on the other side. Determined for a distraction, Corbin and Crysx rushed forward through the threshold with Lisbeth not far behind.

“It’s them!” Eitger exclaimed as the paladins were slow to react.

When Corbin Crysx and Lisbeth crossed through the doorway, their carelessness and haste caused them to jar it, crumbling into a heap of rubble behind them. Panic took over Crysx like a spell. Turning around on a ring’s width, he ran back to the capsize, the drum of fear pounding in his chest as he called out for his father.

“We have no time, they’ll find a way,” Corbin called after him.

“Crysx! Don’t let them escape, we’ll find a way around!” Eitger called through the stones.

A moment of hesitation seemed like an eternity to Crysx until he decided to follow his companions into the unknown. The path snaked before them, this way and that. Hurried footsteps in the distanced told them that they weren’t far behind. Whatever mad plan was behind their quarry gave them incredible speed, it became apparent. Soon, it was only their running that could be heard,  huffs of breath and their hearts pounding in their ears. A large room lay before them in time, the borders hidden by the darkness. The far side was illuminated by the enemy. Four dragonics stood in front of them, a human behind them kneeling in front of a massive statue of a being with the lower half of a serpent and upper half of a human-like creature. Its cold, reptilian face glaring down at all of them reminded them of a god. A gleam of light caught Corbin’s eye as he gazed at the statue. The two eyes seemed to have gems encrused into them, blue in color and roughly half the size of the gems he already possessed.

“You are too late. In due time the Serpent King will rise and owe me his allegiance for his return,” the human said, his voice thick will a sadistic pleasure.

The four dragonics, two reds and two blues, were facing them, poised to protect the human. Standing slowly, the human turned to face the party as well. His eyes shone in the dark like two peridots, a black slit running down them vertically. The pupils opened and closed as they focused and analyzed the party. There was more to this one than was apparent.

Without hesitation, Crysx lunged forward with a mad cry as the head of his axe burst into flames. The creature grinned as its body twisted and morphed to reveal in truth he was a red dragon. His dragonic minions rushed forward to meet Crysx. The battle with the dragonics was rather quick and decided, only being permitted a hit or two on the party. The real problem was the dragon. Blasts of fire spewed from the dragon’s mouth like demons from a hell hole. His wrath was fierce, and before long, he too was starting to be defeated. Unexpectedly, the statue on the other side of the room burst to reveal that it was actually the Serpent King encased in stone. Both of the gems were sent in opposite directions across the room. That’s when the tides of battle changed. Crysx quickly became the victim of the dragon, a mighty swipe of the claws knocking him unconscious. The Serpent King felt magic emanating from Corbin and Lisbeth. Thousands upon thousands of years of slumber made him thirst for its consumption. Lisbeth was quickly struck down, on the brink of death even.

The power that Crysx wielded, even when helpless, shielded Lisbeth from the void of death. Corbin saw his time running short and couldn’t help but think where the hell are those damn paladins? He made a mad dash for the gems. Upon scooping one up, it became apparent that one was simply a half, he guessed the other was the companion piece. With a quick mending spell, he was able to reconstruct the gem and channel magical energy through all three of the gems he possessed to land a desperate blow on the Serpent King. The spell made the creature roar in pain and rear back from the spell caster. The dragon had no fear, knowing that Corbin’s time was at an end and struck him down.

Cold darkness started to engulf the party, the room was spinning around them. Before slipping into complete unconsciousness, they heard the war cry of fifty paladins echo through the room…

 

 

Stay Metal \m/