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Pain. Burning. Even though it was a fireball that hit him, in his rage, the first thing that came to mind was the mage with the bolting spell that ignited his cloak. NOT AGAIN! went through his mind. With the halberdier dead, in his mind, since the halberd broke, he went and directed his rage towards the morph mage. He charged the mage and quickly split him in two. He looked around and his attention was once again drawn to other mage(Renata). They still lived. They weren't even burnt. Before he could charge her, he heard someone call him out.

Lennox turned his head towards the sound of the voice and saw the only other thing on his mind during this whole experience on this island. Lennox saw Corin Hyperion(Tiras) calling him out. For some reason, he had more armor on than usual. And he didn't have the his usual Wo Dao, but that was Corin. He charged at Corin, ready to kill.
Renault cast another pillar of Aura at the last of the morphs that had been weathering time. It disintegrated to dust, ragged clothes and rotten, rusted weapons falling to the floor. He took a moment to take stock. Six morphs were left. They were all powerful magic users. Two each of them practiced light, natural, and elder magics, and several of them wielded staves of their own. He continue to his own party. The prince and the knight were fighting each other, the manakete and the rogue were down. The towering bishop visited upon the burned and writhing Raye a soothing healing, her seared flesh healing as if she had never touched the flames.

Renata was a more serious matter, but nothing he had not seen before. With patient hands, the bishop levelled his staff, instructing Renata to remove the arrow. As soon as she did, he activated his staff and gave thanks to Elimine that the arrow was not barbed. The wound healed quickly and well, leaving smooth, unblemished skin.

"And now to attend to this foolishness," Renault said, neither with annoyance nor accusation.


Tiras was much better prepared for Lennox this time. The hulking brute was devilishly fast... but so was Tiras. He could see the way that Lennox's anger unbalanced him, and if he didn't need Lennox, would easily have taken his head in countering him. The 'knight' shoulder-checked him, cold steel ramming into flesh and bone. Tiras then shoved his foot into Lennox's gut to knock him back. He swung his sword to force the taller man further back.

Persephone's presence around him and on his blade was a comfort as he caught his breath for a quick moment.

Then he charged at Lennox, his shadow-wreathed blade striking at Lennox's flaming sword. The powers that covered them hissed and sputtered when they made contact, each trying to snuff out the other.

Then, he made a mistake. The edge of his sword collided with the edge of Dyrnwyn. They notched, or, rather, Dyrnwyn notched into the sword of Sir Adrian. Just enough to keep the swords stuck together.

He had been trained for this, however. Forcefully, as Lennox pushed straight at him, Tiras pivoted, turning the sword flat, freeing it from Dyrnwyn and clocking Lennox with a steel fist to his temple.

Of course, that didn't put Lennox down, though it did stun him for a bit. Just long enough for Bishop Renault to run over and use a red-gemmed Restore staff to put the ex-nobleman's mind to rights and a Mend staff to heal him up.

Tiras relaxed, unaware of just how far Lennox had pushed him. Slowly sinking to one knee, the squire raised his visor, trying to get more oxygen into his burning lungs.
Kill him! End him! He killed Dad! In his warped perspective, those were Lennox' thoughts as he fought what he thought was Corin. Something gnawed at the back of his mind though. Did he get taller? What sword is he using? Why is he fighting so defensively? Those thoughts left him as he was kicked backwards. That was Corin pressed the attack. Their blades locked, and Lennox was intent on making this a contest of strength. This was a mistake. Before he knew it, he felt white hot pain from the side of his head. As he grabbed his head, his pupils returned to normal and the memory of what happened flashed before his eyes. He got back to his feet and looked for Raye. "Raye! Are you okay?!" He yelled before looking back to Tiras. He then pieced it together that it was Tiras he had been fighting the whole time.

He walked over and tapped Tiras on the shoulder. "Thanks for occupying me. I probably would've killed Renata without you drawing my attention," Lennox grabbed Tiras by the armor and lifted him to his feet. "You need to work on your conditioning." He then stabbed Dyrnwyn in the ground beside him and stretched a bit, to see if he pulled anything in his berserked state. He then sprinted at the nearest morph. He leaped at the morph, arm cocked behind him and punched him straight in the jaw, landing and pivoting towards a druid. "I'm no one's play thing." The man drew his longsword with his left hand and grabbed near the end of the blade with the right. He then fell back, as if doing an elbow drop, but he swiveled more and landed with the tip of the sword puncturing the mages body. The body dissipated and he was now on his back. He pulled his legs over his head and swung them down, pushing up with his back to get back to his feet. He barely made it, since he was holding the sword at the time, but he made it all the same.

"You said we came to die? We came to kill," Lennox declared, not even sure if the talking morph from before was even alive still. Lennox began jumping in place, waiting for the morphs to make a move. And to keep his adrenaline pumping. He knew he was bound to collapse of exhaustion if he didn't keep it up. He played it cool for Tiras, but he's coasting on fumes. If he wasn't berserked, they would both be fine, but Lennox berserked works at 150%.
It took the last of Renata's energy to yank out the arrow, her attempt at a shout ending up a mere seethe through gritted teeth... or at least, it would have been the last of her strength if not for Renault's healing. Adrenaline wrested her mind back from the cold grip of death. With that kind of healing, it was unlikely they'd lose this fight, unless they sustained immediate fatal wounding or the enemy had something else up their sleeves.

Lennox was back to his senses... well, back enough. It was time to go on the offensive in earnest. Renata defiantly threw the arrow forth. It was nothing but a distraction, one which was duly noted by one of the morphs tossing it aside with an invisible force. She may not have been able to hurt them much, but her resistance meant they would not be able to take her down quickly. Not quickly enough that she would be beyond healing, at any rate.

She emptied her mind of anything but the incantation, prepared her tome, and cast the spell. Though the morph staggered as the light shone through it, Renata paid it no mind as she turned to target one of the staff users and began to cant again, as quickly as she'd ever done.
"Came to kill? Don't make me laugh. We were made to kill."

The morph from before, the talker, stepped out of the shadows at the top of the staircase. His cloak had concealed much of his outfit before, but now Tiras could see it: bits of cobbled armor over the robes of a sage and the cloak of a druid. In his hands, like the morph Raye had roasted, was another gnarled staff.

"Can't kill if you can't speak, mage," Tiras heard Renault whisper as he took out an immaculate staff with a darkened finish and a fine red gemstone. A purple pyramid of mystical energy was just barely visible over him, then an aura of colorless grey surrounded the morph overlooking them, and when he opened his mouth, no sound came out. The knight took this as the time to act. The morphs between them and him were dwindling, but the remaining morphs were also more durable than their lesser brethren. There were two that used natural magic, and two that used the light. Tiras felt Persephone's presence, and continued forward at a steady pace, eyeing the morphs that were left and knowing the light users would be drawn to him.

He heard a faint ringing, and elected to dodge out of the way he had been travelling, just for coalescing rings of light to strike the air he would have walked through. He saw one of the mock-bishops looking at him and chanting again, but before he could commit to charging him, he felt Persephone's alarm, and was suddenly struck from above by a blast of light, nearly flattening him, again.

Everything hurts..., Tiras groaned to himself, slowly pushing himself off the floor. He called up Persephone again, and felt her weave her shroud over his sword. He ran toward the chanting bishops, knowing he didn't have long before their light once again blasted him. He struck, a strong blow to the arm of one of them, knocking down the book and severing the limb. The darkness surrounding his sword did little to the man, but that did not matter, his arm was still off. The morph retaliated and struck him in the face with his staff, catching Tiras off guard. He righted himself, and cut for the throat.

Just as the morph was dissolving, Tiras felt another surge of light hit him in the back, though it was followed by a sphere of blue energy healing him.

"Don't give up, Sir Tiras," he heard Bishop Renault shout.
Renata, Renault, and Raye all worked together to destroy the remaining morphs at the lower landing, while Lennox and Tiras charged passed them and up the stairs to deal with the silenced 'leader.' The two fought as well as could be, a shadowed blade and a burning blade striving together now to end the abomination. The leader in question, however, was brilliant in the fight as well. He dodged masterfully, taking few enough hits as it were before the silence spell wore off. Unfortunately, just as he finished the incantation for his tome, Lennox thrust his sword through the morph's heart as Tiras removed his head.

The body dissolved, and Dyrnwyn's fire ate everything left.

Except the tome.

Not for lack of trying. The flames attempted to eat the tome, but a burst of darkness extinguished them all.

Tiras looked at the tome. He could feel its draw, the oblivion, the abyss, looking back at him.

Leave me where I lay, boy. Tiras clutched his head as the spirit's voice echoed in his mind. Wert thou to attempt my power now, thou wouldst end up like my last wielder, a wretched ruin of a man trying to reclaim what was long ago lost from him. When thou art ready, I shall beckon to thee, like unto Persephone's call. Wait patiently for that day, and increase thy power in anticipation.

The knight averted his eyes, looking around, and gladly saw that Renata and Raye had finished off their opponents. Bishop Renault was looking for something, looking at the places the staff wielders had died, at the staves they had dropped.
"That tome is stronger than Dyrnwyn's flames?" Lennox questioned in astonishment. Wolfram must not get his hands on the book, but it's dark magic beat him out. Would the church even be able to destroy this tome if they came here? Lennox shook the thought from his head to properly examine 'Dainsleif'. He headed down to the collapsed room. "I get a chance to fight one of the black marks on my family history, and he gets taken out by the room collapsing on him," he says to himself as he knelt down by the debris. "For someone who was rumored to have killed thousands in his crazed state in life, you were didn't amount to much in death. I guess age affects these morphs in ways other than their equipment decaying."

Lennox picked up a shard from the sword and he examined it carefully, while looking over Dyrnwyn as well. One of the rumors regarding the blade was that it was made by Francesca the Generous, not Dain Hyperion. Lennox could tell the craftmanship didn't match that of Dyrnwyn, but given the fragility, he doubted that it even was the original. Indeed, Dain's tactic's didn't match was he was historically known to do with that sword. For example, Dain wouldn't have run into the room if he was using the actual Dainsleif. "Damn, too bad," he said before walking over to Raye.

"I'm so sorry about hurting you. My mind wasn't my own. Please forgive me."
Still on edge from the fierce battle, Renata paced in an arc, following Renault's lead in investigating the carnage and the rubble... though she wasn't sure what she was looking for. Each room she passed was thoroughly caved in, and the imposing staircase on the side of the room opposite whence they entered was no exception, ending in an even larger pile of rubble. Perhaps the bishop knew a way through... but if there were anything they needed to know about on the other side, he would have told them.

Her eyes landed on the wall fixtures, the flames within still flickering with ethereal light, for the time being at least. "Magic?" she murmured. Either there was still something dwelling here, or perhaps Renault maintained the grounds in some way... She turned and sat on the stairs to ponder, looking to the tome on the floor and then Tiras standing over it.

"They were real people, once?" Renata wondered after hearing Lennox speak of one of the morphs as if he had known it. "Do they need burial rites?" At last, the adrenaline subsided. All she desired now was to do whatever she could to lay this place, and this whole adventure, to rest.
"My guess is that the 'Dragon's Gate' is somewhere off beyond the upper landing," Tiras mused, letting Father Renault search. He hadn't said what he was searching for, so perhaps if Tiras had tried, he would have just gotten in the way. He found a piece of rubble to take a seat on. He removed his bascinet helm and the aventail with it, setting them on his knee. Everything was beginning to ache again. Perhaps he had worn his armor too long? In any case, the amount of fighting he had to do wasn't exactly comforting.

The squire took out Persephone, and began to read the tome. It was interesting. He could almost feel the spirit rest its chin on his shoulder as he read. There were myriad different spells contained within. Powerful and varied. Horrifying to those who couldn't stomach it. And perfect to use on those I will take my revenge on.

The more you decipher, the greater the power I can bestow, dear Tiras, he felt Persephone speak into his ear. The squire smiled despite himself. He had found the path he hadn't known he'd been searching for.

Rebellion, and my destiny.

At last, he found it. From one of the piles of dust next to rubble, he found a staff, ornate and golden, with a silver top. Golden wings extended from from it and there was a large, red gemstone mounted in the silver.

"Technically, considering the process that makes them, all morphs were once real people. The monster in man-shape that crafted these was also capable of crafting them in the shape of the body the quintessence inhabited. But, as you stated before, Renata, these are aberrations. They do not require burial rites, and we do not have time even if they did. I sense something foreboding on its way. Come, all of you, gather around me. It is time we left this island."

The four gathered around the bishop, and with a flash of magic, a great sigil engulfed them, raised them high into the air, and the next thing they knew, the five were outside of Port Badon.

Dimitri spat into his fire. The wood sizzled and crackled in response. He and five others had taken one of the dinghys from the ship and landed ashore, but after two days, the remainder of the crew were not looking good. Three of them had been injured by the explosion, and none of them had any clue about survival on a deserted island. They hadn't even found a good pot to make anything to eat, and none of them trusted the creek not to have diseases aplenty. One of their number had actually gone stark raving mad and started talking to a tree that he called 'Jerry.'

What kind of name was that, anyway?

"Oi, what's that?" Robert said, sitting up and pointing.

Dimitri followed his finger and saw with a sense of profound relief the shape of sails. He got up and ran to the edge of the water, shouting for joy. They were going to be rescued! He was joined by one or two of the others. But the sails did not turn. In fact, it looked like the ship had anchored itself, not moving.

"What's going on?"

"Oh, no," Robert pointed. "Look at the flag."

Dimitri espied it and his heart sank.

The Church of the Preservation of Sanctity had their flag flying underneath the flag of the Lycian Empire.

As the group looked on, the sky grew unbearably bright. A disk of light descended upon the crew, Jerry the tree, and the rest of the Dread Isle in a holy, purging fire.

The Church finished the job they'd started, and finally made true legend of the Dragon's Gate.
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