FotC – S4 – Path of Fire and Despair

Episode 1

SCENE – Monastery
Txt: As the team approached the monastery, they were immediately confronted by the minions sent to destroy the monks who resided within its walls.

*While the team is busy battling the minions, Zyr rushes into the temple and finds the bodies of monks who’ve fallen victim to the minion onslaught. Benjamin appears*

Benjamin: You! Did I tell you that you are not welcome here?

Zyr: Open your eyes Father! Do you not see the men who have fallen? This is not the time to be fastidious. You have my word that I will leave you and your monastery once this battle is won. But till then… follow me to safety.

Benjamin: I would rather bind myself to this monastery than to follow you anywhere, fallen monk!

*the bladed lich appears behind him*

Lich: *laughs* I would gladly perform the binding for you.

Benjamin: *turns around in fright* Foul entity of the Underworld!

Lich: tsk tsk… Your derision will only serve your own end.

Zyr: Leave him alone! If you are looking for a fight, I offer one.

Lich: Boldness! *laughs* For that I am obliged to comply with your request!

*Zyr attempts to battle the lich but the lich is visibly more powerful*

Lich: *looks him over* Are you not the one who suffered death at the hands of my predecessor? Perhaps you have forgotten. Shall I remind you of that end?

*Ming Na appears at the door*

Ming Na: Away with you, you unseelie incarnation! Don’t you dare place a heinous claw on this monk.

Lich: *laughs* Dare you threaten me, feisty little mortal?! You are nothing! I could end your life in a second.

Zyr: You will not! *foreign power begins to dominate him*

Ming Na: No Zyr! You must resist!

*The Lich strikes Zyr repeatedly who is struggling with the dominating power and is unable to retaliate*

Ming Na: *runs over* Cease this madness! Can you not see that he is unable to retaliate?

Lich: And perhaps you would prefer to take his place? That can very well be done.

Benjamin: *stands by Ming Na* Perhaps we both will.

Lich: *laughs* Unwonted valor! This day is becoming quite interesting. Now tell me… whom would like to go first?

Zyr: *stands up, his demeanor is changed* I will.

Ming Na: Zyr?

*Zyr hits the Lich with a stream of energy, and the Lich falls to the ground*

Lich: What…

*Zyr floats off the ground and hits the Lich again. He scrambles and heads for the door*

Benjamin: By the gods…

*Zyr hits the Lich for a third time. The Lich reaches for the door and spreads his wings*

Lich: You have not heard the last of me! *he leaves in haste. Zyr floats back to the ground*

Ming Na: What have you done?

Zyr: It was unavoidable Ming Na. He would have taken both you and Father Benjamin if I had not impelled the inevitable.

Ming Na: But at what cost?

Zyr: Despite the inexplicable display I had momentarily entered into, there is no sense of foreboding within me. Perhaps it is not as nefarious as we have made it to be.

Benjamin: I would have rather have perished than to have played a hand in this!

Zyr: Enough! I know your dislike for me; but can you not be content that your monastery has been rescued from a maelstrom? *pause*But let us discontinue this conversation. I can see that the Lich’s minions have fallen with the departure of their master, and the others are fast approaching. Let us not tire them with the recounting of events that had occurred in this place.

Ming Na: *looks around* How could you have seen…

Zyr: A component of this newfound gift, one that could prove beneficial to us in the days to come. Now let us speak of this matter no more. We have the injured to attend to.

Episode 2

SCENE – Iron Tree Fort
Txt: Petrus returned with the men he had assembled, but they were fewer than the group had hoped for

Petrus: I apologise… this is all I could muster. Many men remain frozen in their fear, and have refused to join us.

Anduril: Under the circumstances, they should not be blamed.

Thorgrim: Perhaps you and your men should travel to the south, Petrus… I can hold the fort…

Keryn: You can hold the fort? Have you forgotten that we are your companions in battle?

Anduril: *smile* To the very end.

Petrus: We have crouched in fear for much too long. It is time that we reclaimed our village, even if the price is the shedding of blood. Let us be victorious! *his men resound a hearty YES*

SCENE – Monastery
Strider: I did not expect that I would live to see the day a holy dwelling of Dwayna would be ravished by the undead.

Benjamin: The beasts do not share our reverence for the goddess. They will destroy all who loves her.

Ming Na: I am sorry for your loss…

Benjamin: *sighs* The greatest crime that was committed, apart from the lives that were lost today, was the burning of ancient texts in our library. Texts that had been carefully transported by hand many years ago. In them was written the ancient ways and arts of those who have passed… such manuals might never be replaced. *pauses as the others grow silent* Perhaps I may seem ungrateful… to some *throws a glance at Zyr*, to the point of impertinence. But believe me when I say that I am most thankful that you arrived when you did, or there might be no one left to rebuild this sanctuary. I owe you my life… all our lives.

Athena: We are glad to do our part. You had taken us into your home when we required one, it is the least we could’ve done to repay the favor.

Benjamin: Now… I have already kept you for too long. We will manage here. You must proceed with all speed before the enemy moves again.

Strider: Be well, Father Benjamin. When all is done, we shall have happier days ahead. *Benjamin nods* Come team, let us carry on with our journey.

SCENE – Outer rim of Iron Tree Fort
Txt: As the warrioress prepared the fortress for their next battle, she noticed a watchful shadow within a canopy of trees.

Keryn: *tells one of the men* The lumber here needs reinforcement. Run up to our supplies and retrieve some.

Man: Yes M’am. *leaves*

Keryn: *moves towards the woods* I see that you have heeded my advice.

Daldrath: I answer neither to him, nor to you.

Keryn: Always defiant, and yet it does not surprise me. We are alike in more ways than one. So tell me, what brings you here?

Daldrath: You are a brusque woman, warrioress. Your conceitedness and gall is beyond that of any man I have ever faced.

Keryn: I assume you wish to thank me for bringing you to your senses. None is needed.

Daldrath: You have rescued me from the pits of disillusionment, and now my life belongs to you.

Keryn: *laughs* Do you not think that to be somewhat impulsive? Do you even know what it means to surrender your life to another?

Daldrath: I was once a man of honor. I wish to be that man again.

Man: *returns panting loudly, interrupting the conversation* M’am! There is no more lumber…

*Keryn turns to see the man, and with a return glance, finds Daldrath gone*

Man: Is anything the matter? Am I interrupting something?

Keryn: No… nothing to concern yourself over. Send men to get more lumber. Night is fast approaching. We must expedite our repair of the fort, and ready the men before the last light descends beyond the horizon.

Man: Yes M’am.

Episode 3

SCENE – Shiverpeaks mountains
Txt: The team travelled across arduous paths, and formidable slopes. Since the Crystal desert, the hunter had remained committed to his blade as the warrioress had instructed, and as a result, found himself more adept to its searing sensation. But even that could not save his heart from sinking every moment he would notice Athena hanging upon the general, and showing him little concern. The general noticed the emotions Waljan tried to keep hidden, and left to where he was.

*Strider moves over to where Waljan is practicing with his Sword*

Strider: May I speak with you privately?

Waljan: If you insist *with an edge*

Strider: I am not a man of eloquence, I am a soldier and I speak my mind as it comes to me. Whatever is between you and the girl, Athena, had best be resolved quickly.

Waljan: Whatever is between Athena and I is none of your concern. You believe you might strut in here with your great fame and accolades, and in a moment’s notice be our leader?! Do not so deceive yourself!

Strider: I do not presume such a thing. I have left Ascalon and all my days of glory far behind. I am no different from any of you; a servant of Dwayna, a fallen victim of war, and one who was lost was a result and is only now finding his way.

Waljan: The invasion of the Charr has given us all bitter tales to tell. You are not the only one who has suffered.

Strider: Listen… I am merely pointing out the obvious to a man so deluded he cannot see what is plain in front of his face.

Waljan: *sacarstically* Oh! Pray tell, do indulge me, great Strider Howlfang, what might that be?

Strider: That you are smitten by her.

Waljan: That would be none of your business, regardless who you are! If you have come to add insult to injury, then you have succeeded. I respect Athena too much to force her hand, despite my own foolish sentiments. But do not expect me to take to you as if nothing has occurred! *storms off*

Strider: Wait… you’ve mistaken my intent…

SCENE – Shiverpeaks mountains
*Zyr stands at the peak of a mountain, watching the sky, deep in meditation.*

Txt: Having gained access to the forbidden realm, the monk allowed his mind to travel a great distance till he spied a great cavernous space where a large figure sits upon an indescribable throne.

*The figure is featureless, and yet in size towered over all else in the area. There were endless minions thronging at the feet of this creature, yet it sat in obvious silent contemplation*

Zyr: How the mighty appear so weak and harmless in their habitat. I thought you never rested.

Watcher: *stands from his throne as he is suddenly aware that he is being watched* Who…you would dare invade my sanctum? You are foolish…mortal.

Zyr: *laughs* You believe me to be mortal? That is your second error. The first was interfering in my affairs!

Watcher: *looks around for the source of scrying* The gods are silent and will remain such. I sense your human weakness…I know you.

Zyr: You speak of weakness, you miserable hypocrite. You cannot command any save you bind them to you as mindless corpses. You cannot command the living, they will rebel against you in the end, as you well know.

*his vision wavers and fades. Zyr bends in exhaustion, but is secretly elated. Camera pans to Ming Na who stands a distance away, watching Zyr silently.*

Ming Na: *to herself* Dwayna, what can be done to save his soul?

Dwayna: My child, Zyr had knowingly travelled out of the administration of the gods the moment he gave in to foreign power. Only he alone has the authority to break away from its potent lure. But once dipped into the pool of such a wealth of power, it is impossible for a mortal to wish for his return. I have never had much effect on the monk, and even a goddess has her limits. But you, my daughter, you hold the key… you always have.

Ming Na: I do not understand, goddess. What must I do?

Dwayna: The events that are to come demand for great courage and resolve – but I am confident that you will succeed. You have always been strong, my daughter, that’s why I chose you among the many. Look within yourself, and the answers will be revealed.

Episode 4

SCENE – Outer Rim of Iron Tree Fort
Txt: As night fell, the fort was surrounded by the undead as predicted. The team who were assembled at its gate fought hard, but they soon found themselves greatly outnumbered.

Man 1: There are too many!

Man 2: I feel we have not even impinged upon their military might.

Anduril: Had we more men…

*Daldrath descends upon the team, some of the men cry in fear*

Man 1: The servant of the Underworld has come to claim our souls!

Thorgrim: The Lich? Stay on your guard!

Daldrath: Please… I mean no harm. And that appellation has long been stripped from me. No longer refer to me as such. I have come as an ally.

Keryn: He speaks true. Cast your judgment not on the visage that lies before you, but on the man beneath. I bear witness to his character.

Anduril: If he has managed to gain Keryn’s trust then that is good enough for me. At any rate, I would not believe it wise to be overly capricious at this point. Any and all help is welcome. *men reply aye cautiously*

Daldrath: I appreciate the faith you’ve placed in me, and vow that it shall not be broken. Now allow me to provide you an advantage in this war of the undead; an army of minions that shall adhere to our bidding. *summons minions*

Thorgrim: *exclaims merrily* By Balthazaar! This is an answer to a prayer!

*the minions destroy the enemy, and when the battle is won, the team cheers*

Petrus: You have done much to save this village, yet hitherto we remain uninformed of your person.

Daldrath: My name is Daldrath, Daldrath Ojuki. I was a man who perished and was revived to serve the one who calls for your submission. I remained lost for much longer than I could’ve hoped for… till I was drawn back to my path by the aid of a dear friend. *casts a glance at Keryn*

Petrus: You are among family now, my son. Come, let us celebrate our victory!

SCENE – Cavern
Txt: As twilight swept over the Shiverpeaks’ draughty hills, the team entered a cavern that would lead them to the rift.

Strider: We should soon arrive at our destination. Let us rest before the last leg of our journey.

*Athena watches as Waljan wields the Sword efficiently, and she approaches him*

Athena: So… your moment is fast approaching.

Waljan: Aye… And I wish this moment to pass with haste. Playing the role of the chosen carries with it a weighty burden.

Athena: I would’ve thought that you were enjoying your importance.

Waljan: I am none more important than any other man in this team.

Athena: But no one is capable of wielding the Sword as you are. There would be little chance for the fulfilling of this mission if you were not here. Did you not depart the dwelling of the Sword with those notions?

Waljan: *sighs* I behaved recklessly then, for I allowed my head be filled with ideas of grandeur… and acted foolishly, as a result. *pause* I apologize if I had caused you worry.

Athena: I have been reckless myself – allowing my tongue to wag when it should have been still.

Waljan: You only said what you had to. You always have.

Athena: I have probably been tiresome to you.

Waljan: You are boisterous, uncouth and overbearing. *Athena turns away* But the same traits that perturb are also those that foster within me much fondness. Without them, you would not be the same charming and spirited woman that you are – the same person that lingers in my every thought, word and action. You make me the man I am, Athena. And it has taken me much too long to acknowledge that… I feel for you, Athena, more than a brother could.

Athena: *turns back in surprise* Waljan I…

Waljan: But I am aware that my sentiments will remain unreciprocated as your heart belongs to another. That much I have accepted.

Athena: Waljan, there…

Waljan: Admitting my affections for you has been a tussle for me since juvenility. I have never been much of a bard, nor been acquainted with the methods to captivate a lady’s heart. And there is nothing of value that I might offer you that he can. And thus, I wish you much happiness with he who is more deserving of your affections than I will ever be. All I ask that you will think of me kindly.

Athena: I…

*they are interrupted with a loud rumbling and shaking. Stalagmites begin falling all around them as they run for cover. When they are in the clear, Ming Na speaks.*

Ming Na: *coughs* Are all hale?

*the others nod and pant*

Zyr: *joins the team after inspecting the damage* The entrance has been obstructed by dirt and debris. There is no returning from this point.

Athena: That was never an option to begin with. Rest can wait, let us proceed.

Episode 5

SCENE – Caverns
Txt: As the team neared the rift, they were met the resounding voice of the Watcher.

Watcher: I welcome you to my inner chambers, servants of Dwayna. As you can see, her light does not penetrate to my domain.

Zyr: Demon! Show yourself and be done with your hiding!

*Watcher laughs which resounds through the vast chasm*

Watcher: Surely you would not be as foolish as to challenge one such as I, fallen monk. Your pathetic quest was doomed from the minute you set your will against me. As for you Hunter, your so called blood lineage is as noble as one of my minions. You are a deluded fool, led astray by misguided prophecy and the tenuous faith of your companions.

Waljan: That is why I am here, to see if such things are true. My life is no longer my own for I am called to a higher purpose. I will do what I must to stop you.

Watcher: Unwonted courage is wasted in these caverns, I care little for all you consider noble. I shall see to it that you will fail.

*Legions of undead emanate from the fissure. And the team fights the undead endlessly. When it’s over they are obviously tired*

Zyr: The Watcher is well aware of our approach. We shall never enter his realm if this endures – but perhaps there is another way…

Waljan: What do you propose?

Zyr: Hush… *casts a spell that blurs out the area around them*

Athena: What alchemy is this??

SCENE – Underworld
*Watcher is frustrated he cannot see anything*

Watcher: Obstruct yourselves from my eyes? That will not be for long!

SCENE – Caverns
Zyr: I only have a moment to explain what needs to be done before the spell is broken. The Watcher is unable to spy on our conversation while we remain under it. *the others nod* There is another entrance into the dwelling of the Watcher, I will not explain how I know this – but if there is any moment that calls for trust, this is one. You must all carry on with the mission while I proceed on this leg alone.

Ming Na: So you may deliver yourself to the amusement of the Watcher? Enough of these words, Zyr!

Zyr: There is no other way, Ming Na… there isn’t time to debate what I know must be done.

Ming Na: I will not have you do this!

Waljan: Zyr, I know you mean well, but I fail to see how you can make a difference while you are apart from us, especially without the Sword. Perhaps you should take me with you.

Zyr: The Watcher must not notice anything amiss. He is watching you most closely Hunter, because of what you are able to do. No… I shall enter his dwelling alone. Proceed once the Watcher’s attention is diverted.

Athena: But how…

Zyr: *snaps* Do not question, just do as I say! *turns to Waljan* You… Waljan… you wield a mighty weapon. When you enter the lair of the Watcher, do not hesitate in doing what you must to protect the rest of the team… no matter whatever may occur.

Waljan: What about…

Zyr: The time for talking has been exhausted. May victory be ours… *begins to fade away*

Ming Na: No!

*But Zyr has already gone*

SCENE – Underworld
Watcher: Ahh… clarity. But what have you scheming little mortals been engaged in?

*disrupted by the entrance of the Lich*

Watcher: Returned have you? I hope you have brought with you pleasing news.

SCENE – Inn at Iron Tree Fort
Txt: Daldrath had not felt as much warmth as he did in the company of the jubilant men and women of Iron Tree Fort. It was as if the heart that he believed had lost had suddenly been awoken.

Keryn: How fares thee?

Daldrath: I feel less than deserving of such kindness, especially after I have given so little of it to others.

Keryn: These men and women celebrate that which you have accomplished today. Let the past fade to memory, and instead live for tomorrow.

Daldrath: I have you to thank for my tomorrows. It is strange to be reminded of the time when I was trapped within the Watcher’s snare. It now feels like a lifetime away.

Keryn: Let it always be! Begin a new life, one that does not include the Watcher or any other force of evil.

Daldrath: *laugh* I would be wiser now, thankfully.

Episode 6

SCENE – Underworld
*The Watcher who has seen what has happened summons Vaan*

Watcher: Incompetent mongrel! Did I not call for you to annihilate the former Lich?

Lich: Yes, my Lord.

Watcher: And yet here he remains. He feasts and fraternizes with the villagers!

Lich: He managed to escape me, but not for long.

Watcher: Destroy him! I shall not accept any other excuses from the likes of you. I provided you with great power, but you have given me nothing!

Lich: I may well serve you, Watcher. But do not mistake me for a mindless slave, you charlatan! You promised me abundant power, and yet I was effortlessly crushed by a monk.

Watcher: I have dealt with this monk. Do not be deceived by his form, as he has drunk from the same pool that had conceived me. I would’ve thought it impossible for a mere mortal to gain access to its realm. However he has proved to be an anomaly, one who has even escaped the grip of Grenth, and continues to ignore all worldly rules. Go… seek Daldrath and put an end to him and those he has influenced. Leave the monk to me.

Lich: *slightly resentful* As you please. *leaves the Watcher*

SCENE – Inn at Iron Tree Fort
*The Lich appears before the jubilant crowd as the party atmosphere swiftly dies out*

Lich: Relishing in your victory? Perhaps you should be apprised that whatever you have accomplished is fleeting, and that any notions of true victory is entirely premature. My master has just begun his attacks on your meager village, and will not spare it mercy if you refuse to succumb to his reign.

Daldrath: Leave these people alone. They have suffered enough.

Lich: Turned champion to mortals, have you Daldrath? Can you sink no lower?

Daldrath: It is you who has sunk to the deepest pits by serving the Watcher.

Lich: *laughs* Do not forget that you once served him too. Now before we rehash a tedious and feckless debate concerning who had made the wiser choice – I recall our last encounter as being incomplete. There is something that remains mine for the taking, and this evening, you shall give it to me. *deals Daldrath a blow to the chest, and Daldrath sinks to his knees. The Lich is delighted* Suffer and perish at my feet, just as any mortal would. This is the path you have chosen, and thus with your power stripped, you shall forever live as one.

*Daldrath takes out his sword and attempts to swing it at the Lich but the Lich catches the blow easily and knocks him to the ground*

*Keryn lunges out with a battle cry, axe in hand, but is easily flung aside. So is Anduril and Thorgrim. They lay sprawled out upon the ground. The others gasp.*

Lich: *to the others* Your self-proclaimed heroes are upon the ground – they can no longer defend you in your hour of need. I would readily crush you for your insolence, but my master prefers his servants to live, and thus I must comply. The neighboring tribes of the north have acceded to my master’s rule, it would do you much good to respond likewise and save yourselves some unneeded afflictions.

Daldrath: *in a course voice declares* Death would be a better fate than service to the Watcher. Victory to all humanity!

Lich: I have spared you for much too long! *Repulsed, the lich stakes Daldrath with his blade. And Daldrath groans in distress, dragging himself helplessly upon the ground as the Lich continually plunges his blade into Daldrath’s chest and back.*

*Suddenly, a villager tosses a goblet of mead at the Lich. As the Lich looks up in surprise, another flings a bowl of millet. Then more and more villagers begin tossing items at the Lich who obviously has a hard time focusing and defending himself from all the items being hurled. And as his back is turned, Keryn, who is recovered, casts her axe at great speed, embedding its acute end into the horned head of the Lich. The Lich immediately screams in agony, dashes out the door and is seen no more. The villagers cheer as Keryn rushes to check on Daldrath*

Keryn: Daldrath… Daldrath, are you still living? Speak so that I may know. *she holds up one of his hands*

Daldrath: *closes his fingers on her hand, and with a weak eye, gazes at her a final time* Th… thank you… f… for be… friending me. *with that, he breathes his last*

*Keryn bows her head low. Thorgrim and Anduril look on sadly as celebrations are already underway around the threesome, with little regard for the fallen Daldrath*

Episode 7

SCENE – Ice caverns
Txt: As the monk disappeared from view, the team remained speechless at what had occurred.

Athena: I knew he had the potential for foolhardy acts the moment he threw himself to the Lich and to certain death, but to go against the Watcher alone is much too deranged, even for one such as he.

Ming Na: There remains a tale to be told that explains his seemingly reckless actions, and it’s a long one at that. But trust me when I say that he may very well accomplish what he has set out to do, and that is what I fear most. The Zyr that we once knew is rapidly fading away by the hour.

Waljan: What do you mean?

Ming Na: The life that Zyr has led vast precedes all that we have known. He has known pain and anguish like no other. And while I have always tried to save him from the hell he has created for himself, the ghosts of past actions have returned to haunt. They entice him with power beyond any worldly realms. And despite some tussle he endured over the past few weeks, he has finally succumbed. I am afraid that this time he has travelled too far from my reach.

Strider: Does he mean to slay the Watcher on his own?

Ming Na: No one can slay the Watcher, he lives an existence that is surpasses the limitations of life itself. That is the reason the gods have not put him to death, despite the threat he poses to both the world and to them. He may only be contained, within the rift that was created to imprison him. And that rift will only be sealed with the weapon that Waljan wields. Undoubtedly, the Watcher will not allow Waljan anywhere near its lock… Perhaps Zyr felt that by engaging the Watcher in a battle, he will give Waljan the distraction he requires to approach the lock to the rift with the blade of the ancients, and perform his task without hindrance.

Waljan: Oh…

Ming Na: *to Waljan* Zyr has risked everything to give you this chance to end the war. You must not fail him… you must not fail us.

Athena: *to Ming Na* He will not. I have seen him with the blade. I know he is ready.

*world fades into view. The Watcher returns his watchful eye*

Watcher: Perhaps I have tarried for too long, that you believe you may be hid from my eyes. You had your chance to leave this doomed rabble. Now entreat upon a true god for mercy, or deal with the justice meted at your own hands!

Text: From the shadows spewed a deadly menace. Immediately the team is immersed in combat, against a foe more potent than any they have faced.

*They fight, and defeat their foe but Strider is critically injured.*

Strider: *in pain* Waljan, Athena. Press on; do not waste time with me.

Waljan: But we cannot leave you here!

Strider: The Watcher has no interest in my life. It’s you that he wants. You must carry on, you must fulfill the prophecy!

Athena: *nods* Be well… and when the battle is won, we shall return for you!

Strider: *chortles* I shall be awaiting your return then, lil lady.

*the team heads off in haste*

SCENE – Secret Passage
Txt: The monk followed the instructions of the former Lich to a secret passage into the Watcher’s lair. And even then, he pondered the wisdom placing his trust in the man who once had been his executioner.

*Zyr appears in a long empty path that leads to the Watcher’s lair. He follows it cautiously till the end where he finds himself face to face with the Watcher himself. The Watcher is surprised by his approach*

Watcher: How is this possible?!

Zyr: You underestimate my abilities. I am no longer inferior in any way to you. You have finally met your match.

Episode 8

SCENE – Underworld
Txt: A huge battle was fought between the monk and the Watcher. As the battle progressed, the monk began to change with the power he inhabited… into something barely human. Something sinister, and bloodthirsty. And while the fray inflicted wounds on both parties, neither side showed signs of relinquishing.

*rest of the team arrives in the middle of this battle*

Waljan: By Balthazar! What conflict prevails here?

Ming Na: Let not a moment be wasted, Waljan! The lock we seek lays over yonder.

*Waljan runs over with the Sword*

Athena: *to Ming Na* Is this not…

Ming Na: I fear that the creature is a consequence of the magics he has inhaled.

*the Watcher suddenly notices Waljan’s approach and he races over to thwart his endeavor*

Watcher: Cursed mortal! Be gone from my lair!

*but the beast of Zyr latches onto him, pinning him onto the ground just in the nick of time*

Athena: Do it now, Wal! Fulfill your destiny!

*With a roar, Waljan plunges the Sword into the open lock, and suddenly a loud rumbling is heard*

Watcher: *screams* Impossible! Malicious clods… this will not be my end! I will return…. *fades into the rift, and very soon all is still. The team turns their attention to the beast of Zyr.*

Athena: Zyr?

*The beast of Zyr looks up, having lost his object of aggression. His eyes are menacing, unrecognizable. He lifts himself off the ground and walks slowly towards the team.*

Waljan: The beast is Zyr??!

*The beast turns to Waljan, and proceeds his way. Waljan is a little wary and begins to retreat, his fingers winding around the Sword of the ancients*

Ming Na: *steps forward* Zyr, *the beast turns to her* have you strayed so far that you’ve forgotten all you once were?

*The beast roars and lunges towards Ming Na, slashing her in one swoop*

Athena: *screams* NO!

*Waljan retrieves the Sword, not certain if he should strike*

Ming Na: *lays on the ground bleeding, tears in her eyes* Have you forgotten how you once loved me? How you once defied all odds to come back to life in order that you might be by my side?

*The beast roars, taking another swipe at her. She rolls, groans, but is still conscious*

*Waljan dashes forward with all the courage he can muster, preparing to battle with the beast of Zyr. Ming Na notices it and shakes her head*

Ming Na: Please… lay down your weapons. *she looks at Waljan who is paused in his tracks* Please…

*Hesitantly, Waljan lowers his Sword, and the beast of Zyr looks at Ming Na curiously*

Ming Na: You can fight this, my love… you can still be the man you once were. I believe in you.

*The beast roars, more softly this time, gazing cautiously at Athena and Waljan.*

Athena: *afraid* Please… don’t hurt Ming Na. *Waljan rushes over to be with Athena*

Ming Na: Come back to me… come back to me, my beloved.

*The beast is confused, it shakes his head as if it’s undergoing inner conflict, retreats a few paces*

Waljan: Yes, come back to us, Zyr! You can fight this!

*The beast struggles more, falls to the floor, and its form begins to change slowly. After a few strenuous moments, the beast is no more, and in its place, the form of Zyr. He opens his eyes, trying to recall what had occurred.*

Athena: Praise be to Dwayna!

*Zyr turns to Ming Na, and suddenly realizes what he’s done*

Zyr: Ming Na! *he rushes to her side, but she’s fading quickly*

Ming Na: Zyr… you’ve succeeded. I was certain you would.

Zyr: *cries* By the gods… what have I done?? Dwayna… please help us!

Ming Na: The gods are not present in this place, the Watcher saw to that during his escape.

Zyr: Then I will carry you out of these caverns, and I will plead to Dwayna for the return of my ability to heal.

Ming Na: No… there isn’t enough time. I feel death hounding at my door like a ravenous wolf. Be with me… please.

Zyr: This is my doing! I am the cause of your afflictions. Please let me do something or I shall never be able to pardon myself for my failings.

Ming Na: Look into my eyes… Nothing has transpired that was not meant to be. You embraced your fate when you sacrificed your very soul to save all humanity… and so do I embrace my fate in saving you.

Zyr: But I cannot lose you. Not this way…

Ming Na: You will never lose me. I shall forever reside in the elements that surround you; ever watchful, ever waiting. We shall be together someday, I have faith in it. Till then, be strong, my love.

Zyr: How can I? You are my strength.

Ming Na: As you are mine. *her breathing stops and Zyr knows she has passed*

*Waljan takes Athena into his arms as she weeps softly. Camera pans out*

Txt: And thus a chapter ends in humanity’s struggle against evil. Its heroes forever carved upon the walls of the Hall of Monuments, their stories retold by the masses in great variations. But But underlying them all, they bear the same marks; that courage is manifested in various forms, conviction leads one to accomplish the impossible, and that love in its truest form can surpass any boundary.

^