Rondal stood before them, holding the orb. The symbol of Ouroboros emblazoned on his chest plate. He spoke in a strange language that no one understood. It became clear that Ouroboros controlled Rondal. He spoke to Stangil Drakebane, “I waited for years in that chest… in the armor… you built me this body.”
Stangil was both outraged and filled with regret. He pleaded to trade places with Rondal. Ouroboros instructed Stangil to meet in his home to trade.
On the way back to the Great Heart Tree Serafina Anduril asked Stangil what his plan was. Stangil turned to her and said with the most severity, “after we switch, you need to kill me.” The conversation turned to asking Cernunnos how to kill Goraurik.
Meanwhile, the Seedlings Sani Nodin and Adlei Rhiggs plotted how and when to kill Cernunnos. Serafina and Stangil caught wind of this conversation and weighed in, disagreeing. They insisted that they needed his help when it came time to face Ouroboros.
That night Stangil and Serafina both spoke with Somnambuliss in a shared dream. They were told that the orb was called the Burning Ember and was the source of Ouroboros’s power. If they destroyed it, then he would be weakened. Somnambuliss would be able to cloak one of them. They agreed that Serafina would destroy the orb while Stangil distracted Ouroboros. Scouts were sent out to determine where Goraurik was but the heroes of Voltierra were instructed to close their eyes, spin three times, and point. The fearsome five headed northwest at first light.
Goraurik was not difficult to spot a few miles away with his four-hundred foot long body. It appeared that one of his wings was injured and something metallic was stuck in his shoulder. Stangil began the fight by throwing a tree on Goraurik’s head. Adlei and Cernunnos found their way on the great beast’s back while the other three distracted and fought him. Serafina did her best to burn him from the inside and when she caught too much of his attention, Sani held him at bay and protected her. Stangil fought Goraurik on and in his face.
Many close calls and terrifying moments later, he was defeated. Serafina had a foot-and-a-half long tooth in her leg and Sani was helping her up when the ground began to break. Cracks formed all around them and he carried her away. In the aftermath of the death of a great power, an earthquake erupted and a mountain had formed.
It took hours but Stangil, Serafina, Sani, and Adlei were reunited. No one could find Cernunnos; he was assumed buried or dead. They had lost many of their belongings, including Cybol. Stangil pressed on toward his son. This was merely one errand completed.
Limping away, the four were discussing possible names for the new mountain and the plan to warn the Lluaran against allowing people to live on the mountain. Serafina had forgotten her oath to Ancient Thyiss and horrific stomach cramps began to plague her. She was in excruciating pain and realizing what she had done, called out to Somnambuliss, who appeared at once. He pushed his hand into her and pulled a small tree out of her body.
They pressed on, off of the newly formed mountain. They slept. Naiora became more protective of the injured Serafina. As they felt they were nearing Ouroboros’s cave, Stangil gave Serafina a letter and asked her to give it to Julian upon her return to Voltierra.
One afternoon Serafina noticed that the others were avoiding a fog and they had been walking in circles. Pushing through the mist they discovered a camp with tens of thousands of Dy’Voth. They chose to climb the mountain to get to the cave. It was a grueling and dangerous twelve hours. They fell. A lot. They were exhausted, cut, bruised, and bleeding by the time they ascended the ledge.
There, Stangil saw an old and familiar shack. He threw a make-shift spear through one Dy’Voth guard that exploded into flames, killing the second guard nearby.
Stangil Drakebane was first, and foremost, a loving husband and father. He may have been known as a great adventurer and hero among humans, but those stories were not his greatest accomplishments. Not according to his values. Stangil was also a great friend. He was someone who would give more than he had to others. He had faith in humanity and made it his life’s work to ensure that we would survive. His deeds were that which no one could fathom and he made sacrifices that we should never know. May his spirit live on in the lives of those whom he touched and his stories grow in the imaginations of our story-telling.
Down a spiral staircase. Down a cooridor. Down a larger staircase. Into the lair of Ouroboros.
It was a vast cave hundreds of feet wide and long. Etched on the walls was the history of Ouroboros. The floor was smooth, polished obsidian. In one corner slept Trelias. Across a small arc of lava, on a throne, was Rondal. The Burning Ember in his hand was now a small star.
Stangil approached. He felt himself floating… as if he were a passenger. He saw Rondal who said, “Dad? I love you.” All of a sudden, Stangil was wearing the armor of Ouroboros and Rondal was wearing his.
The Burning Ember smashed to the ground. An explosion erupted and sent Serafina flying into the lava. Rondal’s body was thrown over the river onto the opposite bank with the others, including six guards and Trelias.
Chaos ensued. Serafina struggled to swim to the bank while Sani and Adlei fought off guards. Rondal, unarmed, attempted to fight the oncoming Trelias. Adlei was stabbed in the back helping Serafina out of the lava. Sani crossed the river to attack Ouroboros. Serafina scrambled to make it back to save Sani and fulfill her promise to Stangil.
Ouroboros laughed at her attempt before she put up a wall of fire and briefly caught a glimpse of Somnambuliss. He shouted at her to, “get the boy out of here!”
Everyone rushed away while Adlei created a cave-in to trap Trelias.
In the commotion of escaping, running up the stairs and out of the shack, Sani and Rondal found themselves carrying a naked, burnt, and badly injured Serafina. A tense moment later, Adlei emerged. They quickly found a cave to hide in and crashed into slumber.
Serafina awoke to find herself in a familiar place. The bar in front of her had beautiful scorched engravings from a master craftsman. Seated next to her was her dearest friend. Stangil was given the gift of one last goodbye to Serafina. She stuttered and trembled as she cried, unable to face another loss. Stangil thanked her and told her to be the strong leader he knew she could be. When she awoke, in severe pain, she noticed three items by her side: the letter, her staff, and Cybol.