“So where to?” 536 says, almost cheerily. Jeric stepping forward, fresh air on his face, resolutely says, “Shar.”
“Wait, no, just kidding. We need to go somewhere else first.”
And with that the Heroes decide to to take their capital ship Hope and the 22 other armed airships to the city of Brecham on the border of Essencia and Triandur to gear up and prepare for the certain conflict in Shar. On the way the Heroes learn more about the nature of the airships. They were made by the mages as an invasion force to exact retribution on Majeria with one of the primary objectives being to level Wyldshire. Feeling a close connection to Eloric, Unit 536 explains to him that there is one ship in the fleet that needs to be protected above all others. It’s the only ship with an Essence Chamber, the means of creating more Essenceforged.
On the way to the city Taran has recurring nightmares of being haunted by his old ancestors, likely due to being separated from his armor. It seems like there will be ramifications from the spirits if he stays separated from Master Ovsunn’s armor. As the ships prepare to land outside the city, Unit 119, aka Steve, gives Taran the option to permanently graft his old armor onto his new body. The Golden Saviors head off into the city for a few days, save for Taran who stays behind for the procedure and to have his body repainted in urban camo.
As most venture into the shops, Alera goes underground for a few days. While killing time in the city, Cirole makes a good amount of gold busking and Eloric pretends to be homeless for reasons that only make sense to him. When Alera returns she reports that everything she’s heard about Wyldshire seems pretty grim. ‘Marshall Law’ and ‘Civil War’ were what she expected to hear but the city seems to have gone completely dark. She also says she heard mixed opinions on the Golden Saviors themselves ranging from ‘heroic liberators’ to ‘criminals’. With business in the city concluded everyone returns to the ship and the fleet takes off for whatever awaits in Shar.
At sunset on the evening of the second day all the companions gather together at the bow of the ship at Santos’ request. He gives a speech about someone who came to become a cherished friend and watching the soul of his friend slowly become intertwined with that of another. And, in the presence of the rest of the Golden Saviors and a packed crowd of fascinated Essenceforged, Santos presides over a surprise wedding. For the first time under the tenets of the Lightsworn, Santos joins in marriage a beautiful and radiant Cesa Alera and a beaming Jeric Worgrave. Everyone contributes in their own way to make the night joyous and special. Axterrix cries, Taran realizes he can’t cry, and cannons fire in celebration lighting up the night sky. The wedding sets a peaceful tone. The following day is tranquil and spirits are high. Days such as this one have not come easy or often over the past few years. It’s nice. This is, of course ruined, by dragons.
A loud commotion and the sounds of metal crunching can be heard from the ships in the back. Three black dragons blink into view after their first wave of acid attacks. The Heroes prepare to fight but it’ll be without their healBot (Black edition) and healBot Air. The two of them teleported away earlier in the day to meet with the Beaconites. Faldraco (healBot, Rose Gold edition) gets his companions ready for the fight by casting Hero’s Feast which, besides battle buffs, also cures recipients of all sicknesses and diseases… so… so that’s it! WE’RE CURED! FUCK YOU ESSENCE CANCER! Just kidding, there’s no cure. We’ll all be dead soon.
As the Heroes all draw their weapons, the Bard draws his bagpipes. He moves to mid-ship and starts blowing Inspire Courage. The three dragons move in and six ships get cloaked in magical darkness as three more dragons blink into view next to them. This is immediately followed by a much larger dragon blinking into view near the Heroes and the capital ship also gets cloaked in darkness. From inside the darkness everyone hears what sounds like the swarming of lots of insects. Axterrix, who needs to see if one of these dragon is his dad, immediately casts a Light spell and cancels out the darkness covering the ship. Eloric starts laughing out loud to himself and casts Hide from Dragon, cloaking the Heroes from the dragon’s senses. Taran makes his way to the nearest cannon. Jeric has a plan and he embraces his wife and whispers a few words to her. She nods as he casts a Fly spell on her and she casts Death Sight on herself as she invisibly flies to the back of the dragon’s neck. In position she performs her Death Attack ability and buries her blade deep into the dragon’s neck. Although the dragon takes huge damage (Ultimate Red), it’s still alive. Axterrix and Eloric each try powerful spells but the dragon wills the magic away. The swarm descends and millions of locusts are upon the ships. But the insects can’t penetrate the magical bubble that surrounds them thanks to the Cirole who turned his pipes up to 11. The dragon roars in fury and attacks with his breath weapon again. The attack is unavoidable and everyone but Taran is hit by the acid. Faldraco casts Harm and mixture of light and darkness emanates and builds in his hand and he shoots it into the dragon’s chest, burning its scales. Taran gets to the cannon and fires hitting the dragon in the stomach as it screams in pain.
There are three new dragons for a total of nine engaging the rear ships. The ships are taking heavy damage but putting up a good fight. A cannon blast to the face forces one of the dragons to leave the battle.
The great black dragon lands on the deck and snaps at the cluster of Heroes. But his weight lists the ship a great deal. It has to catch itself and attempts to fly away. Seizing the opening, Jeric strikes the dragon multiple times with his magically charged chain. His final blow hits it right between the eyes, splitting the scales. It beats its wings two more times as it tries to fly away but it’s eyes roll back in its head while it falls to the earth. The locusts disappear and there is celebratory cannon fire and cheering from the nearby ships. The morale of the smaller dragons drops considerably upon seeing their general fall. The dragons have had enough and the remaining bogeys start bugging out. One ship and a handful of Essenceforged were lost but ultimately it’s a battle that went about as well as it could have.
Unit 536 informs the group that the ships can repair themselves on the fly but the damaged ones won’t be near fighting capacity. She then asks what the plan is for arrival in Shar. This starts a very long, very passionate discussion (in and out of character) about what the priorities and goals are for Shar and how to best to accomplish them. Taran and Jeric both want Talarra dead but to mitigate risk. It is eventually decided that a stealth operation to pluck Jeric’s mother from Talarra’s tower is the only objective. The plan is for a small team, Jeric, Alera and Faldraco, to float down to the tower silently in a vaporous form using the cleric’s Wind Wall spell, appear before Sera Worgrave, and escort her back to the ship instantly with a Recall spell.
Once the ships are out of sight but in position the three of them float down to the top of the tallest spire. In one of the top windows they see her, Jeric’s mother, right where Alera said she’d be. They float into the window and approach her as she sits forlornly by the fire. Jeric appears before her in his physical form and she weeps. A second later Faldraco and Alera appear as well. She locks eyes onto Alera as Faldraco casts his Recall spell. The four of them pop into view back on the ship. It doesn’t look like a happy reunion as Jeric’s mother immediately starts scolding him for taking Alera as his wife considering how many times she tried to kill him. She takes great offense to Jeric professing his love for his new wife and there is a real anger from her that confuses both Jeric and Alera. But before any more is said she grabs Jeric and using a glowing ruby hidden in her palm and the two of them disappear.
In the next moment, there is a massive explosion from one of the other airships. From the hold, Terminus emerges. He is even more massive than before. In a moment of panic Unit 536 exclaims that ship holds the Essence Forge. If he does anything to that ship and it goes down then their lineage ends. Unit 536 runs for the wheel and turns the ship towards Terminus. The Heroes can’t worry about Jeric now, they have an entire race to save.
Jeric appears on the ground looking down and confused. He looks up and it’s not his mother, although he is in the presence of family. “Hello traitor,” Jenissa says and pushes a stunned Jeric into a man who towers over him. “Welcome home, Worgrave,” says Talarra. Looking around, Jeric sees he is in some kind of arena filled with Sharian military. The sound of a chain weapon begins whistling through the air behind Jeric. Talarra looks at Jeric and says, “Go get her, boy.” Jeric turns to see his twin sister swinging the chain above her head. With fire in her eyes, she says, “Welcome home, Jeric.”