Location: The Old Ruins.
Formendacil wrote:The battle was over. Seemingly won.
The Sorceror-king was gone. The Dragon Masters defeated. There was near-silence in the hall.
No longer firmly attached to his helm, Sir Dractor's visor fell off its hinges, landed on the floor, and broke into two pieces.
Everybody sort of snapped out their reveries. Quorandis rushed over to where Elwen lay on the ground.
"Quick!" he said, "she's losing a lot of blood!"
Sir Dractor and the other Cavaliers came over as well.
"I don't think we can do anything for her," he said. "We haven't the skills, or the necessary tools. And we have no magic."
"What about your companion? That Old Man?" asked Quorandis. Sir Dractor shook his head.
"He's in no condition to do anything, and it would take too long to get him to such a condition."
"Couldn't Elwen use the magic of the city?" asked Jayko. "I thought the Old Man said that she would be getting control of it, as well as this Wizardsbane."
"I do believe you're right," said Sir Dractor. "Elwen, can you hear us?"
"Yes," came a very weak voice. "I heard what Jayko said."
"We're going to move you, so that you can touch the table again," said Quorandis. "Will you be all right?"
"I have to be, don't I?"
"Yes... I suppose you do."
Sir Dractor and Quorandis lifted Elwen up by the shoulders, and moved her back to the Wizardsbane. Elwen put her hand on it. At first, the effect was the automatic termination of any local magic- not that there was any. But as Elwen forced her thoughts towards those of magic and healing, the barrier dissolved, and she found herself linked to the city's Mana.
It was very instinctive, Elwen found, using the Mana. It seemed to know exactly what she wanted. She could feel it working in her flesh, knitting it back together, refilling it with new blood.
With the Mana to guide her, she could see all throughout the city. Dozens of Dragon Masters lay in pain in the streets. Extending the magic to them as well, she patched up their broken bones, sewed up their broken skin, and refilled their emptied blood vessels.
The Dragon Masters who were dead, were dead. Not even the Mana could restore life. But Sir Dractor, in his attacks, had been going not for fatalities, but for getting the Dragon Masters out of his way, and it was mercifully few who had perished at his blade.
Elwen sought out the Old Man, but he was gone, nowhere to be found. Elwen felt the Mana of the city draining, and seeing nothing else to do, returned back to her body, now healed, and the people in the hall.
The Dragon Masters and Cavaliers were getting up off the floor, looking amazed at their miraculous recoveries. Quorandis, Jayko, and quite a few others were staring at her open-mouthed.
"Shall we be heading out?" asked Sir Dractor, impressed but not looking as amazed as most of the others. "I see little reason to linger here."
"Yes, let's," said Quorandis. "Although to be perfectly honest, it seems a little bit incongruous to just up and march away after a fight like that..."
"Get your things together," said Elwen, "but first I need to destroy the Wizardsbane. That's why we came here in the first place."
"Why?" asked Quorandis. "Such a device has immense power to protect, and you're the only one who can access it. What harm is it?"
"I don't want to spend the rest of my life being hunted down by evil wizards intending to do what the Sorceror-king tried," said Elwen. "And just because he failed, doesn't mean that they couldn't succeed. And what happens if another person is born who could access it, who doesn't have any lofty morals?"
"Good point," said Quorandis. "I round up my men, and help Elbadar with his. We'll meet you at the gates in three hours."
So as the Cavaliers and the Dragon Masters made their way out of the rotunda, Elwen turned to the Wizardsbane, Sir Dractor and Jayko watching.
Nobody noticed Oris Del Grakken, as he obediently joined Elbadar and the other Dragon Masters on their way out of the hall, pick up the fire-wreathed sword of the Sorceror-king, and slip it into his own empty sheath.
Elwen turned to Sir Dractor.
"So what do I do?" she asked.
"I haven't a clue," he replied. "I imagine that you should touch and just will it's powers out of existence, or something."
Elwen put her hands on the Wizardsbane, and closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. She willed the stone table to give up its magic-inhibiting powers, ordering it to diffuse its power back into the city's Mana. For a moment she tingled as it resisted, then something in the magic snapped, and the Wizardsbane ceased to function as a magic inhibitor, and became merely the locus of the local Mana.
"You left the city's protective shield intact, I see," noted Sir Dractor as they walked to the gates of the city.
"Why not?" asked Elwen, noting mentally that the streets were empty of Dragon Masters. "Perhaps someday people may need use of it. Just because they can't use its magic doesn't mean they can't make use of its effects. With Imperial officials to give them access, people could hide here in times of trouble."
"I suppose they could," said Sir Dractor. "Although times of trouble like that are to be hoped will never happen again."
"Unlikely, and you of all people know it!" said Elwen.
They had reached the gates of the city. The sun was rising in the east, shining a golden light through the blue haze, thus illuminating the city in a soft emerald glow. The Cavaliers were mounted and ready to go. Elbadar and his hundred twenty-some remaining Dragon Masters were marshalled and awaiting orders. Three horses- formerly ridden by some of the Dragon Masters, stood waiting for Elwen and her two companions.
"We couldn't find any sign of the Old Man," said Quorandis as he gave Elwen a boost onto her horse.
"I wouldn't worry about him," said Sir Dractor.
"He can take care of himself," said Elwen. "Now, Commander-General, if you would do the honours?"
"Yes, ma'am," said Quorandis, mounting and riding to the forefront of the group. "In the name of His Imperial Majesty, Constantius VII, Emperor of Legoland, Overlord of Dametreos, I command these gates to open, and allow those here assembled to depart."
The gates opened, the haze disappeared, and they could see out into the golden green of the forest, where the sunlight was breaking through holes in the forest-cover.
"Soldiers, begin march," came the voice of Elbadar.
Within minutes, the Dragon Masters, Cavaliers, and the three other riders had left the city. The gates closed behind them, and the haze grew back over their pathway.
They were going home.