7 Worlds: Explorations – Ep5

Episode 5: Trial of Dragons

The world of Brensur opened up before them. Laurel, Lumos and Thistle arrived at the city of Zyrias to meet with the king. They needed to gather what information they could on the artifacts that might lie on Brensur. The fiery world was a hostile environment to anyone that was not prepared for its blazing heat. Despite this, the city was bustling with trade, commerce and children running around. It was a lively walk from the gate to the castle. The massive structure had the tower they saw earlier connected by a long bridge. Inside the castle, which was mostly made of black stone lined with gold, large rooms inspired awe and admiration. Channels of lava provided ample light to all the corridors and rooms. The throne room itself had an intricate display of manipulation of the lava flows as well as a small lava fall. Thistle followed Laurel closely while Lumos led the way. As soon as they reached the center of the throne room they were greeted by the king.

King Liros – “Hail, Sage Lumos of Entralia. How are you these days?”

Lumos – “Hail! King Liros of Brensur, I am well. How fares your majesty?”

King Liros – “Pah, tired of all the formalities like the rest of us. Our rule remains unchanged, but we are eager to do what Rallion and Entralia have already done.”

Lumos – “I see. I have heard that the queen of Jenehrtes has had trouble organizing their own council.”

King Liros – “Yes well, some of the kingdoms are not entirely ready for such changes. But enough of that, what brings you to me?”

Lumos – “King Liros, may I present Laurel, daughter of councilman Lindrel of Entralia, and our companion Thistle.”

King Liros – “Ah, traveling again are we? It is a pleasure to meet you.”

Laurel – “Likewise, er, my king.”

Thistle – “Hello Mr. high and mighty.”

King Liros – “Hah! She’s a charming one, your travels must be fun. I knew a feisty wisp a long time ago. Her companion was once the great heroine that saved the worlds multiple times. Alas she disappeared many years ago. She became very wise and respected. Perhaps you will learn more of her as you travel.”

Laurel – “Thistle can be a handful, but she’s a strong and loyal friend.”

King Liros – “I do not doubt it.”

Lumos – “So, yes, we have been traveling, but at the request of Lord Lindrel. Laurel here is learning about artifacts and such. We have only started but our current clues led us here. Do you, perhaps, know of any that are currently here in Brensur.”

King Liros – “I have little knowledge of artifacts, but perhaps the queen will know more. She is more knowledgeable in that area as she spends quite some time at the castle library. Guards, please summon her. She is likely to be in the garden now.”

While they waited for the queen Lumos and King Liros exchanged stories of their travels. Meanwhile Laurel and Thistle waited, somewhat impatiently. Thistle floated above Laurel, moving side to side. After a short moment the queen arrived.

King Liros – “Hello dear, we require of your knowledge.”

Lumos – “Ah, Queen Brenhilde, it is an honor.”

Queen Brenhilde – “Indeed it is. I am grateful to see you again, Sage Lumos. I will never forget the teachings you brought with you when you first visited Brensur.”

Lumos – “Oh that was long ago, surely things have changed?”

Queen Brenhilde – “Perhaps a little, but I digress. I hear you are searching for artifacts?”

Lumos – “Yes, we are.”

Queen Brenhilde – “In the countless books in the castle library only a few mention some of the ancient weapons crafted in the Lava Forge. Said forge was removed by the dragons. You will have to consult them for more information. As for the artifacts themselves we only know of one that might, or might not be with the dragons.”

Lumos – “I see. Is there a way we can arrange a meeting with them.”

King Liros – “They have become more reclusive in recent times. We used to have dragons even here in the castle, but they have mostly retreated to the northern volcanoes.”

Queen Brenhilde – “I can send a message forth and ask for…”

A guard came running from outside the throne room. He reported that a number of dragons had arrived from the northern reaches and asked to speak with the travelers.

King Liros – “Incredible, how would they know of you?”

Queen Brenhilde – “Oh Liros, the dragons have their ways. Let us meet with them at once. Come!”

Laurel was curious about the dragons so she ran out towards the courtyard where they had landed. Four of them flanked a large red dragon.

Laurel – “Whoa”

Zethia – “Hello young one, I am Zethia, leader of the dragons here in Brensur. King Liros, Queen Brenhilde, it is an honor to see you once again.”

Queen Brenhilde – “Zethia, it has been many years. You have grown into a mighty dragon.”

Zethia – “The time with Lidya served me well.”

Laurel – “Who…? The heroine?”

Zethia – “Ah, I forget your people often misplace such names of importance, yes, the great heroine.”

Lumos – “Goodness, I wonder why no one bothered to consult the very beings who still have memory of those times.”

Zethia – “Hello Sage Lumos, I have heard many great things of you. While we do have memories of those times we have been far from humans for decades now.”

Lumos – “Fascinating, and to what do we owe this special visit?”

Zethia – “The girl carries an item of importance. We felt its energy, faint as it is, but it is unique.”

Laurel – “The ringblade? This old rusted thing?”

Zethia – “Yes. Arlos, Zenoth, please bear these travelers to our realm.”

Lumos – “We are to travel with you?”

Zethia – “Yes. We will answer all other questions there.”

Queen Brenhilde – “Well, this is very fortunate. Sage Lumos, use your time with them wisely. You will surely discover many things.”

King Liros – “Go then, and please be careful in your travels.”

Lumos – “Indeed, farewell then.”

Zethia – “To the sky!”

Laurel and Lumos mounted the dragons. In a short moment they were in the sky flying at incredible speeds northward. Thistle flew as fast as she could but was nearly left behind. It took but a few minutes to reach the dragon realm. It was a wondrous sight as many dragons, young and old, flew around the region. Many volcanoes were nestled close to each other, near them a vast valley spread out. It was here that the dragons landed and proceeded to move to a cavern nearby.

Zethia – “Welcome to the Lava Forge. This device, a relic of an age gone by, was used to create some of the artifacts you seek.”

Laurel – “What is that floating just above?”

Zethia – “Very perceptive. That is the mighty weapon of power forged by the dragons. It is called the Andraconus.”

Laurel – “Why does it look like that? It seems… powerless?

Lumos – “Legend holds that only one weapon of power may be active in the seven worlds.”

Zethia – “Correct. The Andraconus, in a sense, sleeps. The Twins of Power should also look like this. Darkened and seemingly covered with rust.”

Laurel – “Then there must be an active weapon of power.”

Zethia – “Yes, we suspect that ringblade of yours might be it, but it does not look complete. Something is missing from it or else its full strength would be felt across the worlds.”

Laurel – “This old thing? It’s half rusted.”

Zethia – “There is something else here. A ring, which might seem like a common thing to you, but it holds a gem. This gem is called the Ruby of Flames.”

Laurel – “I don’t see it.”

Zethia – “Come with me.”

The group walked to a stone terrace that overlooked the valley. To its side a group of orbs floated and formed a path to another volcano.

Zethia – “This here is the challenge that you must complete. It is a trial of our own making. If you succeed in it you may claim the ring.”

Laurel – “Wait what? Really? Seems simple enough.”

Lumos – “Laurel you will need to use that ringblade and your magical energy to sling between each orb. If you run out of mana or miss an orb you could fall to your death. It’s too dangerous.”

Thistle – “Nonsense! I know Laurel can do it!”

Laurel – “Thanks Thistle, but I agree with Lumos.”

Zethia – “If you do not trust in your own abilities you will not be able to claim the ring. Is this artifact not what you were after?”

Laurel – “Well yes, and knowing that those warriors we encountered before might be after this just gives me more motivation.”

Thistle – “Just be careful and you’ll do fine. I could fly off to the other side, that way you can see how far you have to go.”

Zethia – “You cannot help her get through. She must do this on her own. It is the nature of such a trial.”

Laurel – “Alright. Thistle, you’ll be my guiding light.”

Drawing her ringblade and hovering it over her hand, Laurel prepared to take this trial. Using light magic to form a tether to the ringblade, she could launch it to an orb, attach and then swing to the next one. It would be a difficult task to maintain the tether as well as the right balance of energy to launch the ringblade to each orb. In the first quarter of the course Laurel missed one of the orbs and fell. Luckily one of the dragons nearby swooped in, caught her midair and placed her back at the start. Lumos nearly fainted and Thistle was about to rush after her but saw the dragon that saved Laurel. Thistle noticed that there were a lot of dragons flying around the course. The true danger was an illusion. These dragons were ready to swoop in at a moment’s notice to rescue Laurel if she fell again, though Zethia warned that picking her up would not happen again. This was a test of courage as much as a test of skill. Laurel needed to show her skill to wield the ringblade and channel energy.

The fall had made her heart race. Still, she tried to slow down and analyze the course before trying again. Taking slow, deep breaths she thought of a plan to make her way easier. A simple spell that would place a small plume of dark energy onto each orb. This could be combined with another spell placed on the ringblade to make it home in on the dark energy and dissipate it once it latched onto an orb. Without hesitation Laurel jumped from the edge of the terrace and made her way through the course. One after another she cleared each orb. Before reaching the last one she fell again, but this time there were no dragons nearby to catch her. Thistle watched in despair, but then noticed an opening on the side of the volcano. Laurel noticed this as well and proceeded to launch the ringblade spinning at great speed downward. The weapon widened the opening further and smoothed out the tunnel to remove any obstacles. At the end of the tunnel she arrived at a chamber with a pedestal.

Laurel – “Was this the place I was supposed to reach? What’s that?”

She walked towards the pedestal. Just above it was a ring with a gemstone that was a mix of ruby and obsidian. After grabbing it and trying to put it on, it adjusted its size to her finger. A magically adjusted perfect fit. Laurel had acquired the Ring of Flames. Shortly after that Thistle arrived.

Thistle – “Oh thank goodness, you’re safe!”

Laurel – “Yes, and look! I found the ring!”

Thistle – “What an odd combination for a gem.”

Laurel – “I can feel my connection to fire magic becoming stronger. It’s like I’ve used fire magic my entire life. I think you’ll have to teach me some of your tricks, Thistle.”

Thistle – “Sure, I think I can help you learn a spell or two.”

Laurel – “That would be great. I think there’s a way up through here.”

Thistle – “Yeah, you were supposed to arrive at the platform above, but you took a shortcut.”

Laurel – “I was lucky that tunnel was there.”

Thistle – “It wasn’t just that, your management of the ringblade was swift. I think you’re getting the hang of it.”

Laurel – “I still have a long way to go though, but with you and Lumos I will master this in no time.”

Thistle – “That’s the spirit! Let’s rejoin the others.”

Laurel and Thistle climbed the steps that led to the upper terrace. Once there Laurel noticed the orbs had disappeared. Zethia arrived along with Lumos and a few other dragons.

Zethia – “Well done Laurel! Though that last bit there scared us all.”

Laurel – “All part of the plan.”

Lumos – “I am glad you’re safe. Lindrel would have my head.”

Laurel – “For sure. Look, I got the ring!”

Lumos – “Excellent! We finally acquired an artifact.”

Laurel – “Yes! The ring contained a spell that passes down ancient knowledge. It feels like I’ve worn it my whole life. This magic revealed to me that this ring is called the Ring of Flames. For some reason it has a counterpart. Its power can guide me to it, which means we could be already well on our way to the next artifact.”

Lumos – “Fascinating! Zethia do you know of this counterpart?”

Zethia – “We have only ever guarded the ring here. It never reacted to any previous visitors nor do we know of anyone mentioning a counterpart before. It is possible that this counterpart is not on Brensur.”

Laurel – “Previous visitors?”

Zethia – “Many years ago this area was visited by people sometimes, yet the power of the ring remained dormant. It was only recently that the orbs and the ring itself began to react.”

This area, due to its volcanic nature, had a constant low rumble. Slowly this sound began to become louder and the ground started to shake. Zethia ordered everyone to retreat to the valley. Shortly after they left the volcano erupted and an energy stream could be seen traveling outward in the direction of the world portal. Lumos pondered the significance of this and quickly remembered what had happened when they acquired Laurel’s ringblade.

Lumos – “It seems these events are all connected.”

Laurel – “You saw that too, right?”

Lumos – “We will have to investigate further.”

Zethia – “These volcanoes are rarely as active as that one. That energy must have stirred something within it.”

Lumos – “Our previous encounters with this energy had a similar impact. We must continue to seek out these artifacts, they might be the key to understanding more.”

Zethia – “Very well then, my companions will fly you back to Zyrias. Take care and keep the ring safe.”

Laurel – “I will, goodbye Zethia.”

Laurel, Lumos and Thistle made it back to the castle and reported their findings to the king. They talked about the trial, the mysterious energy, the warriors of chaos and the Ring of Flames.

Laurel – “…the ring is now bound to me. I tried taking it off once before but it seems stuck.”

King Liros – “I believe that the ring has chosen you, much like previous weapons of power choose their users.”

Queen Brenhilde – “It is odd that an artifact would act in such a manner. We know that weapons of power have powerful ancient enchantments that bind them, but to have such an effect on a particular artifact is unheard of until now.”

Lumos – “We also discovered that this ring has a counterpart. Laurel can tell you more.”

Laurel – “The knowledge possessed by the ring itself points to something in Ixis. Whenever I think about that world I feel a sense of familiarity.”

King Liros – “There isn’t much else we can do but bestow our blessings upon you. We trust that you will do good by this artifact.”

Queen Brenhilde – “Indeed, and as you have said there may be more to all of this. Be ever watchful.”

Lumos – “We will, now, we must depart. It looks like Ixis is our next step in this little adventure of ours.”

King Liros – “Then go and make certain those chaos warriors you mentioned don’t cause trouble.”

Laurel and Lumos bowed and left the throne room. Thistle followed closely. They talked about the ordeal and the encounter with the dragons. Laurel was fairly exhausted by the trial so they decided to take a rest before leaving Brensur for good. An inn at the edge of the city was their choice to spend the night.

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