Skara Brae freed

This past month in Britannia has been exhausting. Orc invasions, dark dragons, and I'm just a reporter! I can't imagine how the true heroes feel.

It was because of this weariness that I felt I should relax for a bit. I spent the day decoding maps, looting a collapsed house, attending an auction held by the Ancient Order of Elves, and stretching my legs by digging up ingeniously drawn treasure maps.

It was due to the treasure hunting that I was unaware that the Ranger's gem had turned red once again, and why I was late for the assembly.

I snuck in, hoping no one noticed I was late to answer the call -- indeed, that I wasn't aware of it! -- and came halfway through a conversation Kalis Sevren was having with one of the Royal Guards.

"...and he offers his aid," the Guard was saying.

"Good," Kalis replied. "Did he tell of a means of contacting him?"

"He said he resides in the desert north of Papua."

"Well, let us wait for a few others to arrive." Kalis paused for a few moments as the newcomers settled in. "Tonight we shall attempt to take back Skara Brae. With the help of Blaze we will hopefully be successful..."

Kalis was interrupted as Arctica Winter, a warrior of the House E'lyn and my treasure-hunting companion of earlier that evening, burst through the doors on horseback. "To arms!" she cried. "Blight is in Skara!"

"It is settled," Kalis said in his usual calm. "Blight is in Skara Brae. And yes, I do require someone or a group of people to go and find Blaze, and quickly. We shall need his aid in this struggle."

Several volunteers spoke up that they would seek out Blaze. "Supposedly he resides in the desert north of Papua," Kalis informed them, for the benefit of those that weren't present earlier. "As for us, to Skara Brae!"

A moongate was opened to Skara Brae, and most of the warriors ran through. I thought that I might better help out by seeking Blaze, since that just requires fast legs to search the desert, and my beetle certainly had those from outrunning treasure guardians.

As I ran through the deserts of the northern Lost Lands, however, I realized how futile my search was. I did not know this area at all, and the various creatures that watched me knew it. I also did not know any of the lore about Blaze, save childhood stories, and they were of no aid.

Sad that I was unable to help in this manner, I felt I had to make up for it by joining the battle in Skara Brae, even if in just a healing capacity, and left the desert search for those more knowledgeable.

Being a citizen of Trinsic, I'm well aware of the "etiquette" of recalling into a besieged city, and thus I knew that I was best to hide as soon as I arrived. Good thing, too, for there were two shadow wyrms waiting in the bank for the likes of me. Standing motionless, hot breath on my neck, I waited patiently as I watched Royal Guards through the windows, running past with dragons on their heels.

In time, I was able to move a bit through the bank to watch from a different viewpoint, but I was still trapped within the bank. I felt helpless, and at the same time, wondered how much I'd be able to help, as I saw veteran warriors fall in the street.

My heart surged, however, when I once again glimpsed the golden scales of Blaze. He had arrived in Skara Brae!

As I watched, waiting for our antediluvian hero to destroy the ancient wyrms outside, I grew worried, for he just seemed to stand there, ignoring his evil kin, as they wisely ignored him. Britannians were running past, hoping for some protection, yet Blaze did nothing. Had we been wrong in pinning our hopes on a dragon?

Even when one brave warrior led a whole train of wyrms to Blaze, he did nothing.

But he did move. Slowly, he seemed to move his head slightly, this way and that. Almost like he was searching for something. Smelling for something. Sensing for something. And then he moved. He was searching for Blight! That had to be it. It was what I had to hold onto.

Emboldened by seeing Blaze setting off, I thought to follow and witness the epic battle between Blaze and Blight. My plans were dashed by the appearance of yet another type of dragon, this one the color of ash. I had no idea of its strength or abilities, but I felt it would be best to wait until he wandered off a bit...

Once it left the area, no doubt chasing down another poor citizen, I made my break out of the bank. Bow in hand and harp at my side, I joined my fellow Royal Guard in the streets of Skara Brae. The battle was everywhere, as were the bodies, both friend and foe.

Seeing the dragon minion (or perhaps just a dragon minion, for their may have been more than one), I thought to test my mettle against it, with both dragon slayer bow and dragon slayer harp. My magic armor was no match for his human slayer breath, however, and I soon joined others in the netherworld.

At the healers, there seemed to be a sizeable force trying to keep the area safe for resurrection and recuperation. Once brought back to a breathing state and having recovered my belongings, I whisked off to Britain, where the good souls around the bank brought Bailey, my beetle steed, back to life. It would not be the first time I'd ask them for help.

Instead of returning to Skara Brae by way of the bank, I thought I'd wisely return by the docks. Unfortunately, these seemed to be the worst place in all of Skara Brae, and I was glad to make it through alive. At the other end, Kalis Sevren was fighting and healing, and let those of us within earshot know that Blaze and Blight had taken their battle off of the island, and that Kalis was going to follow. But the docks needed to be cleared!

I did my best to rally some fighters to this task, but it was hard to pull them away from the individual battles in which they were caught.

Back at the docks, I provided what aid I could, but it seemed that Blight had commanded a good portion of his force to guard the docks to prevent us from following. Many brave warrior fought and fell in a short time, trying to clear a way.

After some time, the docks were diluted of dragon presence, and the streets, too, seemed to be quieter than usual. The sound of battle came from the north end of town, though, so I went to investigate.

The dragons, a known enemy, seemed to be replaced by something less fearsome, but apparently more deadly. In the grasses of Skara Brae was a true harrower, with tentacles of the harrower surrounding it.

I had heard of these creatures, of course, but have never seen them. The tentacles seemed harmless enough, until you got too close. Then they seemed to suck the very life from you! Indeed, there were many corpses around the tentacles, and many ghosts coming to those standing a wise distance from them. Many archers lined up, throwing arrows into the tentacles, but they seemed unaffected, or very little so. Magic was thrown at them, mighty pets were sent in, and I was even able to discord them, but they never seemed to die!

It wasn't for an hour or more that someone wiser and more experienced than us told us about these tentacles. Apparently they drain the very life from you -- as I had seen and felt -- using it to heal themselves!

This meant that the little damage we were doing with our bows was being undone by the brave but foolhardy warriors that ran in to attack.

The wise man, whose name I did not catch, went on to tell us that the best way to do it was to send one very brave, very quick person in to fight the creature, and that hero would need a retinue of healers keeping him or her alive as the creature flailed and drained them.

Alas, the warriors present seemed to ignore these words, though they seemed to have experience behind them. Unable to help here, I took a last ride through the streets of Skara Brae to clean up any stragglers. I found an ancient wyrm near the docks, and while once I would have run from it, I considered myself a seasoned dragon hunter and took to it alone. During one of my several strategic retreats, the fight was joined by Quinya of the Twilight Fellowship, and her assistance was quite welcome -- we finished the beast in no time.

Weary, I set off for home. The few remaining dragons in Skara Brae would soon be brought down, and I could only hope that someone with leadership could convince the others how to dispatch the harrower and its tentacles.

The next morning, I returned to Skara Brae. Some buildings were still smoldering, but the tentacles have vanished, the harrower is no more, and it seems that a blight, or rather, a Blight, has been removed from the land, at least for now. I haven't heard whether Blight has truly been destroyed, but not he, nor Blaze, nor Kalis were seen again that night.

The citizens of Skara Brae will soon be able to return, as the fires should come under control soon. This brings up another question, though:

What of Trinsic?

There are still dragons there, but are they the remnants of Blight's power? Or if we slay them there, will they continue to appear? I am too tired to test this out, but I am hoping some other, sturdier heroes can verify whether or not the dragons continue to spawn in Trinsic, or whether the remaining ones will be the last.