The last time we saw our bearded adventurers, they were fighting the evil Enchantress and her army of undead warriors in a battle for the fate of Franklin. While Captain Crimson, the Scribe, the Distiller, the Barkeep, the Gunslinger, the Hero, the Marksman, the Inventor, and Dr. Wolf continue to fight the zombie guard in Franklin, the Wizard and the Enchantress engaged in a transdimensional magic duel through time and space. It is impossible to say how long the dual lasted, a thousand years pass like a second and vice versa when traversing dimensions. One second they were fighting at the peak of the tallest mountain in an eternal winter landscape, the next they were entangled in a free fall brawl through a rather trippy dimension, and they even found themselves in close quarters combat tearing through the Writer’s living room. The Wizard and Enchantress battled through hundreds of realms/dimensions frantically warring to gain an advantage in the struggle over the Fableverse.
The Gunslinger looks around at his battle-worn comrades. Captain Crimson sinks the belly of his blade’s recurve into the helm of a warrior, dropping the necromantic swordsman instantly, but the Gunslinger notices that Crimson begins to struggle to draw back his sword to meet the oncoming attack of the next guard in line. The Marksman usually moves with grace, running, leaping, and sliding into his attacks. However, now the Marksman fights off two to three of the soldiers at a time, his movements becoming more sluggish as the battle begins to take its toll. The Hero’s incredible swordsmanship allows him to handle the mass of incoming undead, however, like the Marksman, the strain from the physical exertion reveals itself from the streams of sweat pouring down from his immaculately bearded jawline.
The Wolf circles the Inventor’s downed exoskeleton, mauling ghouls that stray too close. The Distiller uses his staff to try prying the canopy of the machine open. The Barkeep occasionally unleashes a savage punch to try breaking the glass. Ironically, the Inventor’s quality handiwork makes his rescue difficult. The Gunslinger flips his rifle, racking a round into the chamber in the process. His robotic eye picks out six of the most pressing adversaries rushing in to kill his friends. The Gunslinger takes a deep breath and then fires off shot after shot in rapid succession, not so much as even flinching as each shot leaps out of the barrel, the only movement being his hand as he works the action of his 45-70 short-barrel lever action.
The bullets whiz past his friends, striking the charging guards, opening up a fist-sized hole in their torsos. The bodies fall to the ground. The Gunslinger flips the rifle back around to his back, drawing his twin 45 Long Colt six-shooters to continue. His robotic eye locates, targets, and calculates each shot in fractions of a second, sometimes causing the Gunslinger to pull the trigger of one of his pistols as he is turning his head to target the next unfortunate opponent. And of course, he never misses.
Despite the Gunslinger’s legendary accuracy and efficiency, the capacity of his weapons slows him down, causing him to reload after six shots from each weapon. The Gunslinger slides for cover next to the Inventors mech and pushes a 45 Long Colt cartridge into the cylinder of his revolver when he sees the tide of the battle turn.
The horde is finally pressing in. The Hero blocks blow after blow from the numerous soldiers pushing forward, slowly giving ground as he is rarely able to deliver a lethal blow in the face of this push. The Marksman is able to occasionally fire a magically energized bolt or two into the undead mob pushing forward. The arrow strikes an unlucky zombie, sending tendrils of lightning whipping around, hitting several other undead. Like the Gunslinger, though, reloading his crossbow takes time and his hand-to-hand fighting skill-set is ineffective against a crowd of this size, so the Marksman must fall back often against the crowd pressing in around them. Captain Crimson is thoroughly exhausted, barely able to raise his heavy sword. The Inventor finally freed up from the cockpit of his exoskeleton, crawls out, bringing himself to his feet. Even though he is free, he suffers from several bruised and broken bones, he is barely able to walk. The Wolf is pushed back by undead pikemen, using their long spears to keep him from launching forward. The heroes back in towards one another, facing the evil army shoulder to shoulder and back to back. It appears their luck has run out.
Suddenly a bright light appears just behind the encircling horde. The battle stops as both heroes and monsters turn to see. The light explodes, blinding everyone at first and then subsiding, revealing a triumphant Enchantress hovering over a defeated Wizard. The Enchantress is crackling with green energy, levitating several feet off of the ground. The Wizard had fought valiantly over the years and through the dimensions, but the power of the Time Changer gem gave the Enchantress too much power. He lies on the ground exhausted.
“I HAVE HAD ENOUGH,” screams the Enchantress raising her scepter high above her head. A bright orb forms as she draws magic energy from every universe, preparing to unleash it on the Wizard. The Wizard tries to conjure a magic shield, a small blue disk forms in front of him but it appears unstable, flickering on and off.
“I HAVE ALL THE POWER OF THE UNIVERSES AT MY FINGERTIPS AND YOU AND YOUR BAND OF CURRS HAVE REFUSED TO YIELD, I WILL BURN YOU OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH,” continues the Enchantress enraged at the perceived insolence of the heroes.
The winds begin to pick up swirling around the orb, like casting the spell required the breath of the world. The heroes feel it, like air being pulled from their lungs. Their bodies are frozen in awe and horror. The Gunslinger’s sophisticated robotic eye recognizes the magic supernova is nearly reaching criticality. And there was nothing any of them could do about it. The Enchantress had won. Everything they had been through together, all the adventures, the trials, and triumphs. Everything they worked for, now for naught. And there was nothing they could do about it.
The Gunslinger draws his pistol, faster than the twinkle of an eye, and fires a prayer.
Narrated by Brandon Warner