The Sting of Defeat

The Sting of Defeat

“NOOOOOOOO,” yells the Hero rushing forward. The air is thick with dust and black smoke. The ground is littered with mangled pieces of the Inventor’s mech. The Hero makes his way to a burning mass in the middle of all the destruction. The cockpit of the Inventor’s mech lies in a crater, engulfed in flames. The Hero jumps onto the glass canopy of the cockpit, assessing the situation. The canopy has a smoky tint by design, but the explosion created a spider web of cracks to cover it.The Hero can see the silhouette of the Inventor laying incapacitated in his seat, illuminated by flames that are spreading throughout the cockpit. 

The Hero pounds on the canopy, screaming at the Inventor. The Inventor is unresponsive. The Hero takes his shattered sword and tries to pry the canopy loose to no avail. The heat of the flames is searing, but the Hero will not give up on the Inventor. The flames inside the cockpit grow bright, to the point where the Hero loses sight of the Inventor’s silhouette in the wave of flames lapping against the canopy.

Suddenly a strong force grips the Hero and pulls him away from the wreckage. The Hero fights, yells, and struggles as Crimson drags him away.

“Thar’s nothing more you can do for him,” growls Captain Crimson. The Hero stumbles back to see The Wolf lying in the dirt, licking his injured shoulder, before slowly transitioning back into Dr. Wolf, who still favors his shoulder. The Wizard is bent over the Marksman, checking on him. The Gunslinger stumbles out of the tavern holding his ribs, the Bartender following holding his nose, grimacing in pain. 

The Paladin walks out of the cloud of destruction and stands before the wounded heroes.

“I hoped that you would stand with me in the light of Zauberin as brethren,” says the Paladin with a hint of remorse in his voice.

“Yeah so you’ve said,” retorts the Gunslinger, grimacing as he speaks. The Hero stares at the Paladin with murderous intent.

“Because I respect the courage and honor with which you fight, I will give you three weeks. The town of Franklin has three weeks to decide their own fate. Bow the knee to Zauberin, or be destroyed,” says the Paladin. 

The Wizard looks over and sees Captain Crimson reaching deep in the pocket of his pirate overcoat, his hand drawing out one of the Captain’s infamous signaling flares. The Wizard shakes his head “no,” and Crimson shoots him a questioning glance. The Wizard turns his head back to the Paladin. What no one else is able to see was the illuminated being watching over the Paladin. Her flowing robes and golden hair billow softly, and a radiant glow radiates from her. The power from this being is palatable, much more powerful than anyone the Wizard has faced before.

The Paladin turns and walks away before disappearing in a bright flash of searing white light. The heroes sit in silence, mourning the loss of their friend, the Inventor. The Hero breaks the silence.

“What was that?” asks the Hero angrily, “He fought with the strength of a thousand men, and the speed of once possessed.”

“That precisely what he is,” answers the Wizard, “Possessed by the goddess Zauberin, the Enchantress from outside the Fableverse…” 

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