Phaerun, busy finishing up his business of eliminating Boss Grond’s men, was caught in the Stone Thief’s wake as it swallowed up Second Blood. After escaping the living dungeon’s maw he found himself back together with the party. Now nearly time for the main event of the Festival, they made their preparations. Laylen, however, seemed particularly nervous. Tallendryl dug out of him that he feared for his own safety for the first time since his abduction in light of his new family. He asked if Phaerun would replace him in Axis’s team. Phaerun agreed, and the new squad of champions, (Phaerun, Triton, Weiss, and Rusk) entered the arena. Lan’Lei, meanwhile, stood as a sentinel, looking out for an possible threats to Parthax, and Tallendryl got drunk in the Spiked Tail’s tavern.
The tournament began with much fanfare, and the crowd became ever more entranced watching the spectacle. They cheered with each spear that was thrown, and with each daring feat performed- pit traps, magic, and blood were all on full display. Rusk charged headlong into Concord’s team and took them all out by himself after lighting himself on fire in a berserker rage. The rest of the team from Axis systematically washed over the rest of the cities’ champions, and handily won the tournament. Meanwhile, Lan’Lei detected the presence of a number of black dragon men in the crowd along with a large black dragon circling above. She attempted to snipe them from her vantage point, but their position in the crowd made it a nearly impossible task. Vrace also failed to alert Tallendryl to the situation, as he was too drunk to understand him.
During the ceremony for the victorious gladiators Parthax made his appearance. He congratulated the champions of Axis and then began to read the meanings of the spears. This is when the dragonkin struck- they all leapt onto Parthax’s back and began stabbing him with some kind of poisonous daggers, rendering him immobile as the black dragon Valyxtrix swooped in and attempted to assassinate him. Triton recognized him immediately as The party sprung into action, and was able to deal enormous damage to the dragon before he was able to do any serious damage of his own. The dragon fell and the dragon men were subsequently dealt with.
After the attack Parthax immediately continued with his oracular task of reading the spears. He proclaimed that Axis was in favor among the cities, but that the Diabolist was far and away the icon whose influence would be most powerful in the coming year. Additionally, he foretold that the Great Gold Wyrm, the Elf Queen, and the Crusader would all suffer in a major way, as well. The citizens immediately began discussing/cheering the conclusion of the spectacle when the news came in that the Stone Thief’s attack was more devastating than originally suspected- the Crusader had been in Second Blood when it was swallowed up. Additionally, there were whispers that the Emperor had been injured while trying to save his son from one of his palaces during the great earthquake caused by the living dungeon. What can this mean for the world, or the age itself?