Back at the village, the villagers anxiously waited for their heroes’ safe return. Many had stayed in the temple while others went to their shops to work. As the minutes passed, many began to fear that the cannibals captured their heroes. Others believed Ares caught them and took them to the fortress. The elders hush the jittery villagers, casting aside any doubt they had. However, even the elders were worried about their saviors. Suddenly, the alarm bell rings, and the guardsmen shout’s from the ramparts “They are alive, they are coming back!”
Commotion echoes in the temple, and many rushed outside to welcome back their champions. Though still dark, the villagers were able to outline seven riders galloping back at full speed. Everyone cheered in unison. Soon, the heroes enter the village one by one, with Amyntas holding the green stone in his hand victoriously. All were amazed. No one could believe what they were seeing. From the temple, the elders quickly walk down the steps.
“You are victorious,” said one of the elders. The young Spartan dismounts and presents the stone to them.
“We have the stone, now all we need is some magic.” One of the elders takes the stone in his weathered hands.
“Leave that to us.” He smiles and walks back with the others to the temple for a sacred ritual. Removing his helmet, he brushes his fingers through his hair. It was all going to be over soon.
“I need a drink.”
“We could all use a drink,” said Decimus.
Our heroes walk to the only tavern in the village and find a large table with plenty of chairs. Plopping down on the wood seats, they all let out a much-needed sigh. Exhaustion was the feeling all were sharing. A few moments pass and the tavern owner hands everyone a flask of alcohol, on the house. Talking a sniff, the young heroes reared back at the pungent smell of the liquid, whereas Avalon and Vortiger chuckle.
“What is this concoction?” asked Cynbel
“It’s called Dragon’s blood,” said the elder Wendigo. “Quite a regal drink. It is only served on days of battle or given to respected soldiers.”
“The odor is quite foul,” said Cynbel.
“The odor smells of death. Taste like molten blood and burns the back of your throat like you just ate burning coal. But it does have one strength to it.”
“Which is?” said Decimus
“It increases your skills. Speed, agility, strength, endurance, and skill. One drop and you will be a match for any warlord.” The new heroes look at one another. Grabbing their cups, they all drink down their flask. Upon consumption, the newcomers were taken aback by its fires taste. The girl’s face turned red while the guy’s eyes turned red.
This alcohol was unlike anything they had ever had. However, not everyone was affected by alcohol. Avalon and Vortiger were already used to the fiery taste by now, even if it was drinking an equivalent of molten lava. After several minutes the newcomers begin to get used to the strong taste. Decimus blinks his eyes a few times while Amyntas and others clear their throats.
“Geez that is strong,″ said Amyntas. “This will put hair on your chest.” As our heroes drank some of the dragons’ blood, the sense of battle faded away in their hearts. Halfway through the night, our heroes began discussing their stories from their homes and who they were before they were chosen.
Everyone around the table told their tale, except for Avalon. He remained silent throughout the discussions. He simply watched them and studied their interactions. This was the first time he was able to interact with a human up close fully. It felt very familiar. So this is what it is like to be among ’st them. Avalon was so deep in his thoughts that he did not hear one of the seven calling him.
“Avalon, what about you? Do you have any stories?” The young Wendigo broke from his thoughts and looked at the table. All eyes were on him now.
“Um, yes. I do have one tale my father told me, and it parallels what we see right now,” said the young hunter.
Everyone was intrigued now. “Don’t just sit there, tell us then.”
Clearing his throat, Avalon told the heroes about the most magnificent tale ever told; the three clans of Nyron. Centuries before the first champions being summoned to this land, only three significant tribes were fighting for control.
“Were the Wendigoes one of these tribes?” Cynbel asked.
“No, we wendigoes did not exist at that time. The three tribes were the Aeetos, Saurians, and Desmodus. Each one is very different from the next.
In the past, all three fought each other in tribal warfare, and there were high casualties on each side. To prevent the extinction of their people, they agreed to build an arena in the desert and train champions to fight for their people and the right to rule this land.”
“Sounds like Gladiators in Rome,” said Decimus.
Avalon nodded. “Yes, very much like your gladiators. Each year, new champions were trained and brought to the arena, neither side one. In that year, three promising champions emerged: Ja Gan, Kalavn, and Xion. Each one wanted the glory of the arena, yet during the fights, something unexpected happened.”
He could feel the medallion hum and glowing a blue hue. Now is not the time he hears the medallion tell him. Instead of telling them the whole truth, Avalon decided to tell only half.
“Then, according to legend, a great serpent descended from the heavens and reigned terror on the three clans. All fled in horror, except for the three.”
“What happened to them?” said Cynbel. The young Celt felt like a little girl listening to an epic tale back home, Britannia.
Avalon then explains that after the heroes escaped the serpent and fled into the dark moon forest, they found a powerful weapon and used its magical properties to create new weapons of their own, granting them power beyond their wildest dreams.
“What happened next,” they all said.
Avalon smiled. “After that encounter, they vowed to fight together as one and led a chargeback to the arena, where they battled the serpent until the mighty beast fell to their blades. Its body soon disintegrated and was washed away by the sands of time. Since that day, the three champions became a beacon of hope for peace and unity. Their example of courage, loyalty, and honor became the three tenets we Wendigo’s used to follow when my father was still king. I have strived to live by their example, and I see that same drive in each one of you.”
After he had finished his tale, there was thunderous applause from the Chronos and the seven. All were moved by the compelling story and stoke the fire of courage within our heroes.
“That is quite the tale, Avalon. Thank you for sharing with all of us.” He had not heard such a passionate speech since the battle of Platea. Just as everyone sat back down, the elders approached the table.
As they approached, the others got up and bowed before them. Before any could speak, the mood changed when one of the villagers came running into the tavern bloodied and screaming. Amyntas took charge and went to the villagers. It was a young boy, no older than ten.
“Speak boy, what happened? Why are you bloody?” The child said nothing and only pointed outside. the Spartan called Avalon over to him. “Watch over him. Everyone else outside.”
With the young hunter watching over the boy, all began to make their way to the gate entrance. This night was far from over.