The Black Rainbow

We sailed to the island that was Gilder's birthplace, a grim anticipation settling over our armada. Vantas's forces were great indeed, but we had no idea what was in store for us when we arrived. Varsuviux could easily have built up an army to outnumber us tenfold.

We stood on the deck of Gilder's ship, tense and uneasy. Clare silently sharpened one of her swords while I played small refrains on my lute. Gilder stood at the helm, looking increasingly worried. The sky was darkening, with black clouds that seemed to originate from a point far beyond the horizon. Vantas flew down on deck, and wished us luck one last time before the fighting began. He then flew off.

We found that the closer we got to our destination, the less the weather wanted to cooperate. By now, the wind had entirely died out, and the entire fleet had resorted to rowing. Clare and Alistair went below deck to help, while I went to the helm and performed a ritual to put the wind at our backs.

As the island came into view, we saw a village burning, a sky black as pitch, and enemy forces crawling like ants. The ship rattled violently, and a shout came from the helm. "The water! Something in the water!"

The Black Dragon Company took up their battle stances, and sure enough, found that the vessel was being boarded by a horde of grotesque, humanoid sea creatures. They climbed up on deck, dripping with pungent seawater.

Clare and Alistair were quick to emerge, bursting forth from below deck with weapons in hand, cleaving into one foul creature after another. I stood at the helm with Gilder, slaying foes with a crescendo of wubs from the Songblade of Madness while Gilder tried to keep the ship on course. That was when we saw, off to port, a large mass of tentacles rear out of the water. "KRAKEN! ABANDON SHIP!" Gilder bellowed, and let go of the wheel. He instructed to hold it off for as long as possible, and to wait for his return, then he disappeared below deck.

I didn't need to be told twice; I joined in the fray with a devastating blow that sent several of the sea creatures flying. As soon as we had cleared the deck, the Kraken took hold of the ship, filling the air with a terrible, gut-wrenching scent. We tried to fight it off, but it was no use. The beast could not feel our weapons.

I jumped into a lifeboat and attempted to flee the scene remained resolute, and awaited Gilder's return. When he finally emerged on deck, he was leading three magnificent griffons. "Go! Fly to Varsuviux and end this!" he said. We mounted up; Alistair riding an untamed, violent one named Trogdor, Clare atop a lazy, unkempt one named Geoff, and I atop Buckley, a proud and well-groomed creature.

We took to the skies, and surveyed the damage below us. Most of our armada was still on course, headed straight into the heart of the crescent shaped island. We circled around, and saw that Gilder was still on deck, firing shots into the mouth of the Kraken, with full intent to go down with the ship. Alistair and I swooped in to save him just in the nick of time.

"We can't let you have a more heroic death than us" Alistair said. Gilder laughed aloud, a hearty chuckle. He actually seemed to be enjoying himself.
"Yer wasting your time, I'll just slow you down, mate. Or steal your glory." Alistair turned to me.
"He has a point, you know. He might try to steal our glory."
"And he will just slow us down."
And with that, we commanded our griffons to drop him into the ocean. We could hear him laughing as he plummeted down in a perfect swan dive.
"Good luck, you magnificent bastard" I whispered.

We continued towards the source of all this corruption; the chapel at the heart of the island. A great spire rose from it, at the exact epicenter of the swirling vortex of dark clouds. We chained ourselves into our saddles, and sped full speed towards this ominous building.

But Varsuviux wouldn't let us in without a fight. Speeding towards us, we saw a death knight mounted on a black-feathered griffon, leading a charge of ghostly warriors. We accelerated.

Before the collision, I broke away and began firing spells from afar. Clare on the other hand only increased her speed. I looked down to see her tuck her griffon's wings in, and achieve a speed great enough to break the sound barrier. She hit the death knight head on, knocking him off his mount out of the sky. She began to plummet, making sure that the undead monstrosity was truly dead.

Alistair and I were left to deal with the four ghosts that accompanied him. They managed to posess both Clare and Alistair through the fight, but they were forced out by my companions' strength of will and mind. With that battle won, we circled overhead and surveyed the battlefield. Many of our ships had docked, and we saw fighting all across the island. It was hard to tell who was winning.

We saw Gilder and his pirates just arriving at shore, firing flintlock weapons into hordes of monsters. We saw Zecht, also leading a band of warriors, fighting valiantly though greatly outnumbered. And on a rooftop, we saw Gambit, supporting our fleet with his bardic magic. As he saw us fly towards the chapel, he played for us a ballad. We saluted, and headed towards the site of our last stand.

Varsuviux was there waiting for us atop the highest spire of the chapel. He was obviously expecting us. As soon as we landed, arcanic barriers enclosed the top of the spire.
"Looks like this is gonna be a cage match" Alistair said.
"Suits me" Clare grunted.

We heard a bellowing voice that seemed to resound from the heavens themselves.
"It's time to meet your end, Black Dragon Company!" We threw insults back and forth for a minute, before Varsuviux revealed the first thing in his bag of tricks. He flickered for a second, and four duplicates of him appeared before us. Immediately, our rings began to glow, and his illusion dispelled. It looked like his tricks wouldn't work on us as long as we carried the rings of our ancestors.

"Our turn!" I whispered, and with that, we threw our first attacks. It was a monumental battle; I focused on controlling the battlefield and hindering Varsuviux while Clare and Alistair dipped and dodged, locked in intense combat with the dark lord. But it looked like it wouldn't be enough.

And finally, Varsuviux brought us all to our knees. He stood over us, laughing like a hyena at our defeat, when our rings began to glow. We could feel our strength returning, and as we rose to our feet to fight again, we saw our ancestors appear behind us in a ghostly form.

I did the only thing that came naturally to me; I sang. Clare and Alistair joined in, and I swore I could even hear our ancestors cheering us on.

The music was having a terrible effect on him, and before the song even concluded, he looked severely injured by it. He stood to fight us once more, but then something strange happened. Winfrey's spirit seemed to escape from the ground, and she grabbed the dark lord in a full nelson.
"Quickly! Strike now! You don't have much time!" She shouted.

How glorious it was to hear her voice again! And how bittersweet that it wouldn't last. We all stepped towards the bound figure of Varsuviux, and plunged our weapons into him. Each weapon seemed to glow with its own distinct hue, and Varsuviux screamed in sheer agony and fear as he met his end.

The sound was music to my ears.

We stood there, panting, and I watched as Winfrey's spirit faded slowly away. She waved at me, and smiled, tears fresh in her eyes. Suddenly I felt very hollow, even as I looked around to see that the sky had cleared, and the fight below us had come to a halt when Varsuviux's army crumbled into dust.

In the end, we were made ministers of the island's city council. We were hailed as heroes by the townspeople. I immediately decided that I didn't like the current ruler, and planted my blade in his skull. None of the town guard tried to stop me.

Then, in true black dragon style, we looted the town, and arranged to have a cut of its future profits in the future. Who knew that our mission would have such a lucrative reward? I was made minister of business, Clare the military leader, Alistair the agricultural minister. From what I understand, Zecht was crowned a hero as well. He thanked us for all that we had done, and left to continue searching for his family.

Osirus the minotaur wished to join us, but we declined his offer. From what I understand now, he is serving as a bodyguard for the new ruler of the island, Gilder's sister.

Before we headed back to the Pub, I left Gambit a note telling him to meet us in Nailo Harbor, as we were planning to hold a large-scale concert and perform, in song, the full tale of our victory at Ha-Mun-Ra, and over Varsuviux.

The Pub seemed strangely empty when we got back, the door to Winfrey's room remained painfully shut at all times. We got to work immediately, writing music and practicing. We coerced some wealthy nobles in Gootham to give us a venue, and sold overpriced tickets to the show.

On the day of the performance, a large crowd had amassed to see the famous Black Dragon Company, a group to be respected and feared, a group that had saved the world and had everybody in its debt, a group that wields power unrivaled by anybody. We looked out at the crowd and saw Gilder and his pirates cheering us on, we saw Zecht beaming at us with that same stupid grin on his face, we saw Osirus at the back with his arms crossed, and I even swore that I saw Vantas fly overhead. Everyone wronged by Varsuviux had come to see us play, and to bring this dark chapter of all our lives to a final point of closure.

When the cheering died down, we began to play.

—Wilward Jones

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