The giant needle punctured the ground repeatedly - every time missing its target just barely. With every thrust, the scorpion’s desperation and panic grew - she knew she was wasting her remaining strength during this long battle, and if she persisted like this, even if she delivered the full lethal dose of venom to her enemy, the sheer exhaustion may overwhelm her. Just concentrate, breathe and aim - another miss. She used her pincers to try to sever the man’s head, but the human nuisance ducked just in time. The large arachnid then noticed her attacker quickly running for his own shiny needle that she’d previously disarmed him of - she needed to end this duel before he got to it. Concentrate, breath, aim - another miss. He was very close now - his claw almost around the needle’s handle. Her last chance, and - another miss. She reached her tail back for another strike, but a shock of pain surged through her body as her enemy’s thorn had plunged deep into her thorax. She let out a mighty shriek and tried to strike him, but the wound was too great that her limbs and tail began to contract and curl up. The man pulled out his weapon and walked forward, towering over her. She looked in fright as the man lifted his sharp-edged tool above her head, hissing in defiance at this intruder. She lamented at how earlier today she was at peace, minding her own business, and this bandit came into her lair and-
With all his strength, Sir Alger Brynjar thrust his mighty blade Gleb down into the giant scorpion’s brain, putting an end to the whole affair. As rigor mortis began to slowly take hold on the beast, Alger backed away, knelt before his kill, and prayed to God, thanking Him for granting him the strength and good fortune to seek out this hulking, hairy demon and send it back to Hell. After his moment of worship, he approached the carcass and removed Gleb from its mangled brains, then in a single forceful swipe cleaved the creature’s tail from its body. He examined the severed appendage - as long as a man is tall, and full to the brim of a venom that can drop an entire village dead with one strike. Sheathing his sword and hoisting his trophy over his shoulder, he took his leave of the monster’s den, mounted his trusty steed, and began his long return.
The following night, Alger celebrated in the village’s tavern with some of the lord’s knights and council - rejoicing that no longer will they worry for the threats imposed by the deadly scorpion. Alger decided to buy a few rounds of brew for the house - his battle against the day previous had been much more dangerous than originally predicted, knowing the extent of the terror these village folk endured from its menace - and he was feeling a bit charitable. Also as a knight of considerable skill in defeating the most vicious creatures in the land, he’d accrued enough of a comfortable fortune to be generous from time to time.
“Brothers,” a slightly drunken Sir Alger announced while waving his hands close to him, “I have asked the lord of your village to offer the poison to your smiths, to tip your blades in the tail’s poison. One creature’s terror may bring salvation to others. Here here.”
Alger toasted again to himself, followed by the mostly enamored crowd, and as he began to slurp down his mug, he noticed a mysterious old man sitting at a table in a dark corner across the tavern. The old man sat silently, slowly puffing a stone pipe emerging from the long white beard and staring intently at the knight from under the low brim of his hood. His cloths were matted with dried mud, discolored by weathering of seasons upon seasons past. Occasionally, one vein-riddled hand would pull out the pipe while the other would lift a mug to the the old man’s lips behind the mess of white beard and sip his drink. The victorious knight tried to push the mysterious wayfarer from his mind and continue to entertain his party, but the draw of the gray pilgrim’s piercing glare and total absence of revelry became harder to ignore.
“I had told your lord,” Alger started to regale, with quick glances at the unwavering stare of the mysterious patron, “after witnessing the brute force of the mighty ‘skorpios’ in battle, tis no surprise you all suffered greatly. She was a creature of unimaginable threat that required much more of my skill than I’d anticipated, and for anyone without my experience, life would’ve been a-”
“HA!” cackled the old man in the corner, slowly pulling his pipe from the nest of gray hair covering his face. “An ‘unimaginable threat?’ A trifle! And to think I’d heard it all!” Everyone in the tavern grew silent, baffled at the gray stranger in the shadowy corner laughing under his giant beard and cloak. “This so-called ‘Mighty Skorpios’ that this great ‘hero’ put down for you is simply domestic compared to the terrors I’ve encountered. And he boasts tale of his exploits as if he were in any real danger! Cowardly fools, the lot of ya!”
Alger, confounded by this boorish codger, grabbed his mug of ale and stumbled forth. Everyone in the tavern watched the old man flummoxed as Alger approached his obscure heckler. As Alger stopped in front of the man’s table, the man sucked on his pipe and released a ring of smoke from under his cloak, never looking up at the drunken knight standing before him.
“Good eve,” Alger greeted the man, lifting his mug to toast. “Enjoying your ale, sir? My treat.” The old man did not look up to Alger, but reached into his cloak and produced two coins, firmly placing them on the table and sliding them forward.
“For your trouble, knight,” the old man crookedly replied, still not lifting his head. “I am not of these parts, and therefore should not be party to the town’s rejoicing. The beast’s living or dying is no matter to me.”
“Then may I kindly ask you leave us to celebrate ourselves?” Alger asked, taking the coins. The knight turned, downed his ale, and walked back to his party and ordered another round of ale. Before he could bring the new mug to his lips, a thunderous bellowing from the old vagrant filled the tavern:
“Black as night,
Large as a mountain,
His terror wrecks cities,
within his fiery fountain.”
Again, the patrons of the tavern fell silent, staring at the haggard old poet puffing on his pipe. He puffed out a cloud of smoke and continued: “With a crack of his tail,
Kingdoms fall asunder,
While the flutter of his wings,
Split the skies with thunder.
Everywhere he travels,
Fire and ruin ensue,
By breath or tail or bite,
Your time on Earth is through.
To ignore the demon’s threat,
Would reveal yourself the fool,
So I leave it to the heroes,
To achieve the ultimate duel.”
“Enough with your musings,” Sir Alger demanded, clearly annoyed with the old man’s constant disruption. “You now have our undivided attention - who are you, and why must you insist on upsetting our libations?”
“HO!” the old man boomed. “You celebrate the victory over a novelty for these homely weaklings when there are much greater challengers, with much higher rewards.” The old man finally stood up and slowly approached Sir Alger. Alger’s audience slowly backed up as the vagrant paced nearer, with Alger not moving an inch.
“This ‘demon’ you speak of,” Alger requested of the vagabond, “what do you know of it? You’re but a dirty wandering louse. I could no less accuse you of a drunkard spouting jibberish. Where did come up with such foolishness?”
“I’ve traveled far and wide searching for a hero to face this grave foe,” the old man explained, “an enemy who has taken the life of my own kin; a defiler who has claimed the lives of many families in my homeland and destroyed generations. I’ve been away for so long, seeking one who could appropriately respond to this infernal horror, and to my relief I’d caught word of a knight who’d slain the most deadly of beasts in the world around these parts.” The old man looked Alger up and down critically, not liking what he sees. “Alas, he must have ventured on to greater exploits. No one up to a challenge of this magnitude would be caught flaunting a “victory” over a mere bug. Perhaps my potential dragonslayer could be found in the next-”
“‘Dragonslayer’,” Alger interrupted, raising an eyebrow, trying to not come off too eager. “You rhyme of a dragon, old man?”
“Have you not listened to a word I’ve said?” the old man scoffed, sipping his mug. “Clearly this town is bereft of qualified candidates, or brains at the least. Maybe I’ll have better luck elsewhere, where there exists a warrior who takes matters seriously.”
The old man emptied his mug and began to move toward the tavern’s exit, but Alger continued to block the vagabond’s way. “What is your name, old man?”
“My name is Fenris,” the old man revealed, “one of the high priests to Queen Ostara in Balkvata.”
“Balkvata,” Alger considered, slurping down more ale from his mug. “You’ve journeyed far from home, which means your need must be dire.”
“But only for those with the proper respect for the situation, knight,” Fenris tossed back, not shying away from revealing his disappointment and skepticism in the drunk warrior standing before him. “You cannot be the hero that I will save my people.”
Fenris produced another coin and placed it in the barkeep’s hand and stepped around Alger towards the door. Alger, getting impatient in his inebriation, quickly turned to the old pilgrim and shouted “HALT!”
A smiling Fenris slowly turned, as Alger unsheathed his large sword Gleb and held it above his head. Fenris examined the famed blade - several scratches and nicks across the worn steel, but the edge as sharp as glass. His eyes looked down to the drunken warrior, looking very determined and heroic despite his current fuddled state.
“I am Sir Alger Brynjar,” he proclaimed. “Conqueror of the Dark Tower of Windhoven, chosen by God. Defeater of the southern shadow army and the bicorn cavalries of Hell. It was my capture of the gold-horned yale that earned my title of ‘Knight.’ It is because of me that the eastern lands of Tole no longer suffer under threat of the basilisk. I am an instrument of heaven, letting Him guide my hand in quashing His most severe enemies. If anything, old man, I am over-qualified for taking on a dragon, but if you are offering, I’ll accept all the same.”
“What is your price, Sir Alger Brynjar?” Fenris wondered, smiling under his massive white beard.
“Oh,” chuckled Alger, sheathing his sword, “you couldn’t possibly afford me, Fenris. I would be doing this as an act of charity.”
“Charity?” Fenris considered, raising an eyebrow. He reached into his cloak and produced a scroll of parchment which he held out at arms-length to read properly. “Yes, twenty sacks of gold is too trivial of an amount to-”
“Hold on now, Fenris,” Alger interjected, grabbing the scroll and reading the text, “let’s not be hasty. A man does need to eat, you understand?”
“Indeed,” Fenris agreed, producing a stone stylus and a small bottle of ink. “In your hands is a contract between a fitting candidate and Queen Ostara of Balkvata. The agreement requires an in-person consultation with the queen herself before the quest is underway, of course. That is…if you are a fitting candidate.”
Fenris handed the stylus and ink to Alger, who rolled his eyes and snatched the stylus and ink and set to signing his name on the contract as Fenris continued, “Tis a very long ride to Balkvata, through very dangerous terrains.”
“I can manage,” Alger dismissed as he wrote his name on the document, blew on the ink to dry it, then returned it to the hands of the smiling Fenris. “As God as my witness, I will see this mission to its end, and I shall present your fair queen with the dragon’s severed head.” Pleased with himself, Fenris rolled the scroll up, pocketed it with the stylus and ink, and produced two more coins for the barkeep.
“A round for myself and Sir Alger Brynjar, ‘Dragonslayer,’” Fenris announced with pride, realizing he will be returning home after all these years, and with the best of tidings.
The trek north towards Fenris’s homeland of Balkvata was a grueling fifty-nine day ride to the northwest of the known world, climbing over the rugged peaks of the Jormun, risking the frozen wastes of Boda where Fenris nearly lost himself to an endless frozen sleep, and beyond the haunted forests of Ymir - to their lack only encountering less than a handful of spider attacks. Though mostly one-sided victories, Fenris couldn’t help but note the lightning reflexes and brute strength of this companion in the heat of battle, in flashes resembling more one of his slain monsters. Despite suffering through Alger’s daily prayers and propositions for Fenris to be baptized, the old pilgrim grew more and more convinced he’d located quite possibly the greatest warrior in all the land. Even if this knight were not to survive, Fenris could take comfort that he did indeed find his peoples’ best hope.
At last the duo reached the realm of Balkvata, high up in the dark snow-capped peaks that border the northern reaches of the world. Fenris led the way up narrow, gradually higher and her mountain passes, followed by the wide-eyed Alger, endlessly awed by his journey through a completely new region of the world that he never heard of before that fateful evening in the tavern. Occasionally the duo would pass through a village, and every time nearly the entire population would run out to greet Fenris on his return and cheer on his new companion. Alger waved to the cheering crowds, yet found it odd to see armor and standards bearing the sigil of a dragon’s head surrounded by flames. To see a public apparently under threat of a dragon, the knight felt it ironic to see them waving banners bearing the head of their nightmare. He would make sure to bring up the irony to Fenris later, or to this Balkvatan queen he was sure to meet.
The farther up the pair climbed, however, the scenery changed dramatically. Where they entered healthy towns full of vibrant, cheering villagers, they now rode their steeds silently amongst the charred remains of homes and marketplaces. Alger looked down and in some parts their horses trudged knee-deep not through mountain snow but ash. Fenris turned to the perplexed knight with a sour look of regret: “some hamlets aren’t as lucky. Get used to scenery like this for the next few hours. This is why you’re here, knight.”
Evening was approaching when the two weary travelers finally caught first glimpse of Ostmont Castle, the capital of Balkvata. Great dark stone walls rose from the mountains themselves taller than the highest trees, the parapets hiding nearly all inside. In small windows along the wall stood archers with bows bent, following Fenris and Sir Alger as they slowly approached the towering city. At last they approached Ostmont’s “moat,” a crevasse with no visible floor that would take the lives of any living being that had the misfortune of falling inside. Fenris looked up to a guard high up on the parapet, staring down at them.
“It is I,” Fenris shouted in his booming voice, “High Priest Fenris of Valdale. I have journeyed far and wide on an urgent charge from Queen Ostara, and I must bring her my good tidings at once. Please lower the gate so we may enter.” After a few short moments, Alger was surprised to discover a section of this giant barricade lower before him; a stone drawbridge designed to resemble the rest of the wall perfectly. Once the drawbridge was fully extended, Fenris continued to lead the duo forward, across the drawbridge and into Ostmont Castle.
The doors to the castle’s keep opened as two guards led Fenris and Alger inside. The walls were a dark gray stone but lined with silver that helped illuminate the large room. The travelers marched forward, with long stone tables on either side and members of the queen’s council seated on them, who stood to give nods and bows of greeting to Fenris and inquisitive glares at Alger. The two guards stomped their feet to a halt, signaling Fenris and Alger to stand in place. One of the guards steps forward and calls out, “your esteemed highness, I present to you High Priest Fenris, finally returned.”
“O Fenris,” Queen Ostara called out, jumping from her throne and quickly crossing the hall to her old friend. The young, faint-skinned queen wore a dark blue gown with a black metal breast plate and a large dire wolf skin draped over her shoulders and trailing on the floor behind her. Upon her long fire-red hair sat a thin silver crown, lined with polished obsidian stones and diamonds. Alger was immediately enchanted by her beauty. She approached the kneeling Fenris, gently lifted him back to his feet and embraced the old man. “My dear Fenris, how long has it truly been since you’ve graced my halls with your warm presence? You’ve grown to look so old to my young eyes. How I’ve missed thee and pained to see the seat of my high priest barren for so many seasons.”
“The wounds of homesickness were deep and festering to be sure, my queen,” Fenris replied through welling tears as he hugged his queen. “There were times I feared I shall not return and look upon her beautiful majesty once again. Yet the hope of return fueled my quest, and I would not be standing here today at the conclusion of my quest had my exploits not been fruitful. Your highness, I present to you the worthy champion I’ve sought o’er these many years.”
Fenris let go of Queen Ostara and stepped to the side, revealing Alger, who took his cue to kneel before the queen of Balkvata and pronounce himself: “Queen of Balkvata - it is I, Sir Alger Brynjar of Trenchmont Harbor, at your service. A divine power has sent me to this land, and it is God’s will that we meet here today. Your highness, it was I who has defeated the legendary Tolian basilisk. Twas I that cleansed the Dark Tower of Windhoven and brought peace to all its surrounding lands. When the shadow armies and their bicorn legions invaded from the southern reaches, it was I who was instrumental in their crushing defeat. And amongst many other exploits, it was I, Sir Alger Brynjar who captured the legendary elusive golden-horned yale. Your trusty adviser Fenris has relayed to me your most dire need of a skilled warrior to dispatch you of the horrible dragon, and I have accompanied him beyond lands I’d never stepped in to visit your most generous kingdom and crush this fell beast. Before you kneels quite possibly the most skilled warrior that you will find in all the corners of the known world. Your highness, hope has been kindled.”
Queen Ostara stared down at the handsome Alger with a raised eyebrow, immediately impressed by the knight’s exuberant confidence. In his eyes she could also see a very self-assured opportunist who already coveted her - she knew he’d already been taken with her at first sight, and from that moment knew exactly how to play this game. She waved Alger up and walked back to her throne. Alger slowly walked forward, followed by Fenris, the guards, and a number of the council who’d stood to greet Fenris. As Ostara sat, she spoke, “the golden-horned yale, you say? To some people, that creature was nothing more than a myth. How on Earth were you to capture such a being?”
“God’s will, ’O queen. Long ago, the King Cuthar of Sawic petitioned any able-bodied lad to seek out the fabled yale,” Alger recollected, “as he’d heard rumor of it granting immortality to its captor. Personally, I was not one to believe in such foolishness, but I did believe in leaving my boatswain’s position on my uncle’s fishing vessel. I desired something greater of myself, and set to querying people in villages and towns and cities all over the land for any leads. After a long time I’d heard of a strange ram-like beast existing amongst the cragged peaks of the Craeroal Mountains with horns of gold. I scaled the sheer cliffs of the impassable heights of the Craeroal and took up a humble residence for weeks and months until I indeed found its small shadowy lair. Those two arching shiny horns could not be mistaken for anything other than my ultimate treasure. As silent as a ghost I approached the yale, until I’d cornered it in its own den, and wrestled it into submission.”
Alger raised his left arm and pulled his sleeve back, revealing to Queen Ostara a great deep scar running across the forearm. “This was from her golden tusk as I struggled to tie up the beast, and my first souvenirs from my many exploits. I must admit, your highness, of all my many adventures, only the basilisk proved a more difficult challenge than the time I’d spent tracking and overcoming the great yale.”
“A basilisk,” Queen Ostara remarked, enamored by his history. “I thought that would be a monster no living man could kill.”
“Aye,” Alger nodded, smiling. “And I barely survived, blindfolded as I was. Yet, here I am, and it is not. I give thanks to the Almighty for gifting me such instincts.”
“Well, tis a pleasure to have such an experienced hunter in my hall in these dark days,” Ostara applauded, clearly impressed with this famed warrior standing before her. “Fenris, you’ve returned with the most satisfactory of tidings. This Sir Alger Brynjar appears to be a perfect candidate in our hour of need.” Ostara gently rises again to her feet and paces to an open window looking out on the Balkvatan mountains, where she stares longingly. “Fenris has told you of our situation, ‘o knight?”
“Indeed he has,” Alger nodded with a sober frown, “a winged, fire-breathing menace. An evil I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, much less a queen and land so fair.” He took a step forward and unsheathed his sword, then knelt down, holding the blade up above his head. Ostara, again impressed by this knight’s eagerness, approached the knelt knight. “My queen, I present to you Gleb, the famed God-given blade who has righted many monstrous wrongs in this world, as my instrument of salvation to you and your land. In my travels the wise Fenris has told me much of the chaos caused by the dragon who must have made life for you most unbearable, and upon my arrival I’d witnessed first-hand the aftermath of peaceful Balkvatan villages whose destinies were made to ash. Your plight pains me to the very edge of my soul, and I’ve prayed for the day that I could wield Gleb against this terrible foe and deliver freedom to you and your people once more. If you’ll have me, your majesty, I will rid Balkvata of this pestilence once and for all.”
Queen Ostara picked up the heavy sword and examined the story in the scratches, nicks and stains covering the blade. She looked to Fenris, smiled and nodded, then presented Gleb to Alger hilt-first and lifted his head to hers with her forefinger on his chin.
“Please rise, Sir Alger Brynar,” Ostara beckoned, pleased with his showing. Alger accepted his sword back and sheathed it. “Of course, there will be payment involved. Is the stated offer in your contract appropriate for a storied knight as yourself?”
“Most appropriate, my queen,” Alger nodded, slowly rising to his feet. “A most gracious amount, though to be direct - to look upon a queen so fair and beautiful is reward enough.”
“Oh you aim to flatter, Sir Alger,” a blushing Ostara chuckled. “and it is indeed effective. But the agreed amount shall be paid to you in full upon completion of your charge, regardless. Come, let us walk.” Ostara waved to Alger, and the two walked side-by-side out a back door of the keep, followed by Fenris and her council.
Outside, the queen and the knight walked into a great stone courtyard, surrounded by crowds of adorning people, all swinging banners bearing the same image of the dragon. Fenris briefly stepped in front, facing the growing mass of people and shouted, “citizens of Balkvata, behold Sir Alger Brynjar, the queen’s christened ‘Dragonslayer,’ who is here to help save us from certain doom!”
The crowd erupted in cheers as Fenris let his queen and the knight pass by him. Queen Ostara smiled and waved to her people, while Alger awkwardly smiled and returned the gesture to the folk. Guards came and blocked the path of onlookers so the Queen and her party could pass by uninterrupted.
“Your majesty,” Alger pondered while looking confused at the cheering people, “I would be remiss if I, an outsider, had not pointed out the irony of seeing the sigil of the dragon adorning your banners and armor. Even on your breastplate - is it not a creature of destruction?”
“’O knight,” Queen Ostara nodded, smiling. “It is for this reason we in Balkvata identify as the ‘Dragon’s Fury.’ What better image to strike fear into the hearts of your adversaries than the ultimate terror? But that’s not the whole story.” The party now left the wide courtyard, veered left and up a tall, narrow staircase, leading to an upper level of the Castle Ostmont, but not even close to the summit of the bordering walls. “Are you a spiritual man, Sir Alger? You must have some level of worship for riches and physical trinkets, given your line of work, but-”
“As a matter of fact, your highness,” Alger, slightly offended, corrected, “I am a devoted follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and everything I do is in service of God and His will.”
“Ah, that’s right - you’re one of them,” Ostara nodded, “but do not play dumb, knight - you wouldn’t pursue half of these quests if there were not a pretty pile of coin at the end of the road. There must be some level of spirituality associated with the physical object of glory’s cause.”
Alger, a little offended to have his own faith questioned and possibly even mocked, felt an urge to correct this uneducated girl about her presumptions of his motivations, but even for a devout Christian like he was, deep down he did recognize at least a crumb of unfortunate truth. They both understood that the amount of money she was offering him for this quest was no small amount. And what’s more - from the subtle and not-so-subtle glances of provocation this beautiful woman kept giving him, he knew that if he acted proper enough, she could present him with an even sweeter prize. Considering winning the heart of this alluring queen, Alger decided to disregard this possible blasphemy. The party reached the top of the stairs and passed through a narrow hallway under a stone arch, leading to a wide dark corridor leading to two large stone doors. Each side of the corridor was illuminated with torches, guiding them to the door. On the other side of the stone roof, he could still hear the cheers and gawks of the townspeople.
“You know, knight,” Ostara continued, “many peoples of different regions of the world possess different customs and beliefs than others. Some may pray and sacrifice to a man who claims to be a descendant of the great creator, while others may venerate other worldly entities. I admit, to an outsider it could be perceived as morbidly unexpected to regard a destructive monster with such reverence. Yet, do any of your deities bear the power to destroy as well as bring life?”
“What is this, my queen?” Alger asked, as the queen and her party approach the stone doors, with a long stone barricade holding the gate shut. Through a couple cracks in the stone he could see the waning sunlight peeking through. Ostara turned to two accompanying guards and pointed to the barricade. The guards quickly ran to the doors and started slowly sliding the barricade into a pocket in the wall. Outside there could be heard the stomping feet and cheers of the people of Balkvata, which endlessly perplexed the knight. Alger wondered why he’d been escorted to a strange dark tunnel and a similarly eerie barricaded stone door. Ostara must have recognized his confusion, and quickly held his hands in her own, pulled him close and stared deeply and seductively into his eyes.
“When you think of it, Sir Alger Brynjar, every religion has its defenders,” Ostara explained to Alger, “those who will stop at nothing to repel those who pose a threat to their own customs. They act in whatever means necessary to safeguard against threats seen and unseen. As a warrior of your god, you would agree in this, right?”
“Of course, your majesty,” Alger replied - his attention completely diverted to her and her alone. Her deep dark blue eyes piercing down into his soul; her soft pale skin that has never suffered even a scratch; her juicy red lips resembling the most ripe fruit he’d only dreamed of. Now he’d decided - even the gold being offered would matter nothing to him than to bed this immaculate specimen and cure himself of the lust that began to overwhelm him. He would slay ten thousand dragons if it meant being in this goddess’s sensual embrace. The two guards finished clearing the barricade from the doors.
“Our meeting today was destiny, Sir Alger Brynjar,” Ostara calmly and smoothly explained, pulling his face close to hers with her soft palms. “You, sir, are the greatest warrior we’ve ever come across - a dragonslayer – and what we need at this critical moment, is a dragonslayer. We’re a very cautious people, Sir Alger, and in keeping with that cautious nature, we must seek out every potential threat to our way of life, and erase it. We love and worship the dragon, and to honor his long existence, we find those who could threaten his existence and our way of life, and bring them to this moment. I applaud you.”
With a sudden motion Ostara swung the stone door open, revealing an immediate endless drop into a dark pit deep into the mountains. Alger, looked down at the pit then back at Ostara, completely flummoxed.
“Your highness, what is-” Alger mumbled, disoriented.
“O you gullible, perverted fool,” Ostara softly chuckled, running her fingers down his cheek. “Have you been too preoccupied with your own carnal desires that you’ve not recognized your error? You were never here to slay the dragon. But if it’s all the same, consider yourself hired.” And with that, Ostara nodded to Fenris, and as Alger turned around, he was met with a swift forceful kick from the old vagabond, sending Alger plummeting into the bottomless black pit.
As Alger screamed in terror, he could make out the silhouettes of the cheering crowds on the parapet, celebrating his demise. Alger then turned to look at the oncoming darkness, and could make out a quickly approaching fireball and giant glowing eyes staring directly at him.