The battle with the orcs was quick and dirty, though it inflicted a small share of casualties on Solerion Rinthon's patrol. Immediately after the carnage was through, the elf leader put his men to work cleaning up the bodies and tending to the dead and wounded while he inspected the mysterious new heroes that arrived just before the battle.
After a long conversation, the heroes proved to Solerion that they were indeed from some time in the future. Showing him that Aratelda carried the same exact sword as he, minus one stone, went a long way towards getting the point across. However, he managed to remain skeptical that she was indeed his descendant. Still, he thanked them for their efforts in the fight and asked them why they came. When Vanoviel reported that they were accidentally drawn back to that place by a Negerai, Solerion was not pleased. It was well known, especially in that time, that Negerai were bad news.
Needing some time to think, Solerion assigned one of this battlemages, Fain, to attend to the heroes and try to extract more informmation from them. He then went off. Fain proved to be very useful in informing the adventurers what was going on currently. He was also very suspicious of their story but gave them the benefit of the doubt as best he could. By the time everything was cleaned up in the forest, Solerion decided they should all head away from the battle site to rest and recuperate. Everyone agreed that it was a good idea, so they set off to the southeast and made camp a few hours later.
That night it was quiet, however just before morning everyone was awoken to an explosion of rock and heat on one side of the perimeter set up by the elven soldiers, followed by a whooshing sound. The blast annihilated every soldier that was on that side of the camp in one fell swoop. The heroes and Fain were immediately on their feet to see what went on. They saw Solerion Rinthon looking in the opposite direction as the blast and wondered why. They did not have time to wonder long, however, because behind the flames started by the blast were five robed figures rapidly approaching. Raven identified them as orcs in gold robes.
When they came a bit closer, Vanoviel started casting a spell and so did the orcs in robes! At that point, the whooshing sound was heard again. Everyone looked behind them to see the source: a very large dragon attacking the camp along with the orcs.
The battle hardened elves did not falter and instead took up their bows and let loose with volleys of arrows at the orcs and dragon as it whizzed by again. At this point, one of the orcs spells went off and sent a chain of lightning crackling through the ranks of elves and into the party of heroes. Fain went down in a sizzling heap. The rest of the heroes were more or less untouched, but angered.
Soon the battle turned ugly as Vanoviel's spell went off, causing a swarm of insects to appear around the orc mages thereby disrupting their spell casting. They started scrambling in response. The dragon behind them took that time to land.... on top of one of the elven soldiers, crushing the life out of him.
As the orcs tried to scamble out of the cloud of insects, Arie closed with them, her ancestor on her heals doing the same thing with the same sword. Tupaia did her best to summon help and tend to the wounded while Kung and Raven did what they did best... took a few potshots and hid.
The battle raged on with the dragon destroying most of the elven contingent. Eventually the orc mages were slowly being destroyed one by one as they tried to re-establish their strategy. One of them managed to sting Arie with a fireshield before leaving the world of the living. Another managed to get a few spells off at the elven group before succuming himself. However, the dragon remained healthy and in control. His granite scales moving with a flowing motion, yet retaining their rocky hardness, he systematically wiped out anyone in his path.... working his way slowly towards the heroes with combinations of land and flying attacks.
At last, with all but Solerion, Fain, and the heroes dead, the dragon closed in. Van and Arie were almost immediately wiped out by its powerful breath weapon of lava, yet they managed to cling to life. With a summoned lava elemental, the dragon laid down destruction on the party. Tupaia summoned elementals in response as well, but they were quickly dispatched by the powerful beast. Still, those efforts bought the team some time and they were able to take out the lava elemental, leaving the dragon by itself.
Taking serious wounds, the dragon decided it was time to leave. However, as it tried to fly away, Tupaia called on O'Ma's power and touched the dragon, draining almost all of its life from it. This wound was grievous, and the next hero that landed a blow felled it.
Exhausted but angered at the destruction, Vanoviel consumed the dragon's heart as a sign of victory. But the damage was already done to Solerion's men. Fain was the only one among them who remained, and he was hurt. Tupaia and Vanoviel's magic healed all wounds of the body, though not of the mind.
During that battle, Solerion ordered one of the orcish mages captured alive, and one of them was. This mage, Guissan, was questioned by Fain and the heroes. Through that discourse, everyone learned that the orc mages were up to something. The heroes, having studied history, knew what this was, but they dared not tell Solerion. They wished only to get the Negerai and leave.
Solerion was distressed up on learning that the orcs had some sort of plan. He decided that it would be best to head to Le'Or T'Nanshi and visit the Fold of Nine, a meeting of all nine magical orders that takes place periodically. Setting out on the long journey to the elven capitol was painful, but their spirits were lightened a day later when another contingent of elves met them. They had a Silver dragon in tow, who offered to take them the rest of the way on his back. Solerion accepted and the heroes were soon walking the wooden plank streets of the tree city.
Having some time to relax, the heroes sorted out their goods obtained from the orc mages and other battles. Raven upgraded some of her equipment as well. The next day, Fain led them to the building in the Capitol District that housed the Tower of The Nine. There they met Solerion, and a seneschal ushered them into an audience chamber where they saw the heads of the Nine Orders: The White, The Silver, The Green, The Blue, The Gray, The Yellow, The Gold, The Violet, and The Ebony. Vanoviel and Arie were amazed to see a Gold Order wizard sitting at that table, for in their time there was no Gold Order, only The Fold of Eight.... there was also no magical tower in the Le'Or T'Nanshi Capitol District.
The heads of the orders took turns questioning the heroes about where they came from, and what they were doing there. They too were distressed upon hearing about a Negerai coming to the area, though they were able to determine from Van's description that it was a Lesser Negerai, and not one of the different types of Greater Negerai. This was a relief, but still nothing to ignore. While doing some scrying, the mages also learned that the Negerai was working with the orcs on something on the west coast of the continent. They questioned the gold order wizard about it, but he gave no useful information.
So the council decided that the heroes were to take Fain as the elven representitive and go to the orcish enclave on the west coast to see what they were up to, and to get rid of the Negerai. The heroes accepted the task, and Fain was glad to help.
The End: Chapter 8