The team used the metal ring to pull a block of rock from the wall, and revealed a dark tunnel. Ronnie headed back to the equipment cache to collect some light sources, while Darius shone his maglite into the hole backed up by T-Bone using a flashlight app on his mobile phone.
Ronnie, arrived at the equipment cache, but just prior to getting there saw a suited man, flanked by two other men who were obviously bodyguards. He recognised one of the bodyguards from the security footage he’d seen earlier that night, and the suited man was arguing with the gift shop man regarding the speed and covertness of the dig, saying that they needed to move more quickly. They agreed to proceed with greater speed and investigate an “accidental collapse” of the area around the dig.
He headed back towards the team, but diverted to the room with the glaive, looking to see if he could remove it from the display, but was unable to find a way into the case. Suddenly, his ghostly friend, Elizabeth, appeared telling him he needed the weapon for when they went below. She seemed stuck in a loop, so Ronnie gently touched her face, allowing her to absorb some of his energy. She again told him he needed the weapon, but Ronnie explained he couldn’t work out how to retrieve it, so she disappeared from sight, and returned as Ronnie called the team to him. She had the two Princes with her, who agreed to retrieve the glaive, as long as the team promised to protect “the house from the men who were coming to harm it”, and to return the weapon before dawn. The team agreed.
Aiden picked the glaive up, and had a flashback to its’ forging; it was created from part of a dragon, and then the team headed back to the tunnel. The squeezed in and found that it opened into a spiral staircase, which they followed down. They found their way blocked by a rusted gate. Aiden handed the glaive to Ronnie, who shrugged, and attempted to lever the gate with the weapon, but unused to handling such a weapon couldn’t really use it properly. He handed it to T-Bone, asking “Why don’t you give it a go?”
T-Bone handled the glaive like he was born to it, and with a deft flick of the wrist cut through the old metal like a hot knife through butter. T-Bone smiled, and the group continued down the staircase, which opened into a small room, which had two exits. They picked one, and followed a passage into another small room, at one end of which was a spoil pile which was obviously the other end of the cave in which the archaeologists were digging in. The rooms opened into further chambers, and it soon became clear that they were ancient; Aiden was able to identify the archways were in a Roman style, which meant that these structures pre-dated the tower. There were images and pictograms of people and creatures on the walls that seemed to tell a story. The story was one of people, dragons, and mystical creatures at war with another people coloured black; they looked like the oil covered men that the group had been in conflict with.
Some of the pictograms showed the earth being ravaged by the Oil People, or Dark Ones, and people and creatures being dragged away by them, but then as the story progressed it seemed that they had been defeated and a few people were shown emerging onto the earths’ surface again. Further images showed a repopulated earth, but there were also scenes of the Dark Ones killing dragons, and mystical creatures falling from a dark whirl pool in the sky. The team knew that this was a history of the war with the Dark Ones, even though they didn’t know that history at all.
The over arching message seemed to be that when the entire world is riven through with black corruption, and dragons are destroyed then the hooded Oil People will take control of the world.
As Aiden studied the images closely, with an academic interest, but Darius and T-Bone spotted gaps in the carvings that would allow a person to pass through, but Ronnie, looking closely at the scene spotted that the statues and pictograms all had the same symbol; it appeared to be a barb or spike thrust through a knotted cord or rope, and he knew that it was the symbol of the Dark Ones.
The team squeezed through the gaps in the carvings, and found another chamber with a block of stone with an iron ring embedded in it. Working as a team they moved the stone, and dropped down into a circular chamber, identical to the one they found under St Pauls Cathederal.
The huge chamber gave a huge feeling of wellbeing to T-Bone and Darius, while Aiden seemed a little panicked by it, Ronnie was completely unaffected and attempted to comfort Aiden, who paid no attention but took a deep breath and pulled herself together.
As they moved through the chamber they became aware of a massive dark shape in the centre of the cavern. Ronnie recognised the shape as the same dragon he’d seen in his vision of the hills of London, however, it had clearly been there for longer, and was severely damaged. It was chained to the floor, covered in open wounds, bones showing through its skin. The energies in the room seemed to be bouncing from great hope to despair, with each beat of the dragon’s heart.
Looking at the chained dragon, T-Bone felt a sense of déjà-vu, and the group approached the dragon. They detected the quickening of the heartbeat, and a shiver shook through the length of the ancient beast, and the great eyelids opened, revealing one ruined socket, the other housed a cataract covered eye. It gazed at the group, seemingly focussed on T-Bone, and whispered “Friend! Again… Endings, make beginnings…” The pain evident in the whispered words.
T-Bone swore and flashed back to his dragon form, and shared a vision with the group; he was euthanizing an old friend, and old dragon named Exedore, to restore power to the world. This dragon was the closest friend outside of his brood that Dragon T-Bone had.
Back in the present day, T-Bone knew he was going to have to kill his old friend against, but clearly reluctant, attempted to talk to the ruined dragon, persuading him that the group could help him. Exedore, very little strength remaining to him seemed to deny that this was possible, so T-Bone tried to transfer energy to the dragon, but Exedore passed another message; “We will see each other again, old friend, but you must release me once again, and restore the world.”
T-Bone looked at the group desperate for help, and Ronnie approached him, “Do not force your friend to live as a shadow of himself, that would be cruel. We have all had to offer the release to friends before, it is never easy, but is necessary.”
Desperate to do otherwise, but feeling the gratitude of Exedore, with a graceful sweep of the glaive, T-Bone released his friend. The body of the dragon glowed, and as the heartbeat stopped an image of Exedore in his prime could be seen, and then the light faded away. A rumble filled the chamber, and slabs began to fall from the ceiling.
“Time to leave” Ronnie shouted, but even with Darius attempting to drag him clear, T-Bone stood still. Ronnie tried to persuade him to get clear, promising to help T-Bone make those responsible for Exedore’s captivity pay, but T-Bone just told him to “Get the others out”.
Ronnie paused, and met T-Bones cold gaze; “Do not reduce the sacrifice of your friend. I will get them out, but do not waste your life here.”
This seemed to shake T-Bone clear of his despair, and the group ran clear of the buildings, reaching the open air, bloodied and bruised, but otherwise unharmed. As they got outside they could see the light show in the sky, like aurora borealis but hundreds of times more intense. Lightning flashed and struck the ground around the tower repeatedly, and with a resounding crack, one side of the White Tower slid as the foundations slipped as the cavern below collapsed. Then the group saw the ghosts scattering out of the buildings. Ronnie’s ghostly friend, Elizabeth, shouted warnings that everyone had to get clear, before being blasted by lightening. The group began to usher the humans clear of the tower, when suddenly there was silence, and the sky was clear, the ghosts gone, but the group could feel the difference.
Magic was back.