Unable to avoid breathing in the Black Stuff, Ronnie found himself hallucinating and then back in the world that was flying with his brood mates, when suddenly he found himself under attack from another black dragon. It swept out of the sky, and looked dirty, and oily and not entirely natural, but even so managed to take the initial advantage rolling Ronnie in the sky. Ronnie remembered that this dragon had been corrupted and fallen to the enemy, and then another memory flowed into his brain, telling him that they must continue the mission to prevent the same fate falling to others of dragon kind.
Meanwhile, back in London, Ronnie turned to defend himself from the dragon attack, blindly fighting with the person next to him, and that happened to be Darius.
Back in the world that was the brood defeated the fallen dragon, but a price had been paid; the gold dragon, Freyna, had suffered a bite that had corrupted his blood stream. Ronnie knew he needed to get him to a place of safety to allow him to recover from his wound. In London, Ronnie grabbed T-Bone, and dragged him out shouting that he needed to get to safety before he fell to corruption. Sweating profusely Ronnie dashed out of the house, with a protesting T-Bone over his shoulder aiming to get to a nearby safe-house.
Darius called for Aiden to help over the Dragon-net, which she did very reluctantly, as it interrupted a romantic evening with her boyfriend was being interrupted.
Ronnie was attempting to create a circle on the floor of the safe-house to help create the right energy to promote Freyna, he began to build the circle into something more tangible using whatever was loose in the room. His hallucinations grew and reached a crescendo with the death of a flaming dragon, which was replaced by another dragon, screaming in agony. T-Bone attempted to escape from the circle but found himself wrestled back into the circle by Ronnie, who could hear an underlying thumping heartbeat, but then passed out just as Aiden arrived.
Even though Ronnie was unconscious, the group found themselves sharing a memory of Ronnie’s. They were advancing across a North African Desert towards a cluster of tents, which was known as a terrorist training camp. Ronnie was leading the team in when his mission specialist triggered a tripwire, and the silence of the night was shattered by an explosion. Immediately figures began to burst out of the tents and open fire, the team returned fire as Ronnie ordered a withdrawal. The rookie of the team ran forward to cover as Ronnie tried to grab him shouting at him to fall back, Ronnie tried to grab him but failed and looked up in time to see him cut to pieces by enemy fire. He swore to himself, and shouted the order to retreat before throwing explosives on the dead soldier to destroy the body. Ronnie ordered the others to retreat holding back to offer covering fire, but out of the corner of his eye saw a shape move, he snapped his rifle round loosed a couple rounds at the shape, recognising the enemy soldier toting an RPG. His rounds struck home – just too late – as the RPG launched, obliterating his last team-mates and blowing Ronnie off his feet. As Ronnie collected himself he looked up, finding himself surrounded by enemies, before being clubbed unconscious with rifle buts.
In London, there was a stunned silence as everyone in the room realised that the dream they had just shared was memory from Ronnie’s past. Then Ronnie groaned, and started to sit up, shocked by the memory, and was surprised to see auras of sparkling light around the people in the room. Darius approached, but as he crossed the circle Ronnie saw Darius change to a decaying zombie type creature while Aiden attempted to talk him down. Unfortunately this meant Ronnie just resorted to his base instincts and fought back throwing Darius and T-Bone clear as Aiden ran clear. Ronnie advanced on her, then stumbled, slipping into unconsciousness once more.
The others, careful not to touch any of the black powder tied him securely and thoroughly cleaned any trace of the black powder from his body and clothes.
They sat back with a sigh, and then felt an underlying thumping heartbeat again, and found themselves in another shared memory; a seven year old Ronnie was at the graves of his parents, watching them being buried. The speed of the heartbeat increased then suddenly stopped as the hole leapt up to swallow him. From within he could hear a low, drawn out voice… “Heellllp meeeee…!”
Ronnie snapped awake again, the walls of the flat seemed to alternate between black sludge and glittering sparkles. He was able to see a path to the door, but the others were alert, so Ronnie feigned calmness and relaxation, but the others were far too on edge having experienced the last hour or so. Ronnie swayed, and slipped into unconsciousness again, more gently this time. The memory that they all shared this time was a genuine shared memory, as they all recalled the recovery of Freyna from the infected bite. They realised that as long as they worked as a brood family, and maintained the safe places they would be fine.
The walls of the chamber darkened, and bled through into another memory, but not one of the past, into a dark chamber, with a blind and weakened dragon, whose voice begged “Kill me… Please!”
They all snapped back to reality, hearing the thumping heartbeat, and Ronnie fell back into a genuine sleep, completely relaxed for the first time in a long time.
As dawn broke, the others woke up startled to find Ronnie had freed himself and was getting dressed. He seemed surprisingly relaxed, which couldn’t be said of the others who were watching him nervously. Darius retrieved the frying pan from Aiden and proceeded to cook breakfast.
Ronnie suggested that people avoid contact with the Black Stuff, and then the group decided to locate the weakened dragon.