A small bell rang and Kensington-Smythe began his speech to the guests – it was the normal self-indulgent tosh that rich people spout at dinner parties, and then the guests were allowed to mingle, with those team members pretending to be staff drifting amongst them.
Below stairs, T-Bone heard the faint noises of the party above him and attempted to free himself from his restraints, successfully this time. He heard people come down the stairs and the neighbouring cell door open, and then the sound of a struggling and screaming Ember being dragged clear. He hammered on his cell door shouting at the guards to leave her alone. They ignored him, and T-Bone slumped, impotent.
Ronnie noticed that several people were taking pains to be noticed, but over time they all appeared to filter out of the; most of the politicians had disappeared into the private room, as had several other people in expensive suits. Ronnie hadn’t quite pinpointed where they’d gone however…
T-Bone knew where they were going; they were walking past his cell, and following the route that Ember had been dragged… He focussed his mind and pushed out using his dragon power, and although blown clean off his feet by his power rebounding, the door was buckled and small gaps appeared around the frame. Suddenly he could hear faint voices in his head again. He bellowed for help.
Aiden’s new boss, Cheri, hustled over to her and told her to get into the private room to oversee events there, and she hurried in the direction indicated. Ronnie moved towards her, and as T-Bone’s voice faintly broke through they came to a guarded door. Aiden quickly brushed the guard aside, and he let them through the door into a room that seemed to be decorated with images of dragons being slain. Darius quickly identified one large picture of St George killing a dragon as a door, and the three of them hurried through, and down the stairs behind. They felt an unpleasant greasy wave wash over them, and then could clearly hear T-Bone calling out to them. He quickly filled them in with regards to what he’d seen.
They stepped into a small hallway with three doorways, one of which was bent out of shape. Ronnie stepped forwards, and began to attempt to pull the damaged door open, and with the aid of T-Bone, Darius and some supernatural power, managed to open the cell. Suddenly the door at the top of the stairs opened and Kensington-Smythe rushed down, a flunky in tow.
He was talking in excitement; “I don’t care about the public, there’s no way I’m missing this…!”
As he disappeared through another door his voice faded, and the door began to close, but Ronnie and T-Bone quickly stepped forward and kept it open. They carefully followed the stairs down, and found themselves in another small room, with a statue in the centre of the far wall, and a pair of sentry boxes to either side of a huge door in one wall. The door was semi-open, but swinging closed, and appeared to lead into a chapel. T-Bone and Ronnie edged forwards, slipping quietly into the room beyond.
The room looked like a classic church, very old, and very sturdy. A couple of dozen people were sitting in pews, and near the head of the chapel was a man in a robe kneeling in front of an alter; armed with a knife. Between the alter and the body of the chapel flowed a stream in a low culvert, and tied to the alter was a struggling Ember, blood pouring from cuts in her arms. Angered by what he’d seen, and unable to shrug off the bad feeling the chapel radiated Ronnie launched himself from the back of the chapel and taking the occupants by surprise, he ran down the centre towards the alter, leapt over the stream flipping midair, and having retrieved his concealed knife stabbed down, through the collar bone of the priest. As he landed, he turned and kicked the dead man backwards into the stream.
Alerted over dragon net, the others burst through the doors, and into the now chaotic chapel. Some of the guests attempted to get clear into side rooms, whilst others stepped up to fight the intruders. T-Bone grabbed a large silvered candlestick holder and waded into the enemy with it, causing carnage, while Darius disarmed one the now familiar bodyguards, and fired a couple of rounds into the now ex-bodyguards chest. He turned his attention elsewhere. Aiden grabbed the second of the pair of candlesticks, matching the one the T-Bone was using and joined him in a his and hers smiting session…
Two fanatics leapt over the stream at Ronnie, and he blocked them mid leap, knocking both back into the water, one was swept from view, while the other tried to scramble back out on the far bank. Two more stepped back, and drew pistols aiming at T-Bone and the others, he quickly raised a glowing shield and deflected the rounds with ease, while half a dozen closed to close combat on the three members of the team near the doorway. Several blows from the fanatics got through their defences, and Ronnie found himself face to face with another pair of fanatics.
T-Bone and Aiden found their silver whirlwind of candlestick death very effective and two more of the fanatics fell to the floor. Darius dodged out of that fight and started towards those attacking Ronnie, attempting to fire the pistol on the run, but it misfired. Ronnie continued to struggle with another two fanatics who’d made it over the stream intact. T-Bone and Aiden found their finding styles synchronising almost perfectly meaning they remained untouched for a few seconds – at least until the next group of fanatics closed and attacked, however these didn’t remain standing for long as they were dropped by judicious candlestick swings. Ronnie fended his attackers away with a flurry of defensive blows, and Darius took the attention of the remaining fanatics that had been focussed on Ronnie.
T-Bone challenged Aiden to a competition of sorts, leaping up and hurling his candlestick at one of the gunmen, she followed suit, and both hit and dropped their targets! They turned and smiled a triumphant smile at each other. Darius launched a remorseless flurry of blows at the fanatics knocking them into the stream, and Ronnie finally dispatched the last pair of fanatics, and turned to try to help Ember, to stem the bleeding and free her from her chains. Aiden reached over to try to dress her wounds but was flung the length of the room by the suddenly twitchy Ember. Ronnie attempted to knock her unconscious, but Ember blocked and threw Ronnie too. He tried to reach out with his mind, and suddenly found that whatever was in Embers’ head wasn’t Ember. He shouted the warning over the dragon net and Darius used his power to try to force the possessing creature of the dark out of Ember. He failed, but slowed her down.
What had been Ember stepped forward, raised her bloody arms, dripped her last drops into the river which raised up and smashed out at Darius knocking him from his feet. As the water washed over him, he thought he could hear a distant rushing. Ronnie reached out over the dragon net, shouting “Combine our power”, and then heard footsteps coming down the stairs. He turned to Aiden, telling her to aid Darius and T-Bone, while he blocked and held the door.
Aiden stepped forward and channelled the power of the group, focussing the energy around the emptied out husk of Ember, holding it in place in the river. It looked at the group and laughed, and then spoke; “We were all so worried that it was some covert plot by you little lizards to overthrow us! But it wasn’t, was it? You remember nothing, and we remember all of you! I have so many friends dying to meet you all…”
It pushed its upper body through the bubble of power, and leaned towards T-Bone. “We’ll have so much fun with you!”
T-Bone snorted, and replied. “You made three mistakes. One; you picked a dragon, two; you picked our friend, and three; you’re standing in the water”
The thing looked down, puzzled, and then Old Man Thames hit, smashing what had been Ember into the wall. Another group of fanatics burst through the blocked door, and Ronnie backed off, spitting challenges, and stopped the group short. He turned and the group ran as one to the stream, and were swept out of the Chapel, Ronnie’s eyes locked with the Dark-one-Ember-demon as it howled in anger.
They were swept out into the river, and saw Elizabeth floating on the river surface. “We’re even now” she said, and then sank into the water.
A grim look on his face, Ronnie tuned to the others; “This isn’t over…” and the group felt the last spark of Ember flicker out from the group consciousness.