Aria awoke with a start, hearing Plantagonox's roar from her home. She tied her sword to her waist, "borrowed" a horse from a nearby ranch, and sped off in the direction of her village.
Upon her arrival, she nearly threw up when she saw the carnage before her... her home, despite the way the people here treated her, it was where her heart truly lied. This was where she was born, where she was raised, where she had a loving mother that watched over her even before she died... this was her home. And here it was, now up in flames, the villagers lay dead in the streets... men, women, children... even pets. Aria fell to her knees, tears streaming down her face.
A goblin came up behind her, and attempted to gut her through, but she stood up and stared at it with eyes aflame with hate. She was not about to die here. She lost her home forever, she wasn't going to lose her friend as well.
The flames in her eyes frightened the goblin so much that it dropped its weapon and ran off to gather reinforcements. Aria took the opportunity to run straight into the village, and found Plantagonox bound in the village square. She drew her sword and ran towards him, with the intention of cutting his bounds...
...when her sword was intercepted mid-strike, by a sword of burning red. And she was face to face with a man in a white mask and black cloth, white armor glistening beneath his tattered cloak.
"I knew you'd come. The bait was too tasty to resist." The man chuckled beneath his mask. "A friend bound within the heart of your ruined home... rather fitting that this place will serve as your eternal prison!" The man shoved Aria back,where he stood, smugly and arrogantly, the goblins coming to bind her in chains and irons.
Aria smiled, and the man raised an eyebrow beneath his mask. "Are you resigning yourself to your fate already? I expected more from you, girl." With that, he charged forward, both hands gripping his red sword. He raised it high over his head, and brought it down with the force of a battering ram.
But Aria wasn't there.
The man turned and saw Aria cut the ropes that held Plantagonox in his place. The dragon knight stood up, and let out a mighty roar. Aria smiled at the masked man, and could see his anger in having his plans unravel before his eyes. Aria smiled. "You made a huge mistake in underestimating me. And an even bigger one in making my friend mad."
The masked man stared defiantly as Plantagonox's maw opened, flames licking the sides of his mouth, ready to burst out in a stream of blazing heat. He then suddenly turned around and ran, the goblins following close behind.
Xeranad was furious. The plan was perfect, simple in its execution and design. Naturally, he blamed the goblins for failing to attack Aria when they should have, but he also blamed himself for thinking of her as just a witch without experience. She was confident, skilled, and feisty to say the least. And to think this... PEASANT was a living nexus, a being more powerful than the greatest of sorcerers once she learns how to control her power. It made him sick thinking about it.
And yet, in the back of his mind, he felt pride. He was proud of her... but why? She was merely a means to an end. Nothing more... so why was he proud of her? And why did he take it easy on her?
He turned and saw the dragon knight bearing down upon him, and for a second, he thought he could see Death itself riding on top of him. Suddenly, a black feathered streak came and attacked the Knight Draconic in the eye, startling him long enough for Xeranad to escape. Xer smiled beneath his mask... his raven familiar had come to his aide. And he was free to fight another day.