*Knight, Celest, Arantha and Aarlam moor the boat at the elven docks. It's sunset and the Elves greet them happily. Waiting their arrival is Ophelia, Queen of the elves.*
*Jonathan and Robert appear in the distance, descending from their carriage. They have arrived from Beeston using the mountain pass.*
Ophelia: "Welcome home, my sons. I wish to congratulate you all for your hand in saving Princess Celest. We have a banquet and festivities planned this night in celebration."
Knight: "Thank you. It would be an honour."
Jon: "You look like you were dragged through a hedge backwards! What on earth happened?"
Knight: "Long story... Apparently I was knocked out by Vladek, then healed by Celest's potions... Oh, and I fell in the water, too."
Jon: "Hmm... So what else happened during the journey?"
Knight: "Well, see, it started when--"
Aarlam: "We will discuss it, all in good time. Come! I am hungry and thirsty after that ordeal. Brother, what say you to roast mutton?"
Arantha: "Is there any other meat? Knight, if you wish to accompany Celest back to the Aldendan, we can arrange a carriage, but we hope you stay to celebrate."
*The two glance at each other.*
Knight: "I think we'll stay here. There's nothing like a good party."
*The company head away from the docks and towards the Elven village, a rich and cozy clearing in the forest. Lights and tables of food are scattered everywhere. The elves regard the company eagerly and sit to eat.*
*Everyone takes a seat with Ophelia at the head of the table. Butlers bring in platters of many different food, including a boar's head.*
Knight: "Something's missing in this fine feast..."
Jon: "Don't complain about what isn't here!"
Ophelia: "What is it you wish for?"
Knight: "Vladek's arse."
*Everyone in the table laughs.*
*People start chatting to each other as they eat.*
Knight: "Jon, how did you and Rob get here?"
Jon: "We were invited. It said you would be there. That was enough for me to come."
Rob: "They also mentioned food, which is the only reason I'm here."
Jon: "So you went on a mission?"
Knight: "Aye. I was sent to kill Vladek and save Celest. Sadly, I only accomplished half of my goal."
Celest: "I'm not a goal..."
Jon: "At least you did what would gain King William's respect."
Knight: "True, true."
*The people feast and drink and eat. Ophelia notices Knight head away from the crowd and toward a temple, yet she merely smiles and turns back to eat.*
*The temple is tall and looks like a magnificent collaboration of Dwarven and Elven architecture, on a lit plinth is the ancient relic of ancient Ashlar... The shards of the Shield of Ages.*
Ophelia: "I'm glad to see you hold the magnificent curiosity of man."
Knight: "Is this the Shield of Ages?"
Ophelia: "You are correct... Well, you would have been correct"
Knight: "What do you mean?"
Ophelia: "Look closer. Something is missing; something was stolen."
Knight: "The heart?"
Ophelia: "The heart. It was stolen nearly a month hence... We know who took it, but we know not how to regain it"
Knight: "Who stole it, Vladek?"
Ophelia: "You would think so, wouldn't you?"
Ophelia: "Vladek did not steal the heart of the shield. It was another, greater evil."
Ophelia: "Yes, Mallock the Malign stole it from this very temple."
Knight: "That bastard! Now it'll be impossible to defeat Vladek!"
Ophelia: "Really? Is there not a way to slay him without magic? Vladek, of course, wants the heart, so he will try to get it back from Mallock. With the two being locked in battle, Vladek is vulnerable and Morcia is safe, for the time-being."
Knight: "But won't Vladek have to pass through Morcia? He'll kill thousands!"
Ophelia: "We are not immune for long, that is true. We shouldn't fret, though. We should see this as an opportunity."
Knight: "An opportunity for what?"
Ophelia: "For defence. I already have it planned out, but we are missing one more thing..."
Knight: "And what is that?"
Ophelia: "An army. We would like you to lead the armies of Morcia."
Knight: "I--are you sure?"
Ophelia: "The prophecy dictates that an army of elves and men lead by a nameless human will defeat Vladek."
*Jonathan, Aarlam, and Arantha enter the temple.*
Jonathan: "You called?"
Ophelia: "Yes, yes. Come closer."
Ophelia: "The prophecy tells of two elves and two men that will defeat the dark lord. They use these weapons in their battle..."
*She opens a silk bag and shows 5 brilliant silver blades of varying lengths.*
Ophelia: "Aarlam, yours is Aréu, strength. Arantha, yours is Amáe, prosperity. Jonathan, your blade is Níme, courage. And Knight, your blade is Hárn, legacy."
*They all take their blades and gaze at the brilliant shine of the swords.*
Knight: "Is there anything else the prophecy tells? A death?"
Ophelia: "I sense you have guessed the fate of the King of Men, William... Yes, his time is running out."
Knight: "And who marries Celest; who becomes king?..."
Ophelia: "That is only for time to tell... But anyways, you should rejoin the party. I am tired and wish to sleep now. You shall also tell King William of the defence on your return."
Aarlam: "Goodnight, Mother."
Jonathan: "I shall return to Beeston soon, though I think Robert's having fun here. Once you have told King William, send me a letter. I will meet you at the border with forces gathered and supplies ready."