The dust settles. The battlefield around you is a charred mess with little beyond rubble around you. Ahrenia is close behind you, panting heavily. The creature in front of you is missing an arm, and blood pours from multiple wounds which should have killed him.
You cry out, "Bane, this ends now!"
Bane braces himself and calls out in return, "Herald! I. Am. Ready!"
A familiar crumbling tower appears in the distance. You're unsure as to whether or not it was always there, or if it materialized out of thin air. A man appears, and trailing behind him is an inky, swirling mist.
Ahrenia manages to choke out, "It's... That's the Herald..."
The large, dark figure walks closer to the two of you, raising their hand and speaking as you begin to charge at it. "There's nothing left for either of you to do beyond accepting your fates."
As you get closer, you each swipe your blades at the Herald, both of which are stopped by an invisible force that locks them in place.
The Herald smirks. "Your trial begins now."
He suddenly appears behind Ahrenia despite not moving and easily knocks her across the open field. She skids until her body hits the remains of a scorched tree. You ready your crossbow and fire it at the Herald's throat, but the bolt stops inches away from it before dropping to the ground. It chuckles. "Useless."
You continue in a frenzy, doing everything you can to land a single blow, all of which are easily deflected or stopped entirely by an unseen force you can only assume the Herald controls. Ahrenia joins you, side by side, but makes similar progress.
You both decide on a combined strike, using up what little is left of your energy. Ahrenia points her sword into the air and light pours into it as you prepare the Ocean Song. You both cry out, directing everything towards the Herald...
And then he raises a hand. "Not enough." You're both lifted into the air and cast aside, clattering roughly on the ground.
The Herald stands over Bane, and their booming voice fills the room as you both gather your senses. "You were the greatest of my many creations."
The dying Bane seems to beam at the Herald's praise. He tries to stand, but the Herald waves away his effort.
"Bane, you will be remembered for what happened here." The Herald turns, their lifeless purple eyes boring deep within your very soul. "And you will not. You cannot stop fate."
A moment passes before two final words leave The Herald's mouth. "Eternum... Noxia." A wave of energy instantly reverberates across the landscape. The world itself begins to twist and distort around you, before beginning to seemingly shake apart at its very seams. The Herald cracks a twisted, toothy smile, surveying the process. You lose grip on reality, and as you begin to question what's real and what's merely an illusion, the earth splits open and swallows you whole.
You snap awake to an unfamiliar bed, breathless, and in a cold sweat. Ahrenia blearily rubs her eyes before fully taking into account that you're awake. When she does, she gives you a sad smile.
You cough as she hands you water, which you greedily drink down. After a moment of collecting yourself, you manage to speak. "What... happened?"
"The Herald used Bane to cast something... unthinkable. Everywhere I know of is teeming with monsters I've never seen or heard of before. Even the capital is swarming with them. You've been out for a few days."
You groan. Everything you had been building towards... was for naught. Bane may be gone, if what Ahrenia is saying is true... then there's no hope left. "What now, then..?"
Surprisingly, she looks... hopeful? "We were approached by... a dragon. It seems incredibly intelligent and it wanted to... speak with you. A large green dragon is waiting here to be our guide. We need to leave as soon as possible."
You roll out of bed to find yourself in surprisingly good shape, despite the beating you took only a couple of days ago. You grab your gear and leave the large tent you were placed in. Sure enough, a dragon with emerald scales that glitter in the sunlight lowers its head as you approach. The two of you hop on, holding on for dear life as it speeds towards a large volcano.
After a few minutes of flying, you slowly release your vice-like grip on the dragon. Ahrenia sits dumbstruck, taking in both the beauty... and horror... of the world around you. Between wispy cotton clouds, you catch glimpses of the changed world. It's too difficult to make out distinct details, but large, chaotic scars mark the landscape. Massive fissures snake away from the battlefield, twisting in strange and unique patterns.
You disembark, followed shortly after by Ahrenia. Intricate carvings and decor line the walls of the volcano, with deep winding chambers and large piles of gold and other treasures dotted around the place. You finally enter a large, open room, where numerous dragons eye you anxiously. An ink-black dragon with a smattering of red drops its head to your level, coming eye to eye with you. "You're the hero that your people spoke of. It's truly an honor."
Completely bewildered by the entire situation, you eye Ahrenia, who only nods in encouragement and gestures back to the dragon. As you struggle to find the words, the beast lets out a deep rumble. "My, you're humble as well. There's no fault in accepting praise. I understand how tired you must be, though. Unfortunately, there's little time for rest."
"Is there anything I can do at this point..?"
"Of course. We know what the Herald has done, and we need a way to stop them. We need time, and we need to stop the Four Gods, and then locate the Herald before it's too late."
A million questions surge through your mind. "The Gods..? I've already defeated them. What do you mean we need to stop them?"
Everyone in the room gives you a bewildered expression. The large dragon eyes you curiously. "This isn't the time for games. As we speak, the Gods are gaining more power and more reinforcements. Reinforcements provided by the Herald."
Slowly, the dragon's words sink in as the room starts to spin. You pinch your brow between your fingers as you let out a shaky breath. Ahrenia gives you a pat on the back and concern washes over her face, but it's only directed at you, not the situation.
"I... I... " You start to choke out, trying to grasp the situation. You've... killed the Gods already. "What... do I call you?"
The dragon outstretches its wings and stands tall, creating quite an imposing figure. "You may call me by the name your people have given me. Malcs, Leader of Dragons."
Your head swirls as the dragon's words hang in the air. You manage to catch a glimpse outdoors as four beams of light shoot up into the sky, each belonging to their own respective gods.