The final contestants have arrived. They are met by the great sages of the Nine Clans along with the five Chromatic Lords. The final trial awaits everyone; only one shall be bestowed the new mantle of power. 

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There were stories about the Chromatic Lords, five mighty warriors granted the powers from divine mantles left from the age when gods walked the realms. Each of the lords was a warrior of great renown, and their prowess exceeded any mortal when it came to the body, the mind, and the spirit. Their name came from their uniquely colored armor, a style choice that reflected the color of their mantle. On their thrones, they sat, with one in a red suit of armor and a helm that resembled a crown.

The Red King of Amalur, the leader and self-proclaimed king of the five; legends tell that he was a Chosen of Rhaldfur, the God of Battles. To his immediate right, the Azure Knight of Signum was said to be cursed with his mantle of frost, further down the row, the Black Crow silently sat. The Black Crow possessed the Mantle of Shadows, he was an enigmatic figure clad in feathers and a bird-like helm, he rarely spoke, and the only other individual who understood him was the Silver Serpent. Silver Serpent was the only female warrior of the Chromatic Lords, unlike the other lords, she possessed a long silvery armored dress with dozens of snake motifs etched into the sides. She was also the only elf that sat on those thrones, her silver hair and pale skin have made her seem like a white snake – a symbol of immortality and rebirth. At the far left sat the behemoth is known as the Emerald Giant, nearly eight feet tall, the stories of the amount of metal needed to forge his armor were said to empty dozens of mines. While imposing, the armored giant was said to have a kind and gentle demeanor, and he was said to be the latest addition in six hundred years. All of them were supposedly immortal or at the very least, slow to age. There were even stories that these lords were not the originals and that they were simply replacements.

“Before we begin,” the Red King addressed, “understand that these trials are to find one of you capable and worthy of being judged by the latest mantle of power. Even if one of you succeeds, your entire soul shall be judged by the mantle, and only those worthy are granted its power. Failure results in your spirit consumed by the raw strength of the mantle. You have come far from various lands, and now you shall wager everything you knew and loved on this unique chance. May the God of Victory grant you mercy and fortune on the path ahead.”

The eight sages in attendance gathered and began reciting words of power, a golden mantle of light emerged between them – it was the new mantle. The legends told of only five mantles of power, never six, no one knew why another arose, but some believed the gods themselves willed it. For Mei Fong, the mantle was not only her atonement for her clan and those who perished from her monastery, but she would also gain the honor and glory denied to them. Revenge was no longer a choice for her. Instead, the only path now was glory for the fallen now.

“Yo! No long time no see!” Beren shouted to the Chromatic Lords.

The entire assembly fell silent in disbelief and awe, not a soul even breathed. While the Chromatic Lords were not gods, their abilities alone were god-like enough. There was a sign of respect for the sages and even the lords present, simply for their wisdom and talents alone, for someone to be casual was beyond protocol. Mei Fong and Jade Tiger looked over at their friend with shock and disdain.

The Red King stepped forward from his throne, each step shook the floor and possibly the very earth itself.

“Itis good to see you, Beren. I had hoped you would find your way here.”

“You know me, I like to make an entrance. Too bad I won’t have the opportunity to spar with you again.” Beren teased.

Another wave of hushed silence fell upon the hall only to be broken by the boisterous laughter from the Red King.

“If you win this tourney, I shall more than happily fulfill your desire. Show me how far you have grown since that day, prove to me you are worthy.”

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