- Astral Ward
- The Aegis flares into life, projecting a field of blue protection directly in front of the rider and dragon.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3|
- Shield Bash
- The Aegis projects a field of magical portection that flies forward, pushing enemies and their attacks away from the wielder.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3|
|Slow Duration (s)||2||2||2|
In Halvalas, high city of Astra and host to the Champions' Gate, the tournament is held. As each sweep across clock brings another Battle Above, so too does it bring the tournaments that determines the Battle's champions. Anyone may enter, be they hero, mage, lord or commoner and from all nations of the lands below. Every time, fighters change and even the number of prizes to be won can shift. Sometimes the full group of ten champions wait to be chosen by the tournament, but often only a few openings remain to be filled, the rest already chosen by Hyperion and Astaroth.
Garran, the Paladin Emperor, was not even a contestant that year. His destiny had been chosen for him, or so it seemed, by Hyperion who had marked him as one of his own. He came to Halvalas on a different quest entirely - he came to rescue his twin sister, Ayla the Huntress, from the clutches of Astaroth. The beast had corrupted her destiny and Garran shuddered to think of what that foul creature would do with the girl's soul.
But, Garran was marked. The Dragon Lord had been chosen to fight in the Battles Above as a paladin of Hyperion. As the tournament and its celebration flowed around him, Garran agonized over his dilemma. He could abandon his destiny, forsake Hyperion and seek to rescue Ayla himself or he could abide by Titan's mark and take his place in the precession to the Champions' Gate on the morrow. He could see no way to please Hyperion and save his sister. No way to fight in the Battles Above and protect his family. He saw himself as the villain in either case and his faith faltered as he stood torn between two competing duties.
At last, his tormented wanderings brought him to the Shrine of Hyperion and in the fading evening sun, the Lord of Light instilled his Paladin with the light of truth. In a flash, Garran saw that Hyperion didn't want fighters - the strong, those most prone to violence - because he didn't want the battle. Hyperion sought heroes, those who would fight only when they had to and only then for the right reasons: To protect, to shelter.
As the light filled his mind, Garran saw his future in myriad variation. The many paths his life could take, the choices he could make and he understood now that Hyperion's destiny for Garran was not as set as the paladin had believed. Hyperion had set the defender on a path, only. It was up to Garran to stay true to that course. As the light faded and the shrine was left to brood in the evening shadows, Garran saw the Aegis for the first time. It sat leaning against the shrine's central statue, the strange blued metal of its embossed dragon's head shining even in the spreading darkness.
He hefted the shield, amazed at its light weight and barely noticing the licks of blue magefire crawling along its edge. It was beautiful and powerful and Garran could think of no better expression of the truth he had seen that day.
Shield in hand, he walked proudly beside his Solreign, the mighty Lumnus, in precession the next day. In glimpsing his futures and in understanding that his destiny was that of the defender, not the champion, Garran had seen the Battles Above as a means to an end. Where else would a paladin chosen by Hyperion find a fallen champion, corrupted by Astaroth? As he leapt into the saddle and rode Lumnus through the Champions' Gate, he smiled, knowing he would face Ayla on the other side. He would smash Astaroth back to the many hells themselves, if that's what it took to leave the Battles with his sister's freedom assured, because that was his goal. His calling.
The Battle Above that year was an awesome sight to behold. The forces of Astaroth, each corrupted and chosen by the Lord of Darkness as his best and most powerful, faced a motley assortment of heroes, Garran at their side. In the ebb and flow of the battle, Garran learned the true power of the gift Hyperion had bestowed upon him, the Aegis.
Lumnus fought like a thing possessed, raking the light of the sun across the forces of Astaroth again and again, but Garran kept and ever-watchful eye, bringing the shield to play whenever his allies needed it. He found he could "Throw" the shield, project its power at his enemies to send them scattering away or, if he needed, he could raise the shield and project a wall of force ahead of Lumnus, shielding the dragon from the onslaught of the Elemental Towers and demons Astaroth had raised.
Garran and Ayla faced each other across that field and both left alive and unscathed. The Aegis had protected Garran long enough to see his sister liberated alongside Hyperion. Though Ayla remained in the Eternal lands, as is the custom for most champions, to celebrate in the fiery warmth of Tyr's golden hall, Garran returned to the lands below. With the Aegis as his only weapon, he restored the shattered Island Empire, bringing peace and reconciliation despite decades of rebellion and war. It is said that Garran himself wrote the Code of Compassion that governs the behavior of the Empire's warriors and that under his protection, its citizens thrived to give birth to the age of philosophy and compassion the empire is remembered for, today.
Garran died an old man, in his chambers in the Crimson Palace, the Aegis leaning against the wall next to his bed. He never let it stray from his side in life, always ready to heed Hyperion's call, should it come again, or to offer a sheltering sanctuary for those too weak to protect themselves. The old emperor was buried in Imperial tomb, the Aegis strapped in its customary place.
And yet, when the tomb was open again 30 years later to bury his son, the Aegis - and Garran's body - were nowhere to be found and there were no signs the tomb had been disturbed.