Knowing that the Phoenix was out there, somewhere, in the dark, Aeolus, Aeacus, and Abas set off with one of the youngest hunters, Antandre.
The gear is racking up.
It was as they were walking through the endless plains that they came upon something unnervingly familiar. It was a settlement. But this one was filled with skeletons. There was little to recover save for the founding stones that the survivors clutched.
Onwards the hunters walked, and something felt strange. Memories were fading, and as they looked about, seeing injuries and scars fade away, as too did Antandre. And along with that all memory of her were gone.
The remaining three hunters trekked on, and came upon field of rotten faces. The faces under foot squelched and burst, and Aeacus and Aeolus were unlucky to lose their boots (so both hunters now had incomplete armour and lost their bonuses - bugger!).
Resting along the way Abas and Aeacus shared a vivid nightmare, or perhaps a premonition. The next day had the hunters waylaid by a fierce wind, sapping their strength and allowing their quarry to escape.
Still the hunters journey, and rested before a faceless statue before finding something Aeolus has not seen in 8 lantern years. It was the site where he, Ariadne, Arachne, and Aiakos faced lion after they had first awoken. The others had only ever heard of this place in stories.
And so they marched on, and Aeacus was struck by lightning. The storm raged as overhead the phoenix flew, landing on a tree in the distance.
Aeacus, armed with his katars, was able to strike with accuracy, thanks to the cat's eye charm that Abas carried.
The phoenix was able to retaliate, sending Abas flying with a burst of air sent forth from its massive wings.
The phoenix was an unusual opponent, teleporting and attacking and sending the survivors flying in all directions. By spreading out, they were able to surround the creature and strike. Aeolus, bearer of the Twilight sword, tried in vain to hit the beast.
Battered and bruised, and the phoenix also wounded, the survivors felt time change around them. Armour was repaired, and wounds healed. The phoenix also shrieked and blazed back to life.
Thanks to Aeacus and Abas, and the founding stones they had recovered, the phoenix was severely wound, shattering its beak. The giant bird seemed dazed, and the luminous wings flickered, loosing their inner light.
It was then that something strange happened. The phoenix looked into Aeolus's eyes, and the bird blazed with a mystic aura. His name, his identity was gone. But he gained a level of knowledge of the beast, and could feel how the monster would act.
Abas, emboldened by the injuries inflicted to the phoenix, attacked with his great axe. In return, the monster was to strike. It blazed, ready to materialize, and as it did, something went wrong. The creature appeared, but upon its back. It tried to attack again, and the same happened. It was stuck, and the survivors struck.
The frequent attempts to teleport had caused the phoenix all manner of complications, saving the survivors for its wicked attacks. The man who was Aeolus was able to use these openings, and so was able to begin his mastery of the Twilight sword. It was Aeacus, fighting like a lion, who slew the phoenix.
Arriving back in the settlement, laden with their hard won bones and organs from the phoenix, Aeacus was haunted by memories of battle. His madness was troublesome, and rather suffer, the settlement cast him out. In the darkness he did not last long, and his body was scavenged.
The man once known as Aeolus was renamed, dubbed Achillis. New armour and a shield was fashioned for him. The tribe was also blessed with a birth, the child being named Anius. He grew strong, and by the end of the lantern year he was ready to hunt. But on leaving the camp with Achillis, Alcestis and Aiakos, the hunters were met by a familiar form. It was a King's Man.