Somewhere at the end of a universe, there is a bar.
In this bar is a pretty brunette staring intently at a laptop, humming idly to herself and occasionally scribbling on an attached tablet.
Vlast's eye points to James.
"Not me," James says, shaking his head. "He's the one writing me, though. I'm not sure which of them is writing you."
Huff. "That is... acceptable."
Slow, assenting blink.
She wiggles her fingers at him meaningfully, and he stops gently shrinking. "There, control passed to you. You can now be any size between your natural size and the size you hatched as, at will. I can throw in more shapeshifting but I honestly don't see why you'd literally ever want to shapeshift into not-a-dragon. I can if you want it, just." Pause. "You're a dragon," she finishes, as if that answers itself.
He is, indeed, a dragon.
Now he is a more realistically-sized dragon, for the timeline.
"Great! Then let's go break into his palace so Vlast can eat him."
The landscape around them shifts, and then they are hidden unceremoniously in a ditch, in a desolate wasteland that smells strongly of sulfur.
"So I was thinking we actually, you know. Break things, kill Awakened, generally cause mayhem together, the usual. Do you two want to rampage throughout Joko's stronghold and then kill him?" She has a massive, slightly manic grin that hints that she maybe knows the answer to this question.
"He has many defences," Vlast objects.
"And? You have the author on your side, a massive element of surprise, just got transported behind many of his defenses, and even though you don't look it right now, you're an Elder Dragon. Have you never wanted to rampage around a large and intimidating fortress causing mayhem and destruction to all who are stupid enough to oppose you?"
...well, when she puts it like that.
He turns towards the Awakened and does the dragon-equivalent of raising his heckles -
- and he roars, a sound loud enough to cause shockwaves.
Then the rampage is on. He extends his wings and uses them to prop a jump onto the nearest Awakened guard, who can't even so much as squeak before the dragon's torn its putrid head from its body.
James is somewhat less showy, only becoming a spectre of green death holding a shadowy scythe and swirling his way through the masses of enemies, cutting them to shreds.
Aestrix is mildly tempted to join on principle, but she doesn't particularly have anything to gain by indulging in a power fantasy here, and there's no way to actually convey in-game skills and abilities accurately. Plus, apparently James wants to see how far he and Vlast can get on their own, which is fair enough.
"Watch out for the annoying dog things, they disappear, then ambush and stunlock you for lots of damage. Avoid that with a dodge or shield thing or something!" she calls, mostly to the spectre of green death. "I'll come help if you're in trouble."
And then she conveniently disappears when no one's looking at her.
Spectre of green death doesn't acknowledge but does hear. He figures his narration will be sufficient to inform Aestrix.
He dodges an annoying dog thing and pierces it with his shadowy blade, then drops out of reaper mode to swing a scepter and a dagger towards a group of clumped Awakened, causing huge skeletal hands to emerge from the ground and crush them.
Vlast's strategy is simple but effective: be a horse-sized dragon who pounces on things and then eats them. It doesn't hurt that the crystals covering his body are extremely durable and regrow after broken. He's very hard to hit and even harder to actually injure.
They seem to have been transported past the Bone Palace's outer defensive wall, and have certainly caught the defenders off guard. In front of them, the palace's main gates lie open. There is an awkward scramble of disorganized enemies trying to recover and buy time for some kind of proper defense to be raised. Several Awakened throw themselves at James and Vlast, either from stupidity or as a sacrifice to slow them down. The smarter ones try to escape in order to sound some kind of alarm; in particular, one archer gives up trying to get past Vlast's crystalline defenses and starts trying to coat arrows with tar to ignite and shoot into the air.
Crystal isn't flammable. And you know one of the cool things dragon magic gave Vlast?
He roars purple light at Awakened, and they grow crystals and immediately turn around to attack their fellows. Dragon trumps undead.
This makes an excellent distraction. The branded Awakened summarily swap sides and begin shooting their once-allies.
More defenders are on their way! Including another teleporting dog thing, and a large quadrupedal abomination with a whip-like tail.
...he's gonna go stab it.