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Cursed Caldera is the eight episode of The Dragon Prince and eight chapter of the first book, "Moon".

Ellis leads the friends to the Cursed Caldera but warns it's crawling with nasty monsters. Viren tries to force Runaan to talk.

Plot

While taking a break, Team Zym stumbles upon Ellis and her pet wolf, Ava. The two decide to join the group to guide them to the miracle healer near the peak of the Cursed Caldera where said healer first revealed herself to them. Following introductions, the group decides to make their way to the tree Ellis remembered from two years ago. After a long travel, she warns the group that terrifying monsters wander the mountain once the sun sets, one more blood-curling than the other. Not wanting to go on without a plan, Callum assigns roles to each of his friends in case of a monster attack: For Ezran to have Bait blind the enemy with his glow, for Ellis and Ava to disorient them by barking and running, for himself to cast "Aspiro", and for Rayla to finish them with her blades. When Rayla lightheartedly makes fun of Callum for wanting to blow wind at a monster, she understands the reason for Claudia referring to him as a "fool", realizing that they had misunderstood the Ancient Draconic word "Fulminis" for the insult. Callum attempts the spell once more, finally succeeding now that he knows the second half of the incantation.

Inside the dungeon of Katolis castle, Viren visits Runaan's cell, attempting to convince the starving elf to eat or drink. As a Moonshadow Elf conditioned to a life of honor, Runaan refuses to accept bribes and rather chooses his own death. Despite receiving the offer to be freed if he were to tell Viren about an artifact he owns, the answer remains the same, leading Viren to consider finding something Runaan would fear more than death itself. On Viren's way out, he is addressed by the chained Gren, who claims he would love to try Xadian fruit, but gets ignored.

After a while of not encountering any monsters, Team Zym and their new friends break into a serious of jokes about how harmless the Cursed Caldera appears. Suddenly, Ellis exclaims that she spotted a huge, scary monster, scaring everyone else, until clarifying that there is nothing to be worried about as it had already been slain. After further examination, they realize that the animal had been drained of all its blood, with a big bite mark left on its body. As soon as the realization hits, an enormous leech emerges and readies for attack. Unprepared, the group tries to pull off their plan, though Bait is too busy eating a cricket and misfires his glow, temporarily blinding his friends. Disoriented, everyone barely escapes as Ellis and Ava ride off with Callum, while Rayla brings Ezran and Bait to safety on a tall tree. Left with no other choice, they decide to remain where they are until the monster loses interest.

Back in the dungeon, Viren brings the magic mirror for Runaan to examine, however, he is still met with the same stubborn refusal to cooperate. He retrieves a pouch of coins which he holds up to his prisoner, though Runaan scoffs at the attempt to bribe him. Viren corrects that this is no attempt to bribe him, but a threat and instructs him to take a closer look. Runaan's eyes widen in shock as he claims that Viren is "a monster".

As they wait, Rayla converses with Ezran about how her hesitations led to her failures as an assassin, though receives encouragement from her friend for showing compassion when needed. At the same time, Ellis shows interest in Callum's magic, admitting that she believed mages to carry an amulet with them. Praised for his confidence, Callum has to disappoint, admitting that all his magic is possible through his Sky Primal Stone, but Ellis reassures him that he has value without his magic tool. After more time has passed, Rayla claims for it to be safe to climb down as the monster seems to have moved on. However, as soon as the group is back on the ground, the leech reemerges, going in for yet another assault. After scattering again, they eventually regain their focus and successfully carry out their plan, killing the monster in a team effort. The danger is not over just yet, however, as smaller leeches emerge from the dead body and crawl onto Rayla. She is quickly assisted by Callum's "Aspiro", blowing them off her.

Tired of waiting, Viren unveils the tarp to reveal the magic mirror to Runaan, who recognizes the artifact and confirms that he has found something "worse than death". As he refuses to elaborate, Viren no longer finds a use in his prisoner and begins to cast a spell on Runaan. The spell, spoken repeatedly to succeed, starts to drain his soul from his body, causing Runaan to scream in agony before ultimately being silenced. Outside, Gren overhears the screams and finds Viren emerging in a dark appearance, holding up a coin that shows Runaan trapped inside of it.

Team Zym and the others finally spot the tree where the miracle healer found Ellis and Ava, almost near the rim. However, Ava suddenly whimpers sadly and Ezran responds by trying to make out what she is trying to express. Ezran then bears terrible news to them, somehow knowing that, even if they make it to the rim, there is no miracle healer.

Cast

Trivia

  • A continuity error occurs in this episode, as Rayla claims that the miracle healer has appeared three years ago. As Ava is only two years old, and Ellis stated it to be two years since she found Ava, this sentence is incorrect.

Credits

  • Corvus tracks the footsteps Bait left in the previous episode's credits.
  • Ethari is pictured for the second time, this time devastated upon realizing that Runaan's metal lotus has sunk upon being trapped inside the coin, not realizing that it hasn't sunken entirely to the ground yet.[1]
  • Ziard's staff can be seen as it is later shown in “Sol Regem”, implying that it is the same staff used by Viren inside the episode.
  • Ellis can be seen admiring a magical amulet in the credits, which she previously mentions Callum should have one day.
  • An alternative draft version of the image showing Runaan trapped inside the coin was accidentally released onto the website, in which Runaan's upper body is shown instead of just his face.[2]

References

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