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Hearts of Cinder is the twenty-fifth episode of The Dragon Prince and seventh chapter of the third book, "Sun".

As Team Zym begins the steep climb up the Dragon Queen's lair, Viren and Aaravos play a nasty trick on the Sunfire Elves.

Plot

Claudia passes a couple of flowers which are used as beds by three Adoraburrs and quickly captures one of them inside a jar, as they are too cute for her to resist owning one. As Viren's army is already a long distance ahead of her, she rushes after them to catch up.

At the same time, Soren notices his father whispering into the air and decides to join him to ask what Viren's plan for Xadia is, wishing to be enlightened about their future strategy. Anything but pleased about his nosiness, Viren scolds his son into submission by using condescending comments about how he should learn to silently follow someone properly, as well as using Prince Kasef as a peak example. Soren stops to let Kasef pass him while muttering jealous comments into his direction.

Now alone again, Viren inquiries with Aaravos what their plan really is, to which the Startouch Elf replies that he only serves to fulfill Viren's dreams, which turn out to be the flourishing of humanity and its bright future, rather than the wish to become Xadia's conqueror. Inevitably, conquering the nation cannot be avoided, however, and their aim develops towards focusing on killing Zubeia, as well as capturing Azymondias, as his essence may serve as an incomparable source of power. But first, they have business inside Lux Aurea, the capital of the Sunfire Elves. Viren can not fathom how they could defeat the stronghold without sacrificing an abundance of men, but Aaravos reassures him that only one life has to be sacrificed: Viren's.

Team Zym arrives at the foot of the Storm Spire, baffled by the sheer height of it. They begin their climb and Ezran reminds Zym that he is about to finally meet his mother.

Inside the throne room of Lux Aurea, Janai stands before Khessa, the Sunfire Queen, to inform her that another human has requested an audience with her. Khessa dismisses the unknown human to be thrown into a cell until informed that he is the King of Katolis himself, which prompts her to suggest throwing him into the ring of fire instead. Janai has to interrupt her sister once again, as the meeting could involve potential information about the fate of their grandmother Aditi.

At the Storm Spire, Callum wonders if they should tell the Dragon Queen about their relationship, but Rayla does not believe it to be a topic that would be brought up, causing the two to dramatically joke about their forbidden, hidden love. They finally reach a gate, which is decorated with elven writing, warning to "Prepare to draw your last breath".

Viren is escorted into the throne room, where he is questioned about Aditi, seeking compensation for the information in the form of letting his people pass through Xadia. Knowing humans to have caused trouble for her lands before, Khessa refuses to let them pass until Viren earned her trust by undergoing a light ritual. After being exposed to the sun staff, Viren's true form is revealed to the elves, although Khessa is not impressed, as she had expected him to be evil, but promises him he can still be purified.

Inside the fire ring prison cell, Kazi tries to lift Amaya's spirit by telling her that it is a good sign that she has not been killed yet. When Janai enters, she delivers the news about Amaya's "king" has arrived, catching her by surprise. Amaya insists what she is saying is impossible, but when Janai describes the newcomer as "tainted by darkness, rotten to the core", the General quickly understands who the man behind the claim is. She corrects her that he is no true king, but possibly the most dangerous man alive and warns that everyone is in severe danger, despite Janai's calmness regarding his fate upon being purified.

With the exception of Azymondias, everyone in Team Zym struggles with exhaustion from the thin air on the staircase of the spire, craving rest, but press on anyway, knowing they have to continue.

Meanwhile, Viren is placed into the Sunforge, where his purification process begins and his mind is eased with a promise that only the parts corrupted by dark magic would vanish. While the beam of light creeps closer to Viren, Janai, Amaya, and Kazi rush towards the forge, hoping to stop him before something awful would happen. Khessa expresses her disgust with humans for their greed while the ray touches Viren and seemingly begins to force out the dark magic when suddenly Aaravos's caterpillar emerges from the mage's throat and leaps onto the Sunfire High Priest, biting him in the neck, corrupting not only the staff's, but the Primal Stone of the Sunforge as well. Due to the bite, Aaravos is enabled to take over the body of the High Priest, now visible to the bystanders. He finds himself amused by Khessa's arrogance and foolishness, which resembles the mistakes of her grandmother Aditi, who lead him to the source of power once before after trusting his vessel. Aaravos steps closer to Khessa, teasing with her grandmother's fate, before whispering something inaudible into her ear, leaving Khessa shocked, before a flick of his finger causes the Sunfire Queen to disintegrate. Heartbroken over the loss of her beloved sister, Janai enters her magma state and dashes towards Aaravos but is tackled down by Amaya, who holds her down despite being burned, until Janai understands that there is nothing she can do anymore. Aaravos then hands Viren the sun staff and releases the body of the High Priest he had taken over.

The thin air finally takes a toll on Rayla and Callum, who collapse to the ground, soon followed by Ezran. The young king is woken by generous licks of Azymondias before he notices a red dragon towering over them. Due to the broken horn on its head, Ezran soon recognizes the dragon as Pyrrah, the dragon he had saved from Soren and Claudia inside the forest of Katolis.[1] Pyrrah carves a symbol into the rock beneath them, leading Ezran to understand the solution to climbing the Storm Spire.

Claudia, Soren, and Kasef gaze upon Lux Aurea when they spot Viren returning from his mission seemingly unharmed. The leader informs his followers that he has received a great gift, mighty enough to defeat Xadia once and for all, but expects his forces to be rained on by the fire of the dragons. After promising to inoculate his men, he is met with doubt and concern but states that an example would change the mind of the doubtful, nominating Soren to be the sacrifice. Soren disappoints his father as he gives in to fear, however, Kasef steps forward to receive the gift in his stead. Kasef endures the enchantment, causing his body to grow, skin to change, and a magma texture to stretch across his body, similar to Janai's magma body. Seeing this change sparks reactions ranging from fear to pride from Saleer, as well as immediate flight from Soren, who sneaks off while everyone is distracted.

Ezran manages to wake his brother and instructs him to literally "draw his last breath", sketching the symbol Pyrrah had shown to him inside Callum's sketchbook and explains that the spell is called "Ventus Spiralis". With his last strength, Callum casts the spell and replenishes everyone with fresh air, which is celebrated by Rayla and Callum by sharing a joyful kiss. Since Ezran had not been aware of the relationship, both he and Bait are utterly stunned upon hearing the confirmation from his brother.

Soren escapes the scene but is stopped by Claudia, who wants to know what he is doing. Soren explains that he can no longer bear what his father is turning into, knowing that his sister is changing as well. Although he encourages her to leave with him, Claudia begs him not to make her choose and Soren leaves to decide for her, causing her to fall into a state of denial.

Back inside his camp, Viren is determined to bestow the newly found power onto all his people, so he combines the power of his own staff with the sun staff, spreading the enchantment across the area. As Claudia returns, she is shocked to see every single person inside their army turning into magma creatures.

Finally, at the gate to the Storm Spire's entrance, the group meets Ibis, a Skywing Elf mage, who expresses his joy to see the Dragon Prince alive, yet with a heavy heart has to inform them that they have arrived too late.

Cast

Trivia

  • While Viren is speaking to the soldiers, there is a brief animation error where one of his fingernails is missing.

Credits

  • Opeli, Barius, and Corvus can be seen pledging loyalty to Aanya, foreshadowing their roles in the battle against Viren after arriving in Duren.
  • Although only mentioned, Aditi can be seen in the third credit of this episode.
  • Now mutated, Kasef still refuses to eat his vegetables, which is a direct reference to the credit image of "Breaking the Seal", where he can be seen in the same pose as a human.

References

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