(Soundtrack: Rise Again by Uncle Daddy)
In the heartlands of Valesia, in a tiny, sub-1000 farming town, four high school friends met again. They'd just finished their first year of life after high school- college for two, work for one, and vagrancy for the last, a comely roguish lass, the heartthrob of the whole school, who first suggested the trip. She'd inherited a beat-up old station wagon from her father, and figured a summertime trip to Lionguard for some sun and waves would help her old friends loosen up some.
A hard-bitten, scarred young man, formerly voted "most likely to join the Army" was the first to agree. He'd become a monster hunter since school, relying on his firearm ability and his Championship to slay beasts plaguing the locals. A handsome priest of the Lord of the Sun was next, laughing in his charming way at the girl's jokes about his vows of celibacy needing to be tested by some good swimwear. Their old friend, a hedge mage descended from a long line of witches and warlocks, was the last to agree, mostly, he claimed, because they needed a voice of reason somewhere.
Though a motley crew, they had one thing in common: Championship. The priest had had it easiest, born with a birthmark in the shape of the Holy Sun, the symbol of the Lord of the Sun and a shock of bright gold hair which never dulled. The mage, of course, was born into power as well, but drawing power from a bloodline of hedge magery was hardly so proud as from the Well of Light itself. The rogue in all her cunning, impressed the goddess of thievery, gaining the massive edge in her endeavors that Championship afforded. Finally, the fighter was one of the rare souls who earned Championship by his own blood, sweat, and tears. His father owned a gun range, and every day, the fighter could be found there, working on his aim and control, tinkering with his guns, machining ammo with his father, anything to do with guns. Eventually, due to hard work, he surpassed the limits of humanity, becoming stronger, faster, more accurate, deadlier.
Three months later, the friends stood together, huddled against a wall as the elder wyrm blasted the other side with fire. The fighter, missing two fingers from an unfortunate run-in with a bridge troll, motioned to the rogue, whose beauty was marred by a deep scar through her eye, though the priest had regrown the eye. (She'd asked him to keep the scar because it added to her "mystique".) The mage silently gathered power, preparing to call down the incantation he'd learned from a demon he consorted with behind the party's back, embracing his bloodline in hopes of keeping his friends out of danger. The priest, now clad in shining armor and wielding a blade the size of a man, released holy magic that soothed the party's wounds, and prepared them for the final fight, having grown into the holy knight that the Lord of Sunlight wished him to be.
"I'm still upset about that car. That was my dad's legacy, you know?" the rogue said, readying a pistol and a blade.
"Would you kindly shut up about the car, man?" the mage asked, his silent incantation wavering with his concentration. The group of friends chuckled, and began their look into the jaws of death as one.