Welcome to the 3rd part of our adventure about four unlikely heroines and heroes who seem to be the last salvation for a kingdom in another realm. After being denied a way back to the real world by an unexpected event, and in the face of innocents needing the help of our heroic team, the four have come to terms with the fact that they can't just idly stand by and watch.
They rush to a chapel with King Gaudenz, the Elder, to confront a blazing fire. Will their abilities to work together be enough to overcome this challenge? Or will their adventure end here before it even really begins? Let's find out!
Teambuilding with a difference
... King Gaudenz whirls around. His back tightens, and his face takes on an expression of grim determination. "I'm sorry, but it seems that your departure will have to be postponed just a little longer." With firm steps, the monarch hurries back toward the throne room. "Please, take a seat in my banquet hall until then and await my return."
Before Gaudenz has finished speaking, Marcus raises his hand and hurries after the King. "Wait, I will accompany you! We may not be real heroes, but at least we can do something, right? I'm not going to just sit around when people need help."
The rest of his team exchanges brief glances. "Oh man, to think that I was actually invited to a party tonight..." sighs Angie, as her legs are already moving towards those in front of her.
"Yeah, looks more like a party pooper to me, too," Pauline mutters as she takes long strides with Caroline to catch up with the King and the other half of Team Friends and Foes. Obviously, none of them want to sit idly by when Marcus puts himself in danger!
Off into a flaming inferno
Gaudenz the Elder points to the stables. "I'm afraid we'll have to saddle the horses ourselves, my friends! Please follow me; we have no time to lose."
A few precious minutes later, the 5 riders gallop through the cobbled streets of Connectalot. The sound of hooves echoes like thunder from the walls of the empty half-timbered houses, which seem home only to the stench of fire and smoke. At breakneck speed, the group dashes around a final corner, already clearly feeling the fierce heat of the fire. "Hoh," Marcus shouts, and his horse comes skidding to a halt. The multi-story chapel rises before them, almost entirely engulfed in flames and black, acrid smoke.
A crowd of soot-smeared survivors has already formed into a bucket brigade, but there are too few of them to contain the fiery inferno. Gaudenz swings off the back of his panicked horse in one fluid motion, unbuttons his cloak, and lets it slide carelessly to the ground. "King Gaudenz is here; be confident!" calls a voice from the crowd.
"I can't detect Father App anywhere," Gaudenz shouts to the group over the deafening noise of the inferno. "I will support my people here and try to buy you time. I beg you, look around and try to find and rescue Father!"
Cooperation in a different way
Marcus runs toward the main entrance, the others close on his heels. But already, his steps are slowing down. "Guys, the entrance! The tower is collapsing, and some pieces are blocking the entrance! What do we do now?" In front of them are huge, massive wooden beams, some burning and others smoking. One thing is clear: there is no way through. The large, double-winged portal to the chapel seems impossible to reach.
"Maybe we can find an entrance on another side, where there's no fire yet?" bellows Angie, trying to drown out the crackling of the flames, from which she keeps a respectful distance. Still, the smell of burning fur and smoke fills the air.
At that moment, Caroline marches resolutely past her friends, heading straight for the blockade of burning beams. She squares her shoulders, gets to her knees, and reaches directly into the flames without hesitation. She clutches one of the sturdy crossbeams and begins to lift it. A thick vein emerges from her neck, and the muscles in her arms tense to a breaking point, but still, the beam lifts only a few centimeters. "It's not enough," Caroline mutters as the flames greedily reach for her.
But now Marcus and Pauline rush to her. Marcus puts a hand on Caroline's shoulder to pull her away, but as he touches her, a strange golden glow flows from him to her - and the beam lifts another centimeter. "It's no use, Caroline, we'd need three more people with your caliber to move those beams ..." As if Marcus' words were an incentive, Pauline raises both hands and shouts loudly in an unknown language. To everyone's amazement, Caroline begins to grow to twice her average size. Effortlessly, she pulls out the beam, spins in an unimaginably swift motion, and hurls it like a spear against the church door. As if struck by a battering ram, it shatters. "... Or maybe just a huge Caroline," whispers Marcus, staring in bewilderment at the figure towering over him.
"Guys?" shouts Pauline, who begins to float off the ground, a cold light in her eyes. "Clear the way!" Caroline grabs Marcus as if he was a toddler and makes a daring leap to safety - just in time before a cone of ice and snow shoots out of the elf's hands and into the inferno.
"Am I the only one here who can't do anything?" roars the dwarf, scowling from under his PMM's arm.
Rescue at the very last second
Angie seizes the opportunity and runs down the now icy hallway, pressing herself close to the ground. The rugged terrain doesn't seem to bother her in her feline form, as she sprints sniffing into the depths of the chapel, relying on her keen sense of smell.
"I think I found him," she suddenly exclaims, pointing to two legs rising from a pile of smoldering rubble. "That must be Father App! I hope he's still alive ..."
Unable to follow the lithe cat, Caroline makes her way through a barricade of burning wood, her other team members following close behind. Caroline, grown to Hagrid's size, grabs the unconscious man from the rubble, and the group turns toward the entrance, but the way back is again blocked by flames. More beams rain down from the ceiling, and a deafening groan announces the imminent collapse of the building. The PMM charges through the flames, using her free arm to clear a path for her friends, directly toward one of the stained glass windows that seem to offer a means of escape.
With a final roar, the rescuers break through the glass almost simultaneously, falling a few feet and landing more or less gracefully on the hard pavement of the street.
Discover new skills and make a decision
Caroline gets to her feet and calls loudly for help, with the lifeless Father App in her arms as she slowly shrinks back to her average size. King Gaudenz appears behind a crowd of bystanders, but horror spreads across his face when he sees the priest's limp body. He raises a bony finger and gestures to Marcus: "Quick, we have no time to lose! Please, cleric, bring him back from the abyss of death; use your power!"
Marcus looks at him in confusion but then stumbles towards Caroline and Father App, falling heavily to his knees. He reaches out both hands to the pale priest. "I don't know any mantras, but maybe, with a little luck..." The dwarf concentrates and turns his thoughts inward. Sure enough, a golden light suddenly streams from his palms and spreads throughout Father App's body. The priest weakly begins to stir, coughing heavily as Marcus stumbles backward, staring at his hands in bewilderment.
"Do you see the power that resides within you all? Do you see what you can accomplish?" Gaudenz's soot-smeared face seems to glow from within as he kneels beside Marcus. "You are just beginning to realize what you can accomplish! I beg you, stay, save our realm from the darkness!"
The group rises from the ground as bystanders rush to bring the badly battered and coughing priest to the other injured. "Maybe we can do some good after all. And we can always leave if it gets too dangerous, right?" asks Pauline, rubbing the growing bump on her head. Marcus and Caroline nod in agreement; only Angie seems undecided, tending to the burns in her fur. "This could have killed us, guys. We're not in Texas anymore. We don't know what exactly is going on here at all!"
"Then we should find someone who can shed light on it," the beaming Gaudenz interrupts them, "It's time we found Atlas!"
Drawing inspiration of the week - ready for the next quest with draw.io
When speed is of the essence, processes can easily become confusing. Swimlane diagrams can be a good solution here: they are quick to grasp and create clarity. Whether it's the individual steps to rescue a person from a burning church or the visualization of complex processes in everyday business - both can be easily realized. How good that draw.io also provides a Swimlane template to create such a diagram in no time!
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