Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Chapter 19-1

Chapter 19: Two

They headed roughly east-northeast. Almonihah had some vague idea that they should go to the coast, though no specific idea of where. He didn’t really think about why, it just… seemed right. Certainly Zakhin’Dakh seemed happy enough to head that way. He wanted to see these strange people things Almonihah talked about, and their funny city-things.

Almonihah continued teaching Zakhin’Dakh along the way. More Great Eagle was the most important lesson, of course, but the griffon could only take so much of that, so Almonihah often talked of other things. Places they might go, or different ways of hunting and tracking, or the animals and plants he had seen in his journeys… Zakhin’Dakh listened rapturously. The one thing that still bothered him was that Almonihah insisted on walking around, when it was so much slower than flying. He kept asking his little friend why he didn’t use his wings, but the half-dragon steadfastly refused to answer.

One day, Zakhin’Dakh simply stopped and screeched, On!

Almonihah looked at him blankly and grunted.

You, he pointed a talon at the half-dragon. On.

Suddenly Almonihah laughed. It’s not that easy, Zakhin’Dakh, he replied.

Why?

Almonihah switched back to the Common Tongue. “Can’t just hop on your back and ride. I wouldn’t have anything t’ hold onto, and my scales’d rub your neck raw.”

The big griffon screeched disappointedly and started dejectedly walking along. Shaking his head, Almonihah followed.

“Just need t’ get a saddle,” he called after Zakhin’Dakh. “When we get t’ a city.”

Zakhin’Dakh perked up. City! he screeched.

By the time they reached the Orc Hills, Zakhin’Dakh could sometimes string together a complete sentence, though the words often weren’t in the correct order. Almonihah started to ask him the occasional question, trying to get an idea of what his view on the world was. He quickly gathered that it was rather simplistic, but more complex than an animal’s. He wasn’t quite sure if this was normal for a griffon or if it was related to whatever it was about that valley that had made him so large. Almonihah’s suspicion was that it was a little of both, combined with a bit of Zakhin’Dakh just being an unusual griffon.

One conversation surprised him, however. He asked one day what Zakhin’Dakh most wanted.

More big! was the griffon’s enthusiastic reply.

It took Almonihah only a moment to interpret the reply. It brought another laugh. Oh, but it felt good to laugh. He didn’t remember when the last time he’d laughed before meeting Zakhin’Dakh was. The thought brought a bit of an odd twist to his smile, though it cleared a bit as he thought of who might have been behind his meeting the griffon.

“Why would you want to be bigger, Zakhin’Dakh?” Almonihah asked, still smiling. “Don’t think there’s a griffon around who’s bigger than you.”

It took Zakhin’Dakh a while to think of how to answer the question. He hadn’t really ever thought about why he wanted things, just that he wanted them.

Big better! Big happy! Big not run away small thing.

Almonihah’s grin grew broader. “Don’t think there’s much that won’t be afraid of you, Zakhin’Dakh. Except dragons.”

The griffon raised his head and puffed out his chest. Dragons scared too more big!

The only response this brought was another laugh.

Nothing bothered them when they crossed the Orc Hills. Almonihah wanted to think it was because he’d been careful not to attract attention, but he was pretty sure it had as much to do with nothing wanting to attract Zakhin’Dakh’s attention. Despite their reputation among most of their neighbors, orcs generally weren’t any more stupid than the average human, and it would’ve taken a lot of orcs to kill the both of them. More than generally wandered the areas they traveled through.

They reached the other side of the Hills in the late evening. There was a fair-sized town not far from here, if Almonihah recalled correctly from when he and Zrathanzon had gone through this area. It wasn’t long before he could see the smoke from their fires in the distance.

As they neared, he frowned. That was… too much smoke.

******

Zakhin’Dakh is one of the few things on all of Draezoln that can get Almonihah to smile and laugh.

This section was a bit hard for me to sit down and write, because I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to cover what happened during this time between Almonihah and Zakhin’Dakh without bogging down. I’m fairly happy with how it turned out, but I may change it in that mythical future in which I come back and revise all of this.

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