Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: July 2012

Chapter 19-5

Gritting his teeth against the pain, he picked his way over to his big friend, his broken and torn wings jostling painfully with every step. The griffon, however, was in far worse shape. Blood stained his feathers, and even some of his fur, much of it his own. More blood flowed freely from several large wounds in his chest, wings, and head. While Almonihah could see his chest moving from his breath, it was too rapid and shallow.

Almonihah swore a bit at some pain in his side… probably just a bruise… as he desperately searched through his pack, hoping that they hadn’t broken… There! He pulled a small pouch out and tore it open with his claws, not bothering to untie the top. He’d have to remember to have this more accessible…

He breathed a short sigh of relief when he saw the three little potion sacks were intact. They were like tiny waterskins, but filled with healing liquids made by the druids that worked with the Rangers.

“Zakhin’Dakh!” Almonihah shouted… well, said loudly. He’d have to shorten the name for situations like this… Zakh might work, even though he didn’t really like the sound of it.

The big griffon opened one eye and chirped weakly.

“Eat this!” Almonihah commanded, holding one of the little potion-skin near his big beak.

Slowly, Zakhin’Dakh opened his beak a bit. Almonihah placed the potion-skin mostly in his beak, with just the stoppered end hanging out. Zakhin’Dakh closed his beak with just enough force to cut through the potion-skin, then swallowed. Almonihah watched anxiously as the flow of blood slowed from his wounds.

“One more,” he whispered, repeating the process. This time the blood was fully stopped, and Zakhin’Dakh’s breathing seemed more even. He breathed out a quiet thanks to whoever had come up with these things… and to Naishia, who he was pretty sure must have been keeping an eye out to keep him from getting his friend killed. And himself.

For the past several years. So why had he been being such an idiot… especially this time? He didn’t really want to think about what might have led to this latest incident. Or… well, he didn’t want to think about a lot of things just now.

He did, however, need to think about why he was now leaning on Zakhin’Dakh’s beak. The big griffon chirped in soft concern.

“Guess I need th’ last one…” Almonihah muttered, working the stopper out and drinking the last of the healing potions. He could feel the effects mostly in his wings, and he felt a little less light-headed. Slowly turning around, he saw that he’d trailed blood the whole way from that tree… which was a mess. Yes, apparently there was blood in his wings. Of course.

He really had been an idiot for the last… quite a while.

Almonihah sat down to rest. Zakhin’Dakh, seeing his friend looking a bit better, screeched sleepily and drifted off. The half-dragon watched carefully, but his breathing stayed steady, and no new blood flowed, so he figured it was best for the big griffon to rest.

Once he felt up to it, he started setting up something resembling a camp. Sure, there was a big dead dragon in it, and a badly injured griffon sleeping in it, but Zrathanzon had definitely taught him how to make due. He’d also mentioned that you could eat green dragon meat if you cooked it well enough. So Almonihah started a fire, hacked a piece of flesh off the dragon, and started cooking it. He thought back on how stupid he’d been and how he was going to do better as he waited for it to cook.

Fortunately, it didn’t get too burnt while he slept.

********

Gasp! Almonihah realizing that he needs to change his life! All it took was almost getting his best friend in a long time killed… yeah, nice job, there.

No update. Sorry!

No update today. Moving… kind of took precedence. However, here’s a bit of info on Draezolnian bronze dragons, just so you have a little something to read. 😀

 

Bronze dragons are among the smallest of the metallic dragons, larger only (for their age) than the coppers. Culturally, they are known for being honorable, but unforgiving. One who receives a bronze dragon’s trust should count himself fortunate… but one who betrays that trust can never rest in safety.

 

As lightning-breathers, they often enjoy flying in storms, and are surprisingly capable of doing so, despite the adverse conditions. They often hunt during thunderstorms, the thunder and wind covering their approach. Their body temperatures run somewhat above that of a human, though not so much as a fire-breathing dragon’s does. Of all dragons, they often keep the smallest hoards, and move about most often. They also are among the most frequent of dragons to take human form.

Chapter 19-4

It was Zakhin’Dakh, however, that spotted the dragon first. His soft screech brought Almonihah’s attention to it.

If Almonihah had been thinking clearly, he would have talked with his friend about the best tactics to use, about how to not get hit by the green dragon’s acidic breath, how he needed to aim for the weakest, smallest scales, all of the things Zrathanzon had taught him about fighting dragons. Of course, if he’d been thinking clearly, he probably wouldn’t have been here at all.

Instead, his thinking was so… wrong that he couldn’t even recognize the wrongness of it. He had come here, driven by some pressure he could not explain, and now that he caught sight of the scaled head thrusting itself out of an opening in the side of a hill, the pressure exploded into rage.

Go! he growled to Zakhin’Dakh, and the big griffon, trusting his friend even though something felt wrong, leaped into the air.

The dragon couldn’t help but see a griffon almost as big as it was take to the air so close to its lair. “Who trespasses here?” it roared at them.

Almonihah responded with a roar of his own. He had his bow out, but was discovering just how difficult it was to fire from griffonback. Not only was it incredibly difficult to get the bow into firing position without hitting Zakhin’Dakh’s head or wing or his own boot, the constant up and down from his wingbeats made it almost impossible to aim. Then he noticed the dragon taking a deep breath.

He nudged Zakhin’Dakh hard with one knee. The griffon got the idea and veered to one side just in time to avoid a torrent of acid, though he shrieked in pain as part of one back foot caught the edge of it. Almonihah jumped free as his friend started to right himself, landing on the ground and bringing his bow up. The dragon was watching Zakhin’Dakh, readying itself to jump. Quickly Almonihah nocked an arrow, drew, aimed…

The shaft buried itself in the dragon’s eye just as it leaped at the griffon. It roared in pain, shaking its head and ruining its jump, just as Zakhin’Dakh rose up above it with a couple powerful flaps of his wings, then dove on the creature below him. There was a loud CRACK as he impacted the dragon’s shoulder, just where its wing met its back.

It roared again, and lashed out at the griffon on its back with its fangs. It tore a bite out of Zakhin’Dakh’s thigh, bringing another shriek from him as he twisted around to slash at the head with his talons. Almonihah’s next arrow ricocheted off scales as the two massive beasts slashed at each other, and the half-dragon cursed as he watched. His friend, lacking the protection of draconic scales, was losing the fight, bleeding profusely from several long slashes in his chest and sides, while Zakhin’Dakh had only been able to make a few superficial scratches on the dragon’s face.

Despite the boiling anger and the fog over his thoughts, Almonihah retained a certain basic cunning. He circled to the dragon’s blinded side, and then ran towards it, Zithrandrak drawn. Zakhin’Dakh saw him coming, and redoubled his efforts to injure his foe. He managed to bite the dragon’s clawed foot as it slashed at him, his beak shearing off one of the dragon’s toes with a sickening crunch. The dragon roared again, pulling its injured foot back and snapping at the griffon, but still not noticing the half-dragon leaping at its blind eye, silver blade outstretched.

Almonihah, wings outstretched as he soared toward the dragon, could see where he was aiming for. Just to the side of where the arrow had gone in. The shaft hadn’t gone deep enough to do more than blind the beast, but a thin blade sunk deep enough just a little off to the side of the arrowhead…

The dragon turned its head slightly. Almonihah spread his wings and flapped once, modifying his trajectory just enough. Zithrandrak shot forward, the half-dragon’s full weight and momentum behind it.

Just as the dragon was inhaling again, the sword sunk in, piercing the remains of its ruined eye and going deep into its head. Almonihah grunted as the hilt was torn from his grasp, feeling his hand and arm shriek briefly in pain as the opposing forces of holding onto Zithrandrak and flying forward tried to tear them off, then had to grit his teeth against the pain as his now erratic flight brought his right wing into contact with a nearby tree. He felt something in his wing break, and then his other wing struck some low branches as he tumbled through the air. They pierced the fragile membranes and got tangled with the bones of his wing, tearing great rents in it as he struck the tree itself with his body then fell to the ground.

Almonihah groaned as the fog seemed to clear from his mind. He had no idea why he’d been so stupid as to do this. He was lucky that the dragon had concentrated more on Zakhin’Dakh than on him…

Zakhin’Dakh.

The half-dragon stumbled to his feet and made his way back to where they had fought. Zakhin’Dakh… wasn’t moving.

******

It’s still Monday where I am! Now, bed time.

Chapter 19-3

Zakhin’Dakh screeched an acknowledgement, walked forward, and after a few fumbles, picked up the barrel and took off. As they flew over the town Almonihah could hear exclamations of fear below them, but ignored them. They would see soon enough what they were doing, and if they still wanted to fear them after that, well, that was their choice.

It didn’t take long for them to fly to the river with the barrel. Filling it on the wing was a bit trickier: Zakhin’Dakh trailed one of his wings in the water and almost fell out of the air, but managed to recover. He had to beat his wings hard to gain altitude again, with both Almonihah and the full water barrel, but managed to get back high enough to fly back toward the town.

Half of the water in the barrel had sloshed out of the barrel on the way back to the fire—bringing a couple more exclamations from below when some spilled out while they flew over the town. Zakhin’Dakh’s aim wasn’t very good on dumping the remaining water, so only a little of it hissed on the flames Almonihah had pointed out. It looked like the building had once held a forge, which was probably where the fire had started from.

“Guess we need more,” he said, looking down at Zakhin’Dakh’s head in front of him.

Zakhin’Dakh didn’t know how many more times they took the water back and forth. After a couple times he got really good at not messing up getting the water and not spilling it, and he was more careful about dropping it exactly where Almonihah wanted. The fire started to be smaller each time they came back, and Almonihah sounded happy, so Zakhin’Dakh was happy even though he was getting really tired.

Almonihah could tell that the big griffon was tiring, so when it seemed like the fire was under control, he guided him into land by hole in the stockade. Zakhin’Dakh landed heavily, panting, and Almonihah jumped off to land next to him.

How do you feel, my friend? he murmured in Great Eagle.

Tired. Happy, replied the griffon.

Rest up, and I’ll talk, Almonihah said, patting Zakhin’Dakh’s leg before walking over to the nervous guards standing and watching the pair.

As he approached, he took a closer look at the damage to the palisade. It was… odd. A rough semicircle taken out of the tops of the posts making up the wall, not quite to the ground at its lowest point. Looking closer, he could see that the edge of it didn’t look like it had been bitten or burned or clawed, but rather… melted. A quick glance at the ground didn’t show any sign of something other than humans walking, though the many boot-prints might have obliterated any traces of something else.

“So what happened?” Almonihah asked once he was near the guards.

For a nervous moment none of them answered. Finally one spoke. “A dragon.”

Several things clicked together in the half-dragon’s mind. “Green scales?”

They nodded.

“What size?”

After a moment, they all answered at once, with contradictory responses. After a moment, Almonihah pointed at Zakhin’Dakh. “Big as him?”

A moment of conference, then one answered, “Close enough.”

So, a green dragon. An adult, but not a particularly old one. “’nd which way did it leave?”

“You’re not going after it?” one of the guards blurted out, incredulous.

Almonihah smiled, showing his rather draconic set of teeth. “I don’t particularly like a lot of my father’s kind,” he growled as he stopped smiling.

The guards looked at him, over at Zakhin’Dakh, and then back at Almonihah. Finally, one pointed to the southwest. “That way, back into the hills.”

“Then that’s where ‘ll start looking.” Almonihah turned and walked back to Zakhin’Dakh.

Ready to hunt a dragon? Almonihah asked the big griffon.

Dragon? Zakhin’Dakh repeated, not recognizing the word.

You’ll see. This one’s supposed to be about as big as you.

Zakhin’Dakh screeched in surprise. As big?

Almonihah nodded. That’s what they say. Let’s go see if they’re right.

Almonihah set a fast pace as the traveled, but didn’t let Zakhin’Dakh fly. When he complained about it, Almonihah explained that he didn’t want the dragon seeing them any sooner than he could help it. Privately, he thought the giant griffon would be pretty easy to see on the ground, too, but it gave them a better chance.

Why? Hunt? Zakhin’Dakh suddenly asked as they walked.

“Why are we hunting the dragon?” Almonihah asked, surprised by the question.

Zakhin’Dakh nodded and screeched an affirmative.

“It attacked those people. It’s dangerous, and you can’t just talk with dragons.” Something didn’t sound… quite right about his explanation to him.

Zakhin’Dakh’s screech sounded doubtful, as well, but he didn’t ask anything more.

Soon, Almonihah’s trained eye could detect signs of a dragon. Bark that had been scraped off a tree when something large and scaly brushed it too hard… hints of impact points where a large creature had slammed into its prey from the air… they weren’t frequent, but they were there.

It was Zakhin’Dakh, however, that spotted the dragon first.

********

Yeah, Almonihah doesn’t particularly like dragons that kill people, for some reason.

I’m going to try to update every Monday. So bug me if I haven’t done it!

Chapter 19-2

Zakhin’Dakh looked at what Almonihah was looking at. It looked like a funny little cloud. Something about it made him a bit uneasy.

“Come on,” Almonihah murmured, urgently, breaking out into a ground-eating trot.

The big griffon screeched in response and followed.

They covered ground quickly, and soon both could see the source of the smoke, one with draconic eyes, the other with aquiline. There was a fair-sized stockaded town downslope from them. Even their sight could make out little detail from this distance, but it seemed that part of the stockade had been knocked down, and something within the town was blazing.

Almonihah took this in quickly. “Stay here,” he said to Zakhin’Dakh. “I’ll call when it’s time for you to come.”

Zakhin’Dakh screeched disappointedly, but settled down to wait as the Ranger sprinted toward the town. Almonihah ran his hardest, wings clamped to his back so they wouldn’t drag him back. Soon he could make out some people working to put out the fire, as well as several armed guards standing near the breach in the wall, watching the ground and skies nervously. One of them spotted him, and soon four were marching out to meet him.

“Who goes there?” One yelled as soon as they were close enough to be heard.

“Almonihah. A Ranger,” Almonihah yelled back.

The guards halted and conferred for a moment. Almonihah walked a bit closer and then stopped, too. Now wasn’t the time to crowd them.

After a few seconds, one yelled again. “What do you want here?”

“It looked like you had a problem. Thought I could help.”

Even from here the half-dragon could see the doubt on their faces at that response. Then one of them suddenly looked thoughtful and took a couple steps toward him.

“I think I’ve heard of someone like you…” He wasn’t quite yelling, but Almonihah could still here him easily.

“Gold scales? About my height?” The guard nodded hesitantly. “He trained me.”

The guard that had come forward turned back to his fellows. They talked for a little while again, then he turned back to Almonihah.

“How can you help?”

“Since ‘t doesn’t look like you’re fighting now…” he thought a moment. “Can help with the fire. Get your biggest barrel out and we’ll dump water on it.”

The guard looked a bit confused. “We?”

Almonihah turned and shouted as loud as he could. “Zakhin’Dakh!”

The griffon, which probably looked like little more than a shape on the horizon to the humans behind Almonihah, perked up at the call, and flew over to see what his friend was calling him for.

The guards shouted and formed a line with their spears pointing outwards as Zakhin’Dakh flew closer. Almonihah turned back.

“Don’t worry,” he yelled. “He won’t hurt you.”

They didn’t seem reassured, especially not when the big griffon landed next to Almonihah and his true size was apparent. Zakhin’Dakh looked curiously at the guards.

People? He asked.

Almonihah grinned a bit. Yes, and they’re a bit scared of you.

Zakhin’Dakh puffed his chest out. Because big! he screeched happily.

The half-dragon’s smile widened. Yes, but we don’t want them to be frightened. Try not to look so big and scary.

Zakhin’Dakh screeched unhappily at this. Glancing back at the guards, Almonihah saw that they had relaxed a little bit when no attack came, but they were definitely not at ease.

“’f you don’t want us in town, just bring th’ barrel out here and point us t’ th’ nearest water,” he yelled to them.

After another moment of discussion, one of the guards yelled back, “Wait here!” and then the whole group marched back to the town.

Zakhin’Dakh screeched inquisitively. Almonihah looked back over to him, a bit of a grin playing around his lips again.

People tend to be nervous about big creatures like you around their towns. Things like that, he jerked his head at the damaged stockade, tend to happen when something your size visits.

Oh. While Zakhin’Dakh’s screech wasn’t actual Great Eagle, its meaning was clear to Almonihah. His next sound, however, was his favorite Great Eagle word… after big, of course.

Why?

This took Almonihah a little while to answer, and he responded in Common since he wasn’t quite sure his friend’s Great Eagle was good enough to understand the explanation. “Depends. Some ‘re just hungry ‘nd too stupid t’ realize th’ danger. Some just like killing things… they’re just evil. Others…” he shrugged. “Don’t know.”

Oh. The big griffon responded again, and was actually quiet for a bit as he thought. Almonihah could make out the guards talking with others at the (undamaged) gate to the town, and after a little while, a man came out rolling a barrel.

I’ll need to ride you for a bit, I think, Almonihah said. When Zakhin’Dakh looked over at him, beak open to speak, he added, It won’t be for long enough for the problems to matter.

Okay! Zakhin’Dakh screeched happily, kneeling down a bit to make it easier for Almonihah to mount.

He was sitting at the base of the griffon’s neck by the time the man, obviously nervous at the sight of Zakhin’Dakh, stopped rolling the barrel.

“River’s just on the other side of the town,” he yelled, not quite close enough to speak normally and be heard.

Almonihah nodded at him, and after a moment, he took the hint and started jogging back to the town. Once there was a bit of distance between him and the barrel, Almonihah murmured to Zakhin’Dakh, Think we can take that barrel and find that river?

******************

I really need to find more words for bird sounds. I overuse screech, shriek I reserve for when he’s really loud, chirp is too… small for him…

Anyway, this is leading somewhere… any guesses as to what?