Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: December 2012

Chapter 1-1

Chapter 1: Of Birth and Lost Beginnings

“It is a strange thing, not knowing one’s family, one’s place of birth, or even one’s name… sometimes I long for these things, for I feel keenly the lack of… foundation, the sense that somehow my very self is hidden from me. And yet, at other times, I appreciate the opportunity I have. Most men are born with expectations, opportunities open and closed to them, as if the tapestry of their life had already been part-woven before they even started it. I, however, have no such thing… my life is finally and entirely my own.”

Every half-dragon inherits differently from his draconic forebear, and the one known as Garkhen ze’Darkhen’Sem’dor did not inherit the ability to recall his earliest moments of life. So it is that he depends on the accounts of others for his past.

Garkhen was born to a dwarven mother somewhere in the Southern Continent of Draezoln. His father, a blue dragon, had revealed himself to the dwarves and flown off shortly before Garkhen’s birth, and so his mother had already been ostracized and cast out to the edges of the hold. Despite this, she somehow managed to care for her son for several months before receiving an unusual visitor.

He appeared to be a strange dwarf, but soon told her he was a gold dragon. He had learned of her plight, and offered to take her half-dragon child as his own. What may have passed through her mind, and what discussion they had, may never be known, but in time she agreed to the offer.

And so it was that Garkhen’s first memories are of an isolated lair in the mountains, and of a caring but distant mentor and adoptive father, sometimes in the form of a human, more often in his true form as a huge, gold-scaled dragon. In the way of gold dragons, his name was far too long to be comfortably repeated, and so Garkhen knew him mostly as Solkh’Tolkharkha—Sun-Toucher, in the Common Tongue.

Solkh’Tolkharkha was a good father to his adopted son, as dragons go, but dragon hatchlings are different than the children of the Races of Men, and so Garkhen, caught halfway between the two, sometimes felt a lack he could not quite define. He enjoyed his time with Solkh’Tolkharkha, and as he grew older he appreciated the time left to himself, as well, but it seemed to him sometimes that there was too much of the later and not enough of the former.

From an early age, he found consolation in books. Dragons are notorious hoarders, but it is less well-known that not all hoard gold and precious gems. Some hoard knowledge, others magic power, but Solkh’Tolkharkha hoarded books. Nor did he heap them up untidily—one large room of his lair consisted of a massive library, shelves upon shelves of books and rare tomes, sufficient almost to rival the great Midport Mage’s Guild Library.

*****

So now we truly get into Garkhen’s book. The first chapter or two will probably be more summary-like, as with this bit, interspersed with bits of dialogue.

You’ll hopefully notice a bit of change in style, here. Garkhen speaks much differently than Almonihah, and some of that comes across in the details he shared with Elque.

Book II Prologue

Prologue

Garkhen’s soft chuckle contrasted sharply with Almonihah’s gruff narration. “Ah, yes. I do recall that being rather… an unpleasant meeting.”

Almonihah shrugged. “Meant it t’ be.”

Zakhin’Dakh screeched something. “Was my fault, Zakhin’Dakh,” Almonihah replied to him.

Garkhen grinned slightly, then turned to me. “I suspect you wish my story now, Mage-Archivist?”

I nodded. “Indeed I do.”

The blue-scaled half-dragon was quiet for a moment, lost in thought, before he began.

“As you have no doubt by now observed, half-dragons vary widely. I, unlike Almonihah, have no recollection of my earliest years, and must instead rely on the words of others…”

(Author’s note: As Garkhen is noticeably more verbal than his friend, I have much more material from him for his story. I’ve taken the liberty of including small quotes from him at the beginning of each chapter, as I found some things best said in his own words.)

*****

A short bit from the frame story, here. I debated putting this before the last post, but decided it flows better this way.

Book II

Book II: Garkhen

“What is good? That is a question which much wiser and more intelligent beings than me have debated since before the Creation, and none of them has created a definition which has not been called into question on some point or another. For me to claim to have the wisdom to propose a definitive definition when all of these have ultimately failed would be folly in addition to an act of incredible hubris.

“But that is not truly what you wish to ask me, is it? Your question is truly, what is good to me, is it not? This I can attempt to answer.

“Good… is an acknowledgement that one’s own self is of neither greater nor less importance than those about oneself. It is recognizing the potential of all intelligent beings to be greater, and striving to help them realize that potential. It is to bring hope and comfort to the hopeless and needy, to protect the defenseless. It is to do justice to the unrepentant and show mercy to those who will change.

“Good is light. It brings sight, it makes our view of the world clearer. It warms all about it. Its touch brings healing and hope when we are in despair and pain. It nurtures growth, just as sunlight brings growth to great forests.

“Evil, on the other hand, is darkness. It is… a lack. It does not have hope, nor comfort, nor healing, nor growth, save the parasitic growth of some foul fungus on a decaying corpse. And not only does it lack these things, it seeks to take them from others, not to fill its own emptiness, but so that all about it is in despair like itself.

“Evil seeks to tear apart, to say that each being is an island, and one which can only be larger by making all others smaller—such that oneself never truly grows, only the comparison between oneself and those about it makes it seem so. It is ultimately self-destructive, for when one injures those around oneself, one also harms oneself. It is parasitic, and like all parasites, if not kept in check, it would in time destroy its host and so destroy itself.

“But life is rarely as simple as this. Few beings, few choices are purely good or solely evil. The distinction between light and dark is usually blurred, just as it is in a dimly lit cavern. If one cannot see the sources of light, it is often unclear where it is brighter and where it is darker.

“So it often is in life. Light and darkness, good and evil, are often mixed, and it is the work of a lifetime to determine how to seek the brighter and shun the darker. But it is not enough merely to do this. We must not only seek the light, we must light the darkness. This is the work for which I often long, but so often cannot do. For so often, I must oppose those who would snuff the candles of this world… by snuffing the flames of their life.

“On my travels, it has always amazed me how some intelligent beings are such blazing beacons of good, while others have souls so black that their mere presence drains hope and will from those about them. It is, to me, the true wonder of life that we all have such incredible potential to tend towards such disparate destinies. And it is the work of my life to guide the world a little closer to the destiny of light.

“My only hope is that, when I reach the end of my life, however that may be, I may look back on my time here from the next world… and see a few more candles burning a bit brighter because of my brief sojourn here.”

******

Here’s the beginning of Book II! In case you don’t recall, Elque is including a quote from the book’s subject at the beginning of each book, so that’s what this is.

Chapter 22

Chapter 22: Blue

They left the port city as soon as they could. Zakhin’Dakh was quite hungry for fresh meat after their long ocean voyage, and Almonihah thought it sounded good as well. Even though Ferdunan was more heavily settled than much of the Northern Continent, it didn’t take them too long at griffon speeds to fly over the cultivated fields into areas of wild woods and plains only interspersed with tamed farmlands. They had a dinner of deer before the sun reached the horizon, and had time to talk before they settled down for the night.

Where we going? Zakhin’Dakh screeched inquisitively as Almonihah was cleaning some of his gear.

Almonihah shrugged. Wherever seems good. The truth was… he wasn’t quite sure why he’d even come. Part of it was just to spite Jivenesh, to pull some kind of victory out of the retreat from the Madlands by getting to the Southern Continent anyway. The truth was, though… it just felt right. Just like east felt like the way to go. Not having any better ideas, he figured he might as well follow the feeling.

Okay! Zakhin’Dakh replied, not at all bother by the vague response. As long as he was with his friend seeing new things, he was happy.

He had no shortage of new things to see as they flew east. There were lots more people here than most of the places they’d been, and the funny things they lived in looked a bit different than the ones up north.

When he asked Almonihah about this, he just shrugged and said, “People build different in different places.”

Okay… Zakhin’Dakh screeched, not really satisfied by the answer, but not sure if there should be anything more to it.

They took their time, but even so they could soon see mountains to their east. There mountains lots of places! The griffon observed.

There are mountains in lots of places, Almonihah corrected.

Zakhin’Dakh screeched in agreement. His friend just grinned a bit at his misunderstanding.

They were just reaching the foothills when Almonihah saw something down below them. A short, broad figure in silvery armor, but whose head resembled a dragon. He had a broad tail, with blue scales…

Zakhin’Dakh, land on him, Almonihah said, his voice as much of a growl as the Great Eagle tongue could manage.

Why? The big griffon asked, confused.

Just do it, Almonihah growled, irrational anger leading him to pull out his bow and nock an arrow.

Still uncertain, Zakhin’Dakh obeyed, diving towards the being below. He looked up just before the big griffon landed, pinning him under one talon.

Almonihah’s nocked arrow was aimed at the creature’s snout right after they landed. A growl still in his voice, he said, “Give me one good reason I shouldn’t kill you.”

*****

This is the end of Book I. I get to leave this little cliffhanger here for months and months… >:D

In seriousness, I’m looking forward to Garkhen’s book next. I’ll hopefully be able to apply some of the things I’ve learned from Book I and make Book II better than it was. It has more of a definite plot, after the first few chapters, so that should help. There will be fairly significant stylistic changes, too.

Chapter 21-3

In the end, it took almost a week for Almonihah to finish his purchases, collect his new arrows, and find a ship willing to take a giant griffon. He’d managed to spend almost all of the treasure he’d taken from the dragon’s lair, though he still had enough that he wasn’t worried. Why he felt the need to go south… perhaps it was just to do it, after his failure to cross through the Madlands. Perhaps not. Sometimes he felt like there was something more driving him, though what it was he couldn’t say.

After a couple days of warily watching the pair from a distance, one of the Midport Griffon-Rider captains approached Almonihah. They had, apparently, gathered that something was different about Zakhin’Dakh beyond his size, and he invited the pair to spend a bit of time with them. Almonihah rather reluctantly agreed, but Zakhin’Dakh was much more enthusiastic. Hanging out at the edges of town while his friend did things with shiny round things was rather boring.

The griffon-riders lead them up to their eyrie, in one of the mountains to the north of Midport. There they spoke with Almonihah and, to their surprise, Zakhin’Dakh (indirectly, until one of their number who actually knew Great Eagle was called in). At their request and with Zakhin’Dakh’s energetic approval, the big griffon remained behind while Almonihah continued his business. He returned frequently, however, both out of concern for his rather naïve friend and out of his own curiosity about these griffon-riders.

One other thing he noted while in the city was a man who would sometimes shout from street-corners about how the gods were deceiving the world, that none were worthy of worship, or some such nonsense. Almonihah paid him little heed, but he seemed to gather an audience some evenings. Once Almonihah thought he saw something around his neck, mostly hidden under the robe he wore. He only got a glance of an odd chain around his neck, but for some reason the sight of it chilled the Ranger. Even days later, he found himself tensing up whenever he saw the man, though he never again caught sight of whatever he wore around his neck.

Eventually the day of departure came. Zakhin’Dakh wasn’t hard to get on the ship, though it was, as Almonihah had guessed, difficult to keep him from causing trouble. Food would still be an issue, as well—they’d packed quite a bit, but he and the griffon would have to supplement it extensively when they could. The only benefit Almonihah could convince the captain of (besides the payment) was that any pirate foolish enough to attack them would find himself quite outmatched, so they were paying for their own supplies separately.

The journey was… surprisingly uneventful. Pleasantly so, even. Zakhin’Dakh did complain a bit about the food, when they couldn’t manage to get something fresh from an island or even a couple times by catching something from the ocean, but they both managed to stay fed. Friction with the captain and crew was… irritating, but not serious. Zakhin’Dakh eventually found a couple ways to help that they actually appreciated.

And so they reached port in Ferdunan quietly, slightly ahead of schedule. Convincing the guards at the port that neither of them meant any harm was a bit more difficult, but eventually, they were allowed to disembark and start making their way inland.

It wasn’t how Almonihah had originally planned to go south, but now… here he was, in spite of Jivenesh.

*****

This is actually the end of chapter 21. It’s a rather short chapter. Chapter 22 will be fairly short as well, and then… we finally get to Garkhen’s story!

Speaking of Garkhen, he randomly decided to talk to me from over a thousand years in the future from present-day Draezoln. You can read it here, if you want the spoilers: http://figmentregistry.wikidot.com/stories:garkhen-s-last-words