Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: August 2013

Chapter 8-3

Somehow, Garkhen kept himself at work until the first signs of dawn showed in the sky. By the end of the night, his fury was warring with his exhaustion for his attention. When they were finally relieved, he approached his elven superior.

“Sir,” he began, his tone quiet but intense, “I request to be transferred to the front lines.”

Lt. Ailill looked at the half-dragon, but not with surprise. “I’m surprised it took you so long, Private. Are not priests of Bahamut called Warders for a reason?”

Garkhen was too surprised by this sudden question to answer, but Ailill continued, “I won’t ask why you came here, but it was clear to me from the first day that this was not where you belong. You were a passable healer, Private, but I suspect you’ll do much better at keeping our men from getting injured in the first place.”

He walked over to a bag, and, after a few moments of rummaging, pulled out a sheet of parchment, a capped inkwell, and a quill. Finding a suitable surface, Lt. Ailill sat down and wrote.

As he did, he spoke. “Take this to the Captain. He will do with you as he sees fit. I suspect that he will grant your request. Some of our men are on the walls, and he would no doubt like to have you with them.”

Lt. Ailill finished what he was writing. He glanced over it, then stood. “If there is anything you wish to gather before leaving, now would be the time. It will be a few moments before the ink is dry.”

“Yes sir,” Garkhen replied, reflexively. After spending a few seconds gathering his thoughts, he quickly made his way back to his quarters.

It took some time to return to his quarters, gather his things, and then return to the Lieutenant. Garkhen had a bit of time to think as he did so. He realized that he was actually relieved to be taking this step, as if it somehow released some sort of tension that had been building up within him. Oddly, he did not view the idea of fighting the undead with fear. He did not anticipate battle with joy, either, but rather… determination. It was where he belonged, as Lt. Ailill had said. At the front, warding the others with his body, strength, and the power of Bahamut.

By the time he returned, Lt. Ailill was waiting with the parchment now rolled up and bound with a small piece of string. The elf gave his half-dragon subordinate directions to where he could find Captain Telarnen, and then added, “Good luck, Private. Keep me from being busy.”

“Yes, sir!”

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

I suspect everyone saw that coming. There was no way Garkhen could sit around behind the lines forever, after all.

Chapter 8-2

Oddly, they did not receive the influx of wounded they expected. Instead, they eventually heard that the army was encamped outside the walls, between them and the Rebel army. Rumors spread quickly about what the connection between the two armies was, but in truth, all anyone seemed to have was rumors.

The other Company healers arrived partway through the day. The sun had just arisen when the Ferdunan forces had reached the walls, and now it seemed they would spend a long, tense day upon those walls.

“They will attack after dark,” Lt. Ailill said, after checking all his patients yet again.

Garkhen looked up at him, surprised. The Lieutenant rarely spoke of battle, but rather of healing.

“Such creatures need no light. It seems that whoever commands them realizes this means they have the advantage at night.”

Garkhen hesitated a moment, then nodded in agreement. He didn’t know why Lt. Ailill was sharing these thoughts with him, but he had nothing to add to them. So instead, he simply replied, “Yes, sir.”

The elf gave his subordinate a bitter grin. “I sound like I’m just babbling to you, don’t I, Private.”

Garkhen was taken aback by this, but the Lieutenant continued before he could respond. “Yes, Private, even I can be surprised. And sometimes when I’m surprised I’d rather think aloud. If you have anything to add to my analysis, do not be afraid to speak.”

The half-dragon was silent. After a moment, Lt. Ailill continued, “We had best prepare as much as we can during the day. Once we have done all we can, we will rest.”

Lt. Ailill’s prediction proved true. The remainder of the day was quiet, save for the uneasy talk of the army outside the walls. Once night had fully fallen, the attacks began.

Garkhen could gather little about what was happening, but the injuries of the wounded spoke loudly enough. They were not so different from those received from the living, and yet… somehow, the young half-dragon found an anger building within him at the sight. Perhaps it had always been there, but now, this night, he could no longer ignore it.

*****

Hmmm… now what might Garkhen do here shortly? There definitely isn’t any foreshadowing in the chapter title… <.< >.>

Chapter 8-1

Chapter 8: Awakening the Dragon

“What is it to be a dragon? A dragon is a creature of power. In size, strength, and magic, a dragon knows it is unmatched. Though they are few and dwindling in our times, yet their pride is unbroken.”

“While dragons are as individualistic and varied as any humans, yet this is constant among them—what they seek, they expect to gain, whether that be wealth or to defend the helpless. And while the Races of Men are ascendant, they still must walk wary of awakening the true wrath of dragonkind.”

Lt. Ailill soon set up a new healer’s post, expecting the worst from the rumors. Garkhen had gone with him, and already they had started treating those few who had been injured in the crossing. Their casualties had been surprisingly light, but neither of them expected it to last.

Already news was filtering back to them of the approaching forces. What was said almost could not be believed. An army of the walking dead, interspersed with black-robed figures. While necromancy was not unknown, its practitioners were so universally hated and hunted that the gathering of such an army in secrecy should have been impossible.

But clearly, it was not.

******

Sorry about the short post again, but hey, I’m building suspense! Honestly I should have forshadowed this a bit more (there were rumors about grave robbers going around that I forgot to mention), but… meh, next draft.

Chapter 7-4

Garkhen would not have thought he could have been more fatigued than he had been the past weeks, but he discovered quickly he was wrong. The Mage-Commander drilled him and the other wizards and priests as hard as any drill sergeant, and Garkhen’s duties as a healer were in no way lightened to make up for it. He could barely drag himself to his quarters each evening, and sometimes found that he hadn’t entirely made his way to his cot when he awoke in the morning.

Somehow, he continued on, drawing on reserves of energy and resolve he didn’t know he had. He could tell the strain was wearing on the others, as well. Fortunately, they did not have long to wait—the date set for their attempt was only a week after they had begun their training.

That day, Garkhen received orders to conserve his energy, and to retire to his quarters early. They would work their ritual in the dark of night, and could afford no mistakes from fatigue. Despite his considerable anxiety, Garkhen was exhausted enough to fall asleep as soon as Lt. Ailill gave him leave to retire to his quarters.

A knock at his door awoke him. It took Garkhen only a moment to awaken and remember what this meant. He arose quickly, speaking the command for his armor, and emerged to see another Private waiting to guide him. The soldier led Garkhen down to the riverside, where the other spell-workers were gathering. They were just out of sight of the other bank, one half-ruined warehouse between them and the water. Once they were all assembled, a few of their number worked spells of concealment, and they quietly walked out to the edge of the river.

The ritual itself was lengthy, with all of them working arcane magics or calling upon their gods for aid in an odd sort of harmony. Garkhen himself was… uncertain if Bahamut truly wished to aid in this, but he knew not what else he was to do, no better way to aid in ending this terrible war. And so, he raised his voice with the others, noting only subconsciously the odd muffling of the sound caused by their concealing magics. He focused entirely on his part of the ritual, feeling the energies wash through him into the pattern of the spell.

Finally, it was done. Garkhen looked about him, and saw that some of the others had collapsed. He himself felt weary, but not to the point of unconsciousness. But what concerned him more was the seeming lack of result from their efforts—there was not so much as a slight bulge in the river.

No sooner had this thought entered his mind than he heard a low rumbling, soon followed by a large bulge in the midst of the river’s flow. Soon, a wall emerged, entirely blocking it. Not long after he could hear the sounds of water rushing over the opposite bank, followed by distant shouts as the Rebel forces began to awaken to this sudden, unexpected threat.

The Ferdunan forces were prepared, however. Already Garkhen could hear the fighting on the bridge intensifying, and he suspected there were other plans already in play.

“Can you march, Private?” Garkhen started slightly at Lt. Ailill’s voice.

He turned to face his superior. “Yes, sir.”

“We’ll be needed shortly. Come.”

The next hour was a blur to Garkhen. Somehow they were across the bridge, and there was word that their forces had driven the Rebels entirely beyond the walls. At some point their dam had collapsed, as planned, and so the water was receding from the city and the plains beyond. Garkhen had somehow kept up with Ailill, but in truth, he was feeling more weary every minute.

Then there was a change. Whispers ran through the soldiers around him like wind through grass. The soldiers who had reached the wall had seen something—another army, coming from the west. Their victory might well be short-lived.

******

Don’t think I mentioned that Garkhen had gotten his own room. It’s small and simple, but he did. The mass evacuation of the city left a lot of empty rooms, and healers, even if they’re just privates, are valuable enough to get one.

But oh, look, it’s a cliffhanger! New chapter starts next week.