Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: December 2013

Chapter 10-4

He arose late in the evening, hardly feeling rested. Garkhen quickly went through his daily preparations and left his quarters, wondering what he would find occurring.

The city seemed oddly quiet now, without the thunder of war echoing through it. And as far as he knew, he did not have any current orders to be anywhere. It was… odd, as if he suddenly had no direction or purpose. Yet he did, for he was a Warder of Bahamut, and a member of Telarnen’s Company. He was simply… waiting, right now.

He made his way over to the mess, and found a few other soldiers there. Garkhen was pleased to discover that meals were being served as requested, rather than at set times. Apparently the recent events had shaken up schedules so badly that even meal times were no longer certain. He sat alone to eat, and tried to listen to the few conversations around him. He gathered little, other than that rumor said they would be marching out soon to face more undead and demons.

He could tell that there was an undercurrent of fear to the discussions. These were soldiers trained and prepared for fighting men, not monsters, and the horrors of the past days only reinforced the terror of what they faced. But those inclined to desert had, for the most part, already done so.

For his own part, Garkhen found himself feeling oddly calm. While he had never fought before his experiences of the past few days, yet he knew this was where he was meant to be. A Warder lived to be a shield between the defenseless and such monsters as these. And with the gifts of his birth—strength, hardiness, claws, and lightning breath—he felt he was best suited for battle rather than some other path. Yet he still found it odd that he felt so little fear, now. Garkhen wondered if, perhaps, the courage was another gift to him—a gift from Bahamut. The stories spoke of such things, after all.

He ate alone, in silence save for his own thoughts. Just as he finished his meal, he saw Sgt. Gerim coming toward him. Garkhen stood to meet him.

“Private Garkhen,” the Sergeant began, “It’s good to see you up.”

He shook his head slightly, with a bit of a grin. “To be honest, after that hit you took last night, I’m surprised you’re up and about. That’s some armor you have.”

“Thank you, sir,” Garkhen replied, quietly, wondering what he was getting at.

The human nodded, then said, “We’ve gotten our orders. We march out tomorrow… towards Elifort.”

It was Garkhen’s turn to nod. That came as no surprise to him, of course, but from the way conversation ebbed and then re-surged around them, it seemed that others nearby had heard the news.

“I will be ready, sir.”

“Very good, Private.” Sgt. Gerim paused a moment, then asked, “Have you seen the rest of the squad?”

“No, sir, I fear I have not,” Garkhen replied.

The sergeant looked around the mess, shook his head slightly, said, “Thank you, Private. Report at the morning trumpet tomorrow,” then departed.

They departed the next morning, as the sun rose. The former Rebel army awaited them on the plain. After a tense moment and some shouted commands, the two armies joined into one column, marching along the road to the northeast. They marched hard striving to reach Elifort as quickly as possible. In the evenings, they did their best to prepare for the battles ahead, discussing tactics and practicing techniques for defeating Infernals.

It quickly became clear to Garkhen that this war would not come down to armies—normal steel had proven ineffective, and there were too few wizards and priests to enchant or bless so many weapons. Instead, it seemed likely that the battle would come down to a contest of champions. The best warriors of the army, supported and aided by all the magic their forces could muster, would have to stand against whatever terrible foes they would face ahead.

And Garkhen was surprised to find he was considered both a priest and a champion. He thought he should protest that he was unskilled in warfare, but he had seen what combat against the Infernals was like. His armor and Bahamut’s power might well be more effective against such foes than years of experience, for what was knowledge of swordplay against a flaming beast whose claws could rend steel?

And so they marched for many days, until they saw mountains and reached their foothills. Cautiously their column followed the road as the land rose, and the highway meandered, seeking the easiest way through the increasingly rough terrain.

Finally, they crested a hill and saw a walled city in the distance. And in front of it, an army camped, such as had not been seen on their world since the times of story. The Infernals were waiting.

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

Apologies for the late post. I had fine ideas about how I was going to write a lot over break and give you some nice, long posts, but… well, at least this post finished out this chapter.

This was one of those “I know where I’m going, but I’m not quite sure how to get there” bits here. So, if it feels a bit disjointed, that’s the main reason why.

Chapter 10-3

As we agreed, the threat of the undead… and these demons, it would appear, is greater than our civil war. And while we have won this battle, we have word from our forces in the east that they are facing similar foes and faring… poorly.”

One of the Rebel generals nodded and added, “That matches with our reports. What you may not know is that we also have word that Elifort has been conquered by the same sort of demons we fought this night.”

A ripple of shock flowed through the Loyalist side of the discussion, Garkhen included. Elifort was, in all but name, the headquarters of the Ferdunan Rebellion. Its mines provided both wealth and metal for the war effort, and its duke had been among the first to turn against the king. If it had fallen, the civil war was all but over… and if it was now controlled by Infernals, this new war might be even more terrible.

For a moment, all were silent, then the Rebel leader who had first spoke quietly said, “In light of these events… we have agreed that we will submit ourselves to your command, so long as you will fight this terrible evil that has come upon our lands.”

Silence again. After years of war, none had anticipated the end to come so suddenly, nor in such a manner. Finally, the lead Loyalist general replied, “We shall have to discuss the details of this… arrangement, but I accept. A have no doubt that the King will approve my decision. This threat is not just a danger to our nation, but to our world as a whole.”

Nods and murmurs of agreement filled the pavilion. None could disagree that the demons were a threat to all.

And so, the rest of that night was spent in planning and organization. Captain Telarnen kept Garkhen with him, but he felt like he contributed little. Some little he had learned in reading, but in truth, the ordering of men was beyond his knowledge. But the Captain seemed to appreciate what little he said regardless of the young half-dragon’s feelings of inadequacy.

When finally he was dismissed, the sun was already rising. Garkhen made his way quickly back to his quarters and collapsed into a deep sleep.

*******

There, short make-up post.

No Post Today

Sorry, I just don’t have enough written to feel like it’s worth posting tonight. Sorry. I’ll try to post sometime during the week to make up for it.

Chapter 10-2

The Loyalist armies were gathering outside of the gates, soldiers standing around uneasily as they waited for further orders. As the group Garkhen was in joined them, he heard rumors already floating around. He hid a small grin at the odd bit of familiarity in what had been a night of unearthly horror.

“Hurry up and wait. That’s army life,” a soldier near him grumbled, shifting around in his armor.

“Quiet,” another one growled. “I’d rather be here than disemboweled by one of those things.”

A general rumble of assent followed that comment.

Sgt. Gerim worked his way over to Garkhen’s side. “Private,” he said, quietly, “Glad you were with us. A lot more men would have died without your magic.”

Garkhen shook his head slightly. “Not mine. Bahamut’s. My god’s.”

The Sergeant shrugged slightly. “Don’t think we would’ve gotten it without you, so either way, glad you were around. Can’t say I fancied getting my head torn off by a flaming claw, either.”

“Ah… you are welcome,” Garkhen replied, uncomfortably.

Sgt. Gerim nodded, then looked over as a loud voice rang out above the commotion. For a moment, the army was silent, then whispers started moving through the ranks. There were messengers coming from the generals.

And one of them came to Garkhen.

Again, Garkhen found himself ushered in next to Captain Telarnen, in the corner of a huge pavilion tent. On one side, the representatives of the Rebel army sat and stood. They were a diverse lot, reflecting the nature of the Rebels. The Loyalist side looked more homogeneous, but Garkhen could tell looking at them that there were differences hiding just underneath the surface.

One Rebel in particular caught Garkhen’s eye. She seemed half-wolf, in much the same way he was half-dragon. The Loyalists all seemed to watch her warily, and the space around her spoke of distrust even from her own side. But to Garkhen, there was… something about her. He suspected she was a priest of some sort, and of one of the goodly gods.

She met Garkhen’s gaze briefly, and gave him a small, respectful nod. He nodded back, surprised, and then she looked away as one of the generals began to speak.

*********

Meet Whitepaw, leader of the Wyre pack. As far as I know, Garkhen never crosses her path again. Maybe someday I’ll have to write a Wyre story… but not for a long, long time at this rate.

Chapter 10-1

Chapter 10: Against Fire and Death

“There are few things that can truly unite the disparate peoples and creeds of our world. Necromancy is one of them. The summoning of Infernals, another. That someone had done both made the many grievances of the Rebels seem small.”

“Yet blood shed and the anger of battle are not easily forgotten. Those were tense days, both because of the foes we faced… and the allies we had to rely upon. For the question always remained with us—who had done this?”

Across the battlefield, Garkhen could hear the sounds of combat dying. Clearly, the scene before him now was being repeated several times throughout the blasted landscape. The soldiers around him stared nervously at their counterparts a bowshot away. A few days ago, they had been the enemy. Were they still?

Then someone broke the silence. “Well, you at least look better than something with flaming red scales.”

A ripple of uneasy laughter cut through the tension, and soon the two groups of soldiers met. Their leaders shook hands, some jokes were shared, and then the call came to assemble back near the gates. Similar orders came to the Rebel forces, it seemed, for they marched back the way they came soon after Garkhen’s group turned southward.

********

So, on to the next chapter! And it’s late, so good night.