Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Chapter 11-4

Then he realized something—with his build and armor, he likely weighed much more than the Infernal. Managing to free his hand from his shield, he was able to grasp it with both hands and roll over, mostly pinning it beneath his weight. It squealed in pain and bit desperately at any part of him it could reach, until Garkhen exhaled a bolt of lighting into its face. He grimaced as fatigue (and a few bits of Infernal) washed over him, then realized that, while he had been preoccupied with his own safety, he had let his wards lapse.

Quickly he got to his feet and looked about him, ready to refresh his wards—but it seemed it was unnecessary. The remaining demons were in full retreat, less than half of their number surviving. Surprised, Garkhen looked about. The first thing he noticed was a huge red dragon off on one flank of their forces, just coming to a landing by the disintegrating corpse of what he supposed was an Infernal it had savaged. He wondered, idly, if the dragon was also a follower of Bahamut.

As he looked more closely at his surroundings, he realized that he must have lost track of time as well as his surroundings while focusing upon his wards. He started to take a step forward, only to stumble and fall to one knee. He noticed there was blood on his armor. Slowly, the thought percolated through his brain that the Infernals didn’t leave blood behind, so this must be his own. It seemed his foe’s attacks had not been as ineffectual as he had thought.

He fumbled for his holy symbol and murmured a weak spell-prayer to stop the bleeding. His mind seemed to grow even fuzzier as he finished it. Exhausted, Garkhen simply knelt, dully gazing at the ground, the thought that he ought to be doing something dripping through his mind like molasses.

“Garkhen, right? Let me help you up.” A striped paw-hand suddenly intruded into his view of the ground.

Slowly, the half-dragon raised one hand and took the proffered help. He noted idly that his hand was larger than the tiger-man’s. There was a loud grunt as the Wyre pulled on Garkhen’s hand.

“You’re… quite heavy… aren’t you?” The tiger-man panted as he helped Garkhen to his feet.

“I am… sorry…” Garkhen murmured.

He felt a hand slap on his shoulder. “Nothing to be sorry about. All that muscle and armor certainly seems to have helped today, though I think your magic helped more.”

“Bahamut’s… power…” he mumbled. Glancing up at the Wyre, he noticed blood. “You are… injured.”

“And you are in no condition to do something about it,” He replied, gently steering Garkhen back towards the camp. “I’ve stopped the bleeding. I’ll be fine. But you definitely need some help.”

Garkhen nodded slightly, then focused on getting one foot in front of the other.

Soon enough he heard the sounds of the camp around him, but he was too exhausted to look up. As soon as he saw something that looked like some sort of bed in front of him, he collapsed, asleep almost before he hit the ground.

He awoke groggily to a voice. “Garkhen,” it called. “Garkhen!”

Blearily, he opened an eye part-way. He could vaguely make out Lt. Ailill above him.

“Private, your armor has been quite insistent about not coming off,” the elven healer said once he saw his patient was awake. “I can’t tend your wounds properly with it on, and I don’t think you’ll like how much worse it will make your bruises feel in the morning. Now, if you…”

Garkhen mumbled the command word, and felt his armor starting to take itself off of him. Somehow, it even gently slid out from under the side he was laying on.

Lt. Ailill waited until the clatter of armor ceased, then continued, “Good. Now, Private…”

But Garkhen was already asleep again.

*********

Garkhen is really not skilled in combat, but he’s built like a four-foot-nine-inch tall gorilla and wears the fantastic equivalent of tank armor, so he manages in a melee. He does eventually learn to not wipe himself out in every battle, but it takes him a while. It’s as much a matter of learning to channel Bahamut’s power with more finesse so as to drain himself less as it is a matter of learning restraint, though.

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