Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: May 2014

Chapter 13-7

They threw themselves back into their search more earnestly, driven on by that thought. After about three hours, Garkhen reached the main hall. It had an oddly royal look to it, as if it had been partially converted into a king’s audience hall—an odd affection for the leader of a supposedly equal coalition of rebels. Of course, this impression was coming just from what was left—the remains of what he was pretty sure had once been a throne, places where extravagant tapestries had once hung, and so forth.

There was one corner that looked oddly untouched, but Garkhen quickly dismissed it without close examination. There wasn’t anything important there. He started sifting through the shattered remains of the throne.

Garkhen’s eyes widened as he realized what was going on. That was not his thought. Something there was actively seeking to be ignored. He forced himself to turn, to start walking towards the corner. The intact tapestry drew his eye… no, that was another attempt at misdirection. Slowly the Warder forced himself to look at the spot he least wanted to look at, to walk where his mind screamed he had no reason to go.

There was something gleaming from a shadowed spot beneath the tapestry. Slowly, jerkily, fighting against himself the whole way, Garkhen bent down and examined the object. It had a dull iron chain, like it was meant to be worn around the neck. The chains continued around the object itself, tightly wrapping the central piece.

Finally the half-dragon forced himself to look at what that central object was. It shimmered with colors and light, but not beautifully. It was shaped like some internal organ, and the changing patterns of light made it almost seem to pulsate as if alive. There was no doubt in his mind that this was something intensely evil.

He pulled a rag from his pack, not wanting to touch it even with his armored hands. Garkhen wrapped the thing up and carefully placed it in the bottom of his pack. He would have to go find Tirel, and then go show this to the Captain, who would likely recommend priests and mages examine it…

It took him some time to find Tirel. The Wyre was searching through the ransacked kitchens, clearly frustrated. He smiled when he saw Garkhen come in.

“If you’re hungry, I’m afraid the first couple groups through here already cleaned everything out,” the tiger-man joked. More seriously he added, “I haven’t had any luck. Everyone’s been pretty thorough. You?”

“I…” Garkhen frowned. Hadn’t he found something? No… just splinters and empty rooms. “I am afraid I have not found anything of interest, either. Perhaps whatever was involved in these dark deeds was destroyed in the summoning of that great Infernal, or afterward in battle.”

“Yeah…” Tirel seemed no more convinced of this argument than Garkhen. After a moment of silence, however, he said, “Let’s just get out of here. This place makes my fur stand on end all of a sudden.”

The next day, Garkhen requested to speak with Captain Telarnen again. It was early afternoon before he was available.

The Captain sighed as Garkhen was led into the room. “The problem with the end of a war is that all the generals have to keep telling everyone they’re still important,” he muttered as soon as they were alone.

“Sir?” Garkhen was not quite certain what to make of this statement.

Telarnen waved a hand, dismissively. “Too many meetings. Don’t ever become an officer if you can’t put up with meetings, Private. Now,” he waved the half-dragon to a seat, realized its back wouldn’t work with Garkhen’s thick tail well, and shrugged slightly. “You wanted speak with me?”

“Yes, sir.” Garkhen nodded. “I think I have decided what I wish to do now.”

“And that is, Private Garkhen?”

“There are still reports of undead and Infernals in outlying areas. I think I would like to investigate and resolve these issues, sir.”

The Captain chuckled. “What an interesting way to say you want to be an adventurer, Private.”

“Sir?” Again Telarnen caught the Warder off-guard.

Captain Telarnen again waved his hand, as if brushing something aside. “I know you probably haven’t thought of it as such, but that’s essentially what it will be. I’m not trying to dissuade you—I was an adventurer myself, when that gold dragon friend of yours first found me. By all means, Private Garkhen, I’d be glad to see you do that. I, after all,” he grimaced, “The Company is probably going to be stuck here instead of out there cleaning up.”

“Ah…” Garkhen was not sure what to say to that.

“I suppose I haven’t made clear, Private Garkhen, that you’ll have to leave my Company to do that. I don’t think I’ll have much luck convincing the generals to release any of my troops from garrison duty.”

“I see.” Garkhen had, indeed, not realized that. But he realized that, for all that he had become comfortable with the Company, he did not truly feel any sadness at the thought of leaving it. Certainly he would miss some members of it, but… he did not really see a future for himself in military life.

“So, Private, when you are ready, I can release you from my Company.”

“I wish to say some goodbyes, first, sir, and then I will be ready.”

Captain Telarnen nodded. “Very well, Private Garkhen. I will see you again shortly, then.”

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There’s definitely no foreshadowing here… in fact, you should just forget the middle part of this post. Definitely nothing important there. Nope.

Character Page Update!

So, I’m afraid there’s not a new post today. However, I have updated Garkhen’s character page! Not only have I done a bit of revision, it also now includes an amazing piece of art I commissioned a while ago. After putting up with my constant requests for tweaks for a long time, it’s finally done. Go take a look!

Chapter 13-6

Garkhen tried to think things over for the next couple days, but it was difficult to find somewhere he could consider in quiet. Always there were others wanting to hear again exactly what had happened in the desecrated cathedral, whether or not Tirel had really turned into a thirty-foot-long tiger monster, whether he had been twenty feet tall, and so on. Finally he found a place he could have some peace—the former castle of the city’s duke, once headquarters of the Rebellion. 

 

He had gathered that, after the battle was over, the remaining leaders of the Rebellion had agreed to submit again to the authority of their king. Rumor had it that their leader, Duke Elinai, had been connected somehow with the demons. Most were certain he was dead now, having been in the city at the time the Infernals appeared. A skeleton of his rough dimensions, scorched and blackened, had been found in the great hall of the castle. Whatever the truth of the matter, most people were now avoiding the castle. 

 

The few guards left at its gate told Garkhen that all soldiers were currently being permitted access if they would volunteer to search the grounds for any further evidence of what had occurred. Apparently such volunteers were rather scarce. Garkhen agreed to do so, recognizing that he would have time to think as he looked about.

 

He wandered the halls of the castle, having received no real instructions on how he should conduct his search. It was clear it had been looted before the superstition had grown around it, for the walls were all but bare, the only signs of once-rich decorations the hooks they had once hung from. Garkhen entered a bedroom to see it wrecked, the wardrobe and bed in splinters after impatient warriors had come looking for valuables. 

 

Everywhere he went looked the same, which gave him the time to think he wanted. He had heard rumors that there were some few survivors left of the Infernals, and that there were still tales of undead wandering the hills. Certainly such problems had to be taken care of, and now that the war was over, the army here was already dispersing as men returned to their homes. The mercenaries might be used to sweep for such remnants, he supposed, but somehow it seemed likely they would not. He did not really understand the intricacies of the contracts they worked by.

 

Garkhen wondered what the rest of the little group he had fought with would do. Some, he supposed, must have homes to go to, or organizations they were part of—Jesil was likely a member of a Temple to Mashano, and Khera a member of a mage’s guild of some sort. Mirthin… he hadn’t seen Mirthin since the battle, even from a distance as he had the others. 

 

Tirel most caught his curiosity. He knew little of these… Wyre, they were apparently called. He’d read mention of them once, that they were blessed of Naishia, but he knew nothing more. Did they live in cities, or alone? Was the wolf-woman a leader among them, or did each fend for himself?

 

“Are you searching the castle or your thoughts, my blue-scaled friend?”

 

The familiar voice startled Garkhen from his musings. He had just turned a corner, and almost run into Tirel himself.

 

Garkhen smiled. “Truth be told, I am doing some of both, Tirel.”

 

Tirel laughed. “I think more of the second, the way you were walking without seeing anything.”

 

The tiger-man looked around a bit. “Not that there’s a lot to see. The army smashed this place up pretty thoroughly when they came through.” 

 

Garkhen looked suspiciously at the Wyre. “I am beginning to wonder if I should ask the same question of you.”

 

Tirel laughed again. “Perceptive as always, Warder. In fact, I’m probably thinking of what you’re thinking about—what’s next?”

 

The half-dragon nodded, grinning slightly. Tirel continued, “I could go back with the Pack, of course, but, well, we’ve always been loose at the best of times… just show up for a while every now and again, then go off and do your own thing…”

 

“The Pack?” Garkhen asked, curious.

 

“Oh, right, you’re not really from around here.” Tirel smiled. “The Wyre Pack of Ferdunan. You’ve seen what I am—I can be a man or a tiger or a tiger-man, right? Well, there’s a number of us around here in Ferdunan, and we get together some, and call it our Pack.”

 

“I see. Than the wolf-woman…?” 

 

“She’s our leader, Whitepaw,” Tirel explained. “A wise druid, and fierce warrior. She was the one who said we should take part in this war, and, well, I think we found out why.”

 

“Indeed.” Garkhen nodded, thinking of Solkh’Tolkharkha and Captain Telarnen’s suspicions. “It seems my mentor felt I should be here, as well. Dark days indeed these were, that they should need such response…”

 

The tiger-man nodded. “Yeah…”

 

Garkhen was silent for a time. Then another thought came to him. “Yet… some part of me wonders if it is truly over. In all I have read, such a thing as this has never occurred. What if the means of causing all this has somehow escaped?”

 

“Well, there’s cheerful thought,” Tirel replied, grimacing. “I guess it’s back to looking around here, then?”

 

Garkhen nodded solemnly. “Yes, I think so.” 

 

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Hmmmm, that can’t be foreshadowing of any sort there…

Chapter 13-5

Before long one soldier braved the healer’s displeasure. “Did you really grow to be twenty feet tall?”

Garkhen smiled gently. “No, though Bahamut did grant me great strength to fight.”

As if his answer had been permission, suddenly the young half-dragon was surrounded by curious soldiers, all wanting to confirm some portion of the rumors. He felt quite overwhelmed, though he tried to answer as best he could.

By the time the healers managed to beat off the inquisitive, Garkhen felt quite exhausted. He was glad enough to return to his bed.

Over the next couple of days Garkhen quickly regained his strength. Finally he was able to go about without feeling tired. Everywhere he went he was recognized now. A simple stroll was like wading through a mob some days. He occasionally caught sight of one of the others that fought with him, but could never get through to speak with them.

The next day Captain Telarnen called Garkhen in. “Private Garkhen,” he greeted the half-dragon. “I’m sure you’ve been congratulated enough already. So instead I’ll ask, why can’t that dragon ever say things straight out?”

Garkhen looked at him blankly. “Sir?”

“Think about it,” Telarnen said, getting up and starting to pace about. “He drops you in my Company most of the way through this campaign, without any explanation why. But he gave you that,” he pointed at Garkhen’s chest, “Which from what I hear is about the only reason you’ve lived this long. And of course we just happen to be in the army that ends up here, now…”

He shook his head. “Sometimes I wonder how much Solkh’Tolkharkha knows. I don’t suppose you’d have any better idea…?”

Garkhen shook his head. “No, sir. I am afraid I do not.”

The Captain sighed. “Well, I suppose I should have known… well, Private, that leaves me with just one question. What will you do now?”

The half-dragon was silent for a long moment, caught off-guard by the question. “I… have not considered that, sir,” he admitted at last.

“You have a few days,” Telarnen said. “But I thought you might not have, after all you’ve been through. Give it some thought. Our contract won’t run out for a while yet, so we’re not going anywhere.”

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Garkhen gets asked the big question! …And has no answer.