The next few weeks proceeded much like this—they would follow rumors of undead or Infernal activity, reach a village, hunt down the source of the problems, and destroy it. Garkhen and Tirel became fast friends as they traveled and fought together.
“You know, you remind me of Whitepaw,” the Wyre suddenly stated one day.
“The wolf-Wyre?” Garkhen asked, surprised.
Tirel nodded. “You both have this kind of… center to you. Do you know what I mean?”
The half-dragon shook his head. Tirel sighed, waving a paw-hand as he tried to explain. “As in, you both… you know where you stand. Or maybe what you stand for. You just… give this sense that no matter what happens, you know what your part is, how you fit in the world. Does that make sense.”
After a moment, Garkhen nodded slowly. “I think I understand. And I thank you, for,” he grinned a bit, “I certainly do not always feel so myself.”
The tiger-man laughed. “I suppose I should have guessed that.”
“And I appreciate the energy you bring,” Garkhen suddenly stated. “Your skills and… your sense of humor.”
Tirel blinked, then after a moment of silence, burst out laughing. “Well, thanks, Garkhen! I wasn’t fishing for compliments, but I appreciate it.”
The Warder grinned and chuckled a bit. “I suppose I simply would not have felt comfortable without returning in kind.”
Tirel opened his mouth to respond, then froze. “Did you hear that?” he whispered after a moment.
Mutely, Garkhen shook his head. Even more quietly, the Wyre murmured, “Get your weapon out.”
By the time he had his mace and shield ready, he could feel something… wrong. He couldn’t put a claw on what it was, but there was a sense that something that should not be was nearby.
Then he heard the growling, sounding like no natural beast, as if the creature had more than one throat and could not decide which it was using. Tirel growled back, claws out, teeth bared, and stance wary.
Finally the creature revealed itself, cresting a nearby hill as its growl turned to a roar. Its head resembled some nightmarish combination of wolf and stag, with uneven antlers and a snarling muzzle showing too many teeth. Its feet were like clawed hooves, and it had three feet on its forequarters, the extra in between the more natural two. Its body was built like a great cat’s, but resembled some jungle lizard in coloration and scales. It had two tails, one like a lion’s, the other like a crocodile’s. Garkhen quickly murmured a warding spell-prayer as it gathered itself to pounce.
“Madness-Touched!” Tirel snarled as he shifted his feet to be ready to dodge or pounce himself.
Random monsters, always messing up conversations…