Chapter 16: Unexpected Meetings
“Sometimes the greatest gifts of life are completely unexpected. At times, they may even seem trials when we first stumble across them. But I have found that, in time, such experiences often teach the greatest lessons. And it was from such an experience that I gained two of my greatest friends… though of course, it did not seem so at first.”
Garkhen returned to more settled lands, marveling at the gift he had been given. He had to use Silverflame twice while he traveled back, as more Javni’Tolkhrah attacked him as he walked the wilds back to the small villages in the foothills. The mace was truly remarkable—its silver flames burned the twisted creatures with holy wrath, inflicting terrible wounds even when his physical strikes caused little harm.
He found things were much the same as he had left them when he reached the first village. The people were settling back down after the end of the civil war and all that had come with it. No one had reported trouble with Infernals or undead in the past weeks, and it seemed peace had finally returned to Ferdunan.
And so, without direction or purpose, Garkhen went to wandering, traveling wherever he felt he should. Sometimes when he arrived he soon found there was need for his strengths, but often not. He would have felt discouraged or impatient, but… one of the lessons he had learned was to not give place to such feelings. And so he wandered, and served where he could, and sought for what his purpose was to be.
It was not an easy life. He would often go long in between sources of money, and so had to spend frugally to be able to afford supplies for himself. Sometimes grateful villagers would give him meals or a place to sleep, and occasionally he would find hoarded treasures after slaying some beast that troubled them, but most of the time he had to stretch his resources to feed himself.
In time he developed a reputation, and Garkhen slowly found himself more welcome across the country. People would greet the ‘armored dragon-man’ with joy rather than fear when he came, and Garkhen was glad enough to be recognized. But as the years passed, he struggled more and more to find purpose and meaning in his life, for it seemed he was less and less needed.
The only constant source of danger were the Javni’Tolkhrah that regularly attacked him while he was in the wilds. The Warder learned that they seemed to harm few others, and indeed were rarely seen by any but himself. He felt there must be some meaning behind it… but could never seem to think of what it might be.
And then one day, as he was walking alone to a village he had not visited for the past two years, he heard something above him—the sound of wind ruffling great feathers. Garkhen started to turn, but had only a brief moment to see huge wings and flashing talons before he was knocked to the ground, pinned beneath a great weight.
When he could focus his vision, Garkhen found an arrowhead held close to his snout. Following the arrow back, he saw a fine bow pulled taught, held by… another half-dragon. This one was bronze-scaled and human-proportioned, and he was snarling at Garkhen.
“Give me one good reason I shouldn’t kill you.”
I think this chapter speaks for itself. 🙂