Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: October 2014

Chapter 2-2

Another druid arrived while Llitthos was gone, and with his aid, containing the amulet was easier. Which was not to say it was easy—the chaotic magic seemed to be actively seeking weaknesses in their efforts to hold it in, writhing and twisting against the bounds the priests set against it. But eventually they were able to lift it out of Garkhen’s pack (with a staff, so that no one had to touch it), slowly carry it a few hundred yards away, and place it in a circle Llitthos had prepared. They then strengthened the wards he had begun, until at last they felt confident it was safe to leave it for a time.

 

Garkhen slowly stopped channeling Bahamut’s power, and found himself wobbling from exhaustion. Steadying himself, he saw that the druids also seemed exhausted from the strain.

 

“Go get some sleep, all of you,” The Commander ordered. Garkhen was surprised—he hadn’t noticed her follow them out. “Even you, Garkhen. We’ll wake you if something changes here.”

 

None of the priests complained. Garkhen stood, looking around dully as the druids left. The Ranger Commander waved someone over and whispered something to him.

 

“Herkhim here will show you somewhere you can sleep,” she said, as the Ranger walked over to him. 

 

Garkhen nodded. “Thank you,” he said.

 

Almonihah watched as Garkhen followed the other Ranger towards one of the small cabins. He noted as the Commander turned her attention to him, and spoke before she could.

 

“Zakhin’Dakh ‘nd I can camp outside. Doesn’t bother us.”

 

She nodded. “Do not go to far, but do get far enough you’re not in the way.”

 

Zakhin’Dakh screeched, and she looked over at him. “I’m not insulting you, if that’s what you’re asking.”

 

“He’s not. Just said okay,” Almonihah said. 

 

 

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I’m sure no one who knows me is surprised that the release of Civilization: Beyond Earth has cut into my writing time…  

Chapter 2-1

Chapter 2: Dangerous Cargo

 

“Should’ve known there was something more going on. ‘Course, at th’ time, suppose I was… not thinking straight. Hate magic like that. Messing with your head. Shouldn’t be something someone can do t’ you. Man’s mind should be his own.”

Before Garkhen could respond, a loud shriek interrupted them. Almonihah looked up, then stood as he saw Zakhin’Dakh charging towards the door. 

 

Calm down, Zakhin’Dakh, he called out in Great Eagle. They’re trying to help.

 

The two druids were looking behind themselves nervously at the huge griffon that was suddenly looming over them.

 

“’t’s all right,” Almonihah said in the Common tongue this time. “Nobody’s trying to hurt me. No enemies here.” He paused, then glared at Garkhen. “Better not be, at least.”

 

Okay… Zakhin’Dakh screeched uncertainly, settling down on his haunches, clearly still wanting to keep an eye on what was going on with his friend.

 

Garkhen gazed back at Almonihah. “I certainly have no intention to aid the Mad God,” he stated, evenly. “As with the other gods, Bahamut stood with Naishia against him.”

 

Almonihah snorted, but before he could say more the Ranger commander interjected, “And from what Llitthos says, you must have his blessing to still be yourself. Now, let’s not throw around accusations. We have a problem to solve.”

 

“Right,” the elven druid said. “I think… we’ll need to gather more of the circle. The three of us,” he nodded at his companion and at Garkhen, “Can keep it contained here, but we’re going to want something… mobile.”

 

“So you’re saying you can’t do something about it here,” the Commander prompted.

 

Llitthos nodded. “Perhaps one of the others might have an idea. However, I rather suspect that unraveling this magic will take a wizard’s talents, not a priest’s. It seems to be warded specifically against divine power.”

 

The Ranger Commander frowned. “Well, we’ll call the circle together. I hope you’re wrong, Llitthos, but if not…”she turned to the two half-dragons. “I can’t say I like letting two strangers carry this thing around, but you got it here, and you both are telling the truth.”

 

Almonihah nodded, his head-frill stiffening slightly as he noted the certainty in her tone. Was there some kind of truth magic going on she hadn’t mentioned?

 

“You’ll need to take this and have it examined by some wizard you can trust. We’ll do what we can for you, but…” she shook her head slightly, “I can’t spare any druids from the Line here, and I don’t think I could pry a Ranger free as quickly as you’d need, either. So it will be the two of you.”

 

Zakhin’Dakh screeched from outside. Almonihah grinned. “He said three.”

 

The Commander’s eyebrows rose. “Right, three. Now, then… it will take a couple of days, and I’d rather not have that thing sitting on my doorstep the whole time. Can we move it?”

 

Llitthos hesitated. “I believe… with the Warder’s help, and if we prepare a place, we should be able to temporarily. If you would…” he looked expectantly at the blue-scaled half-dragon. 

 

“Garkhen. And yes.” He narrowed his eyes, focusing on his connection to his god. His symbol glowed brighter.

 

Llitthos nodded. “I shall go prepare, then.”

 

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I debated about putting the chapter break here, but decided I wanted to shift more to Almonihah’s point of view, and thought it appropriate to do a chapter break for that.

Chapter 1-6

They walked in silence for a couple of hours, the dwarven Ranger leading them along a subtle path through the woods. Though, it was silence only in terms of words—Zakhin’Dakh’s passage through the underbrush could hardly be called quiet. Garkhen thought he occasionally caught glimpses of movement out of the corner of his eye, and thought it likely their passage was noted by other sentries. 

 

In time they reached a place where the trees were spaced out more widely and the underbrush was cleared. Scattered through the area were three small wooden structures. Their guide led them towards the central one.

 

“Think you’ll have t’ stay out here, Zakhin’Dakh,” Almonihah said to his friend, patting him on the leg. The big griffon nodded in acknowledgment, with only a slightly disappointed-sounding screech.

 

The dwarf walked up and knocked on the cabin door. “Commander, I’ve got a couple fellows here that you should see.”

 

After a few moments, the door opened, and a human woman dressed in well-worn leather armor looked out. She looked Garkhen and Almonihah up and down for a moment. 

 

“Well they’re certainly unusual, Karhin,” she said. “But why do they need my time?”

 

“The tall one says he’s from the Northern Rangers. He at least knew one of the calls,” the dwarf replied, “And he says the other one’s been attracting a lot of Madness-Touched.”

 

She narrowed her eyes, looking at Garkhen again. “I see. Well, come on then, you two.” She stepped back into the cabin, and their guide stepped aside.

 

Garkhen followed Almonihah to the doorway. Inside, the cabin was clearly a headquarters of sorts. A table covered with maps and a desk with several books and papers were the main furnishings, with the rest of the room taken up by shelves, chests, and other storage. One chair sat behind the desk, while three others were arranged hap-hazardly around the table. The commander took her chair behind the desk, then looked at the two half-dragons still standing in the doorway.

 

“I don’t know if the chairs will suit you, but I have a feeling you might be standing for a while if your story’s as long as it sounds. At least come in, though.”

 

Almonihah stepped in without hesitation, but Garkhen found himself hesitant. How much could he really trust these strange people? Certainly he had heard of Rangers, but rumors often lied, and the only one he’d met… well, he knew Almonihah virtually viewed him as his captive. And it was clear they viewed him with suspicion…

 

He shook his head. Why was he thinking such thoughts? They were unlike him. He did not think the Rangers were a threat to him. He stepped forward… or tried to. It seemed that his legs would not obey his mind. What was happening? A thought tickled at the back of his mind, but it slipped away as he tried to catch it… or was it being pushed away?

 

With a low growl, Garkhen threw his will into moving forward. Slowly, jerkily, he was able to take one step, and then another. As he crossed under the threshold, however, he found himself frozen in place. At the edge of his vision, he could see a green glow flare to life. 

 

The Commander rose to her feet. “What were you trying to do? Did you think it would be so easy to bring Chaos-taint in here?” She shouted.

 

Garkhen gritted his teeth. Chaos-taint? What did she mean? Again a thought tried to rise to the surface, but this time, when it met resistance, it broke though.

 

The amulet from the castle.

 

With the suddenness of a dam breaking, the memory came flooding back into his mind, and Garkhen felt dull worry in the pit of his stomach. What had he been carrying? With a mental prayer to Bahamut for strength, he tried to move. His symbol glowed white, and he found he was able to slowly move his arms. It took great effort, as if he were pushing his limbs through thick syrup, but he was able to reach up and cut the straps of his pack with his claws. 

 

Suddenly the magic that had held him in place released him. He tumbled forward onto the cabin’s floor with a crash.

 

“The amulet! The castle!” Garkhen gasped. 

 

He realized that the Commander and Almonihah both had been talking, but he had not heard their words. But it seemed that his sudden release had silenced them.

 

Still struggling against some strange compulsion, the Warder forced himself to speak. “In… the castle. Demon-summoners. Found… an amulet. In my pack. But…” he growled, trying to force his thoughts and words to work, “Some kind of compulsion. Couldn’t remember. Can’t speak…”

 

The Ranger Commander’s expression had been one of anger, but now Garkhen saw a thread of doubt enter. She looked behind him. “Karhin! Go get Llitthos, Marik… anyone who’s nearby with some sacred magic! We’ll get to the bottom of this.”

 

Almonihah was baring his teeth. “Knew I couldn’t trust you, blue,” he snarled. 

 

Dully, Garkhen shook his head. He felt exhausted. Reflexively, he reached up and grasped his holy symbol with his hand. Seeing the motion, the Commander looked down.

 

“I doubted it at first… but you really are a follower of Bahamut, aren’t you?” she murmured, the doubt and concern growing on her face.

 

“Yes,” Garkhen rasped, nodding convulsively. 

 

“Well keep praying to him. It seems like we’re going to need all the help we can get.”

 

Grimly, Garkhen focused on his connection with his god. The fog over his mind and the stiffness in his limbs seemed to be slowly receding, but now he could identify the source of his fatigue—he was channeling more divine power than he had thought. Again he wondered just what the amulet was.

 

Voices behind him. “Llitthos! What can you do about that?” The Commander was pointing behind Garkhen… at his pack, he supposed. 

 

Garkhen had never heard an elf swear before. “What is that thing, Commander?” 

 

“That’s what I was hoping someone could tell me. This fellow says it was blocking itself from his memory.”

 

Another voice joined. “Whatever it is, Commander, it’s the most powerful source of Chaos magic I’ve ever had the displeasure of encountering.”

 

“So I’ve gathered.” She seemed to be more at ease now as she slipped into her role of commanding. “But I need to know what it is and what we can do about it. The wards seem to be holding, but I’ve never seen them flicker before.”

 

Garkhen could hear chanting, and the strain on him eased further. With a sigh of relief, he got to his feet and turned around. And elf and a human, both in green-and-brown robes, were chanting over his pack. The green glow came from flaring runes all around the doorway, but there was another glow—a sickly, shimmering light that seemed to flash through every color in existence leaked from his pack.

 

“Can you speak now, Bahamut-worshipper?” The Commander asked.

 

Garkhen nodded more easily now. “Yes. The compulsion is eased.”

 

“Any idea what’s going on?”

 

Garkhen hesitated. “I was involved in the recent unpleasantness in Ferdunan. After the war was over, I was searching through the former stronghold of the rebellion’s leader. In a corner, as if it had been discarded carelessly, I found an amulet. It seemed to be made of some sort of multi-hued gemstone, wrapped in chains. I did not recognize it, but… thinking back, I believe it encouraged me to pick it up.”

He shook his head, wearily. “I was suspicious of it, but… as soon as I had it in my pack, both myself and my companion at the time forgot entirely about it. Since that time, I have been attacked many times by Javni’Tolkhrah… Madness-Touched, as you say. But I could never think of why, even though there always seemed to be a thought in the back of my mind that I could not quite call up.”

 

The elven druid—he was fairly certain they were priests of Naishia—stopped his chanting. “Well, you are a fortunate… being. Carrying around this powerful of Chaos magic, I am surprised you are not an angry ball of tentacles and claws now.”

 

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Well, you all knew that thing was bad news, now we’ll finally get to see something of why.

Chapter 1-5

Both half-dragons arose early, though for different reasons. After eating, Garkhen reverently took his copy of The Law of Bahamut out to study and meditate for the morning. Almonihah looked over at him and snorted.

 

“We’re leaving ‘s soon ‘s I break camp,” the half-bronze dragon stated.

 

“I do not see the reason for such haste,” Garkhen replied, calmly, “But if we must, I shall be prepared.”

 

The Warder was almost as fast as the Ranger in packing his things. Almonihah looked as if he wanted to say something, but instead turned to Zakhin’Dakh and asked him to let Garkhen mount. Soon they were airborne again, and Garkhen decided he could use the relative silence to do his morning prayers and meditations. Certainly Almonihah was not going to distract him now.

 

They flew for a couple of hours before the Ranger spoke to Zakhin’Dakh, pointing out something down below. The griffon dove, and soon they landed in a clearing near the edge of a wooded valley. Almonihah made a surprisingly accurate bird-call that was unfamiliar to Garkhen, then stood expectantly. After a moment he glanced over at Garkhen.

 

“Get off. We’ll be walking.”

 

Patiently the half-blue dragon dismounted. Zakhin’Dakh crouched down to make it easier, but it was still a bit of a drop. Almonihah growled a bit at the crash Garkhen’s armor made when he hit the ground, but then turned as he heard the counter-call. Again he imitated a bird-call, though a different one this time. 

 

After a few more moments, a dwarf suddenly appeared from the underbrush. Surprised, Garkhen glanced over at his companion, and saw no sign of surprise on his face. Indeed, it seemed he had expected this.

 

The dwarf looked over the three for a moment. “Never seen you before,” he stated.


“’m from th’ Northern Rangers,” Almonihah explained.

 

“And I don’t suppose they’re all griffon-riding dragon-men, are they?”

 

Almonihah snorted. “Just me.”

 

The dwarf grinned slightly. “Good, wouldn’t want to think they’d gotten so far ahead of us in recruiting. Or so far behind. Now, then. If you’re from the north you’ve got a good reason to be here. Let’s hear it.”

 

Almonihah pointed at Garkhen with his thumb. “This one here’s been attracting a lot ‘f Madness-Touched. Thought bringing ‘im here was th’ best bet t’ find out why.”

 

The dwarf’s expression turned to a frown. “A lot of those things have been slipping through recently, and you say they’ve been coming to him?”

 

“For ‘im. Trying t’ kill him.”

 

The dwarf scowled. “I don’t like having him here… but the Commander should see you. This way.”

 

 

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I’ve been playing around a bit with point-of-view here. This is mostly from Garkhen’s viewpoint, with tiny bits of Almonihah’s thrown in here and there. I’m debating on whether or not I should continue.