They flew out of the camp on Zakhin’Dakh’s back, Garkhen again riding in the saddle while Almonihah made do with holding on. They were headed south, back towards Ferdunan. Garkhen was very conscious of what lay in the bottom of his pack… as were Almonihah, and even Zakhin’Dakh.
“I believe the mages I know have moved back to the capital,” Garkhen said, after several uncomfortable, silent minutes had passed. “It should not be too hard to…”
Suddenly Zakhin’Dakh shrieked, Look!
Almonihah followed his big friend’s gaze, and saw something flying towards them. It didn’t take long for him to realize what it was.
“Javni’Tolkhrah,” he spat, then growled, “You’re in the way, blue. Have to do this differently.”
The half-bronze dragon released his grip and jumped, spreading his disused wings. He winced a bit as unfamiliar muscles got to work, but Almonihah welcomed the distraction from the thoughts of just what the wings meant. If he used them to take out Jivenesh’s twisted minions… He pushed that thought aside, too.
Meanwhile, Zakhin’Dakh had altered his flight path, angling so as to come at his foe from above. He shriek-roared a challenge at the Madness-Touched, which roared its own challenge back. It was a big creature, its individual pieces too mingled to recognize. It had a long neck, scales that seemed vaguely crocodilian, huge wings that were only partially feathered, and a half-dozen differently shaped legs. A long tail ended in a bizarre amalgam of spikes and stingers.
Garkhen began chanting as the griffon and his prey neared one another. A few moments before they met, he finished his spell-prayer, and a lance of holy light shot forth from his outstretched palm and blasted the Javni’Tolkhrah in the face. It roared as it flinched, Bahamut’s power searing its eyes and flesh… which gave Zakhin’Dakh the opening he needed to slam into it. His talons sank into its shoulders as his beak sought its neck, but it recovered quickly.
As it flailed at the griffon with its variety of claws, Zakhin’Dakh decided holding on was unwise. He pushed it away from himself as he flapped powerfully with his wings, narrowly avoiding a swipe of its tail as they separated. Garkhen began chanting another spell-prayer as the griffon ascended.
Then Almonihah dove past, slashing at the Javni’Tolkhrah’s wing as he dropped below it. His wild flight meant he caused it only superficial damage, and he struggled to turn and climb again.
The wings, Zakhin’Dakh! He shouted.
Okay! The griffon screeched back, turning for another attack.
Garkhen wondered what they were saying, but had no time to ask. Instead, he finished chanting, this time flipping his holy symbol up and breathing lightning through it. The now blessed lightning coursed through the monster below him, and it flailed wildly at the air in pain and rage. Again Zakhin’Dakh took the opportunity to attack, this time diving to one side, seizing one of his foe’s wings in his talons and holding on as he continued dropping.
The two great beasts tumbled crazily through the air, Zakhin’Dakh managing to remain just outside of the reach of the Javni’Tolkhrah’s claws. It snapped at him with its fangs, but he warded it off with his beak. Then it lashed its tail at him. Garkhen saw it coming, and managed to lift an armored arm to ward it off. He still saw one spine scratch Zakhin’Dakh’s wing, but it did not seem to bother him.
Almonihah managed to fly by again, this time slashing a great rent in the monster’s other wing. Let him fall! He shouted as he pulled away.
Zakhin’Dakh waited until the Javni’Tolkhrah tumbled under him, then again pushed away with a defiant shriek. It dropped, struggling to right itself with its rent wings. Somehow it managed to regain control. Almonihah growled in frustration.
Then Garkhen chanted another spell-prayer, this time directing the searing light of his god at its less-damaged wing. The beam struck bone and burned through, and finally the monstrosity dropped, roaring in defiance until it struck the ground.
For a little while, none of them spoke. Almonihah made his way back over to Zakhin’Dakh, but it took him several tries before he was able to grab onto the saddle and pull himself back onto the griffon’s back.
Need practice! Zakhin’Dakh declared.
Almonihah nodded and sullenly agreed, I need practice. The wind seemed to be laughing at him. He growled at it in Draconic, Quiet, Jivenesh. I won’t listen to you.
Garkhen started slightly, but after a moment, decided to say nothing.
For more epicness, listen to one of these while reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VbLTGy0TFk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJDyv-YVPgw
My brother and I joke about how Zakhin’Dakh is the monster other monsters are scared of, the one that makes them look up and watch the skies. 😀