Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: March 2015

Chapter 5-3

Almonihah went over and checked Garkhen. He seemed unchanged—still sleeping soundly, for all the world like he was just enjoying a good night’s rest. The bronze half-dragon snorted.

“Guess he’s all right,” he commented to Zakhin’Dakh, who responded by simply cocking his head slightly to one side. “Should go, though. Let me get back on, ‘nd then pick him up again.”

They took off, following the trail of the Javni’Tolkhrah that had left the camp. It wasn’t hard to track them, in spite of the rocky terrain—one of the monsters apparently did something that killed all the plants around it, so it was simply a matter of finding the next patch of blasted, withered grass or suddenly dying tree. They made good time, despite the awkwardness of flying with Garkhen in Zakhin’Dakh’s talons.

They still hadn’t caught sight of their quarry by lunchtime, however. With all of the flying they’d been doing, Zakhin’Dakh was already hungry again, so they had to hunt again. It took longer this time, likely because the Javni’Tolkhrah had scared away most animals from the area. By the time they got back on the trail, the sun was starting to get low.

Almonihah growled in irritation at the delay, but then stopped. “Zakhin’Dakh. Look. By that mountain with th’ rock jutting out that looks like a cat’s head.”

The big griffon looked around for a bit before he saw what his friend was talking about. That a funny little cloud?

“It’s smoke. There’s a campfire.”

Just then Zakhin’Dakh looked down. Garkhen moved!

“Let’s set him down! See ‘f he’s all right.”

By the time they landed, Garkhen was groggily opening his eyes. Almonihah stood looking down at him while Zakhin’Dakh backed up just a bit. The Warder looked up at the Ranger.

“I… apologize,” he said, weakly. “It seems I overtaxed myself.”

Almonihah snorted. “Sure did. Think you can move?”

Garkhen slowly sat up. “Yes, but I am not fit for combat. What have you discovered?”

The half-bronze dragon described what he’d seen. “Don’t like that fire. May mean…” he trailed off, not quite willing to believe what it indicated.

Garkhen, however, could follow the thought. “Someone still has the amulet. Someone who is able to command the Javni’Tolkhrah, no doubt through means of the artifact.”

******************

Dun-dun-dun!

Chapter 5-2

Almonihah awoke with a start, cursing himself for falling asleep… particularly in such an uncomfortable position. Looking around, he was relieved to see Zakhin’Dakh was fine, still dozing even though, from the position of the sun, it was already a couple hours past dawn. Garkhen was still asleep, as well. From what little experience he had with healing magic, the half-blue dragon must have exhausted himself last night.

 

Which made the trace of anger he still felt looking at the blue of Garkhen’s scales all the more irrational. At first Almonihah had thought it was reasonable—it reminded him of the loss of his family, after all. And of course, metallic and chromatic dragons had an enmity that was older than humankind. But by now… he had to grudgingly admit that Garkhen wasn’t just not evil. He was earnestly devoted to the good of others. 

 

So why couldn’t Almonihah get over the fact that he was half-blue dragon? There was no reason for him to have to suppress a growl whenever he looked at him. It was almost like there was something more going on… something else…

 

A weak cheep shook Almonihah from his thoughts. He stood up, grimacing as the motion informed him of the many spots he was sore, and walked over to his big friend.

 

“Zakhin’Dakh?”

 

I hurt lots, the big griffon moaned. But okay, think.

 

Almonihah snorted and nodded. “I think you’ll be okay, too. Should stand up and stretch, though, t’ help work through th’ soreness.”

 

It took quite a bit of work to convince Zakhin’Dakh to agree with this plan, particularly once he stood up and really found out how sore he was, but when Almonihah pointed out they’d need to go hunting soon, the griffon reluctantly stretched out his legs and wings. The half-bronze dragon stretched, too, trying to get himself in shape to move. Food for Zakhin’Dakh would be an issue, yes, but his real concern was what was going on with the amulet. He was almost certain the attack last night was related somehow… and he suspected it would only get worse with time. 

 

Once Zakhin’Dakh seemed like he’d be able to fly again, Almonihah went over and checked on Garkhen again. He was still fast asleep… which was a bad sign, given how much noise they’d been making. Almonihah checked his breathing. It was deep and even. 

 

“Least that’s good,” Almonihah murmured. After a moment’s consideration, he bent down and said, “Garkhen! Get up!”

 

Nothing. This time he shouted. “Garkhen! Wake up!”

 

When that brought no response, he tried shaking the other half-dragon. But not even that could arouse the slumbering Warder. Almonihah stood up straight with a growl. They couldn’t stay here, but there was no way he was lifting Garkhen in full armor and strapping him into Zakhin’Dakh’s saddle… 

 

Well, there was only one real alternative. 

 

“Zakhin’Dakh, think you could carry him in your talons?”

 

 

Almonihah was fairly certain that being held in Zakhin’Dakh’s taloned feet was in no way comfortable, but there wasn’t much of a choice right now.

 

“Let’s head th’ way we were going last night. Just keep an eye out t’ see if there’s anything worth hunting,” he said to the griffon. Zakhin’Dakh nodded slightly, and Almonihah held on to the saddle as they turned.

 

They did spot a few mountain goats off on a distant slope. Usually Almonihah let Zakhin’Dakh hunt his way, but this time… well, with the griffon’s talons occupied, he decided it was wiser to just shoot one himself. 

 

After eating, they continued on in the direction they’d been going before. It wasn’t long before Zakhin’Dakh shrieked, Look!

 

He pointed with his beak, and Almonihah followed his gaze. It wasn’t long before his draconic eyes picked out what Zakhin’Dakh’s aquiline eyes had seen—a smudge of different colors in the distance, contrasting against the colors of stone, grass, and trees. 

 

“’t’s take a look,” Almonihah said, and Zakhin’Dakh flew onward.

 

As they neared, it became clear that what they had seen was a wrecked campsite, with shredded tents… and freshly-killed corpses of men. 

 

Zakhin’Dakh screeched long and low. Almonihah nodded. “Doesn’t look good. Let’s land, though.”

Carefully the griffon came in for a landing, setting down with his hind feet first, then placing Garkhen on the ground before putting his weight on his forelimbs. Almonihah dismounted and started looking around.

 

“Definitely Javni’Tolkhrah,” he spat, pointing at a seven-toed paw-print. 

 

Zakhin’Dakh growled deep in his chest in response, but otherwise just watched as the Ranger looked around the campsite. Once his survey was done, he came back over to his friend. 

 

“Can’t tell for sure… tracks ‘re everywhere. But looks like th’ Javni’Tolkhrah came ‘nd killed everyone. Like what they tried on us. Then they all left in one direction…” He pointed to the north. 

 

There was another detail he’d noticed, which he didn’t think he needed to tell Zakhin’Dakh. They’d all been wearing amulets… ones that looked like cheap knock-offs of the one they were hunting. It seemed like he’d seen something like it before, but he couldn’t recall where. 

 

But the real amulet hadn’t been here.

 

*********************************

 

Sorry for the late post! I got distracted on Monday, and then Tuesday was busy… but here’s a slightly longer post to make up for it! 

Chapter 5-1

Chapter 5: Following Chaos

“Dragons ‘nd dwarves ‘re stubborn enough alone. When you put ’em together, you get Garkhen.”

 

Garkhen quickly saw to his friends’ wounds, calling upon the power of Bahamut to heal them. After he had, he wavered unsteadily, exhaustion slamming into him as hard as the Javni’Tolkhrah had.

 

Zakhin’Dakh chirruped worriedly. The half-blue dragon smiled tiredly at the griffon.

 

“I have… simply expended… much energy on… channeling Bahamut’s power,” he explained.

 

Garkhen rocked backwards, sitting down hard in a motion that was as much involuntary as planned. 

 

Almonihah growled softly.

 

“Can’t stay here. Must’ve noticed us flying in.” He shook his head. “Wouldn’t ‘ve thought someone could command Javni’Tolkhrah, but haven’t seen three of ’em work together before.”

 

“Is that… what happened…” Garkhen was nodding off even as he spoke. 

 

With a crash, he collapsed to one side, asleep. Almonihah looked at him and shook his head. 

 

“Still can’t stay.” He looked over at Zakhin’Dakh. “Suppose you’ll just have to carry him, Zakhin’Dakh. Think you can?” 

 

“Yeah!” Zakhin’Dakh screeched. Carefully, he grasped the sleeping Warder in his talons, then looked over at Almonihah.

 

The Ranger mounted, and they flew off in the darkness. They didn’t go very far, though—Almonihah directed Zakhin’Dakh to land after flying only a few miles. The night had gotten cloudy, and it was risky flying at night, even with Almonihah’s draconic vision to aid them. That… and they were both almost as exhausted as Garkhen. Being healed didn’t take as much energy as healing, but having serious injuries wiped away had still fatigued them, especially combined with being awoken in the middle of the night to fight.

 

“Just have t’ hope this is far enough,” Almonihah commented on their new campsite. 

 

Zakhin’Dakh landed carefully, making sure to set Garkhen down gently before setting his taloned feet down. As soon as Almonihah dismounted, the griffon made himself comfortable and fell asleep. And in spite of Almonihah’s concern about further attacks, he found he couldn’t keep himself awake to keep watch.

 

*************************************

 

Yeah, a battle like that is going to take some recovery time. But can they afford it right now, with that artifact at large?

Chapter 4-8

Almonihah grunted as he only mostly dodged the beast’s heavy claws. The impact dazed him a bit, and he was sure he’d be bruised, but he didn’t feel any blood. Of course, if he didn’t get away from it soon that might change…

 

Zakhin’Dakh was paralyzed by indecision. Both of his friends were in trouble! Which one should he help first? Almonihah, or Garkhen?

 

The half-blue dragon finally managed to work one of his arms free, and he frantically tried to focus on the words and gestures of a spell-prayer. Somehow he managed it, and suddenly he swelled up to twice his normal size, giving him the strength and leverage (and surprise) to roll out from under his foe. Now he could finally see the Javni’Tolkhrah that had been trying to kill him. It was vaguely crocodile-like, though with the size of an elephant (or perhaps more) and six taloned legs, arranged in two sets of three. 

 

Seeing this, Zakhin’Dakh charged at the one attacking Almonihah, figuring that Garkhen could handle himself now. He let loose a war shriek as he plowed into the ursine creature’s flank, just before it could strike his friend again. It roared in pain as the griffon’s talons dug into its hide, and turned to try to bite at this new threat.

 

Almonihah saw his opportunity, and in one smooth motion he drew Zithrandrak and tumbled to one side, then jabbed the blade in between the monstrosity’s ribs. Blood spurted out, as if under incredible pressure, coating the Ranger in blood.

 

He grit his teeth as he suddenly felt as if he were afire. Acidic blood. He dropped to the ground and rolled around, desperately trying to rub the blood off before it did any serious harm to him… then he heard a heavy thump and a screech.

 

Zakhin’Dakh!

 

Too late, he tried to shout out a warning, but before he could, he heard a crunch, followed by a wail of pain. Instead of a warning, Almonihah shouted, “Get it off fast!” Then pain drove him to resume his own efforts to do the same.

 

Garkhen was on his feet at last, but without weapon or shield. The Javni’Tolkhrah came at him with maw open wide, and the half-dragon did the first thing that came to mind, reaching out and seizing the beast’s jaws just as it tried to bite him. He blessed the fact that his gauntlets armored even his palms as he found purchase on the monster’s teeth, and somehow held it back. He inhaled, then exhaled a bolt of lightning straight into the creature’s mouth. 

 

It stumbled backwards, twitching… and its scales turned to blue. After a moment, it spat a bolt of lightning back at Garkhen. It didn’t hurt him—more of a pleasant tingle, really—but he didn’t think he’d be able to harm it with his breath again. Instead, he dodged to the side when it lunged forward again, only getting grazed as it went past. Then he turned and slashed at it with his own claws, drawing thin lines of blood from its flanks. 

 

It turned, striking Garkhen with the side of its head. He stumbled backward a step, but then slashed at it again. He wasn’t getting anywhere with his claws… the Warder quickly stepped back as it snapped at him again, then murmured a spell-prayer. A wall of shimmering light sprung up in front of him, giving him time to turn and grab Silverflame. It grew to match his current stature as he took it in his hand, and he turned back to dismiss his warding wall. His foe stumbled forward, surprised by the sudden vanishing of the barrier, giving Garkhen the opportunity to strike.

 

His mace flared with holy flame as it struck the creature’s skull, but the beast shrugged it off. It reared, scratching at him with its many claws, but Garkhen’s armor held. When it came down on its feet again, he was ready. Again Silverflame came down, this time with all his might behind it. With a crunch, the beast shuddered and finally fell still.

 

The Warder turned, to see his allies writhing on the ground. He rushed over, calling upon Bahamut to heal them in a spell-prayer. Their wounds began to mend, but he soon saw that they were still being injured by something on them… blood? 

 

“Acid!” Almonihah gasped out, and Garkhen reacted quickly. He murmured a different spell-prayer to neutralize the acid, touching each of them. Soon they stopped their pained writhing, and were able to take stock of their situation.

 

“That… wasn’t good,” the half-bronze dragon observed. 

 

*************************

 

Almonihah gets the understatement of the month award. =P 

Chapter 4-7

Wake up!”

 

Garkhen arose with a start at Almonihah’s shout, just in time to hear his bow hum and a beast roar. Shaking off his sleepiness, the half-blue dragon hurried to his pack and spoke the command word for his armor. Even over the clatter of armor plates, he could hear Zakhin’Dakh’s shrill shriek as he joined in the combat.

 

Almonihah growled quietly as he loosed another arrow. It was another Javni’Tolkhrah—this one like some sort of bipedal, winged shark, of all things. With, of course, obligatory non-symmetrical clawed appendages. Now that Zakhin’Dakh was circling around behind it, though, he figured it wouldn’t last much longer.

 

Garkhen grabbed Silverflame as his armor finished putting itself on him. He was just about to join his allies when something heavy struck him from behind, knocking him to the ground with a loud crash. He gasped as the wind was knocked out of him, then gritted his teeth as a weight slammed down on his back. Claws scrabbled and screeched against his armor, trying to find purchase.

 

“Three!” Almonihah exclaimed incredulously, switching targets from the shark-creature to the vaguely ursine beast that had just burst from the ground. It seemed like a demented combination of bear, mole, and lizard, with a snake head on its furry tail. Its growl of pain as his arrow struck home in its shoulder sounded more like rocks grinding together than something living being should make.

 

Zakhin’Dakh, for his part, was faring well against the shark-thing. While its teeth looked deadly, so was the griffon’s beak, and his taloned forelegs were longer and stronger than the flailing limbs of his foe. He had slammed into it from the air, digging his talons deep into its flesh as he bore it to the ground, where now it scratched at his legs while he sought to finish it with his beak.

 

Garkhen still had not caught sight of whatever had him pinned to the ground. It certainly had quite a bit of weight to it, however, as his struggling had yet to dislodge it, and even though it had yet to penetrate his armor, yet he was being slowly crushed simply by it leaning upon him. He flailed weakly with his tail, slapping ineffectually at his foe, as he struggled to free at least an arm.

 

There was a loud crunch, and then Zakhin’Dakh shrieked in triumph as the shark-beast quit struggling. He looked up and saw a big wolf-thing with way too many legs standing on Garkhen and scrabbling at his armor. With another shriek he charged over to help.

 

Almonihah had taken to the air, harrying the bear-mole with arrows. Flying around made it difficult to aim, but the thing was a big target, so he generally at least hit some part of it. He flew a bit further on, trying to ignore the thought of voices in the wind, then landed and took more careful aim. The stupid thing came running straight at him, which gave him plenty of time to line up a shot and stick an arrow right between its eyes. 

 

The surprising thing was that it didn’t seem too bothered by the arrow sticking out of its head.

 

*******************

 

Apologies for the late post… so here, have a cliffhanger!