Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: April 2015

Chapter 5-6

They arose before dawn the next morning—Almonihah and Garkhen because they could not stay asleep, Zakhin’Dakh when Almonihah came over and told him to wake up. Nor did it seem they were alone in their restlessness, for a number of Rangers including the Commander were up and about, preparing for their expedition.

The Commander greeted them when the three approached. “Good, we’ll want an early start. With any luck, our quarry has camped not too far into the Madlands, and we can catch him before he awakes, or shortly thereafter.”

“That would be ideal,” Garkhen agreed.

“It’s probably best not to let him know we’re coming, though,” the Ranger Commander continued, “So I’m afraid you’ll have to stay on the ground,” he pointed to Zakhin’Dakh, who responded with a disappointed cheep.

Almonihah grunted. “S’pose so. Still, should be ready ‘f we need t’ move fast.”

“Indeed. But we had best move now. You are ready?”

Soon enough the three friends and about a dozen Rangers set out for where the fallen Ranger had been found. Garkhen rode on Zakhin’Dakh’s back, so as to not slow the group, while Almonihah walked alongside. The Rangers spread out, moving quietly through the wooded hills as they made their way across the country.

While they traveled, Garkhen looked down at Almonihah and quietly said, “It is sad that the situation is so dire that they do not have time to look to their fallen comrade.”

Almonihah was quiet for a long moment before replying. “Didn’t notice? Don’t think th’ Commander slept, ‘nd there was fresh dirt near th’ Headquarters. They did it in th’ night.”

“I see…” Garkhen murmured, then fell silent.

The sky was just beginning to brighten with the first hints of dawn when the Rangers ahead of them stopped. Almonihah gazed forwards, trying to make out what was going on as they approached.

“Must be th’ place th’ Ranger died,” he told Garkhen, then jogged ahead to join them.

Once he arrived, the signs were clear enough—the Javni’Tolkhrah had not taken any cares to hide their tracks, much less the signs of combat. The jumble of prints was too chaotic to get any kind of count, but it was clear that several very large creatures had been through here—the lone Ranger would have been seriously outmatched.

Without needing to speak, the group turned north, towards the Madlands. The trail was wide and easy to follow, and it grew easier to get an estimate on their quarry’s numbers.

“Ten. At least.” One of the Rangers stated as he walked. His companions looked grim.

Almonihah growled. “Let’s hope ‘t doesn’t get t’ be more.”

No one felt the need to add anything to that, and they again walked in silence for a while. After a few minutes, there was a subtle change in the air—something impossible to define or describe, but nonetheless real, a kind of… restless energy around them.

One of the Rangers spoke. “We have entered the Madlands.” 

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

And I still haven’t named that Ranger Commander. 😀 

Chapter 5-5

Almonihah growled. Garkhen nodded, as if in agreement.

“Then I fear we must go after him, for who knows what sort of damage he may be able to do with this artifact there?”

The Commander nodded back, grimly. “I concur, much as I hate the cost. Time is of the essence. I must begin to recall the Rangers we will need.”

He conferred with some of the other Rangers for a few moments, then turned back to the two half-dragons. “All Rangers that can reach here by morning are coming. I pray that not too many Javni’Tolkhrah slip through while we leave the Line unguarded here.”

Again Almonihah growled. “We’ll make ‘t fast.”

Garkhen looked downcast. “If only I had not slowed you down…”

The bronze-scaled half-dragon looked over at Garkhen with an expression of faint disgust. “After knocking yourself out healing us? You’re doing well t’ be standing, blue.”

The Warder shook his head. “If I had but trained harder…”

“You’re being an idiot!” Almonihah roared. Garkhen looked at him in shock. “You did all you could. Just have t’ deal with what’s happened.”

“But the lives…”

Almonihah bared his teeth in annoyance. “Lot more people ‘d die ‘f you hadn’t done what you have… Garkhen.”

“He’s right, Garkhen,” the Commander said. “We need you working, not beating yourself up. I’m guessing that not many others would be alive after what you three have been through.”

Yeah! We’re strong! Zakhin’Dakh screeched in agreement, not quite understanding the point of the conversation, but wanting to cheer Garkhen up… even though said half-blue dragon couldn’t understand Great Eagle.

“I… yes, I suppose it is somewhat foolish of me,” Garkhen said, though his heart didn’t seem to be in his words. “Come, we should discuss what we will do next, yes?”

They spent another hour or so going over what they knew of the amulet and its bearer… which was little, and what they might do to catch him or her. After some debate, they all agreed that there was little to do other than to follow his trail with all the forces they could muster. That decided, they settled down to rest, that they might have the energy and strength to face the morrow. 

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

Yeah, I probably should have just finished the chapter with the last post, but… here’s the rest! 😀

Chapter 5-4

Almonihah nodded reluctantly. “How long d’ you need?”

The half-blue dragon shook his head slightly. “Too long. I fear what may happen if this being reaches the Madlands.”

Again the Ranger nodded. “Need help, though. Think ‘t’s time t’ talk to th’ Rangers again.”

The Warder sighed. “I fear first I should take some care for myself. Then… I believe I shall be able to ride, at least.”

Garkhen ate and drank, then rested for a bit. Once he had convinced himself that he was feeling stronger, he told his two friends he was ready.

It quickly became clear that he was not ready, when even with the usual assistance he could not quite manage to mount Zakhin’Dakh… because he wobbled and fell off of the rock he was standing on to get him up to a sufficient height.

“I am unharmed!” He exclaimed after landing with a great crash. “Or perhaps, I am no worse than I was before,” he admitted, as he struggled to sit back up.

Almonihah shook his head slightly as he watched. He hated waiting… who knew what was going on with that amulet? But they were going to need all the help they could get, and whatever else Garkhen was, he was a strong ally.

“Rest a bit more,” he said, grudgingly. “Can’t just leave you here, ‘nd I don’t think you want to ride ‘n Zakhin’Dakh’s talons again.”

Garkhen grinned slightly. “Indeed not! I had thought my soreness due entirely to my exertions of yesterday, but that might explain why certain areas feel particularly tender.”

Almonihah snorted in reply, but said nothing more.

They rested for several hours before Garkhen felt well enough to ride. Almonihah begrudged every moment of it, often heading off to ‘scout’ their surroundings again, in between sending Zakhin’Dakh off to hunt. Finally, when the sun was already well on its way down, they again set off. They were headed at a slight angle from the path their quarry had taken—towards the Ranger headquarters. 

Almonihah felt rather confident they would be able to track the Javni’Tolkhrah, and so had no fear of losing the trail.

The sun was low on the horizon when they arrived. Before they even landed, the Ranger Commander came out of his small office.

“Almonihah, Garkhen. You have the look of those bearing ill news,” he said as Zakhin’Dakh landed.

Zakhin’Dakh screeched in annoyance at not being included. Almonihah patted his side while Garkhen roused himself from his half-doze and responded.

“Indeed we do, Commander. The amulet was stolen, and its thief now makes his way to the Madlands. We gave chase, but were attacked by three of the Madness-Touched simultaneously.”

Air hissed through the Commander’s lips as he gasped. “Three at once? Never do they attack in a coordinated manner…”

Almonihah grunted. “Think ‘t’s the amulet. ‘nd I don’t think we can risk being th’ only ones going after this guy.”

“There is only one?” The Commander asked, gaze turned upwards as he his thoughts began to fly.

“Now,” Almonihah replied. “From th’ tracks, looks like one ‘f them summoned some Madness-Touched t’ get rid of his companions.”

“…And these beasts now accompany and guard him,” the Commander said. “I can see why you came. Come, we must plan quickly. Where do you think he will attempt to breach the Line?”


“Not too far t’ the west of here…” Almonihah began, when an odd, shrill whistle interrupted him.

The Ranger Commander looked up, his expression grim. “That call is only sounded for a fallen Ranger.” He looked over at the two half-dragons. “It well may be that your thief has already reached the Madlands.”

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

Man, this chapter is just full of good, ominous points to end posts, isn’t it? >:D