Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: May 2015

Chapter 6-1

Chapter 6: Fly and Stand

“It is not always wise to fight. Some battles are not worth the cost, others are born entirely of folly and lead to nothing good. From such there is no dishonor in turning away.”

“But in every life there comes a battle from which there is no flight. Not always is this battle fought with arms or spells. Oft it is a battle of words, a struggle of opinions, in which one must hold to that which is true in spite of the pressures applied. There are some, however, who must defend that which is good with steel.”

“And then there are some who seek out such times, that others might not need to fight battles of blood and iron. I am such a one.”

–Garkhen

Almonihah didn’t wait for the Javni’Tolkhrah to jump. He took off as quickly as he could, awkwardly climbing into the air while cursing his lack of practice with flight. He could hear some of the monsters following him into the air, but at least he’d leave the ground-bound ones behind.

Below, the surviving Rangers took a moment to catch on to what was happening. They’d been pressed hard during the battle, and many lay dead. But when the Commander saw the glint of metal in Almonihah’s hand, he shouted, “Fire on them! Help him win free!”

A few arrows shot upwards at the Madness-Touched, and while this first volley had little effect, it was something. Garkhen, meanwhile, quickly reviewed the spell-prayers he knew, trying to think of one that would aid in this circumstance. For lack of a better idea, he again channeled divine power into his symbol, then exhaled a bolt of lightning through it, striking one of the low-flying monsters with sacred lightning. It wavered in its flight as the lightning seared it, but did not turn from its pursuit.

The first problem with his flying, Almonihah realized, was that he was going the wrong way. Deeper into the Madlands wasn’t going to help him. He had to turn, even if it meant giving those Javni’Tolkhrah a chance to catch up to him. Well, he could make it gradual. He started to make a wide, shallow turn… then saw one of the monsters coming up on his flank far too fast to evade. 

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Yeah, I spent too much time having fun this weekend and not enough writing. 😀

Chapter 5-9

Once Zakhin’Dakh finished the Madness-Touched he had faced first, he looked up and saw another that had just messily killed one of the Rangers. This one had four tentacles lined with bony spurs waving on its back, in addition to a third pair of legs. With a growl, the griffon warily advanced towards it. It stopped feasting on the Ranger’s corpse and turned to face him, opening its mouth to reveal three rows of teeth before charging towards him.

Garkhen had little time to notice the griffon’s absence, for his foe was proving quite dangerous. Even with one paw rendered useless, it still had three others in front with which to slash at him, and its fangs dripped with something that sizzled when the drops struck the ground. It suddenly reared up, claws outstretched, and the Warder stepped back rather than let it come down on him with all of its weight. Frustrated it bit at his shield, grabbing it between its fangs and pulling him forward. Garkhen was caught off-guard and off-balance, causing him to stumble towards it. His armored snout crashed into its muzzle, which startled it just enough that it let go.

The half-blue dragon stepped backward as quickly as he could, seizing his holy symbol with his shield hand, flipping it up, and exhaling a bolt of lightning through it. The Javni’Tolkhrah howled in pain as the holy lightning seared it, then staggered to one side slightly, trying to recover. Garkhen gave it no time, pressing the attack with Silverflame. The sacred mace struck it solidly in the shoulder, and it stumbled again, then lashed out with one of its remaining good legs. It caught Garkhen in the side, and while it did not penetrate his armor it did knock him off his feet, bruising him.

It was on him as soon as he hit the ground, and it was all the Warder could do to keep its teeth away from him. Its claws scrabbled on his armor, and even with his increased size and strength its weight was too great for him to throw off.

But it hadn’t trapped his mace arm. He didn’t have the leverage to get a good swing in with Silverflame, but its holy fires still scorched the Javni’Tolkhrah’s face. It howled in pain and reared up, away from the flames, giving the half-dragon time to roll out from under it.

The Javni’Tolkhrah was still trying to bat out the flames on its cheek when Garkhen got back to his feet. Its distraction gave him the chance he needed, and Silverflame struck it solidly on the head. It stumbled yet again, clearly hurt. Again he struck, and this time there was a disturbing crunch, and the beast collapsed.

Zakhin’Dakh, meanwhile, was struggling with his own battle. The tentacled monstrosity was difficult to approach, for it had greater reach, and the griffon already bore several bleeding wounds on his head and shoulders from getting to close. They warily circled one another, neither quite willing to make a move. Finally the Javni’Tolkhrah grew impatient and leaped forward.

Zakhin’Dakh reacted quickly, rearing up slightly to catch the beast with his talons, then twisting, hurling it off to one side. It landed on its side, surprised by this turn of events. The griffon wasted no time in taking advantage of his foe’s confusion, leaping on it and tearing off one of its tentacles with his talons. That certainly got its attention, and Zakhin’Dakh soon got a face full of barbed tentacles. Undeterred, he pressed his advantage, beak finally closing on the monster’s throat.

Almonihah’s assault on the mad wizard was going… poorly. First had been a fireball, and while he’d mostly dodged that, he’d still gotten singed. Then he’d thrown up a wall of stone, but that was easy to fly over. Of course, the fact that he flew face-first into a swarm of insane summoned crows had been less easy. Once he’d evaded them, he’d had to dodge a barrage of acid bolts. Now, at last he was closing in, but the mage was still laughing.

He chanted another spell… and blasted the half-bronze dragon with lightning. With a laugh of his own Almonihah charged forward, Zithrandrak leading. He felt the resistance as its tip neared his foe, but he pushed through. His blade deflected off to one side somewhat, but he still stabbed Zithrandrak deep into the mage’s shoulder.

Finally the laughter stopped, to be replaced by a look of shock, as if the wizard could not believe he’d actually been struck. That hesitation was fatal, for now Almonihah had the feel for the barrier around his enemy, so Eldereth struck him right in the throat. The magical defenses slowed his blade, but that simply meant that he didn’t penetrate as deeply.

The mage collapsed on the ground, gurgling. Quickly Almonihah pulled a rag out and yanked the amulet off the dying man.

Every Javni’Tolkhrah in the area suddenly turned to face him.

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Yeah, I think that’s a dramatically appropriate place to end this chapter. 😀

Chapter 5-8

The group stopped not far from where they had seen the Madness-Touched, in a copse of misshapen trees. The Range Commander made a few signs to his men, indicating who was to go where, and then softy spoke.

“Remember, the essential thing is to retrieve the amulet. If you must flee with it while others die, do it. We cannot allow this to continue. We know not how much worse this could grow.”

All nodded their heads solemnly (except Zakhin’Dakh). Then, with a quick gesture, the Commander ordered them forward.

They charged forwards in an odd silence, the Rangers moving with soft steps even as they broke from cover. Zakhin’Dakh, however, made no such attempts. His shrill war shriek would have woken the dead, much less a pack of wary monsters. Garkhen would have shaken his head, but chanting a spell-prayer of protection while holding on to the saddle took all his concentration.

The Javni’Tolkhrah had not needed Zakhin’Dakh’s cry to alert them to the attack. As soon as the first Ranger broke from cover they had charged forward, a mass of twisted flesh and scale and claw barreling down upon them on land and in the air. Somewhere behind the beasts, a man cackled madly, his laughter almost as chilling as the death coming towards them.

The Rangers fanned out as their foes charged, and arrows flew humming through the air to strike the warped creatures. They focused their fire on two of the Madness-Touched, bringing one down with the first volley. But there was no time for a second, for the Rangers had to evade the deadly claws, fangs, hooves, horns, and worse.

Zakhin’Dakh, on the other hand, plowed right into one of the creatures, some demented hybrid of deer, lion, and pig. It had lowered its head to gore him with its antlers, but Zakhin’Dakh caught it with his talons, their impact snapping off a couple of prongs. They struggled for a moment, but the griffon was larger and stronger, and he soon was able to twist his prey to the side and then go for its neck with his beak.

While they fought, Garkhen dismounted to cover Zakhin’Dakh’s flank, for another Javni’Tolkhrah was charging towards them. The Warder called on Bahamut for strength, chanting a spell-prayer that made him swell up to twice his height. He met the monster’s charge with his shield, claws digging into the ground as it crashed into him. The beast’s claws and fangs shrieked as they scraped on his armor, louder then they should have, but then Garkhen struck back, Silverflame crushing and burning one of its too many paws.

Almonihah had, somehow, slipped between two of the Javni’Tolkhrah, and was now running towards the insane, robed man who was standing alone, holding the amulet aloft while keeping up his insane laughter. The amulet itself… pulsed, almost as if it were a beating heart, colors flickering and glowing all about it.

The bronze-scaled half-dragon fired at him, his arrow flying true right at its target… until it suddenly veered away, followed by another bout of insane laughter. Almonihah snarled and continued to close, firing another arrow with the same result as he did. Looked like it’d come down to blades…

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And that’s where I decided I should go to bed.

Chapter 5-7

Again the half-bronze dragon growled. He’d recognized the feeling. How could he forget it…

He jumped at a touch on his shoulder. He looked over, right into a huge griffon eye.

Okay? Zakhin’Dakh screeched.

Mutely Almonihah nodded. “’t’s not let him get further in,” he said to the group.

Quietly they continued moving, following the trail deeper into the Madlands. The sun rose higher in the sky as they traveled, but its light seemed… uncertain, somehow, as if it passed through some kind of invisible haze.

Garkhen shivered slightly. The… wrongness in the air disturbed him. He could feel Zakhin’Dakh’s tension below him, and it was not hard to see that the Rangers, including Almonihah, were on edge. Odd movements seemed to flicker at the edge of his vision, and sometimes he could swear that the trees themselves were twisting to watch them as they passed.

Before long they began descending from the forested mountainsides into warm jungle… though the twisting of the land in the Madlands was already becoming apparent. Stones stuck out of the earth at odd angles in unnatural shapes, and even the trees seemed to have taken monstrous shapes that spoke of claws and fangs instead of branches.

But for now, all seemed still. Too still—no birds sung, no insects buzzed, no rodents scurried… even the air seemed still, for all that something in it seemed to shimmer and move until one turned to look at it. Even the sound of their passage seemed muffled… or perhaps that was simply the Rangers’ skill at stealth, for Zakhin’Dakh’s talons clicking on stone every now and again seemed loud enough.

Suddenly Almonihah broke the silence. “There!” He said, pointing.

For a moment everyone stopped, straining to see. “’t’s definitely a large group. Got t’ hurry to catch up,” Almonihah explained, then started moving again, at a faster pace.

The rest of the group hurried to follow, though Almonihah’s ground-eating pace was hard to match. Garkhen found himself quite glad he was riding—there was no way he would have been able to keep up on foot. Indeed, even some of the other Rangers seemed to be struggling as the half-dragon’s pace began to resemble a run more than a jog.

They raced through the twisted landscape, noting only in passing the distressing number of thorns, crevices, and other unpleasant features to the sides of the path. The Javni’Tolkhrah had, however, cleared most of these with their passing, it appeared, save for some of the more uneven terrain.

But by now the reason for their haste was clear to all, for they could see, when there was a break in the foliage, that they were descending into a large valley. And plain within it was a large group of twisted monsters, gathered around a single figure… waiting.

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So yes, next post is going to involve lots of fighting. Lots and lots of fighting.