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