Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: June 2015

Chapter 6-6

Garkhen saw one of the Javni’Tolkhrah crouching down, preparing to spring forward. Somehow he found the energy to summon up one more bolt of lightning breath. It was weak, hardly even reaching the beast, much less injuring it, but it yelp and whirled around, redirecting its attack to the half-dragon. He braced against its pounce as best he could, managing to keep his feet when it impacted him.

The next minutes would ever after be a blur in his memory, smeared by fatigue and faded by exhaustion. There was the flash of teeth and claws, screeching upon his armor. Again and again Silverflame rose and fell. Sometimes one Javni’Tolkhrah was in front of him, sometimes another.

Finally it ended. Garkhen was standing, more because fatigue had frozen him in place than because he had the energy to keep his feet. Around him were the three beasts, riddled with arrows and burned by his mace. And after that… darkness.

Zakhin’Dakh saw Almonihah break out of the woods below, and wheeled to follow him from where he had been circling above. He almost cried out to draw his attention, but then he saw a Javni’Tolkhrah burst out of the undergrowth behind his friend. His shriek of welcome became a shriek of battle, and he dove on the monstrosity, catching it by surprise.

Almonihah turned for just a moment, saw what was happening, and shouted, “Don’t get killed! ‘nd check on th’ Rangers!” before taking off again, flying low over the terrain as he made his way southwards, out of the Madlands.

It didn’t take long for Zakhin’Dakh to finish the beast he’d surprised, but two more came out of the warped woods, and soon he was fighting for his life. As soon as he dropped his guard, though, one slipped past him, trying to follow Almonihah. When the other tried to break free, however, he seized it savagely with his talons, and soon it, too, lay dead on the ground.

The big griffon then took off, trying to ignore the slowly bleeding wounds on his forequarters as he chased after the escapee. It saw him coming and dove off to one side, disappearing into a thick tangle of growth. After circling around for a little while, Zakhin’Dakh decided his friend was probably okay. He’d told him to go back to the Rangers, so he obediently turned and flew back towards them.

The griffon came to a landing in front of the Commander of the Rangers, one of only four survivors. Zakhin’Dakh screeched sadly as he looked at them. The Commander, nursing wounds of his own, looked the griffon over.

“Your other half-dragon friend is back there. I believe he still lives, but none of us can move him, and if we do not leave quickly, none of us shall.”

Zakhin’Dakh nodded with a quiet screeched, then took off again. He soon found Garkhen, lying collapsed on the corpse of a Javni’Tolkhrah, with two others dead around him. Carefully, he picked the Warder up in his talons, a bit surprised by how much heavier he felt. The big griffon concluded that meant he was tired, but he couldn’t rest.

He flew back to the Rangers. The Commander, seeing him flying in, waved him on. “Go!” He shouted. “Better you go alone! We shall travel quietly, but you draw attention. Speed is your only defense now. Fly!”

Zakhin’Dakh complied, climbing higher and flying southwards, Garkhen dangling from his talons.

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Whew! Finally finished that battle scene! I’d been thinking this chapter would cover more of the aftermath, but at this point I think I’ll just make it a new chapter next week.

Chapter 6-5

Zakhin’Dakh backed away from his foe, trying to not get caught between it and the other Javni’Tolkhrah still flying towards them. The cat-beast followed him, keeping up its attack, thinking it had the big griffon on the defensive. It leaped forward, and Zakhin’Dakh had to jump to the side to avoid its claws. But it had gotten too close to its larger foe, and it was Zakhin’Dakh’s turn to strike.

He suddenly lunged forward, his beak closing on its head. He couldn’t quite bite through its tough scales and skull, but now he could hold it close for a moment while he got his talons on it. While he still couldn’t get through its scales, its belly was unarmored, and soon it was gasping out its last breaths on the ground while Zakhin’Dakh took off, trying to keep away from the other Javni’Tolkhrah that were just now landing to follow after Almonihah. He hated leaving his friend, but dying wouldn’t help right now.

Almonihah had made some progress through the thick tangle of forest he’d dived into, feeling almost like he was fighting against the trees themselves as he struggled his way forward. But he could hear one of the Javni’Tolkhrah closing in on him, so he turned to fight, snarling at it as he drew his blades. It clearly hadn’t fared well, as it had ragged bleeding scratches along its hindquarters, but it tried to lunge towards him, only to shy back as he jabbed Zithrandrak towards its muzzle.

He followed it, getting close enough to slash at it with Eldereth. The blade glanced off its shoulder, somehow failing to penetrate its furred hide. It lashed out with its claws, forcing Almonihah back, and scratching his forearm slightly through his scales. But now he saw an opening, an Zithrandrak flashed forward. He could feel the resistance as he struck its hide, but his draconic strength was great enough to push his sword’s enchanted blade into the beast’s shoulder. It howled as Zithrandrak’s icy enchantment froze its blood around the wound, but in truth it was not a serious wound.

Almonihah jumped back as the Javni’Tolkhrah snapped at him with mismatched but no less deadly teeth. It looked like leading with Zithrandrak was the better option here, he thought to himself as he dodged another claw swipe. So he feinted with Eldereth, holding its attention with the larger blade, then struck again with his thinner sword. This time he struck it in the head, but his blade deflected off its skull, leaving it with a long, bleeding gash along the side of its head, but not killing it.

Its next claw slash caught him in the cheek, rewarding him with a shallow, bloody wound of his own. He tried to back up, to use the greater reach of his weapons to good effect, but the monster was enraged, trying to stay on top of him and rend him limb from limb. While dangerous, this did leave openings that Almonihah could take advantage of, and as it reared up to slash down at him again, he stabbed it in the chest with Zithrandrak. It managed to slash him across the face as it died, and Almonihah stumbled back, releasing his grip on Zithrandrak as he raised his hand to his face.

Blood trickled into his eyes, and he desperately recalled the one simple spell-prayer of healing he knew, focusing it on the gash on his forehead. He felt it close, then wiped the blood away as best he could. He could hear crashing behind him. He couldn’t linger, in spite of the fatigue from channeling Naishia’s power. And so he turned and kept running.

Zakhin’Dakh watched as the other Javni’Tolkhrah started making their way into the ‘forest’. He didn’t like the trees. They looked wrong. And they were too close together for a big creature like him to really walk between well. So he flew in the way Almonihah had been going, remembering that the forest hadn’t been that big.

Slowly, Garkhen got back to his feet. He could hear arrows humming and monsters roaring behind him. Hadn’t they retreated? Where had these come from? Steeling himself against his exhaustion, the Warder turned to see what was happening.

There were not many Javni’Tolkhrah. He saw only three, and they were all comparatively small. But the ranks of the Rangers were depleted as well. Thus far, the handful still living were managing to hold the range open, firing arrows at the pursuing beasts, but a couple more lay dead on the ground. And so Garkhen forced himself to walk, to move towards this last desperate struggle… at least, he hoped it was the last… 

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Well, I wasn’t as productive last week in terms of writing as I hoped… but don’t worry! This long battle is indeed winding down to its close. 

Chapter 6-4

Garkhen sighed and turned back to the Rangers, tired but ready to pursue after his friends to do what he could to aid him. He only had time to see the Commander, bloodied and battered, look behind him in shock before something crashed into him, bearing him to the ground. He felt teeth close around his neck, but his armor saved him from death. But even through his armor, he felt a sickly heat starting to burn his flesh.

With a great heave, the half-dragon threw his assailant off, then turned to face it. It was a Javni’Tolkhrah, of course, this one vaguely lupine in shape, but with six legs, long claws, and a cruel, twisted face. Vile purple flames flickered about it as it moved, its limbs moving impossibly fast as it darted back and forth, looking for an opening.

Garkhen tried to follow its movements, but he was slow and unskilled in war, while the beast was swift and cunning. It got to his side and darted in, teeth screeching on armor as its aura again tore at him. The Warder turned, trying to bring his mace to bear on it, but it darted back before he could strike. As it danced back, Garkhen opened his mouth and exhaled a bolt of lightning. That caught it off-guard, and it howled in pain and staggered backward, a scorched spot clear on its fur.

The half-blue dragon took advantage of the break to call upon Bahamut. While he dared not ask for the greater blessings of his god in his fatigued state, he did ward himself against flame. That was all he had time for, as the beast leaped at him again, not trying to flank him this time. He brought up his shield just in time to intercept it, its claws scrabbling on the metal as its toothy maw snapped inches from his face.

Then it leaped back as he swung his mace at it, and again began dancing about him. Garkhen was not certain how long this continued—it was clear the beast was trying to tire him, and it was succeeding. At last, desperate, the Warder dropped Silverflame, seized his holy symbol, and held it aloft, chanting a spell-prayer. The Javni’Tolkhrah, sensing an opening, leaped at him… only to be met with a searing beam of holy light. Its howl of pain cut off abruptly as the beam burned away its head.

Garkhen collapsed to his knees, panting, utterly spent. He was only dimly aware of the sounds of combat behind him…

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Here’s a short post to tide you over for a bit. 😉

Chapter 6-3

Said fastest one had nearly caught up with Almonihah. It was actually halfway aerodynamic, though the pair of bird wings in front of a pair of bat wings probably shouldn’t have worked as well as they were working. But then again, none of these creatures should work in the first place.

The half-bronze dragon could hear it closing in on him, but there wasn’t exactly much he could do right now… or was there? The terrain below was somewhat… well, forested was probably not quite the right word when those things weren’t really trees anymore, but they were at least fairly closely spaced. He dove down, angling to fly between two that were probably too close together for his pursuers.

He remembered too late that he wasn’t exactly a practiced flier. One of his wings clipped something, and he found himself tumbling through the air for a moment before coming to a stop with a crash on something hard. Forcing himself to move, Almonihah fought his way through the underbrush—it seemed to almost literally grab at him—to get to his feet and keep moving forward. He permitted himself just a bit of satisfaction when he heard a crash behind him, though a grimace of pain interrupted his slight grin. He hoped he hadn’t broken anything in that crash…

Another crashing sound heralded the arrival of Zakhin’Dakh on the scene. The lead Javni’Tolkhrah had landed better than Almonihah, though its larger size had been making travel through the underbrush difficult. Now, however, it had a giant griffon on its hindquarters, which was proving rather… distracting. Its hide was disturbingly tough to penetrate, so his talons were doing only superficial damage, but he certainly had its attention.

Garkhen and the Rangers were slowly falling back, warily watching the Madness-Touched that were still stalking them. Garkhen was growing weary, and so he ceased channeling power into his size and strength to conserve his energy. One of the monsters thought this was a sign of weakness and charged forward, only to be met by several arrows. While none were fatal, it did slow the creature down, which gave the half-blue dragon time to get his shield up. It slammed into him, and he grunted as his shield arm took the force of its slowed charge.

More arrows struck it, and it yowled in pain, giving Garkhen an opening to get his own blow in. While not lethal, it did stumble back, badly injured. Another arrow struck it, this time between the ribs, and it slowly toppled over, chest heaving ineffectually as it died. The other Javni’Tolkhrah started to fade back into the Madlands, no longer so interested in attacking these dangerous creatures without the flying members of their group.

Zakhin’Dakh wasn’t faring so well, however. His original target had managed to wriggle free of his grasp and escape into the underbrush, chasing after Almonihah, while another Javni’Tolkhrah came up behind. He’d only just barely managed to avoid it landing on him in return. It was smaller than him, but quick—some sort of messed-up cat-thingy with lizard scales on its head and back. It lashed out at him with swift claws, and while it hadn’t caused any serious harm yet, the big griffon already bore several scratches on his face and forelegs… and more were coming up behind.

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Sorry this is taking so long, but it takes a while to get through three characters all fighting at once. Next week, though… next week will be a later-in-the-week post, but it should be larger.

Chapter 6-2

With a terrifying war-shriek, Zakhin’Dakh plowed into the monster just before it caught his half-dragon friend. Almonihah had to fight the instinct to turn aside to help—staying here would just mean getting swarmed under by the other half-dozen or so Javni’Tolkhrah pursuing him. So he flew on, cursing his lack of practice with flight. Of course, now that he needed maximum speed he had to admit to himself that maybe avoiding flying because he kept thinking he heard Jivenesh speak in the wind when he did might not have been the best way to resolve the situation.

But now, he had no time for such thoughts. He forced his already-tiring flight muscles to push onward, pushed aside any thoughts of the vile source of his wings, and focused on evasion and flight. Down! Up! Left! Right! Somehow, he managed to stay free of the snapping jaws and slashing claws of his foes. It helped that none were particularly agile fliers—apparently being made of jumbled-up animals via chaos magic didn’t lend itself to aerodynamic shapes.

Garkhen, meanwhile, could do little to aid Almonihah, ground-bound as he was. The remaining Rangers, however, were in dire need of aid, for the remaining Javni’Tolkhrah were refocusing on them now that it was clear the Amulet was beyond their reach. The handful of survivors were falling back, too focused on survival to fire more on the monsters pursuing Almonihah.

Still filled with Bahamut’s power, he took position between them and the Javni’Tolkhrah, using Silverflame to ward the monstrosities off. Without the lure of the Amulet to provoke them they proved less willing to brave the Warder’s reach and the sting of the Rangers’ arrows, yet they were still dangerous. Garkhen could tell they were probing, looking for a weakness… a level of cunning he had not thought to attribute to the Madness-Touched.

And so he struck first. With shield held firm, he grasped his holy symbol with his other hand while keeping a hold on his mace. He chanted a spell-prayer, calling on Bahamut’s power, and a ray of light lanced out to scorch one of the Javni’Tolkhrah. It screamed hideously and jumped at him, but he was ready, lashing out with Silverflame as it reached him. In its anger it neglected defense, and so took the blow soundly on the snout. It stumbled, and then several arrows struck home in it. One found its eye, taking its life in one swift moment.

Zakhin’Dakh had felled the creature he had intercepted—it struggled to escape him to continue pursuing Almonihah, and so took too little care for its own defense. Now he was in pursuit of the others that were chasing his friend. Unlike them, he was a sure and swift flier, and so he was able to close quickly. Unfortunately the hindmost monstrosity had a barbed tail that looked slick with poison, which lashed at him almost of its own accord as he neared.

The big griffon veered this way and that, trying to get around it, but it was as if the tail had an eye in it that tracked him. Finally he fell back slightly, then, with strong wingbeats, rose above the Javni’Tolkhrah and just flew forward, completely avoiding it. It was the slowest, anyway. It was the fastest one he should worry about. 

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Writing combat for three characters at once is a bit challenging.