The Druid nodded in sorrowful agreement. “There is much to mourn this day… but if you do not destroy the Amulet, our suffering this day will be as nothing. Please, go quickly, and may the Lady of Forests watch over you.”
They stayed only long enough for the druids to heal their wounds, and then the three companions moved on, in spite of fatigue and, in the case of Garkhen, unconsciousness. With the help of one of the remaining Rangers Almonihah had been able to get the half-blue dragon into a slightly more stable and comfortable position, but he showed no signs of rousing.
Zakhin’Dakh flew, if not swiftly, at least steadily. Almonihah gripped his saddle behind Garkhen, his own wings spread to, he hoped, reduce the load on his tired friend without straining his own already-weary muscles.
In spite of their efforts, they only traveled a couple of hours at best before they simply could not continue. Zakhin’Dakh landed without his usual energy in the sparsely-forested foothills, and Almonihah did his best to get Garkhen off without simply dropping him on the ground. Then he took off Zakhin’Dakh’s saddle, and the two friends slept as best they could.
To Almonihah’s amazement, nothing troubled them in the night, and while neither he nor Zakhin’Dakh were feeling great in the morning, they at least had more energy than the night before. Garkhen, however, was still unconscious.
Zakhin’Dakh screeched worriedly and lightly tapped the Warder. Wake up?
When that failed to bring a response, the griffon turned to Almonihah. He not wake up. You help?
Almonihah shook his head slightly. “Only thing that can help’s time, I think, Zakhin’Dakh,” he said. “Did too much magic during the fight, ‘nd has t’ get his energy back.”
Zakhin’Dakh screeched in unhappy acceptance, then set about helping get Garkhen back in his saddle.
They flew on as long as they could, then stopped and rested for a time. They continued in this pattern until it was evening, and the walls of Elifort finally came into sight. Exhausted, Zakhin’Dakh came to a landing about a mile from the city.
The griffon hesitated as Almonihah walked toward the city. Cities usually weren’t good places for him…
Almonihah glanced back. “’f people complain about you after all you’ve done, I’ll let ’em know just what they’d be in for ‘f you weren’t around.”
Zakhin’Dakh screeched happily and followed.
The guards were watching the little group nervously as they approached, until one pointed in their direction and spoke to the others. One of them ran off, leaving the others to watch.
As they drew near, a guard called out, “Come no further ’til the Captain’s come!”
Almonihah grunted, but in reality, he was tired enough to appreciate a few moments of rest. But it didn’t take long.
The guard captain came up onto the wall. He looked rather… surprised, to see Zakhin’Dakh, but when he saw Garkhen slumped over his saddle, he called out, “What happened?”
“Fought Madness-Touched… ‘nd a cultist of Jivenesh,” Almonihah replied, darkly. “Just about killed us… ‘nd probably would’ve, ‘f not for him.”
“And… what of him?”
“Knocked himself out, doing magic,” Almonihah replied.
“I see…” The Captain replied. “If that’s the case… you must still stand trial, but I cannot do it until he awakens. Come in, and we’ll care for him until he’s well enough to speak for himself.”
Garkhen! Quit knocking yourself out! It’s not good for you!