The guards on the walls looked rather nervous at having a giant griffon land behind them. Sheepishly, Zakhin’Dakh waved at them, but that didn’t seem to calm their nerves.
“He’s with us,” an officer called out. “Keep your eyes on the threat!”
Again Zakhin’Dakh took off, flying up to see what was coming. He screeched softly in surprise at the sight—even more Javni’Tolkhrah than they’d fought in the Madlands, charging and flying towards the walls of the city in a disorganized horde. Not the kind of thing for a single griffon to go charging into. Instead he circled above the walls, waiting for the right chance to strike.
Almonihah reached the walls just as a voice cried out, “Fire!” He didn’t take the time to run up the stairs, instead leaping into the air, taking a couple flaps of his wings to reach the top of the wall. Then he brought his own bow to bear, blasting sizzling arrows into the mass of Javni’Tolkhrah rushing at the walls.
They were close now, or at least their vanguard was. They’d only grown more disorganized as they’d charged, and by now those that could fly were a few hundred yards in front of those who could not. Most of the archers were focusing on these ones, and a couple fell before they reached the walls.
Now Zakhin’Dakh saw his chance, for they were completely ignoring him. He flew up higher, then dove on one of the largest just as it reached the wall of the city. It tried to dodge him, but that only brought his true target in reach—its wing. He plowed into the wing with all his might, snapping bone and tearing the flesh. It tumbled from the air, smashed into the wall, then dropped to the ground, dead. Zakhin’Dakh narrowly averted a similar fate, the tips of his wings tapping bows and helmets as he flew over the wall.
In spite of the casualties, there were still a good half-dozen of the Madness-Touched that still lived to fly over the wall. They ignored the guards, instead heading towards…
“Zakhin’Dakh! They’re headed for th’ amulet!” Almonihah shouted. He turned and continued his barrage of arrows, quietly praying that none of his stray shots landed on someone in the city.
The big griffon shrieked a challenge as he attacked the nearest monstrosity he could reach, one with eagle’s wings like his own but a body much more like a giant warthog’s. It tried to slash at him with oversized tusks, but it was smaller than Zakhin’Dakh, and he soon brought it to the ground.
In the confusion, the ground-bound Javni’Tolkhrah had neared the walls. By now the Guard Captain had asserted control over his men, and he shouted, “Pikes!” Just in time, the guards turned back outwards, polearm-equipped men bracing their weapons as the most agile of the Madness-Touched leaped up onto the walls.
In this they succeeded mostly in impaling themselves upon the weapons… but even in death, they brought misery. One with a stinger sprouting from its back impaled its killer back as it died, both dropping to the ground almost at once.
The detonation had such force as to knock men off their feet more than a dozen yards away, including Almonihah. The half-bronze dragon was thrown entirely off of the wall, and he reflexively opened his wings as he fell. That bought him a softer landing, but he still felt bruised and dazed as he shakily got back to his feet. Behind him he could hear the shifting of stone and men shouting, but he put it aside. Whatever else happened, he had to stop those flying Javni’Tolkhrah from reaching the amulet.
Apologies for the late post! Hopefully it was worth it.
I didn’t realize this chapter was going to be so long. Maybe I should have split it up…