Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: November 2015

Chapter 9-3

Zakhin’Dakh perked up at Almonihah’s shout, then took off, risking the storm to look closer. Soon he circled back, shrieking out, Really big! Bigger than me!

“It’s big, too!” Almonihah translated, nocking an arrow and preparing for when the creature broke the surface.

Both Garkhen and the ship’s mage hurried over to where he stood, looking out over the ship’s railing. The mage paled at the sight. Behind them, the captain was shouting out orders, and sailors were arming themselves with whatever they could—though there seemed to be a number of them with spears.

There was no time to ponder what this meant, however, for a tentacle snaked out of the water ahead of the approaching creature. It was nearly as thick around as a man, and ended in a pad with large suckers. The ship’s mage belted out a short incantation and hurled a bolt of lightning at it. It blasted a smoking hole in the pad, making the tentacle flail about and then submerge beneath the water… only to be replaced by one, two, three more.

As the tentacles drew near enough to touch the ship, the creature partially emerged, showing a huge, fleshy head, covered with odd growths in various grays and browns, with a gigantic maw ringed by countless tentacles. Almonihah loosed an arrow at it, but he knew it would be little more than a pinprick to a creature of such size.

He swore, quietly but intensely, in Draconic as he nocked another arrow. This was going to be bad…

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But of course it’s a Kraken! What else would it be?

And yes, short post today. I have a couple big projects due next week, so I’ll probably be brief on the next post, too.

Chapter 9-2

They made good time for the first few days, the ship’s mage conjuring a strong wind behind them as they headed north-northwest.

But good weather rarely lasts.

One evening, as the sun was getting low, Zakhin’Dakh flew back to the ship in haste. Almonihah! He shrieked as he got close. Bad clouds! Fast!

“Bad clouds?” Almonihah repeated, in Common. “You mean a storm?” Storm, he repeated in Great Eagle, to teach his friend the word.

Yeah! Come fast! Strong wind!

“What’s that about a storm?” the ship’s captain asked, walking across the deck towards Almonihah.

“Zakhin’Dakh says there’s one coming,” the half-dragon said. “Strong winds, heading this way fast.”

The captain looked concerned, and went over to speak with the ship’s mage. As he did, Zakhin’Dakh came in for a careful landing, making sure not to tear up the deck with his talons.

Look strange, the big griffon said to his best friend. Clouds not move right.

What do you mean? Almonihah asked, frowning.

Clouds not move right! Not move cloud like!

The clouds aren’t moving like clouds should, Almonihah absently corrected, then turned and walked over to the captain.

“He says it’s worse. Clouds aren’t moving right.” Almonihah paused a moment. “How close ‘re we t’ the Madlands?”

“As far as we can sail and not be in sight of the Pirate Isle,” the captain replied, seemingly a bit affronted. “Never had trouble before with anything unnatural.” He seemed to look suspiciously at the half-bronze dragon as he said this.

Garkhen had, by now, noticed that something was going on. He walked over, concern plain on his face.

“Storm’s coming. Unnatural one,” Almonihah explained, before his fellow half-dragon could ask.

Garkhen’s eyes widened just a bit, and he nodded slightly. “I see.”

Just then, the ship’s lookout shouted out, “Cap’n! Dark clouds on the horizon! Storm’s coming!”

The captain looked up and gave the lookout a short nod, then started shouting out orders to his crew.

 

The ship slowly turned about as the wind picked up, filling the sails without magical assistance.

Almonihah, Garkhen, Tirel, and Zakhin’Dakh simply tried to stay out of the way. After a few minutes, the ship’s mage came over.

“Garkhen, you are a Priest of Bahamut, correct?”

“I am a Warder of Bahamut, yes,” Garkhen affirmed.

The mage nodded slightly. “Then perhaps you might aid in reinforcing the ship with your wards? The masts and hull both may well need aid to weather this storm.”

Already thick, dark clouds were visible even from the deck, moving closer… and as Zakhin’Dakh had said, something seemed wrong about the way they moved. It was almost… like they were alive, somehow, oozing their way forwards across the sky like some filthy slime.

Garkhen nodded, and followed the mage to set up wards. Almonihah, meanwhile, walked over to the aft, figuring he’d be both out of the way and in position to look at the coming storm. But soon something else caught his eye. A dark shadow on the water…

No. Not on the water. Under the water. And it was approaching even faster than the storm.

“Look out!” He shouted, getting his bow out. “Something’s coming from the water!

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Yep, trouble. Always trouble. Things can never go right for long, right?

Chapter 9-1

Chapter 9: Islands

“The cause of Righteousness is ever opposed. I am never surprised to find this so, for to do good has never been easy. I find, in the stories of days past, that there was never a tale of a hero without a tale of hardship survived and toil endured. For evil never rests in its battle against joy, nor does time wait for the slothful.”

“I find it odd that there are those who believe that goodness will exempt them from hardship. I suppose such must be unfamiliar with history, for this theory is amply disproved there. Good is never accomplished easily.”

Almonihah hated ships. They were so… confining, like being locked in a box in the middle of the ocean. He spent as much time on-deck as he could, though he had to make sure to stay out of the way of the sailors with his restless pacing.

Sometimes he considered joining Zakhin’Dakh, who coped with the long journey much as he had on the way down, by spending as much time in the air as he could. But flying under his own power always brought back bad memories, and he didn’t want to tire his friend out faster and thereby make him spend more time on the ship. So he stayed here and paced.

Garkhen did not mind the time on board. Not only did he appreciate the rest, he had also taken the opportunity to purchase a few books while in Ferd, so he usually found a quiet corner to read each day. If the sailors thought it odd that he was reading in full armor… well, he was a half-dragon, which was odd enough already.

Tirel was the only one of the group who truly seemed to enjoy sailing for its own sake. He watched the sailors managed the ropes and sails with curiosity, and often looked out over the waves with a bit of a grin.

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Just a moment of calm here. You know what that means. >: D

Chapter 8-7

Garkhen looked surprised. “You sailed here, then?”

Almonihah snorted. “Yeah.”

The half-blue dragon looked over at the huge griffon. “Ah… I had not thought a ship would be sufficient for Zakhin’Dakh.”

Almonihah shrugged. “Lot ‘f strange things get shipped from Midport. Just had t’ find th’ right captain.”

Tirel laughed. “Somehow I don’t think it’ll be that easy, Almonihah.”

“Least now we have someone who can look human.”

The tiger-man grinned. “It’s not often that I get to be the most normal person in a group.”

Almonihah snorted, shifting his wings slightly. “May have t’ get used to it ‘f you keep following us around.”

The Wyre shrugged slightly. “We’ll see. I could always just stay in my Wyre form if I wanted to keep you three company,” he added, grinning.

“I think it will be wiser for you to assume human form, my friend,” Garkhen interjected, also grinning. “As you have pointed out, we shall have enough difficulty as it is purchasing passage.”

They traveled quickly, but it still took several days to reach the capital city of Ferd. Tirel did, indeed, assume human form as they neared the city. The group still got some weird looks, but… it was clear from speaking with the guards at the gates of the city that the story of Almonihah and Zakhin’Dakh coming through the town when they had arrived in Ferdunan had spread… and Garkhen’s tale seemed equally well-known.

Once they were out of earshot of the guards, Almonihah muttered, “Guess a reputation’s good for something.”

“A good one is, yes,” Garkhen agreed.

They soon found that their good reputation was not sufficient to find passage easily. The captains they spoke with pointed out—quite rightly—the many challenges of transporting a creature like Zakhin’Dakh. Many spoke of how crews would likely not work well with a giant griffon about. None were willing to take the chance, in spite of the offer of significant quantities of gold.

It was nearly a week before they finally had some luck. Another ship from Midport had come in, and while the captain was reluctant at first, when they brought up the subject of payment, he grew more agreeable.

At last he said, “Well, if you feed him and clean up after him, I’ll take you aboard.”

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I apologize for the late post. Here, have a picture of Zakhin’Dakh fighting a behir to make up for it. 😀

I feel like I glossed over the difficulties of shipping a giant griffon a bit too much on the way south. It may be a bit more of an issue now…

Chapter 8-6

In spite of their best efforts, their stay stretched out to several days. After telling Whitepaw all he could, Garkhen mostly rested. He hated admitting it, but he needed the rest—he had drained himself too thoroughly over the past days, and needed to rebuild his strength. Whitepaw occasionally called him in to discuss something with him, but other than that he rested or, sometimes, spoke with Tirel or the other Wyre.

Wyre seemed to drift in and out of the little refuge. Garkhen couldn’t quite follow why some stayed and some left, though he gathered that sometimes Whitepaw requested that one or another of the Wyre do something. But for the most part, they seemed to come and go at their own volition.

Almonihah recognized what was going on. It wasn’t so different from how the Rangers worked—partly independent, partly at the direction of a leader. In fact, he enjoyed being with them—they were fellow worshipers of Naishia, and he found he had a fair amount in common with them. Though even here he was still an outsider to some degree, but… he was used to that. At least they didn’t think he was a monster or something.

Zakhin’Dakh thought the Wyre were really cool, what with turning into animals and animal-people and stuff. He liked following Almonihah around while he was talking with them, or just following them around in general, watching what they were doing and trying to talk with them. He was a little jealous of them having hands and being able to be animals at the same time. Hands were useful! But he was a griffon, so he didn’t have hands, so it seemed a little unfair that they could be things like eagles or tigers and still have hands, but it was okay he guessed. At least he had more friends with hands now.

In spite of feeling more at ease here, Almonihah couldn’t really relax. Not with that Amulet around. He checked in frequently at Whitepaw’s hut to make sure it was still there. It always was, but… he was pretty sure the wolf-Wyre looked at him approvingly as he came, as if she appreciated his concern for the dangerous artifact.

At last she called the three friends together, coming outside with a small wooden box in her hands.

“This is all I can do,” she explained to them. “Though I studied it long, I have found no method to destroy it. Its power is beyond my understanding. Where you might go or what you might do… I know not, save that I feel you should go north.”

“North?” Almonihah repeated. He thought a moment. “S’pose there’s th’ Midport Mage’s Guild. Supposed t’ be the biggest bunch ‘f wizards anywhere.”

“That may be your best hope,” Whitepaw said. “This was worked by a sorcerer of great skill and power, from what I have seen, and so perhaps wizards may succeed where I and other Druids have failed.”

Almonihah snorted. “Or they could try t’ take it.”

“Only the very foolish would do so,” Whitepaw replied.

“I doubt we will find such leading a Guild of such repute, Almonihah,” Garkhen said, trying to forestall further argument.

The half-bronze dragon grunted, but said nothing further.

“Very well, then. You shall depart in the morning with all haste. Even contained, this Amulet sickens me, and I cannot imagine its presence here has gone unmarked this whole time.”

“And I’ll come, too!”

Everyone turned to see Tirel jogging up to join the group. He grinned a bit as he met the quartet of gazes.

“This Amulet thing’s got trouble written all over it, and I figure you could use another hand. Or paw.”

“I, for one, would be glad for your company, Tirel,” Garkhen replied, smiling back. “What do you think, Almonihah?”

Almonihah shrugged. “Help if th’ Javni’Tolkhrah attack again.”

Garkhen turned to the big griffon. “What of you, Zakhin’Dakh?”

Zakhin’Dakh shrieked happily and nodded. He liked having more friends!

“Then it is decided,” Whitepaw said. “Prepare as best you can and rest well. You shall need your strength in days to come.”

The Wyre sent them off the next day with a simple but hearty farewell. Tirel led the little group away, back south and west towards the ocean and the ships that could carry them to Midport.

As they traveled, Zakhin’Dakh looked over at Almonihah.

Where we go next? He asked with an excited screech.

The Ranger grinned just the slightest bit at his friend’s eager, innocent question. “Back t’ the ocean. You remember th’ place that had other griffons?”

Zakhin’Dakh screeched an enthusiastic agreement.

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Zakhin’Dakh likes friends. Friends are good. They’re really cool! 😀