Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: June 2016

Chapter 12-4

 “Ah, what is the Chainer’s Guild?” Garkhen asked as he stepped toward Illusin.

“We had thought it just what it sounds—a guild of metalworkers specialized in the making chains,” the Archmage explained. “Now… we shall see. Come, join hands.”

He held out one hand, which Garkhen carefully grasped. Almonihah took Garkhen’s other hand, and Zakhin’Dakh, after a moment’s hesitation, placed a talon on the Ranger’s shoulder. Once his passengers were ready, Illusin chanted his incantation…

…and suddenly they were elsewhere. They were still near the water, for it was lapping up against a small dock to their left, but to their right was a large, low building, with a sign hanging in front of its large double doors. On the sign was painted a thick chain.

Almonihah’s eyes narrowed. That chain…

“Chains…” Garkhen murmured next to him, unknowingly echoing his thoughts as the younger wizard who had preceded them walked towards them.

Before anyone could say anything more, there was the bang of a shutter being thrown open, followed by another, then by the twang of bowstrings. One arrow shattered against the air a few inches from Illusin’s face.

The other took the initiate mage in the throat. Garkhen rushed over to him, roughly snapping the arrow and pulling it out so he could call upon Bahamut’s blessing to heal him. To the Warder’s relief, the mage was still breathing after the wound healed—he had not been too late.

Another arrow skipped off of his armor, and Garkhen summoned up a ward of wind to blow any more off-course. Almonihah, meanwhile, had gotten his own bow out, and fired back at one of the windows. Garkhen’s ward blew his shot off-course just as it did their foes’, however, resulting in it burying itself in the shutter next to the window.

Zakhin’Dakh, you won’t fit, Almonihah stated in Great Eagle as he moved aside, glancing at Garkhen to see if he’d signal when he was around the ward. See if there’s a back entrance, and jump on anybody who comes out.

The big griffon shrieked a challenge in response and took off, soaring up over the building. He started circling above it, waiting for any sign of movement below from the back of the guildhouse.

Illusin, meanwhile, had been chanting another spell. As he finished, he thrust a finger towards the guild’s door, and a bolt of lightning lanced out. To the Archmage’s clear dismay, it struck some sort of barrier in front of the door and dissipated without causing it any harm.

“They have it warded?” He asked incredulously. “And so strongly?”

More arrows arced out of windows, to be blown aside by Garkhen’s ward. Finally the Warder gave his friend a nod, and Almonihah again nocked and fired an arrow at the archer in a nearby window. The man shouted in pain as the arrow struck him in the shoulder, and he sunk out of sight, to be replaced by another archer. Almonihah ducked aside as the archer returned fire, the arrow skittering off the scales of his arm, before firing back, this time getting his target in the throat.

“This is too slow!” Illusin shouted. He again began chanting, and this time he thrust his hand toward the open window. A green ray lanced out from his palm, striking the wall, which then began to flow and melt, leaving a gap large enough for a man to walk through, and revealing the corpse of the man Almonihah had shot.

Garkhen readied his mace and shield and charged toward the opening, choking down the feeling of illness at the thought of killing men. He saw no other choice. They were trying to kill him and his friends, and they could do untold harm with the Amulet. If he could, he would not kill, but… 

*************************************

Awwww, Garkhen… maybe if you bash them on the head soft enough they won’t die. 

Chapter 12-3

Unfortunately, the trail didn’t last for long, petering out in a side passage not far from the amulet’s former resting place. Almonihah growled in frustration as he looked about, though truth be told he was not surprised.

Just as he was about to speak, Archmage Ganver spoke up. “He must have gone through this door—see? It is ajar. Unfortunately I suspect this presages his esacpe,” he continued, opening the door into a small room lit by sunlight, “For this room has a balcony.”

Quickly Almonihah rushed past and to the balcony, his keen draconic eyes scanning the skies. Soon enough his eyes narrowed.

“There. Human flying, not a bird. Headed… to th’ docks?”

“Then we shall search for him there,” Illusin declared. “Your artifact has a powerful aura. It shall not be hard to pin down its precise location once we arrive in its general vicinity.”

Hurriedly the Archmagi formed a search party, consisting of themselves and a few others they trusted, as well as the two half-dragons and griffon. Not wanting to delay, the group swiftly trooped out of the tower and down to the bridge, where, Illusin informed them, they would be outside of the teleportation-exclusion enchantment upon the Mage’s Guild.

Zakhin’Dakh again returned to his true size once outside, making those wizards standing closest to him jump a bit in surprise. Ganver would not delay, however, and ushered the group together, getting them closer together so they would be ready for teleportation. Once he was satisfied they were all ready, he spoke his incantation, weaving his hands in the air…

And suddenly they were on the docks.

“You two, that way,” Archmage Ganver ordered two of the lower-ranking wizards. “You two, along there, and you two, to the right. I will take this direction, and Illusin…”

“I will maintain contact between the disparate groups here, with our guests, to be ready to aid whichever group finds the artifact,” Archmage Illusin interrupted, smoothly. “It is clear our thief knows he could be followed, so we should be prepared with a reserve, and for that reserve to arrive in time to aid, we will need one who can stay in contact with all of the groups simultaneously.”

Ganver looked like he wanted to argue, but finally just nodded. “Very well. Now, go!” He ordered the other mages, then left himself.

As soon as they were out of sight, Illusin worked a spell of his own, and soon Almonihah, Garkhen, and Zakhin’Dakh could hear the voices of the different mages speaking from thin air. The Archmage glanced over at them, looking a bit smug.

“No doubt we will soon locate our thief, and then I shall bring you in to aid in his capture. We are, as you no doubt know, authorized to make arrests within the city.”

“I see,” Garkhen said, voice neutral. He had not realized just how much power the Mage’s Guild wielded in Midport. “We are, of course, prepared to aid in the recovery of the Amulet and the apprehension of the thief by the proper authorities.”

Zakhin’Dakh added a piercing shriek of agreement, then the whole group fell silent, listening to the disembodied voices. For the most part they spoke in only quiet murmurs, confirming with one another that there was nothing in each location before moving on to the next.

Finally, after what felt like hours but was more likely minutes, one of the younger mages exclaimed, “I found something!”

“Where?” Archmage Illusin demanded immediately.

“It’s… there’s a chain hanging on a sign in front.”

“The Chainer’s Guild?” Illusin replied, incredulously, then shook his head and turned to the three friends. “Come, we must go there at once.” 

********************************

Yep, Midport is pretty much a magocracy even if it’s officially not. 

Chapter 12-2

Illusin looked nonplussed at this response. Before he could speak, however, one of the injured mages sat up, groaning with pain as he did.

“Archmage,” he gasped out, “They took it.”

“The artifact?” Illusin demanded. At his underling’s nod, he continued, “Who took it? Where did they take it?”

“Please, archmage,” one of the other wizards pled, “He’s badly injured, he should be seen by a healer immediately.”

Frustration evident on his face, Illusin nodded a curt assent. The mage murmured a spell, and his injured companion floated gently up into the air. Two of the mages, gently grabbed his arms and started towing him off. The worst hurt of the other mages were being treated similarly.

Illusin glared at those remaining. “Well? Did not any of the rest of you see what happened? You three!” He barked at a small cluster of wizards, “You were also to guard the artifact! What have you seen?”

They looked at each other, each daring the others to speak first. At last one of them said, “We were at the door, when we heard a tremendous explosion. We had to unseal the door to get in, and when we did… well, there were already all of the Madness-Touched, and…”

“I caught a glimpse of him!” One of his companions interrupted. “Someone in Guild robes disappearing around the corner!”


“You mean to suggest it was one of our own?” The Archmage demanded, just as another of his colleagues walked up behind him. Almonihah snorted, but Garkhen tapped him on the arm before he could say anything ill-advised.

“I suspect it is so, Illusin,” the newcomer said, startling the addressed archmage.

“Why do you say that, Ganver?” Illusin asked, turning to face his colleague.

“To be done so quickly, without destroying the outer wards? I thought it the only obvious possibility,” Archmage Ganver replied. “None but a high-ranking member of our Guild could perform such a feat.”

Illusin looked like he wished to disagree but could not think of an argument to make. Satisfied that he’d silenced his fellow Archmage, Ganver turned to the remaining mages. “That being the case, our mystery thief would likely anticipate our most predictable responses, and will thus be shielded against magical detection. However!” He turned to the two half-dragons. “We do not teach classes on tracking here in the guild. Perhaps a Ranger might be able to figure out where he has gone?”

“Across stone?” Almonihah asked, incredulously. “’f it was grass, sure, but here…” He trailed off and narrowed his eyes. “Wait.”

Carefully he went back to the breach in the wall and looked around. “Lot ‘f dust,” he murmured to himself, looking about. “There. Bootprint.” He didn’t bother pointing it out to anyone else, rather searching for another.

“There. Dust on th’ boots now…” He muttered, starting to follow a faint trail down the hall. 

*********************************

This story needs to quit proving Almonihah right about mages.

Chapter 12-1

Chapter 12: Secrets of the Chains

“Hate having no good choices.” –Almonihah

“There are times I regret that my heritage did not grant me wings, or at the least longer legs.” –Garkhen

The room itself was enormous, but even with its size the combat filled most of it. Almonihah drew his blades with a growl as one of the mages fell, screaming, as a Javni’Tolkhrah penetrated his last wards. As one, the three friends charged into battle.

Garkhen crashed into the back of a seven-legged, vaguely canine beast with his shield, drawing its attention. It whirled to face him, only to see his flaming mace descending, at which point it twisted away, its long body impossibly agile even in the crowded space between it and a wizard’s wards. Somehow seeming more serpent-like now, it lashed out at the half-dragon with its fanged maw, but Garkhen managed to get the edge of his shield up in time to deflect it, though the force of the blow almost knocked him over.

Almonihah nimbly stepped behind a distracted Madness-Touched monstrosity, his blades flashing through the air as he hamstrung one of its hind legs. It stumbled and tried to turn to face him, but as it did, the mage it had been assaulting had enough time to hurl a blast of jagged ice shards at its head. One of them struck it straight in the temple, piercing through its skull and instantly dropping the beast. Without a word, the half-bronze dragon turned to the next target.

Zakhin’Dakh’s talons clicked on the stone of the floor as he scrambled to catch up. Hey! He shrieked at the mages. Want big again so help! Amazingly, one of them apparently both understood him and knew how to reverse the spell, for he returned the griffon to his usual massive size with a brief word and sharp gesture. Delighted, Zakhin’Dakh shriek-roared at the Javni’Tolkhrah and tore into the flank of one nearby him.

It was quickly obvious that the arrival of the three friends had turned the tide of the battle. With one best dead, one distracted, and Zakhin’Dakh’s… very distracted, there were now a couple mages who were no longer so worried about their wards that they could not attack effectively. The wolf-serpent-thing still chewing on Garkhen’s shield suddenly jerked as a bolt of lightning blasted through it. It struck the half-blue dragon as well, but it was clear that the mage knew it would not harm him.

The beast Zakhin’Dakh had attack writhed in the giant griffon’s talons, but he had a firm grip upon it, and it could not turn to attack him effectively. Zakhin’Dakh, however, had a beak free, which he soon put to good use striking its back, severing its spine. The Javni’Tolkhrah collapsed to the ground, gasping out its last breaths.

Eldereth arced through the air in Almonihah’s hand until it struck the flank of another Madness-Touched. The longsword bounced off the creature’s surprisingly tough feathers, but it jerked slightly at the electric shock the sword’s enchantment delivered. It turned to face him, away from the wizard it had been mauling, baring bloody fangs at the Ranger as it opened its mouth to bite him. Said Ranger replied by stabbing Zithrandrak into its mouth, freezing some of the blood on its teeth as the enchanted blade slid between them and into the roof of its mouth. It staggered, listed to one side, and then fell, ripping Zithrandrak from the Ranger’s grasp.

Hurriedly he seized its hilt and yanked it out, only to look around and see a freshly arrived group of wizards finishing off the last of the Javni’Tolkhrah. Once the last of them lay unmoving on the floor, some of the new group rushed in, racing to those of their guild lying bleeding on the ground while pulling potions out of pouches.

While they did this, one of the other mages stepped towards Almonihah. As he approached the half-dragon realized it was Archmage Illusin.

“What happened here?” The Archmage demanded.

Almonihah snorted. “Hoping you could tell us.” 

******************

New chapter! Yay! You’ll notice it has the same title as the old chapter… because the old chapter didn’t get as far as I thought it would. You’ll also notice (if you go back) that the old chapter now has a new title. It’s the magic of the Internet!