Chapter 14: Desperation
“Things don’t always work out like stories. Sometimes none ‘f the choices are good, ‘nd just living’s the best you can do.”
None of the Javni’Tolkhrah seemed to react as Zakhin’Dakh flew closer. Which wasn’t to say any of the group were happy about what they saw. More monstrosities than they had ever seen flew and prowled around the source of the light. Almonihah could just barely make out a man standing at the center… holding something above him.
“Think that’s th’ Amulet,” he said, unnecessarily.
Garkhen nodded. “But what are we to do about it? I fear we cannot face so many in open combat…”
Almonihah growled. “Well we can’t just turn around. Only going t’ get worse.”
“Indeed,” Garkhen agreed, “But that leaves us with the question of what to do.”
They were all silent for a few moments, save for Zakhin’Dakh’s wingflaps. Almonihah stared at the gathering of Javni’Tolkhrah.
“Not a one ‘f them look like they can fly well,” he commented. “Bet you could outfly ’em all, Zakhin’Dakh.”
The big griffon screeched proudly in response to this praise. But Almonihah was still considering the sight below them.
“Think ‘f I shot that guy it’d break whatever spell’s going on?”
“It seems our best chance,” Garkhen replied doubtfully, “Though it seems it will be a difficult task.”
Almonihah grunted as he nocked an arrow. “Just try t’ hold steady, Zakhin’Dakh.”
For a few agonizing moments, the half-bronze dragon held his bowstring taut, looking for an opening. At last he loosed… but his arrow struck one of the many monstrosities circling the man and the Amulet. It roared in pain and swerved, leaving the swarm to chase after the three friends.
The Ranger growled back and fired another arrow, this time aiming at it deliberately. It dipped slightly as his arrow struck it in the shoulder, but it kept coming. His next arrow only skimmed its head. His third arrow, however, pierced its skull, and it tumbled from the sky.
“Least we could pick ’em off,” Almonihah commented. “’less they changed their minds and all came after us.”
“As they likely would,” Garkhen agreed. “And so…”
“Keep shooting,” Almonihah stated, nocking another arrow.
He waited a long time to take his shot, watching for the perfect opening as Zakhin’Dakh slowly circled around the swirling mass of monsters. Finally he fired, his arrow sailing straight through a gap between two Javni’Tolkhrah and shearing through the man’s arm and into his chest.
None of the Javni’Tolkhrah so much as looked in their direction. Nor did the man lower the amulet he held. Almonihah growled.
“Not sure that guy’s even alive any more,” Almonihah stated after peering for a little while longer at his target. “Doesn’t seem like he matters, at least.”
Garkhen nodded solemnly. “And so, now what are we to do?”