Where go? Zakhin’Dakh asked.
“That way,” Almonihah responded, pointing to what he thinks is the northwest. “If we hit th’ coast, we can follow it to Midport. Just have t’ hope we’re not too far.”
With that, the half-bronze dragon turned to look back at the Javni’Tolkhrah following them. He was right—none of them were fast enough to keep up with Zakhin’Dakh. He briefly considered firing some arrows at them, but didn’t think he could while the big griffon was flying away at full speed, especially not backwards. Besides, they weren’t really a threat right now… and they were so interesting, such a varied lot…
“…monihah, you are still holding the Amulet!” Garkhen’s insistent voice broke into Almonihah’s reverie.
“Hm?” Almonihah lazily turned back and looked at his hands. Sure enough, there it was, in one of his hands gripping the saddle. Funny, that. He remembered planning to do something else with it, but it worked there…
“Quickly! Put it in my pack!” The Warder, strapped in the saddle could afford using both hands to open and offer his pack to the other half-dragon.
Slowly, the realization that something was wrong percolated through Almonihah’s thoughts. Slowly he released his grip on the saddle with the hand holding the Amulet, and brought it up over Garkhen’s pack. But then…
“I can’t let go,” Almonihah commented, dreamily. “Hand won’t open.” It seemed kind of funny to him, somehow.
“You cannot?” Garkhen repeated, dismayed. Thinking quickly, he dug through his memory and called up a spell-prayer for reinforcing will. Lifting one hand from his pack to his symbol of Bahamut, he prayed for his god’s aid for his friend.
Slowly, the haze over Almonihah’s mind lifted, and his expression went from one of vacant bemusement to one of angry focus. Gradually his fingers began to open, until at last, the Amulet dropped into Garkhen’s pack. It continued to glow brightly, colors shifting in sickening patterns, shining even through the leather of the pack.
Almonihah growled, shaking his head. “Hate that thing. Messing with my head. Can’t destroy ‘t fast enough.”
Garkhen nodded, but said nothing, instead putting his pack back on. For some reason he suspected the Amulet would try to fall out if he let it, and so he made triple-sure his pack was buckled closed before replacing it.
They gradually left their pursuers behind… until all of a sudden, as a group, the Javni’Tolkhrah turned and dove, soon disappearing out of sight even to draconic eyes in the darkness.
“Don’t like that…” Almonihah commented. “Still, you can probably slow down a bit, Zakhin’Dakh.”
The big griffon screeched a tired acknowledgment. Flying that hard had worn him out, and they still hadn’t seen any familiar terrain, though it could well be that the night’s darkness cloaked their goal from sight. Zakhin’Dakh stretched out his wings and stopped flapping nearly so often, soaring and gliding instead of flapping hard. He was still tired, but they dared not stop, not knowing what the Javni’Tolkhrah were doing.
At last, the first light of dawn started to gleam in the sky, just in time to reveal the spires of Midport on the horizon, visible between the dramatic peaks they were flying around. Soon enough Zakhin’Dakh was descending towards the city, aching wings just barely functional after so long a flight.
A half-dozen griffon-riders rose to meet them. Their leader recognized the odd little group. “You’ve returned! Though I was not informed you had left…” he began.
“No time t’ talk,” Almonihah shouted back. “We’ve got a horde of Javni’Tolkhrah on our tails, and no idea when or where they’ll show up!”
Not quite a cliffhanger here, I guess…
Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, here’s a rare picture of Almonihah smiling.