For the most part his arrows simply bounced off the monster’s thick scales, though the blessing on them left little scorched spots on it as they did so. Zakhin’Dakh, meanwhile, charged at it.
“Be careful,” Garkhen cautioned him. “I cannot ward us much longer.”
The big griffon showed no signs of stopping, and so it was that, when the beast breathed fire upon them from its lower mouth, Garkhen’s ward had to hold off the flames. The Warder gritted his teeth, fighting his growing exhaustion as Zakhin’Dakh plowed through the fire to attack his foe. But when his talons met scales, they merely scrabbled at them, unable to penetrate. The Javni’Tolkhrah dragon gaped its double jaws at the griffon…
…which meant they were open wide enough for Almonihah to shoot an arrow into the upper one. It roared in pain as it flinched backward, bleeding from the wound in its cheek, but more in surprise than from pain. Then one of the griffon-riders blasted it with a jet of magical acid, and it roared again as its scales hissed and steamed, dissolving away until the supernatural liquid dissipated. Another rider passed over its back, his griffon’s talons finding no more purchase than Zakhin’Dakh’s had as he attacked in passing.
Almonihah, however, noted the area on its shoulder hit by the acid, and fired an arrow at it. Unlike his previous shots, this one sunk in deep… and while it was only a small injury on a creature of such size, it was still far more effective than his other shots had been.
“More acid!” The Ranger shouted up at the griffon-riders above, having no clue which one had thrown the spell or if they could hear him.
Zakhin’Dakh noted the difference, as well, but soon found a giant maw descending towards him. The big griffon leaped backward just in time, the dragon-monster’s lower jaw snapping shut just where he had been. Zakhin’Dakh slashed at its eyes, managing to pierce one with a talon… but with so many, it seemed like it wouldn’t miss one.
“Look out!” A voice called from above.
Zakhin’Dakh jumped backward again, and the griffon-rider who had shouted hurled a ball of acid at the monster’s head. It shrieked in pain as it struck home, splashing sizzling liquid all about its snout. Without even waiting for the acid to fade away, Almonihah fired an arrow at the spot, sinking one into its flesh just above the nostril.
The Madness-Touched dragon screamed in pain, thrashing about with its claws and teeth wildly, even though Almonihah was out of reach. Zakhin’Dakh, however, was not, and it clipped him with one claw, leaving a deep gash on his shoulder, and crashing into Garkhen with the hardened sole of its foot. The Warder was almost knocked off of Zakhin’Dakh’s back, kept on only because he was strapped into the saddle. Unconsciousness threatened to overwhelm him, but Garkhen growled and gritted his teeth, maintaining his awareness by sheer force of will.
The big griffon backed up more to stay out of the reach of the beast’s huge claws, while other griffon-riders began adding their own arrows to Almonihah’s. The Javni’Tolkhrah, however, did not flinch away now, instead whipping its head around and exhaling a huge blast of flames, catching those riders who had drawn too close in the fire.
Zakhin’Dakh saw an opportunity while it was doing this, and leaped on it, sinking his talons into its shoulder where its scales had been softened and tearing bleeding gashes into it. It whipped its head back around, too fast for the griffon to evade, and seized one of his back legs in its maw. Zakhin’Dakh shrieked in pain, but Garkhen forced himself into action, bringing Silverflame down on the injured spot on its snout.
Holy fire burned corrupted flesh as Garkhen’s mace impacted it, but it did not release its grip. As it dragged Zakhin’Dakh backwards, the Warder again lifted his mace, and again swung it down. Two more times he pounded upon the beast’s snout, until with his last blow something cracked, and the Javni’Tolkhrah at last let go of the griffon’s mangled leg.
This distraction gave the griffon-riders time to regroup, and now another volley of arrows struck it, some in the places its scales were weakened, while the spell-slinging rider again hurled an orb of acid, this time hitting its neck. Again it turned its attention skyward, but this time the riders were ready, and they scattered as its flames roared towards them.
Almonihah, still keeping his distance, shifted his angle to get a shot at its neck, sinking more arrows into its flesh. As he did, Garkhen considered Zakhin’Dakh’s injury. It was clear the griffon could no longer use the leg.
“I am sorry, my friend,” he murmured, “But I haven’t the strength to heal it now.”
The big griffon nodded his head jerkily, then awkwardly took to the air, retreating for now from the Javni’Tolkhrah dragon. It seemed to be slowing at last, blood flowing freely from the deep wounds in its shoulder, and trickling from around the many arrows now protruding from its flesh. Yet it fought on, spraying flames at any riders that drew too close. When they kept their distance, it started to lurch forward, down the slope.
Then another spray of acid struck it in the chin as it breathed fire at those above it. The monstrosity whipped its head over towards the spellcaster who had thrown the acid, but he had already flown back out of reach of its flames. Another griffon-rider zoomed by it, and it turned its head to follow.
Almonihah, seeing at last a chance to cause a mortal wound, fired an arrow at the now-unarmored place on its chin, but his arrow went wide, skipping off its uninjured shoulder again. Carefully, he watched it, nocking another arrow.
Another rider fired on it from the other direction, and it turned its head to follow. Almonihah fired, and this time his arrow flew true. It pierced through the weakened place on the Madness-Touched dragon’s chin, through the roof of both mouths, and into its brain.
With a suddenness that no one had expected, it collapsed. It convulsed for a few moments, then at last lay still.
Yeah, don’t let dragons hang out in the Madlands. It’s bad.