Chapter 16: Flight to the Storm
“What is required to resist evil? Good is, of course, the obvious answer, but a somewhat insufficient one. The mere existence of good does not combat evil. Rather, it is the doing of good, the spreading of hope, the performance of kind deeds… these are the first defense against evil.”
“The last is blade and fang.” – Garkhen
At last they were ready to depart. Almonihah and Garkhen both had new bags hanging from their belts—small bags that were much larger on the inside. Zakhin’Dakh now had a saddle-bag, though given the unusual shape of his saddle, it was on the back rather than the side of his saddle. All were filled with provisions, especially drink.
Other preparations were not as physical. When not speaking with the Mage-Archivist, Garkhen discussed warding against chaotic forces with wizards of the guild. Almonihah, for his part, dredged up his memories of Llinos, trying to recall what little he had learned of Naishia’s magic. Zakhin’Dakh… simply enjoyed exploring human things.
The most critical preparation, however, was a container for the Amulet. Given its proven ability to draw in Javni’Tolkhrah, it was imperative for the success of their mission that they find a way to limit its influence. To this end, the mages of the Guild, Garkhen, and even a few priests of Mashano worked mighty wards and other spells into a box made of layered metals—lead, mithril, and steel—to block as much as possible the power of the Amulet. Garkhen now carried that box, with the Amulet within, in his pack as they met one last time with the Archmagi of the Mages’ Guild.
“We have done all we can,” the head Archmage said. “We would send more with you, but a small group is easier to guard against the corrupting influence of Jivenesh, not to mention easier to supply. One last thing we give you, however.”
He gestured, and an apprentice wizard came forward with two small boxes. He opened one, displaying a small rod with intricate runes carved all along its length.
“These are beacons. Break one when you near Midport again, and it will alert us to your location. We can only go so far into the Madlands before magic itself is too unreliable to aid you, but should you find yourselves in need not too far from us, we will come.”
“Thank you, Archmage,” Garkhen said, taking one of the small boxes, while Almonihah took the other.
There was little more to say after that. Those assembled wished the two half-dragons and their griffon friend good fortune, and then they departed. Almonihah, Garkhen, and Zakhin’Dakh walked out of the Mages’ Guild, the griffon again re-assuming his true size as they exited. Zakhin’Dakh crouched down next to a low wall, and first Garkhen and then Almonihah climbed on his back. Then he took off, flying southeast towards the Madlands.
It struck me today that I hadn’t posted yet this week. So apologies for the lateness, but it’s not quite next week yet!