Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: February 2017

Chapter 16-3

Somewhat to their surprise, nothing attacked them in the middle of the night. Zakhin’Dakh grumbled as he stretched out his sore muscles, and complained about eating old meat instead of hunting, but he knew well enough why he was putting up with all of this, so his complaints were mostly wordless, unhappy screeches. Almonihah patted his big friend soothingly as they breakfasted.

The land around them had mostly stayed steady, though the vegetation seemed somehow… watchful. Baleful. As if the very grass was glaring at them. Garkhen shuddered slightly as he re-mounted Zakhin’Dakh. Did the Amulet draw even the very substance of the Madlands?

Zakhin’Dakh took off with his two friends on his back, heading southeast again, towards the Maelstrom at the heart of the Madlands. He had not flown for long, however, before they could see dark shapes flying towards them.

“Took ’em long enough,” Almonihah commented acidly as he got his bow out.

There were only a handful of small flying monstrosities. They flew right at the much larger griffon, only to be shot down one-by-one as Almonihah fired on them. The Ranger looked around suspiciously as the last one fell.

“Something’s not right about that…” he commented… then noticed he could still hear wing-beats other than Zakhin’Dakh’s.

“Dive!” He shouted.

Zakhin’Dakh trusted Almonihah. That was likely the only thing that saved them, for the big griffon hadn’t caught on to what was going on. He dove, plunging downwards suddenly at the Ranger’s shout. Almonihah felt as much as heard the whistle of something passing right overhead.

Garkhen began chanting, then held up his symbol of Bahamut. It flashed with silver light, and a half-dozen more Javni’Tolkhrah appeared in midair above them.

“Right!” Almonihah shouted in Great Eagle, and Zakhin’Dakh banked just in time for another monster to dive past them.

Again Garkhen began chanting a spell-prayer. As he finished, a shimmering silvery shield formed above them, just in time for another Javni’Tolkhrah to impact it. The Warder grunted as he channeled power into the ward, and the beast bounced off, flipping and tumbling in the air, killed by the sudden impact with an unyielding surface.

“Okay, level off,” Almonihah told Zakhin’Dakh as he straightened and got into firing position. “That ward of yours let my arrows through?” He asked Garkhen.

“Yes,” was the Warder’s terse reply.

Almonihah wasted no more words, either, instead opening fire. His first shot whizzed past one of the Javni’Tolkhrah, and suddenly they all broke off, scattering to the winds. He kept firing as they fled, managing to bring another down before they got out of range.

He growled as they left. “Going t’ be back,” he commented. “Too clever. Don’t like it.”

Garkhen let his ward fade as he said, “Agreed, on both counts. Is it the influence of the Amulet, or are Javni’Tolkhrah always this clever?”

The Ranger didn’t take his gaze off them as they flew away. “Clever, yeah. Organized? Usually not. That’s th’ part that worries me most.”

Garkhen nodded soberly. “We shall have to be wary. I shall do my best to ward us against the approach of invisible creatures. It will be an alarm only, to conserve my strength.”

Almonihah’s response was a simple nod of agreement. Zakhin’Dakh, however, spoke up in Great Eagle. “Yeah, next time I’ll bite them and tear them up!”

Almonihah snorted in amusement. “I’m sure they won’t like that, Zakhin’Dakh.”

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Nobody likes being torn up by Zakhin’Dakh. It hurts. A lot.

Chapter 16-2

The transition from normal reality to the Madlands looked subtle, but any who had crossed it knew it was felt more than seen. The feeling was impossible to describe, but unmistakable… a sense of the sudden shift in the laws of reality, perhaps? By now, all three friends knew the feeling.

Almonihah looked around warily. “Better keep ‘n eye out for Javni’Tolkhrah,” he commented.

“Indeed,” Garkhen replied, his voice subdued.

They flew on in silence for some time, looking at the terrain below them and the air around them. This close to the borders of the Madlands there was no visible difference, but it seemed to flicker slightly in the corner of the eye, like something was twisting and changing when not watched. But for now, that was all—no monstrosities flew up at them, no mad cultists fired at them.

They made good time stopping only to eat. Slowly the land below them started to change, becoming more obviously distorted, more warped and twisted. Vegetation grew in sharp, unnatural shapes, or drooped in writhing masses that shuddered in nonexistent winds. Soil and stone were stained with sickening colors—violent purples and yellows, or slowly mingling oranges and greens. The land itself slowly moved and shifted, mountains sinking or rising, sand becoming fertile earth only to crumble back to sand again. Where they landed to eat, the land seemed to hold stable for a moment, but it continued flowing and changing at the edge of sight.

“How can we sleep here?” Garkhen asked as night fell. He glanced up at the sunset and shuddered—for a moment it he had felt as if the sun were rising instead of setting.

Almonihah shrugged. “Didn’t have any trouble with that before. ‘course, I wasn’t lugging around th’ Amulet.”

The Warder nodded. “I shall ward our campsite as best I can,” he stated. “If the land itself does not strive to kill us as we sleep, we shall be safe enough, at least warned should danger come.”

Almonihah nodded. Zakhin’Dakh, hearing the discussion, screeched, “Does that mean I can land now?” The exhaustion in his voice was plain, at least to the Ranger, who snorted softly and reached down to pat the griffon on the side.

“Yeah, you can land, Zakhin’Dakh. You need th’ rest worse than th’ rest of us.”

Gratefully the giant griffon spiraled down to a landing in a spot that looked at least halfway safe, his friends dismounting after he landed. Garkhen busied himself with preparing wards around them while Almonihah fed his big friend some preserved meat from their enchanted bags. As soon as he was full, Zakhin’Dakh settled down and closed his eyes, exhausted enough that the soreness from the day’s labors couldn’t keep him from drifting off to sleep.

The two half-dragons ate in silence, wary of every sound and sight around them. Even as they finished eating and retired to their tent they said nothing. There was nothing to say. 

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Apologies for missing last week, I just got distracted.

The Madlands are not a good place. I don’t think I did a good job at establishing that during the earlier forays into it.