I stuck arrows in flying Javni’Tolkhrah until I started to worry I’d run out. Zakhin’Dakh was busy with more of them on the ground (he says some of them were bigger, but none as big as him). Once I’d cleared the sky, I could finally look down again. Zakhin’Dakh was growling at a big tiger-bear thing with a couple scorpion tails. He’d backed up the slope, and looked rather beat up. I growled myself and sent an arrow into the thing’s head. It wasn’t expecting that.
I only had a couple arrows left, so I drew my swords and went to stand with Zakhin’Dakh. He glanced back at me and gave me a tired screech. I nodded back to him, then turned to face whatever came next.
For a little while, everything was quiet, but I could just barely pick something up. Don’t know if they were nervous after how many of them we’d killed or what. Maybe they just thought a big wave would be more effective, because that’s what happened next—big wave of Javni’Tolkhrah charged up-slope toward us.
We charged back.
More like Zakhin’Dakh took off and dived at the biggest one. He hit it hard, but it was still struggling when I started fighting. The first thing that jumped at me… I think it used to be a rabbit. It died with Zithrandrak through its head. The next few were larger and more dangerous. I had to use everything I knew to stay alive, and even so took some hits. Good thing my scales are harder than the boiled leather I was wearing. Still got scratched up pretty badly, though.
I managed to take down several of the Javni’Tolkhrah I was fighting, and I could see every now and then that Zakhin’Dakh was flying around slashing and biting more of them, but it seemed like some of them must be getting to where the Phoenix’s ashes were.
Then… there was a flash. And then a dull roar, like a wizard had thrown a fireball. The surviving Javni’Tolkhrah turned as one and started to run, but a giant flaming bird flew past and caught up to them. Looked like we’d held out long enough. Zakhin’Dakh landed next to me and we watched him together.
It wasn’t long before he flew back over to us. Well done, brave ones, he said. I am reborn, and these creatures of Chaos have seen my renewed strength. Let any that survive take word of it to the others—I fight them again!
I snorted. “Not that most of them can talk to each other.”
He looked at me. Do not dismiss their intelligence so casually. Not all touched by the Mad God lose their thinking in their insanity. Indeed, some even become more cunning.
I didn’t have anything to say to that.
The Phoenix kept speaking. Now it is time for you to depart. But first, it is right that I should reward you for your aid.
He took off again, then flew over us. He flapped once right above us, and a few feathers started floating down from him.
Catch them. And good hunting, young friends. Naishia watch over you. And with that, he was gone.
I caught about half a dozen of the feathers, and Zakhin’Dakh carefully caught one with his beak. The others burst into flames and burned up when they touched the ground. I carefully stored the ones I’d caught, then did the same for Zakhin’Dakh’s, keeping his separate.
That was fun! Zakhin’Dakh screeched.
I snorted. Almost dying to a bunch of Javni’Tolkhrah wasn’t my idea of fun, but we’d lived, and done something that needed doing.
Let’s go, I said back.
Well, that’s the end of AZ narrating. It was kind of fun, but I think I’ll be glad to get back to Elque. He’s a bit easier of a narrator to write.