Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Category Archives: Chapter 14

Chapter 14-7

That was not their last Madness-Touched. Over the next week they were attacked twice more, though these did not seem as supernaturally hardy as the first. After the third, Tirel spat in disgust.

 

“What is going on?” He asked of the sky. “Those creatures have hardly been seen this far south, and now three in a week…”

 

Garkhen shrugged slightly. “I do not know…” Something seemed to nag at him for a moment… something important he had found…

 

He frowned and shook his head. He glanced over and noticed the Wyre doing so, as well.

 

“What were we talking about?” Tirel asked, confused. 

 

“Ah…” It took Garkhen a moment to remember. “The Madness-Touched. Why we have fought so many.”

 

“Maybe with all the mess down here, the Rangers have had more trouble keeping them bottled up?” Tirel offered.

 

“Perhaps.” The Warder seemed unconvinced. “But I do not think it is anything we can assist with now.”

 

 

Over the next several weeks, the reports of Infernals and undead grew fewer, until they finally ran out entirely. After a few days of wandering about, Tirel sighed.

 

“Well, my friend… I think it’s time I went back to the Pack. After everything that’s gone on, we’ll probably be meeting and talking for a while. And they’ll want to hear about all these Madness-Touched.”

 

Garkhen nodded. They had been attacked almost a dozen more times, and a couple had been fairly close calls. The attacks had been dying off over the last week, however. 

 

“It has been good to travel with you, Tirel,” Garkhen said. “I wish you, and the Pack, well.”

 

Tirel smiled and set a hand on the half-dragon’s shoulder. “And I you, Garkhen,” he murmured. More loudly he asked, “So what are you going to do?”


Garkhen stared off into the distance for a time. “I am not certain quite yet…” he admitted. “I feel… there is something I must do, but I know not what. I suppose I shall be searching for this thing.”

 

The Wyre nodded slightly. “Well… maybe your god has something for you to do, like Naishia uses the Pack.” He sighed again. “But I should quit dragging this out. Farewell, Garkhen, Warder of Bahamut.”

 

“Farewell, Tirel, Wyre of the Ferdunan Pack.”

 

 

That night, the first Garkhen had been alone for in a long time, he dreamed. Not as he was accustomed to dreaming, but vividly, distinctly. He saw himself walking along a path, further into the mountains. The way was hard and steep, but he persevered. At the end of it, hidden in a canyon, was a cave. He entered, and found something shining, glowing white in the darkness. He reached out and grasped it… and awoke.

 

The dream was still with him, as clear as waking memory… if not clearer. Leaving his tent, he realized he recognized a nearby path. With renewed energy Garkhen packed up his gear and set out, certain he had the direction he should go now.

 

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Hmmm, I’m not foreshadowing anything. Nope, definitely no vague hints here.  Also, this is the end of chapter 14! That means only two more chapters until Garkhen meets up with his future friends…

Chapter 14-6

 

The monster roared as it jumped at Garkhen, who raised his shield and braced himself while Tirel jumped aside. It crashed into the half-dragon with terrific force, teeth and claw-hooves screeching against his armor, but somehow he managed to hold his ground. He hid his surprise at feeling its claws scratch his scales through his armor—how could it get through the enchanted adamantium?

 

Garkhen soon found he had to focus entirely on holding the beast off with shield and mace, with no time to try to attack. But then Tirel in tiger form jumped on its hindquarters, his own claws tearing at its flesh. It seemed to the Warder that Tirel’s claws did not penetrate nearly as far as they should have, but still it forced the creature to divide its attention. It swung its heavy crocodilian tail at the Wyre, but he nimble dodged aside, then renewed his attack. 

 

This finally dragged the creature’s attention away from Garkhen. As soon as he could catch his breath, he exhaled a bolt of lightning straight into its hindquarters. It bellowed in pain, but seemed scarcely harmed. His mace in its face as it turned again to face him caused more significant damage, but again the half-dragon noted that it seemed strangely resilient to damage, as if it were made of something other than just flesh. 

 

As it tried to recover from being dazed, Tirel struck again, this time jumping up on its back and trying to bite its throat. It rolled over, and the Wyre jumped back off, growling in frustration. Before it could recover its balance Garkhen struck again, charging forward and bringing his mace down on its shoulder with all his strength. This time he heard something crack, and it staggered, that leg clearly disabled. 

 

Suddenly it spat at Garkhen, and he flinched backwards. He heard a hissing and looked down to see black-red blood eating through his armor. Falling back he murmured a spell-prayer to ward against acid, and was relieved to see it stopped making progress.

 

He looked back up to see Tirel sporting a bleeding scratch across his muzzle, though the Madness-Touched now had one to match. Warily the Wyre began to circle it. Catching on, Garkhen moved the other way, forcing it to split its attention. It tried to lash out at Garkhen with its remaining good forelegs, then its teeth, but he managed to get his shield in its way each time, and then Tirel again sprang forward. He sank his teeth into one of its hind legs. 

 

Bleating and bellowing, it tried to shake him off. It succeeded after a moment, but the Wyre took a large chunk of flesh with him. He spat it out and growled back at the monster. While it was distracted, Garkhen again swung with his mace, but this time it dodged, though it stumbled a bit as it came down on its injured hind leg afterward. Tirel sought to slash its other leg with his claws, but was warded off by its heavy tail. 

 

After a tense moment of warily shifting position, seeking for advantage, the creature again lunged at Garkhen. Instead of bracing, this time the Warder stepped forward, bashing his shield into its face as it snapped at him. It seemed hardly affected by it, but it put him in position to swing his mace again as it lifted a forelimb to swipe at him. Mace met ankle, and another crack told him that he had struck true. 

 

Tirel wasted no time in exploiting its distraction. He jumped to one side of it and then onto its side, his hind feet still on the ground as he tore at its flanks. Desperately it tried to turn and lash out, but he dug his claws in deeper and managed to hold it in place through sheer might and weight. Garkhen brought his mace down again, clipping the side of its head as it tried to move aside. Then with a great growl, Tirel pushed downwards, taking advantage of its injured legs and feet. It toppled over, and the Wyre was on top of it in an instant, pinning it down.

 

It struggled and heaved, showing surprising strength in spite of its wounds. It was all Tirel could do to hold it down. Garkhen swung at its head again, missed, then waited for an opening. When next he swung he struck true, his mace striking the top of its head. It jerked, then was still for a moment, clearly dazed. Again Garkhen swung, striking its head once more. This time bone broke beneath his blow, and the Madness-Touched convulsed once, and then lay still.

 

Tirel returned to his Wyre form, panting almost as hard as Garkhen. “That… was tough.”

 

Garkhen nodded. “It is… unusual… for one to be… here, yes?”

 

Tirel nodded in return. “Good thing… we stopped it. Could have hurt… a lot of people.”

 

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So, yeah. Tough battle. It’s late. Good night.

Chapter 14-5

 

The next few weeks proceeded much like this—they would follow rumors of undead or Infernal activity, reach a village, hunt down the source of the problems, and destroy it. Garkhen and Tirel became fast friends as they traveled and fought together.

 

“You know, you remind me of Whitepaw,” the Wyre suddenly stated one day.

 

“The wolf-Wyre?” Garkhen asked, surprised. 

 

Tirel nodded. “You both have this kind of… center to you. Do you know what I mean?”

 

The half-dragon shook his head. Tirel sighed, waving a paw-hand as he tried to explain. “As in, you both… you know where you stand. Or maybe what you stand for. You just… give this sense that no matter what happens, you know what your part is, how you fit in the world. Does that make sense.”

 

After a moment, Garkhen nodded slowly. “I think I understand. And I thank you, for,” he grinned a bit, “I certainly do not always feel so myself.”

 

The tiger-man laughed. “I suppose I should have guessed that.”

 

“And I appreciate the energy you bring,” Garkhen suddenly stated. “Your skills and… your sense of humor.”

 

Tirel blinked, then after a moment of silence, burst out laughing. “Well, thanks, Garkhen! I wasn’t fishing for compliments, but I appreciate it.”

 

The Warder grinned and chuckled a bit. “I suppose I simply would not have felt comfortable without returning in kind.”

 

Tirel opened his mouth to respond, then froze. “Did you hear that?” he whispered after a moment.

 

Mutely, Garkhen shook his head. Even more quietly, the Wyre murmured, “Get your weapon out.”

 

By the time he had his mace and shield ready, he could feel something… wrong. He couldn’t put a claw on what it was, but there was a sense that something that should not be was nearby. 

 

Then he heard the growling, sounding like no natural beast, as if the creature had more than one throat and could not decide which it was using. Tirel growled back, claws out, teeth bared, and stance wary. 

 

Finally the creature revealed itself, cresting a nearby hill as its growl turned to a roar. Its head resembled some nightmarish combination of wolf and stag, with uneven antlers and a snarling muzzle showing too many teeth. Its feet were like clawed hooves, and it had three feet on its forequarters, the extra in between the more natural two. Its body was built like a great cat’s, but resembled some jungle lizard in coloration and scales. It had two tails, one like a lion’s, the other like a crocodile’s. Garkhen quickly murmured a warding spell-prayer as it gathered itself to pounce.

 

“Madness-Touched!” Tirel snarled as he shifted his feet to be ready to dodge or pounce himself.

 

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Random monsters, always messing up conversations…

Chapter 14-4

 

The Wyre nodded, acknowledging Garkhen’s praise without saying anything further. He was too focused on the hunt. They traveled for another hour, roughly, Tirel following signs that were often beyond Garkhen’s ability to see. Soon enough, however, the tiger-man’s ears perked up.

 

“I hear something,” he hissed urgently.

 

Garkhen nodded. “I will wait,” he murmured, thinking of the noise his armor made.

 

Tirel slipped ahead, going up a low rise stealthily. He peeked over the top, then returned to the half-dragon.

 

“Too late to save him… but we can stop it.”

 

Grimly, Garkhen nodded, and readied his mace and shield. Together they charged up the hill.

 

On the other side was a grisly scene, a gutted farmhouse half-filled with living dead. A pair of Infernals were just looking up from some sort of ritual they had been engaged in that seemed to involve a corpse and profane symbols drawn in blood. 

 

With a wrathful roar, Garkhen dropped his shield. He seized his holy symbol and held it aloft, calling upon Bahamut. It flashed with a brilliant platinum glow that burned the undead. Many of them dropped to the ground. The demons shielded their eyes, but were not particularly harmed. 

 

Then Tirel struck. At some point he had shifted into his full tiger form, and he landed on one of the Infernals in a blur of fur and claws. Its roar of pain was soon cut short. Off-balance, the other one could barely defend itself as the Wyre turned his attention to it. It shouted out commands to the remaining zombies, who started shuffling forward.


Garkhen reached the scene just as the first shambling corpse tried to strike at his friend. Instead, it fell to the ground, its skull crushed by Garkhen’s mace. Again he called upon the power of Bahamut, felling many more of the zombies while Tirel finished the Infernal. After that it was a simple matter to finish the remaining undead.

 

Once it was done, Tirel returned to his Wyre form, while Garkhen retrieved his shield. Mutely they looked around, and silently they left, to tell the news of what they had found.

 

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Garkhen doesn’t specialize in slaying undead… but he’s pretty effective at it when he does it.

Chapter 14-3

Tirel did, indeed, assume human form as they neared the village the next day. Garkhen was pleasantly surprised to find that his appearance brought relief rather than fear to the villagers. He understood when one of them introduced himself as a former member of the army who had mustered out at the end of the conflict.


He quickly explained that several people were missing—they had went out to care for the sheep flocks that sustained the village and never returned. Tirel asked if they could see one of the places they had gone.

 

After they were out of the village a little ways, Tirel asked, “Did you hear of me in the army, too? The tiger man?”

 

The former soldier’s eyes grew big. “You’re him? But… I heard you were…”

 

Tirel shifted into his Wyre form. “More like this?”

 

Their guide nodded mutely.

 

The Wyre started looking closely at the ground as they walked—searching for tracks, Garkhen realized. As they neared the place, Tirel suddenly stopped and pointed.

 

“Here. He was attacked… see the dried blood? And then he was dragged this way…”

 

He started jogging off to one side, Garkhen and their guide struggling to catch up. He looked back and pointed at the former soldier. “You don’t have any weapons on you. You should stay behind.”

 

The villager stopped and grimaced. “You’re right. Uh… good luck!”

 

Garkhen had caught up by this point, but Tirel’s pace quickly left him behind. Again the Wyre turned. “You’re too slow, my friend! Here, ride.” 

 

He shifted into his huge tiger form and knelt. Hesitantly, the half-dragon mounted. Tirel growled a bit, and Garkhen shifted his weight a bit, trying to find a way to ride both securely and without hurting his friend. 

 

He almost fell off when Tirel started running, and then every time he turned a corner. He only ran for a couple minutes, but the battering and bruising made it seem much longer. As soon as he stopped Garkhen dismounted.

 

Tirel returned to his Wyre form. “I’m never… doing that… again,” he panted, “At least… not with you… in armor.”

 

“I apologize,” Garkhen replied.

 

Tirel waved a hand in annoyance, dismissing the apology as he looked about. “Something else happened here… I think it was a demon that jumped the guy, and here he handed him off to some undead…? And then they went this way…”

 

“I am glad you are skilled in tracking, Tirel,” the Warder said as moved to follow Tirel, who was again jogging in a different direction. 

 

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Apologies for not posting last week, but I managed to sprain my shoulder somehow. It’s feeling mostly better now.

Chapter 14-2

With just the two of them traveling together, Tirel had proven to be quite the talkative companion. While Garkhen did appreciate the company, a small part of him was uncomfortable with the constant conversation. He was more accustomed to reading quietly by himself, or listening to Solkh’Tolkharkha, or even just following orders.

“I suppose I should have figured that out,” The Wyre admitted, gazing off into the distance a bit. “Different than me and the Pack, of course.”

After a silent moment, Garkhen asked, “How so?”

“Well, I was in my teens when the first change happened,” Tirel explained, glancing back and catching the half-dragon’s blank look. “How much do you know about the Wyre, anyway?”

“Very little,” Garkhen admitted. “I have only read that they are blessed of Naishia with the ability to take an animal’s form.”

Tirel nodded. “Better than most, then. We get a lot of people thinking we’re were-beasts, monsters… I guess you could understand that bit, huh? Anyway, you’re not born a Wyre. Naishia picks you out when you’re ready, and all of a sudden… you change into an animal. It was a bit of a shock.”

He grinned at Garkhen, then continued, “Most places, you have to figure out what you’re supposed to do from there, but here in Ferdunan there’s the Pack. One of the other pack members found me pretty soon, taught me about what it meant to be a Wyre, gave me a new family…”

Tirel shrugged slightly. “And eventually, I ended up here.”

It was Garkhen’s turn to nod. “I see.” He paused a moment. “But it is different elsewhere?”


“Yeah, I haven’t heard of anywhere else that has a Pack. Anywhere else, you change, and you’re on your own. I have to admit,” Tirel grinned a bit again, “I’m glad for the Pack. I don’t know what I would’ve done on my own.”

For a little while they again traveled in silence, only the creaking of Garkhen’s armor and the sound of feet on stone breaking the music of wind and wilds. Then another question came to the half-dragon’s mind.

“Tirel, why are you in human form at present?”

“I don’t want to frighten anyone,” he answered immediately. “Showing up looking like a tiger-person probably wouldn’t help people already nervous about demons and undead. Not like in the army where they knew we were allies.”

Garkhen chuckled. “And so they will be nervous about the half-dragon instead, then?”

After a moment, Tirel laughed too. “I’m just so used to being the scary-looking one, I guess,” he said, still grinning. He focused for a moment, sprouting his fur and claws. “There, now we look like we belong together.”

Garkhen smiled back. “Thank you, Tirel.”

The Wyre seemed surprised by his thanks, then caught on. “Oh, right. You’re welcome.”

After another brief pause, Garkhen murmured, “But you are probably right about needing one of us to look less threatening once we approach a village.”

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Info post! This is probably the most  you’ll hear about Wyre for quite a while.

Chapter 14-1

Chapter 14: The Wandering Warder

“Why do so many turn to evil means to acquire what they want? Is it because their desires are, themselves, evil? Or is it that they lack the patience to work for them? Or perhaps they are so prideful they think they have been wronged in not having them?”

“All of these play a part, I am certain. But perhaps it is simply a part of the nature of thinking life, to be vulnerable to the temptations of evil. Whatever the case, so long as there are those who will use violence to take from others, I will stand against them. I am a Warder of Bahamut. I stand between evil and those who cannot defend themselves, till my dying breath.”

“So your father was a blue dragon, but you were raised by a gold dragon?”

Garkhen looked ahead at Tirel, pausing a moment from the laborious uphill climb.

“Yes. My father was… less than interested in caring for his child, it would seem. From what my mentor told me, my mother tried to raise me alone for a time, but dwarven culture is… not particularly accepting of such cases, much less of the children of monsters, as they saw it. So when he offered to raise me in her place, she accepted.”

Tirel looked back at Garkhen and grinned a bit. “That must have been strange, living with a dragon.”

The half-dragon shrugged slightly, his armor creaking only slightly at the motion. “It was all I had known.”

They were already several hour’s journey from the city. After his decision to leave, Garkhen had sought out the Wyre and asked if he wished to accompany him. Tirel had joined him gladly, and they had set off this morning for the nearest village in the foothills that had reported recent activity. Now Garkhen was physically regretting both decisions. His feet were scarcely well-made for walking on level ground, and the steep, rocky terrain was quickly causing him pain. But it was nothing, really. He would continue on for the sake of those who lived still in fear.

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It seemed like the rest of Garkhen leaving town was going to be boring, so… he’s out of town. 🙂