Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Category Archives: Chapter 15

Chapter 15-4

He pondered what the next trial might be as he walked. Anger, fear… pain, perhaps? Doubt? He shrugged to himself. He would simply have to see.

 

Garkhen was rather surprised when he walked into a comfortably appointed room. Five chairs were arranged in a small circle. Four were occupied, and it did not take him long to see that each occupant was a representative of one of the goodly faiths—Mashano, Naishia, Kazoran, and Sephania. The human priest of Mashano waved Garkhen to the empty seat.

 

“Good, you’re here! We’ve been waiting for you!”

 

Warily, Garkhen approached. What was the test here? “You have been waiting for me?”

 

“Indeed,” the dwarven priest of Kazoran rumbled. “Now we’re all here, so we can begin.”

 

“Shall we start with unity, then?” The elven priest of Sephania asked. “We followers of Sephania are far more united than the humans with their god. They cannot even agree on what he wants.”

 

“And you can’t agree on who your god is!” The human retorted. “Male, female, both, neither…”

 

“Hah! No match for the dwarves there,” the dwarven priest interjected. “We know perfectly well what Kazoran’s like. I don’t know why this fellow thinks Bahamut is so much better,” he waved at Garkhen.

 

Was this testing his anger again? Garkhen firmly controlled his temper and replied, “While there is certainly virtue in the teachings of Kazoran, I have found that Bahamut’s teachings touch me more deeply.”

 

“So it’s up to you to choose, then?” The dwarf replied, peering closely at Garkhen.

 

The young half-dragon was taken aback by the question, but then the priest of Naishia spoke, “But if it were not for Naishia, we would not have a place to have this discussion.”

 

“And if it were not for Mashano we would not have a common language in which to speak it!”

 

Perhaps he was to defend his faith? “Indeed, but were it not for Bahamut, Tiamat would long since have overrun all.”

 

The conversation continued in this vein for a time, each priest claiming the best for his or her own god.

Garkhen grew increasingly uncomfortable and defensive, as the others seemed to focus more and more on him. Still, he was proud at how well he was debating. Yet the discussion showed no sign of slowing.

 

Finally, Garkhen exclaimed, “Must we argue like this? Are not we all servants of goodly gods?”

 

The priest of Mashano smirked at him. “Perhaps, but don’t you have to prove yours is the best?”

 

Suddenly it struck him. “Darkhen Ubrix…” Garkhen breathed, collapsing back in his seat.

 

The other priests all nodded, as if they understood, but Garkhen felt he should translate nonetheless. 

 

“Dragon-pride. That is the key here, is it not?”

 

The others all sat silently, waiting. Swallowing, Garkhen said, “No. No, I do not. While I stand firm for what I believe… I must also be humble. I should see the good in others without feeling it threatens me. I… must not succumb to the curse of pride.”

 

The others all nodded again, and then, one by one, they disappeared. Garkhen stood, and the chairs also vanished, leaving the way onwards clear once again. Yet he hesitated a moment. 

 

“Dragon-pride,” he murmured again. “The great curse of dragonkind. A heritage of my father that I must ever be wary of.”

 

After a few minutes of quiet reflection, he felt ready to continue.

 

Other tests followed, but none seemed to strike so deeply. Still Garkhen felt bone-weary when finally the passageway led to a small, well-lit chamber. Its only contents were an altar, on which lay an ornate silver mace. Gazing on it, the Warder knew all the tests were to prove the worth of one who would wield this weapon.

 

Hesitantly, he reached out and picked it up. It was fairly heavy, as a good mace should be, but well-balanced. Inspecting it, he saw its name etched into its haft.

 

“Silverflame.”

 

As he spoke the name, silver-colored flames burst from the head of the mace, wrapping it in fiery radiance. Garkhen gasped. Flaming weapons were far from rare, but the silver color seemed to suggest it was more than ordinary magical flame. 

 

After a few moments, the flame went out. Garkhen took his old mace and, after a moment’s thought, tied it to his pack, then slipped Silverflame through the belt loop where it had been. It felt… right, there.

The Warder breathed a quiet prayer of thanks to Bahamut, then asked, “But what plans do you have for me that require such a weapon?”

 

No answer came, though for a moment Garkhen had the nagging feeling he had forgotten something. It was gone before he could properly grasp the thought, however. After a minute of quiet reflection, he turned to leave… and was surprised to see the canyon right in front of him. Turning back, he could see only a shallow, empty cave, with no sign of the many passages he had walked, much less the tests and the altar.

 

Shaking his head a bit, Garkhen turned again and walked out into the canyon. He did not quite know what he needed to do next, but… he would see what good he could do, and surely in so seeking Bahamut would lead him.

 

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So now Garkhen has his weapon. This is the end of this chapter, which means… it’s almost time to revisit a scene from many moons ago from a different perspective!

Chapter 15-3

The cave gave no answer to his mental question, but soon a new scene opened on him. Or… perhaps opened was not the right word. It more slowly came into focus, as the impenetrable darkness around him took shape. Slowly Garkhen realized he was surrounded by huge, shadowy figures, and they were slowly closing in upon him.

 

How had they surrounded him? What even were they? Even his draconic vision could not penetrate the blackness around them. They were drawing closer, towering over him.

 

He turned about, subconsciously taking a step back, only to realize that brought him closer to others behind him. Nervously he whirled, then whirled again. Fear crept up his spine as he realized there was no way out.

 

Garkhen exhaled a bolt of lightning at the nearest one, but it was simply swallowed by the darkness. Nervously, he gripped his mace, wondering if these terrors would be better warded off with holy magic…

 

Wait… fear. Sudden understanding firmed his resolve. He closed his eyes.

 

“I do not fear you,” he stated, clamping down on the terror that tried to make him a liar. “I am the master of my own fear. I will not let it control me.”

 

When he opened his eyes, the huge shadows still ringed him, but that was all the proof he needed. Confidently Garkhen strode forward, right into one of the looming masses of darkness. It dissipated at his touch, and soon the room was again clear, with nothing but another passageway leading onward.

 

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Apologies for the short post. It’s hard coming up with these.

Chapter 15-2

After a moment, the darkness cleared around him. Which was not to say there was any light, but at last his draconic vision could see. He was in a large, rough chamber, with an exit on the other side.

 

And he was not alone. Some sort of demonic being stood before him, looking him up and down.

 

“HAH! This is all that comes to face me?” It scoffed at him. “Come, little dwarf dragon. Come and die!”

 

The Infernal was not much larger than he was. “We shall see,” Garkhen growled, readying himself and charging at it. 

 

They met with a crash, claws scraping against steel, mace swinging through the air as it sidestepped. 

 

“Pathetic! And you call yourself a Warder of Bahamut?” The Infernal crowed. “A hatchling dragon would be a greater defender of the weak than you!”

 

Garkhen did not bother wasting breath on an answer, instead redoubling his attack. But the demon matched him blow for blow. Even when his strikes connected, they seemed to do nothing to it. The whole time, it continued to taunt him, mocking his combat prowess, his ideals, his heritage… Garkhen could feel his anger rising.

 

He wasn’t quite sure how long he fought, but as he tired, he noticed the demon was larger, its strikes harder. Through his wrath, he felt there was a hint there. Something…

 

There are no demons here, save those you bring in with you.

 

Suddenly Garkhen stopped, doing nothing more than defending himself, and striving for calmness. He steadied his breathing, and ignored the creature’s continued insults. Soon enough, he could see he was right—it was dwindling before his eyes, its taunts becoming increasingly frantic.

 

Finally it hardly reached his ankles. Garkhen gazed down upon it. 

 

“You’ll never defeat me!” It shrieked at him.

 

“Perhaps not,” Garkhen admitted, “But I shall master you.”

 

He walked toward the exit at the other side of the room, ignoring the shrieks and scratches of the little demon. As soon as he passed into the corridor beyond, the demon was gone.

 

So am I being tested, then? What am I being tested for? 

 

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Perhaps I should have built the tension there for longer. Oh, well. 

Chapter 15-1

Chapter 15: Path of Trial

“We are all tried in different ways in our lives. For some, it is a life of poverty and hardship that tests them, that they may show who they are when there is nothing to hide behind. For others, it is sudden illness or other catastrophes. For still others… it is not hardship, but prosperity.”

 

“Wealth and power can be, in their fashion, just as much of a test as hardship. For in having power, beings often reveal who they truly are. I fear that this test is perhaps the most often failed by those who face it.”

 

The path was just as difficult as he had dreamed it would be. It meandered its way through the hills and into the mountains themselves, becoming steeper and harder as it went. At times it was hardly a path at all, just a slightly more worn area on a rocky outcropping. A few times Garkhen had to climb, digging his claws into crevices in the stone and hauling himself upward. 

 

Finally, after nearly two weeks of travel, he reached the canyon he had seen in his dream. It was late, and he was fatigued. Not knowing what might lie ahead, he decided to camp before continuing.

 

He slept fitfully that night, not quite dreaming yet feeling an urgency, as if something called him onward. But at the same time he felt almost as if something was seeking to hold him back. Whenever he tried to catch onto that thought, however, it slipped away.

 

Finally morning came. Garkhen arose, not feeling much more rested than when he had arrived. After preparing as best he could, he walked towards the back of the canyon, searching for the cave he had seen in his dream.

 

It did not take long to find. It yawned, impenetrably black even to his draconic eyes, at the back end of the canyon. Cautiously he approached it, looking around. His gaze fell on an inscription carved into the stone above. 

 

“There are no demons here, save those you bring in with you,” Garkhen read aloud. He considered the statement for a moment, then steeled himself. Whatever lay ahead, he had to face it.

He stepped into the cave. 

 

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Hmmmmm, what might be going on here, eh? I suppose you’ll have to wait to find out! Bwahahahahahahaha!