Their rooms were far nicer than where they’d stayed on the Pirate Isle, Almonihah had to admit… but he preferred it there. At least there he could sleep outside and wilderness wasn’t far away. Here, he could feel the walls around him, the hundreds of people living in close proximity to him…
Well, perhaps not literally feel them, but still, it made him more anxious than he cared to admit.
Zakhin’Dakh, on the other hand, seemed to be enjoying every minute of it, looking at all of the weird people things over and over again, pestering Almonihah with every question he could think of, and just generally acting more like a rambunctious kid than an apex predator.
Garkhen, for his part, thought little about their quarters. Instead, he was focused on the problem that had brought them here. Would the mages of Midport truly be able to find a way to destroy the Amulet?
For now, however, this question was unanswerable. There was little for them to do but wait.
After a few minutes of pacing around, Almonihah abruptly turned to Zakhin’Dakh. Want to go see the city? He asked in Great Eagle
Yeah! Zakhin’Dakh screeched, excitedly.
“’m going t’ take Zakhin’Dakh out,” he told Garkhen. “Back soon.”
Garkhen was surprised, but nodded. “It is probably best if he is not kept inside too long,” he said with a grin.
Almonihah snorted in agreement. Zakhin’Dakh, meanwhile, was jumping around excitedly.
Where we going to go? Can we go in more people places?
We’ll look around and see, Almonihah answered as he walked to the door of their suite.
The apprentice who had led them in was sitting on a chair in the hallway looking bored when the half-bronze dragon opened the door. He stood up, surprise clear on his face.
“Is there a problem, sir?” He asked, carefully.
“Just want t’ take a walk,” Almonihah replied curtly.
“Ah, with… the griffon?” The apprentice asked.
Almonihah responded with only a nod. The apprentice hesitated a moment before saying, “Ah… the Archmage said to inform you that the griffon’s shrinking spell will only work inside of the Guild. If you leave he’ll return to his normal size, and the spell will have to be re-applied when you return.”
The half-dragon shrugged. “Don’t mind, do you?” He asked Zakhin’Dakh.
The griffon shook his head, though he screeched a bit regretfully. That would mean no going in people places.
“Well, then,” the apprentice said, sighing, “I’ll lead you out.”
Zakhin’Dakh’s return to his normal size was sudden. One moment he was the size of a large dog, the next, Almonihah was stumbling backwards because his big friend’s wing had struck him on the way up.
Zakhin’Dakh stumbled a bit, screeching uncertainly as he regained his balance after the sudden change. A few people on the street looked over at them with some concern, but soon shrugged it off. They were near the Mage’s Guild. Weird things walked out of there all the time.
They drew somewhat more attention as they got farther into the city, though most of it was irritated rather than frightened. Between Midport’s griffon riders and Mage’s Guild, most of the people didn’t think much of a giant griffon and a dragon-man walking down the street. Probably it was some wizard’s experiment, they no doubt thought.
Zakhin’Dakh, on the other hand, was endlessly interested in his surroundings, just as he had been inside the wizards’ tower. Always he was looking at this or staring at that, sometimes stopping and asking a question, but never lingering long on one thing.
But then something caught his eye, and he suddenly bounded forward, not noticing he knocked over a flower pot as he landed. His beak was near a window, and Almonihah hurried to see what had caught his attention.
It was a cartographer’s shop, with a large map displayed in the window—the window that had a giant griffon beak inches from that. Zakhin’Dakh made an odd, low sound, rather like an “oooooooooo”.
What’s that? He asked, not taking his eyes off of the map.
“It’s a map,” Almonihah stated. After a moment, he added, “It’s… a picture of what the land would look like from very, very high up in the air.”
“Ooooooooooooooooo,” Zakhin’Dakh crooned again, fascinated.
Almonihah couldn’t help but grin just the tiniest bit at his big friend. Glancing around, he didn’t see anyone too disturbed by the whole thing, though the cartographer might complain about the knocked-over pot. He righted it, decided it was probably fine, and then looked back at Zakhin’Dakh.
“What ‘f I got you one?”
The massive aquiline head swiveled to focus on Almonihah. Would you? Zakhin’Dakh asked, excitedly.
“See how much they cost, but prob’ly,” the Ranger replied. “Just wait here.”
Zakhin’Dakh watched excitedly as his friend walked in the store, talked with the cartographer, and a few minutes later walked out with a big roll of parchment.
“Biggest she had,” Almonihah explained. “Let’s take it back.”
Zakhin’Dakh screeched an enthusiastic agreement as they turned back the way they came.
I realized I hadn’t brought up Zakhin’Dakh’s love of maps yet, and this seemed like a good time for him to discover it. And yes, I did just replicate the scene in this picture. 😀