Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Category Archives: Book 3 Chapter 12

Chapter 12-8

There was a door at the bottom of the stairs… which was suddenly flung open as the half-blue dragon approached. Garkhen had only enough time to begin bringing up a ward before a wall of flame roared out of it. It broke through his half-formed ward, but it took enough of the energy of the spell that the Warder was only singed rather than badly burned.

Ilusin threw a ball of fire of his own over Garkhen’s head, filling the room beyond with flame, but when it cleared he saw no one in the room beyond. Quickly bringing up another ward, Garkhen charged through the door. He saw movement to his left and quickly brought up his shield in time to block an axe, but the man on his right he saw too late to do more than jerk his head aside, turning what could have been a lethal blow into a nasty gash on the side of his neck.

Garkhen was reminded that he had not put his helmet on.

Already half-facing the man on his left, Garkhen simply continued to pivot, bringing his thick tail to bear on the man on his right. Said foe stumbled as the tail struck his leg, nearly falling over from the heavy impact. At the same time Garkhen pushed forward with his shield, surprising his other foe by pushing him back. The man took a sudden step backward, trying to put the half-dragon off-balance, but Garkhen simply stopped pushing for a moment, then suddenly lunged forward with his shield, striking his target in the chest and knocking the wind out of him for a moment.

A sudden burst of acid hissed against Garkhen’s ward, eating at the air inches from him, but he did not take his attention off of the man in front of him. Behind him, the other man had regained his footing, and was again raising a sword to strike, when an arrow suddenly pierced through his left arm. He shouted in pain, almost dropping his weapon, but he grimly forced himself to raise the large sword with only one arm. Almonihah’s next shot hit him in the chest, and he fell to the ground, gasping out his life.

“Surrender!” Garkhen commanded the man in front of him as he stepped back slightly.

“The Chains take you!” The man screamed, hacking again at the Warder’s shield with his axe. Steel rang on steel as the blow glanced off.

A blast of ice shattered on Garkhen’s ward. Shards of it sprayed into the face of his foe, who fell, screaming in pain. Behind Garkhen, Illusin fired a bolt of lightning, then in quick succession a lance of pure light, and another body fell to the floor.

And suddenly, it was done. The man Garkhen had been fighting thrashed for a moment, and then was still. After a few moments, Almonihah and Illusin followed him into the room.

“Big,” Almonihah commented. It was, indeed, a massive room, partially split up into sections by tables and chairs. Unlike the rooms above, everything here was clearly used for magic—odd glass contraptions, jars of oddly-labeled powders, and the like.

“Look!” Garkhen said, noticing something around his former foe’s neck.

He forced himself not to think that this had once been a man as he called on Bahamut’s discernment. When he did not sense any of the taint he expected, he grasped the chain he had spotted around the man’s neck, and pulled out an amulet. It looked similar to the one they pursued, but it lacked the pulsating power of the artifact they sought.

“It is not the Amulet, but like unto it,” The Warder murmured.

“Indeed. And the Amulet is not here,” Illusin stated, frowning, as he finished a spell. “But it was here…”

“Better figure out where it went,” Almonihah growled, “Don’t like t’ think what they’re planning t’ do with it.”

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You should be careful what spells you throw at people fighting your friends. 

Chapter 12-7

 “Go on, then,” Illusin commanded, waving Garkhen onward as he approached himself. Apparently he had melted another hole in this wall for himself.

With a nod, Garkhen returned to where Almonihah was still trading shots with the archers within. The Ranger gave Garkhen a curt nod before again ducking out and firing an arrow, again returning to the side just before three arrows replied. Without thinking about just what he was doing, Garkhen charged forward, his shield raised, passing through the doorway just as Almonihah’s shot sailed over his head. The archers, peeking over the overturned table that made the center of their barricade, looked worried as they fired on the half-blue dragon. Their arrows clattered uselessly off of Garkhen’s armor, and soon enough he was upon them.

“Surrender!” Garkhen roared at them as he raised Silverflame, then brought it down upon the table. The flaming mace smashed a large piece out of it, spraying the archers with splinters.

They made no response save to back up, drawing their bows again. Then one grunted and staggered as an arrow took him in the shoulder.

“Don’t bother. Too crazy t’ listen,” Almonihah growled as he ducked to one side before the other two archers fired on him.

Garkhen shook his head. “This is madness! Drop your weapons, ere we are forced to kill you!”

Still they made no response, in spite of the fear clear on their faces. Instead they kept retreating, back towards three different doors, again nocking arrows. Then there was a crack of thunder, and a bolt of lightning leaped from one to the other. All three fell to the ground, eyes open wide in death.

Garkhen turned to see Illusin in the doorway, surveying the room. He was frowning. “The amulet… it is not here, but I cannot tell for certain where it is.”

“Keep looking,” Almonihah replied, cautiously making his way to one of the doors in the room.

But there was nothing of interest behind that door, nor, indeed, in any of the other rooms in the building. It all appeared to be just what it claimed—a guild for making chains. Nor were there any other people to be found. And so they went over everything again… and in a small storage room, Almonihah spotted something.

“Stones don’t fit together right here,” he commented, looking at a spot of floor that had been covered over by an oddly light crate of assorted tools.

“Perhaps there is a hidden entrance to a cellar?” Garkhen suggested.

Almonihah nodded slightly. “One way t’ find out.”

He searched around, and soon enough found a hidden catch in a small hollow in one of the stones that made up the floor. When pressed, there was a soft ‘click’, and the floor smoothly slid aside to reveal a staircase leading down.

The two half-dragons looked at one another. Almonihah gave Garkhen a slight nod, and the Warder started down the stairs, shield at the ready. 

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Hmmm… this isn’t suspicious at all…

Chapter 12-6

An explosion rocked the building, rattling the bits of chain scattered about the room. Garkhen looked around.

“That sounded as if it were from outside,” he said, starting to turn.

“Illusin ‘ll handle himself,” Almonihah replied. “Got t’ keep going or th’ Amulet might get away.”

The Warder hesitated, then nodded, and continued his wary advance. He paused at the open door, then rushed through, shield and mace at the ready.

None opposed him. It looked like he was now in a large lobby area, with a low wall that separated the sides and back from the central area. Each wall held a door, though Garkhen was fairly certain the double doors to his left were the main entrance, and so not likely the way he wanted to go.

As he paused to look around, another explosion shook the building. Here, it sounded to Garkhen as if it came from the other side of the lobby, and so he began to work his way around the room to the opposite door, suspecting the explosions meant Illusin’s presence. Behind him Almonihah entered, but as he passed the door opposite the main entrance, he paused. He thought he heard something…

The Ranger kicked the door open, then threw himself to the side as a trio of arrows sailed through the opening. Swiftly he nocked and drew an arrow of his own, then ducked into the doorway and fired. He had only a moment to see the three archers behind a makeshift barricade across another workshop room as he fired before he again ducked aside. When no return fire came, he suddenly opened one of his wings, then closed it again as bowstrings hummed and arrows flew where it had just been. His return fire was just as ineffective, however.

Garkhen, meanwhile, had reached the other door, and now threw it open. He had a brief moment to see an unarmed man turning to look at him, in which Garkhen thought to throw up a ward. It was fortunate that he did, for soon the man made a small gesture and then hurled a bolt of fire at the half-dragon. It splashed against the air in front of Garkhen, followed shortly by a great explosion of flames splashing off of a ward in front of the enemy mage.

While his foe was distracted, the half-blue dragon charged forward, his shield raised. He plowed into the man’s side, knocking him down. The mage desperately began incanting on the ground, but before he could finish, a bolt of lightning arced into the room and around the table he’d been behind, then lanced downward. The mage jerked convulsively as it struck, then fell still.

“How many more are there?” Illusin shouted from outside of the building.

Gritting his teeth and pushing back the thought of what had just happened, Garkhen looked over at the Archmage. “I know not, but there are more archers within.”

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I really needed to draw this building out before writing this segment. XD

Chapter 12-5

The first thing Garkhen saw when he reached the hole in the wall was that the room beyond seemed like some sort of workshop, with various tables and benches and tools scattered about—more than he would guess were needed for making chains, though he knew little of the process.

The second thing he saw was a bolt of lightning blasting into his face. He grunted in surprise as it actually injured him slightly—it felt… cold, somehow—but his draconic heritage let him shrug most of it off. He looked about frantically for the mage that had cast the spell, spotting him hiding behind some hanging chains, gesturing quickly as he cast another spell. Swiftly the Warder brought up a ward, just in time for a bolt of… flaming ice to slam into it, sending burning shards flying back into the room.

Pushing aside the thoughts of just what he was doing in favor of survival, Garkhen returned fire with his own lightning breath, only to encounter the wizard’s wards. With his knowledge of wards Garkhen guessed that his foe was protected more from magic than from weapons, and so he started working his way forward, only to feel the abrupt impact of a sword striking his armor. He turned to see the injured archer, arrow still protruding from his shoulder, raising a sword with his other arm to strike again.

Garkhen raised his shield to block the blow, gritting his teeth as another spell impacted his ward simultaneously with the sword striking his shield. Before he could retaliate, however, another arrow thudded into the man’s side, and he stumbled and fell, coughing up blood. The Warder closed his eyes for a moment to fight back nausea at the thought of participating in killing men, then turned back towards the wizard… only to find he had disappeared.

“Where’d he go?” Almonihah demanded as he cautiously stepped into the room, looking all around him as he entered.

“I did not see,” Garkhen replied. There were three doors in the back and side of the room, but all were closed. “He must have used magic to escape.”

Before he could say more, one of the doors burst open, and another arrow flew out of it, narrowly missing the top of Garkhen’s head and sailing past Almonihah’s shoulder. The Ranger growled as he ran for cover, bringing up his own bow and firing back before ducking back behind a workbench as he pulled another arrow from his quiver. Garkhen, for his part, jogged toward the door, shield up to block any more arrows fired from it, his armor clattering and scraping against the stone floor as he moved.

The archer in the doorway had wisely decided not to stay in it, meaning Garkhen was unmolested as he advanced. He wondered, however, where Illusin was, and if the younger wizard had gotten to safety.

Just then he heard a loud shriek from outside. Zakhin’Dakh had spotted a man running from the back, and now he dove. The man looked up in shock just as the giant griffon plowed into him. Zakhin’Dakh didn’t use his talons, but he didn’t need to—the impact alone broke his target’s ribs, and he died as the griffon hurriedly backed off. Looking around, he saw no one else, and with the man dead, there was no reason to stay on the ground, so he took off again and resumed circling.

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Zakhin’Dakh is not used to pouncing on things he doesn’t want to kill.

Chapter 12-4

 “Ah, what is the Chainer’s Guild?” Garkhen asked as he stepped toward Illusin.

“We had thought it just what it sounds—a guild of metalworkers specialized in the making chains,” the Archmage explained. “Now… we shall see. Come, join hands.”

He held out one hand, which Garkhen carefully grasped. Almonihah took Garkhen’s other hand, and Zakhin’Dakh, after a moment’s hesitation, placed a talon on the Ranger’s shoulder. Once his passengers were ready, Illusin chanted his incantation…

…and suddenly they were elsewhere. They were still near the water, for it was lapping up against a small dock to their left, but to their right was a large, low building, with a sign hanging in front of its large double doors. On the sign was painted a thick chain.

Almonihah’s eyes narrowed. That chain…

“Chains…” Garkhen murmured next to him, unknowingly echoing his thoughts as the younger wizard who had preceded them walked towards them.

Before anyone could say anything more, there was the bang of a shutter being thrown open, followed by another, then by the twang of bowstrings. One arrow shattered against the air a few inches from Illusin’s face.

The other took the initiate mage in the throat. Garkhen rushed over to him, roughly snapping the arrow and pulling it out so he could call upon Bahamut’s blessing to heal him. To the Warder’s relief, the mage was still breathing after the wound healed—he had not been too late.

Another arrow skipped off of his armor, and Garkhen summoned up a ward of wind to blow any more off-course. Almonihah, meanwhile, had gotten his own bow out, and fired back at one of the windows. Garkhen’s ward blew his shot off-course just as it did their foes’, however, resulting in it burying itself in the shutter next to the window.

Zakhin’Dakh, you won’t fit, Almonihah stated in Great Eagle as he moved aside, glancing at Garkhen to see if he’d signal when he was around the ward. See if there’s a back entrance, and jump on anybody who comes out.

The big griffon shrieked a challenge in response and took off, soaring up over the building. He started circling above it, waiting for any sign of movement below from the back of the guildhouse.

Illusin, meanwhile, had been chanting another spell. As he finished, he thrust a finger towards the guild’s door, and a bolt of lightning lanced out. To the Archmage’s clear dismay, it struck some sort of barrier in front of the door and dissipated without causing it any harm.

“They have it warded?” He asked incredulously. “And so strongly?”

More arrows arced out of windows, to be blown aside by Garkhen’s ward. Finally the Warder gave his friend a nod, and Almonihah again nocked and fired an arrow at the archer in a nearby window. The man shouted in pain as the arrow struck him in the shoulder, and he sunk out of sight, to be replaced by another archer. Almonihah ducked aside as the archer returned fire, the arrow skittering off the scales of his arm, before firing back, this time getting his target in the throat.

“This is too slow!” Illusin shouted. He again began chanting, and this time he thrust his hand toward the open window. A green ray lanced out from his palm, striking the wall, which then began to flow and melt, leaving a gap large enough for a man to walk through, and revealing the corpse of the man Almonihah had shot.

Garkhen readied his mace and shield and charged toward the opening, choking down the feeling of illness at the thought of killing men. He saw no other choice. They were trying to kill him and his friends, and they could do untold harm with the Amulet. If he could, he would not kill, but… 

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Awwww, Garkhen… maybe if you bash them on the head soft enough they won’t die. 

Chapter 12-3

Unfortunately, the trail didn’t last for long, petering out in a side passage not far from the amulet’s former resting place. Almonihah growled in frustration as he looked about, though truth be told he was not surprised.

Just as he was about to speak, Archmage Ganver spoke up. “He must have gone through this door—see? It is ajar. Unfortunately I suspect this presages his esacpe,” he continued, opening the door into a small room lit by sunlight, “For this room has a balcony.”

Quickly Almonihah rushed past and to the balcony, his keen draconic eyes scanning the skies. Soon enough his eyes narrowed.

“There. Human flying, not a bird. Headed… to th’ docks?”

“Then we shall search for him there,” Illusin declared. “Your artifact has a powerful aura. It shall not be hard to pin down its precise location once we arrive in its general vicinity.”

Hurriedly the Archmagi formed a search party, consisting of themselves and a few others they trusted, as well as the two half-dragons and griffon. Not wanting to delay, the group swiftly trooped out of the tower and down to the bridge, where, Illusin informed them, they would be outside of the teleportation-exclusion enchantment upon the Mage’s Guild.

Zakhin’Dakh again returned to his true size once outside, making those wizards standing closest to him jump a bit in surprise. Ganver would not delay, however, and ushered the group together, getting them closer together so they would be ready for teleportation. Once he was satisfied they were all ready, he spoke his incantation, weaving his hands in the air…

And suddenly they were on the docks.

“You two, that way,” Archmage Ganver ordered two of the lower-ranking wizards. “You two, along there, and you two, to the right. I will take this direction, and Illusin…”

“I will maintain contact between the disparate groups here, with our guests, to be ready to aid whichever group finds the artifact,” Archmage Illusin interrupted, smoothly. “It is clear our thief knows he could be followed, so we should be prepared with a reserve, and for that reserve to arrive in time to aid, we will need one who can stay in contact with all of the groups simultaneously.”

Ganver looked like he wanted to argue, but finally just nodded. “Very well. Now, go!” He ordered the other mages, then left himself.

As soon as they were out of sight, Illusin worked a spell of his own, and soon Almonihah, Garkhen, and Zakhin’Dakh could hear the voices of the different mages speaking from thin air. The Archmage glanced over at them, looking a bit smug.

“No doubt we will soon locate our thief, and then I shall bring you in to aid in his capture. We are, as you no doubt know, authorized to make arrests within the city.”

“I see,” Garkhen said, voice neutral. He had not realized just how much power the Mage’s Guild wielded in Midport. “We are, of course, prepared to aid in the recovery of the Amulet and the apprehension of the thief by the proper authorities.”

Zakhin’Dakh added a piercing shriek of agreement, then the whole group fell silent, listening to the disembodied voices. For the most part they spoke in only quiet murmurs, confirming with one another that there was nothing in each location before moving on to the next.

Finally, after what felt like hours but was more likely minutes, one of the younger mages exclaimed, “I found something!”

“Where?” Archmage Illusin demanded immediately.

“It’s… there’s a chain hanging on a sign in front.”

“The Chainer’s Guild?” Illusin replied, incredulously, then shook his head and turned to the three friends. “Come, we must go there at once.” 

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Yep, Midport is pretty much a magocracy even if it’s officially not. 

Chapter 12-2

Illusin looked nonplussed at this response. Before he could speak, however, one of the injured mages sat up, groaning with pain as he did.

“Archmage,” he gasped out, “They took it.”

“The artifact?” Illusin demanded. At his underling’s nod, he continued, “Who took it? Where did they take it?”

“Please, archmage,” one of the other wizards pled, “He’s badly injured, he should be seen by a healer immediately.”

Frustration evident on his face, Illusin nodded a curt assent. The mage murmured a spell, and his injured companion floated gently up into the air. Two of the mages, gently grabbed his arms and started towing him off. The worst hurt of the other mages were being treated similarly.

Illusin glared at those remaining. “Well? Did not any of the rest of you see what happened? You three!” He barked at a small cluster of wizards, “You were also to guard the artifact! What have you seen?”

They looked at each other, each daring the others to speak first. At last one of them said, “We were at the door, when we heard a tremendous explosion. We had to unseal the door to get in, and when we did… well, there were already all of the Madness-Touched, and…”

“I caught a glimpse of him!” One of his companions interrupted. “Someone in Guild robes disappearing around the corner!”


“You mean to suggest it was one of our own?” The Archmage demanded, just as another of his colleagues walked up behind him. Almonihah snorted, but Garkhen tapped him on the arm before he could say anything ill-advised.

“I suspect it is so, Illusin,” the newcomer said, startling the addressed archmage.

“Why do you say that, Ganver?” Illusin asked, turning to face his colleague.

“To be done so quickly, without destroying the outer wards? I thought it the only obvious possibility,” Archmage Ganver replied. “None but a high-ranking member of our Guild could perform such a feat.”

Illusin looked like he wished to disagree but could not think of an argument to make. Satisfied that he’d silenced his fellow Archmage, Ganver turned to the remaining mages. “That being the case, our mystery thief would likely anticipate our most predictable responses, and will thus be shielded against magical detection. However!” He turned to the two half-dragons. “We do not teach classes on tracking here in the guild. Perhaps a Ranger might be able to figure out where he has gone?”

“Across stone?” Almonihah asked, incredulously. “’f it was grass, sure, but here…” He trailed off and narrowed his eyes. “Wait.”

Carefully he went back to the breach in the wall and looked around. “Lot ‘f dust,” he murmured to himself, looking about. “There. Bootprint.” He didn’t bother pointing it out to anyone else, rather searching for another.

“There. Dust on th’ boots now…” He muttered, starting to follow a faint trail down the hall. 

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This story needs to quit proving Almonihah right about mages.

Chapter 12-1

Chapter 12: Secrets of the Chains

“Hate having no good choices.” –Almonihah

“There are times I regret that my heritage did not grant me wings, or at the least longer legs.” –Garkhen

The room itself was enormous, but even with its size the combat filled most of it. Almonihah drew his blades with a growl as one of the mages fell, screaming, as a Javni’Tolkhrah penetrated his last wards. As one, the three friends charged into battle.

Garkhen crashed into the back of a seven-legged, vaguely canine beast with his shield, drawing its attention. It whirled to face him, only to see his flaming mace descending, at which point it twisted away, its long body impossibly agile even in the crowded space between it and a wizard’s wards. Somehow seeming more serpent-like now, it lashed out at the half-dragon with its fanged maw, but Garkhen managed to get the edge of his shield up in time to deflect it, though the force of the blow almost knocked him over.

Almonihah nimbly stepped behind a distracted Madness-Touched monstrosity, his blades flashing through the air as he hamstrung one of its hind legs. It stumbled and tried to turn to face him, but as it did, the mage it had been assaulting had enough time to hurl a blast of jagged ice shards at its head. One of them struck it straight in the temple, piercing through its skull and instantly dropping the beast. Without a word, the half-bronze dragon turned to the next target.

Zakhin’Dakh’s talons clicked on the stone of the floor as he scrambled to catch up. Hey! He shrieked at the mages. Want big again so help! Amazingly, one of them apparently both understood him and knew how to reverse the spell, for he returned the griffon to his usual massive size with a brief word and sharp gesture. Delighted, Zakhin’Dakh shriek-roared at the Javni’Tolkhrah and tore into the flank of one nearby him.

It was quickly obvious that the arrival of the three friends had turned the tide of the battle. With one best dead, one distracted, and Zakhin’Dakh’s… very distracted, there were now a couple mages who were no longer so worried about their wards that they could not attack effectively. The wolf-serpent-thing still chewing on Garkhen’s shield suddenly jerked as a bolt of lightning blasted through it. It struck the half-blue dragon as well, but it was clear that the mage knew it would not harm him.

The beast Zakhin’Dakh had attack writhed in the giant griffon’s talons, but he had a firm grip upon it, and it could not turn to attack him effectively. Zakhin’Dakh, however, had a beak free, which he soon put to good use striking its back, severing its spine. The Javni’Tolkhrah collapsed to the ground, gasping out its last breaths.

Eldereth arced through the air in Almonihah’s hand until it struck the flank of another Madness-Touched. The longsword bounced off the creature’s surprisingly tough feathers, but it jerked slightly at the electric shock the sword’s enchantment delivered. It turned to face him, away from the wizard it had been mauling, baring bloody fangs at the Ranger as it opened its mouth to bite him. Said Ranger replied by stabbing Zithrandrak into its mouth, freezing some of the blood on its teeth as the enchanted blade slid between them and into the roof of its mouth. It staggered, listed to one side, and then fell, ripping Zithrandrak from the Ranger’s grasp.

Hurriedly he seized its hilt and yanked it out, only to look around and see a freshly arrived group of wizards finishing off the last of the Javni’Tolkhrah. Once the last of them lay unmoving on the floor, some of the new group rushed in, racing to those of their guild lying bleeding on the ground while pulling potions out of pouches.

While they did this, one of the other mages stepped towards Almonihah. As he approached the half-dragon realized it was Archmage Illusin.

“What happened here?” The Archmage demanded.

Almonihah snorted. “Hoping you could tell us.” 

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New chapter! Yay! You’ll notice it has the same title as the old chapter… because the old chapter didn’t get as far as I thought it would. You’ll also notice (if you go back) that the old chapter now has a new title. It’s the magic of the Internet!