Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Category Archives: Chapter 1

Chapter 1-6

They walked in silence for a couple of hours, the dwarven Ranger leading them along a subtle path through the woods. Though, it was silence only in terms of words—Zakhin’Dakh’s passage through the underbrush could hardly be called quiet. Garkhen thought he occasionally caught glimpses of movement out of the corner of his eye, and thought it likely their passage was noted by other sentries. 

 

In time they reached a place where the trees were spaced out more widely and the underbrush was cleared. Scattered through the area were three small wooden structures. Their guide led them towards the central one.

 

“Think you’ll have t’ stay out here, Zakhin’Dakh,” Almonihah said to his friend, patting him on the leg. The big griffon nodded in acknowledgment, with only a slightly disappointed-sounding screech.

 

The dwarf walked up and knocked on the cabin door. “Commander, I’ve got a couple fellows here that you should see.”

 

After a few moments, the door opened, and a human woman dressed in well-worn leather armor looked out. She looked Garkhen and Almonihah up and down for a moment. 

 

“Well they’re certainly unusual, Karhin,” she said. “But why do they need my time?”

 

“The tall one says he’s from the Northern Rangers. He at least knew one of the calls,” the dwarf replied, “And he says the other one’s been attracting a lot of Madness-Touched.”

 

She narrowed her eyes, looking at Garkhen again. “I see. Well, come on then, you two.” She stepped back into the cabin, and their guide stepped aside.

 

Garkhen followed Almonihah to the doorway. Inside, the cabin was clearly a headquarters of sorts. A table covered with maps and a desk with several books and papers were the main furnishings, with the rest of the room taken up by shelves, chests, and other storage. One chair sat behind the desk, while three others were arranged hap-hazardly around the table. The commander took her chair behind the desk, then looked at the two half-dragons still standing in the doorway.

 

“I don’t know if the chairs will suit you, but I have a feeling you might be standing for a while if your story’s as long as it sounds. At least come in, though.”

 

Almonihah stepped in without hesitation, but Garkhen found himself hesitant. How much could he really trust these strange people? Certainly he had heard of Rangers, but rumors often lied, and the only one he’d met… well, he knew Almonihah virtually viewed him as his captive. And it was clear they viewed him with suspicion…

 

He shook his head. Why was he thinking such thoughts? They were unlike him. He did not think the Rangers were a threat to him. He stepped forward… or tried to. It seemed that his legs would not obey his mind. What was happening? A thought tickled at the back of his mind, but it slipped away as he tried to catch it… or was it being pushed away?

 

With a low growl, Garkhen threw his will into moving forward. Slowly, jerkily, he was able to take one step, and then another. As he crossed under the threshold, however, he found himself frozen in place. At the edge of his vision, he could see a green glow flare to life. 

 

The Commander rose to her feet. “What were you trying to do? Did you think it would be so easy to bring Chaos-taint in here?” She shouted.

 

Garkhen gritted his teeth. Chaos-taint? What did she mean? Again a thought tried to rise to the surface, but this time, when it met resistance, it broke though.

 

The amulet from the castle.

 

With the suddenness of a dam breaking, the memory came flooding back into his mind, and Garkhen felt dull worry in the pit of his stomach. What had he been carrying? With a mental prayer to Bahamut for strength, he tried to move. His symbol glowed white, and he found he was able to slowly move his arms. It took great effort, as if he were pushing his limbs through thick syrup, but he was able to reach up and cut the straps of his pack with his claws. 

 

Suddenly the magic that had held him in place released him. He tumbled forward onto the cabin’s floor with a crash.

 

“The amulet! The castle!” Garkhen gasped. 

 

He realized that the Commander and Almonihah both had been talking, but he had not heard their words. But it seemed that his sudden release had silenced them.

 

Still struggling against some strange compulsion, the Warder forced himself to speak. “In… the castle. Demon-summoners. Found… an amulet. In my pack. But…” he growled, trying to force his thoughts and words to work, “Some kind of compulsion. Couldn’t remember. Can’t speak…”

 

The Ranger Commander’s expression had been one of anger, but now Garkhen saw a thread of doubt enter. She looked behind him. “Karhin! Go get Llitthos, Marik… anyone who’s nearby with some sacred magic! We’ll get to the bottom of this.”

 

Almonihah was baring his teeth. “Knew I couldn’t trust you, blue,” he snarled. 

 

Dully, Garkhen shook his head. He felt exhausted. Reflexively, he reached up and grasped his holy symbol with his hand. Seeing the motion, the Commander looked down.

 

“I doubted it at first… but you really are a follower of Bahamut, aren’t you?” she murmured, the doubt and concern growing on her face.

 

“Yes,” Garkhen rasped, nodding convulsively. 

 

“Well keep praying to him. It seems like we’re going to need all the help we can get.”

 

Grimly, Garkhen focused on his connection with his god. The fog over his mind and the stiffness in his limbs seemed to be slowly receding, but now he could identify the source of his fatigue—he was channeling more divine power than he had thought. Again he wondered just what the amulet was.

 

Voices behind him. “Llitthos! What can you do about that?” The Commander was pointing behind Garkhen… at his pack, he supposed. 

 

Garkhen had never heard an elf swear before. “What is that thing, Commander?” 

 

“That’s what I was hoping someone could tell me. This fellow says it was blocking itself from his memory.”

 

Another voice joined. “Whatever it is, Commander, it’s the most powerful source of Chaos magic I’ve ever had the displeasure of encountering.”

 

“So I’ve gathered.” She seemed to be more at ease now as she slipped into her role of commanding. “But I need to know what it is and what we can do about it. The wards seem to be holding, but I’ve never seen them flicker before.”

 

Garkhen could hear chanting, and the strain on him eased further. With a sigh of relief, he got to his feet and turned around. And elf and a human, both in green-and-brown robes, were chanting over his pack. The green glow came from flaring runes all around the doorway, but there was another glow—a sickly, shimmering light that seemed to flash through every color in existence leaked from his pack.

 

“Can you speak now, Bahamut-worshipper?” The Commander asked.

 

Garkhen nodded more easily now. “Yes. The compulsion is eased.”

 

“Any idea what’s going on?”

 

Garkhen hesitated. “I was involved in the recent unpleasantness in Ferdunan. After the war was over, I was searching through the former stronghold of the rebellion’s leader. In a corner, as if it had been discarded carelessly, I found an amulet. It seemed to be made of some sort of multi-hued gemstone, wrapped in chains. I did not recognize it, but… thinking back, I believe it encouraged me to pick it up.”

He shook his head, wearily. “I was suspicious of it, but… as soon as I had it in my pack, both myself and my companion at the time forgot entirely about it. Since that time, I have been attacked many times by Javni’Tolkhrah… Madness-Touched, as you say. But I could never think of why, even though there always seemed to be a thought in the back of my mind that I could not quite call up.”

 

The elven druid—he was fairly certain they were priests of Naishia—stopped his chanting. “Well, you are a fortunate… being. Carrying around this powerful of Chaos magic, I am surprised you are not an angry ball of tentacles and claws now.”

 

*************************************

 

Well, you all knew that thing was bad news, now we’ll finally get to see something of why.

Chapter 1-5

Both half-dragons arose early, though for different reasons. After eating, Garkhen reverently took his copy of The Law of Bahamut out to study and meditate for the morning. Almonihah looked over at him and snorted.

 

“We’re leaving ‘s soon ‘s I break camp,” the half-bronze dragon stated.

 

“I do not see the reason for such haste,” Garkhen replied, calmly, “But if we must, I shall be prepared.”

 

The Warder was almost as fast as the Ranger in packing his things. Almonihah looked as if he wanted to say something, but instead turned to Zakhin’Dakh and asked him to let Garkhen mount. Soon they were airborne again, and Garkhen decided he could use the relative silence to do his morning prayers and meditations. Certainly Almonihah was not going to distract him now.

 

They flew for a couple of hours before the Ranger spoke to Zakhin’Dakh, pointing out something down below. The griffon dove, and soon they landed in a clearing near the edge of a wooded valley. Almonihah made a surprisingly accurate bird-call that was unfamiliar to Garkhen, then stood expectantly. After a moment he glanced over at Garkhen.

 

“Get off. We’ll be walking.”

 

Patiently the half-blue dragon dismounted. Zakhin’Dakh crouched down to make it easier, but it was still a bit of a drop. Almonihah growled a bit at the crash Garkhen’s armor made when he hit the ground, but then turned as he heard the counter-call. Again he imitated a bird-call, though a different one this time. 

 

After a few more moments, a dwarf suddenly appeared from the underbrush. Surprised, Garkhen glanced over at his companion, and saw no sign of surprise on his face. Indeed, it seemed he had expected this.

 

The dwarf looked over the three for a moment. “Never seen you before,” he stated.


“’m from th’ Northern Rangers,” Almonihah explained.

 

“And I don’t suppose they’re all griffon-riding dragon-men, are they?”

 

Almonihah snorted. “Just me.”

 

The dwarf grinned slightly. “Good, wouldn’t want to think they’d gotten so far ahead of us in recruiting. Or so far behind. Now, then. If you’re from the north you’ve got a good reason to be here. Let’s hear it.”

 

Almonihah pointed at Garkhen with his thumb. “This one here’s been attracting a lot ‘f Madness-Touched. Thought bringing ‘im here was th’ best bet t’ find out why.”

 

The dwarf’s expression turned to a frown. “A lot of those things have been slipping through recently, and you say they’ve been coming to him?”

 

“For ‘im. Trying t’ kill him.”

 

The dwarf scowled. “I don’t like having him here… but the Commander should see you. This way.”

 

 

****************************

 

I’ve been playing around a bit with point-of-view here. This is mostly from Garkhen’s viewpoint, with tiny bits of Almonihah’s thrown in here and there. I’m debating on whether or not I should continue.

Chapter 1-4

Garkhen found griffon-riding to be a rather… uncomfortable experience. The saddle was clearly made for someone of Almonihah’s dimensions, rather than his own, and there was certainly no allowance for a tail. Still, he was grateful that he was in the saddle, as opposed to the bronze-scaled Ranger, who was simply laying down and holding on to the back of the saddle. He wondered why Almonihah did not simply fly with his own wings, but thought it best not to ask. 

 

They flew for a while, and then Zakhin’Dakh shrieked something above the roar of the wind. Almonihah grimaced as the griffon slowed. 

 

“’Nother Javni’Tolkhrah. Flying one,” he growled. “Zakhin’Dakh ‘ll sort ‘t out.”

 

After a moment the griffon shriek-roared and dove suddenly. Garkhen clutched at the saddle as the air rushed past him, and caught a brief glimpse of a bat-like monstrosity before Zakhin’Dakh plowed into it, tearing and biting. It made an odd, wailing screech, and soon was dropping to the ground.

 

Almonihah patted one hand on Zakhin’Dakh’s flank, saying something to which the griffon replied with an enthusiastic screech. Then he looked up at Garkhen. 

 

“Feel better ‘f we burned th’ corpse, but I think ‘t’s better t’ get t’ the Ranger Order faster.”

 

“Why is this?” Garkhen asked.

 

“Don’t like letting th’ animals eat something corrupted by Jivenesh,” Almonihah growled in reply.

 

Garkhen nodded silently in understanding. 

 

They flew for most of the day, stopping a few times to let Zakhin’Dakh rest, hunt, and drink. Almonihah offered nothing to Garkhen, but he was well-provisioned, so the half-blue dragon did not complain. As the sun sunk low in the sky, the Ranger spoke again to his friend, and they descended into a small valley. 

 

“We’ll camp here,” he said, and immediately went about taking gear off of Zakhin’Dakh, leaving Garkhen to scramble to dismount before the saddle was unbuckled from beneath him. 

 

He pitched his own tent while Almonihah cared for the griffon, suspecting (rightly) that he would be fending for himself in this thing. Once both of them had prepared for the night, Garkhen spoke.

 

“I have been setting wards for myself while I have been traveling, given the frequency of attacks by the Madness-Touched. I believe that this precaution is still necessary, yes?”

 

Almonihah stared suspiciously at Garkhen for a long moment, then muttered, “Go ahead.”

 

He watched closely as the Warder set his wards, enough so that Garkhen wondered if he actually understood anything he was doing. He did not say anything further, however, instead turning to Zakhin’Dakh and speaking a little. Then the griffon flew off to hunt again.

 

The two half-dragons did not speak that evening as each prepared his own meal. The silence made Garkhen uncomfortable, but he rather suspected his companion would not respond well to attempts at conversation. And so instead, he listened to the sounds of the wild mountains until Zakhin’Dakh returned. Not long after, he retired to his tent to sleep.

 

***************************

 

Awkward enough there, you two?

Chapter 1-3

A squeal-like roar heralded the beast’s appearance as it came crashing through the underbrush of a nearby grove of trees. It was a massive creature, larger than a warhorse, and looked something like a boar with the fur of a spotted jungle cat. Its face was a tangled mass of tusks, all of which pointed outwards with gleaming, honed points.

 

Almonihah’s bow twanged, and a glowing arrow blasted into its snout. It squeal-roared again, but did not slow. Zakhin’Dakh shriek-roared back and leaped into the air, while Garkhen struggled to get his shield and mace out while at the same time moving so as to be not in its direct path. Almonihah stepped the other way, nocking another arrow.

 

The Madness-Touched turned to follow Garkhen, who finally had Silverflame in hand. He inhaled, then breathed out a bolt of lightning. Again it squealed in pain, but though it stumbled slightly it still came on. Almonihah’s bowstring sang, and another arrow buried itself in its side, but still it came on. Garkhen braced himself, debating for just a moment whether he should try to leap aside, duck under, or something else.

 

Then Zakhin’Dakh crashed into its side, talons digging deep. The Javni’Tolkhrah squeal-roared yet again as the huge griffon’s momentum knocked it over just short of Garkhen. It struggled and kicked as Zakhin’Dakh strained to keep it pinned down. Seeing an opportunity, Garkhen moved, armor crashing as he ran in a great circle to the top of its head and brought down his mace on it. The namesake silver flames of his mace sizzled as it struck, bringing a weaker squeal from the beast. Before he could strike again, the griffon’s beak jabbed down as Zakhin’Dakh bit into its throat. After a few more moments of struggle, it lay still, dead. 

 

Breathing heavily more from the shock of the suddenness of it all than from exertion, the half-blue dragon looked over at Almonihah. He had another arrow nocked, but slowly lowered his bow and replaced it in his quiver.

 

“Clumsy,” he growled, then grudgingly added, “Worked.”

 

Garkhen nodded, wordlessly. “That is the largest one I have seen thus far, fortunately. I do not know if I could have slain it alone.”

 

The half-brzone dragon snorted. “Got that much practice, hm?”

 

The Warder nodded. “I have faced quite a number these past years, both alone and with a companion.”

 

Almonihah frowned. “Southern Rangers shouldn’t…” He trailed off with a quiet growl.

 

“Rangers?” Garkhen repeated. “I have heard of them, but very little.”

 

“I’m one. Northern, though.”

 

“Indeed?” Garkhen was impressed. “What has brought you here then, if I might ask?”

 

“You may not,” Almonihah snapped back, sarcastically mocking Garkhen’s polite tone. “Sounds like should check on th’ Southern Rangers, though…” He paused. “’nd you’re coming, Blue. Not trusting you out ‘f my sight.”

 

Garkhen sighed. “I agree to come,” he said, keeping his even tone. “Had I known there were some I might speak to of this matter, I would have done so earlier.”

 

The Ranger snorted and spoke again to the griffon in the odd, breathy language he had used before. Zakhin’Dakh ambled over to a nearby rock and knelt down. 

 

“Get on,” Almonihah ordered. “Faster t’ fly, ‘nd you won’t be slowing us down.”

 

************************

 

Sorry about being a day late. I’ve just been saving an alternate Earth from an alien invasion, and that’s kept me kind of busy.

Chapter 1-2

For a moment, all was still. Garkhen was frozen, considering the arrow pointed at his snout. Almonihah was still, muscles taut as he held his bow drawn. Even Zakhin’Dakh did not move, unsure about just what his friend wanted with another dragon-person. 

 

Finally Garkhen spoke. “Because who I am is no more determined by the color of my scales than who you are,” he stated, calmly, his gaze focusing on the bronze half-dragon. 

 

Almonihah bared his teeth and growled, but said nothing. Forging ahead, Garkhen continued, “Because you do not know me, nor who I am, any more than I know you. To kill me would be cold-blooded murder.”

 

Zakhin’Dakh shifted, trying to look back at Almonihah, which threw off his aim. With another frustrated growl, the Ranger shook his head and slowly released the tension in his bow. He spoke to the griffon, who stepped back with an almost apologetic chirp.

 

Cautiously, Garkhen rose to his feet, looking sadly at his fellow half-dragon. He had only seen other half-dragons once, and this meeting simply confirmed to him how unique his species was. Though he would hardly say that a half-dwarf/half-blue dragon was of the same species as a half-human/half-bronze dragon, as this man seemed to be.

 

“I am called Garkhen ze’Darkhen’Sem’dor,” he stated once he was fully on his feet.

 

Almonihah snorted. “What kind ‘f name’s ‘Guardian of Small Dragons’?”

 

“The only one I have ever known,” the Warder replied, calmly. He noticed the short frill on the half-bronze dragon’s head was stiffly erect—perhaps a sign of his emotional state?

 

The griffon screeched with a worried tone, and Almonihah glanced down at Zakhin’Dakh’s head. Garkhen thought he saw the head-frill relax just slightly. 

 

“Right,” the Ranger growled. “So what were you doing?”

 

“Traveling between villages,” Garkhen patiently explained. “It is my habit to visit the more distant hamlets periodically and see if there are any that need my help. While it has been fairly peaceful here since the war, yet there are still occasional troubles with Javni’Tolkhrah or other creatures.”

 

“Hmph.” Almonihah looked the half-blue dragon up and down, suspiciously. “So…”

 

Suddenly Zakhin’Dakh shrieked and stood fully upright, head turned towards some nearby underbrush. Almonihah’s nostrils flared. 

 

“Speak ‘f Javni’Tolkhrah…” he muttered, nocking an arrow again. 

 

*****************

 

Almonihah’s body language is hard to keep track of. Not only does he have all the regular human things, he also has his head-frill and his wings, which can be fairly expressive as well. 

Book 3, Chapter 1-1

Book Three

“Almonihah is… a very private man. Even after traveling with him for these years I feel I know little of him. And yet, for all this, we have become friends. Why? I think it is, that deep beneath the hardness he wears, beats a heart as dedicated to the defense of others as my own. I have seen the danger he has braved for the sake of a child, and I have seen his anger at those who would prey upon the innocent. For all that we follow different gods, yet are many of our goals the same.”

 

“Do I agree with his… attitude? I do not think it right for me to judge. Until these conversations, I did not know much of his history. I suspected rather quickly that he was… wounded, perhaps, is the best way to say it, but little more.”

 

“Zakhin’Dakh? He is quite the contrast, is he not? While I cannot understand his speech, yet his enthusiasm, his curiosity, his simple joy in life are clear. I would consider myself his friend, yes. He is certainly capable of such relationships.” –Garkhen

Garkhen? S’pose I’ve gotten used t’ him. Good t’ have in a fight. Good person, too.” —Almonihah

 

 

 

Chapter 1: Unusual Alliance

“I would not say I believe in fate as such. That is to say, I do not believe our choices are made ahead of time for us, that we are simply actors following a script rather than writing our own lives. That does not mean, however, that I do not believe the gods take a hand in our lives. On the contrary, as a servant of Bahamut, I am certain that he directs my course at times. But my choices remain my own.” –Garkhen 

 

 

*****************

 

Apologies for the late post. It’s entirely the fault of Dungeon of the Endless.

 

And yes, Garkhen is much more talkative than Almonihah. If it’s not clear, the Book 3 quotes are quotes Elque must have gotten from talking to each of them about the other.