Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Category Archives: Chapter 2

Chapter 2-7

Garkhen recognized one of the soldiers at the gates of Elifort, though it was clear that both recognized him. The Warder felt vaguely embarrassed by how much his reputation had clearly grown in the telling as they spoke with him, but they were more than happy to point the two half-dragons towards where the remaining wizards in the city had set up shop.

 

Almonihah was clearly unaccustomed to the kind of attention they drew as they walked through town. People would walk up and greet Garkhen, asking for confirmation of rumors of him single-handedly defeating twenty Infernals or other such exaggerated deeds. The half-blue dragon corrected the stories in good humor. For his own part, Almonihah noted just how much respect his new companion clearly had… and wasn’t sure how he felt about it.

 

If he were perfectly frank… he was a bit jealous. After dealing with suspicion or outright hatred in many places, seeing this kind of treatment was like rubbing salt on old wounds. But at the same time, he had to admit, this was not the reception of someone evil. Unless the half-blue dragon were very good at hiding his true nature, Almonihah had to admit to himself that he had probably been wrong to so mistrust his fellow half-dragon. And yet… it was not so easy.

 

“Just what’d you do?” Almonihah growled to Garkhen when they had a quiet moment.

 

“I was one of a number of champions who faced the head of the Infernals during the war not too long ago,” Garkhen replied, gazing off into the distance rather than meeting the Ranger’s eyes. “My… heritage makes me rather recognizable even to those who never met me, and of course brings the interest of bards, so I have gained something of a reputation over time.”

 

He looked up at his companion with a bit of a grin. “My heritage also made me of interest to mages, which will now aid in our cause, will it not?”

 

Almonihah snorted in grudging agreement, but said nothing more.

 

The place the guards had directed them to was a large home across the street from the ruined temple of Mashano, where the story the pair had just been discussing took place. Garkhen shook his head slightly as he looked at it. 

 

“Still we do not know just what happened or how…” he murmured. “No doubt this is why the wizards are working here… and I must wonder if this amulet did not have something to do with it.”

 

Almonihah grunted in agreement. “Maybe.”

 

A single guard stood at attention by the door as the two half-dragons approached. Garkhen did not recognize him, but it was clear he recognized Garkhen.

 

“Say, you’re the half-dragon champion… Grekhin, was it?”

 

“Ah, Garkhen, yes,” the half-blue dragon replied, “And this is Almonihah, a Ranger. We had hoped to consult with some of the mages here, if we might?”

 

The guard nodded, smiling. “I’m sure they’d be glad to speak with you!” He turned and opened the door, spoke briefly to someone inside, then turned back to them. “All right, come on in!”

 

As they passed, Almonihah heard the soldier murmuring to himself, “Not one, but two! Never thought I’d see even one half-dragon in my life…”

 

A servant greeted them in the small antechamber within the grand home, and directed them to a sitting room, then ducked out with a bow. Soon he returned, leading a woman in deep purple robes.

 

“Greetings, greetings, good sirs!” She said, taking a seat across the room. “I am Archivist Maritha. You,” she pointed at Garkhen, “I know by reputation, but I’m afraid I have no knowledge of you,” she pointed at Almonihah. “However, based on what I know of Garkhen, I suspect you’re here for something important. Am I correct?”

 

Almonihah snorted, surprised (pleasantly) by the Archivist’s straightforward approach. Garkhen seemed a bit more taken aback, but quickly recovered, grinning slightly.

 

“I am indeed Garkhen, Archivist, and this is Almonihah, a Ranger. You are correct that we are here on a matter of great import, as well. To explain, after the end of the war, I spent some time investigating the castle here in Elifort. While doing so, I stumbled upon on odd amulet, which seemed to be fashioned of some sort of multihued, rough stone wrapped in chains. As soon as I placed it in my pack, I completely forgot about its existence.”

 

Archivist Maritha’s expression grew concerned, but she did not interrupt as Garkhen continued. “I carried it unknowing until shortly after I met Almonihah. When he learned that I had been attacked quite frequently by Madness-Touched beasts, he grew suspicious, and took me to meet the Commander of the Southern Ranger Order. When we arrived, the amulet… reacted to the wards set by the Rangers, which allowed me to remember its existence. Their druids examined it, and while they have not been able to divine its purpose, they have confirmed that it seems somehow to be connected to the chaotic power of Jivenesh. However, they were not able to discern a method by which it might be destroyed. Instead we have fashioned a container warded sufficiently to quarantine its powers, and have come in hopes that a more permanent solution might be discovered.”

 

The mage’s voice was as solemn as her face as she responded. “This is grave news indeed you bring, though if you found it in the castle here, it is likely connected to the mysteries we have sought to uncover here. Might I see the amulet?”

 

Garkhen nodded, and pulled its box out of his pack. As he did so, the Archivist murmured a quiet spell. Holding it in front of himself, he opened it slightly. Maritha gasped slightly and anxiously waved a hand.

 

“Close it! Close it up again, please.”

 

Garkhen obliged, and the Archivist breathed a slight sigh of relief. “That is, indeed, the most powerful source of chaotic magic I have ever had the displeasure to encounter, and containing such creations is my specialty. Speaking of which…”

 

She frowned in thought for a moment, then shook her head slightly. “I don’t remember. I’m sure it will come back to me later.”

 

It was Garkhen’s turn to look concerned. “Is it possible the amulet’s powers are blocking your memory as it did mine?”

 

Maritha cocked her head to one side slightly, then shook it. “No, I’m pretty sure this is just me getting old.” She laughed a bit—Almonihah noted that she hardly looked middle-aged for a human. “There was just… a little something in the aura that seemed familiar from somewhere. If I dared take a closer look at it, I’d probably be able to remember what it was, but we need more power in the room in case something happens before I’d dare let you open that box again. Let me go round up my colleagues here and we’ll see what we can do.”

 

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There, a little longer of a post to make up for last week. 

 

I wish I’d covered more of how Almonihah and Garkhen dealt with townsfolk and such before, but… I never did. Oh, well.

Chapter 2-6

Nothing further attacked them that day, nor the day after. Soon enough they saw signs of civilization—farms and hamlets below them, though Zakhin’Dakh flew high enough not to disturb them.

 

“Ah… I feel I should ask,” Garkhen began, “How have you found yourselves… accepted?”

 

Almonihah snorted. “Depends. Mostly Zakhin’Dakh stays outside of towns ‘ways. ‘Self, ‘m used t’ the looks, ‘nd if they don’t want me…” he shrugged.

 

Garkhen nodded slightly. “I am, at least, known to some degree in this area of Ferdunan now, so we should be able to travel into the town together… though Zakhin’Dakh may still best stay outside.”

 

Said griffon screeched disappointedly, and Garkhen reached forward and patted his neck. “I suppose we simply need a greater reputation,” he suggested, with a hint of a grin. “Then they will be glad to see the great Zakhin’Dakh coming to town.”

 

Zakhin’Dakh’s screech this time was more cheerful, and Garkhen chuckled a bit. At first, he had not realized it, but he was learning quickly that the griffon was far too intelligent to be a simple beast—rather, he seemed his own person, particularly since Almonihah could apparently speak with him. A thought occurred to Garkhen: Was there not a spell-prayer for understanding languages? He recalled having once heard of it, though it was little used with the universal prevalence of the Common Tongue. Perhaps he might see if he could find it.

 

He had been lost in thought enough that Almonihah’s sudden words in the strange, bird-like language he spoke with Zakhin’Dakh startled him. Garkhen looked down and saw that they were descending, heading for a hill that had no signs of cultivation. They did indeed land where he had thought. 

 

“Zakhin’Dakh’ll meet us here when we’re done. Couple hours’ walk from here to that town you talked about.”

 

Garkhen nodded. “That is most likely prudent.” He looked about. “I believe I recognize the area. We need to go that way, do we not?”

 

Almonihah nodded. “Let’s go.”

 

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Another short post, I know. I’ll try to do a longer one next week.

Chapter 2-5

They flew in silence for a few minutes, alert for any further attacks. Finally Garkhen decided to speak.

“It was almost as if it was waiting in ambush for us.”

 

Almonihah growled. “Javni’Tolkhrah don’t plan. They’re chaos-touched. Mad. Can’t think intelligently.” After a moment, he added. “’nd I hate t’ think it was.”

 

Garkhen shook his head slightly. “Nonetheless, I think we must admit the possibility. Whatever this amulet is, it has certainly attracted their attention, and we cannot deny that such behavior is unusual. Who can say that they are not also capable of cunning, despite their madness?”

 

The bronze half-dragon growled again and shook his head, but couldn’t say anything to deny the point. Zakhin’Dakh, however, screeched a boast in Great Eagle. Almonihah snorted in amusement. Garkhen half-turned, as if to ask, and the Ranger translated.

 

“He said it doesn’t matter. We’ll beat them all.” Though really, it had been more like “Not matter! Me beat!”, but Almonihah could fill in for his friend.

 

Garkhen laughed. “Indeed? Well, I am glad to have such mighty friends in this undertaking.”

 

“Not your friends,” Almonihah growled.

 

The half-blue dragon sighed. “Perhaps not yet, but I hope we can become such.”

 

Almonihah snorted derisively, but didn’t deign to answer.

 

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 Well, it’s a short post, I know. I’ve been distracted by other characters recently.

Chapter 2-4

They flew out of the camp on Zakhin’Dakh’s back, Garkhen again riding in the saddle while Almonihah made do with holding on. They were headed south, back towards Ferdunan. Garkhen was very conscious of what lay in the bottom of his pack… as were Almonihah, and even Zakhin’Dakh. 

 

“I believe the mages I know have moved back to the capital,” Garkhen said, after several uncomfortable, silent minutes had passed. “It should not be too hard to…”

 

Suddenly Zakhin’Dakh shrieked, Look!

 

Almonihah followed his big friend’s gaze, and saw something flying towards them. It didn’t take long for him to realize what it was.

 

“Javni’Tolkhrah,” he spat, then growled, “You’re in the way, blue. Have to do this differently.”

 

The half-bronze dragon released his grip and jumped, spreading his disused wings. He winced a bit as unfamiliar muscles got to work, but Almonihah welcomed the distraction from the thoughts of just what the wings meant. If he used them to take out Jivenesh’s twisted minions… He pushed that thought aside, too.

 

Meanwhile, Zakhin’Dakh had altered his flight path, angling so as to come at his foe from above. He shriek-roared a challenge at the Madness-Touched, which roared its own challenge back. It was a big creature, its individual pieces too mingled to recognize. It had a long neck, scales that seemed vaguely crocodilian, huge wings that were only partially feathered, and a half-dozen differently shaped legs. A long tail ended in a bizarre amalgam of spikes and stingers.

 

Garkhen began chanting as the griffon and his prey neared one another. A few moments before they met, he finished his spell-prayer, and a lance of holy light shot forth from his outstretched palm and blasted the Javni’Tolkhrah in the face. It roared as it flinched, Bahamut’s power searing its eyes and flesh… which gave Zakhin’Dakh the opening he needed to slam into it. His talons sank into its shoulders as his beak sought its neck, but it recovered quickly.

 

As it flailed at the griffon with its variety of claws, Zakhin’Dakh decided holding on was unwise. He pushed it away from himself as he flapped powerfully with his wings, narrowly avoiding a swipe of its tail as they separated. Garkhen began chanting another spell-prayer as the griffon ascended.

 

Then Almonihah dove past, slashing at the Javni’Tolkhrah’s wing as he dropped below it. His wild flight meant he caused it only superficial damage, and he struggled to turn and climb again. 

 

The wings, Zakhin’Dakh! He shouted.

 

Okay! The griffon screeched back, turning for another attack.

 

Garkhen wondered what they were saying, but had no time to ask. Instead, he finished chanting, this time flipping his holy symbol up and breathing lightning through it. The now blessed lightning coursed through the monster below him, and it flailed wildly at the air in pain and rage. Again Zakhin’Dakh took the opportunity to attack, this time diving to one side, seizing one of his foe’s wings in his talons and holding on as he continued dropping. 

 

The two great beasts tumbled crazily through the air, Zakhin’Dakh managing to remain just outside of the reach of the Javni’Tolkhrah’s claws. It snapped at him with its fangs, but he warded it off with his beak. Then it lashed its tail at him. Garkhen saw it coming, and managed to lift an armored arm to ward it off. He still saw one spine scratch Zakhin’Dakh’s wing, but it did not seem to bother him. 

 

Almonihah managed to fly by again, this time slashing a great rent in the monster’s other wing. Let him fall! He shouted as he pulled away.

 

Zakhin’Dakh waited until the Javni’Tolkhrah tumbled under him, then again pushed away with a defiant shriek. It dropped, struggling to right itself with its rent wings. Somehow it managed to regain control. Almonihah growled in frustration. 

 

Then Garkhen chanted another spell-prayer, this time directing the searing light of his god at its less-damaged wing. The beam struck bone and burned through, and finally the monstrosity dropped, roaring in defiance until it struck the ground.

 

For a little while, none of them spoke. Almonihah made his way back over to Zakhin’Dakh, but it took him several tries before he was able to grab onto the saddle and pull himself back onto the griffon’s back. 

 

Need practice! Zakhin’Dakh declared.

 

Almonihah nodded and sullenly agreed, I need practice. The wind seemed to be laughing at him. He growled at it in Draconic, Quiet, Jivenesh. I won’t listen to you.

 

Garkhen started slightly, but after a moment, decided to say nothing.

 

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For more epicness, listen to one of these while reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VbLTGy0TFk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJDyv-YVPgw 

 

My brother and I joke about how Zakhin’Dakh is the monster other monsters are scared of, the one that makes them look up and watch the skies. 😀

Chapter 2-3

It took three days to prepare something that the Ranger druids deemed would be ‘safe enough’ for carrying the amulet. It was a deceptively plain wooden box, just large enough to fit the amulet and its chain. Despite its plain appearance, however, powerful magics were woven into the very fiber of the wood, and bound in runes carved into its inner surfaces. 

 

Almonihah had spent the time getting acquainted with the differences between the Southern and Northern Ranger Orders. There was less ground to cover here in the south, but he learned that the Rangers also had to patrol the waters, for Jivenesh’s madness would twist the creatures of the sea as well as those of the land. Yet for all that, they were much the same.

 

Zakhin’Dakh, for his part, enjoyed meeting new people, and impressing them with his intelligence and size. Almonihah found himself dragged in to provide translations for the curious more often than he would like… though he had to admit he was just a bit proud of how quickly his friend was learning. 

 

Garkhen, however, was ill at ease. He worried about how long he had carried the amulet, and what it meant. He aided in the construction of the carrying box, and asked the druids if they knew anything of it as he did, but they did not. This only increased his concern—how long had this chaos amulet existed, and what had it done? How was it related to what had happened in Ferdunan? And why was it attracting Javni’Tolkhrah?

 

It was clear even now that more of the Madness-Touched were attacking then normal, and that they were trying this place. The Ranger Commander (she never shared her name) showed no concern, but Garkhen could see the strain it was placing on the Rangers, and so he worked harder to help prepare to remove the artifact.

 

At last all was ready. Carefully, without touching it directly, they placed the amulet in its box. For a moment its swirling colors grew brighter, but then they dimmed, and Llitthos shut the box with a final prayer to Naishia.

 

“It will not last forever,” he said, carefully picking up the box and handing it to Almonihah. “But it should be enough.”

 

“Where will you go?” The Commander asked.

 

“I became acquainted with a few mages in Ferdunan,” Garkhen replied. “While they may not have the skill themselves to unravel this mystery, I trust them enough to begin with them, and they will likely at least know how we may begin.”

 

The Commander nodded. “Then may all the goodly gods be with you three. You’ll need the help.”

 

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Another short post because of Beyond Earth. 😀

 

Chapter 2-1

Chapter 2: Dangerous Cargo

 

“Should’ve known there was something more going on. ‘Course, at th’ time, suppose I was… not thinking straight. Hate magic like that. Messing with your head. Shouldn’t be something someone can do t’ you. Man’s mind should be his own.”

Before Garkhen could respond, a loud shriek interrupted them. Almonihah looked up, then stood as he saw Zakhin’Dakh charging towards the door. 

 

Calm down, Zakhin’Dakh, he called out in Great Eagle. They’re trying to help.

 

The two druids were looking behind themselves nervously at the huge griffon that was suddenly looming over them.

 

“’t’s all right,” Almonihah said in the Common tongue this time. “Nobody’s trying to hurt me. No enemies here.” He paused, then glared at Garkhen. “Better not be, at least.”

 

Okay… Zakhin’Dakh screeched uncertainly, settling down on his haunches, clearly still wanting to keep an eye on what was going on with his friend.

 

Garkhen gazed back at Almonihah. “I certainly have no intention to aid the Mad God,” he stated, evenly. “As with the other gods, Bahamut stood with Naishia against him.”

 

Almonihah snorted, but before he could say more the Ranger commander interjected, “And from what Llitthos says, you must have his blessing to still be yourself. Now, let’s not throw around accusations. We have a problem to solve.”

 

“Right,” the elven druid said. “I think… we’ll need to gather more of the circle. The three of us,” he nodded at his companion and at Garkhen, “Can keep it contained here, but we’re going to want something… mobile.”

 

“So you’re saying you can’t do something about it here,” the Commander prompted.

 

Llitthos nodded. “Perhaps one of the others might have an idea. However, I rather suspect that unraveling this magic will take a wizard’s talents, not a priest’s. It seems to be warded specifically against divine power.”

 

The Ranger Commander frowned. “Well, we’ll call the circle together. I hope you’re wrong, Llitthos, but if not…”she turned to the two half-dragons. “I can’t say I like letting two strangers carry this thing around, but you got it here, and you both are telling the truth.”

 

Almonihah nodded, his head-frill stiffening slightly as he noted the certainty in her tone. Was there some kind of truth magic going on she hadn’t mentioned?

 

“You’ll need to take this and have it examined by some wizard you can trust. We’ll do what we can for you, but…” she shook her head slightly, “I can’t spare any druids from the Line here, and I don’t think I could pry a Ranger free as quickly as you’d need, either. So it will be the two of you.”

 

Zakhin’Dakh screeched from outside. Almonihah grinned. “He said three.”

 

The Commander’s eyebrows rose. “Right, three. Now, then… it will take a couple of days, and I’d rather not have that thing sitting on my doorstep the whole time. Can we move it?”

 

Llitthos hesitated. “I believe… with the Warder’s help, and if we prepare a place, we should be able to temporarily. If you would…” he looked expectantly at the blue-scaled half-dragon. 

 

“Garkhen. And yes.” He narrowed his eyes, focusing on his connection to his god. His symbol glowed brighter.

 

Llitthos nodded. “I shall go prepare, then.”

 

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I debated about putting the chapter break here, but decided I wanted to shift more to Almonihah’s point of view, and thought it appropriate to do a chapter break for that.