Garkhen saw one of the Javni’Tolkhrah crouching down, preparing to spring forward. Somehow he found the energy to summon up one more bolt of lightning breath. It was weak, hardly even reaching the beast, much less injuring it, but it yelp and whirled around, redirecting its attack to the half-dragon. He braced against its pounce as best he could, managing to keep his feet when it impacted him.
The next minutes would ever after be a blur in his memory, smeared by fatigue and faded by exhaustion. There was the flash of teeth and claws, screeching upon his armor. Again and again Silverflame rose and fell. Sometimes one Javni’Tolkhrah was in front of him, sometimes another.
Finally it ended. Garkhen was standing, more because fatigue had frozen him in place than because he had the energy to keep his feet. Around him were the three beasts, riddled with arrows and burned by his mace. And after that… darkness.
Zakhin’Dakh saw Almonihah break out of the woods below, and wheeled to follow him from where he had been circling above. He almost cried out to draw his attention, but then he saw a Javni’Tolkhrah burst out of the undergrowth behind his friend. His shriek of welcome became a shriek of battle, and he dove on the monstrosity, catching it by surprise.
Almonihah turned for just a moment, saw what was happening, and shouted, “Don’t get killed! ‘nd check on th’ Rangers!” before taking off again, flying low over the terrain as he made his way southwards, out of the Madlands.
It didn’t take long for Zakhin’Dakh to finish the beast he’d surprised, but two more came out of the warped woods, and soon he was fighting for his life. As soon as he dropped his guard, though, one slipped past him, trying to follow Almonihah. When the other tried to break free, however, he seized it savagely with his talons, and soon it, too, lay dead on the ground.
The big griffon then took off, trying to ignore the slowly bleeding wounds on his forequarters as he chased after the escapee. It saw him coming and dove off to one side, disappearing into a thick tangle of growth. After circling around for a little while, Zakhin’Dakh decided his friend was probably okay. He’d told him to go back to the Rangers, so he obediently turned and flew back towards them.
The griffon came to a landing in front of the Commander of the Rangers, one of only four survivors. Zakhin’Dakh screeched sadly as he looked at them. The Commander, nursing wounds of his own, looked the griffon over.
“Your other half-dragon friend is back there. I believe he still lives, but none of us can move him, and if we do not leave quickly, none of us shall.”
Zakhin’Dakh nodded with a quiet screeched, then took off again. He soon found Garkhen, lying collapsed on the corpse of a Javni’Tolkhrah, with two others dead around him. Carefully, he picked the Warder up in his talons, a bit surprised by how much heavier he felt. The big griffon concluded that meant he was tired, but he couldn’t rest.
He flew back to the Rangers. The Commander, seeing him flying in, waved him on. “Go!” He shouted. “Better you go alone! We shall travel quietly, but you draw attention. Speed is your only defense now. Fly!”
Zakhin’Dakh complied, climbing higher and flying southwards, Garkhen dangling from his talons.
Whew! Finally finished that battle scene! I’d been thinking this chapter would cover more of the aftermath, but at this point I think I’ll just make it a new chapter next week.