Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Category Archives: Chapter 8

Chapter 8-7

Garkhen looked surprised. “You sailed here, then?”

Almonihah snorted. “Yeah.”

The half-blue dragon looked over at the huge griffon. “Ah… I had not thought a ship would be sufficient for Zakhin’Dakh.”

Almonihah shrugged. “Lot ‘f strange things get shipped from Midport. Just had t’ find th’ right captain.”

Tirel laughed. “Somehow I don’t think it’ll be that easy, Almonihah.”

“Least now we have someone who can look human.”

The tiger-man grinned. “It’s not often that I get to be the most normal person in a group.”

Almonihah snorted, shifting his wings slightly. “May have t’ get used to it ‘f you keep following us around.”

The Wyre shrugged slightly. “We’ll see. I could always just stay in my Wyre form if I wanted to keep you three company,” he added, grinning.

“I think it will be wiser for you to assume human form, my friend,” Garkhen interjected, also grinning. “As you have pointed out, we shall have enough difficulty as it is purchasing passage.”

They traveled quickly, but it still took several days to reach the capital city of Ferd. Tirel did, indeed, assume human form as they neared the city. The group still got some weird looks, but… it was clear from speaking with the guards at the gates of the city that the story of Almonihah and Zakhin’Dakh coming through the town when they had arrived in Ferdunan had spread… and Garkhen’s tale seemed equally well-known.

Once they were out of earshot of the guards, Almonihah muttered, “Guess a reputation’s good for something.”

“A good one is, yes,” Garkhen agreed.

They soon found that their good reputation was not sufficient to find passage easily. The captains they spoke with pointed out—quite rightly—the many challenges of transporting a creature like Zakhin’Dakh. Many spoke of how crews would likely not work well with a giant griffon about. None were willing to take the chance, in spite of the offer of significant quantities of gold.

It was nearly a week before they finally had some luck. Another ship from Midport had come in, and while the captain was reluctant at first, when they brought up the subject of payment, he grew more agreeable.

At last he said, “Well, if you feed him and clean up after him, I’ll take you aboard.”

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I apologize for the late post. Here, have a picture of Zakhin’Dakh fighting a behir to make up for it. 😀

I feel like I glossed over the difficulties of shipping a giant griffon a bit too much on the way south. It may be a bit more of an issue now…

Chapter 8-6

In spite of their best efforts, their stay stretched out to several days. After telling Whitepaw all he could, Garkhen mostly rested. He hated admitting it, but he needed the rest—he had drained himself too thoroughly over the past days, and needed to rebuild his strength. Whitepaw occasionally called him in to discuss something with him, but other than that he rested or, sometimes, spoke with Tirel or the other Wyre.

Wyre seemed to drift in and out of the little refuge. Garkhen couldn’t quite follow why some stayed and some left, though he gathered that sometimes Whitepaw requested that one or another of the Wyre do something. But for the most part, they seemed to come and go at their own volition.

Almonihah recognized what was going on. It wasn’t so different from how the Rangers worked—partly independent, partly at the direction of a leader. In fact, he enjoyed being with them—they were fellow worshipers of Naishia, and he found he had a fair amount in common with them. Though even here he was still an outsider to some degree, but… he was used to that. At least they didn’t think he was a monster or something.

Zakhin’Dakh thought the Wyre were really cool, what with turning into animals and animal-people and stuff. He liked following Almonihah around while he was talking with them, or just following them around in general, watching what they were doing and trying to talk with them. He was a little jealous of them having hands and being able to be animals at the same time. Hands were useful! But he was a griffon, so he didn’t have hands, so it seemed a little unfair that they could be things like eagles or tigers and still have hands, but it was okay he guessed. At least he had more friends with hands now.

In spite of feeling more at ease here, Almonihah couldn’t really relax. Not with that Amulet around. He checked in frequently at Whitepaw’s hut to make sure it was still there. It always was, but… he was pretty sure the wolf-Wyre looked at him approvingly as he came, as if she appreciated his concern for the dangerous artifact.

At last she called the three friends together, coming outside with a small wooden box in her hands.

“This is all I can do,” she explained to them. “Though I studied it long, I have found no method to destroy it. Its power is beyond my understanding. Where you might go or what you might do… I know not, save that I feel you should go north.”

“North?” Almonihah repeated. He thought a moment. “S’pose there’s th’ Midport Mage’s Guild. Supposed t’ be the biggest bunch ‘f wizards anywhere.”

“That may be your best hope,” Whitepaw said. “This was worked by a sorcerer of great skill and power, from what I have seen, and so perhaps wizards may succeed where I and other Druids have failed.”

Almonihah snorted. “Or they could try t’ take it.”

“Only the very foolish would do so,” Whitepaw replied.

“I doubt we will find such leading a Guild of such repute, Almonihah,” Garkhen said, trying to forestall further argument.

The half-bronze dragon grunted, but said nothing further.

“Very well, then. You shall depart in the morning with all haste. Even contained, this Amulet sickens me, and I cannot imagine its presence here has gone unmarked this whole time.”

“And I’ll come, too!”

Everyone turned to see Tirel jogging up to join the group. He grinned a bit as he met the quartet of gazes.

“This Amulet thing’s got trouble written all over it, and I figure you could use another hand. Or paw.”

“I, for one, would be glad for your company, Tirel,” Garkhen replied, smiling back. “What do you think, Almonihah?”

Almonihah shrugged. “Help if th’ Javni’Tolkhrah attack again.”

Garkhen turned to the big griffon. “What of you, Zakhin’Dakh?”

Zakhin’Dakh shrieked happily and nodded. He liked having more friends!

“Then it is decided,” Whitepaw said. “Prepare as best you can and rest well. You shall need your strength in days to come.”

The Wyre sent them off the next day with a simple but hearty farewell. Tirel led the little group away, back south and west towards the ocean and the ships that could carry them to Midport.

As they traveled, Zakhin’Dakh looked over at Almonihah.

Where we go next? He asked with an excited screech.

The Ranger grinned just the slightest bit at his friend’s eager, innocent question. “Back t’ the ocean. You remember th’ place that had other griffons?”

Zakhin’Dakh screeched an enthusiastic agreement.

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Zakhin’Dakh likes friends. Friends are good. They’re really cool! 😀

Chapter 8-5

The inside of the hut was as humble as the outside—a few rough mats were arranged around a central fire pit, though no fire burned there now. A variety of dried herbs hung from the ceiling or were neatly arranged along one wall. In the back was a small stool, on which sat another Wyre—a gray-furred wolf-woman, with an odd patch of white fur on one hand, a staff in hand. She stood smoothly as the two half-dragons entered.

“You have come. Good,” she stated, calmly.

“You are Whitepaw, yes?” Garkhen asked.

The Wyre nodded. “I am. And you are Garkhen, you are Almonihah, and the griffon outside is Zakhin’Dakh. You have not made information about yourselves hard to find.”

“What’s that supposed t’ mean?” Almonihah growled.

“It means the many who no doubt seek what you carry cannot fail but to recognize you wherever you go,” Whitepaw stated, calmly. “Which means we have little time.”

Almonihah snorted. “Not much t’ do about being covered with scales…”

“It is not an accusation. It is a fact you shall have to account for. Now, may I see your burden?”

Both half-dragons hesitated a bit, so Whitepaw added, “That is why you came, yes? I can scarce aid if you do not trust me thus far. I certainly do not plan to touch it, if that is your concern.”

After another long moment, Almonihah reached into his pack and pulled out the box holding the Amulet, then set it on the ground. After a bit more hesitation he opened it, revealing the multicolored stone in its chains.

Whitepaw shuddered. “Such an ugly thing…” she murmured. “Garkhen, you participated in sealing it once, correct?”

Garkhen looked at her with surprise. “Yes, I did… at least, in creating a container to seal its power temporarily.”

“That shall be the best I can do. You are tired still, so I will ask you only what you remember of what was done. Quickly, now. You have little time to spend.”

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Here, a late, short post. I’m going to be rather busy evenings for the next while, so short posts is probably going to be the norm. Not that I’ve been writing long post much recently anyway.

Chapter 8-4

It took them two more days’ travel to reach the Pack’s den—largely because maneuvering a large griffon through the underbrush was rather slow going. Several times Tirel had to look around for a different path than the one he was accustomed to in order to accommodate Zakhin’Dakh’s bulk.

As evening wore on, Almonihah glanced aside with a frown. “That’s not th’ way a normal fox acts,” he commented.

The whole party stopped and looked where he was. Sure enough, a fox slipped out of the underbrush and looked up at them… then shifted into a clothed, humanoid form.

“You’ve got sharp eyes there, Bronze-scales,” the fox-Wyre commented, grinning.

Almonihah shrugged, unsurprised. “You learn ‘f you live long ‘nough in the wilds. Or die.”

“Such a cheerful fellow you’ve brought, Tirel,” the grinning fox-man commented to the other Wyre. “He a friend of yours?”

“A friend of a friend, at least,” Tirel replied, grinning back. “Garkhen you’ve heard of, and these are his friends, Almonihah and Zakhin’Dakh.” He pointed at each in turn as he introduced them. “And this is Eznin,” he finished, pointing at the fox-Wyre.

Eznin gave the group a little bow. “Greetings, greetings all! I’m guessing Tirel’s filled you in on our little group?” Without waiting for an answer he slipped ahead of the group and started walking. 

“Well, we’ve heard a bit about you, too. And that means you go straight to Whitepaw. No messing around.”

There almost seemed to be a note of disappointment at his last statement.

It wasn’t much longer before they came into… it wasn’t quite a clearing, but more an area cleared of underbrush under the canopy of the forest. A few simple huts were built around the largest trees. It wasn’t much to look at… but the inhabitants were. A dog-man, a hawk-man, a stag-man… and who knew if some of the animals around the area were actually Wyre?

“Welcome to our humble little home,” Eznin said, turning and bowing again. He pointed to one of the huts. “Whitepaw’s waiting for you in there.” 

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Yeah, short post, I know.

Chapter 8-3

Garkhen rode Zakhin’Dakh as they followed Tirel across fields and towards a large forest. Almonihah had insisted that Garkhen rest longer, rather than march on his own, and the half-blue dragon had reluctantly agreed. Tirel led the little group, trying to keep more to the low-lying areas so as to avoid sight. A few times they saw a farmer off in the distance, but no one ever troubled the odd (and dangerous-looking) group.

By night, they were again under the shade of trees, this time at the edge of a much larger forest. They had turned somewhat from the course Zakhin’Dakh had been flying before—they were further to the west, now, rather than heading south.

After Garkhen dismounted, Zakhin’Dakh collapsed on his side with a huge sigh. Almonihah looked over at him with a bit of amusement.

Tired, Zakhin’Dakh?

Not like walk, the big griffon replied.

Tirel looked surprised. “You can speak with him?”

Almonihah nodded slightly. “Understands Human, too.”

Zakhin’Dakh perked up and screeched happily, nodding.

The Wyre grinned. “Is that so, big guy? Well I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you earlier! I’d just never met a griffon before.”

I smart griffon! Zakhin’Dakh interjected.

Tirel looked over at Almonihah. “What’d he say?”

“Said he’s a smart griffon. ‘nd he is.” He glanced between the two of them. “Not sure I want to translate a whole conversation, though.”

“Well… I suppose I’ll just show you this, then,” Tirel said, grinning. Swiftly his form flowed and changed, until there was a large, grinning tiger looking up at the huge griffon.

Zakhin’Dakh shrieked in surprise, then ‘oooooed’. That’s cool!

Almonihah watched with less surprise. “So that’s what it looks like.”

Tirel changed into his hybrid tiger-man form. “You’d heard of Wyre before, then?”

“Rangers ‘nd druids I know ‘ve talked about Wyre. Blessed of Naishia to take the shape of animals in defense of the land, ‘nd all that. Thought there were hardly more ‘n a few of you, though.”

“There aren’t many of us. Maybe twenty here in Ferdunan, and nowhere else has as many Wyre. No one seems to know why there’s so many of us here, though my guess is it’s the recent war… and that Amulet.”

Almonihah nodded. “Makes sense.”

Suddenly a loud crash interrupted their conversation. Almonihah turned, hand on Eldereth’s hilt, and saw that Garkhen had dozed off, the crash resulting from him falling over on his side as he had fallen asleep.

Of course, he was awake now, and he grinned sheepishly at his friends. “It would appear I am still rather fatigued, my friends.”

Tirel laughed. “I guess so! Maybe it’s time we made camp.”  

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Griffons are made for flying, not walking!

Chapter 8-2

It took several days for Garkhen to recover enough to travel—several long, nervous, lean days, while Almonihah watched anxiously for signs of more Javni’Tolkhrah, and Zakhin’Dakh had to fly ever-further afield to find hunting grounds. Yet no more attacks came—not even some nervous warriors following the griffon back to the trees. The Amulet was quiet.

It all made Almonihah anxious.

“No way that thing’s really being quiet,” he grumbled to Garkhen.

The Warder didn’t have to ask what his friend was speaking about. “Perhaps it must recharge its power?”

Almonihah snorted. “No way we’re that lucky.”

“And yet there is nothing we can do if it is somehow subtly preparing for another attack upon us, my friend, and so we had best plan our next move.”

“Mage’s Guild. Ferd,” Almonihah growled. “More mages. ‘Cause that worked so well.”

“There was a single traitor,” Garkhen began.

“That they found,” Almonihah growled back. He stood again, making an angry gesture with one clawed hand. “But we have no other options. So we’ll just have t’ try again.” He snorted.

“Almonihah…”

“I’m going,” the half-bronze dragon grumbled. “Just quit trying t’ convince me to like ‘t.”

Garkhen sighed, but said nothing more. The argument had grown tired long ago. Instead, he stood up, and opened his mouth to speak.

“It’s a good thing that griffon’s around, or I would never have found you, Garkhen!”

The half-blue dragon jumped, recognizing the voice instantly. “Tirel?” He said, turning.

Almonihah had drawn his blades, and was looking at the unassuming-looking man who had just walked to the edge of their encampment. “Friend ‘f yours?”

Garkhen nodded, smiling. “Yes, a good friend. We fought together briefly in the war, and sometime afterward.”

“And then you went and got new friends,” Tirel teased, grinning as he walked forward. “At least you look glad to see me.”

Garkhen’s smile picked up an edge of a grin in return. “Always, my friend. But I should introduce you. Almonihah, Zakhin’Dakh, this is Tirel, a Wyre warrior of Naishia. Tirel, this is Almonihah the Ranger and his friend, Zakhin’Dakh.”

Almonihah relaxed a bit at the mention of Naishia, noting also the simple leather loop around his neck, much like the one around Almonihah’s own neck that held the rampant unicorn symbol of Naishia. “Wyre, huh? Heard ‘f you, but never met one.”

“Well until Garkhen here, I’d never met a half-dragon either. I guess we’re both rare breeds,” Tirel replied, turning his grin on Almonihah.

The half-dragon grunted, sheathing his swords. “So you’ve been looking for him?” He said, nodding at Garkhen.

“For all of you,” Tirel said, his voice suddenly serious. “As soon as Whitepaw heard of what happened to the Rangers, she sent us out searching for you. I stopped by Elifort and… well, that’s a nasty hole in the wall.”

“Whitepaw?” Almonihah asked.

“The leader of our little Pack, and a Druid,” The Wyre replied. “A powerful one, at that. She heard what Llitthos was able to determine, and… you really shouldn’t be carrying that around uncovered.”

Almonihah snorted. “Wouldn’t ‘f I had a choice.”

“Well, she may be able to do something about that. What’s more… well, she might be able to figure out a way to destroy it.”

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Hey, look! It’s a familiar charcter! 

Chapter 8-1

Chapter 8: Sea

“Can’t blame people for being afraid. Know I look scary, ‘nd there’re plenty of things in th’ world t’ be scared ‘f. ‘nd the whole Amulet thing didn’t help. Still…”

Almonihah looked back at Elifort, just a hint of a snarl on his face. Oh, he could understand why they’d been thrown out… he could understand. But he didn’t respect it. Of course, they hadn’t gotten out of the city as fast as some would have wanted, what with an unconscious Garkhen to pick up and the safety of the Amulet to ensure.

Not that they’d been able to do much about the Amulet… Maritha had hastily put it in a small metal box and cast a spell over it, complaining all the while that there was no way it would even blunt the powerful magic of the artifact. Almonihah could almost feel it sitting in his pack, its accursed power questing outwards, seeking to… he didn’t know what, but he was sure it was bad.

As for their destination… Maritha’s hurried suggestion had been the Royal Mage’s Guild at Ferd, the capital city. And so Zakhin’Dakh was flying south again, winging over the increasingly flat and settled lands away from the mountains. Almonihah tried to direct his friend’s flight over the least inhabited parts of the land, but he was sure they were still making some farmers very nervous. At least they’d come through the capital before, so he hoped they’d be able to talk before getting thrown out.

For now, though, he was looking for a place to camp. After their battle earlier in the day, Zakhin’Dakh wasn’t really in good shape for long-distance flying, and of course Garkhen could probably use some actual rest without getting jounced around by wing-beats. The forest over there would suffice…

“Let’s head over there, Zakhin’Dakh,” he said to his big friend.

The griffon nodded his head and turned, gliding in to a tired landing in a clearing.

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Just a bit of connective tissue for the week.