Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Category Archives: Chapter 9

Chapter 9-6

Eating and resting felt good. In fact, it felt like maybe they shouldn’t bother continuing on until the next day. After the terror and flight of the morning, all of them were rather exhausted. Even the normally energetic Zakhin’Dakh seemed to be drooping a bit. And thus, they decided to camp for the night, even though sunset was still hours away.

Soon Garkhen and Zakhin’Dakh fell asleep… but Almonihah forced himself to stay awake. They were, he reasoned, in a likely hostile locale where who-knows-what might be prowling the night. One of them, at least, had to stay awake and keep watch, and if the other two were too tired to do it, well, he’d have to. Maybe he’d wake Garkhen later in the night. But for now, he would pace about to keep himself awake, looking warily into the jungle with its noisy creatures as the last light of day faded from the sky.

He awoke with a start the next morning. At some point he’d given in to the desire to sit down for a moment… and fallen asleep himself. Almonihah stood up abruptly and looked over their little campsite. Zakhin’Dakh and Garkhen were still asleep… he checked his pouches. Everything seemed to still be in place.

Still wary, he walked the perimeter of their camp again, but still saw no signs of nighttime intrusions. He was just about to relax slightly when his sharp ears picked up something that didn’t blend in with the bird calls and other sounds of the jungle around him.

Voices in the distance.

He ran over to Garkhen and rapped on his armor (he’d slept in it!), urgently whispering, “Get up!”

While his fellow half-dragon awoke, Almonihah hustled over to his griffon friend and similarly woke him. In a few moments, the three were all awake, huddled together at the center of the clearing.

“People coming. Should get away from here,” Almonihah stated.

“Because they are likely pirates?” Garkhen surmised, then sighed. “We cannot evade them forever if we wish to get off this island.”

“Still not a good time t’ meet them,” Almonihah asserted.

What those? Zakhin’Dakh interjected inquisitively.

“Pirates are… bad people. Who kill other people t’ take their stuff,” Almonihah replied, after a moment’s thought.

The big griffon growled deep in his chest. Not kill you. Me kill if try.

“Going t’ fly away for now,” Almonihah stated, as he started getting Zakhin’Dakh’s saddle ready. “Don’t know ‘f there are too many t’ fight, and don’t want to.”

“But at some point, we shall have to,” Garkhen added.

It took only a few minutes to break camp, and they were soon airborne again. Behind them they heard shouts of alarm, but they soon faded behind them as Zakhin’Dakh sped away. 

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Yeah, neither Almonihah nor Zakhin’Dakh know the Great Eagle word for ‘pirate’. 😀

Hope everyone had a good Christmas! I should figure out Draezolnian religious festivals sometime. Hmmm…

Chapter 9-5

Once he was satisfied no danger would immediately attack them, Almonihah turned back to his two friends. “Not going t’ pass out again, Garkhen?”

Garkhen shakily got to his feet. “No… I think I am well enough off,” he stated, though his voice seemed uncertain.

The half-bronze dragon walked over to Zakhin’Dakh. Are you okay?

The big griffon screeched quietly. I hurt everywhere.

Almonihah looked him over as Zakhin’Dakh also stood. “Nothing’s broken that I see,” he stated, patting the griffon lightly on a leg. “Just bruised.”

“We are… fortunate,” Garkhen stated as he carefully walked over to join them. “I doubt I could channel much healing power in my present state, and we are far from any aid.” He paused, then added more quietly, “I pray the ship survived.”

Almonihah nodded. “Well… got t’ find a way off this island,” he said, after another long moment of silence.

“Indeed,” Garkhen agreed. “And given the name of this place, I doubt any others we meet here will be friendly.”

“Pirates ‘ll have ships, though,” Almonihah replied. “Won’t want t’ let us use one, but they’ll have ’em.”

“Yes…” Garkhen trailed off, thinking.

“Better start walking,” Almonihah said, after waiting briefly for Garkhen to continue. “Don’t think we can do much here.”

Walking good now, Zakhin’Dakh added. Wings tired.

“Think we’re both grateful for your tired wings, Zakhin’Dakh,” Almonihah said as he led the way into the jungle.

Traveling through the dense underbrush of the jungle’s edge was slow going for the little group—particularly Zakhin’Dakh. Almonihah could only hope there wasn’t anything hostile nearby, for the massive griffon was making enough noise making his way though the vegetation to tell anyone for miles around they were there.

Well, perhaps that wasn’t true. The jungle was scarcely a quiet place. The calls of birds, monkeys, and stranger beasts filled the air, and the three friends were scarcely the only ones disturbing the underbrush (though most other movements nearby seemed to be going away from them). The Ranger paid close attention to the sights and sounds of their surroundings, thinking that he’d have to hunt for at least Garkhen here, given that they’d hardly packed for a jungle expedition. Hopefully Zakhin’Dakh could hunt for himself, though…

They fought their way through the jungle for hours. Finally they reached a clearing. Almonihah looked over at Garkhen, who was clearly fatigued.

“You stay here. Zakhin’Dakh ‘nd I ‘ll go hunt.”

Hungry! Zakhin’Dakh agreed.

Garkhen nodded, too tired to wish to speak much, and sat down on the trunk of a fallen tree while the other two took off.

They returned a while later with half of some sort of hoofed mammal. It was… sort of like a deer, and Zakhin’Dakh had enjoyed the half he’d eaten, so Almonihah figured it would do for himself and Garkhen. The griffon set the other half down as the two hunters landed. Almonihah set about starting a fire and cleaning and dressing the remaining… beast. He, at least, had a few useful things in his belt pouches, and he could cram some cooked meat in them after they’d eaten their fill. 

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Yeah, sometimes even adventurers have to do boring things like get food. 😀

Chapter 9-4

The next moments were a blur of noise and chaos. Men stabbed and chopped at tentacles with spears, axes… whatever they had on hand. They seemed to do little more than annoy the beast, which responded by seizing them and pulling them underwater or crushing the life out of them before tossing them aside. The ships’ mage somehow managed to stay clear of the tentacles, but even his spells hardly seemed to slow the beast.

Garkhen, meanwhile, was chanting as swiftly as he could, putting every ward on the ship possible. He had nothing that could hold the beast back, nothing that could save the sailors from being snatched by tentacles… but he could keep the ship in one piece for just a few moments longer.

Just… a few… more… seconds…

Almonihah had taken off, his unsteady flight betraying his lack of practice with his wings. But he had such a huge target that wavering about in midair hardly mattered for his aim. Not that his arrows seemed to phase the massive creature. He caught a brief glimpse of Tirel in tiger form, dangling in midair as he held on to a tentacle with his teeth, but then he lost sight of the Wyre again.

Zakhin’Dakh was also in the air, darting in to slash at a tentacle here and there when he could, then flying back out of reach. His talons, at least, seemed to do actual harm to the monstrosity, but it simply had so many tentacles.

Almonihah growled deep in his throat. This was hopeless. There was no way out. Everyone on the ship was going to die, and he and Zakhin’Dakh… well, unless they could make it to that Pirate Isle…

The amulet, he muttered to himself, coming to a sudden realization. This thing was probably a Javni’Tolkhrah. And that meant…

Zakhin’Dakh! He yelled out in Great Eagle. Get Garkhen!

Unquestioning, the huge griffon looked for a break in writhing mass of tentacles. Finding one, he dove down, weaving between death and danger to his other friend. With a loud shriek, he plucked the half-blue dragon up off of the deck, then flew back upwards.

It was clear he had the beast’s attention now. Garkhen only just barely had time to process what had happened before he saw tentacles closing in on them from all around. With a quick spell-prayer, he summoned up a ward. He couldn’t hold it for more than a brief moment… but a brief moment was enough them to break through to clear air.

Almonihah was there waiting for them. We have to take the Amulet away from here! He shouted in Draconic.

Garkhen gasped in sudden understanding. “But where shall we go?”

See land! This way! Zakhin’Dakh shrieked, guessing that he was being helpful. He started flying to the west.

“Prob’ly that Pirate Isle they were talking about,” Almonihah commented, looking behind them.

The massive beast had, indeed, ceased attacking the ship in order to follow them. Zakhin’Dakh’s flight was leaving it behind… but he was leaving the half-bronze dragon behind, as well.

Hey, Zakhin’Dakh, let me catch up, he called out.

The griffon looked behind, saw he was leaving his friend behind, and slowed down until Almonihah could reach him and get in his saddle. Then they flew off westward, thunder rumbling behind them.

A griffon can see far across the sea, and it turned out the island Zakhin’Dakh had seen was quite distant. By the time they were nearing its shores the griffon was struggling to stay in the air, and Almonihah had gotten off to fly alongside him to lighten his load.

The island did not look particularly hospitable. Two low cone-shaped mountains, cracked and topless, trickled smoke into the steely-gray sky, while waves crashed on craggy shores below them. Between the two a dense jungle grew, dark and threatening under the stormy skies.

It was towards this jungle that Zakhin’Dakh directed his tired flight. He practically crashed rather than landed, sending Garkhen sprawling on the ground to his side while the big griffon came to a stop, panting heavily. Almonihah landed next to them, warily looking about for danger.

But for now… all was quiet, save for the crash of waves on cliffs behind them. They’d lost sight of the beast sometime as they’d flown… but none of them doubted it was out there, waiting…

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Yeah, bad day. Sorry this is a week late–last week I was writing an academic paper instead of for fun.

And no, you don’t get to know what happened to Tirel just now. >: D

Chapter 9-3

Zakhin’Dakh perked up at Almonihah’s shout, then took off, risking the storm to look closer. Soon he circled back, shrieking out, Really big! Bigger than me!

“It’s big, too!” Almonihah translated, nocking an arrow and preparing for when the creature broke the surface.

Both Garkhen and the ship’s mage hurried over to where he stood, looking out over the ship’s railing. The mage paled at the sight. Behind them, the captain was shouting out orders, and sailors were arming themselves with whatever they could—though there seemed to be a number of them with spears.

There was no time to ponder what this meant, however, for a tentacle snaked out of the water ahead of the approaching creature. It was nearly as thick around as a man, and ended in a pad with large suckers. The ship’s mage belted out a short incantation and hurled a bolt of lightning at it. It blasted a smoking hole in the pad, making the tentacle flail about and then submerge beneath the water… only to be replaced by one, two, three more.

As the tentacles drew near enough to touch the ship, the creature partially emerged, showing a huge, fleshy head, covered with odd growths in various grays and browns, with a gigantic maw ringed by countless tentacles. Almonihah loosed an arrow at it, but he knew it would be little more than a pinprick to a creature of such size.

He swore, quietly but intensely, in Draconic as he nocked another arrow. This was going to be bad…

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But of course it’s a Kraken! What else would it be?

And yes, short post today. I have a couple big projects due next week, so I’ll probably be brief on the next post, too.

Chapter 9-2

They made good time for the first few days, the ship’s mage conjuring a strong wind behind them as they headed north-northwest.

But good weather rarely lasts.

One evening, as the sun was getting low, Zakhin’Dakh flew back to the ship in haste. Almonihah! He shrieked as he got close. Bad clouds! Fast!

“Bad clouds?” Almonihah repeated, in Common. “You mean a storm?” Storm, he repeated in Great Eagle, to teach his friend the word.

Yeah! Come fast! Strong wind!

“What’s that about a storm?” the ship’s captain asked, walking across the deck towards Almonihah.

“Zakhin’Dakh says there’s one coming,” the half-dragon said. “Strong winds, heading this way fast.”

The captain looked concerned, and went over to speak with the ship’s mage. As he did, Zakhin’Dakh came in for a careful landing, making sure not to tear up the deck with his talons.

Look strange, the big griffon said to his best friend. Clouds not move right.

What do you mean? Almonihah asked, frowning.

Clouds not move right! Not move cloud like!

The clouds aren’t moving like clouds should, Almonihah absently corrected, then turned and walked over to the captain.

“He says it’s worse. Clouds aren’t moving right.” Almonihah paused a moment. “How close ‘re we t’ the Madlands?”

“As far as we can sail and not be in sight of the Pirate Isle,” the captain replied, seemingly a bit affronted. “Never had trouble before with anything unnatural.” He seemed to look suspiciously at the half-bronze dragon as he said this.

Garkhen had, by now, noticed that something was going on. He walked over, concern plain on his face.

“Storm’s coming. Unnatural one,” Almonihah explained, before his fellow half-dragon could ask.

Garkhen’s eyes widened just a bit, and he nodded slightly. “I see.”

Just then, the ship’s lookout shouted out, “Cap’n! Dark clouds on the horizon! Storm’s coming!”

The captain looked up and gave the lookout a short nod, then started shouting out orders to his crew.

 

The ship slowly turned about as the wind picked up, filling the sails without magical assistance.

Almonihah, Garkhen, Tirel, and Zakhin’Dakh simply tried to stay out of the way. After a few minutes, the ship’s mage came over.

“Garkhen, you are a Priest of Bahamut, correct?”

“I am a Warder of Bahamut, yes,” Garkhen affirmed.

The mage nodded slightly. “Then perhaps you might aid in reinforcing the ship with your wards? The masts and hull both may well need aid to weather this storm.”

Already thick, dark clouds were visible even from the deck, moving closer… and as Zakhin’Dakh had said, something seemed wrong about the way they moved. It was almost… like they were alive, somehow, oozing their way forwards across the sky like some filthy slime.

Garkhen nodded, and followed the mage to set up wards. Almonihah, meanwhile, walked over to the aft, figuring he’d be both out of the way and in position to look at the coming storm. But soon something else caught his eye. A dark shadow on the water…

No. Not on the water. Under the water. And it was approaching even faster than the storm.

“Look out!” He shouted, getting his bow out. “Something’s coming from the water!

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Yep, trouble. Always trouble. Things can never go right for long, right?

Chapter 9-1

Chapter 9: Islands

“The cause of Righteousness is ever opposed. I am never surprised to find this so, for to do good has never been easy. I find, in the stories of days past, that there was never a tale of a hero without a tale of hardship survived and toil endured. For evil never rests in its battle against joy, nor does time wait for the slothful.”

“I find it odd that there are those who believe that goodness will exempt them from hardship. I suppose such must be unfamiliar with history, for this theory is amply disproved there. Good is never accomplished easily.”

Almonihah hated ships. They were so… confining, like being locked in a box in the middle of the ocean. He spent as much time on-deck as he could, though he had to make sure to stay out of the way of the sailors with his restless pacing.

Sometimes he considered joining Zakhin’Dakh, who coped with the long journey much as he had on the way down, by spending as much time in the air as he could. But flying under his own power always brought back bad memories, and he didn’t want to tire his friend out faster and thereby make him spend more time on the ship. So he stayed here and paced.

Garkhen did not mind the time on board. Not only did he appreciate the rest, he had also taken the opportunity to purchase a few books while in Ferd, so he usually found a quiet corner to read each day. If the sailors thought it odd that he was reading in full armor… well, he was a half-dragon, which was odd enough already.

Tirel was the only one of the group who truly seemed to enjoy sailing for its own sake. He watched the sailors managed the ropes and sails with curiosity, and often looked out over the waves with a bit of a grin.

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Just a moment of calm here. You know what that means. >: D