Garen and Iron Beak are sparring with Varish watching.
"So Garen…. Are you going to hit Iron anytime today?" Varish smirks.
"No, he looks kind of hot so I'm just going to fan him."
"Well, you are doing a horrible job." Iron says.
"How do you think Sis is doing training under your old friend" Garen asks Varish.
"Tina, well she is smart and charming. She should be fine as long as she praises Raksi enough and doesn't go too crazy being near Raksi for long periods of time." Varish replies.
Garen gets swatted. "Hey!" Garen sputters.
"Your enemies will not stop and wait for you to finish talking. So why would I?" Iron muses.
Iron then stops and both Iron and Varish look to the North. Garen seeing an opening goes for Iron, and hits him only to be pinned under Iron's claw.
"Garen, I know you don't like Marik much, but he is in trouble." Varish says looking right at Garen.
"I may not like him but he is still like family. Let me up Iron lets go save him!"
Looking at Varish Iron speaks, "He is good but I don't think he is ready Varish."
Pondering, and in a stern voice, "Garen you must choose to either listen to me an do what I say with no questions or you will stay here and prepare a camp. Marik may be hurt so it would be very useful to have a place we can treat Marik when we return, and also treat ourselves if needed."
"I will go with you." Garen replies at once. "You may need help. Marik was mostly a talker but he still kicked my ass most of the time."
"Then we go."
Varish turns into his giant falcon form and takes flight, as Iron releases Garen and springs into the skies. Giving Varish a disapproving glare as he passes him.
"Iron" Varish says quietly, "we can't keep treating him like a child it has been almost 20 years since we rescued him. We have to let him make his own choices eventually"
"I know" Iron replies, "but I still see the small child hiding behind his sister too scared to sleep because of the big mean monster. If he gets hurt you get to tell his sister."
"That is low Iron." Varish smirks.
"Where are we going?" asks Garen as he catches up in a parrot form.
"North, about two days flight" Iron replies.
"Shit." Garen responds. "Mind if I hitch a ride?" Garen asks with mirth.
"Not at all" Varish responds. Then in a spectacular move does a flip and roll catching Garen in his claw at the end. Then Varish speeds up.
"I HATE YOU!!!" Garen yells.
"Now, now you get what you ask for." Iron replies with a laugh.
After two days of hard flying Varish, Iron Beak, and Garen make it to where Marik is 100 miles west of Wallport. What they see is disheartening. Marik is being held prisoner in a Dragon army fortified camp.
"Iron go." Varish says
"Gone." Iron replies
"Garen we will make camp over there in that patch of trees." Pointing at a spot to the north east
of the Dragon camp.
When Varish and Garen land they take land animal forms, Varish a deer and Garen a wolf.
"What's the plan Varish?" Garen asks.
"Based on what I saw you will cause a disturbance outside the camp, DON'T get caught." Iron and I will go get Marik. Once we are out Iron will go get you and we will escape." Varish states.
"Sounds easy enough." Garen responds.
"It never is," Varish says sadly. "Now sleep we will wait for Iron to return and hear his news before we move.
A couple hours later a small falcon shows up.
"Iron, find anything?" Varish asks.
"Yes," Iron growls, "that idiot tried to "convert" a Dragon town to accept other exalted. apparently he didn't even fight back when the hunt came, he will be executed in two days."
"When we free him I will beat him black and blue. Putting himself in danger, and now us." Garen angrily says.
"You will have to wait your turn," Iron says.
"Garen have you thought of a way to distract the camp?" Varish says steely.
"Yes. It will take some time to get it ready though." Garen replies.
"Get ready then we will start as soon as you are ready. Do not rush though." Varish says.
"I am ready, "Garen says four hours later. Just as the sun sets.
"A stampede right through the camp, interesting" Varish replies we start when your distraction begins."
Varish changes into his falcon form and takes flight with Iron Beak behind him both are in their smaller forms so they don't attract as much attention. Once both are in the air Garen starts his stampede of various animals. As the animals reach the outer patrol circling the camp a shout goes up and the camp awakens too find animals rampaging through the camp. At the point both Varish and Iron Beak dive into the fray. Varish changes into a half man half lion war form as Iron beak takes his true griffin form, and both of them tear into the dragons making their way to where Marik is bound inside one of the sturdier buildings. Just as Varish makes it to the building the dragons start chasing or killing off most of the animals. Inside Marik's prison there are a couple guards which Varish easily kills. Making his way through the building takes longer then Varish anticipated, but he is able to eventually find Marik unconscious in a cell, and carries him out. As Varish exits the building everything falls apart. A squad of elite dragon anathema hunters is waiting outside. Iron beak is holding them back at the main door but the leader of the squad has Garen on his knees in front of him with an enchanted spear on the back of his neck.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" the leader says. "A couple anathema here to save a friend, how adorable," He mocks.
"Release him," Varish coldly states.
"Now, now, you should be honored to be kill by me. For I am one of the Queens claws, Tak'Goroth." he says with a mocking bow.
"A Claw here." Iron stutters
"Oh, good you have heard of us." Tak'Goroth smiles, then rams his spear through Garen's neck killing him instantly. "Oops."
All light seems to disappear briefly as Varish's anima flares to its strongest. "Take Marik, Iron." Varish says with an iced voice.
"Ok," Iron says meekly and he takes Marik in his claws and takes off as fast as he can.
"Oh it wont be that easy now," Tak'Goroth says lazily, and points at the departing griffin.
Multiple archers behind Tak'Goroth take aim, but as they are about to loose Varish rips out their throats. All the dragons are stunned since they didn't even see Varish move. Tak'Goroth recovers first.
"KILL HIM," Tak'Goroth shouts.
Just as the first warriors start to move massive tentacles of molten fire rise from the ground and attack. While Tak'Goroth's attention is on the tentacle In front of him Varish comes up and back hands him out of his way. Then Varish bends down and tenderly picks up Garen's corpse. Now we wash this stain of a place from the map, and a ball of essence streaks to the sea. As Tak'Goroth reclaims his wits from the strike he sees Varish turn into a giant falcon and carry Garen away. Before Tak'Goroth can do or say anything the tentacles stop moving but a massive crash comes from the direction of the sea. A wave arrives and starts washing a way the camp. Tak'Goroth flees, but gets caught in the wave and washes out to sea. He survives but he loses his spear and his left leg.
Two days later, Marik awakens.
"I am alive? How?" Marik ask the roof.
"Because Garen sacrificed himself to save you." Varish say sadly.
"WHAT!?" Why, how, when? Marik stutters confusingly.
"Iron and myself noticed you were taken, we left to help you not knowing how you were taken
Garen joined us. You two might not have been the best of friends, but he considered you family and wanted to assist. His help was needed, we might have failed if it wasn't for him."
"No." Marik says stunned. "Have you told Tina yet?"
"That is who we are meeting." Varish says starring strait at Marik.
Sweating, "Ok. How long until we meet to her?" Marik ask quietly.
"She will be here tomorrow. I would rest." Varish states and then walks out.
"I can't believe it. Garen is dead," Marik whispers to himself then falls into a fitful sleep.
The next day Tina arrives at the cabin around noon. Varish, Iron Beak, and Marik (on crutches) meet her outside.
"Where's Garen?" Tina asks quizzically looking at the somber crowd.
"Inside," Varish says quietly.
Tina goes inside the cabin and all that is heard for the next few hours is crying. No one says anything. Once Tina gets control of herself, she stalks outside right up to Varish.
"How did this happen? You were with him, he looked up to you." Tina growls
"Its my fault." Marik whispered.
"I tried to convert a town of dragons and was captured. If it wasn't for Garen, Varish, and Iron Beak I would have died. The cost is too much though I wished i was just killed and not captured." Marik says on the verge of crying.
"Stop right there." Tina stalks up to Marik and slaps him. "You don't get to cry. You get to live your worthless life. You live because Garen wished it. So live but make sure I never see you again. And you" turning to Varish. "Just leave. Please." She weeps. I want to be alone with him.
Marik stops himself from saying anything and changes his form and flees.
"If you need anything just call. I know you know how to." Varish says quietly and then he and Iron take off.
"But how can I trust you if that which is most important to me was taken on your watch?" Tina whispers.