As the final wolf came howling down, Veraka let loose a heavy sigh of relief as he yanked his embedded sword out of the fresh corpse, just as his Dragon Rage ended. He looked around himself and shook his head, all the sheathing Marala Vharc back in its scabbard.
"A team of soldiers were outmaneuvered by wolves; even if an alpha was with it; these men are no more trained to swat at someone with a sword than a boy is trained to split wood or smith metal."
Aurora spat out the corpse of the alpha from her maw, and padded her way over to her little brother; perhaps now, the beasts of the wild know better than to attack one with a dragon at their back, yes?
The aasimar nodded his helmet in agreement; "if at all, we've made less headway with a direct approach than with a side route; however, I'll not be deterred now. I'm picking up faint, but very real trails of evil flowing from the village up ahead of us; and I don't like it that I'm detecting multiple essences."
That was when Jormungander came thudding up closer to group, his huge claws putting furrows the size of cattle into the ground.
"I sense it too; though I'm now in no mood for idle chatter, and useless squabbling." Smoke was still curling up and out of the gold wyrm's nostrils, the heat from his fire breath still giving off from the scales on his head and neck.
Towards Eo, the great gold dragon comes to turn his serpentine head all the way around, and stare her in the eyes with one of his own golden orbs.
"If you're that intimidated by a belch," Jormung bit on the word as if it were in his maw; "you wouldn't want to know what happens when a dragon regurgitates a meal." His blazing orbs told Eo to drop the sarcasm, lest it agitate the great dragon more.
"Nor would you want to see what happens when a Dragon farts, to be quite frank." came a sweet, and very pointed, feminine voice from behind the party in the distance. Veraka, Jormung, and Aurora turned their heads to see Neriah flying in gently, her giggling children clasped, one in each arm. It was Jormung who brought his scaled head high above the ground, looking down on where the fey'ri mother and sorceress landed.
"And just what is that supposed to mean, Lady Orden?"
"Oh, I think it's as bland as it comes. Watch out for the breath, but also watch out for the rear." Dante and Alasse, the paladin's children, burst out in laughter, while Neriah couldn't restrain herself in chuckling. It was only Veraka, through his training and discipline as a paladin, was able to stifle his oncoming laugh and swallow it.
"Neriah, I do believe that you have just avoided a possible roast out with demons just now."
"Oh yes; barely by a margin," growled Jormung, smoke curling from his maw and nostrils while his slitted pupils narrowed on the fey'ri; "also, it helps your position that you are mated to Veraka, my charge, as well as the mother of his hatchlings, which puts me in a position to grudgingly let your smart-ass remark slide away."
"Alright!" Veraka said aloud, "let's move out, and find out what in the Nine Hells is going on it that gods-forsaken town." Right as the paladin let these words slide from his tongue, Blaze came trotting up to him, neighing and snorting as he did. The paladin reeled onto Blaze's back, gripping the stirrups with his boots, and the reins with his gloves, Veraka settled in nicely on Blaze's saddle. Neriah decided to take to the saddle, sitting with both her legs to one side of Blaze while she let Dante climb up his father's armor to rest on his shoulders. Veraka telepathically gave Blaze the command to head on, and the warcharger did as he was asked, galloping off in the direction of the village, Aurora trailing only barely behind as she sped on, keeping pace with the warcharger.
While Veraka rode off with his wife and children towards the village, Jormungander turned around to find Vailintin, and then boomed towards the tiefling; "Vailintin, quit your squabbling about, and get onto my back." The gold dragon let his fear aura fade, and when the tiefling was up and secure on his back, Jormung crouched on the ground with all fours, and then launched himself into the air again, the gravity of Toril pulling at Eo and Vailintin on his back as the great dragon flapped up into the sky, and sailed towards the village.
During the flight, Jormung spoke; "when we reach the village, elfling, I hope that those who sent you are as understanding to you as they are to a dragon. I won't imagine what they'll do if they realize you've given up on your assignment." Jormung let the words sink in, and then spoke again; "also, if you even give off a hint at betraying the trust that Veraka, and I have put into you, I will give you a demonstration of what a dragon's honor and trust is worth, and exactly how much vengeance we can give to those whom betray it like cheap coin."
Blaze galloped within sight of the village soon enough, just as Neriah asked him if she should take off again, but the paladin told her to forget it with a wave of his armored hand. The troops guarding the blasted place had probably already taken notice of him, and Neriah as well. They'd come soon enough, he was sure. What they didn't know was just how close of a friend that Veraka was to a certain gold dragon.
In War, Justice; In Peace, Hope; In Death: Sacrifice