The cobbles were slick with rain as Thorn ran down harbour road towards the docs. Overhead Valiant shadowed him, fighting the wind and rain with strong beats of his white and brown wings. Even though the rain was still falling down in sheets it was easy to see the path the Rhakos has taken. Crates and barrels of salted fish, silk and other imported goods lay smashed open and scattered on the doc side. The wooden planks of one of the floating doc\'s sported deep claw marks where the creature has dragged itself out of the water. A small fishing boat\'s sails had been shredded to ribbons. While the sign of the drunken haddock had been ripped off the wall and flung aside. Skidding to a stop at the edge of the doc Thorn couldn\'t help but gasp in horror. The Rhakos was just as big and mean-looking as the others had been. Its coat matched the angrey grey of the sky, its red eyes burnt like an angrey fire while its chest glowed with that telltale sign of corruption. But it wasn\'t the Rhakos\' appearance that set Thron\'s heart racing or even the path of destruction it left in its wake but the doc worker it had cornered at the end of one of the floating docs. The man looked pale with fear and was barely able to keep his foot on the slippery planks as the Rhakos weight set the dock to wobbling wildly.
Thorn was snapped out of his frozen horror by Valiant almost knocking him over as he touched down on the cobbles. The pied tyto barely gave him enough time to scramble onto his back before launching forward with a screech. For a moment rain blurred Thorn\'s vision but blinking it away he saw the Rhakos. Its murderous gaze was now on them. Hold on with a white-knuckled grip Thorn yelled to be heard above the howling of the wind.
\"GET HIM VAL!!\" The Tyto gave a ringing battle cry in response and flared his wings and tail wider. Together rider and stryx lurched forward on a strong gust of wind. The speed of the attack took the Rhakos by surprise. In the blink of an eye Valiant\'s claws scored six neat lines of red across the creatures back. It gave a cry of anger and pain and stumbled sideways almost falling off the dock. The sudden movement sent the dock rocking dangrously. The dock worker gave a cry and dropped to his hands and knees fighting to stay out of the dark churning water.
As Valiant arced around to face the Rhakos, the corrupted creature locked its gaze with the incoming tyto. Thorn clung onto Valiants back, trusting the dragon-bird to know how best to fight. Not far from the Rhakos the doc worker was still on his hands and knees. Doing his best to stay on the dock and not attract the Rhakos attention. There seemed to be littel danger of that. The Rhakos full attention was on Valiant as he swung his legs forward claws aimed for the Rhakos head. This time the wind was blowing against them and the grey runner was able to duck the slightly slower attack.
Thorn was just about to twist and look over his sholder to see if Valiant had scored any damage at all when Valiant jerked sudenly and gave a deafening cry of pain. The sharp movement almost threw Thorn from Valiant\'s back. Pulling himself upright Thorn looked back and saw the Rhakos had caught Valiant\'s tail in its mouth. For a moment there was a strange tug of war. Valiants wings beat unevenly trying to keep enough air under his feathers to stay in the air. The Rhakos clamped its jaws down on Valiant tail and scrabbled to keep its foot on the unstable doc.
It felt like they were locked in that struggle for eternity but really only seconds passed before the Rhakos lost their footing all three of them ended up plunging into the dark water. The two stryx\'s screechings were cut off sudenly as Thorn disappeared under the surface. The cold shock made his chest squeeze tight. The water churned as wings and legs flailed. Something hit him hard in the side, driving the air from his lungs but by lucky chance also pushed him up to break the dark surface. Gasping and blinking water from his eyes Thorn was surprised to find hands grabby his tunic. Looking up he found the pale face of the dock worker.
\"Hold on lad!\" the man yelled above the howl of the storm. Thorn didn\'t need any encouragement and grasped onto the man\'s arm. Behind him, a grate splash announced the two stryx finding the surface of the water. Clenching his teeth against the cold quickly seeping in his body from the water Thorn glanced back over his sholder. The two dragons were no longer locked together. Valiant was fighting his way towards the solid doc side while the Rhakos was swimming towards another of the floating docs.
Overhead several stryx calls rang over the noise of the storm. Without letting go both Thorn and the dock worker looked up. A wave of relief swept over them both seeing the wall guards colours flying from the stryx\'s harness. The table had turned.