Monday, April 6, 2020

213 - “The Dragons Stir” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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“The dragons stir.” Thissraelle said, sitting on another floating rock. This one was significantly bigger than the others they had been on, with a large flat space some thirty feet across. It was mostly a deep red, but had veins of green and black running through it. “That’s my message for you. I have no idea what it means, but I would really like to know. That’s just what I was told to tell you.”

Heathrax hummed deep in his throat and nodded. He floated in The Vast just a few steps away from the rest of the group, who all relaxed in a semi-circle next to Thissraelle on the stone. Eddiwarth had used his power to start a fire in the middle, more for relaxation and emotional comfort than for warmth or cooking. Thissraelle’s father had retrieved some food from Emberfire, back in The Great Reality, breads and fruits, and it was all spread out at their feet on cloths between each of them and the fire.

“Jaxil?” The old dragon wheezed, “What do you think?”

“It probably has something to do with the Dragon’s Flame.”

“Are they still around?”

“Apparently, and becoming more active.”

Thissraelle interrupted. “Yeah, just who is this Dragon’s Flame group?”

Her father said, “They’re a strange cult that--”

“--that worships dragons, I know that, but who ARE they? Where did they come from? What do they want?”

“Shall I tell you the short version? Or the full story?” Heathrax looked at her with what might have been the draconic equivalent of a smirk.

Thissraelle leaned back, tucked her chin, and raised her brows. “Well, I don’t think we’re going anywhere anytime soon, and time doesn’t matter out here, anyway, so...”

Heathrax growled a chuckle out of his throat, then he coughed. “Excuse me, I’m very old, and not fully well.” he said. “About 400 years ago, when I was a much younger dragon, we ruled the land of Wynne. You’ve probably heard of that time. The great Dragon Kings lived in the western mountains and ruled all of the land. Most of the records of the dragons note that it was a time of great civilization and great learning. Dragons were everywhere.

“Some of us, however, began to feel that using our power and strength to dominate the humans, elves, dwarves, giants, and everyone, was not right. There was a philosophical movement among the dragons toward hominid self-determination and liberty. Since we, as dragons of the ruling class, enjoyed freedom to share our thoughts, even though the people did not, some of us began to speak out. The debate at times became heated, and there were some clashes. At first, they were just clashes of words, but they soon escalated.”

Thissraelle nodded. “Is that why you’re called the DragonFriend?”

“Yes.” Heathrax got a deep, almost nostalgic look on his face. “The elves of the forest first called me that. I rather liked that name.”

“When we were first looking for you, I assumed that it was the name of a man who was a friend to dragons, not the other way around.”

Heathrax smiled and continued, “There were some among the people that were loyal to the dragon kings. For some reason that I will never understand, they believed we were ordained to rule all, by the Creator himself. Then, they took it even further, implying that the Creator had made us dragons to be deities from the beginning, and that since our ancestors had even helped create the world, according to the legends, we should be worshipped.

“Unfortunately, some of us rather liked being worshipped. I always found it oddly awkward.” Heathrax shook his head sadly. “Anyway. Other groups of the people did not believe us to be gods, and instead wanted to overthrow the rule of the dragons. They bounded together into armies and tried to fight, but between the dragons themselves, and the loyalist armies, there was little hope for them. Just a lot of blood. Some dragons were killed, but it was mostly the blood of people, I’m afraid.”

After a moment’s pause, Thissraelle encouraged, “So, how did the reign of the Dragon Kings end? Did you eventually convince the others to allow the people to be free?” She had never really been interested in historical things before, but now found herself fascinated. Granthurg would be loving this talk!

“Oh, no! That was a bizarre twist of fate. Soon after the wars, the dragons were struck with a pox, a disease. It ran through our populace like a grass fire through a meadow. It ravaged us, killing most. Easily two out of every three dragons succumbed. Magic couldn’t cure it, and none of us knew any arts of natural healing. Most of those left were sickly and weak. That was my fate. That is why I still breathe and talk like I do.”

“People in the cities sensed that our rule was weakening, and formed their armies with renewed excitement. What remained of us after the pox were killed or driven from our holds and palaces, scattered away. I flew here to the Emberfire mountains, along with a few others, to establish ourselves in hiding. It was easy enough to do. These mountains are difficult to climb. Others left the land of Wynne entirely.”

Eddiwarth asked, “Are you still dying off?”

“Oh, no. The pox is over. But we are few, and very solitary. Once a year or two we might fly to find a mate and have a small clutch of eggs, but as a group, we have no leader, no society, no way of knowing how many of those hatchlings survive.”

Jaxil picked up the story. “After defeating the dragons, the people fought among themselves for a time, until the Mage kings of the high elves established order and civilization again.”

Parith and Thissraelle exchanged saddened glances.

“So,” Jaxil continued, “the logical conclusion here is that some descendant of one of the old dragons has raised its head, begun to rally the old cult, and stir up trouble. It has happened before.”

Karendle swallowed a bite of bread. “Does this have anything to do with Granthurg and that dagger?”

Heathrax’s head turned quickly, startling Eddiwarth. He dropped his cup with a clatter. Heathrax whispered, “A dagger?”

“Yeah.” Karende went on between bites, “It was short, white, curved, and had a lot of carvings. There was a dragon design cast into the pommel. He said everyone was trying to get it from him.”

The great dragon drew in a breath in wonder. “Yes, in fact, it does have much to do with that. Does he still have it?”

Karendle looked at Thissraelle. “Yeah, I guess so. What is it?”

“It’s a relic I, actually, had hoped had been lost. It was made by human mages in the early days of the uprising, from the tooth of a slain dragon.” Everyone went quiet. “It was legendary, and, after the great pox, helped the humans to kill many dragons. That was its only power, to kill dragons.”

“So, if you happen to worship dragons...” Thissraelle began.

Heathrax inserted, “or if you ARE a dragon...”

“It would be very good to have it in your control.”


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox, Genevieve Springer!

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