The Chainer’s Legacy
Written by Elque O. Delanoche, Assistant to the Head Mage-Archivist of the Midport Wizards’ Archives
(I wish to note here that I chose the title long after I wrote the initial two books of this volume, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while to see what the title means. Just a warning.)
It was a dark and stormy night… sorry, I’ve always wanted to write that. Though truthfully, it was stormy that day—but it was also still day. One of those midsummer thunderstorms that give the Stormpeaks their name. I was in one of the reading rooms on the main floor of the Archives with three most unusual guests. Guests who’d made quite a stir in the local mage community.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? I haven’t even introduced myself properly. I am Mage-Archivist Elque Delanoche, of the Midport Wizards’ Archives. As you might guess from my occupation, I’ve always had a keen interest in history, especially the history of magical events. So when a half-human, half-bronze dragon, a half-dwarven, half-blue dragon, and a griffon showed up in the Sorcerer’s Peaks (the mage’s district of Midport, if you’re behind on your geography. Though it’s technically not part of Midport, but rather its own independent community… but that’s a distinction for the lawyers, not the historians. But here I go rambling, and I’ve barely started) and started talking about possibly the biggest discovery in magical history since long before I was born, I just had to interview them.
Now, after talking with them for a little bit, I decided to do something a little bit different. So many historians write history like it’s dry and boring, when nothing could be further from the truth! So I decided to write my history more like an adventure tale. And so that is what I assume you’re now holding in your hands. Now then, this brings me almost back to where I was. After our initial discussions, and after my decision about what I was going to write, I decided I’d like to start with their histories. I was sure that such unique characters as they would have interesting histories, and I thought it would be helpful to the readers of my volume. Besides, I wasn’t really sure yet where their story really started.
Oh, here I go talking all about them and I haven’t even told you who they are! I’ll fix that right now! The bronze one—half-bronze dragon, half human, that is—is a Ranger named Almonihah Zrathanzon. The blue one—half-blue dragon, half dwarven—is a cleric named Garkhen’ze’Darkhen’Sem’dor. And the griffon, who is apparently also sort of a Ranger, is named Zakhin’Dakh. All Draconic names, of course, so I’ve transliterated them, hopefully well enough for you to get an idea of how to pronounce them. Though of course the dragons insist that no human can ever really get close to a proper pronunciation of Draconic. All very unusual names, even for Draconic names, as well—well, except for the griffon. I suppose Zakhin’Dakh would be a perfectly ordinary thing for a dragon to name a griffon, if they were in the habit of naming griffons, which of course they aren’t.
I’m rambling again, aren’t I? I really need to get this under control, or I’ll never even get to their stories! So, as I said, I decided I’d like to write their histories, but of course I knew that would take quite a while. Which is how we ended up in a reading room in the archive together, in a kind of very extended interview.
Now, before I go farther, I suppose I should probably describe my subjects. After all, you probably haven’t seen many half-dragons, and even if you had, I understand they’re really rather unique, so you still probably wouldn’t know what Almonihah and Garkhen look like. So, Almonihah. Almonihah is a rather imposing specimen, standing well over six feet tall. He looks a lot like a human covered in bronze scales, complete with claws. He doesn’t have any hair, though he does have a strange… fin or frill on that runs from his forehead to the base of his neck. When it’s fully erect its tip must be over seven feet off the ground. He also has a rather impressive pair of wings on his back, about where his shoulder blades are. I at first thought he was angry at me when he spoke, because his voice sounds very rough and harsh, like he’s growling. I later found that he tends to almost roar when he’s angry. He moves with a certain lithe grace, rather like a jungle cat, and tends to get as restless as a caged animal.
Garkhen, while shorter due to his dwarven ancestry, is more broad-shouldered than his taller companion, also no doubt due to his dwarven ancestry. If Almonihah is built like a lean jungle cat, Garkhen is built like a bear. A very short bear. If one were to see him in his full armor—which is a very common way to see him, apparently—one might think him a warrior who spent all his time building his strength and preparing for battle. A brief conversation with him, however, reveals that, while he does have a certain amount of skill in weapons, his true calling is that of a priest. He is a Warder of Bahamut, the God of Goodly Dragons, and as such, is something of a protector-priest. His voice is surprisingly soft and pleasant, much at odds with his heavily-built frame, with just a hint of a rumble to it, like the pleasant rumble of distant thunder when you’re safe and warm in bed. Unlike Almonihah, whose head is mostly humanlike, Garkhen’s head is much more draconic, though shorter and blunter than a full dragon’s head. He is, of course, covered from head to toe in blue scales.
I think this is sufficient description for my purposes. I’m assuming that you know what griffons look like, though Zakhin’Dakh is unusually large for a griffon—more the size of an elephant than a horse, though longer and leaner than an elephant, of course. So, now that you know what they look like, let me describe briefly the structure of my volume. It consists of four books, possibly more if I add to it later, of which the first three describe, respectively, the individual histories of Almonihah, Garkhen, and Zakhin’Dakh, and the fourth describing their travels together. I hope to speak to them again later, assuming they survive their current journey… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s just jump into things. I had all three of them there, as I said, and I asked Almonihah to describe his childhood. He snorted (he does that quite a lot, I found), and after a moment, said in his very blunt way, “I didn’t have much of a childhood. You’re not really a child anymore after you watch your mother die…”
I don’t know what it is with me and frame stories. Even my shortest stories tend to have some kind of frame story around them. I guess it I feel like it makes the story feel more like it’s part of some other world. Having someone from the world telling the story instead of just having an impersonal voice speaking from who-knows-where makes it feel more real, at least to me. So, this is the frame story. You won’t be seeing as much of Mage-Archivist Elque as the characters he introduces, but he will remind us now and then that he is the one writing this story.
Yes, there is a story (or at least a reason) behind his name, and no, I’m not going to tell you what it is right now.