Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Category Archives: Chapter 2

Chapter 2-8

Solkh’Tolkharkha exchanged polite Draconic greetings with the ancient dragon. After that was done, the Guardian asked, Who do you bring before me, young gold?

This is a young half-dragon, whom I have raised and taught, and who has chosen this path of his own free will, sir, Solkh’Tolkharkha replied respectfully.

The huge dragon turned his gaze on Garkhen. Despite having claws as big as he was and being able to fit a couple dozen of him in his cavernous maw, Garkhen found he wasn’t afraid… just nervous. Or perhaps it would be better to say he feared not for his life, but to fail whatever test he was facing.

The Guardian spoke. And what is your name, child of man and dragon?

I am called Guardian of Small Dragons, sir, Garkhen ze’Darkhen’Sem’dor replied.

The Guardian was quiet for a moment. I see, he rumbled, then paused again. A name most appropriate for the path you would walk, though not the one you were given at birth. Somehow he made his words both a statement and a question.

Garkhen shook his head. I know not that name, sir, just as I have no memory of my mother. This is all I have ever had for a name.

And will you make it yours, hatchling? The Guardian gazed straight down at the young half-dragon, and somehow Garkhen felt like the dragon could see the answer in his soul before he said it aloud.

Yes. That is why I have come here. Any doubts he had once had seemed to be evaporating, as if burned away in the heat of the great dragon’s gaze.

You will walk this path of your own choice, despite all pain and sorrow you will face?

Yes.

Then tell me. What is the path you will walk?

Garkhen was silent for a long moment, collecting his thoughts, thinking of how to say what he felt and thought. I will stand as a protector of the innocent from the malevolent. I will shine as a light in the darkest of hours. I will set my hand against those who stretch their hands to seize the lives and hopes of others. I will… be a Guardian of what is good.

For a long time the ancient dragon was quiet, staring at Garkhen. He felt as if the power of his scrutiny was greater than the heat of his breath. After what seemed like an eternity, the Guardian relaxed, slightly shifting his position.

Then I accept you into our ranks, young Guardian of Small Dragons. By my power and authority as Master of the Order of the Gold, I hereby declare and ordain you to be an Initiate of the Order of the Copper, a Warder of Bahamut. Learn well from your teacher here, he nodded slightly at Solkh’Tolkharkha, and follow what you have said, and you may yet see and do things that will long be remembered by both Man and Dragon.

While Garkhen was still taking this in, the Guardian turned and rose up slightly, addressing the cavern. Let us greet Garkhen ze’Darkhen’Sem’dor into our number! He roared. This close, Garkhen could feel the power of his voice hit him like a hammer, shaking his very bones.

Garkhen ze’Darkhen’Sem’dor! Somehow the response from the cavern seemed louder too, as if he were the focus of all voices in the cavern. And he supposed, for this moment, he was.

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Draconic has a lot of ways to indicate respect, given or deserved, so all the ‘sirs’ running around here are just a poor attempt to indicate where someone’s speaking respectfully. You know, there’s a way a younger dragon speaks to an older one, a much older one, and one who just might bite his head off, and there are several ways for that older one to speak back, and… yeah, you get the point, right?

Chapter 2-7

Garkhen let out a quiet sigh as the hymn ended. The echoes of hundreds of draconic voices slowly died in the cavern, replaced by the muted sounds of scales and claws shifting on stone as dragons settled down into more comfortable positions. Solkh’Tolkharkha and Zerkheth coiled loosely on either side of Garkhen, and Garkhen simply sat back on the floor, one hand resting lightly on the stone beside the thick base of his tail.

Suddenly the crystals around the cavern dimmed, save for one high up above. Craning his neck, the young half-dragon could see another gold-scaled dragon glittering in the light. While it was difficult to tell, he got the impression that it was huge, vaster even than Solkh’Tolkharkha, which meant he was very old indeed, even among dragons. Something seemed… different about him, as well, though at this distance Garkhen could make out too little detail to be certain what it was.

He only barely had time to register the profound silence of the cavern before the huge dragon spoke.

My siblings in the ways of Bahamut, he began. His voice rang out, echoing through the caverns, and even their vastness could not disguise the power of his speech. It has been nearly two centuries since we who follow in the wake of the Platinum Dragon have gathered. Much has happened… and we are even fewer than before.

There was a hushed silence as he paused. But let us not dwell on that. There is much to discuss, but we are not without joy in these times. Let the new initiates be presented!

After a moment, two dragons flew over from one of the other entrances into the grand cavern—one large, one small. While Garkhen could not make out their voices, he was fairly certain that the older one introduced the younger to the great dragon who had spoken, who then proceeded to question the younger dragon. After several minutes the two dragons returned to their perch, and the great dragon roared out, Let us greet Kharelvekh to our number!

In unison, all the other dragons roared, Kharelvekh! Garkhen could almost feel his head ringing with the echoes of that roar.

This process was repeated several times. As they watched, Garkhen asked, What is his name?

Solkh’Tolkharkha answered without turning his head. His name has long since been forgotten, by all but a few. He is known to us now only as Guardian.

Garkhen’s eyes widened in surprise. Guardian in Draconic was… Garkhen.

We will go next, should you still desire to walk this path, Solkh’Tolkharkha rumbled quietly. The young half-dragon nodded.

As the pair currently speaking with the Guardian departed, the great gold dragon gently picked his young charge up in one claw and flew up and across the cavern. As they approached, Garkhen could appreciate just how huge the ancient dragon truly was—easily more than a hundred feet long, perhaps closer to two hundred even from his snout to the tip of his tail. As Solkh’Tolkharkha glided in for a landing, Garkhen noted nervously that some of the massive dragon’s scales were nearly as big as he was. Not only that, but he could now see what seemed odd about him—he did not quite look like other dragons. His scales seemed sharper-edged, he had more horns, and small spikes on his back, knees, and tail, and there was simply a… feeling about him, one of raw, barely contained power. Yet the look in his eyes was one of ages-won wisdom, and behind it a deep, profound sorrow.

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A longish chapter split up into smallish parts, but we’re actually nearing the end. Now good night.

Chapter 2-6

They fought for untold ages, but always their battles were inconclusive. Bahamut and Tiamat used their greatest champions as vessels for their power, but even so neither could gain the advantage. Finally all dragons gathered together for one great conflict—the battle which those men who know of it call in their ignorance the War of Falling Dragons. Terrible that battle was, so terrible that it tore at the very fabric of Draezoln. At this moment the one called Jivenesh came, and at his coming the world would have been destroyed, had not Naishia, Bahamut, and even Tiamat joined together to bind him and cast him down.

Even so, the battle and its coming had left a scar—what men now call the Madlands—and only shattered remnants of dragonkind, the smallest and weakest who had been at the furthest edges of the battle, still lived. But even these were greater than all that live today, save for the few who still live from that time (Garkhen’s eyes widened slightly at this. He had not heard that any who saw the War of Dragon’s Falling still lived.). For in the ruins, the three gods spoke. Naishia plead that the world be left to grow without more disastrous wars, but that rather the two dragon gods would simply seek to influence the world in secret to bend to their will. Again, they agreed, though Tiamat only reluctantly, and ever have her followers sought opportunity to again shed the blood of Bahamut’s children.

Without the direct touch of their gods, dragons no longer grew to the great heights of power they once had, and what was more, they were soon no longer alone. For the battle had attracted others—the gods of the smaller races, who besought Naishia leave to create their children on her world. That she did not admit the part of Bahamut and Tiamat in the creation of Draezoln shows the secret pride in her heart. When Tiamat learned of this, her rage was terrible, but Bahamut opposed her, and so the lesser races came to be.

In silent remembrance of our war, we did not watch as the lesser races spread throughout Draezoln. But now it is theirs more than ours, and so our war and our pride may be our ruin. Yet ever is our duty the same—to oppose Tiamat, to see that life in whatever form flourishes and lives without fear of fire and death. In so doing we will preserve both the lesser races and ourselves, for of a truth Bahamut teaches that all life is connected, and all are reduced by unnecessary suffering.

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Sorry for the late post. Again. Apparently I only remember this on Monday when I go to bed.

Anyway, this is the end of the summarized translation of the dragon’s hymn. One thing I’m not sure has come up before is how young the human-like races of Draezoln are–they’ve only been around a couple thousand years at this point. There’s a bit of a hint at that in this story, but that isn’t something I”m keeping secret.

Chapter 2-5

Zerkheth was silent for a moment. Yes, of course, sir, he finally said.

They said no more for the moment. Garkhen could tell they were nearing the source of the singing—the swelling sound of draconic voices seemed to vibrate the very stone around them. Then they came around a corner, and the song seemed to thrum in his very bones.

The passageway they were in exited here into a huge cavern, so vast that even Solkh’Tolkharkha seemed tiny in comparison. Glowing crystals studded its walls, so that it seemed almost as bright as day within, revealing hundreds of dragons. They stood on various ledges or in entrances to tunnels all around the chamber. And they were all singing. Now that they were in the room itself, Garkhen could understand the words—a hymn to Bahamut.

Solkh’Tolkharkha and Zerkheth spread out along a ledge at the end of the tunnel they exited. Garkhen followed his mentor. Both of the dragons joined in the song, leaving the half-dragon to listen.

He realized soon that he recognized the story of the song, even though he had never heard it before. It was the tale of the creation—how Bahamut and Tiamat together had created the world. They had entered just at the part where they began to disagree on the nature of life on the surface of Draezoln. Quietly, Garkhen sat as the tale continued.

Tiamat wished a primal world of chaos, where only the strongest and fittest would survive the harsh environment and the fierce competition for its few resources. Bahamut desired a paradise, where life could flourish in harmony and grow together for all time. Eventually, their dispute turned to war, a war that nearly destroyed all they had already created. Finally, realizing their battle would destroy both of their visions, Bahamut called for a truce, and Tiamat reluctantly agreed.

Despite agreeing that their battle could not continue, they still could not agree on its resolution. Their argument continued for ages, until they once again looked on Draezoln and found it full of life, and watched over by another—Naishia. Enraged, Tiamat sought to attack, but Bahamut sided with Naishia. Knowing what had gone before, and seeing what might happen again, Naishia proposed a compromise—both Bahamut and Tiamat would make creations to fight for them, and the winner of this battle would determine Draezoln’s fate.

Both agreed, and so created the races of dragonkind. Bahamut created the noble metallic dragons: golds, silvers, bronzes, and finally coppers. Tiamat created the savage chromatics (Garkhen glanced at Zerkheth, but saw no sign he was bothered by the description): reds, blues, greens, and whites. In this first creation, they were much larger and more powerful than modern dragons, and they went forth in great armies to battle one another.

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So yes, if I haven’t made it clear before, Almonihah, Zakhin’Dakh, and Garkhen were originally D&D characters. I’ve tried to distance them from their source somewhat, but the colors of dragons and the battle between chromatics and metallics were too important to them for me to get rid of.

And yes, this doesn’t quite match with the creation story Almonihah heard. Interesting, isn’t it? 😀

Chapter 2-4

A deep rumbling greeted them as the gold dragon and half-dragon walked into the cavern. It echoed through the winding passageways, seeming to come from all around them as Solkh’Tolkharkha led the way onward. At first, Garkhen thought it was the earth itself rumbling, then that it was the sound of many dragons speaking, but finally he realized what it was—dragons singing. He could not quite make out the meaning of what was being sung, but the sheer power of the singing was itself awe-inspiring.

Garkhen was just about to ask his mentor about the song when another dragon stepped into the passageway from a side tunnel ahead of them. He was a large, green-scaled dragon—somewhat unusual to see in a setting like this, but not unknown. He saw Solkh’Tolkharkha and greeted him—with his full name, no less.

It is good to see you again, my friend, the green dragon said. Then he looked down at Garkhen. And who is this with you? It is unusual to see any of mixed blood here, much less one of chromatic blood.

Greetings, Zerkheth, Solkh’Tolkharkha replied, then added, My charge here is called Garkhen ze’Darkhen’Sem’dor,

“Guardian of Small Dragons?” The other dragon, Zerkheth, repeated in the Common Tongue, surprised, before switching back to Draconic. An unusual name, to be sure. Well, Garkhen ze’Darkhen’Sem’dor, I am glad to see another of similar blood to my own in the company of Bahamut. I hope you will continue in this path, and not fall prey to the passions of our brethren.

Thank you, sir, Garkhen responded, giving the green dragon something of a bow.

Zerkheth nodded back, then started down the passageway, talking as he went. I trust you have heard the reason for this Convocation? He continued without waiting for an answer. The news is most troublesome… but even more is the debate about how to proceed. That some of our number should be so involved in the affairs of Men…

We long ago gave the world over to Men by our own negligence, Solkh’Tolkharkha interrupted. If we are to be involved in anything beyond our lairs, we must be involved in the affairs of Men.

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So, a day late, but still, it’s a post! A fairly important one, too, though given that these books are basically the highlights of my characters lives, most everything is important.

Chapter 2-3

Despite enjoying his time outside the lair, Garkhen had little love for being carried aloft by his mentor. Although Solkh’Tolkharkha attempted to be gentle, his grip had to be uncomfortably firm to keep the young half-dragon secure, and he could do little about the chill wind that whistled between his clawed toes. Garkhen endured the discomfort in silence, not only because it was difficult for him to speak through the wind, but also because he refused to let minor physical inconveniences elicit a complaint from himself. 

After some time aloft, Solkh’Tolkharkha spoke. “There is something I wish to speak of with you before we arrive. You have attended well to your studies, and unless I have sorely misunderstood, you show great interest in the teachings of the Platinum Dragon.”

“Yes.” Garkhen had to shout to be heard, as he lacked the great lungs of a full-grown dragon. 

“As you know, the Great Convocation is a meeting of those who follow Bahamut. What I have yet to tell you is that it is the time that new Warders may join his order.”

Garkhen’s eyes widened as he realized what Solkh’Tolkharkha was suggesting. “And… I would have that opportunity?”

“I would speak for you, should you desire to serve,” the gold dragon rumbled in reply. “Your faults are the faults of youth, but your heart seems to yearn to protect. The Warder’s calling is for such.”

Garkhen was silent for a moment, considering a response, but before he could speak again Solkh’Tolkharkha added, “Do not make your decision now. We have many hours to fly, and you would be wise to consider such a momentous choice carefully. If you have questions, you may ask, but otherwise I will leave you to your thoughts. Think deeply not only on the what, but the why.”

Garkhen followed his mentor’s advice for the rest of the long flight. He asked few questions, but his mind was full as he thought of what he had learned and read, and what he knew of himself. When at last, with the sunset glittering off gold scales, Solkh’Tolkharkha glided toward a ledge in front of a cave to land, his young half-dragon charge felt he was certain of his answer.

 

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Honestly, if I’d been on top of things this would have been posted yesterday… but oh, well. It’s here now. So, yes, it’s kind of odd that Solkh‘Tolkharkha would spring this on Garkhen so suddenly, but I think he had his reasons. Perhaps they’ll even be explained at some point.

Chapter 2-2

One day, the gold dragon told Garkhen to prepare for another journey. Thinking it would be another visit to one of the nations of men in the area, he did what little preparation he required, then returned to the main chamber of the lair. Solkh’Tolkharkha looked his little charge over, and then spoke.

“It is time for the Great Convocation, Garkhen ze’Darkhen’Sem’dor. It is unusual for one who is not a full dragon to come, but it will be good for you to be there.”

Garkhen’s eyes widened slightly in surprise. Solkh’Tolkharkha had mentioned a Great Convocation only once, saying that it was a gathering of all draconic followers of Bahamut that could come, from all parts of Draezoln. It sounded exciting to the young half-dragon… but also somewhat frightening. Most who followed Bahamut were of the metallic dragons, who had little love for the chromatic dragons, whose heritage he bore. He doubted any would strike against him simply for that, especially with Solkh’Tolkharkha bringing him, but he could not help but feel a small quiver of fear.

“Let us depart,” Solkh’Tolkharkha said. Garkhen held still as the gold dragon gently grasped him and took off.

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Yeah, it’s a short post. I wrote a lot of other stuff this weekend, so I didn’t end up writing much for this.

Chapter 2-1

Chapter 2: Hymns of Dragonkind

Why do I follow Bahamut? It is true that Solkh’Tolkharkha’s influence has much to do with it, as I would likely never have given his teachings much thought were it not for my mentor. However, he did not force the worship of the Platinum Dragon upon me, and I had a great deal of exposure to other deities and philosophies through his library.

Yet none spoke to me as Bahamut’s doctrine did. To dedicate oneself wholly to the defense of the weaker, to live, to fight for another’s life—I found in this ideal a goal I could strive for. As with any worthy ideal, I have not lived up to it perfectly, especially in my early years, but having the teachings of Bahamut to guide me, I continue to strive despite my imperfection.

And that is not all. I find, in doing this, a… peace, an inner calmness that contrasts with the savage rage I struggle against. Perhaps this is so with all the goodly gods, but I know I have found it in following Bahamut.

As he matured, Garkhen found comfort in another source, as well. From his earliest memories, he had noticed Solkh’Tolkharkha sometimes looking at or tracing an odd symbol, and from other references and the gold dragon’s own occasional teachings slowly learned of Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon, God of the goodly dragons. It took him longer to discover that his mentor was, in fact, a powerful and respected Warder—a priest of Bahamut.

Once Solkh’Tolkharkha could tell that his young charge was interested, he started teaching him more earnestly of Bahamut and his ways. Garkhen eagerly listened, not only because of the time and attention the gold dragon devoted to him, but also because what Solkh’Tolkharkha spoke of stirred something deep inside the young half-dragon. The ideal of self-control, and of self-sacrifice, in the doctrine he learned touched him, much as the stories he had been reading did.

As he grew older, Garkhen studied more of Bahamut and his ways, as well as much about the world. The more he learned, the more he desired to make a difference for good in the world. He began to feel constrained by his virtual imprisonment in Solkh’Tolkharkha’s lair, not for his own sake, but because he could do nothing to apply what he was learning. His mentor would only say, however, that it was not yet time, that he had much to learn and to improve upon before he could leave. With effort, Garkhen accepted this patiently and continued his studies.

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I debated on splitting this into another chapter, but I think it’s better to do so. Next post will likely be more narrative as opposed to summary.