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Thread: The Tale of Sleeper's Peak

  1. #1

    Default The Tale of Sleeper's Peak

    The Tale of Sleeper’s Peak

    Karane: “Greetings hatchling. Now that you’ve gained some knowledge of the ways of the world, I suppose you have some interest in our illustrious past, yes? It was not so long ago we were mighty, both in our eyes and in the eyes of men.?

    “At one time Dragons were a dominant force in this world. Stronger, wiser, and in all measurable ways superior to men. We ruled the skies and the mountains, leaving lesser races only that which proved uninspiring to us. While they warred, we stayed untouched, ignoring the occasional plea for aid and knowing they wouldn’t dare risk challenging us in our own lands. Ours were the ways of learning, discussion, storytelling, and of hunting for food from the skies.?

    “Occasionally, yes. And as their populations grew, sometimes more then occasionally. As the years went on, more and more of their petty squabbling spilled into our territory, young Dragons who sought to be helpful started becoming entangled in their conflicts, and sometimes hurt or killed. Attempts at diplomacy on our part proved useless in most cases.?

    “While we asked to be left out of their ridiculous warfare, we were rarely heeded. In particular the Fiends, a young and brash race convinced of their own superiority, simply ignored us and cut supply lines and troop movements through our lands however it pleased them. Their passing damaged relics which had stood for a thousand years, but still we remained neutral, until the loss of the Sleeping Dragon.?

    “An immense statue of silver, protected from all damage and from the elements, by spells older then some gods. It lay atop the peak of a great mountain, wrapping itself around the cliffs and summit, hundreds of meters from snout to tail. No one could say who had crafted it – some theorized it had once been alive, the greatest of our kind, an avatar (or, perhaps, archetype), and that while resting one night it’s soul was plucked to the heavens, the form left in silver to remind us of our highest ideals. The statue was pristine in every way, not a scratch or a mar was visible, and it was impossible to scuff or tarnish. But, I digress.?

    “Sleepers Peak was a place of reverence to us, a place of contemplation. Dragons traveled there to admire its perfection, and in some cases to worship. Even the most skeptical of us felt a connection to the Sleeper on some level, and an almost spiritual peace in its presence. Think clearly of what I describe and you can almost feel it still.?

    “It was a vital and holy place, despite it’s location on the edge of our proper domain. Fighting there was unthinkable to us, in fact had never occurred in recorded history. All this changed one day, as an army of men passed into the Sleeper’s domain. They were chased, this time, by their own kind.?

    “As the story goes, the army was composed of soldiers from their current empire, or not-empire I suppose. Those giving chase were under the banner of Kon, a wizard of considerable learning who had built up his following over more lifetime than men were meant to have. Their sides met at the base of the mountain and battle ensued, men with strong armour and steel, fighting men whose equipment was enchanted with all manner of lost techniques. Kon’s forces had the upper hand, and melee quickly became one-sided.?

    “Noting their losses, the imperials fled up the path to the peak. Even from the base of the mountain, it’s clear the route narrows considerably near the summit, and they sought to cut off their enemy’s advantage in numbers by finding a choke point. We presume, that is, given the aftermath I suspect there was little hope either way.?

    “There was a great deal of protesting from the Dragons, there to think and admire the avatar, but again it went unheeded. Most of our kind took wing and left Sleeper’s Peak, or watched from afar as the imperials fled towards the summit. Kon’s men took delight in smashing everything in their path as they gave chase, sure of themselves and fearing nothing – for you see, little one, they had a secret, much to out chagrin.?

    “The leader of Kon’s militia was a man named Elial, an evil man whose eyes burned with the fire of madness. He was immense, for their kind, and wielded a sword made by his master especially for him.?

    “Eventually the imperial soldiers reached the plateau just beneath the peak, after passing through a narrow gap made by the Sleeper’s hand, its talons piercing the cliffside pathway on each side. There, with the Sleeper’s arm and wing overhead, they chose to stand. Three abreast they placed themselves on the uphill side of the talons and waited for the head of the pursuing militia. It didn’t take long for their targets to arrive.?

    “The first of the pursuers were cut down without even a fight. Three men in front stood their ground and the two remaining imperial archers hid behind, felling their targets before they ever reached the claw or the entry between its talons. They’d chosen their stand wisely, and after heavy losses the militia kept back. Then Elial stepped forward, his claymore with its oddly shaped blade slung nonchalantly over his shoulder. He walked within view of the immense silver claw, stood fast as two arrows narrowly missed his head, and laughed before turning quickly to the sheer granite face that rose on his left. He hefted his sword, judged the wall for a moment, then swung and cut a tear in reality.?

    “The cliff face split open like paper, and behind it… we do not know. What does the other side of reality look like, hatchling? I suspect it’s nothing so simple as a painting stretched over a frame – no, what lies in there must be madness, and this man was well and truly mad. Elial stepped forward through the tear, which sealed behind him almost as fast as it had been cut. The defending men watched this in silent horror, and questioning shouts began among the twenty or so imperials on the plateau. Where had he gone??

    “They had precious little time to discuss it, because suddenly a blade drove outward from the air in the middle of the group, swinging an enormous arc that tore through five men within a second. Then again, it vanished. The remaining men spread out, watching for the slightest movement… when again the blade appeared through thin air, slicing one man across the chest as though his armour wasn’t even there. Another brought his blade up with remarkable speed, only to have it cut off cleanly in the middle before losing his life. Six more fell just as quickly, torn to pieces by the claymore’s techniqued blade, until only the men at the Sleeper’s talons remained.?

    “The sword appeared again and swung, this time hitting no one but leaving a rip in midair, like the one Elial had made on the cliff face. He stepped though, grinning widely and seeming relaxed. Those few remaining between the claw’s talons waited for the onslaught, raising their weapons and shields – though by now they must’ve seen this was useless. Elial sauntered towards them, stepping over the fallen with his impossibly sharp claymore again slung lazily over his shoulder. As he approached to within striking range, one of the defenders lunged, a panicked blow which was neatly sidestepped, and which cost the man his life as Elial brought his claymore down upon him with unreal speed. Wheeling back around the other way, Elial swung his blade towards the remainders, slicing through one but missing the other, who barely ducked the swing. This solitary defender saw his chance and took it, neatly driving his sword into the madman’s side. At this, Elial lost control of his sword.?

    “His swing went wide. The blade, irresistibly sharp, able to cut through the cloth of reality, overshot and cut into the talon of the Sleeper. Those who watched from afar say it was like time stopped, as though you could feel the world buckling under too much weight. The clouds pulled suddenly into sharp peaks and swirls. Sound vanished. Light grew dim, then red, then black. Suddenly there was a flash of blinding light, a shuddering roar, hurricane winds pulled towards the mountain, and when the distant watchers – those who survived – recovered and looked again it was gone.?

    “Don’t you see? Here the irresistible force, the blade, met the immovable object, the Sleeper. Reality dealt with it in the only way it knows – to remove the problem. It’s not often one hears of a paradox, outside of foolish discussions of time travel, but they DO exist in other places, and the Sleeper and the blade is one.?

    “Everything. The Sleeper, the summit, the soldiers of both sides, gone. It was like a perfect sphere had been cut out of the world, disturbed only by the sudden flash and rush of air that filled the vacuum. Since that day the mountain has been ruined, its devastated peak always covered in lightning and thunder, and time has seemed distorted to us. There is a power there now, but of a different sort.?

    “Like a still surface of water that’s been disturbed by a single drop. The ripple moves outward as we progress forward, and we are caught in its wake. The results of this ripple may be obvious with some thought, hatchling, but I’ll leave you to investigate that, yourself.?

    “Good good. I would ask of your fellow Dragons, and specifically attend to Valkoth in Dralk, and Semeneth of Chiconis. You may find them intriguing.?

    Hetherandess: A historian told you of Sleeper’s Peak? There are a few things that can mean, and now that both Valkoth and Semeneth have returned I would suggest speaking to them.?

    Semeneth: “The tale the historian tells is true, and marks a turning point in our relationship with the other races of Istaria. It became obvious that we could not simply rest on our isolationist laurels, and that to prevent such a tragedy happening again, we would need to educate the others. Or, some would say, prove ourselves a formidable ally.?

    “We are older than the other races, and have wisdom because of that age. There is much we can teach them about magic, the world, and ourselves. In exchange, there is much we can learn from them, as the other races have ways with technology and elemental magics that are alien to us. The relationship benefits both sides, and places us in a position of respect we could never attain through simple bullying.?

    “While it is true we have a great physical strength and abilities the other races lack, we are not invulnerable, hatchling. Taking the position of warlords above and beyond the other races is no safe position to be in, as they can hurt us greatly if they became determined to, particularly as our population is now.?

    Valkoth: “You have spoken to the historian about Sleeper’s Peak? The story of its destruction never fails to anger me, for at that point we should have seen the error of our passive ways. Unfortunately, we chose instead to cower like kittens, and hope the Lesser Races wouldn’t choose to slap our muzzles.?

    “These are lesser beings, weaker then us physically and incapable of even cooperating among themselves. It is best that we demonstrate to them our considerable strength, and ensure they know we cannot be dismissed as simply another foolish community of rebels. To think, some believe we should become more like them.?

    “Some Dragons believe we should learn more of these lesser ones, and change our ways to match them – This despite our traditions carrying us for hundreds of generations. Our bodies and traditions are strong, hatchling, but we will not instill this in the minds of the Lesser Races through passive biped diplomacy.?

    Karane: “I trust that in your travels, you spoke at length with both Valkoth and Semeneth? They are opposite sides, one respecting battle and strength, the other respecting diplomacy and intuition. As you’re likely aware, Dragon politics lean primarily in two directions: The Lunus, who believe we are superior to the other races, and should position ourselves as their masters; and the Helian, who feel we are best served by cooperating with the other races, improving ourselves and them through the sharing of knowledge. Your immediate path, should you choose to pursue it, will be shaped by which of these sides you prefer.?

    “Now then, that explained, I charge you to choose one or the other. Return to Valkoth if you wish to tread the path of the Lunus, or to Semeneth if you prefer the path of the Helian. They will direct you from that point.?
    Nayuaka and Nayukhuut. Freelance Helian lorekeepers of Chaos.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Tale of Sleeper's Peak

    The story of the Sleeper lacks one detail Karane should normally know XD. When exactly happened it? Id like to know it.

    "If being of fire means blind arrogance and the elevation of violence above reason, then let me be of water!"

  3. #3

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