Concerning Dragons and Gods - A treatise on the origin of power in Ciruin
written by Zestari Elmanor, Royal Historian and Head Scribe
Some time ago, I petitioned our great King for the opportunity to launch an archaeological investigation into the past of our realm. After receiving his charter and assembling a team, we set up our dig site just southwest of Linwood to begin looking. As with many great undertakings, this took time to bear fruit, and we had yet to find anything of note when Alderra was raided and our King was overthrown by orcs. Surprisingly, Guthakug the Orc King had no problem at all with us continuing our work. At first I was a bit offended when he told me I could “keep my rock collection”, but I decided it was best not to correct him. So it was that, due to the generosity of orcs of all races, we finally uncovered our first important artifact.
It seems that our dig site must have once been the location of a sort of memorial or shrine, dedicated to the worship of not only the five gods we have always known, but also of another three deific beings that supersede our all-powerful pantheon to varying degrees. These three are listed as being more of a balancing force that governs the other five beings, all of which reside in a separate plane of existence than mortal races. The ancient tablet refers to these separate realms as Andarike and Maktriket, the Kingdom of Spirits and the Kingdom of Power. For ease of understanding, I will refer to these simply as the spiritual plane and the physical plane.
Interestingly, it is the physical plane that is referred to as Maktriket, Kingdom of Power. This suggests that the power in the realm is actually derived from the physical plane instead of the spiritual plane, which is where all of the gods reside. This supports the theories of Raenisa Joran, a royal scribe and renowned scholar of the 2nd age, who postulated that it is only through our worship that the Pantheon of Five retains control over Ciruin.
Andarike, the spiritual plane, is where the most powerful spiritual beings in existence reside. According to our findings, this is the home of our beloved Pantheon of Five, which you all know as Pyron, Riva, Voltus, Nox, and Terra. Prior belief held that these five were responsible for all creation, and held ultimate power within our existence. We now believe that the spiritual plane itself is controlled by an additional set of beings, known as Lumi and Demi. Lumi, referred to several times as the Holy Flame or Light of Hope, concerns itself with balance and the preservation of all things, and is indicated to be one part of the guiding force determining how the will of the gods is able to manifest in the physical plane. Lumi’s counterpart Demi, called the Infinite Void, wants mostly chaos and destruction.
It is noted, however, that the ever present conflict between Lumi and Demi leaves both of them preoccupied most of the time, allowing more freedom to our Pantheon of Five. An additional force is referenced here as well, though it is unclear whether or not it is an actual being or the result of conflict between the gods, called Nethys. This name has come up in prior findings and was known to us, however with this new information we are able to determine that Nethys is not so much a “god of neutrality” as once hypothesized, but rather have no favor among the Pantheon of Five.
Having established the supposed motives of these beings, as well as the knowledge that they are themselves too powerful to enter the physical plane, we begin to see connections elsewhere. The most notable connection here is that of the dragons, as they have been called. Initially these were thought to be little more than wild beasts, though exceptionally strong and intelligent. As we dug further into the texts, however, we found references to “weapons of the gods'' used in a great war for power, presumably in the First Age. We hypothesize that these weapons were simultaneously part of both the physical and spiritual planes, as the text suggests that they were “anchored in the realm of the gods, to be directed according to their will within the realm of mortals.” These weapons were apparently within the control of the Five, and fought alongside mortal races against an older force that are referred to only as “Those Who Came Before”.
During this battle, events transpired to where these weapons’ tie to the spiritual realm was severed and they disappeared from existence for centuries. They have reappeared now beholden to no master. Their names and histories were lost to time and the changing of the world, but it seems clear that these “weapons of the gods” are indeed what we have come to know as the dragons. They are as follows:
Volskurr, the Lightning of Voltus, is what the people of Ciruin have always referred to as the Tempest Dragon.
Forfrysning, or Frostbite, is believed to be the Crystal Dragon and weapon of Riva.
Eldigen, called the Fiery One, was the first dragon to return to the realm of mortals. They named it according to its appearance, calling it the Crimson Dragon and correctly offering prayers to Pyron to stop the destruction.
Nereklon, sometimes called the Shadow Clone or Nether Clone, is the weapon of Nox. Like the lady of night herself, Nereklon weaves shadow to clone any opposing force, pitting them against themselves in a maddening melee.
Droulknyr, called Deathsick is the weapon of Terra. This is largely due to the common outcome of any altercation with Droulknyr earning the unwary adventurer a swift trip back to their temple of choice.
Since their return the dragons have terrorized all of the people of Ciruin, including the representatives and followers of their very creators. This supports the assertion that the Five lost control over their weapons during the mysterious battle of old. Once the good people of Ciruin learned to fight back, it was not long before cooperation in the name of survival turned into competition in the name of profits. An appearance by any of the five dragons turned into its own battleground, with the brave adventurers often attacking each other while fending off the great beast, in an effort to minimize competition for the coveted dragon scales. These scales, which fell off the dragons as they were being damaged or killed, are the concentrated essence of their power, and can be used to make unparalleled weapons and armor.
Very recently, a phenomenon occurred to change this, and I believe that this can be explained with the insight we’ve received from a study into the spiritual realm that was made possible by our findings. Though the two have hitherto been considered unrelated, I believe that events of the 4th of Brightbloom were a result of Lumi touching the physical realm. We know that the Holy Flame wants balance and preservation of all things, and that she is represented by the white flame. We also know that on that day, a flash of white fire rolled over the land and all its people, but harmed nobody and was gone as soon as it appeared. Since that day, the dragons have no longer shed their scales and all thought of infighting has disappeared from the minds of the adventurers appearing to defend the realm.
Those who are able to turn a dragon away report that they feel a power being drawn into them as they fight the creatures, as if the essence of the dragon is being added to their own being. Speculation has run wild regarding the purpose of this shift, but it is clear that Lumi is at work here, restoring the balance, and giving the realm the peace it needs to stand united against the dragon scourge. Reportedly, those who have been able to absorb what is being referred to as “dragon essence” have felt a pull toward the tunnels beneath the Northern Mountain, though as of yet there has been no discovery there.
This is encouraging for the realm at large, as the dragon scourge was beginning to take a heavy toll on the Kingdom of Ciruin. However, I cannot help but wonder if we have only experienced half of the equation thus far. It is our newly found understanding of Lumi’s existence that allows us to postulate what may have happened here, but Lumi is only one half of the balancing force of our entire existence. No act by Lumi ever goes unanswered by Demi, and I have to believe that the answer from the Infinite Void will be boldly divisive in contrast.