Saturday, October 23, 2010

APPENDIX A: The Heroic Legend of Drax the Destroyer

In the official history of the Holy Empire, Draxalanon of the Bear Clan is known as King Drax the Destroyer, the evil tyrant who invaded the imperial domain and sacked the capital city, Tairon, before being driven back by a valiant counterattack. Outside the Empire, and even in some anti-government circles and revisionist bardic tales within it, Drax is a beloved hero whose exploits have shaped the history of many nations.

Drax was born in the land of Arsis, a place known to most Imperial citizens as Avondale, the arctic region far north of Old Silmaria before the northern kingdoms and tribes were united under one banner. During the ritual in which he completed his rites of passage into adulthood, he received a vision from the animal spirit to which he was bound. In that vision he saw that he was destined to become a powerful leader. From here he went on a quest to become a great hero to meet his destiny.

It is somewhat ironic that Drax’s first heroic deed was saving the Vigoorian province of Guardia from the evil forces threatening it, including defeating a powerful night hag who had turned the baron into a frog and rescuing the baron’s daughter from bandits, and defeated undead forces threatening a sacred dryads’ grove that had existed for thousands of years.

After this he traveled with far to the south with the Shapiran Abdul, to help in a century-old war between Shapir and Raseir. Drax discovered that this war had been engineered by a deranged immortal alienist named Shadrack, who helped a brutal military dictatorship dominate the people of Raseir and wage war against their neighbors. First he defeated the four mighty elementals Shadrack sent to destroy Shapir. When Shadrack placed a curse upon Shapir’s beloved caliph, Drax found the means to dispel it. Shadrack’s final move was to attempt the summoning of an undead demon prince, who was bound on the extradimensional realm of Ine. Drax killed Shadrack and sealed the portal in a climactic battle on the roof of Raseir’s royal palace. For his heroic deeds, the caliph awarded him an estate within Shapir and a phoenix medallion that would later save his life.

Drax then travelled with the litorian paladin Rakeesh to the kingdom of Tarna, seven years before it was brought into the Empire. There the barbarian was asked help stop a war from starting between the Xerani human tribes of Tarna’s eastern lands, and the lizardfolk kingdoms of Narshe. If a war were to result, the liontaur rulers would be bound to an ancient treaty, never before invoked, to fight with the Xerani against the lizardfolk in a war that would be disastrous.

The Xerani had stolen the Dragon Crystal of the lizardfolk. In order to get it back, he had to earn the favour of the Xerani Grand Master. Drax is given the Dragon Crystal when he saves the master’s son from the mutant dire elephant Gigatusk, completes a pilgrimage to the Eternal Tree (a holy site to Sarnath, the god worshipped by all Xerani and most litorians), and marries his daughter. The lizardfolk had stolen the Xerani’s Spear of Death, a legendary weapon reputedly capable of killing anything in a single attack. Drax earns the Spear from Narshe’s leaders when he ended a terrible curse afflicting the lizardfolk.

After war was averted, Drax discovered that a demonic sorcerer named Balur was bringing legions of demons through a portal in the lost city of Mazamar, deep in Narshe’s jungles. Alone and unafraid, equipped with the Spear of Death, Drax traveled to the lost city, slaying all fiends in his path. Some say a thousand demons fell to Drax as he wielded the Spear that day.

At the portal, the wizard deployed one final guardian, a massive demonic gargoyle whose flesh could not be cut by the spear. The gargoyle grabbed Drax, and threw him into the deep chasm separating the inner and outer city, where the barbarian body was utterly broken and he died.

It was the phoenix medallion, gift of the Caliph of Shapir, which brought him back to life. And luck gods were with him that day for at the bottom of the chasm he found “Final Honor”, the magic axe of great power. Climbing up from the chasm, Drax used the axe to destroy the demon gargoyle. Then, just as Balur prepared to smite Drax with a spell that would surely destroy him, the barbarian hurled the Spear of Death. Such was his strength and accuracy that the spear flew unerring across an impossible distance, killing the demonic wizard. It seemed all was well…

…But at the same time, Shadrack had been scrying across dimensions, and used powerful magic to realign the Mazamar portal. Through this conduit, he cast a spell which pulled Drax into Shadrack’s citadel in the realm of Ine. Though Drax had indeed slain the wizard in Raseir, Shadrack had in place a contingency spell that would transplant his soul into a clone body back at his citadel. Drax escaped Shadrack’s citadel, and Drax found himself in a hostile world filled with undead, and only a few living people

Here, Drax fought legions of undead fiends and engaged in a long struggle against Shadrack’s allies, the Dragona family of vampires. Circumstances eventually had him allying with the vampire matriarch against her husband, sons and daughters. It is said that he destroyed an army of 10,000 undead skeleton soldiers with nothing more than a club. In the end, he returned to the citadel and defeated Shadrack for good, but the evil wizard’s magic was even stronger than before. He managed to summon the undead demon prince Skallathrax, and sent it through a portal back to Enhasa. Drax followed it back, and defeated it in a spectacular battle on the mountains of Avondale.

After this he found himself in the region now known as Old Silmaria, but it was just Silmaria then. The kingdom was under siege by the mighty dragon Norlac, which had taken the ruins of an ancient temple as its lair – a site that happened to be holy ground to the religious Silmarians. Yet only the king was allowed to step into this holiest of places. The king was assassinated with no successor, and the kingdom was thrown into chaos while the dragon levelled devastating assaults upon them on a weekly basis. Hundreds were killed across the region, and property destroyed on a grand scale.

Drax is nominated as a noble hero to complete for the Silmarian crown. Upon earning the crown, he travels to the ruined temple to kill Norlac. Drax was nearly defeated, but in the last moment he used his epic strength to push down one of the only pillars left standing in the ruins. It collapsed a part of the roof and nearly crushed the dragon’s huge head, enabling Drax to strike a final blow to the neck. Norlac’s head is famously mounted in the Silmarian palace.

Under King Drax’s rule, Silmaria opened itself to trade with other northern lands, and the entire north eventually became united under Silmaria’s flag with the Covenant of the North during the Giant Wars.

Through all these adventurers over the years, Drax was constantly followed and tested by a pair of awesomely powerful and enigmatic elves named Dalamar and Dalara. They were not normal elves, but they were “Urthon Aedar,” who always seemed to appear suddenly, perform some inexplicable task (usually conjuring up a powerful monster to fight Drax), and then leave. Drax never discovered their intentions, and was never able to defeat them. Only the rarest scholars on the most esoteric elven lore even knew the Urthon Aedar existed, much less hard facts about them.

Drax was a beloved king, and when war came between the Silmarians and the Empire, his people fought with great passion and love for their homeland. His legendary counter assault culminated in the sacking of imperial capital Tairon.

That is the story of King Drax the Destroyer.

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