Drakes

The official GemStone IV encyclopedia.
Jump to: navigation, search

The Drakes were large dragon-like creatures possessing some unknown range of inherent powers who ruled Elanthia over 100,000 years ago. The traditional theology holds that the Arkati were spirit servants to the Drakes, though the Elven dogma claims this was only an interpretation made later to make sense of the Ur-Daemon War and the supposed mortality of the gods. In other words, the Elven traditions originally viewed the dragons as beasts who were kept at bay by their gods, and only interpreted it the other way around to justify the absence of protection in the war.

Most of what is known of the Drakes is in the form of inconsistent myths and legends, or perhaps ancient relics hidden away in repositories such as Library Aies, and while the dragons are still regarded as the most powerful beings in the world it is not clear how strong they are compared to their ancestors or the Arkati. Drake rule was shattered irreversibly in the conflicts surrounding the Ur-Daemon War, falling way to an Arkati dominated interregnum in the later stage of the Age of Darkness. The word "darkness" in this context descends etymologically from "Draekeche."

History

The world domination of dragons in the Age of Darkness is not historically controversial. However, most of the more specific details are dubious or seemingly contradictory, twisted together with religious interpretations. Whether the "Drakes" and dragons should be considered distinct is unclear, and the myths imply the existence of a range of greater and lesser wyrms. Similar to the Arkati, the older ones are generally represented as more powerful, or perhaps have the potential of becoming more powerful over time. They are usually depicted as having a taste for slumbering, hoarding, vanity, and intolerance to beings other than themselves. It is not clear how powerful the surviving ones are compared to the present day Arkati. They have not visibly intervened in any of the recent world crises.

Drakes and the Arkati

Theology often holds that the Arkati were first fashioned of the essence incidentally from traumatic or emotional interactions involving Drakes. These stories nominally contradict notions such as siblings or offspring in other religious dogma, representing inconsistent origin stories for the same entities. The Drake will be portrayed as discovering the nascent humanoid Arkati, deciding not to kill it while it is still weak, and abandoning or adopting it as a student. These experiences explain the personalities of the Arkati, as opposed to the theory that these diverged from exposure to Lornon and Liabo.

In a similar vein the existence of the lesser races is suffered by the Drakes, who allow no civilization other than their own whilst being depicted as loners without much civilization. Regardless, the religious explanation of the presence of the Arkati on the moons is widely attributed to exile by the Drakes, who similarly prohibited the bringing of lesser races with them. These two groups would emerge as the religious pantheons of Liabo and Lornon. In the future these moon gods are considered extra-planar in nature rather than symbiotic offspring who somehow survived their masters.

The Ur-Daemon War

Approximately 100,000 years ago, there was a violent rupture in the fabric of reality allowing Elanthia to be invaded by powerful extra-dimensional entities, which are called the Ur-Daemon. These otherworldly beings have been witnessed in temporal distortions as huge floating squids, essentially black tentacled monsters being assaulted by several fire-breathing reptilian beasts simultaneously. The blame for this world cataclysm is often attributed to Eorgina and Fash'lo'nae, especially by the Faendryl, sometimes explained as a hubris driven power grab or a cold hearted experiment.

Although the Drakes eventually drove the Ur-Daemon into the void from whence they came, which blasted the landscape for hundreds of miles when their portal collapsed, most of the dragons were killed or driven mad with fear. After the end of the Ur-Daemon War, the Arkati built the Drake's Shrine containing the Eye of the Drake, a powerful artifact that sealed the interdimensional rift and so saving the world. The shrine was in homage of the "Great Drake", who resembles the theology of Koar in numerous aspects, and are conflated. It was inaccessible for millennia, until the Vvrael were defeated.

Historical Drakes

Known Beings:

  • Koar - Believed to be a Drake by some, he now serves as king of the Arkati. The Drake's Shrine implies he is Drake.
  • Kor'thriss - The massive shadowy dragon who slumbers in the center of the world.
  • The dragon of Melgorehn's Reach - Slumbering. Never emerges from the mountain.
  • The "Great Drake" (Emperor Drake) - Viewed in visions, vouched for by the Arkati. Seemingly Koar.


Mythological:

  • Athma - Drake patron of Mularos.
  • Beh'Amant - The Drake who nurtured Eorgina.
  • Cha'Anamos - Related to Zelia as told in Madness and Entropy: A Tale of Zelia.
  • Eor ail'Giina - Eorgina's namesake, consort of Beh'Amant.
  • Ferushigon - The Drake patron of Lumnis.
  • Goragan - Silver Drake, who death birthed Mularos.
  • Hethra - Copper Drake, mate of Taahmad.
  • Jormungant - Silver Drake, mate of Taahmad.
  • Ka'lethas - Supposedly the First Drake. Constellation.
  • Kel'toren - Lesser crimson Drake who followed the Shadow, after his master was killed by Beh'Amant.
  • Lefatin - Copper Drake, mate of Taahmad.
  • Nythok - Cerulean Drake, mate of Taahmad. The Sky-Breaker.
  • Pier'Anthyia - One of the Drake patrons to Charl, Niima and Charl's wife.
  • Shadow With Wings - Nameless Drake associated with Ronan and Sheru, allegedly born from his killing of Kel'toren in the Dream world.
  • Taahmad - Female golden Drake who attempted and failed to kill the Shadow.
  • Vashelisk - The Drake who brought Jastev to visit Shadow With Wings.
  • Vel'Athorre - The Drake who nurtured Luukos.
  • Wyan'Goethe - One of the Drake patrons to Charl, Niima and Charl's wife.


Others:

  • Gledh’manaak - Non-canonical master of Kai.
  • Makiri - This moon is supposedly an egg that hatches into a "world dragon", changing the world of GemStone into that of DragonRealms. It slumbers in the center of the world.
  • Shu'raax - Non-canonical companion of Phoen.

Temporal Anomalies

Temporal disturbances sometimes reveal scenes of the Ur-Daemon War. These provide glimpses of the dragons as they actually existed. There also used to be a black diamond on the balcony of Li'aerion that summoned an illusion of a black drake which presumably was a reliable rendering. Dragons are depicted in the Drake's Shrine which was made and sealed off during the Age of Darkness.

Melgorehn's Reach

When Elithain Cross was confronted in 5114 Modern Era, and later in 5117 when Teuriz opened a portal to the Shadow Realm to rescue an orphan, temporal anomalies below the Reach showed a scene related to the Ur-Daemon and Vvrael.

The air grows warm and ethereal lights drift through the area like ghostly white smoke. Among the pale mist, images form and shift, first depicting a sky filled with ancient Drakes, their fiery breaths pouring out to burn a gnarled black Ur'Daemon that floats through the air like a giant squid, and then next an Ashrim ship gently floating on the waves as fires rage on the distant land.

In 5117 Modern Era there were temporal disturbances from Grand Magister Dennet Kestrel powering up his pylons with plinite, including this vision:

The flapping of wings grows louder and louder, and soon visible within the pale blue sky is the garguantuan form of a bronze drake, its scales glistening like polished metal, its winding neck craned outward as it soars effortlessly above.  Its eyes are like golden blazestars, burning with an intense power and heat as it regards the fields below.  A loud roar erupts from its throat and it lifts up into the sky, out of sight.

Planar Shift Distortion

This is what you see when you look into the rift opened by the sorcerer spell Planar Shift (740).

A collage of images fills your mind as you peer into the depths of a shifting twilight grey rift.  You gaze unwaveringly, transfixed by the jumble of historic images racing across your consciousness.  Massive winged beasts, reptilian in nature, flit through a flame-ravaged sky, locked in battle with otherwordly creatures.  Soon enough, the scene changes to one of serenity and peace, various humanoids emerging en masse from caves.  That image, too, fades and is replaced by a great amalgamation of humanoids, all different races standing across a great decaying battlefield juxtaposed to zombies, banshees and other abominations.  But, after only a few seconds, that scene too disappears as quickly as it entered your now reeling mind.  Just as it seems the jumble of images will stop, they start again, in quick succession like a seamstress wielding her loom.  An eternity of tranquil images passes you by, only to be suddenly, and devastatingly replaced by a crude half-elf leading an army of humans towards a small town.  But alas, as the story gets interesting, all the images fade and you avert your gaze.

Resources

Behind the Scenes

In the history forum of 1998 GM Mhorigan, who wrote the original Official History of Elanthia, clearly asserted that "dragons" and "drakes" are the same thing. He reiterated the point that they are "extremely rare", "half of them are nuts", they "aren't as poweful as they used to be", but that they are still far more powerful than anything an adventurer could meaningfully interact with or fight like a monster. The later elven dogma and the sylvan history subtly gave a contrary view of theology (widely overlooked) by asserting that the dragons were not viewed at the time as the masters of the gods by their ancestors.