Wyvern

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Wyvern

Wyvern (/ˈwīvərn/): A magical, winged, two-legged dragon with a reptilian body and a barbed tail. They were created by the great drakes as companions in the ages before the Ur-Daemon War.

Origin and History

Much has been lost over the countless years since wyverns first came into being, however I will endeavor to put down faithfully what I have gathered from various sources. Much of what I have to document comes from long held oral histories from each of the elven houses. The rest has been pieced together from a few select religious texts such as Granlith Hammerhand's "Koar: Drake or Fake, A Religious Treatise."

In the early days of Elanthia, before the Ur Daemon war, the drakes ruled the lands with undisputed authority. Due to their nature as highly intelligent beings, the drakes constantly sought after intellectual challenge and stimulation. These are the circumstances that led the drakes to create beings capable (at least in theory) of challenging their mental fortitude, and thus wyverns entered the lands. Formed in the image of their creators, wyverns possess great mental faculties, being prone to deep philosophical thought patterns accompanied by quick, razor sharp wit. Long did they reside with the drakes, being somewhat less arrogant (though this fact is disputed) than their creators, they served as opponents in great debates regarding all manner of things. When the time came that the drakes were no longer the powerhouse of Elanthia, and with the Arkati poised to assume power, Koar, alternatively called the Great Drake**, did issue forth a new purpose unto the wyverns. Translated here into common, it states thus, "Go forth into the lands and watch over the elven people, of whom I am quite fond." [1] Thus began the relationship between elves and the great winged beasts.

**The theological discussion concerning the differing opinions on whether Koar was, in fact, the last of the DragonKind or if that was merely a form he chose to maintain control of the other Arkati is a conversation for another time. I quote only what records I have found and make no determination either way on the subject.

Though in antiquity all of the elven race was closely associated with wyverns, only House Vaalor still maintains at least a semblance of that relationship today. Perhaps this is due to mutual respect between the people of House Vaalor and their guardians. An excerpt from a Vaalorian oral history, as related to me by Vaalor Court Bard Flantio Sindaris, illustrates the relationship:

In ages past, after the Ur-Daemon War, the elven families did separate and go their individual ways, founding great Houses from their bloodlines. During these travels, Aradhul Vaalor and his company did encounter a great golden-winged beast in the high mountain passes south and west of present-day Ta'Vaalor. Aradhul did engage the beast, not with arms, but with his wits, talking freely of plants in the environs, places to find fresh water, and events of the distant past. Though innocent in appearance, this was merely a tactic to distract the beast while the company's warriors did take up flanking positions under cover of the surrounding environs.
Now the great beast, Garsnik, was not deceived, for he was one of the more intelligent of his kind. He was, nonetheless, impressed by the willingness of this mortal to parlay an attempt to gain an advantage, his speed and precision, and his warriors' usage of terrain as a tactical advantage without need for orders. It was at this time that Garsnik chose Aradhul and those of his family to protect saying, "You are a strong and noble people, quick of mind and strong in battle. You have earned my admiration; I will show you a place you might settle. It is a land rich with grains, fish, and game that you may easily defend against those who come against you, and I will watch over you.

And so it was that Aradhul and his family did safely found Ta'Vaalor upon an island in the Mistydeep River and adopt the golden wyvern as their symbol. The friendship continued between Aradhul and Garnik for many years, and they fought many battles together until the passing of Aradhul. Garsnik lit his friend's funeral pyre with his fiery breath before launching himself into the air and disappearing to the southwest. He was not seen again for many years, and the peoples of House Vaalor presumed he was in mourning. The last recorded appearance of Garsnik was in the year 33,711 of House Vaalor, where he was spotted high above the battle of ShadowGuard.

There are other tales, of wyverns and the Houses they chose to watch over, of their relationships and what became of them, but those are for another time, and for other historians to tell.

Species

  • Golden wyverns
  • White Wyverns
  • Blue Wyverns
  • Green Wyverns
  • Silver Wyverns
  • Black Wyverns
  • Red Wyverns

Habitat

There are several subspecies of wyvern as noted above, each of which favors different environs in which to live. As mentioned above, Garsnik was encountered in the mountainous regions of the eastern half of Elanith. From what I have been able to determine based upon oral histories and one particularly interesting codex, golden wyverns preferred such terrain. Making their home in caves high atop the mountains, they were fond of the surrounding forests. "Being that the beasts' senses were particularly keen, the scent of fresh pine and the glorious fall colors throughout the deciduous trees in the lower elevations did often bring comfort to a solitary existence." [2] Dreena continues, "According to Krutgik, a rather small and somewhat sniveling white wyvern, the wyverns split apart soon after creation. Many of the wyvern kind allowed their arrogance to supersede Koar's directive and abandoned the charge he placed upon them to watch over the elven people. Rather, they went their own ways, finding pleasure in numerous areas, each to their choosing" [3]

Religion

Having been created by the drakes, and considering themselves above the Arkati, wyvern have no official religion but regard Koar with great respect.

Social Habits

What little is known about the social habits of wyverns is passed down through the Vaalorian relationship with Garsnik. As mentioned above, as a species, their arrogance leaves little room for social relationships, and thus, wyverns are solitary creatures.

Appearance

Wyvern are great winged beasts (though one would not live long using such a word in address). From various works and oral histories, we know they vary greatly in size and intelligence, yet even the most challenged among them would be as far above elven intelligence as elves are above kobolds. Common traits shared among all subspecies are great leathery wings, sharp talons on powerful legs, and thick, armor-like, scales. Each subspecies is believed to have been "birthed" of an element and thus possessed a mighty breath according to its alignment.

Each of the various subspecies varied in coloration, a trait believed to be defensive in nature, for each preferred a unique environment and diet. White - The snowy caps of the DragonSpine; Black - Burrows deep beneath the ground; Blue - Craggy island peaks along the eastern shore of Elanith; Green - The vast forest surrounding modern-day Ta'Illistim such as Gyldemar; Red - Volcanic areas reminiscent of Teras; and finally Silver and Gold. Gold we know preferred high mountain caves, and little is known of Silver. One interesting snippet suggests, "Silver wyvern do not nest, rather they are like great sharks of the sky, constantly moving and existing solely above the clouds." [4]

Combat

Wyvern are arrogant and easily provoked, which in ancient times led to frequent battles among the various subspecies. From what little has been left to us in oral traditions and a few occasionally dismissed works, it can be surmised that wyvern are quite formidable in battle. As told in Beasts of the Wilds: A Field Guide, "The great beast did rise up on high, held aloft by lethargic flaps of its mighty wings, its prey knocked to the ground and held in place by the great wind. With a shrill shriek, the magnificent wyvern dove upon its prey, raking the poor beast with talons comparable in size to a shortened sword. Whereupon, it did exhale a mighty stream of liquid fire that did cook the prey alive, ending its life." [5]

Birth

Wyverns are created magical beings and therefore not "born" in the sense you or I might know. An oral history of House Vaalor recounts a discussion with Garsnik on the matter, again retold to me by Vaalor Court Bard Flantio Sindaris.

"I was not born as you know it, but rather created from the thoughts of a Great Drake while Koar watched with anticipation. My coloring is that of the drake that created me. Others were created by various drakes, each to their liking. Among us, there are no male and female… we just are, and only the strongest among us can create others. Apart from myself, I have met no others with the ability. Being that I am lesser than the great drakes, he said with a deliberate sneer, those I create are diminished in size and ability when compared even to myself. Should one of them possess the ability to create others, those too would be diminished further until such time as there will be left none that can create more of my species. This does not concern me overmuch as I have little use for others of my kind." When pressed on the matter, Garsnik admitted that he had, in fact, created a number of gold wyverns but would comment no further upon their whereabouts."

Death

Wyverns are not immortal, though their exceedingly long lifespans may cause them to appear so. It is curious to this scholar that no great carcasses have ever been found, nor are there any eye witness accounts of a wyvern's death in any of the multitude of records I have studied. From the experience of Garsnik's relationship with House Vaalor and subsequent disappearance, an inference can be made that when it is time for a wyvern to move on they do so in some remote location. Other unsubstantiated theories have been put forth over the years such as: Wyverns simply choose to revert in form to the mana from which they were created [6] or Wyverns choose to breathe their last over the vast oceans of Elanthia, thus hiding their numbers by sending their bones to the deep. [7] None of these theories have been thoroughly vetted and are often considered fringe academia at best.


Researched and compiled by Kartus Il'Tarq Vaalor, Chronicler



  1. Granlith Hammerhand, Koar: Drake or Fake, a Religious Treatise: p 25
  2. Dreena Fleetfoot Vaalor, Conversations with a lesser drake that did not end in death: p 14
  3. Dreena Fleetfoot Vaalor, p 6
  4. Seenia Vaalor, Beasts of the Wilds: A Field Guide: p 62
  5. Seenia Vaalor, pg 39
  6. Kray Illistim, Wyverns, where did they go?: p 12
  7. Ceebar Loenthra, Wyverns: Deep thinking: p 148.