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Prelude. [!] Far and across every realm - to all Descendant kind, the following message would be delivered. To some, it will be stamped with a self-devouring serpent. To others, a single, baleful eye wreathed with flame. To some still, an assembly of seven stars above an Elven crown. The meaning, regardless is the same. I have walked into the den of the Titan, expecting death, and instead am given this charge. This warning I extend to Almaris and all its peoples. “Mark this hour’s passing. Amathea’s doom is certain. I will come upon it as a great and terrible malice of the like that this world has only just forgotten. It will begin at the city’s heart, which will blacken and burn. A poison will flow through the woodland realm’s veins, and when it has been made grey, I will reap all that I have sown and feast upon its lifeforce. Black metal will fall from the sky and mar every monument to elvenkind, every altar to your gods, and every grove in which you celebrate life. I will do this without pause. And when I have finished my work I will look to the East.” For Azdromoth is his name Calamity, his domain Amaethea is next. @Bhased @Panashea @Iverach @_pr0fit @Xarkly @Terry @OhDeerLord@Lionbileti @BenevolentManacles @WestCarolina @Formenost @Malaise @Valannor @Abeam @Monkee@Bethinwonderland @Suicidium
In Flaming Revelry Journey They had lost their way, that was clear to Sir Octavian. Once such lands would’ve been littered with villages and barons eager to make their mark upon the world; now, only the occasional roadman was waiting to prey upon the half-famished farmers on their way to pay tax to the petty prince and his assembly of bureaucrats, too heavy to even make it beyond the walls of Providence. The Imperial State Army would not be here to save these men, for they were not an army but a guard force of noblemen sent there by their fathers in the name of political advancement. Reflection This was not the Empire that Sir Octavian remembered, nor the Empire that he had helped build. He frowned some then as he dismounted from his jet-black steed, plated boots clunking into the rough gravel roads of New-Esbec. He walked the streets, once full of hope and joy. Now, the town was abandoned abandoned for all but a few of the most heinous souls, set only for a parade of ghosts. The tavern's sign hung halfway off, creaking eerily in the wind. He entered, sat at the dust-covered bar, wrote a letter to a sister far away, and sent it off. Then, he waited. The Arrival - Days Later The air in New Esbec seemed abnormally warm that morning. Even for the summer, the mountain air normally seemed crisp and uncomfortably biting at the cold-blooded Dragonkin’s skin. Arthonath made his way to the gates then, a smile forming on his face as he saw the faces of his brothers and sisters climbing the mountain path before him. "Helinathe." he smiled toothily, greeting her with a brotherly hug, extending the same to Antonius then, before greeting the Heralds with a nod of his head. "Let this be a message then, to those within the Empire and those beyond, that our Father’s reach extends further than they might ever know." His sister responded, “Not only a message to the Empire, but a celebration for the arrival of Antonius who has come back to us, brother.” She clutched his arm then, determined perhaps that her newly-returned sibling not leave once more. Flames The Banner of Azdromoth was raised within New Esbec that afternoon. His worshipers made their way throughout the city, burning it to the ground, some in glee, others in solemn reluctance. Sir Octavian passed a torch onwards to the former architect of the city, "Finish now what you started." And with that, a final torch was thrown, setting the ever towering manor aflame. And thus, as the sun fell beyond the reaches of the mountains, the city stood out as a beacon for all within those accursed mountains to witness. Reverence And thus, even as the sun’s warm gaze fell beyond the reaches of the mountains, the flaming city stood out as a beacon, a flaming pillar of The Arch-Drakaar’s own image towering into the skies above for all to witness, a bonfire in celebration of sibling’s reunion made merrier by the herald’s pledge.
♫ “In the days of yore, when Aegis yet hosted descendant life, there existed two, ancient towers, whose names were Aemon and Daemon. It is said that therein, the race of dragons made covenant with the race of Man. The god Dragur - whose very breath animated stone into life, birthing dragons - so fancied Men, admiring their indomitable wills and capacity for genius. His children, the Dragaar were bestowed unto Man as guardians, forever sworn to safeguard the nascent sons of Horen. It is rumored that this covenant is accredited to Horen’s adoption of a black dragon as his personal standard.” - On Men and Dragons, alleged records of an Aegisian Scribe The Azdrazi are the ancient scions of the Aegisian Knights who pledged themselves to the chieftain of dragons. Theirs is a path of sworn devotion, both in spirit and body. Enamored with the grandeur of Dragur’s children, the progenitors of the order strove to be like their idols in every way. Donning scaled armor, they dressed like their gods. Ascending the highest mountains, they took to the skies like their gods. Wielding fire, they fought like their gods. The greatest of the dragons, Azdromoth - who so honored the covenant between Horen and Dragur - bestowed the gift of dragonflame unto the souls of the aspirants in return for eternal, leal service. Beneath the wings of their lord, the ancient Azdrazi - as named for their master - erected great bastions of dragon worship. Their feats were without rival. The Azdrazi, in all their might, were without means to reproduce. Their seed sowed life as it was before their transformation. Their scions were without the dragonflame they so cherished. Dragon worship yet persisted for aeons, passed down by hopeful, but fruitless, aspirants. Their worship yielded naught. Azdromoth’s defeat at the hands of Eshtael damned them to a slow demise. The greatest were petrified, buried with their master. The weakest died alone, crumbling into ash. The Azdrazi of old were requited naught by the years. They were never again to feel the warmth of fire without the presence of their ancient, imprisoned master. The Tribulations of Ascendance The Tribulations are a set of trials in which every potential Azdrazi endures. They form the very heart of their culture, a culture based upon overcoming adversities to the betterment of oneself. The tribulations are said to have been instituted in honor of Azdromoth according to the more senior and wizened of their kin. It is told that in eons past, their father traveled the world carried by ivory wings and an implacable thirst for knowledge and wisdom on all things, undertaking numerous feats of body and mind alike as testaments to his prestige. Thus did his children, the Azdrazi, follow in his stead. To lose one’s humanity to the process of Transference is a harrowing ordeal and to this day only the strongest and most competent of aspirants survive to undergo the process. When an aspirant seeking to be brought into the fold of Azdromoth’s brood makes their intentions known, they are brought before a gathering of the Azdrazi. There, they must ‘sell’ their qualities to the assembly, who might deign whether or not the aspirant is worthy of their time and may begin their trials. In order to be accepted and taken into the fold, the Aspirant must be sponsored by two Azdrazi who shall vouch for and endorse the person’s potential as an aspirant. This is typically done mid-assembly. After the conditions of sponsorship are met, the aspirant shall be given to one of their sponsors who will oversee their progress and guide them on the Tribulations of Ascendance as their designated mentor. Once they are officially taken under the wing of an Azdrazi, they are required to inhibit Tor Azdraeth for the duration of their trials.The Tribulations consist of six trials which an aspirant is required to complete. Failure in any one of these trials is likely to result in the death of the aspirant or their banishment from the grounds of Tor Azdraeth. Customs In emulation of their master and forebear, the Azdrazi have taken on a number of customs and tradition which they call their own. The Immaculate Blade The Immaculate Blade is a title that has for long shaped the fortunes of the Azdrazi. The rise and fall of these draconic champions can most always be accredited to the Blade. Theirs is a sacred charge bestowed unto them by Azdromoth himself. The Immaculate Blade serves as the Warden of the Azdrazi, a lofty honor of which few are worthy, overseeing both creation and destruction of fledgling Azdrazi. They tend to the flock of Azdromoth, watching over the Tribulations of Ascendance and safeguarding the secrets of their order. It is the Immaculate Blade who doles out punishment for those who have wronged their kind, wielding the feared ability to sever the inner-flame of Azdrazi and inflict permanent death upon his kin. Draconic Names When an Aspirant is deemed worthy to undergo the Transference after completing the Tribulations of Ascendance, it is required of them to take on a new name. The Azdrazi, regardless of their origin, inevitability lose much of their persona - their humanity, as it were, once they take on the boon of Azdromoth’s covenant. It was the belief of the ancient elders of the Azdrazi that taking on a name born of the draconic tongue would signify the death of their old self and final ascendance into their new state of being. It is a practice that carries into the modern day, tying in with the sixth and final tribulation. Chronicles Knowledge is sacred to all dragonkin and Azdrazi are no exception to this. It is said that one of the first Azdrazi was so obsessed with preserving a record of his feats and wisdom that he carved an account of his life onto the walls of a great cavern in the underbelly of Azdromoth’s fortress. As time went on, many of his brothers began to emulate him by carving their own murals into the cavern walls, depicting how they lived and their many accomplishments. So engrossed were some Azdrazi in this form of preserving histories that they would take up hammer and chisel, dedicating themselves to the art of sculpting what they would call chronicles to ensure that their stories would not go untold and went on to spread this practice to the far-flung strongholds of their kin across Aegis. It is continued into the modern era with the inhabitants of Tor Azdraeth preserving the ancient murals and adding their own within the repository. Hoarding The process of Transference imparts a great many qualities onto the Azdrazi, making them closer in likeness and in mind to the Dragaar than to mortal men. These draconic champions emulate their creator in a number of ways, and one of these is an inborn desire to maintain a hoard. As greater dragonkin would keep vast hoards of material wealth or knowledge, so too do the Azdrazi strive to accumulate collections of oddities to augment their pride. While it is not uncommon to keep hoards of treasure, most Azdrazi cherish items of relevance to their past life; a soldier might collect trophies of conflicts long-past while, on the other hand, someone who was a tailor would amass something as mundane as textiles. It is subjective to the individual as no two Azdrazi are the same. It is customary that when Azdrazi answer the call to summons by the Immaculate Blade, they will bring with them an item from their hoard to deposit into the repository beneath Tor Azdraeth. Weaponry The warrior culture of the Azdrazi breeds a certain reverence for their weapons. They are extensions of themselves, both literally and figuratively. Once an Azdrazi has undergone the Transference, they forge their blade of burnsteel in a ritualistic process where their own blood is mixed into the molten ore to impart upon it special properties, after which it is tempered through Dragonfire. For an Azdrazi to be stripped of their weapon is one of the greatest dishonors they can face and is employed as a punishment for those who overstep their boundaries. The Immaculate Blade may at any time demand the sword of an Azdrazi. Those who refuse would blaspheme, warranting their execution and the destruction of their chronicle. Beliefs Chief among these is their reverence for the befouled scion of dragonkind - to others, Azdromoth is a herald of apocalypse; god-eater, defiler. Yet, the Azdrazi do not see him only for the warped creature that he has become and never has their love for their father diminished. His path is a misguided one and ever are his children earnest in their desire to set him free from the weight placed upon his shoulders - to disenthrall him of the Betrayer’s chains. They call him First Born, Giver of Flame, Father of Giants, Lord of the Sky and Protector of the Faithful and his is a majesty is deserving of praise. While the Azdrazi do not necessarily adhere to any one faith, they venerate the memory of their patron, echoes of a time where he held the world upright upon his ivory wings. As the scion of a noble bloodline of man would honor the name of their forebear, so too do the Azdrazi honor their father from whose covenant they are born. For the Azdrazi, death is not lasting. From their covenant with Azdromoth, they are blessed with eternal life. Yet the cycle of ascension comes to an end always, and it is inevitable that an Azdrazi will perish in time - be it by their own hands or by forces greater than themselves. They do not view death as a tragedy worthy of mourning and grief and instead exalt those who have perished in service to the greater good. It is taught by the scions of Azdromoth that when one of their own returns to the earth, their dragonflame endures becoming as starlight, illuminating the night sky whilst their spirit passes on into the halls of Dragur. These distant embers are cataloged by the Azdrazi who attribute many of the constellations to fallen champions of their order, using them as a means to teach their folklore and immortalize the valor of these fallen heroes. Mortal man is viewed in the opposite, however. Unlike the Azdrazi who meticulously catalog their experience so that future generations might reap the boon of their wealth of knowledge, the human mind is nascent and snuffed out ever too quickly by the Deceiver’s curse, leaving much wisdom lost to the ages. So too are fallen mortals honored by the Azdrazi, especially those slain by their hand. They will take the corpse of the fallen with all their possessions and engulf them in dragonfire. It is a common belief amongst Dragonkin that their inner fire signifies purity, thus they effectively cleanse the deceased of their impurities and herald their ascension into the afterlife. It is not uncommon for the ashes of exceptional men to be kept and held by the Azdrazi in urns engraved with a recollection of their most notable deeds. Credit to Pooryeb for the introduction and both Freema and Archangel_Avacyn for ideas