A slice of cosmogony from the world of the Cursed Eight
Accipiter G. Goshawk
So far, I have merely chronicled the adventures of the Cursed Eight as they wander the continent of Dersorrah. From time to time I have even told the stories of a few of the odd personages they have encountered in their travels.
Now I am slowly taking the time to reveal the more universal truths that bind this world together.
Here follows an excerpt from the “De bello draco novissimo”, a history of the ancient draconic wars predating the return of the Twelve. It was written by the high elf fanatic Soraius the Scaled.
In my quest to serve Her Dread Majesty Sher’nakeel, supreme queen of all life and rightful empress of Syrros, I have come across many versions of the tale illustrating the everlasting connection between high elves and dragons. Countless of these retellings proved to be mere folk tales of little importance, while others arrogantly presumed that all eleven races had had the privilege to be chosen as stewards to our winged lords.
After many years of searching, I believe I have uncovered the original text. It was put down in ancient draconic by an ancestor of the current Green Lady, Aziera Poison-dream. This large scroll tells of the original meeting between Jere, a high elf nobleman and the author, Korek Emerald-eyes, the first emissary of Sher’nakeel.
“In the centuries preceding the foundation of the Draconic Empire, I was tasked by my Lady to fly over the lands and seek out a race worthy of being our stewards.
Many kingdoms passed beneath my wings; many people did I spy from on high. None were worthy of that which was required.
In the mountains I saw the beginnings of what was to become the greedy dwarven race: a people small in both form and spirit, close-minded and dense. Atop the hills I found an even punier race, dedicated only to its gross appetites and lost to the call of destiny. Farther still I found humanity, arrogant and short-lived. These I considered only good for sustenance and witless labour.
Then one day my travels took me over a verdant forest, untouched as of yet by the pollution of the mortal races. It was in a large field marked by three oak trees that I first encountered the elves: Iulek the servant, Rushan the father and Jere, the noble son.
As soon as I laid eyes on these three, I knew that in their spirit there was potential. I could see the effortless grace of their movements, which turned my mind to their uses. But it was heir innate mastery of the arcane arts that most captured my attention: with stewards such as these, the reign of my Lady would be absolute!
Not wanting to frighten them off, I made myself smaller and alighted betwixt the three oak trees. Immediately the feckless Iulek scrambled for cover, while Rushan glared at me with open hostility.
Only shining Jere, the highest among his people forevermore, bowed.
“Greetings, forest-lords,” I began. “I have long searched for beings such as you. My Lady requires loyal servants to do her bidding and help her build an empire that will one day cover the world. Feel the winds of destiny at your backs and return with me to Quserash.”
Silence greeted my words. Iulek took a step back and shrunk further into the shadows. Rushan frowned and placed one hand on the trunk of the nearest tree.
Only Jere stepped forward.
“Father! This divine being speaks the truth, I can feel it! We must go with him and take our place in the world! I am tired of caring for this forest and I see little use in being a gardener for all eternity. We were meant to bask in the glory of those greater than us! To help them achieve their magnificent design!”
But foolish Rushan shook his head.
“If there is divinity in the one before us, I do not sense it. Only malice and duplicity do I see within those eyes. No, my son; we shall stay here. No being is greater than another: Syrros is the domain of all creatures, from the smallest ant to the largest tree-folk. Our duty is to that which grows and lives. No dark destiny is worth forsaking the green.”
In desperation Jere then turned to his faithful servant.
“Dearest Iulek! You who have never left my side! Surely you won’t forsake destiny? Come, let us enter into servitude and become the blessed stewards of this impressive race!”
But the cowardly creature only crept further into the shadows. Not a sound did he utter, save for the chattering of his teeth. Underneath the fronds of the third oak he appeared to grow smaller; had he but had the power, I am certain he would have burrowed his way out of sight.
Righteous disbelief deformed the noble face of Jere. He looked once more to his father and then to me.
Finally, he stepped forward and kneeled.
“Great lord! I shall come with you to Quserash, for I feel within my blood the destiny of which you speak. For your Lady I shall abandon my home and enter into servitude, so that the world may become greater than it now is.”
Iulek shivered beneath the oak and for the first time seemed to regain some measure of courage.
“Master! Do not follow this scaly beast! Only ruin and death follow in his path: the future I see is not one of glory, but a blackened desert lined with the skulls of all peoples! Stay here and forsake this treacherous wyrm.”
These slimy utterances brought me to anger and before the vile creature could return to the safety of the oak, I cursed him.
“Dark are your words, little Iulek, so dark shall you also be! I turn your skin black and force you from the sunlit places! Crawl into void and shadow! Live forever in misery and regret! Dig now and begone!”
Lost in the maze of my spell, the creature sunk into the ground and was immediately lost to the day.
Upon witnessing my justice, Rushan strode forward, twisting the life around him into an impregnable shield. He moved to stand between Jere and myself, but the younger elf shied away from his father’s protection.
“Jere! Can’t you see that this emissary is nothing more than a sadistic monster? Your servant –your friend! – is now lost to us! Come back to me, my son. Don’t be blinded by lies and seductive illusions.”
For a moment, Jere did indeed move towards his father. But it was only so he could be close enough to strike.
With a terrible backhanded blow, the chosen one drove his father to his knees and spun his own curse around his addle-minded parent.
“Sadly it is you who are blind, father. Upon you who would not see destiny, I lay an endless doom: to wander unfulfilled across the treeless plains of the world, bereft of meaning and a stranger to nobility.”
Then he turned and followed me to Quserash where he was anointed First of the Talons of Sher’nakeel.”
As any illuminated reader can tell, this document clearly explains the fall from grace of both the Drow and plains-elves as well as the elevation of the original inhabitants of the Evenlight forest to our current exalted status.
Even as our more unfortunate cousins must pay for the mistakes of their ancestors, so can we be magnanimous and from our privileged position, guide them into the light. They will of course never be able to aspire to redemption, but at the very least they may prove useful to the execution of the wills of Her Dread Majesty.
Let this tale be a reminder to all high elves as to our sacred duties and our connection to all dragon-kind: we are their chosen and we must strive to bring order to Sher’nakeel’s domains.
A footnote, in the pen of Marvin the Marvellous, traveling scholar:
It is important to note that for all the zealotry of the followers of Soraius and for all the power of the Draconic Empire, Sher’nakeel’s expansion efforts were still utterly ended when the gods brought the moon crashing down on Quserash.
After the breaking of the Empire, all dragons were hunted –some say to extinction- and the Talons of Sher’nakeel disappeared from history, seemingly forgotten by their descendants, the high elves of the Evenlight forest.I myself am happy to report, that for all their efforts, the Talons were never able to withstand or dent the beautiful, glorious expression which is interspecies comradeship. As Rushan very poignantly stated: no being is greater than another. –