The End of Dragons, Winter of 1283
Anaximander the Vermillion flew high above the clouds, shaking his wings violently, and pushing against the wind. The Vermillion Dragon made the mistake of falling asleep on the ground without first patrolling the parameter. When he awoke, he was covered in hundreds of the risen dead, all frantically biting and clawing at him and trying to crawl under his scales. Now most of them had fallen to the ground, hopefully from far enough up that they would never walk upright again. After about ten minutes of his efforts, the last was shaken free, but injuries had also been sustained.
This was the third time this had happened in the last year. For the last few decades, Anaximander had felt his power diminishing, but in recent years he found himself mostly feeling tired and old. His lineage stemmed from both red and yellow, his color and power a unique anomaly. His powers were intertwined with time and so he had some awareness of the past, present and future, as well as a healthy knowledge of the multiverse. He knew what had caused the world to spiral into the doom they suffered from now, more specifically he knew the man responsible. The blood of the red in him was much stronger than the yellow and so at times his rage would surface demanding to be satiated; this was one of those times. He would die soon, he could feel it, but not before the person responsible was burned to ash and so Anaximander headed to the west with all haste.
As he flew on, he spotted a skeletal dragon wrapped around a mountaintop peak, risen dead savaging at old and rotten meat from its bones. This had to be the remains of Teligrim, and it seemed ironic to see him as a skeleton again, this time devoid of any life. “When I die will my carcass be picked at the same?” He wondered.
The grassy mountains turned to stone and finally were covered in snow and ice, as his trip took him deep into the north. In the distance he spotted a large crescent moon shaped gash in a mountainside, it was large enough for a dragon to pass thru wings spread out. He sored through the opening in the mountain and came out inside of a huge ice cavern, large enough to fit dozens of his kind. The room was vastly empty except for a human sized sarcophagus in the middle and two skeletons on the floor nearby it covered in torn rags and armor.
As he flew down to land in front of the casket, he felt something, the presence of another dragon. It was faint at first, but quickly became stronger and stronger, until an ethereal shape took form, equal to his size but translucent to the eye. He recognized it for what it was. “Be’gone ghost! Shouted Anaximander, “This mortal must pay the ashen price!”
“This mortal is protected!” screamed Mirrormere
Anaximander was angry. “Protected? By whom, you? Do you not see what the world has become because of this mortal? Justice is long overdue and it will come to him now, at the end of our time!”
The ghostly dragon would not back down. “It was not his fault! It would have been impossible to have foreseen these ramifications. His act was that of kindness and he was doing good, not ill to the world!”
“You call THIS good?” Anaximander slammed a fist down causing the cavern to tremble. “This world is unsalvageable, it is finished! Begone ghost, or die again for this mortal!” Anaximander paused to draw in a long and mighty breath, unleashing a cone of pure dragon flame at the sarcophagus.
Just as the dragon flame spewed forth, the outline of Mirrormere bristled, phasing into a majestic, corporeal form. The ice dragon, living in flesh and scale, stood tall to absorb the full brunt of the fire. Steam instantly flooded the room obscuring everything from view. Anaximander cleared it away with a hard swipe of his wing. He could not believe the site that he saw. Was this a long dead dragon returned to life by sheer force of will? No such tale had he ever heard in likeness to this event, let alone with the world in such a decline of mystical power.
Mirrormeres majesty was short lived and she no longer looked impressive. Hunched over, her ice scales were melted into segmented clumps making it difficult and painful for her to move around. She panted heavily, as she frantically checked to make sure that the casket beneath her was still unscathed. “This mortal gave me what no other being could; pure and unbridled vengeance for the death of my son… He did not judge my methods or actions or try to stop me, no matter the risks involved. He was unapologetic for his faith in me. He understood the greatness of a mothers revenge and he gave it to me willingly, when no one else could! He quelled countless ages of my suffering and so I will die a thousand deaths for this mortal!” She repositioned herself again to fully shield the coffin.
It had taken Anaximander too much power for the first breath, and he was not certain he could muster another. His strength was sapped from him and with it most of his rage. “You need not die that many times, dragonkin; but make no mistake, your second death is coming soon, as is mine.” Anaximander turned around to pace himself away from Mirrormere and give her space. “For you to go through such lengths to protect a simple corpse speaks louder than any words you could say. I willing relent to you.” He bowed his head solemnly. “Let us spend these last moments in silent dignity…”
“It may be too late for us and for the people of this world, but it is not too late for others.” Mirrormere said cryptically, awakening an inquisitive stare from the vermillion. “Yes. I know of you and your power” Mirrormere pinched her claws together and formed a spark containing all of her remaining draconic might. “Take the last of my energy and warn who you can. As guardians of the world, it is the very least we can do before we die…”
Anaximander stared long trying to understand and when he did, he agreed. The vermillion walked closer and absorbed the spark. As he did so, the life fled her completely, and Mirrormere gently laid down upon the casket to die.
Anaximander regained a great deal of strength but he knew it would be fleeting at best. Up he flew and out of the cavern, high into the sky. He surged out chrono power from withen in great quantities and with each flap of his great wings, he sent it out to reverberate into other timelines; other worlds. The message was sent for as long as he could send it, and when he could bare no more, he fell lifelessly back to the earth and dragons where no more.
((OOG – A message of warning has reverberated across several time-lines. Any or all of the stories within the “Peace Comes at a Cost” forums can be referenced as a vision for your character to have seen in a dream. It feels like more than a normal dream, but you know that none of it has yet come to pass in your world. You may also include knowledge read in the final story below, “The Count and the Duke”))
TLDR of “Peace Comes at a Cost” – The world almost suddenly became less threatening and less hard. Over the next forty years peace reigns supreme and a golden age of prosperity is enjoyed by all. During this prosperity mystical forces of the world weaken and Travance’s heroes grow old and weak. New heroes are not truly tested and are comparatively much softer and weaker. Near the fifth decade to pass, a powerful demonic threat emerges, and the people of the world are not equipped to face it. Because of this, the threat triumphs and sends the world spiraling very fast into a dark apocalypse.