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Ivarian's Gambit

From the writings of Chaste Smile, Twilight of the Scavenger Lands

I feel vaguely as if I have discovered an entire new chapter to the history of our belaboured creation! The trip to Keldredes, suggested by my faithful and knowledgeable friend Gillan, proved most rewarding -- in both knowledge, and useful lore. Keldredes is an ancient city from before the time of men, once ruled over the Dragon-Kings. I have little actual knowledge of the Dragon Kings, but in my understanding of them (from Gillan and my own fractured memories of ages past) leads me to believe that they were a sentient race of lizardmen. I could go on and on about some of the things I learned about the Dragon-Kings...the ones in Keledres were slender and winged, and they most assuredly worshipped the Unconquered Sun! However, the other information that I discovered was even more impressive.

In the city itself, a great monument once existed -- it was called Avardan, and was said to contain a great treasure to the Dragon-Kings. Multiple great wards sealed it off, protecting it from those who would steal it -- but also, I suspect, to protect the Dragon-Kings from the treasure. It took me nearly a month after our return, coupled with my intensive investigations on the site, but I believe I have managed to discover some clue as to what transpired there. Fellow researchers into the history of the Dragon Kings have referred to this event as Ivarian's Gambit, after the key instigator of this tragedy.

Ivarian was one of the Jar`dulak -- an order of sun priests, renowned as warriors and prophets. He foresaw a great threat that would destroy his people, and led an expedition to the north in hopes of finding the one thing that could save them; the Effort. On a small tangent, that seems like an unlikely title for such an important artifact. I suspect it's a placeholder for a more alien word in the Dragon-Kings own 'high holy tongue'. In any event, Ivarian and his Jar`dulak followers were set on piercing the wards that guarded 'the Effort' and freeing it so that it could protect the Dragon-Kings against the shadowy threat Ivarian had foreseen (or been warned against; sources are unsure).

The wards, as noted, were designed to keep even the most holy of the Dragon-Blooded from tampering with the Effort. Many Jar`dulak were killed in trying to pierce them, but records of exactly how many survived into the Inner Seal are hard to come by for obvious reasons. Given what I saw in the ruins themselves, I imagine that the greater portion of the Jar`dulak was consumed -- for all records I've seen note that almost all of the Dragon-King order had accompanied Ivarian on his holy quest.

The wards were successfully breached, however, and the Effort was cracked open. Exactly what happened next is hard to determine, due to the butchering of historical references by Immaculate 'historians'. From what I have been able to ascertain, the Godfire (referred to as 'the Will of Hesiesh' by the aforementioned butchers) was unleashed -- left over from Primordial times, once chained, it took root in those gathered. Ivarian and his surviving men became carriers for the Godfire -- bringing it back to the sole surviving city of the Kings. Rathess. There it spread out of control, moving from mind to mind, like a virus. It gave power and fury to those it touched, but their will was no longer their own.

One thing saved the Dragon-Kings from the great beast they had unleashed, and that was the Keepers Hand. With this now lost relic of the Solar rule, the Dragon-Kings were able to be purged of the Godfire's influence. While I find the mention of the Hand to be most personally significant, given its proven ability to purify those otherwise lost, I wonder about one other thing. The shadowy threat that Ivarian foresaw is generally agreed to have not come to pass; but is it possible that he foresaw the Great Contagion?

See also:

- By CrownedSun