The Legend of Ilysias and the Dragon War
as told by the bard, Wigston Muxloe
In the dark ages that followed the collapse of the Gnossian empire, the Human lands were fractured and chaos reigned. Nations and kingdoms were merely an idea, as the powerful battled with one another for control of the lands. The poor were left to flee the tramping boots of their armies and to fend for themselves against the savage races and beasts of the wild.
One tribe of hearty individuals, known as the Cyd, chose not to vie for power among the lowland nobles, but instead retreated to a high, forested plateau deep in the Cloud Peaks. There, protected by the towering crags of granite, they harvested the forests, mined the hills and built a kingdom.
Though the budding mountain kingdom was isolated from the rest of the human lands, it was a frequent target of raids from the savage species of the Red Wind Wastes. The timber of the plateau and ore of the mountains allowed the Cyd to gird themselves well against those who would do them harm. They built sturdy stone fortresses, crafted weapons and armor of steel, and trained the surefooted dire rams that were native to the country as mounts. With these, they drove back the savage species, held them to their wasteland home and left them fractured and leaderless.
Cydon grew and prospered. As the Dark Times began to wane and stability once again returned to the western lowlands, trade began to flow through Cydon to and from the kingdoms of the East. They built a massive capital, called Kingsholt high upon a ledge of rock in the Eastern Plateau and grew wealthy off the trade, which flowed through their lands.
But the age of prosperity was not to last. The savage tribes of the East once again began to grow in strength, united by an unknown evil. The raids grew stronger and more frequent, but still the Cyd repelled them at their borders. That is, until the evil made itself known… A great red wyrm, whose name was Kepesk’Charir, which means Red Storm, lead the united tribes of the Wastes against the Kingdom of Cydon.
The eastern defenses were completely overwhelmed, and the savage invaders gained the plateau. They were met by the Cydonic Army on the eastern fields before the walls of the capital. There, they lay seige to the city where the people of Cydon had gathered their defenses.
Now, the King, Pyotronas was a wise and savvy ruler. Recognizing the strength of his enemy, he sent his son, Ilysias to the west with half his army. He ordered him to unite the kingdoms of the West against this foe, for surely if Cydon were to fall, all the lands would be held in the terrible thrall of Kepesk’Charir.
King Pyotronas vowed to hold the capital until Ilysias could rally the nations of the West. The seige of the great savage army was terrible to behold. The invaders hurled flame and stone at the walls of the capital while shamans brought back the fallen warriors of Cydon in undeath, and drove them forth in their vanguard to slaughter those they had died to defend.
The citizens of Cydon fought valiantly against the horrors thrust upon them, repeatedly turning back the endless waves sent against the walls of Kingsholt. Eventually, however, the defenses began to strain under the onslaught of the dragon’s army and then to crack and finally, on a blood red dawn, the walls of the city were breached.
The Cyd fled to the holdfasts that had been prepared in the mountainside, where Kepesk’Charir could not follow. But he sent his army in pursuit. Still the Cyd refused to surrender. The King bravely beat back the savage forces, making them pay for every inch of ground in blood until, at last, when the last hold was breached and the last hope had faded, the remaining defenders gave their women and children a draught to put them into a fatal slumber before turning to battle to the last.
At the fall of King Pyotronas, Kepesk’Charir sensed victory within his reach. He let forth a mighty roar that shook the mountains and turned his gaze to the west. But there, before him, standing between the savage army and the fertile riches of the lowlands, stood Ilysias, at the head of an army of all the freefolk of the Westerlands.
And Kepesk’Charir let out a second mighty roar, this time in rage, as he ordered his army forward. The battle that followed shook the very Earth and startled the Gods themselves. Terrible magicks hurled between armies, and the land buckled in the tumult of the arcane storm. A great wall of rock was thrown up between the armies and it was there that Ilysias met the great wyrm in single combat.
The King’s son climbed to the top of the great rock wall and there he called on the might of Heironeous to lend strength to his arm that he might strike down his foe. The Invincible One heard his plea and saw that his cause was righteous and dire. He delivered his own strength into the arms of Ilysias as the great dragon, Kepesk’Charir lunged in for the attack.
|Ilysias battles Kepesk’Charir|
Ilysias drew forth his sword and leaped upon the back of Kepesk’Charir, where he clung as he smote blow upon blow unto his opponent. The dragon soared skyward, thrashing and looping ferociously, hoping to dislodge his enemy. But the strength of Heironeous held Ilysias fast until at last, with a mighty thrust, he plunged his greatsword into the heart of the dragon.
The wyrm fell atop the great rock wall and the impact sundered the cliff side, splitting it in twain. When the savage army saw their warlord defeated, they wailed in despair and turned to flee. The freefolk pursued them into the hills and back to the Redwind Wastes from whence they came.
When the army of the freefolk approached the spot where Kepesk’Charir had fallen, they found the dragon dead, and Ilysias crushed beneath him, his hand still clinging tightly to his sword, and all the freefolk wept bitterly at his doom. But all was not lost, for when the people investigated the ruins of Kingsholt in the east, they heard a cry out in the darkness. Following the calls, they found Ilysias’ infant son weeping in the sheltering arms of his dead mother. They brought the child out of the ruins of Kingsholt and they renamed the site, Lastholt in honor of its brave defenders.
The people named the boy Heironas in honor of the God who had delivered the West from bondage and they built for him a new capital on the spot of his father’s victory. They named the city Dragonfall. From the hide of Kepesk’Charir, they crafted a suit of magic armor enchanted to lend great strength and protection to its wearer. This was presented to Heironas when he came of age. Then, they took the dragon’s skull and mounted it above the throne in the hall of the King and beneath it they engraved the words “huena, shar nurti tenamalo”, “Once, but never again”.