Chronicles of Savros – Part Two
A Legendarium of Dragons Story
For thousands of years two dragons would meet at the top of a mountain. This was their dance. Every year, at the blossoming of the sakura tree, the dragon of change would arrive at the temple of the dragon of peace bearing a gift and a game. Every year they had the same wager, whoever won their bout would spell the winds of the coming seasons. For one thousand years, the dragon of peace stood undefeated. For one thousand years the dragon of change agreed not to act out his will.
The dragons were opposites, while ZhongTian watched the seasons wane and wax and his chosen people live their lives, Savrosh’garexys moved with terrible speed and restlessness, to progress the ever-looming goal in his mind. Yet, their tradition endured, even though their essences disagreed. They knew that the other was the only unchanged connection they had to a long-forgotten time.
The day they would play again had arrived and ZhongTian awaited in his temple. To a being as long-lived as he not much had changed in the turn of the year, but ZhongTian appreciated all the shifts and cycles the new years brought him. He found great joy in watching the harvesting of the grains by the people of the village of Jidai, always plentiful due to the weather he blessed them with, or watching the flowers bloom in his mountain path after being covered by the heavy winter. The dragon of the mountain felt like a proud gardener with a thriving garden, ready to tend to them once again.
It wasn’t long before he felt the fluttering waves of arcane magic on his consecrated path, an arrival. ZhongTian floated, effortlessly, snaking his gigantic form that filled the ceiling of his temple.
The doors opened and a man with a busy expression and fluttering robes entered the large room. The room’s atmosphere was of utter peace, which contrasted with the urgency in the man’s steps. The walls were adorned with artifacts collected through the many years since the Enlightened Dragon had chosen the mountain as his home, the floor was soft and the place was perfectly clean. All was in balance.
The monumental figure of ZhongTian in his temple would inspire awe in all who saw him, but the man seemed unaffected as he crossed the hall. ZhongTian watched amusedly.
“I have brought tea.” The man found a comfortable place to sit, finally resting.
This was Savros, Headmaster of Loxwort Academy and master of the arcane arts. This was also Savrosh’garexys, a Lorewyrm, the greatest of his kind. To ZhongTian he was also a friend.
“Courtesy of Miss Eililys, I presume,” ZhongTian glided lightly circling the room.
“From her gardens, yes,” Savros replied rushedly.
“Give her my thanks,” ZhongTian stopped facing his friend in the air.
“She doesn’t know you exist, ZhongTian. None of them do,” Savros began hurriedly and neatly unpacking the herbal tea. “Will you stay in your draconic form or shall we play?”
“I’m surprised you would actually want to stay in this form, old friend. It seems our roles are flipped,” the dragon said amusedly, lowering to the ground. “Have you finally grown attached to this identity?”
“Don’t be a fool,” Savros waves the comment away, the movement making the smell of the herbs fill the room.
ZhongTian’s form shrunk as he met the ground, scales seamlessly shimmering into golden skin. Robes formed from the condensed clouds that clung to the dragon’s body and silver-gray hair grew from the wind, framing his face. This figure was of an old man, wisdom pouring from his caring gold eyes. In his hands, he clutched a stone tea set balanced on a simple wooden gaming board.
“If to be a fool is to put forth hope onto the world,” ZhongTian sat, facing Savors. “Then I am the greatest of fools.”
ZhongTian was always resolute that Savros could change his ways. He understood that his friend’s mind was tormented with worry always, but he believed enlightenment came to all, one life at a time. Not many had lived more lives than the two of them still.
“Let us start the game,” Savros stared at the board intently. He was as deep in thought as he often was, ZhongTian found that his mind was only his to understand and didn’t dare wonder what happened there.
“Will this be a friendly game for once?” Savros’ focus broke.
“No,” Savros started setting up the board while ZhongTian prepared the water for the tea. “The usual bet.”
The game was an ancient one, forgotten through the ages. Yet, the dragons played it still, as they had for thousands of years, it was called Dok. ZhongTian had offered many times to change to a new game, but Savros insisted on this one, even though in the thousands of years they played he had never won a single game.
Dok was played with glass marbles set on a wooden board, it was a game about battle, oddly ZhongTian, a pacifist, understood the game intrinsically. He saw it as the peacemaker’s duty to understand war more than the greatest general, because that’s what it took to avoid it.
“We could stop, you know? Bring an end to our games and live in peace.” ZhongTian waited as Savros finished setting up the board.
“Will you fight this war then?” Savros started with a central advance, a usual opening in Dok. The first move.
“War wouldn’t bring back what we had.” An opening with a back piece, ZhongTian had always preferred the most unusual course of action when it came to Dok.
“I didn’t think so,” Savros seemed unsurprised. The game continued. “The state of the world is pitiful. It saddens me that I didn’t have enough foresight to see what we did was wrong. I must put an end to this”
The water was ready. ZhongTian believed there was a perfect temperature for tea, a balance, like for anything else. He poured it into the teapot with the herbs.
“Perhaps it was wrong, but then again it happened. Take the herbs of our wondrous beverage, it has been brewed, it cannot be unbrewed.” ZhongTian served a plentiful dose of tea. “This means the unbrewed herbs are a possession only for the past. Even if the tea was brewed in sullied water, there is nothing one can do. So we shouldn’t hurt ourselves with worry.”
“Then should we forget the thousands of deaths, forget about all those we’ve lost?” Savros never much enjoyed allegories.
“We mourn them, yes, but engaging in more bloodshed will not erase the mistakes of the past.” ZhongTian pressured the left side of the board, this was an obvious play. If Savros didn’t protect, it would be a victory in four moves.
“What they did to us…” Savros considered the board.
“Is done,” ZhongTian took a long sip of the tea.
“I can’t believe you sit here and do nothing, ZhongTian. You watch idly as the world burns.” Savros seemed to spot the right move and protected his left. The game continued.
“From the ashes, the phoenix rises. There must be destruction for there to be growth.”
“Are you on their side?” Savros had not taken a single sip, his tea was getting cold.
“There are no sides, old friend.”
“This is what got your kind killed. You’d prefer death than to raise arms.” Savros downed his tea. “Your pacifist ideals will die with you.”
This gave ZhongTian some pause, he was convicted of his ideals, but leaving this world behind, although a fear he had long conquered, made him feel sorrow. This didn’t deter his focus, he spotted Savros’ attack as he opened the field. A victory in three moves in favor of Savros.
“I hope they will live on through my legacy,” ZhongTian mustered a defense with his edge pieces, this could open up a possible victory. “Death comes to us all, the flesh is only a passing vessel we are blessed with, but it is limited. The symbols we build and the hope we inspire is what goes on.”
“To be misheard and forgotten,” Savros continued the game.
“This is surprising coming from a scholar.”
“That is exactly my point. What we leave behind is useless without our presence,” Savros grew frustrated at this. “The scrolls and the books we write are a paradox. We erode physically, yes, but they erode in content, they are misinterpreted, undone.”
“They are added to, to build knowledge,” ZhongTian proposed.
“Knowledge is useless if added unchecked. If the Lorewyrms, my people, had lived on, imagine how much we could have been preserved. How much would you give to meet Zandralox, the Wise in the flesh?” Savros looked on exhilarated, as if he saw a mirage beyond the walls of the temple.
“Nothing. There is nothing you can give to make this happen. That is my point, Savros, you must learn to forgive and to accept. Our age had passed.”
“Wrong, you are wrong,” Savros calmed down. “We could bring forth a new age for dragonkin. We could bring back the one who saved us so long ago.”
Savros moved his Dok, his general piece, towards the center of the field. ZhongTian waved this move as delusion, Savros acted impassioned over an illusion. He moved forward a piece, capturing a centerpiece defendant, he saw a victory in two.
“No, Savros. This is folly, it is sealed and for a reason, we made our choice a long time ago,” ZhongTian couldn’t comprehend what made Savros see this as a possibility. His friend was chasing clouds, dangerous clouds that made storms.
“We made a mistake. One we must atone for.”
“If you are questioning that choice you have truly gone mad with grief. You can’t be serious about this.”
“For the greater good.” Savros grew quiet. He didn’t defend his Dok, he just advanced an inconsequential back marble.
ZhongTian was staggered, how could he be thinking that this was possible? Had he run the course of sanity and had come through the other side?
“It is impossible after all, the council has died off. You would need the blood of all six dragons. Your plan would never work.” ZhongTian understood the impossibility of this, maybe Savros would see reason. He made his move, his Dok advancing to capture Savros, he would win hereafter.
“Eye Stalker lived on, a drake made in his image. The blood of Dark Fang lives on with his brood in the Tenebris,” Savros was unsettlingly calm.
“The protodragons were extinct, you cannot find the blood of the Asteron dragon.” A logical impossibility, ZhongTian thought.
“His kin was revived from stone, friend. An alchemist secured a specimen to his collection. I have it. I only need you.” ZhongTian felt the dread grow as Savros spoke.
“And Everdeath,” ZhongTian’s words glided past his opponent, ineffective, hollow.
Savros stood in deep silence, that spoke more than all his words combined. All the pieces were in place, one final move would finish the game.
“You are in league with Everdeath.” This realization hit ZhongTian the hardest, betrayal. Thousands of years of trust and friendship only to be betrayed.
Savros sprung his trap, a back piece was taken from the back ranks, a flawless attack, an imperceptible weapon of death, ZhongTian’s general had no way to escape. This was the end of everything.
“How?” the word came out as a whisper, but ZhongTian wanted to scream, the sanctity of his temple defiled. What had been done couldn’t be undone.
“I have understood your limitations for the past century,” Savros spoke, stoically. “I could have won our game for the last decade. It was time.”
“You will not have my blood.” All ZhongTian felt he could do was stall.
“Friend…” Savros looked down at the game. Couldn’t he even look at ZhongTian? Did he understand what he had done?
“You call me a friend, traitor. You propose the death of thousands. You will get no goodwill from me. If you want my blood you will have to kill me.”
“Although this might sever your trust in me, ZhongTian, I consider you my only friend. You have listened to me longer than anyone, even in disagreement. This I know was out of love. I would never kill you. I will only take your blood if you give it willingly.”
“Never.” ZhongTian was broken, he believed in Savros, he believed he could change and see the light. He now noticed he had been a fool.
“Jidai is surrounded by oni and yokai. They will destroy your people, your legacy, at my command. Do what I ask and I will tell them to leave.”
ZhongTian’s eye darted toward the door, instinct overcoming him, he was ready to fly down and protect his people, banishing any threat that may cause them harm.
“The temple is warded.” Savros wasn’t looking at ZhongTian at all. “You may wish it away, but I will just bring it back.” He remained calm and sipped the tea. “You may try to fight me, you might even defeat me, I know you could.”
ZhongTian was desperate, his mind rushing, worry consuming him, his heart rushing inside his human form.
“Then again, can you defeat me before your people perish?”
The loudest silence ZhongTian had ever felt.
He had been cornered. He knew his death would come someday, but not even in his darkest nightmares did he think it would come in the form of a friend.
ZhongTian extended a hand, his long sleeves slowly gliding back on his arm. With his finger he cut the hand, blood gushing out from the wound onto Savros’ teacup.
“You have poisoned me with your tea and words. Take this and never return.”
Savros took the blood-filled cup, made his last move, capturing the trapped Dok, and left.
To this beat, ZhongTian’s draconic form broke from his human shape, it had become too heavy with sorrow for the magic to contain it. The pain he felt overtook him, possessing his every thought. He had been wounded on a spiritual level. He wasn’t himself.
The dragon moved towards the door, he had to help his people, but the weight of this event pulled him down. He felt the burning rage churn inside him sleep outside, surround him. He now only knew anger and resentment. He comprehended his death of spirit, the meaning of that betrayal, and frenzied corruption overtook him.
All laid barren at the feet of Savrosh’garexys. As the dust settled from the battle with Everdeath, the Lorewyrm Archmage was the only one left standing. The cursed cemetery around them felt like it held its breath, the tendrils of smoky fog stiff, unmoving. Neither side of the battle expected the dragon’s betrayal. All three adventurers were defeated on the ground, barely alive, all three liches had been destroyed, their necrotic bodies dispersed around the central mausoleum, where their treasures were hidden.
Savrosh’garexys was uninterested in wealth, however. During the battle, he had reverted to his draconic form, his original form, his only form. Headmaster Savros was no longer necessary. For all it was worth, that part of him had died in the fray.
He crossed the battlefield of carnage. Alongside the liches, a true army of undead had been put to rest by the group of adventurers and by Sunathear Caex before them. The paladin of Meri had been the first victim of the dragon’s deceit, a happy coincidence in fact.
Caex had been following his path all this time, but the dragon had been careful enough to hide his participation in the hunt for the six dragons that when he was found, the paladin was still unsure of his motives. Savrosh learned that the defender of Panshaw had been sent by Meri. Gods meddling in the affairs of mortals, Savrosh’garexys first thought, thankfully they can’t do or see much from out of the material plane. The paladin was a far more difficult target to lie to than the dragon first believed.
Everything he told him had to be coated with truths, otherwise the paladin wouldn’t be fooled, seeing clearly through deceit. Savrosh planned to defeat Everdeath, that was a fact, even though he didn’t let his true goals be known. Caex swore to help, to rid the world of this final evil, believing this to be his divine task.
He fought the two liches that shared their rituals with Everdeath, the two other members of the Triumvirate. Throughout, Savrosh helped as a hidden patron to the paladin’s strength, and as he came to better know Caex he learned to fear the paladin’s determination. What if Sunathear Caex were to go to the dracolich’s domain and actually defeat him and the rest of the weakened triumvirate, would he then oppose Savrosh, putting an end to his plan? What of the Eye of Savros? If the paladin discovered the magical contraption no half-truths would keep him from discovering the final intent of the lorewyrm.
Nothing could be left to chance. Savrosh banished him, silently, as Caex arrived to fight the Dracolich. An unexpected betrayal, a masterful improvisation in fact. He made Everdeath believe the paladin was destroyed, but then again, killing him outright would be a waste. If the situation was ever too dire he could retrieve the warrior from the demiplane of dream he sent him to, perhaps more susceptible to his deceit.
With the supposed death of the warrior Savros could weave a final push toward his goal. Now, more than ever, Vox’Shax would be grateful to see that the Lorewyrm destroyed the only actual threat to his power in centuries, delivering Fintin Malsvir to the dracolich, as a token of his allegiance. Or as a beacon to gather new allies. The supposed death of Caex would fuel the flames of vengeance and would make it trivial to gather a band of heroes, just powerful enough to destroy Everdeath and be defeated in the process. The heirloom sword would serve to confirm their true enemy.
Everything had come together beautifully. Savros thought as he reached the reeling form of the dracolich, its body reconstructing even at the moment of his death.
“Why?” the words came more as a gurgle as the Dracolich pleaded for an answer.
“I could say it was an inevitable step in freeing Alphariox.” Savros prepared an incantation, grimoire in hand. “Honestly, I think you are a fool Vox’Shax. You chose undeath over your real draconic form. You are not one of us. For this, I can never forgive you.”
The incantation was released, then a line of incandescent red glow shot from the shocked form of the dracolich towards the other members of the Triumvirate of Undeath. At Savrosh’s pull of his claws, the light turned solid and pulled, simultaneously, on the core of the three forms. In reaction the phylacteries lashed on the physical forms of the three beings shot out from them towards the lorewyrm and swirled, floating above his tome.
This was the end of their shared rule. The three liches were never to be reformed again.
Savrosh selected between the three objects, small silver amulets, the one he was looking for. The other two phylacteries fell to the ground. The third still floated, locked in place, it emitted a faint ghostly blue glow, its hull made of silver inlaid dark wood. With a simple move of his claw, the object cracked open, inside the last piece of the puzzle. The last vestige of Vox’Shax’s blood, the last imprint Savrosh needed, and the last key to Alphariox’s return.
Savrosh sighed deeply, “It is over.” He reordered the arcane geometry within his mind, banishing the sigil that kept the illusion over the terrain active. Not too far off the Eye of Savros was revealed. It now appeared where it only looked like an extension of the cursed cemetery before. Another thought dispelled the occlusion aura that hid its magic. Necessary precautions.
Savrosh took flight. His mind raced with excitement, reviewing every preparation he had made for whatever could happen.
Alphariox, the goddess queen of the dragons, his leader. He together with the other five had trapped her here when her rule was stained by her tyranny. Now he would release her and ask for that very iron grip on a world overrun by mortals.
Savrosh had considered every angle of what could happen at the time she was released. Her first reaction could be to kill him for his transgressions. He was ready for this, Savrosh had formed a second body long ago on the grounds of Loxwort to which his soul would return upon his death.
Savrosh’garexys would serve her no matter what, for he understood the importance of this. It meant the beginning of a new age of dragons, a new future, and the end of their demise. He wished however she would take him in, allow him to make up for his transgression, and serve her once again as a counselor.
The lorewyrm touched the cold metal of his device and felt the electric tingle as his magic now found an easier path onto the world, being pulled effortlessly into the object.
“A few words are in order,” the dragon said to the empty cemetery, only for the fog would bear witness. “What I have accomplished here will change the course of all life in this world. Those who we took pity on, who betrayed us thereafter, will feel the wrath of dragonkind. Those of my kin who have fallen will be avenged, and those who fight for their survival will now thrive. Today marks the first day in the second rule of Alphariox, Dragon Forebearer.”
Savrosh rotated the Eye of Savros so that a compartment that led to the center of the Eye would open. The center glowed in a faint golden light and the six slots of the brass plate were almost all filled. Carefully Savrosh filled it with the final remnants of Vox’Shax’s blood and completed the set of six. The Eye’s internal glow dimmed for a moment the arcana contained in it readjusting to the alignments of its magic. Savrosh closed the device and began to speak an incantation.
The Eye’s plates recoiled, external railings spinning rapidly. Savrosh’s chanting grew more enamored as the Eye’s internal core lit the field in a radiant golden light. A beacon of light slowly formed, magic coalescing around it. The Magic Meridians that crossed above the field pulsated, glowing as well, a rare sight to be watched without any instruments, a sight of great magic.
An intense gust of wind was now forming surrounding the spot that Savrosh was looking intently towards. His hands touched a plate in the Eye that hummed with the same energy as the device, his draconic form fought against the wind’s power.
This was when reality tore.
A thin gash twice the size of Savrosh cut the horizon out of nowhere, It was outlined out of darkness so deep it seemed to darken the whole field, devouring light. A slit of light now was surrounded by darkness. And then there was silence.
Alphariox’s claw, white and shining, exited the brightness. Then another.
Savrosh watched in mad astonishment as the Queen of Dragons, their goddess, widened the rift. A roar shook him as he watched in total awe. The rift now was almost as wide as it was tall. Alphariox’s gold and white form mixed with the cold glaring light that gradually lowered in intensity. Alphariox entered the world once again. Her expression unreadable. The white light from the rift died. The opening between realities sealed close with a thunderous sound.
Alphariox towered above the stunned Lorewyrm. Her six wings stretched, as she filled all the space she could, finally released from her prison. Savrosh finally caught her attention. Her eyes were so intense he understood it was her undivided attention and he awaited expectantly.
“Savrosh’garexys, my advisor,” her voice was powerful, commanding.
Savrosh bent the knee, wings unfurled. His voice almost didn’t come out, “Your Blessed Highness.”
“It surprises me that you would have the guts to do this.”
“I saw the error of my ways,” Savrosh remained kneeled and small.
“Took you centuries, Lorewyrm,” Alphariox said calmly. “How is the world?”
“Overrun, my queen.”
“Good, I hoped there would be much to do.” For the first time, she turned her gargantuan form to survey her surroundings, looking at the field where the battle took place. “I see Vox’Shax hasn’t endured like you. What of the other traitors?”
“Only ZhongTian lives.”
“Eye Stalker?” Alphariox asked curiously as she marched imperiously around him. “Dark Fang? The Asteron Dragon?”
“Died through the ages, Your Highness. Their blood now flows only through their heirs.” Savros finally looked up, impatiently. “I am ready to serve you, I will give my life for our cause.”
She didn’t respond.
“I have information on potential threats, all enemies that might resist you,” Savros continued.
“Impetulant fool,” Alphariox’s anger made him shrivel. “None will resist me.”
“I am a fool, Your Highness. But please, accept my vow. Let me serve you once more.”
“You know I can’t do that.”
“Then take my life. May my blood flow to show the return of your reign.”
She scoffed. “Oh, no, Savrosh’garexys. Don’t think I will underestimate you again. You are a snake. After all these years I have learned how to deal with snakes. I want you exactly where I know how to find you.”
Alphariox grabbed Savrosh’garexys by his throat, raising him from the ground. The dragon struggled against her force, attempting to beat his wings to escape, but her grasp was too strong. Savrosh brought his fist up, conjuring a large bolt of pure arcane force. The wave of magic hit her form. It had no effect, the energy dispersing around her scales and feathers.
Savrosh’garexys, master of the arcane, was, for the first time in millennia, terrified.
“Mark this day.” She looked deeply into his eyes. “For today, I make my prison, yours.”
No, this couldn’t be. The place she was locked in should have been destroyed as she left it. That demiplane was composed of nothing more than Alphariox’s godly matter, it wasn’t made to contain any other creature.
The Dragon Queen touched the Eye of Savros. Almost instinctively knowing what to do.
“In my prison, I thought of something like this. Yours is much more refined, however.”
She let out a burst of magic into the device. Once again the landscape felt it. The Eye moved spasmodically, the energy thrust into it was overbearing. The gash of darkness opened again, tearing the veil between the two planes and opening an entrance to her endless prison. Savrosh continued to struggle desperately, watching in disbelief. The vacuum created by the tear started pulling on everything around, ground and fog flying towards the portal, Savrosh was being held only by Aphariox’s unmoving form. Inside was a void, lit only by occasional dots of far-off light, the debris that was being pulled in floating aimlessly. Savrosh was surprised to see that the demiplane had held itself together, this only led to a chilling realization. He would be trapped there, soul and body, just like she was. There was no way to escape, no way to break his bonds in there, only eternal solitude.
Alphariox threw the struggling dragon into the prison plane. Savrosh looked out in horror, spinning with no control in the dark void. The last thing he saw from the outside world before the slit closed was her destructive breath puncturing a hole through the Eye of Savros, destroying it, and closing the gap between dimensions. Now Savrosh’Garexy, the Lorewyrm, saw only darkness.
Epilog – Alphariox’s Story
Before the rule of mortals, the rising dawn called for an Age of Dragons.
Thousands of years ago a cataclysmic conflict broke out between the mortal races, recently arrived into this world, and the dragons, who had inhabited it since time immemorial. It all began with Alphariox’s call. She was their leader, goddess, and queen. She foresaw the extinction of dragons at the hands of mortals. Alphariox spoke of mortals’ ingenuity, their capacity for growth, and their need for expansion. She saw how the meek creatures could be fearsome in the face of danger and that nothing could stop them in their path to destroy anything that could threaten their existence. This would have meant death for all dragonkind. At the time, she had the power to wipe the young mortal races from the world, but she was stopped.
Six were the traitors, the saviors of mortal races.
Her council of closest advisors saw that she had grown cruel and paranoid in her quest to save the dragons, and the six felt that by showing mercy to the new races the prophecy of Alphariox wouldn’t come true. They believed that if she continued her crusade all would perish under her tyranny and soon none would have the power to stand against her. They devised a spell powerful enough to bind the unending spirit of a god within itself and sealed its magic with a blood pact between each of the six dragons. The epic battle that ensued singed the land, but in the end, they were victorious and the Forebearer of Dragons was contained.
Their blood as the prison for the Queen Goddess Alphariox, Dragon Forebearer.
Eye Stalker, Dark Fang, Savrosh’Garexys, the Asteron dragon, Zhongtian and Vox’Shax. The six generals of the dragon queen, her closest advisors, the creators of her final prison. Alphariox found herself locked in a demiplane made out of her own essence. She endured alone in exile, waiting for the right moment, gathering strength, learning the secrets of her own power, and sifting through weaknesses, consuming anything that wasn’t perfect.
At the darkest hour for her kin, she shall be set free.
It took millennia until Savrosh’Garexys gathered the blood of the six dragons and stood unopposed at the scorched ground where the goddess had been sealed. The Eye of Savros built to break her free from her everlasting bonds. This device would end her imprisonment… and be the beginning of his.
Then, the Age of Dragons will be unleashed.
Alphariox will return.
Loot Studios can help you explore new stories, including Legendarium of Dragons. Choose your favorite bundle from our previous releases or sign up for Fantasy or Sci-Fi to receive a new bundle every month. You can also check out some tips at our YouTube Channel.