Dragon Priest (Cult)

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Background

The Dragon Priests are a faction of S'Kra Mur who worship the World Dragon. They were founded by Sh'kial in 255 BL, but he was murdered by his student Dzree in the year 205 BL. Dzree led a bloody war that conquered nearly all of known Elanthia and ushered in the Dragon Priest Empire. The empire reigned for more than 150 years until Dzree's death and subsequent defeat of the Dragon Priests.


Current Dragon Priest Figures

Former Dragon Priest Figures

Dragon Priest Historical Timeline

255 BL - Sh'kial founds the Dragon Priest cult
215 BL - Dragon Priests appear in Wyvern Mountains outside Shard
205 BL - Dzree murders Sh'kial and takes leadership of the Dragon Priests
203 BL - Dragon Priests begin the Dragon Priest War with raids on Dwarven mountain villages
201 BL - Dwarven city of Fashein falls to the Dragon Priests
200 BL - Dwarven city of Gardul falls, and the Greystar Commune comes to an end
197 BL - Shard is razed by the Dragon Priests
196 BL - Ferdahl Corik flees in defeat
195 BL - Dragon Priest army marches on the northern provinces
195 BL - Living sacrifices of non-S'Kra races begins
195 BL - Dragon Priests create the Dark Hand, an evil forest south of Shard.
194 BL - Dragon Priest missionaries in Qi'Reshalia begin converting island S'Kra Mur to Dragon worship.
194 BL - First Dragon Priest attack on The Crossing (Kalag's Memoires)
194 BL - Bardic Genocide begins and the Bard Neithrel is captured by the Dragon Priests
193-163 BL - Dragon Priests advance and take control of Zoluren, Therengia, and Qi.
193-1 BL - Reign of Dragon Priest Empire
2 BL - Sithsia prophosies the death of Dragon Priest leader Dzree.
1 BL - As Sithsia prophosied, Dzree dies and the Dragon Priest Empire is defeated

On the Contemporary Movements of the Dragon and His Servants

By the Fyearikloa'i Rensh'a
(originally posted on play.net forums June 4, 2002 by account SAMERONDS)


Preface

This document is provided to the populace by the Order of the Fyearikloa'i Rensh'a. It describes individuals that members of the order have observed and information, true or false that the members of the order have drawn from the individuals indicated. This document is not meant to be comprehensive or to be infalible, but rather is provided to the populace to facilitate a better understanding of the events troubling Elanthia and to allow others to draw their own conclusions and act accordingly.


The Cult, the Sects, and Divisions Therein

Widely known is the ancient history of the Dragon Priests. Sh'kial, commonly accepted to be the first formal Dragon Priest, laid down a religion of Dragon worship based upon placating the beast with offerings and worship. Later, there was Dzree, the power mad usurper whose actions while leading the cult gave it both the stigma and the dichotomy of practice which the cult bears today. Dragon worship is forbidden in most civilized communities, partially for fear of another Dzree's ascension to power, and partially because of the opinions of the land's prevailing religions. The cult itself is commonly believed to be divided into two main sects, based upon the teachings of Sh'kial the pacifist, or Dzree the antagonist. This information is included largely for the benefit of the uninitiated--I have taken the time to point that out largely because some of the latest findings have speak differently about the latest generation of the Dragon's followers.


Contemporary Iterations and Revelations

While history tells us that the Dragon Priests, sect differences notwithstanding, have traditionally organized themselves in a regimental priesthood, the latest encounters with the Dragon's servants speak differently about its current followers. The following facts have been gleaned about the newest batch of the Dragon-called.

1--Dzree, commonly thought to be the a Dragon-Worshipper's self-ideal, is instead believed to have been a shortsighted power monger whose lust for power diluted her devotion to the worship itself. She used the religion to serve her own purposes, and therefore is seen as unworthy.

2--The traditional term "Dragon Priest/ess" is also disliked by this newest iteration of worshippers. The reason for this seems to be twofold: A) The term evokes memories of the old Dragon Priests, most of whom were followers of Dzree's tainted philosophy (not that these newest Worshippers care more about what others think of them than what would be expected--they simply want to not be associated with a way that they consider "inferior"), and B) the term itself, regardless of inference, does not accurately describe them. This is discussed in more detail below.

3--The nature of the Dragon/follower relationship has either changed or has been revealed in more detail. While anyone can take up a sword and kill in the Dragon's name, these new worshippers describe their relationship as less of a following and more of a calling--he communicates directly with his followers (who refer to themselves, among other things, as "Called by the Master"), revealing his will directly to them instead of through a set of misinterpretable tenets. Time will reveal whether or not this is merely an issue of semantics, or if it has a deeper meaning.

4--Surprisingly enough, humility seems to play a significant role in this new Dragon Worship. Again, this can be tied to Dzree's sect. It is felt that Dzree's lust for power and its privileges, and her use of her station to attain them, was a deciding factor in the downfall of her and her followers. The Called seem to eschew political power as a means to an end, instead preferring to act directly as the voice and hand of their Master.


Personalities Within the Newest of the Chosen

Individuals allied with this newest generation of Dragon-Worshippers are currently rare and hard to find. Whether or not this is as a result of under population amongst the Worshippers themselves has yet to be seen. Regardless of speculation, this is to be expected from a cult whose practice is banned in most of the civilized world.

Sskriveis--Sskriveis describes herself as "First amongst her Master's Chosen", and as of yet, nobody has come forth to challenge this claim. As Sskivreis is the most vocal of the newest generation of Dragon Worshippers, it is from her that most of the information regarding her organization (for lack of a better term) is gleaned. As can be expected, Sskivreis is a charismatic figure who possesses a keen intellect and wit. Since she has been the most active of the Servants, she has also been subject to the most inquisition on the part of the curious, and the most antagonism on the part of trophy-hunters.

Skrissin and Vhess--Unfortunately, less is known about the personalities of Sskivreis' subordinates. Preliminary reports indicate that these two individuals so far have made themselves known as associates of Sskriveis. Sskrissin and Vhess are both advanced in years, but this seems to have done little to blunt their martial prowess. While Skrissin's position is unknown at this time, Vhess is referred to as a "Servant", and age and fate have not been kind to him--he has one eye, a large hump on his left shoulder, a chipped fang, and is smozh (tail-less), which is a grave dishonor among S'kra.


Motives and Movements

Unsurprisingly, the particulars of the Servants' motives remain a mystery at this time, although inferences and guesses, both informed and uninformed, are plentiful. Geographically, their movements are confined to Ilithi, with the areas devoted to the Dragon's worship being the primary areas of their interest. By virtue of the nature of their worship, one can assume much, and none of these assumptions are particularly comforting. However, few if any of their antagonistic movements thus far have not been retaliations. Make no mistake, though--by and large, this is a dangerous group, and should be approached with caution, if at all. Their movements thus far are not indicative of a larger plot against the local government (see politics under "Revelations" above), but an emphasis should be put on the "thus far" aspect. Perhaps there is no antagonistic intent, or perhaps it simply has yet to be shown.

Recently, Sskivreis has begun sent out a call for others who have "been Called by the Master". What secrets she intends to reveal to them are unknown at this time. So far, her search has yielded little--perhaps those whom she searches for move with even more discretion than she.


Suggestions When Dealing with the Servants of the Dragon

First, respect is key, both for them and you. The former will in all likelihood raise their suspicions, since they are used to dealing with those who speak through swordplay--do not expect to be immediately welcomed with open arms. The latter is absolutely necessary if they are to think of you as a person of any worth--these are creatures of great pride, and as such, they find high self-esteem to be a positive character trait.

As a matter of discretion, if you are a member of one of the Dragon Priests' old enemies, by all means use the appropriate amount of caution, if you even attempt to deal with the Servants at all. While unlikely, old grudges could very well be born anew.

Be civilized! These are not your grandfather's bloodthirsty fanatics. They respond in kind to the manners of those who approach them. Violence begets violence, and a lack of violence begets the same.

Be warned--these are creatures holding forbidden beliefs, moving through a territory populated by hostile forces. Tension is a constant to them, caution is a way of life for them, and violence is always a possibility. If you do not wish to become involved in combat, always keep an eye on the nearest exit. And if you do wish to become involved...

The Servants have long memories, they do keep score, and they can hold a grudge for as long as it takes. Keep this in mind before becoming a trophy-hunter.


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