Dragon Priest (Cult)

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The Dragon Priests are a religious faction of S'Kra Mur who worship the World Dragon. Today, there are a variety of differing beliefs and practices amongst them. The over-arching belief is a terrible, beautiful creature called the World Dragon hatched from Grazhir, a former moon of Elanthia. The shards of the broken moon rained down on Elanthia, doing tremendous damage that was soon outdone by the Dragon itself. Drawn to the life-fire (or inner fire) of Elanthia, the World Dragon attacked and consumed most if it. The Immortals feared the Dragon would destroy the sun next and so waged battle against the Dragon. They were unable to severely wound it or even to kill it. In the end, their solution was to put it to sleep. Phelim used his sands to send the Dragon into a deep slumber and at Peri'el's suggestion, the Immortals then placed the World Dragon in the center of Elanthia to serve as a new source of energy for the planet. The goddess Peri'el stays near the Dragon, her eternal song keeping the Dragon from waking again and destroying Elanthia.

S'Kra Mur had long begun to comprehend the scope of the World Dragon and what was required to keep the Dragon asleep. After all, the Ru'atin Peri'el had formed long before any sort of formal Dragon worship began. Common practice of keeping ornamental an dragon statuette in the home. Battle-worthy parents often had a favorite chair carved or adorned with dragons, indicating they are the dragon of the household, protector to those therein. This view of the Dragon as a protective figure is quite likely the origin of Dzree's way of thinking -- that S'Kra Mur are somehow the people of the Dragon rather than of Hav'roth. Dragon Worship as a term came with Sh'kial, but even before, there was a quiet reverence and respect for the World Dragon.

Origins and the Sect of Sh'kial

Formed during times of discontent and poverty within the Empire of the Seven Pointed Star, Sh'kial began his religious movement in the Wyvern Mountains of Ilithi. He taught that the World Dragon should be appeased and pacified through worship and existential offerings. The sacrifices and rituals performed in its honor would allow the temperamental personality to be controlled and if appeased, the Dragon would cease its rumblings and a golden age of Peace could be achieved. In the corrupt times they lived in, the teachings of Sh'kial's sect were influential and popular among the S'Kra Mur and their beliefs spread far and wide, as evidenced by the Temple of the World Dragon in Muspar'i.

Sh'kial held a good-sized following and for some time, had a devoted protege named Dzree. She was a loyal student to the first Dragon Priest, but soon diverted from his teachings and began expressing her desire to sacrifice Humans, Elves, and sometimes other S'Kra Mur to the World Dragon. When Sh'kial learned of this, he spoke out against her. In retaliation, she assassinated him in 205 BL, beginning the decline of the sect of Sh'kial.

The Sect of Dzree and the Dragon Priest Empire

Naming herself High Priestess, Dzree's followers built themselves into a small army and began attacking villages in the mountains of Ilithi. As the greed for power and the need for more living sacrifices grew, the sect sent missionaries into Qi'Reshalia and spent many years growing into what would become known as the Dragon Priest Empire.

The Empire waged a war unlike any other Elanthia had seen. Their relentless numbers seizing control over all of the known lands and holding it captive for nearly one hundred sixty years. It was during this time that many S'Kra Mur began referring to her as The Hag and The Nameless One, either out of fear of speaking her name or simply with disgust at all she had done.

At the height of their power, the empire had managed to completely destroy the Bard's guild and decimate nearly all of the Ru'atin Peri'el. Dzree's renowned hatred of Bards is noted to have stemmed from her failure to pass the entry examination for the Ru'atin in her youth and rekindled when the Bards of Elanthia became her greatest opposition.

Despite all of their cruelty, the Dragon Priests held a strong devotion to knowledge and their Empire produced many scholars, though most of those simply claimed that the "ancient beliefs of the Immortal followers are naught but lies." One of these supposed scholars, Miele, put forth the theory that Elotheans were actually Elven-Human hybrids that had developed into a separate race over generations. Miele actively dismissed the Annals of the Timeless One's claim that the Elotheans were formed "from the pure thought and will of the Immortals themselves." After all, an Elothean wrote the book that made that claim.

Their pursuit of knowledge and power did not end with their scholars. The Empire also established the Dark Hand, a corrupted area of land that was utilized as a breeding ground for their creations -- such as the Adan'f. Many necromantic and sorcerous experiments were performed on S'Kra Mur and Gor'Togs with the intention of purifying them and it is this knowledge that leads many to believe the Adan'f were created from S'Kra Mur.

The fall of the Empire.

The fall of the empire began roughly a year after the mage Sithsia gave Dzree a prophecy of death. While the prophecy did come to pass as given, Dzree drove herself insane with paranoia and a short year later, died alone. Immediately, the empire fell into chaos as factions formed, each supporting their chosen leader. Open warfare between the factions began in Qi'Reshalia and over the next twenty five years, the Dragon Priest Empire destroyed itself from the inside. Those that survived found their end against groups of wealthy merchants in Qi'Reshalia. The Empire was considered conquered in 22 AV.

Reappearances of the Empire's Dragon Priests.

Though soundly defeated, the scattered remains of Dragon Priest Empire remained a scourge in the southern lands for several hundreds of years before the first "revival" was noted. In 349 AV, the High Priest of the Dragon Priests Tenebraus attacked during the re-founding of the Crossing Bard's Guild. His forces injured Silvyrfrost and he, himself, slew the Bard Siryn. Tenebraus' deed was soon repaid as the Bards sung together and slowly killed him.

Surging to power anew in 389 AV, the Empire began attacks across the lands under the Dragon Priest Empress Hhrsaraa. Claiming to be a daughter of Dzree, she led massive forces with the aid of her Grand Arbiter Serzyn, her General Shaarl. The Adan'f Fatave, Iszanua, Xerasyth, Vigther, Vaktarr, Valthyrz, and Zaevas lead their respective groups, supporting the Dragon Priests as their creators.

Under Hhrsaraa, the empire managed to wage a bloody war for eleven years before Hhrsaraa died. Much like her claimed ancestor, upon her death, the empire fell into disorganized chaos.

The Empire's Dragon.

In 401 AV, a literal Dragon named Ael'tharaxus appeared in Ilithi and proclaimed himself Emperor. The pronouncement brought about a stark change in the remains of the empire. Little by little, the remains of the Sect of Dzree began to disappear around Ilithi.

But it was not to be the end of such a violent, fanatical group. In 436 AV, the Sect of Dzree, or at least those that likely still follow the practice she left behind made an appearance in Aesry while a group of adventurers met with the Ru'atin Peri'el to discuss the plight of the kra'hei (beast people). Appearing from a single Moongate, the Priests slaughtered and injured many before being beaten back. This led to a later attack upon the Black Spire. Information gathered during this attack revealed that the Dragon Priests were using machinery of an unknown origin and purpose and were being led by an old crone.

Current Dragon Priest Figures

Emperor Ael'tharaxus - Current Emperor of the Dragon Priest Empire.
Grand Arbiter Serzyn - Controller of korograths. Empress Hhrsaraa's right-hand man, current status unknown.
General Shaarl - Former general of the Hhrsaraa's Dragon Priest Army, until he revolted and was executed -- a fate he managed to escape.
Izzu'hhr Grkhha (Storm Bringer)Shehhgi - Serzyn's brother and rumored to have been a S'Kra Kor. Claimed to follow Sh'kial's path of Dragon Worship.
Ecclesiarch Suulnir - Voice of the World Dragon. First appeared in 439 AV.

Current Dragon Priest Empire Adan'f

Flesh Fanatic Fatave - Leader of the Adan'f Blood Warriors.
Blood Dancer Iszanua - Adan'f Spirit Dancer known as the Dollmaker and the Feeder.
Shadow Dancer Vaktarr - Leader of the Adan'f Shadow Mages. Assisted in the murder of Zaevas.
Chief Intercessor Valthyrz - Leader of the Dragon Priest Intercessors.
Blood General Vigther - Adan'f Blood Warrior who leads the Adan'f and serves the Dragon Priests.

Former Dragon Priest Figures

Empress Hhrsaraa - Deceased leader of the Dragon Priests. Died 400 AV
High Priest of the Dragon Priests Tenebraus. Died in 389 AV
High Priestess Dzree - Died 0 BL.

Former Dragon Priest Empire Adan'f

Vile Reaper Xerasyth - Adan'f Spirit Dancer who served the Dragon Priests until freeing himself from the curse of the Adan'f that confines them to the Whistling Wood and aligning with the Philosophers of the Knife.
Shadow General Zaevas - Deceased Adan'f Shadow Mages who was captured by Vaktarr and slain by Vigther.

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 prophesies the death of Dragon Priest leader Dzree.
1 BL - As Sithsia prophesied, Dzree dies and the Dragon Priest Empire is defeated
349 AV - Tenebraus attacks the Crossing Bard Guild, killing Siryn.
369 AV - The Servants of the Dragon faction emerges.
388 AV - Hhrsaraa leads the Dragon Priests in attacks in Shard, Leth Deriel, Crossing, and Riverhaven.
389 AV - Hhrsaraa's forces attack the Ru'atin Peri'el in Aesry Surlaenis'a.
400 AV - Hhrsaraa dies.
401 AV - Ael'tharaxus the Dragon becomes Emperor.
436 AV - Dragon Priests attack the Ru'atin Peri'el in Aesry again. (Article)
439 AV - Suulnir speaks on a new era of enlightenment in relation to Ael'tharaxus and the Empire. (Article.)

Servants of the Dragon

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)


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.

Additional Reading

Dragon Priest Empire
S'Kra Mur Beliefs and Practices
S'Kra Mur Origins


Dzree: Empress of Death
Elanthian Timeline
Forest of Night
History of Mer'Kresh
Kalag's Memoirs
Isth'hhtaw'hhs Shh'oiyvh-ur - (The Traditions/Ways of the Dragon)
Legend of the World Dragon
Origins of the Realms
Religions of Elanthia
Restoration of the Bard's Guild in Our Time
The First Land Herald
The Ru'atin Peri'el
The Singers of Aesry Surlaenis'a
A Tale of HighHold
The Ways of the S'Kra Mur
Urshaanin's Singularity