Initiate's Trial: Sneak Peak number four

Warning: if you have not read Stormed Fortress, this clip contains spoilers.

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Here is the promised preview, featuring Asandir.

The urgent summons pressed by Sethvir's breaking news caught up with Asandir in the north wilds above Penstair, amidst a tense altercation with a young dragon. The creature he faced was grown to full size, but not yet fleshed out to maturity. Doused under the massive loom of its shadow, the Sorcerer stood as a mouse. If his adamant presence was not to be trifled with, the dragon's perceptions were underdeveloped. Its raw cognizance had not evolved far enough to grasp the subtle range of its own power.


The explorative tendril of curiosity shocked with a force to liquefy matter; air rippled to a shriek of recoil. But before the stone underfoot flew asunder, or air itself became blasted to dissolution, Asandir absorbed the crazed forces. He melted the wild energy into his aura with consummate skill, then transmuted the disordered energies into a concept of precise, reciprocal balance.


The drake whuffed a startled tendril of flame. Ebon claws flexed. It minced the ground where it poised to ripped shreds. Agile as a cat upon horny, scaled talons, the creature gleamed a glorious green bronze, a barely grown coil of exuberant strength that did not recognize boundaries, or yet know to counter the might of its unfledged desires. Its eye blazed a searing sun yellow with challenge. The slit pupil, as dark as primordial night, loomed as tall as its human sized adversary. Nameless, umated, too unformed to display the traits of its destined gender, this scaled invader smoked with aggression, and failed to regard the Fellowship Sorcerer as threatening.

A mistake Asandir preferred to disarm, if he could, without crippling damage or lethal consequence. He watched, wrapped in his deceptive, poised calm, while the arched neck above him snaked downward. Bared teeth like sparkling scimitars yawned and slashed at the speck that obstructed its path.


Enveloped in puffed fumes, rattled by thunderous roars, Asandir held his stance. His counterthrust whispered: 'Tranquillity.' Clear gray, his eyes, as his monstrous adversary blazed into a sudden, mad glory of colors, its agitated auric mantle unreeled toward the explosive cusp of attack. As the Sorcerer's concepts for nothing and quiet failed to contain the young drake's impatience, Asandir braced for the next eruptive attempt to fray his shield of denouncement.

The familiar, uncanny chills ripped his skin, as the young dragon wrestled the novel discovery that it faced an obstructive presence.

Then, 'Push!' became 'Poke!' followed up, hard, by 'SHOVE!' and the sudden, erect clash of crest spikes gave warning that amused curiosity moved beyond an entrancing game.

Asandir gave back, unresistence without sound or movement: 'Emptinessssss…'

But the restless drake shook off the blandishment. It refused to be swerved or blindsided. Not after being drawn to Athera by the latest, strayed ripple of an adult dragon's entrancing discovery – Sezhkrozchiel, who wielded a bargain with Davien, and who yet had not tired of the novelty.

Asandir sidestepped a spurt of raw flame, while this creature's exuberant frustration spiked yet again. Pique flowered into a flare of contempt, edged by a sparkle of dangerous annoyance. Should any drake fly into a full-blown rage, its mere thought of attack could unravel the solid surrounds of Penstair, fast as jerked yarn from a knit.

The flesh and bone wisp of Asandir's form appeared vulnerable, frail as spun glass upon the endangered ground he defended. The flat, stony vista where his planted boots found precarious purchase jutted against the whipped fury of the storm wracked northern ocean, a place gashed across by the blasted scars inflicted by the last outbreak of drake war, fought to standoff fifty six years ago. Salt spume smoked over the shattered concretion of slag, flash lit to steam in the rippled air. Stone itself roiled like heat struck off a forge, as the drake's tempest of ignorant, unformed emotions roiled and shimmered like a sun flare hurled earthward. Enveloped by the tortured clash of the elements, the Sorcerer gently shaped his own suggestive whisper as, 'Boredom…'

The drake's yellow eyes narrowed. The stamp of a talon jarred stone into fissures, and trembled, quaking, through deep layers of magma. One more vicious thought, or a clap sail wings, could stampede the region's geological stability into explosive eruptions. As boredom! netted the roil of backlash, then crumbled without quenching the young drake's intrusive aggression, Asandir regretfully shifted his tactics. Gently, carefully, in silken, soft increments, he bled off a trickle of the drake's effusive emanation.

Which crackling, fierce currents, he fed to the storm, already inbound for the headland. A savage gust ripped, seemingly out of nowhere, and bellied the wing leather membranes of the drake's folded sails. It staggered, surprised, then crouched, weasel quick to recover its disarranged balance. Flame sheared through its snout, and boiled the rock shingle to fumes that stung Asandir's eyelids and lungs till he coughed.

The noise betrayed the Sorcerer's animal aliveness. As the drake struck to kill, he sprang sidewards.

[edited to replace the single quotes]

(Message edited by admin on March 09, 2009)

originally posted by Clansman

"a place gashed across by the blasted scars inflicted by the last outbreak of drake war, fought to a standoff fifty six years ago"???

Holy crap. I'm positively smoking! So drakes are being drawn to Athera because of Shezhy? And more than one!

We're burnin', Janny. Just burnin'. Enough to melt the snow outside, which at this time of year is most welcome!

originally posted by starstorm

Okay, so a glimpse of Arithon would have been nice, but this is quite extremely, amazingly, awesome. :smiley:
Thank you!!


originally posted by Mark Stephen Kominski

*Basks in the afterglow of Talespinner Magic, and wonders if Clanny will EVER put the 'h' in the correct location within Seshkrozchiel*

Asandir, the dragon trainer. And 50-60 years after the last outbreak of drake war???

originally posted by Hunter

Is it too much to think that Lysaer, in his arrogance, tried to flame Seshkrozchiel and got flamed in return?

originally posted by Neil

Curious that the F7 have to deal with young drakes as and when they arrive. I guess the compact requires the F7 to protect the land from whoever.

And interesting that Davien seems to have been able to bargain with a drake at all following the initial binding. One would think that a dragon would not need to treat with Davien, they could simply "dream him into shape"…if said dragon can sort of a grimward. Or maybe adult dragons appreciate - indeed have already dreamed - the necessity of having the F7 around since the Drakes themselves could not solve their problems directly.

originally posted by Clansman

Clanny wonders if Mark SK will ever realize that it is a "z", not an "s" in the first syllable of that most difficult of names to spell, Sezhkrozchiel.

There. I got the "h" right. Only took me two years.

originally posted by plutoplex

Recent drake wars, plus Asandir, Dragon Tamer?! Oh, my poor, reeling brain …

originally posted by Neil

Penstair is near the North Gate. Would said nameless dragon have come this way?

originally posted by Technetus

Since the thread itself is spoiler-tagged…

I'm thinking of the conversation Davien was forced to field just after Avenor was razed; the descriptions therein of how drakespeak is formed, each "sentence" seemingly counterweighted by an appended balancing concept.

…The thought that follows is that Asandir is teaching a young dragon, if not how to speak per se, then at least how to converse politely. :smiley:

What else has been learned from the F7 of concepts that are Not Dragon?

originally posted by Iris


I'm speechless.

Thanks Janny, that was everything you promised, brain boggling!

originally posted by Geoffrey Elliott

Thank you Janny. So much to consider from so few words.

originally posted by Mark Stephen Kominski

Touche, Clanny.

Good point, Technetus; hadn't thought of it that way. Makes ya wonder about the state of dragon parenthood today, what with adolescents (if that!) allowed to wander where they will, speak their minds, and talk to strange men in robes…

Seriously, though, it's a good insight. I read it as Asandir training the youngster in "manners", and missed the nuance that it might also be training in "expression". And what cataclysmic event has occurred that we encounter no living dragons until Stormed Fortress, and now all of a sudden (well, give or take a decade or 10!) we have not only live dragons, but also "youngsters"?!!

originally posted by Mark Timmony

Love it! Squeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

originally posted by Wendy Collett

Ok, I'm popping my head up out of the woodwork again for my $0.02!

Thanks, Janny for the sneak peak!

A few things I noticed:

* The dragon was drawn to Athera, so therefore not all dragons are on Athera! (where be dragons?)

* If the dragon can be drawn by the power of the adult dragons 'ripple', can the inbound wraiths also sense it (if indeed they are still inbound at this time)?

* Did I read it wrong, or is it indicated that it is possible for Asandir to kill a young dragon (ie - 'lethal consequences')?

* 'the last outbreak of drake
war, fought to standoff fifty six years ago.' - this doesn't refer to the 'latest', but 'last', so this indicates more than one episode of a drake war?

PS - thanks to all for those entertaining alliterate statements over the last few weeks. :smiley:

originally posted by Technetus

MSK: After that perspective on drakish parenthood, I now have the image of Sezhkrozchiel perched on the Mathorns, shaking a tree-sized cane and roaring for the young upstart to get off her lawn. :wink:

originally posted by Mark Stephen Kominski


"…and stay off, or I'll call the Fellowship!"

originally posted by Konran

Dragons! OmgSQUEEEEE! <3

"Not after being drawn to Athera…" WHAT. There are dragons elsewhere? Are they not native to Athera? How do they get to Athera from wherever they were? *brainmelty*

"the last outbreak of drake war… fifty six years ago" *explode*

Thanks so much for the preview, Janny, as always <3 I'll be over here mopping up brain bits off the walls.

originally posted by Craftsman

Someone stop me if they see a fault in my logic, but if Sethvir can tell what is going on everywhere in the world, he must know that Asandir is involved in a contest of wills with a drake. Yet, he has sent an urgent summons to interupt this - surely this makes the summons MORE urgent than a young drake accidentally unraveling reality…

Also, I think we have been given a new look at exactly how powerful the fellowship sorcerers are - Lethal concequences for a DRAKE?!? Whats more, the non-lethal methods that Asandir has been trying have so far failed, and he is being urgently summoned… what measures will he have to resort to? And he can unleash his full might against it - the law of the major balance would not apply.

(Images of Sezhkrozchiel sitting on a mountain with a walking stick saying "Kids these days, they are just so rude and obnoxious! No respect for their elders and betters! Why back in my day…"):smiley:

originally posted by Chirogeoff

I may be a spoil-sport, Craftsman, but I interpreted the lethal consequences to be refering to Asandir, not the dragon. Of course I might just be wrong. Even so…what could be

"MORE urgent than a young drake accidentally unraveling reality…"