by John Calvin
The ancient white, Aillucent, has been living in his laboratory in the Wyrmteeth range for nearly 40 years now. His lab, and lair, high in the frozen peaks of the mountaintops, was given to him by his suzerain Ferrimyx. His life continues by her good graces alone, a fact which the ancient white seethes over during every waking moment. He slaves away at his magical researches just to give Ferrimyx an edge in the political games she plays...or so she thinks, for Aillucent has some tricks up his scaly hide.
Lycanthropy is the crux of the white's studies now. Officially he is trying to distill the magical disease, so that Ferrimyx might use it as a pendulum to hang over Wyrmteeth's dwarven population. Unofficially, however, Aillucent seeks a method to infect himself with the disease so that he might further his lifespan, and achieve his goal of immortality. With the help of the Claenra, Aillucent has enlisted several rogue lycanthropes to be his assistants and guinea pigs.
Over the centuries, the ancient wyrm has created several items, magical and otherwise, in order to help him accomplish his goals. These can all be found in his laboratory (if one dares to look there, and if they are not being used by Aillucent or one of his trusted servants). A few of these items are described below.
This item appears to be a clear plate of glass, 10 inches in diameter, and 2 inches thick. The center of the plate sports the carving of a pair of bat-like wings. Around the wings are several runic shapes. The item is cold to the touch, and although it looks like ice, it will not melt. The plaque detects as strongly magical. When placed on the chest, and the proper command words spoken, the plate grafts itself onto the users body, and causes the user to sprout wings of transparent ice. Users will take d4 points of freezing damage each round that the wings are operating, unless they employ some means to protect themselves from the cold. In addition, any person who is not so protected, must make a Constitution check or be stunned for d6+2 rounds upon activating the Ice Wings. The Ice Wings can be activated twice per day, for up to three turns per use. They cause a translucent pair of wings to grow from the user's most appropriate appendages. In dragons, the Ice Wings become an extension of their own wings. When worn by humanoids, the wings sprout from their fingertips (as a bats wings).
Aillucent created the Ice Wings to enhance his own rapidly declining powers of flight. The ancient white rarely uses the Wings these days. Two of the items exist. One Aillucent gives to his trusted servants (mostly Thorv, the chief lycanthrope in his service) to use on covert missions. The other he has stored in a secret place, just in case he needs to make a quick escape from his benefactor.
These smooth crystalline shards are actually teeth taken directly out of Aillucent's gaping maw, and enchanted by the dragon himself. When placed on the ground (roots down and tip up), and the command word spoken, the tooth expands into a small shelter large enough for one man sized creature. Anyone inside of the shelter is immune to the effects of the weather outside. The teeth function only when placed in snow or ice. Their magic will not activate in other environmental conditions.
Aillucent created half a dozen of these devices. He doesn't use them himself (he has no need to protect himself from the cold elements), but rather doles them out to his servants when they need to leave the lair.
This golden crown was found by Aillucent several centuries ago. It is a small golden circlet, topped with the figure of a heron, its wings outstretched, and its head lifted up to the sky. The heron's wings are decorated with semi-precious stones (topaz, opal, and onyx) in the shapes of the bird's feathers. Aillucent acquired the crown two centuries ago, while raiding a Vestlander longship. The Vestlanders were returning from a raid on the Isle of Dawn. Where they got the artifact, Aillucent does not know, but he believes it to be of Thothian origin. Although he has studied it for decades and knows that the artifact has something to do with lycanthropy, however the crown has still not revealed all of its secrets to the wyrm. The Heron Crown in fact acts as a sort of lunar filter. If worn by a lycanthrope, the crown will prevent any involuntary transformation from occurring (with just one exception - see below). If the lycanthrope makes a voluntary transformation while wearing the crown, the magical item prevents the loss of control that sometimes accompanies a change of form. There is one down side to wearing the crown however. The lycanthrope must make at least one voluntary transformation per month. If this is not done, then the lunar energy builds up within the crown, and on the night of the full moon the lycanthrope will transform. This "buildup" transformation causes the lycanthrope to lose control of its personality (no saving throw allowed).
Copyright (c) 2000, John Calvin. All rights reserved. Used by permission.