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The Wolf and the Dragon

by Sean Meaney

(First Three Pages)
A Mystaran Tale by yellowdingo

Kaisar Goreng stared with hostility at the Kai-Mother.
"What does the Kai-Mother desire of the Kaisar?"
Had the Heldannic Envoy gone as far as whispering treason into the ears of the Kaisar? <gold-dragon> sighed at the prospect.
"Do not take that tone with me Nasi. You are a little Kai who does not even see the knives at his back." <gold-dragon> waited for a response.
"The Heldannic Knights are not a knife at my back." Kaisar Goreng got to his feet in a rage only to back down as the Kai-Mother's personal guard gripped the handle of the <dog-knife> at his belt.
The Kai-Mother became aware of what had caused the Kaisar to pause mid-rage and smiled.
"At least you know what a knife looks like."
"This Empire recorded the great cataclysm in the one hundredth and fifty seventh year of the Imperial Calender and the millennia of Yazak migration that followed yet here we are five thousand years later and you would have these outsiders involve us in the conspiracies of their petty immortal."
"They are not petty conspiracies Kai-Mother, their dispute was why magic failed for a week."
"No Nasi. They were a knife in the darkness, they were not the hand." <gold-dragon> breathed in and out.
"No. My decision is final. You will compel them to depart the Sar immediately then you will take the barge across the bay to the White Mosque and contemplate your obligation to the law before the Kadaitch." Kaisar Goreng squirmed in his seat at the prospect of it.
"Yes Mother." <gold-dragon> shook her head.
"That is Kai-Mother My Kaisar."
Despite the Kai's attempt at appeasement, the Kai-Mother's personal guard failed to release his hand from the <dog-knife> at his belt.
"I will not allow you to drag the Sar into a dark tryst with Vanya the Outcast." The prospect of a <dog-knife> in his immediate future loomed and for the first time Kaisar Nasi Goreng felt close to death. Nasi watched as <gold-dragon> relaxed her eyes and Kaisar Nasi Goreng was spared the knife.
<gold-dragon> relaxed back into her chair.
"I will however tell you the tale of the second Kaisar: <golden-eyes>." Kaisar Nasi Goreng closed his eyes at the prospect.
"<golden-eyes> was much likes his father. He enjoyed the prospect of freedom and enjoyed many years simply travelling the Sar by flying Barge, yet in his later years, he was devoted to the time he spent in the White Mosque that he had helped build by hand."
Nasi had not known that the second Kaisar had built the White Mosque. Certainly he had ordered its construction that Clerics of Law might establish it as a bastion of Law at the heart of the empire, yet he had never heard that the Kaisar had worked the wood of its construction as a common labourer until now.
Nasi was still focused on the thought of a Kaisar working timbers.
"<golden-eyes> had gathered to him in his travels many clerics who had devoted themselves to the Philosophies of Law. The more prominent you probably know from your history studies."
"<Kelintji-slayer> who had come from the Yazak Steppes where he taught the importance of Laws to the humanoids there offered up his callused hand to the Kaisar in thanks for his toils in the cause of law, yet <golden-eyes> spurned his hand and holding up his own less callused hand, said:
"Hefting a few timbers to build a mosque does not make me a martyr to law."
<Kelintji-slayer> placed his hand on <golden-eyes> shoulder, smiled and replied:
"I never said it would." He pointed at the large portal stone that sealed the Martyr's Crypt over which the Mosque was being constructed.
"The Martyrs to Law are over there."
"Now come, the others are having lunch and will be discussing the development of Laws for the Sar. Perhaps you might like to participate."

"Now you understand. It is not enough to found an Empire, build a Mosque, or even to be Kaisar. You must be more."
"Now, off you go." <gold-dragon> smiled at her son.
"And remember; be strong, yet polite with the Heldannic Envoy when you inform her that she is expelled from the Sar."
Nasi sighed and prepared to leave the Kai-mother's Apartments.
"And don't forget your visit to the White Mosque.
The Kaisar bowed his head to <gold-dragon> until she had touched his head with the palm of her hand.
"Yes Kai-Mother." The Kaisar departed cleansed of his burden.
<gold-dragon> waited a moment. Her servant, Ket, entered.
"The Kaisar's palanquin has departed." Ket was prompt. The Heldannic Knights would be dealt with if she had to tear their Warbirds from the sky herself. <gold-dragon> sighed and turned to the next task.
"And now to the other matter at hand!"
"Commander Fein reports a greater Kelintji approaches the Tiers." Ket smiled inwardly at this fine coup because he knew she enjoyed an outing.
"Prepare my flying barge. I depart now." Her bodyguard looked at her questioningly as Ket left to make the necessary preparations.
"Yes?" The Kai-Mother stared at her protection.
"Nothing Mother," replied <golden-talon>.
"I should hope not."

Kaisar Goreng sat in the Hall of Law and waited for the Envoy of the Heldann to arrive. He knew she would not like this.
Anna Von Rappard walked past the announcer of prisoners without pause.
"Anna vik Rappard, Envoy of Vanya, Sword of the Heldann, Daughter of Imogen Daemonsdottir." A hundred spearmen looked up in unison as she was announced.
"Why?" Anna waited for an answer.
"It is the decision of the Kaisar that the Heldann should be driven from the Sar." Anna stared at the Voice of the Kaisar.
"I would hear it from him." The Envoy of Vanya pointed at the Kaisar. The Voice of the Kaisar retreated to consult with the throne.
Anna waited for an answer.
The voice returned.
"Is the Envoy of Vanya so deaf as to be incapable of hearing the Kaisar speak?" Things had changed since Anna had been smuggled from the Kaisar's apartments. He had surrendered so much to her. What had gone wrong?
He had gone to visit the Kai-Mother. Anna's eyes progressively closed. She had been foolish and now she stared at the Kaisar in suspicion.
He had led her to believe that the Kai-Mother was this little old woman living out her life in her royal apartments and yet this old woman had taken away her garrison and her Warbird dry-docks in a single meeting.
Anna ran her fingernail across her thumb nervously.
Nasi leaned forward and spoke.
"If the Heldann wish to conquer, perhaps they will find the Desolation of Sinar more to their liking rather than the armpit of the immortals."
She could see he had given her what he could.
"As you demand, Kaisar!" Anna von Rappard bowed her head slightly and walked away, her aide in her shadow.
"Freiburg isn't going to like this." whispered Franz Torkeep. As if in reply to his whisper, the hundred Kelintji-slayer escorted them from the Hall of Law to the landing platform where their light Warbird waited.
Sixty Heldannic Knights flanked the walk. Torkeep signalled their Sergeants to board.
Anna and Franz paused. Their long cloaks fluttered and whipped in the dry wind as the Knights boarded. The Kelintji-Slayer guard surrounded the Warbird and pointed their spears inward. It was a purely ceremonial sign of hostility.
"We're leaving!" Anna and her aide stepped onto the ramp which was still closing as the Warbird lifted clear of the sea of Spears.
Anna looked out across the Imperial City below her. Franz spoke up:
"By Vanya How I would love to take that palace with a couple of Warbirds." Anna looked at her long time companion.
"You may yet get your chance." Anna looked back until the boarding ramp locked.
"Where to?" Franz's became a voice in the near dark hold of the Warbird.
"Signal the Others. We go south-west across the Arm of Vanya."
"The Desolation of Sinar?" questioned Franz.
"Yes." Anna von Rappard Replied.
The Warbirds headed south-west.

The Kai-Mother watched from the battlements of the Tiers of Pain. The Greater Kelintji Scratched at the stone of the first Tier. It was almost fifty feet from nose to rear as it struggled to lift its great bulk to the next level.
Commander Yath Fein leaned in on his walking stick. The decades had taken their toll on the young Commander she remembered from so long ago.
"Is he the last of his breed?" <gold-dragon> questioned Yath.
"No. There is a female up north. Our Scouts spotted her. She comes down to Wicked Ward in search of Honey. There are some bees nesting there." The Commander was sad at the prospect.
<gold-dragon> contemplated the tragedy. The Tiers had kept the Yazak hordes out but it had destroyed one of the rarest and most beautiful creatures in all of Mystara. At this moment, she regretted ordering the construction of the Tiers so many millennia ago.
"I don't want them to be the last."
"Perhaps I shall have the scouts find some of the female's spore. Perhaps we can create a trail of scent he might follow to Wicked Ward." <gold-dragon> smiled at Commander Fein's ingenuity.
"An arranged marriage sounds most appropriate. Most appropriate indeed."


History of the Sar
Year Event
1 SY This year the Bandit Chief Yan Benang encounters a Gold Dragon who he takes as Wife. The Bandit Chief Yan Benang encounters <gold-dragon> who he takes as wife (he abducted the beautiful young Princess whose servants were taking her to meet a rival chief).
157 SY The great cataclysm destroys the Blackmoor Civilisation and the World begins to change its tilt. At this time the Yan are clustered around a Fortress on a Hill. The Rain of Fire is seen in the East.
158 SY The nomads of the Sar push east as tremors rock the Sar. The Escarpment has begun to form. The Bandit Kingdom of the Yan becomes the dominant controlling interest in the Southern Sar. The Current Bandit Chief of the Yan is Yan Naga.
238 SY There is unrest in the South East as tribes filling the Yazak Steppes begin to push into the Sar. This is the beginning of the great Migrations. The Greater Kelintji travelling into the Sar for Food and Water come under assault from Humanoid Raiders doing the same thing.
657 SY The Yan build a Fortress to protect their small piece of the Sar.
967 SY The Fortress of the Yan is destroyed when intense tremors rock the Sar. Surviving the destruction is the Kai-Mother <gold-dragon> (the original gold dragon) and her granddaughter, the Princess <wild-flower>.
968 SY A decision is made to construct a new Citadel from the Great stone hill on which the original Fortress sat. Skilled Artisans and labourers begin digging into the stone.
973 SY A Kadaitch (a Cleric of Law-found amongst certain tribes of the Sar at this time) named Lela Goreng from amongst the many tribes migrating into the Sar speaks to the Kai-Mother regarding the Survival of the Sar. He suggests that the construction of Fortifications along the Escarpment of the "Upper Sar" will protect the herding peoples there from the ongoing migrations.
998 SY The Cleric Known as Lela Goreng weds the Princess <wild-flower> becoming the First Kaisar of the Goreng family line. He invites many Clerics of Law to the Sar.
1023 SY The Construction of the White Mosque is undertaken across the Bay of Benang at a site important to the Clerics of Law (the Crypt of the Martyrs of Law). The Second Kaisar known as <golden-eyes> participates in the labour. The Imperial palace is still under construction at this time.
1024 SY The construction of the White Mosque is finished. <golden-eyes> forgoes his title of Kaisar and stays on at the White Mosque to Teach Law to young Clerics.
1032 SY The Imperial Palace is finished. The third Kaisar Safran Goreng is the first of the Kaisar to sit on the Imperial Throne.
1056 SY Kaisar Nasi Goreng on advice from the Kaidaitch and the current Kai-Mother orders the construction of the Tiers of Pain. He also orders the construction of the Wards.
1657 SY Humanoids on the Yazak Steppes herd a thousand greater Kelintji down into the Sar. The Great beasts swarm over the Tiers of Pain as though the Tiers were not there. Most of the Kelintji are killed. The rest are forced north off the Escarpment.
A famine ensues.
1857 SY The Thousand Years of Anarchy Begin The Migration peaks as a million humanoids push south across the Sar and down the Arm of the immortals. The Sar is decimated by the conflict that occurs. The Tiers of Pain are lost to the overwhelming number of humanoids and the Upper Sar finally falls. At this time a great steel ship is seen sailing the seas to the south. It is full of Halflings. After asking directions of the Kai-mother, they head east around the serpent peninsula with several clerics of Law who will migrate to the Sind to convert the locals. As the Empire is pushed from the Upper Sar. The Empire is forced to retreat into the south where It becomes two regions of a City-State. The Capital in the East and the White Mosque in the West.
During this age of Anarchy, A mortal Thanatos (questing for Immortality) opens many gates in the Upper Sar until the Sar is so mingled with the outer planes that one might travel through multiple realities and planes by simply walking from one village to the next.
2858 SY The Thousand Years of Anarchy End There is a fable that a Kaisar had attacked Thanatos on his home plane during this time with a small army of Kelintji Slayers because Thanatos had taken the "Heart of the Sar". It is thought by many that this means that the Kai-Mother was abducted by the Immortal Thanatos yet some versions of the fable suggest the heart of the Sar was returned to the Kai-Mother. The Age of Anarchy ends with this event yet the Upper Sar is still inaccessible due to the dimensional disruption caused by so many gates.
3000 SY The Migrations are well in the past as the World settles into its new position. The Sar is now several thousand miles south of the Arctic circle. New Crops and Farming techniques learned from the Distant Nithians provides for the rebuilding of the Sar from the thousand years of Anarchy. Kaisar Nasi Goreng (the fifteenth of his name) retakes the Tiers of Pain and The Yazak nomads are pushed back beyond the Wards.
3457 SY The White Mosque is infiltrated by Clerics of Thanatos leading to an assassination attempt on the Kai-Mother. There is a purge known as the night of justice in which the current Kaidaitch (a cleric of Thanatos) and his fellow evil clerics are slaughtered.
4157 SY (1000AC): The Modern Era). At this time the Current Kaisar is Kaisar Nasi Goreng (the fifty seventh Kaisar to wear that name). He is giving the current Kai-Mother (still <gold-dragon>) no end of stress.
4169 SY (1012AC): Kaisar Nasi Goreng betrays the Sar to the Heldannic Knights. He is Killed during the conflict by a Gold Dragon (Considered a very bad indictment on his character) and the Heldann Warbirds are destroyed in a terrible battle over the Imperial City in which the Gold Dragon is reportedly killed. Servants report that the Kai-mother <gold-dragon> passed away in her apartments during the conflict.*
The New Kaisar is <golden-talon>. He is of the Benang family line thought lost for four thousand years. It is revealed that the original Kai-Mother had an affair with a General in the service of the First Kaisar of the Goreng line. That Generals' descendants became the Kai-Mother's traditional Protection through the millennia ahead.
* The Events 0f 4169 SY (1012AC) are detailed in the Short Story "The Wolf and the Dragon"