The Crystal Keys
History of the Crystal Keys
The ancient azure-scaled wyrm peers at you hauntingly with a great eye, the color of limpid pools.
“For many centuries, my brethren and I have guarded the secret of the Keys. I myself am the second youngest of all the guardians, although my lifespan has long since exceeded its mortal limitations. I have lived to see the birth of every thriving race in this realm, and to detail my life’s story would take you the better part of a century, I’m afraid. However, I will tell you the tale of the Keys.
I was well into my 2nd millennium when the crystals were formed, and beginning my 3rd when the Keys were attuned. The Crystals hold the power of the life force that feeds the Realm and as such is a great tool of protection for the realm, and its keepers, the Elven Race. Although created by Io, the ninefold, Elves were named as the Keepers because my kin were too righteous to handle such a responsibility with the empathy and humility needed to prosper. My draconic brothers conceded at first, but within a short 5 centuries, grew tired of the noble air the elves took on, and Io and Corellon both agreed that the elves had indeed become a bit too pompous, perhaps.
In order to correct this saddening, but undeniable behavioral deviance, they devised a plan, “the Kingstar.” The dragon-kind, although furious at the elves pretentiousness, were kept in check by the rulers and priests that chose to remain calm and voted for patience in the matter. So, Io proposed a plan that would take control of the latent fury the dragons repressed and amplify it, turning it into an all-consuming rage. By doing so, he explained, the dragons would attack the Elven people, in hopes of proving and reminding them of draconic superiority. Corellon saw Io’s intended point, and offered to take away the full extent of the Crystal’s power, so that the Elves would completely understand their folly.
When the dragons attacked, Corellon would then appear to the People and show them a light of hope during the darkest hour. Io agreed and began the creation of the Kingstar. Fifty years later, Corellon looked up through the trees of Arvandor as the skies turned blood red. Grinning satisfactorily, Corellon had the darkness of the night crafted into seven arrows of the most terrible kind. During this night, the dragons and elves alike had fitful nightmares that drove them all to the brink of insanity. This time was later known as the Night of Eternal Terror.
When the dragons awoke, they went into a destructive frenzy, believing as Io told them, that the elves had finally crossed the line and begun to attempt a subjugation of Dragon-kind. Meanwhile, Corellon handed the arrows to his daughter, the Great Huntress, and instructed her to aim for all seven Crystals. As ever, her aim was true, and all seven crystals cracked with despair. Pleased with his daughter, Corellon descended to Toril and confronted the elves, explaining their folly, the crack of the crystals, and the on-coming flight of Dragons.
Finally, seeing the defeat and sadness and remorse in his children’s eyes, he was satisfied and told them there was hope. As the Flight of Dragons descended upon the coastal elven establishments, Corellon reached out with his heart and touched each Crystal which, in turn, began to shine with brilliance. His people smiled, believing they were saved.
Then the shining dimmed and flowed out of the cracks upon one person per crystal. Corellon frowned sadly as he explained to his children that he could not save them by himself. The Crystals had chosen seven champions for the elves. Those champions must find the seven Keys to mend the crystals. If failed, the elven race is surely doomed.
Back at the Council Aerie, Io had once again appeared to his people, calling a convention of all Dragons. When all had arrived, he presented them with the Seven Runeblades of the Crystals, explaining that they were forged by Dragon Fire and Corellon’s hand. Io told them of how the elves had chosen champions and were coming to request a truce. Placing complete faith in his kin to reason with and keep the elves in check, Io instructed his children to guard the blades, for they held immense power.
The dragons, however, all stepped forth to seize the blades. In a flash, Io came up with a plan. Whoever was to guard a blade will be Io’s champion. However, it will mean the total annihilation of all other dragons of that type. While many dragons stalled at this proposal, many more did not.
The aerie erupted into battle as evil dragons sought to betray their brethren for the pursuit of power. Breeog, a shadow dragon, with a cunning mind sharpened by many harsh centuries, lashed out with all his speed seizing the first blade, the Dark Blade. Immediately his kin fell dead, deteriorating at an awesome rate. Knowing that this meant many hordes now left unclaimed; the chromatic dragons left the scene to attain other power.
The metallic and Gem dragons followed quickly, believing it their duty to keep the evil chromatics from obtaining too much power. This left the various unique dragons to vie for the positions. The deep dragons engaged in tests of strength and wit alike, while the yellow and brown dragons argued rank and prestige. My brethren and I looked to the sea and stars for a sign as to whom would be most suited to guarding such an important responsibility. Through powerful divining magics, I was settled upon, and I claimed the second blade, Seasinger with a saddened heart and farewell to my brothers and sisters.
Because of their whimsical nature, few Mercuries heard the call of Io, or heeded it if they heard. Such was their way, and Io thought it justly so. As it happened, Wynddancer, still but a juvenile, freshly awakened from his first Sleep, was the only one present from his race. Io approached him with one question: “Which one illusion is best not seen through?” Wynddancer smiled mischievously, and replied, “The innocence of a child is an illusion best kept intact.” The creed of a mercury dragon. Io chuckled softly and patted Wynddancer on the snout with a great claw. Gesturing to the third blade, Deceiver, he wished Wynddancer well.
Shortly afterwards, the Deep dragons had finished their brutal games of death. Greydoc, a venerable deep stood unbeaten and the rightful heir to the fourth key, the Soul Blade. The test of intrigue and politics had come to a standstill for both the yellow and brown dragons. Both groups had narrowed it down to two candidates but could not decide between the two. So, in answer, Byrnyngsande and Brytstar, a brown and a yellow respectively, both young and naïve in the ways of intrigue, but equally impetuous and brash – qualities held in high regard in the youth of either species – snuck away and toward the three remaining blades. With a greedy grin, Byrnyngsande reached out quietly, grasping the fifth key, the Crimson Lover, Inferno’s Child.
Brytstar hesitated as he saw the malicious light in Sande’s eyes as he looked out upon his dying kin. At this point, the other yellows noticed what had happened and became furious with Brytstar’s lack of obedience to the laws of debate they’d lived by for so long. Brytstar panicked as they charged to destroy him for his insolence. In despair, he swiped up the sixth key, Lightbringer, and held it high. He stared in horror as his race fell before his feet. Then he laughed madly; amused at how he’d escaped the law he’d broken so easily.
At that point, there were two full races left, the Cloud and the Steel dragons. They’d sat patiently waiting to see the outcomes of the other swords. With one remaining, the two races convened as a whole, and it was decided that Kreeon would be elected to take the final sword.
However, as Kreeon stepped up behind the magnificent blade, he stopped and addressed his kin and God. “I am honored to take up such a position under our Protector and God, the Ninefold Dragon. However, I believe there is another more worthy of the position.” Io was intrigued by this and questioned Kreeon as to whether he was instead attempting to save his race. “I recognize the power proffered and the honor of such responsibility placed before me. I do not decline out of emotional ties to my family, for we all believe that if such is your will, it is best. I decline because, although more experienced, I am the oldest of either race, and fear I may not be able to protect the sword.”
Io pondered this venerable, wise opinion and nodded thoughtfully. “Very well,” he replied, “then who would you have take up the key?”
“My lord, with all due respect, I believe Tarrick of the Steelryng clan is the best choice to fulfill your wishes. He is young, but mature of thought, and in far better physical condition than I am. Sharp of intellect and quick of reflex, he is a fine scholar, and more than able warrior, and last but not least, a dear friend of mine. I wish no ill on his clan or race, however, and considering the parameters of circumstance, propose a compromise. With your permission, I propose Tarrick and I both guard the sword in different ways. I will be the sword’s keeper, while Tarrick will be my eyes and ears to the outside world. Furthermore, allow him usage of the blade and link it to my lifeline and his, so that should one of us fail you, the other will know by the sword’s alert or transportation to the other.”
Io furrowed his scaled brows and spoke in a powerful tone, “And if, in the future, I send someone to fetch the Key?”
Kreeon bowed his head reverently, “Should you, O’ Great Platinum One, send for your sword, your messenger must be approved by the both of us, and in the event of our satisfaction, I will see to it that your messenger and blade are returned to you safely and in the greatest haste.”
“Your request is bold, child…”
“The protection of your gift is the only thing I desire, and I will not settle for less impenetrable defense, milord.”
“Clans of the cloud and steel dragons, do you all agree to these terms and forfeit your lives so that these kin may protect my blade?”
the steel and cloud dragons all roared their agreement.
Io turned his massive heads toward Tarrick. “I see no falsehood in your friend’s words…” he said, slowly and deliberately, “Do you stand by him and his proposal?”
“Your majesty, although I am young, Kreeon is my friend. As much as my youth will cause me pain to let those close to me pass so quickly, I understand the importance as well as Kreeon. I only ask that as we take up your sword, you take up our kin and place them where they may be forever content. I will accept Kreeon’s proposal.” Tarrick said thoughtfully.
The great hall was quiet as Io spread his great wings and rose to his full height, his awesome presence engulfing the dragons’ minds like ants in a flash flood.
“It has been decided then. These blades I have entrusted to you, guard them with spell and cunning, tooth and claw, dragon flight, and dragon breath. You will live to see these blades used once more after this, then you will join your kin and a replacement will be named. And remember that you should be weary of making the elves’ mistake, lest I prove myself a harsher master than Corellon.” With that Io gestured toward the last key, and Kreeon and Tarrick held it aloft together. With that, the cloud and steel dragons disappeared in a flash, as did Io. Mykell, the Aerie’s Grand Custodian bid the eight farewell, as I do to you.”