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Chapter 1 - An Omen

On the eve of the last solstice, amidst the sacred grove where the spirits of the ancestors whispered secrets to the living, stood the Shaman of Clan Gethmara. A respected figure among my tribe, was granted a vision that would ripple through the fabric of existence.

As the flames of the ceremonial fire danced in mesmerizing patterns and the echoes of ancient chants filled the air, the Shaman's consciousness soared into the ethereal realms, guided by the unseen hands of the spirits. There, amidst the swirling mists of the astral plane, a majestic white elk materialized—a creature of unearthly beauty and profound wisdom. Its fur shimmered like freshly fallen snow, and its eyes glowed with an otherworldly light, casting a luminous gaze upon the Shaman. In that moment, the Shaman felt a profound sense of reverence and awe wash over her. She knew that this creature was no ordinary beast, but a harbinger of both enlightenment and dread. As the vision unfolded before her, the Shaman beheld scenes of both wonder and terror. She saw the white elk roaming the verdant forests with grace and majesty, its presence bringing harmony and balance to the natural world. But alongside its benevolent influence, she also witnessed the devastation that followed in its wake—the land laid waste by cataclysmic events, and the cries of the innocent echoing through the wilderness.

With each passing moment, the vision grew clearer, revealing glimpses of a future. The white elk, with its enigmatic presence, was both a beacon of hope and a harbinger of doom—a paradoxical symbol of wisdom and destruction intertwined. As the vision came to a close and the Shaman returned to the mortal realm, she carried with her the weight of what she had seen. A prophecy of profound significance that would shape the destiny of Clan Gethmara and all who dwelled in the world of Elgia. As she woke from the trance-like state, her heart heavy with the burden of knowledge, she knew that the coming of the white elk heralded a time of reckoning—a time when the fate of my tribe and the world itself would hang in the balance.

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Dragonborn: a race of humanoid looking lizardmen that resemble dragons in their facial features, although they lack wings. Long scaly tails are part of their physical structure which helps them to keep balance and allow a more agile movement. Males and females can be distinguished very easily. While the males are typically adorned with a pair of horns, females at most show a prominent bumps on their heads. Compared to humans, they stand taller by inches and their bulky build makes them weight two times more than an average human. Coloration of their scales varies among natural colors of metal. Their small, fine scales are usually gleaming metallic gold, silver, brass, copper, or bronze.

Dragonborn owe their devotion and respect to their clan above all else, even the gods. They tend to seek out mountainous regions in which to settle instead of open spaces, living in one place no longer than few years. Finding resources essential to their tribe's well being is their main goal. They tend to set up their villages in or near the mountains. These people are peaceful and open to trade with other races. At the same time, they are also an excellent fighters and feel at home in the wilderness. If anyone tries to harm the clan, they will feel the wrath of every single clan member. Dragonborns of Clan Gethmara inhabit the mountain ranges of Narrow Peaks in the eastern part of Prostonian Empire.

- Professor Alistair Wyvernwood,

Delving into the Lore of Dragonborn Civilization


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It was normal afternoon in our village, despite the tension one could feel rising among the tribe. I was in my tent with my daily preparations, tending to my axe, as I heard a commotion coming from the heart of the village.

The hunting party had returned from their four-day expedition. Every member, from the seasoned veterans to the eager younglings, undertaking their first rite of passage, bore the marks of their journey. Minor injuries dotted their ranks, badges of honor to be healed by the Shaman's skilled hands. But despite their efforts, the spoils of the hunt were meager, leaving the tribe facing the looming specter of hunger.

"The game is scarce, and there's something unsettling about the forest," remarked Grakkar, the leader of the hunting party upon their return.

”What do you mean unsettling?” came a voice from the gathering crowd.

There stood a figure—a dragonborn chieftain whose presence commanded respect and admiration from all who crossed his path. His brass scales weathered by time and experience. His beard, a cascade of silvered scales adorned with beads and trinkets, spoke of a lifetime spent in service to his tribe. Despite the lines etched upon his weathered visage, his gaze shone with the fire of determination and wisdom. In his presence, there was a palpable sense of strength and resilience—a testament to his unwavering leadership and the enduring spirit of Clan Gethmara.

"Young one, share what you saw with the chieftain," Grakkar commanded, directing his gaze towards a trembling youngling named Rynn.

Bowing respectfully, Rynn stepped forward, his voice quivering as he recounted his sighting. "Ch-Chieftain, during our hunt, I spotted a creature atop the mountain—a white elk unlike any I've seen. Its fur shimmered against the snow, a ghostly presence haunting the wilderness."

Grakkar then added, ”Shortly before he told us that he saw something up on the cliff, I felt a shiver down my spine, despite that I didn't see it myself. It was as if I felt it's pressence.”

As I looked outside through the opening in my tent, more and more clanmates started gathering around them. I could hear whispers and talk all around. The murmurs of the crowd swelled with uncertainty, questions and fears mingling in the air like tendrils of smoke.

"What could that mean?" said an elderly voice.

"Mama, what are they talking about?" whimpered one the young.

"Does this mean Shaman's vision is real?" said another male next to my tent.

"Is this a sign, perhaps?" exclaimed the one next to him.

Such questions circulated through the crowd and I saw that Rynn, looked around anxiously as he saw the uncertainty in the eyes of his loved ones. I stood up and went outside my tent. “SILENCE!” I shouted in powerful voice that roared throughout the village and the crowd suddenly went silent. It was so quiet, aside from the rustling of leaves and the roar of the flowing river in the distance. People retreated in front of me, forming a corridor on the north side of the crowd, towards my tent. I was renowned throughout the village as one of its most skilled warriors and revered for my strength and prowess in tracking down elusive prey.

I felt all eyes on me. I stood out from the rest of my kin. My obsidian black scales and azure eyes, unique in every aspect. It is said that occasionally a rare individual is born. Uncommon coloration of their scales, either white or black as mine, these dragonborn are held in high esteem by their kin, for they are always destined for greatness. This fact weights heavily on me still, for there are expectations that I must fulfill. Dragonborn like me are always treated with respect by all from an early age, but at times I felt others were looking at me differently.

”Thorn..." the Chieftain turned towards me and said to me with a calm voice, "Thank you for your help, but I have it under control.”

I felt concerned, that the Chieftain wasn't taking this seriously, “Uncle, this is important! Remember the Shaman's vision. We know that the white elk is creature of great wisdom, but it also foretells the coming of death and destruction. From what Rynn is saying, his encounter may be the fulfillment of that vision.”

”I know, my boy, I am also troubled by this prediction. But we must solve this in peace,“ the Chieftain said with his right hand resting upon his beard.

As he said that, a young female emerged from the crowd, with her brass scales and beautiful yellow eyes. Her head was as smooth as silk, her scales fit perfectly together and no prominent bumps adorned her head.

”Grandfather! I want to help, you know I can fend for myself,” the young female exclaimed.

”I didn’t say you couldn't, Kira my dear,” replied the Chieftain, "But remember, you are bound to stay here and help our people with their hardships. It is your duty as the next chieftain." He gave Kira a nod, ”Hunters, let's move to my tent, there we will discuss what you saw and how we will continue. Thorn, boy, please join us.”

”As you wish Uncle. - Vex! Drax! With me!" I follwed them into the chieftain's tent and my two closest companions followed after me.

”B-But I can help in other ways, you know I do!” Kira cried out.

Though the Chieftain acknowledged her bravery, he remained steadfast in his decision. "Leave this matter to us, granddaughter," he declared, his voice commanding obedience. "We will address the threat, but your safety is paramount."

The Chieftain then shouted in a powerful voice that few would expect from him these days, “ALL OF YOU! As you were. We will let you know the next steps after we discuss this situation.”

As the chieftain and his trusted warriors retreated to discuss their next course of action, I felt the weight of responsibility settle upon my shoulders like a cloak of shadows. Joined by my companions, I stood before the crackling fire within the dimly lit confines of the chieftain's tent. Vex, Drax, Kira the hunting party and I had gathered around. My uncle, the Chieftain, sat at the head of the gathering, his elder piercing gaze sweeping over the group.

"So Rynn, describe the creature again," commanded the chieftain, his gaze piercing as he sought clarity amidst the uncertainty.

Rynn, shifted uneasily on his feet before finally speaking up, "Chieftain," he began, his voice trembling, "as I said during our hunt in the mountains, I stumbled upon a sight that filled me with dread."

The Chieftain's brow furrowed as he listened to Rynn, "Go on, Rynn, tell us the details," he urged, his tone gentle yet firm. Rynn swallowed hard before continuing.

"W-we were hunting a boar in the canyon, you know... the one in the Northern pass?” Rynn explained. "We were tracking it through the brush when the forest around us fell silent. I glanced up wondering what had caused such silence and that's when I saw it. The White Elk."

I leaned forward as my azure eyes fixed intently on Rynn, "What did you see exactly?" I urged him.

Rynn's gaze flickered nervously, "The creature stood atop a cliff and it was ... as if hidden in shadows. Its eyes glowed with an otherworldly light, and I felt as though it were peering into the depths of my soul."

With each detail shared, the gravity of our situation became clearer. The appearance of the White Elk was no mere coincidence—it was a harbinger of dire events yet to unfold.

The Chieftain listened intently, his expression grave, "This is no ordinary sighting," he declared, his voice heavy with solemnity, "The appearance of the White Elk may hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of the vision that the Shaman saw during last solstice."

Kira just stood motionless by the entrance, her face a canvas of contemplation, betraying the multitude of thoughts that were swirling within her mind.

Vex was one of my closest comrades and the best tracker in the whole tribe. Unlike the other males, he was small and cunning. His scales were of a greenish color resembling copper covered by verdigris. After a moment of silence, he spoke up, his voice steady and resolute. "We cannot ignore this omen," he stated firmly, "Thorn, we must seek out the White Elk and discover the truth behind its appearance. Do you think we could,... I don't know,... talk to it maybe?"

It was a question that I didn't ask myself until then. What would we do once we found it? "I am not certain Vex, but first we need to track it and then maybe we can learn what its appearence might mean." I replied.

Drax, my stalwart companion, a fierce yet simple-minded warrior, nodded in agreement. His scales shone with clear golden color, while his broad figure cast a giant shadow on the walls. He wasn't one of the brightest, but sure he was one of the strongest.

"Aye," Drax grunted, his voice rumbling like distant thunder. "Find Elk. Save village.”

The Chieftain nodded. "Thorn, my boy. Choose warriors that you trust!" he said to me, his voice echoing with authority. Then he turned and spoke to all that were present, ”Thorn and those he chooses shall seek out the White Elk. We must learn the truth and ensure the safety of our clan and the world of Elgia."

As the fire crackled and cast dancing shadows across the tent, uncle rose to his feet, his imposing figure silhouetted against the flickering flames, "We must not falter. Gather your supplies and prepare yourselves," he commanded. "You shall depart at first light."

I exchanged a solemn glance with my two companions, our resolve mirrored in each other's eyes. Then I declared, "We will not fail, uncle!" despite the churning uncertainty in my chest.

With a nod, uncle turned to leave the tent, his cloak billowing behind him like the wings of a great dragon. As he disappeared into the coming night, I knew that our journey was only just beginning—a journey that would test our courage, strength, and unity in the face of unimaginable challenges.

As I ventured outside, I stood by the entrance of the chieftain's tent. With a long sigh I then departed to my tent to gather my supplies, when a presence approached me from behind—a soft footfall accompanied by the rustle of fabric. I turned and there I saw Kira, standing before me. Despite her youth, there was a fire in her gaze.

I heard the frustration in her voice, even though she was trying her best not to show it, "Thorn, I know you're leading the party to seek out the White Elk, but I want to join you."

Looking down to meet Kira's gaze, I had to somehow convice her to stay behind, "It's not safe. There may be dangers ahead that you're not prepared for."

"I can handle myself," she retorted, "I've trained with the best hunters in the clan. I won't be a burden—I'll fight alongside you every step of the way."

I was conflicted. On one side I knew deeply in my heart that Kira was strong and skilled enough, that she would be a huge help on this journey. On the other hand I made a promise to my uncle, the Chieftain, that I will protect Kira with all my strength to ensure that one day she will take up his mantle and lead the tribe in his stead. If she was a little older I might have considered it, but I wasn't sure what to expect. This wasn't a normal hunting expedition. "I don't doubt your abilities, but this journey is fraught with peril, and I can't risk your safety. Your grandfather entrusted me to keep you out of harm's way, and I intend to honor that."

"I'm not a child anymore! I refuse to be left behind while others face danger in my place. I will prove myself worthy of this quest, with or without your approval," she responded.

I empathized with the determination in Kira's eyes. I knew she spoke with courage and conviction, but I also knew the weight of responsibility that rested upon my shoulders.

"I understand. But I still cannot allow you to accompany us. Your safety is paramount, and I cannot risk losing you to the dangers that lie ahead," I said.

With a heavy heart, I turned away, leaving Kira to wrestle with her frustration and disappointment. Then I joined Drax and Vex to prepare for the journey. Still, though, I couldn't shake the feeling of guilt that gnawed at my soul. I knew how skilled she was and that she could withstand more than most other warriors. But I had made a promise to my uncle that I would protect her at any cost, and if I took her with me, I would be spitting on that promise.

Once we gathered our supplies and completed our final preparations, I headed to my tent, hoping to catch some sleep. I knew I needed to be well-rested for the journey ahead, requiring every ounce of strength to sustain me. However, sleep eluded me; my mind was a whirlwind of conflicting voices, preventing any chance of rest. As dawn approached, I sought solitude. As I watched dawn break across the horizon, I closed my eyes and called upon the wisdom of my ancestors, seeking guidance and strength for what lay ahead. Determination replaced doubt with a fiery spark of renewed resolve.

With a final breath, I opened my eyes and faced the coming dawn. Whatever dangers awaited us in the mountains, I knew that we would face them together, bound by the bonds of kinship and the unbreakable spirit of Clan Gethmara. I sensed the silent trust and loyalty of my companions, their eyes watching me with unwavering support.

And so, as the first light of dawn bathed the village in golden hues, my companions and I embarked on our quest, leaving behind Kira and the echoes of her defiance ringing in the air. Guided by the cryptic vision of the Shaman, we braved the unknown depths of the wilderness in search of answers that could determine the fate of our village and the world of Elgia.

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HaydenCreed
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