The story of Drakan: TAG
(Including story of Order of the Flame)
In the earliest times, Drakan was a world of chaos and endless struggle. It’s many tribes and races were scattered, warring amongst one another in a vicious cycle of death and retribution. The two greatest races — the elder breed of Dragons and the younger tribes of Humanity — fought bitterly against one another. Where mankind encroached on the nesting grounds of Dragons, the great beasts razed human villages and scorched their croplands. And in further retribution, stealthy bands of men would seek to trap and kill lone Dragons wherever they could.
This madness raged for centuries, until at last, one tiny flicker of reason shone forth. High in the central mountains of the great continent, a lone tribe of men enacted an uneasy truce with the neighboring Dragons. Through time, this peace grew into a mutual trust, and the two tribes began to work for their common good. The strength of this alliance gradually spread to the surrounding regions, and the seeds of the first great civilization were sown. As a symbol of the greatest virtues of this society, the two races agreed upon the pact known as The Bond. Through the magic of an artifact known as the Dragonstone, the bravest and most noble of men would join their life essence to that of a single dragon, linking the two forever as one. These Bonded formed a loose alliance known as the Order of the Flame, serving as roaming protectors and arbitrators. The Order embodied the ideals of brotherhood and cooperation upon which their society was built.
Led by the gleaming example of the Bonded, the Order of the Flame rapidly spread its influence and philosophy throughout the continent, gathering the warring races and petty kingdoms into a single great nation. For generations, this peace held fast, enforced by the formidable dragon-riders. Freed from the constant threat of warfare, their scholars turned to the study of magic, devising potent spells to alter the very land around them and mold it to their needs. Nothing, it seemed, was unattainable. One example of the Order’s greatest achievements was the building of a rune gate at every major city throughout the world. These gates enabled humans and dragons alike to quickly travel from one place to another effectively merging all of the world’s continents into one large realm.
But as in all times, there were those whose hearts held only hatred and darkness, who longed to rule over others and destroy the Order of the Flame. Equality is by nature preventative to profit and superiority, so many were displeased with the Order’s vision. Secret societies and subversive factions took shape; gradually building an invisible network of those opposed to the Order. The most malevolent of these groups would come to be known as the Dark Union – an alliance of the strongest and most influential of the Order’s foes.
At last, it was a man called Navaros who would bring an end to this Golden Age. A War Mage of tremendous power and an honored member of the Order, Navaros was in truth a member of the Dark Union’s inner council. Under Navaros’ direction, the Dark Union had been conducting vile experiments in genetics and forbidden magic, deep in the trackless wildlands of the eastern frontier. The discoveries made in these desolate lands were kept hidden from the world, known only to Navaros and the Inner Council.
Impatient with the bickering of the Council, and certain that the time to move against the Order had come, Navaros took matters into his own hands. Through quick and bloody decision, Navaros crowned himself as supreme leader of the Dark Union, and set his plans for the downfall of the Order of the Flame into motion. Mounting his ancient dragon, Kaeros, he gave quiet instructions to each of his lieutenants, then disappeared into the eastern waste, not to be seen again for another ten years.
Navaros’ brethren within the Order, unaware of his true nature, had mourned his disappearance and many had searched for him in vain. Ten years later, when he appeared on the steps of the great Dragon Temple, he was greeted with joy and disbelief. A meeting of the city’s Bonded was hurriedly called, so that all could hear Navaros’ story and welcome his return. Navaros stood silently until the last of his brothers was seated. Then, with a grim smile, he uttered a Word of Power not spoken in over six hundred years, and destruction ripped through the hall.
Outside, a dense fog had risen, blanketing the streets in a dismal mist. Blinding flashes of light rippled across the city, and streams of dark, hulking shapes poured from the alleys, laying about them with blood-clotted axes and great butcher’s blades. Within minutes, the streets were choked with the dead, and the air resounded with the bestial roars of the Dark Union’s monstrous servants. By nightfall, the city was in ruins, and the brightest minds of the Order lay sealed in the smoldering rubble of the Dragon Temple. The Dark Wars had begun.
The Armies Gather
As word of Navaros’ treachery spread, the remaining cities rose up against him, and war engulfed the world. Everywhere, the agents of the Dark Union streamed to Navaros’ side, cutting a swath of treachery and murder. Among them were several of the Order’s greatest mages, and many of the Bonded. Spells of unimaginable destruction raged across the world, leveling cities and armies on both sides. One by one, the great achievements and marvels of the Order’s golden age were ground into dust.
In his years in the waste, Navaros had amassed a nightmare army, strengthened by dark magic of his own design. The elder race of Giants, long driven into the wildlands and forgotten, had reemerged under the Dark Union’s banner. From the creatures of the wilderness, Navaros’ magic had produced legions of twisted and vile monsters, which crawled and hopped at his command. Most dismaying of all were the Dark Union’s shock troops — the Wartoks. Never a part of the Order, the Wartoks had always been a primitive and volatile race, distant from the world of men, but not evil. Under the Dark Union’s sorcerous influence, the Wartoks had grown bestial and murderous, their minds clouded with the lust for blood. It was the Wartoks, in wave after wave, which drove back the forces of the Order, until it seemed all would be lost.
Seeing victory within his grasp, and no longer content to share the reins of power, Navaros betrayed the Dragon, Kaeros. In a foul perversion of the ancient bonding ritual, he devoured the creature’s soul, absorbing its body into his own. Now, grown monstrous and nearly invincible, Navaros prepared to lead his armies against the last remnants of the Order of the Flame.
The Last Stand
At the foot of Mount Tibor, the remains of the Order gathered for one final stand. In a last, desperate hope, the surviving mages had invested their power in a single weapon — the Runeblade. Surrounded and outnumbered, the Order’s only chance lay in this sword. The weapon was borne by the warrior Heron, and the dragon, Arokh.
As the armies clashed, Navaros entered a mystic trance, drawing power for a massive spell of destruction. The sound of the battle around him had become an unending roar of chaos, but he was undisturbed. With the stolen strength of his dragon’s soul, Navaros had grown far mightier than any mage before him. Unimaginable forces filled him, dancing about his monstrous body like living smoke. As the words of destruction rose to his lips, a lone dragon came shrieking from the clouds, weaving amidst the streams of lightning and fire that flooded the sky. On Arokh’s back, Heron gripped the Runeblade in both hands, and with one final cry, drove it deep into Navaros’ blackened heart. All sound went silent somehow, in the moment of the act.
The tremendous forces Navaros had summoned were unleashed without direction, rippling across the field in jagged, searing bolts, which gouged and tore at the earth. The clash of swords was heard no longer, and blackness hung over the field. Only the low moans of the dying echoed in the gloom. When at last the smoke cleared, the two great armies lay decimated. Where Navaros had stood, a wound-like rip had been torn in the very fabric of space, its edges glowing and flickering with a dark and fibrous energy. In the smoldering crater below, Heron lay dead, the Runeblade broken in two at his side. In that blackened pit, only the dragon Arokh still clung to life.
The Order of the Flame was no more, but their enemies had been scattered. With the fall of Navaros, the Dark Union’s hold on its bestial armies collapsed. But without the Order, survival became the world-imperative, and thoughts of nobility were forgotten. Chaos spread across the land. Weary of the human world, the remaining Dragons of the Elder Breed withdrew to their lairs to go into timeless slumber, never again to return. The world split once more into many tribes and kingdoms, and the great achievements of the previous age were soon forgotten.
Magic and glory had faded from the world, and of the Order of the Flame, only the legends remained.
The Desert Lords
50 years later, the world of Drakan had turned into a world where only lawlessness ruled. Bandits and thieves roamed the land stealing from anyone and anything that crossed their path. Humans no longer were free to travel the land and they waged war with the Wartocks and Grull whenever they met. Fiercely territorial feral dragons roamed the skies making travelling difficult for any being and a lone traveller was easy prey.
Seizing their chance, an alien race from the world of Sessool called the Desert Lords came to Drakan with intentions of conquering it as their own enslaving or slaughtering many of Drakan’s human population. The Grull and Wartocks became allies with the Desert Lords over time and eventually began to replace humans as the dominant species on the planet. Human cities and establishments began to disappear and survivors were forced to live like animals in caves out in the wilderness safe from their oppressors.
Over the next five and a half centuries, this evil gradually grew stronger spreading to other continents of the world until eventually the race of Succubi decided to rid the world of the Desert Lords as well as the rest of the humans. To do this required a being of immense power and through arcane magic, they managed re-open the rift through which Navaros was cast many years ago. However this proved to be no easy task; the rift was soon sealed again by Rimril, the last of the Order’s guardian Magi who had stood watch over the rift crystal in his fortress since that fateful final battle. Undeterred by this, the Succubi began to build a Grimstone gate as an alternative way of getting Navaros out of the rift and planned to capture a human to serve as a host for Navaros’s spirit once it was freed.
Many of the Wartocks and Grull turned against the Desert Lords and began to support their old master, Navaros as they thought he would be a more worthy ruler of the world. Most of the traitors supervised the mining and transportation of the Grimstone required to build these gates, most of which was mined from a ancient facility in the Surdana district situated on the central continent. A grimstone gate was constructed between the central and eastern continents to allow instant travel between the two realms.
Unhappy with the prospect of mining the material themselves, the Wartocks invaded nearby villages to capture humans and enslave them in the mines. One of these villages turned out to be Rynn’s hometown and she was ambushed on her way home. Knocked unconscious she was left for dead and her younger brother was taken away with the majority of the townspeople. Later after recovering, she returned to her village to find everyone gone and houses burnt to the ground. Those who did put up a fight or were deemed unsuitable for slaves were killed and lay mutilated on the ground. Looking for survivors, Rynn stumbled upon Atimar, the only one who knew that the myth of the Order was a true story and who knew the location of Arokh’s Lair and his soul crystal. Atimar unfortunately died before he could reveal the locations of the lair and the crystal leaving Rynn to find them on her own. However he did give her the key to his home which contained a book written when Arokh went into eternal sleep which included the itinerary of Heron’s funeral.
Rynn eventually found Heron’s sarcophagus in a crypt under the village church containing Arokh’s soul crystal and a map showing the location of Arokh’s Lair. Luck for Rynn seemed to be improving. She came across the lair in the early hours of the morning and successfully navigated the deadly traps and awakened Arokh. The Dragon, upon being awakened was furious that he had been brought out of eternal sleep just to help some woman find her kidnapped brother but he reluctantly bonded; mainly to prevent himself being used by someone with evil intent.
As Rynn and Arokh ventured through the mines it became apparent that this was more than just a Wartock raid indicated by a Dragon of the Elder Breed showing up at the mine entrance which attacked Arokh on sight. Puzzled by this, Arokh and Rynn pressed on until eventually they met the Dragon, Werokh guarding the portal to the south-eastern continent. Werokh was once a Dragon of the Order and a friend of Arokh’s but had been in stony sleep ever since due to the death of his rider. Werokh revealed that he had been awakened in the same way as Arokh but not bonded – instead he was possessed to serve a ‘Dark Master’ who had been resurrected. At this point he attempted to kill Arokh and a long and tough battle ensued. Arokh finally slayed him before he could get him to reveal more information about his master.
The Dark Union reborn
Leaving the central continent via the grimstone gate, the pair met up with Rimril, the last of the guardian Magi who had stood watch over the rift crystal since the end of the Dark Wars. The Runeblade was in two parts – the crystal and the blade itself and they needed to be reunited to enter the rift. Rynn then had to take the test of the tower, originally used to deem fit to be warriors of the Order. Only then could Rynn take the crystal from its resting place.
Unfortunately, when Rynn finally managed to obtain the crystal, she discovered Arokh had been captured by the Succubi queen as a sacrifice to Navaros. Rynn undertook a long and dangerous journey through the Succubi lair to reach Arokh before it was too late. Rynn found Arokh bound to a Rune Cage and unable to open it she pursued the Succubi queen through the volcanic caverns to a meeting room where she discovered that Delon, her brother was to be the vessel of Navaros and he was taken into the rift before she could do anything. She defeated Shilla, the queen, rescued Arokh and told him the news which sparked the biggest finale to a battle in centuries.
Rynn recovered the runeblade and united it with its crystal and together she and Arokh entered the rift for the final showdown against Navaros. Their mission was a success but it came at a price – the death of her brother, Delon. Saddened and weary, they closed the rift and destroyed the runeblade; forever preventing the rift from being opened again. Meanwhile, Lady Myscala, leader of Surdana learnt of Arokh’s return and began to plan the rebirth of the Order. Most of the Order’s spell books were recovered from the dragon temple after it was destroyed and these powerful artefacts were kept in the palace strongholds should they ever be needed again. Rynn and Arokh returned to Rynn’s hometown to bury the dead and both of them thought it was all over until Arokh heard something not heard in over six centuries – the call of the Order. Little did they know that they would be required to open four of the remaining rune gates to enable the Elder Breed to return to the world.