The Goddess of Nature in all her beauty and wrath, the Dragon is said to be older than the gods – older than the earth and stars. The Druids say that she has ever been and that she will ever be. Every breeze, every branch. Every wave and grain of sand; all are a part of Her. All seasons are faces of the Goddess, but the Druids honor her most during the season that bears her name. The Dragon Season, when the fiery heart of the Goddess blazes over the earth. This is when the dragon is said to be closest to the world. This is when she is most apt to hear the prayers of those who call to her.
And the Dragon is not alone.
A druid’s prayers allow him to tap into the primal elemental forces of nature. Like their goddess, the Druids can be fierce and unpredictable when their ire is raised. Their ability to harm their unfortunate enemies at a distance is unmatched among the priestly professions. The sheer unpredictability of their spells makes them dangerous opponents. As a servant of the elemental forces of Lightning, Ice, Stone and Fire, a druid has access to more damage types than any other. Further, a druid’s rituals tie him closer to one element than the others, making him stronger with his chosen element. Because of this, it is often difficult to know what to expect of any one druid.
The Dragon represents a power older than the gods. She is the Avatar of Nature itself – the physical embodiment of Ysarril, the World’s Tree. As such, the Dragon is neither Eddar nor Sh’ddar. All may come to her, whether they follow the Path of Light, Dark, or simply the way of the Greening World.
The four elemental wyrms – made from the scales of the Dragon herself, stand with the Mother in all things. A druid does not come to the Dragon without first coming to her Brood. They are Terrasque, the Dragon of Earth, Tempest, the Dragon of the Sky, Leviathan, Dragon of the Sea, and Forge, the Dragon of Fire. Together, the four elemental wyrms combine with the Mother to form the manifold power and mystery that is Nature. The cycle and its constant ebb and flow is the culmination of her power.
Is the Wyrm of the East, the Wyrm of Air. Tempest’s home among the stars is Illestra, also the home of the elemental race of Sylphs. There is a tale that Tempest was wounded by the Scourge, and fell into the southern sea and Leviathan, protects the only gateway to Tempest with a great Maelstrom.
Traits: Offerings are made to this Wyrm first. Tempest is spring, new ideas, inspiration, quick thinking
Opposite: When there is too much air, a tornado may form. A person may become to flighty, unfocused, and need grounding. Temper Air with Earth.
Is the Wyrm of the South, the Wyrm of Fire. Forge’s home was once Yggrandr, also the home of the Iffrit. The tale is that Forge is kept in a prison on Paradine, the home of the God Athos, because of a broken oath.
Traits: Forge is the fire of creation, summer, passion for what drives us, lessons from the heart, we find courage, and swift action.
Opposite: When there is too much fire, a forest fire will rage. Fire can also bring destruction. It can drive people to fight or action without thought. Temper Fire with Water.
Is the Wyrm of the West, the Wyrm of Water. Leviathan’s home is Lemuria, also the home of the Undine. There is a tale that the gateway to Lemuria has been forever closed because of the Aelfwar long long ago.
Traits: Leviathan is the fall, the time of harvest and to clear away the unnecessary. The days and nights grow colder like the depths of the sea. It is slow to act because of very calculated thoughts, introspection, and insight.
Opposite: When there is too much water, a tidal wave will crash upon the shores. Water slows us, we can become lost in thought and drown in them if we do not act. Temper Water with Fire.
Is the Wyrm of the North, the Wyrm of Earth. Terrasque’s home is Aeryn, also the home of the elemental race of Titans. The back of Terrasque is our home, and the believed to be the trunk of the World’s tree, unlike its siblings that live in boughs up above seen in the night sky. Terrasque was also wounded when the Scourge came, and these wounds festered turning into the Blight.
Traits: Terrasque is the Winter, when the ground is the hardest to break, the cold peaks of the mountains. Terrasque is tradition, stability, ancient wisdom, and protection.
Opposite: When there is too much Earth, an earthquake will break apart the land. Relying on too much on the wisdom of the past will hamper new ideas and inspiration. Temper Earth with Air.
Tir Anor, the ancient church of the Druids, became too structured and lost its true connection with Nature. Too many Druids sought elemental power instead of natural balance, and soon became the instrument of Tir Anor’s destruction. However, out of the rubble and ash a new life has taken root, the Wild Druids. Wild Druids had communed with their Wyrm in sacred places in the natural world called Mori. They finally roused to the call of the Grove Tree Yssa in Iargail, by the will of their Wyrm. They brought with them their ancient teachings and have brought true balance to the Sanctuary around Artanna.
The Eight Observances, as they are known, form the basis of the Druidic ethos. Critics cite the general obscurity of the Observances, but the Druids continue to find wisdom in them, guiding their lives by its simple course. Of we, the Caretakers, these things the Dragon asks that:
The Cycle is unbroken
The Balance is observed
The Dragon is obeyed
The Brood is preserved
The Covenant is honored
The Hunter is allowed
The Blight is Lifted
The Ways are Avowed
Appearing only after the Scourge, the Blight is the most deadly plague to ever descend upon Aeryn. Bridging the gap between animal and plantlife, the Blight affects everything that lives. No insect, tree, mammal or fungus is immune. The Druids claim that the Blight is a representation of the many wounds inflicted upon the world by the Demon host. While the truth may never be fully known, the Blight and its eradication seem to be of paramount importance to the Druids. Together with the Healers, they search endlessly for a cure to this terrible affliction.
The Blight is transferred by only a handful of readily known means. Contact with a blighted creature, or casting from a blighted component may induce the sickness. However there are times when the Blight seems to manifest at random and for no clear reason. Angry green veins appear beneath the flesh of the victim, whose unfortunate fate is nothing short of a prolonged, agonizing death.
The druids say that the Scourge is a wound in the world. Ugly and festering, the wound was long ago inflicted on Terrasque by Ixiel. It continues to gnaw on the Earth Dragon, causing unbearable pain and driving him to insanity. From this wound springs the curse of the Blight, served by the menace of the Defiler Lords. Defilers are those who have given themselves over completely to the Blight and serve its ends as though it were a sentient entity. These wielders of disease and torment draw upon the suffering of the world and inflict it back on those whooppose them. Many defilers were former druids who have become somehow corrupted by the suffering of Terrasque. For these twisted individuals, there can be no hope of salvation, and the Druids are committed to eradicating them wherever they are encountered. While their influence in the world remains small, the Defilers appear to be growing in number. Former members of all professions and races can be found among them, maddened by the horrible pain inflicted on the world.
The Obelisk of Nature
The Obelisk of Nature is one of the most remote of all the Obelisks. Geographically, it is the only Obelisk that does not stand on the continent of Artanna. Rather, the Obelisk is found amid the rolling forests of Erridor. The druids maintain the Obelisk and its surrounding forests are zealously guarded. The entire area has become something of an Eddar retreat, and members of all three Emissary churches can be found there. Only the Obelisk of Truth in Valan-Tir is so vigorously maintained. However, the extreme distance of the Obelisk usually makes it the final destination point of pilgrimages and word from it comes infrequently. Recently, more and more Erlish settlers have arrived in the area, asking that the druids allow them tosettle the small swath of Erridor protected by the Obelisk. The Erlish seem to feel that the Dragon herself spared their ancient homeland, and a growing number of Erlish serve the Dragon as her emissaries.