Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Interview with a Dragon

After my interview with Darlao, the Leader of the guild “Order of the Silver Dragons”, I was approached by an individual who identified himself as an emissary of the “Chamber”. After a very short introduction, I was informed that a member of the Chamber had requested to meet with me. Not being familiar with the entity, I asked as politely as possible (while bring escorted out of my office), who exactly the Chamber was, and what they wanted with me.  The individual smiled, and said I will find out soon enough. Being lead through the Market gates with no further explanation, I figured it had been so long since a potential story had sought me out, I might as well relish the attention, and see what it was all about. Besides, it didn’t appear the emissary was giving me an option to opt out of the meeting.

We proceeded to the Hall of the Mark, which was devoid of the normal guide for the tour, which I thought was a bit odd… she was always there day or night giving information and quizzes into one’s ancestry and knowledge of the Dragon Marked Houses.  Nevertheless, we went inside, and when the door closed behind us, the emissary waved his hand in a circular motion, causing a portal the size of a small ox cart to appear in the center of the room.

With a gesture for me to enter, I walked through the blue and white swirling lights. Not knowing if I was inadvertently walking to my doom, I closed my eyes and clenched my teeth (as well as other parts not appropriate to mention) tightly as I went through. The temperature changed from cool and crisp, to hot and muggy in an instant.

When I realized I was still alive, I opened my eyes and saw that I was standing in the middle of what looked like a huge outdoor courtyard under a large gazebo, made of ornately carved white and green marble. One of the first things I noticed, was a an intricately carved and decorated desk, made of what looked like a combination of ivory and livewood. Sitting behind this desk was a what appeared to be an a lithe, yet powerful in presence individual; I think he looked more like an Elf that anything else, but I couldn't really tell and didn’t feel it was appropriate to ask at that particular moment.

In a very smooth and graceful wave of his hand, he motioned me to sit in a comfortable looking chair before him. I graciously accepted; sitting down, I realized we were the only two in the courtyard, my escort was no longer present. He sat casually with his hands on the desk, thumb and forefinger of each hand touching to form a triangle. We sat for what felt like several minutes, before he spoke.

Silverrar: I am Silverrar, and I am the one responsible for bringing you here today”...

What might have been a smile quickly flickered for a moment upon the face of Silverrar and then he spoke once more.

"You have questions about my Silver Dragons upon Eberron, I have one for you before we proceed...... Why?"   

I felt a bit uncomfortable being summoned then questioned about things I too had questions about, but I figured I might as well humor him, for the time being anyway. Then, suddenly putting two and two together, I came to the realization that I was sitting before a real live Dragon! Quickly collecting myself I spoke; timidly at first, and then I fully gained my composure and dove head first.

CC: “I must admit, my knowledge of your kind is very limited, and thus my answers may seem a bit awkward at times. Please let me offer my apologies in advance should I... inadvertently say something inappropriate.”

Not entirely the truth, but one doesn’t need to reveal every detail of every happenstance encounter one has with a Dragon. After All, what one might derive from a casual conversation might end up being catastrophic, especially in a circumstance such as this. No, I think I’ll be careful with this one. I then continued my somewhat long winded answer.

CC: “I became aware of the Order of the Silver Dragons a short time ago while interviewing the guild leader. And, during that interview, I became acutely aware of an almost timeless air about him; not that he was anything but mortal, but that he has been advised by someone who possesses such deep knowledge and understanding of the world, that he almost exudes it himself. As a seeker of knowledge, and proprietor of the truth, I am naturally curious about things I do not understand. So that is why I am interested in the Order, perhaps now you will reveal why you have summoned me here?”

A bold counter, but I hope it will get him to get to the point.

Silverrar sat for  a moment, seemingly in deep contemplation. He drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly, almost as if the calm himself before he answered, or perhaps it was his way to focus his mind for a conversation he would need to think deeply on.

Silverrar: “Truth.... knowledge....these are worthy goals or perhaps I should say, these are worthy journeys to undertake. It has been said that evil never sleeps and some of the tools of evil are falsehoods and ignorance, My Silver Dragons are primarily concerned with combating evil and protecting those who are small and weak, those unable to protect themselves.” The Dragon stood up, leaned forward on his desk, and looked at me with an intense stare. “Yet Evil also seeks knowledge in order to facilitate its goals. You must understand that when I find someone seeking knowledge of my Silver Dragons I become concerned for I do not wish to find someone gathering knowledge of my Dragons in order to use against them.” His eyes seem to look deep within me; I felt my heart skip a beat, and I struggled to contain my urge to look away. He then went on to ask, “ Just what is it you wish to know?”

At this point, I’m a bit curious as to why he’s avoiding my question about why he summoned me here, and then I realize that he is giving me the opportunity to ask him questions, as the reason for my summons. Although probably a bit foolishly, I decide to press my luck, and pursue my previous line of questioning

CC: I do admire your dedication to the fellows of the order; a dedication that must keep you very busy if you bring everyone who inquires about them to this place. I assume you brought me to the continent of Argonnessen? Given the drastic climate change, I would assume it to be true.”

A bit emboldened, I go on to say,

CC: “I do not presume to know the ways of Dragons, but I would assume there is a deeper purpose for my presence, other than to determine my intentions. I do not believe you bring everyone to this place simply because they asked a few questions about one, of many groups of adventurers on a far away continent. No... There must be another reason I am here. But, as I have heard by those who have had dealings with your kind, direct questions will serve no one, and it is better to play the game, and take your lead.”

Fulling expecting a swift death, I pause for a moment. Nothing…

CC: “So, with that, I will address you question directly, and for now, abandon my own. I am interested in all of those who dedicate themselves; mind, body, and spirit to the purpose of cleansing the land of evil; in both intent and deed. Your Silver Dragons, are one such group that I have become fascinated with, not only because of their impressive list of accomplishments, but also because of the unique benefactor, which of course, is you.”

Another brief smile flickered across the continence of Silverrar

Silverrar: "What makes you think I am unique? Just that you have failed to meet one such as I is no proof that others do not exist. Among my peers I am nothing more than one among the rest. There are many Fellowships, or Guilds as they are called upon Xen’ Drik, some are only interested in Glory or Profit, others are like my Dragons and are interested in a much more far reaching goal. I am not the only Mentor on Eberron. Still I do not sense that you are trying to use the knowledge of my Dragons against them or the greater good and so I will answer those questions I feel are fitting. Do not think I am all knowing or that I am willing to divulge all that I know. I know your time is precious and you have things you wish to ask so at this time I will answer some questions, but whether you will feel I am actually answering what you ask, well, that may be left to the questions”.

Again that strange flickering smile.....

After a moment of contemplation, I decide that he has given me a fair opportunity to ask some the questions that have plagued me of late, and take the headlong chance at certain doom.

CC: “Those who you mentor speak of prophecy, and how that prophecy has shaped, and continues to shape the world around us. I know a little about prophecy, and the damage it can cause by those extreme in their beliefs. Your Silver Dragons do not seem to be such, but they are merely instruments in the hands of those more fluent in its interpretation. I am not insinuating any type of manipulation on your part, and I have no reason to believe you have anything but the best intentions in mind, but how can anyone outside of your sphere of influence be sure? We see what is happening in the world, the rise of such evils, and the incredible loss of life; one can only wonder how much of this is caused by the Dragons, and their manipulation of events”.

 A slight narrowing of his eyes follows this question.

Silverrar: "Extremists in any endeavor may indeed cause extreme, even dire results. I do not instruct my Silver Dragons to any specific cause or action. When I learn that they are planning something of which I approve I SOMETIMES provide them with word of my Blessing, not always, lest they think to act without is a form of disapproval. I have NEVER told them to do any specific act. My personal thought on the Prophecy is it should never have been mentioned at all by the Agents of Argonnessen, yet it has been and what is is. Not all the Dragons of Argonnessen agree on the course that should be followed. Not all who think they understand the Words of the Prophecy agree. It is the same among those who live and work in Stormreach with their daily lives, is it not? Some think the Coin Lords and their worship of Gold are a cause of great evil, there are others who say The Silver Flame is too rigid in its interpretation of what is and what is not acceptable. Is this not true? Why are you surprised that things are not otherwise elsewhere? I find the unnecessary loss of innocents and innocence deplorable, yet sometimes the greater good must outweigh personal considerations."
One eyebrow lifts and his head slightly tilts to his right as he asks a question, "Do you not find it so?"                

The Dragon in Elven form sitting before me has brought up some very interesting points; ideals that have been presented countless times before by some of the most wise and noble men. But, they were only men, and this is a Dragon, one of the most feared, and revered of elder creatures. I wondered how far I could push the subject before I was crushed beneath his might. Probably a better idea to answer his question, and move on to the next.

CC: “There is one thing that has been around longer than the Silver Flame, the Coin Lords, and just about every other establish religion, and that’s the Draconic Prophecy. The creations of Man, Dwarf,Elf, and Gnome are merely constructs of the inhabitants of the world; things to make us stand higher than others for purposes of power, preservation, and the establishment of lineage. The Prophecy is not a creation of any Human or Demi-human, but a creation of the Dragons themselves. Timeless, and existent before anyone of us walked on Eberron. It was the Great Dragons themselves who, in an eternal battle created this world. If there is a mention of a greater good, who is to interpret what that good is, and why it is greater than any other good?”

I pause a moment, and think of the horrors of the Last War.

CC: “I have seen entire villages of women and children annihilated because Commanders of Breland believed that if they were able to demoralize the other army, that they would become weak with grief, and surrender. They felt their cause was just and true, and it was for the greater good that they did this horrid deed. No, I do not believe in the greater good, I only believe in the good that stands before me, and proclaims it to be so, by action and deed. I often consider the proclamation of “the greater good”, as a means of justification; for one to justify a wrong done to another.”       

Silverrar: "It has been said that Humans are not rational but rather they rationalize. The same may be said of Elves and Giants and even Dragons. Those to whom Evil is the Path will find reason to do what they feel is best for their cause no more or less than those who claim to follow the path of Good. A true Paladin will not slaughter innocents to dishearten Evil opponents, they would die themselves rather than follow such a heinous action. Those who do evil claiming it is for a greater good are not truly good themselves no matter what cause they feel is just."

For a moment a look of infinite sadness is visible upon the visage of Silverrar.

Silverrar: "As with most things in the Multiverse there are more sides than one, more colors than Black and White. There are Dragons that represent all the is considered Pure, Noble and Good and there are Dragons that represent all the opposites. Who is to say one is right and one is wrong? I will admit that I am motivated for the side called 'Good', I will oppose Evil where I find it, I will do my best to follow the Ideals I believe in. If in doing so harm is done to those who are innocent then I am devastated, yet it happens, chance is always in the background and never to be controlled. Yet one can only do that which must be done. My Silver Dragons tend to follow my Ideals or I would not encourage them. Do they always do the correct thing? Ask rather are they perfect for the answer to both questions is of course not. Yet they have done far more for the greater Weal then they have caused woe. Think upon this, In the Great Game there are certian rules that both sides follow one of which is that neither side will escalate the stakes to such a level that nothing will be left. If I were to take the field and personally defeat a Pit Fiend General then what might the other side send to the Fray? I have faith in those I support, I can do no more than that, I will do no more than that lest the other side retaliate with greater force that would cause a response of greater force which would require another and so on.' That which is called Evil is as restrained as those of Good. If everything were to be destroyed then what would be left for them to rule over?"

CC: “It is true that many use the guise of nobility and righteousness to do evil deeds, whether they are doing what they truly believe in their hearts is good, or just a means to an end, it is evil nonetheless.” It is in this paradox that I speak of the Draconic Prophecy; what one thinks and believes to be true, noble, and just, can, and often does irrevocable harm to others. The innocent bystanders that have nevertheless become victims of another's doing. To them, the act is neither good nor evil, it is just the end of their life, and the suffering of their families and loved ones beginning. Personal devastation and sorrow for doing what was right and necessary for the greater good, leaves one to believe there is regret and pain, which are remnants of guilt and sorrow. I believe the difference between those who are evil and those who are good, is marred in their ability to feel remorse; not only for those who have mistakenly fallen as a cause of our own doing, but for that of our enemies as well. Do you also believe this to be true?”

Silverrar:  "Remorse is not the sole property of those who serve the Weal. An evil being will feel remorse if a plan fails, but I think this is not the remorse you speak of, this is a selfish remorse. If the Draconic Prophecy were unambiguous there would be no doubt as to what track all should follow. I can not pretend that I understand that which is beyond comprehension. Scholars have studied the words for millennia and some of the conflicts that have affected this world are the end results of disagreements among those who have differing views of details within those words. Life is change, the degree of this change is what separates Life from the very rocks upon which we stand for they too change except the rate of change is many times slower for the rock. Selflessness is a virtue that belongs to the side of Good where Evil leans more toward selfishness, yet even a good creature may have selfish thoughts and actions and an evil creature may have times of generosity. This, in part is why the Dragons Study the Words of the Prophecy and act with extreme caution. A small seemingly unimportant act may have great repercussions. A small pebble carelessly thrown from the top of a mountain may become an unstoppable avalanche before it reaches the valley below."

Again a look of sadness crosses the visage of Silverrar.

Silverrar:  "Do not think my sorrow is only for those who follow the same beliefs that I do. I grieve for all, yet I would not let such grief stand in the way of what I would consider a necessity, but this does not mean I would fail to look for alternatives. I would do no harm if that were possible, even to those who are deemed evil for who is to know whether such a being might have a vital part to play in the outcome? If I were all knowing then perhaps I could say otherwise, but ....."   

CC: "When new writing are found, how is it’s authenticity determined, and do you think it is possible for someone, or something to manipulate the appearance of this writing?           

Silverrar: "The Chamber is very conservative in many aspects. All new things are suspect till studied for long periods of time by many of impeccable credentials and great knowledge. Nothing is ever accepted at face value without much thought. Great and indeed catastrophic things have occurred because of disagreement as to the "truths" presented in the writings. Differing interpretations. Those who support "Good" and "Law" interpret things differently from those who support "Evil", "Chaos" or "Neutrality". There have been bitterly acrimonious accusations of the nature you suggest from various sides of the issue. To my knowledge no one has ever maintained a false interpretation for any extended length of time, but I am not all knowing."

CC:  I'm not sure if you are aware of something happening in the Demon Wastes at the moment, but there have been reports of a reemergence of a plague that has the potential to wipe out much of the Human and Orc tribes in the area; in fact, many believe these divine healing resistant plagues have already been reported in a few places as far east as Thrane. Do you know of any Draconic Prophecies that have referred to this?   

Silverrar:  "And you keep trying I see.... The Devil Invasion was foretold although there was much disagreement as to the form and time of this event. As I said before warnings of significant events is to be avoided because of Paradox, somethings have to be allowed to run their course no matter how distasteful they may be to some. I remember standing in the market when a raging Orthon appeared and promptly dispatched a young cleric who had absolutely no chance to survive such an attack. He bravely stood his ground alongside a young rogue and a pair of fighters. All met their demise at the hands of the brute. Would any warning have stopped their deaths? Perhaps they would have fled and others would have died in their place, others who were needed to fulfill a different destiny. If it were my choice, no one would die what appears a needless death, or indeed no one would die from any such unnatural cause, but it not my role to make such decisions. I am a spiritual advisor, not a leader of warriors or one whose lot it falls to plan fates. I will say I do admire your zealous pursuit of knowledge and I wish you nothing but good luck in your ahh... covering of the plagues. The people who need this kind of news should do well to follow your stories."

Silverrar tilts his head slightly to his left and raises an eyebrow and awaits the next question.   

CC: "Our conversation has been long, and I have gained much insight about the group you advise, and the role of the council. Again, I do not wish to debate morals with a Dragon, but from the outside looking in, one could see a creature with vast amounts of power and knowledge, who has the ability to intervene for the sake of noble and just causes; yet, also one who bears witness to the murder of a cleric and his companion, yet does nothing to intervene. One could argue that by taking the role of a witness observing acts of horrible evil, and takes no active stance against that evil, they thereby commit an evil act. Again, you have answered all my questions as forthrightly as you are willing to do, and for that I am grateful.  However, for one such as myself, and many others of a like mind, I remain unconvinced of the good intent of the Dragons in their interpretation of the Draconic Prophecies. Perhaps one such as myself who lacks the timeless wisdom of a Dragon will never completely comprehend. I sense that we may be nearing the end of our talk, perhaps just one more question?"

Silverrar: "Would it make you feel better if I had acted at the time in question and protected the group from the raging Orthon and thus perhaps allowed a greater misfortune to befall? I can see how ones such as yourself might judge my actions as evil through inaction without knowing more than the situation as it existed at that particular moment in time. However you are not my judge or my conscience. What is your last question?"

CC: "Please forgive my rash reaction, I sometimes let my emotions affect my judgement. It is very kind of you to endure this line of questioning, and I must admit, that i am still a bit overwhelmed by the experience. This last question is not about the prophecy, but about your self; if I may be so bold as to ask a personal question?"

Silverrar nods slightly, then patiently waits for the question.

CC: "If there was one thing you would like to achieve in your lifetime; something that trumps all other achievements, what would it be?"

Silverrar: "Interesting question. Not at all what I expected the subject matter to be. No matter how it may appear to you I am but a servant of those who are far more wise and knowledgeable than myself. Perhaps servant is not quite the correct term but it is close enough and will have to do. If I can do my duty and live up to the Standards set for me by myself and those for whom I work. If I can advance the cause of Good and Law without causing harm. These would all be very dear to me, but most important would be if those whom I mentor do their very best to do the most Good they can do for the betterment of All. I would consider this my finest achievement."                        


The conclusion of the interview was just as it started, with a wave of a hand a portal appeared. As I walked toward the portal, I couldn't help but to look back at Silverarr, knowing that I would probably never have this opportunity again, but as fate would have it, he was no longer there.

The experience with Silverrar was one that I will not forget. Never in my many years have I come face to face with a Dragon; and I certainly didn’t expect, in my wildest dreams, that an encounter would go such as this. Perhaps being ripped limb from limb, or toasted up as a snack, but not like this.

Though his patience may have seemed as it was being tested, his demeanor and composure was always… intrigued. He seemed to be amused by many of my questions, and at times, I felt as a child might when having a parent explain something that could not be understood.  I certainly do not know all dragons, nor do I pretend to understand dragon kind, but through this experience I believe there is much more to them than what was previously told. Yes, they saved us all from the Quori invasion thousands of years ago, and yes, they saved us from the Giants after that, but other than those and other legends, what do we really know about them and their culture? Are they calculating and manipulative? Are they looking out for themselves forsaking the well being of all others as many believe? I believe, especially after this interview, that there indeed are those who have a genuine concern for the fate of Eberron, and many dedicate their long lives to studying the Draconic Prophecy trying to gain some insight of future events. Some may want to use this knowledge for their own purposes, but I truly believe most have the world’s best interests in mind.

What we hear of Dragons from the many adventurers throughout Stormreach is that Dragons are always out to manipulate, destroy, and even... eat them. We hear about agents coming from Argonnessen in the Market Place, flinging innocent bystanders across the courtyard, but we don’t hear about the good ones; the Dragons that genuinely want to help the world. I believe Silverrar is one of these noble and just creatures. Perhaps one day we will learn more about them and their cultures, but for now it seems, we will just have to take what little information we get, and do what we can to spread the information for the benefit of others.


Special Thanks


Special Thanks to Iann for role playing the part of Silverrar with me. In total, the interview took over a month and a half.

CC Ravenguard