Almissaive, The Original Blue Elder Dragon
Race: Great Wyrm Blue Dragon
Almissaive (Ahl-mis'-sayv) was the Blue Elder Dragon up until the Days of Darkness in Adlatum. Capable of cruelty and heartless acts, the dragon was also known to be highly honorable, a great orator, and one of the most skilled military minds during the Dragon War. He was also known to keep his word when a promise was given, but yet that not preclude him lying in order to pose himself as a god of the Tashramadic faith. After his death at the hands of one of Chaos' minions, his pseudo-divine power was transferred to Seresayon by unknown means.
Early Life and Legends
From his younger years Almissaive had proven himself highly skilled in draconic combat, able to use both strength, agility, and wits. During these years his loyalty to the Dark Queen was almost absolute, but according to legend his own code of ethics at times ran counter to his service to the goddess. These legends are little known and likely have only survived through the tellings by Scalebound, but lately bards in the Midlands have recited a few of these tales.
In one legend, the young blue's life was saved by an elven ranger after a mudslide buried the beast. In the weak moonlight the ranger mistook the mud and debris covered dragon for a metallic, but after Almissaive's life was spared the blue did not discount the elf's intent. Almissaive swore to serve the elf until the favor was repaid. It would be a hundred and one years, according to the legend, until the blue rescued the ranger and his new family from his own goddess' servants. Before the act was done, the dragon served the forces of good in the world through the direction of the elf without question, but once the balance was reset and the elf's life saved from certain death, Almissaive returned to his own kind and to the service of the Dark Queen.
Another legend claimed that one of the gods of light tried to turn Almissaive permanently over to the cause of good, but Almissaive stated he could not. "It is the edict of your own kind that my kind serve the Queen and that those others serve the Paladin. The balance is set as it is, and it applies to dragon-kind in its own manner. Until the will and the edict of gods are undone, the choice presented to me is one I could only accept as a lie in order to undermine your efforts later from within. I will not blight the honor you attempt to bestow to me by sullying it so. We shall remain respectful enemies as opposed to treasonous allies." The legend ends with Almissaive departing and the god of light (which god changes from version to version) weeping a single tear for its inability to gain such a noble servant.
Many of the details over Almissaive's rise among the dragons have been lost over the ages. The results however were known. The blue dragon's ability to win in personal combat against humanoids and other dragons was impressive, and his own oratory abilities allowed him to become a natural leader in influencing the decisions of others to his own ways. Many dragons began to follow Almissaive, both as servants and apprentices wishing to learn his techniques in battle.
The Dragon War
When the Graygem threat began to evolve, Almissaive convinced the elderly green dragon Glastious to investigate the mysterious item. Being close to death and heeding Almissaive's words of not wishing to just fade away in a cavern, Glastious risked his life to chase after the item. When the green disappeared during his investigation, Almissaive warned his own people to be aware of the gem's location but to also keep as great of a distance as possible. The precautions meant little at this point. The taint of the dragons was already well under way.
When the dragons began to be bound to their lairs, Almissaive theorized that the solution to their plight may rest within the pages of the Volumes of the Prophet. The powerful red dragon Traxus, an annoying pest in Almissaive's mind who did nothing but try to prove himself to be the blue's better, proposed launching attacks against the small bipedal races in order to find and lay claim to the books. Almissaive hoped to use more subtle means to retrieve the books, but his ability to speak could not override the rising panic the dragons were feeling. Reluctantly, Almissaive turned his attentions to the coming war.
Very quickly Almissaive was able to put together an army and begin the assaults. During this time a younger blue dragon named Seresayon came to his attentions. She fought well and was eager to impress. As battle after battle was won, he did what he could to learn to fight to gain her own respect rather than his. During the war, the two became life-mates.
Years later, the war turned sour quickly. Traxus over strained his ranks, and the red's forces began to suffer defeats. Realizing his own fronts were now penetrating like peninsulas into enemy territories, he had to pull them back or else weaken the front in order to protect the exposed flanks. Upon retrospect he realized his failure in not placing forces against the edges of his territories bordering Traxus' lands. Even if Traxus hadn't begun losing units, it should had been obvious that the red would had eventually turned to attack Almissaive's lands once the humanoids were dealt with. Soon Almissaive retreated his forces back to his lair knowing the war was lost. He ordered many of his armies disbanded so they could try to have lives of their own without being killed off by the approaching enemies. Almissaive and Seresayon retreated deep into a joined cave complex as they were bound and pressed into slumber. Entwined with his lover, he prayed to his god that she free them from this terrible curse. "You lost the war that should had been yours for the taking," she replied. "If a time comes to prove yourself, only then might you gain forgiveness." Never thinking the purpose of the Dragon War was to gain territories for the Queen, Almissaive grew angry towards the goddess, but he put his anger aside and nuzzled into his already sleeping mate. He let darkness take his consciousness while contented.
Long before the Dark Queen's call woke her dragon servants, Almissaive and Seresayon were snapped out of their rest violently. The waters of the Drowning flooded directly into the caverns batting the two apart. Almissaive's massive form was tossed like a pebble in the horrid maelstrom of raging waves that poured through the tunnels. Before the waves would retreat, his body would takes out several of weight supporting walls beneath the ground above. What seemed like a catastrophic collapse occurred, and Seresayon found Almissaive only just in time to believe they would experience a crushing death together.
The waves flooded in faster than before as most of the nation of Dhu was swept away. The falling rocks no longer fell, but were blown sideways in the torrent. The two dragons were trapped underwater, and using a magic she knew was not her normal innate abilities, Seresayon cast magic to give the two of them the ability to breathe water. In time the water pulled back, taking most of the rock and earth with it. What was left behind was a blessing to them.
Instead of an underground maze of twisting tunnels and modest chambers, the lairs collapsed into a massive chamber open for miles in all directions, but yet still covered high up above by solid earth. In a few locations holes penetrated up to the surface allowing sunlight to filter through. Also a large bay of water had settled into the cavern. Not only was fresh fish in this seawater, but the bay exited the cavern through a wide low opening in the rock face. This passage, the Seapass, leads through miles beneath Dhu and eventually reaches the ocean.
Using the magic bestowed to them through the taint of Chaos, Almissaive and Seresayon transformed the cavern. A wide coverage of jungle was grown along with field of soft grass. Almissaive's magic duplicated the effects of the sun itself, illuminating a distance far wall with a glow of brilliance that faded into a patchwork of stars not known in the true sky above. The two named their home Heaventide.
Soon Seresayon learned she could leave Heaventide through the Seapass and was no longer bound to her lair. The same was not true for Almissaive. He was just as bound as the day the two had fallen into sleep. Not wanting to remind her life-mate of his imprisonment, even if it was in their own paradise, Seresayon remained in Heaventide. When reason called for her to depart for a reason, she took to the human form of an older teenaged girl with dark hair and blue eyes before walking up some of the side tunnels to the surface. Never did she risk discovery by showing her true self in what she saw as the Abovelands.
She was successful for a time, but upon returning to Heaventide in 89 AD a group of humans and Gildanesti elves followed the curious woman into the wildness and down into the lair. Upon their entry into Heaventide a change in the magically spun wind allowed both dragons to catch their scent. Several of them were killed instantly, but the surviving humanoids begged for their lives, swearing to serve the mighty beasts. Entertained with the notion of having slaves, they agreed. They were trained in how to tend to the dragons and the land. They grew food in the fields and fished from the bay. Almissaive became impressed by their devotion. With no one now alive who remembered the dragons of old, he realized they were treated as gods. Upon learning that in the Abovelands there were no gods, Almissaive confided a 'secret' to them. "Then learn loyal ones, I am one." The servants bowed before him, and with their faith Almissaive discovered he could bestow magic to them. His church was born.
Seresayon remained in human form around the servants in order to further impress the mightiness of Almissaive onto them, however the two kept private chambers in the surviving caverns in which his lover could take her true form without risk of any seeing. In time some of the servants were allowed to go back to the Abovelands in order to lure more faithful to them, ever quietly. In time a community of faithful was formed in Heaventide. Towns were built. No shrines were constructed however. The entire cavern was proof of the God's power, and Almissaive resided there. A shrine was unnecessary.
A New Pantheon Born
The secret cult of dragon worshippers remained below Dhu for almost a hundred years before Takhisis called out to her children. She was pleased with Almissaive's example and ordered a few of the dragons to act as her proxies. Almissaive sneered in disgust. He sent out many of his followers to not only recruit more but also to locate the other dragons amassing power in the land. Seresayon also went. Through magic and messenger, plans were being made between the dragons on how to best divide the land for the Queen. Almissaive took Seresayon aside and began to train her in the skill of being an orator. Once pleased with her skill, he gave her a speech of his own design to deliver to the other dragons. The speech was to convince the other dragons that they needed the failed queen no longer.
Initially the words resulted in many going into a state of shock. A few times Seresayon was even attacked for daring to say such things. But the words hung in their mind always when she left. In time, many of the dragons openly began to agree with Almissaive's pupil. The white dragon Heriacious even went so far as to declare an open alliance with the blue. Once Almissaive's once competitor and ally, Traxus, agreed with the "divine treason," everything else fell in place. The followers were gathered not for the forgotten queen but for the powerful dragons living in the land. The Tashramadic faith was reborn with followers of the new gods of Krynn, the Elder Dragons.
To this point, his servants worshipped him directly, but in order to add a layer of protection between himself and those who supported the useless true gods, he ordered that only the most faithful be allowed in Heaventide. Others would be allowed to live in the Abovelands nearby, but they would also not be worthy to know the true grandeur of his being. Those above began to follow the teachings of the Divine Ladder, and those who climbed high would be allowed to enter paradise and meet their true god.
Almissaive knew he couldn't simply use his followers a servants, and so he used his oratory abilities to preach lessons to them, lessons that could be passed on to the faithful above. The lessons tended to entail a consistent direction. Work hard for a higher purpose, but enjoy the fruits of your work. Of course the higher purpose was Almissaive himself, but his branch of the church took the lessons to heart for when living in paradise it was easy to take pride in even the most backbreaking labors. Even the followers who lived in the Abovelands believed their souls would become part of Heaventide after death if they served their master well.
Followers didn't come from just the Abovelands either. Through the use of the Seapass, Almissaive began to gather faithful directly from the Corinesti. Often sea elves would come to Heaventide through the Seapass in order to honor the god and pay worship. By having such a route to the sea, Almissaive was able to gather the greatest number of Corinesti compared to the other Elder Dragons.
A God Lost, A God Gained
Seresayon worked hard for her lover, and never did Almissaive's attentions waver from her. In 383 AD, she discovered she was with clutch, but the celebration was cut short when the Adlar broke through the bound doors at the bottom of the Path. The force of Chaos poured across the land faster than the water from the Drowning. War broke out everywhere, and Heaventide was no exception.
Almissaive joined his army to fight the creatures that came forth, even pressing forward head on in order to protect the slaves who served him from centuries. They had served him willingly. Their lives were his responsibility. He believed his owed it to them.
Unfortunately, being so close to the Path itself, the strength of the invasion was too strong. The great dragon fighter of ancient days fell beneath the claws of a gigantic dragon that walked on two legs like a humanoid but was made of a collection of ribbons that appeared to be tears of reality itself. The God of Heaventide tried to bite at the thing's neck, but the ribbons lashed out separate from the beast and sliced his throat. In moments Almissaive's body began to unravel, and the blue fell apart in strips of thin paper-like ribbon. Seresayon, also wounded after fighting a vanquished chaos daemon, changed into her dragon form and charged the creature in rage. But the war ended, and the Ribbon Beast vanished before she could attempt to exact revenge. Almissaive was dead.
The survivors mourned their savior, and many would had ended their own lives if they had not seen a small miracle occur. The lover of the god, who was just transformed into a female version of his own form, right then and there, began to lay her eggs.
The head of the blue branch of the Tashramadic church, Jur Canan, declared all to remember the lessons of their god, of the importance of respecting the rewards of life. "Cycles of life and death are all around us, and so we move on to the next phase of life. The blood of the god lives on, as does his greatest of servants, the one who is now as he was. Praise to the god Seresayon!" And in that very moment, as Seresayon herself was surprised by the cleric's declaration, the young Jur Canan dropped dead without wound or injury. As soon as the last of the clutch was laid, a great wave of energy flowed into her, and she could sense the Scalebound nearby. She tried to escape from Heaventide as the crowds chanted her name, but she found she could not escape out the Seapass. She was bound. She was the Blue Elder Dragon. She was now a god.
The ribbons that used to make up Almissaive's body were collected by Seresayon, but none know where they are now. None are also sure why Almissaive's power transferred itself to Seresayon. The most devote Scalebound claim it was a gift from the god himself, but many of those few who witnessed the battle did not believe the fallen blue was concentrating anything except for the battle and saving his people.
Almissaive is viewed of as a martyr and savior by many in the church. As his stories and legends begin to circulate now that the secret of the Elder Dragons is out, those who worship within the other branches of the church and even those outside of the church entirely seem to reflect upon the blue dragon is a very positive light.