Dalinar Steelhand (H). Legendary hero of Aridion, the subject of many a lay and saga. He was never defeated in combat, and was an excellent strategist and tactician, as well as a superb warrior.
He once single-handedly held a strategic position, a narrow defile below Midsummer Pass, for two days against a massive horde of nefrangs and Humans in the service of Rondrahier Kinslayer, allowing the High King of Aridion to arrive with his massed forces to drive Rondrahier’s army to destruction (the Battle of Midsummer Pass, 8342). His famous action is known as Dalinar’s Stand, and it is cited time and again as a perfect example of the difference between consummate weapons and battle skill versus brute strength. It is said that he could catch an arrow in mid-flight and fling it back upon his enemies with such force as to penetrate shield and armor, but this is counted by most as mythic accretion and not fact.
He lived to a ripe old age and died peacefully in his sleep in his manor in the Sythrin Mountains above Aridion City. He left two sons to carry on his distinguished name.
Dawn Greybeards. The name commonly given to the first generation of the Dwarves to walk the world. Created by the High One after He created the Teluri, but before Men, the Dawn Greybeards numbered three hundred: one hundred fifty males and one hundred fifty females. It is the nature of Dwarves to reproduce slowly, and so the High One gave them a running start, and blessed this first generation so that their numbers quickly increased. They were much longer-lived than their descendants, although it is not known for certain to any just how long that was. Stories abound, and their given ages range from a few hundred to well over a thousand, and even, some say, three thousand years. Yet their true life-span remains a mystery to all.
drakta, (D, s.; pl draktain; common - drakta, draktas). Classification – kingdom Bestia; Order Quadrapodes; Family Draktinidæ. There were many beasts, great and small, in the world at the beginning and the greatest of these were the draktain, great beasts of several types. All shared the same general form: four-legged, winged, tailed. The draktain are divided into four species in three genera (given below), with several sub-species. There is also a mythical beast, called a Spiny-headed Drakta, which exists only in folk tales, and will not be discussed here.
During the Dim Times, the draktas were suborned by the honeyed words and fair shape of the Evil One into believing that the Teluri, aided by the other races of Linden (Teluri, dwarves, giants, men and faeorlingas), feared them and were planning to destroy them. Under the blandishments of the Evil One, and believing his promises, they attacked the Teluri first and wrought great destruction ere they were turned. This was the first great battle of the Dim Times, and made the draktas enemies of all from that time forward, with but a single exception: Gandomar Earthshaker, greatest of all the draktas and friend to Kyr Beastmaster, one of the twelve Teluri lords. Once capable of speech and reason, the draktain gradually lost these abilities during the Dim Times, for so thoroughly had the Evil One corrupted them, they became naught but dumb beasts. Gandomar Earthshaker alone escaped this fate.
Draktas are long-lived, possibly immortal, but no one really knows. Due to their impenetrable armour, fire breathing and size, they are essentially invulnerable. The only known way to defeat and kill a drakta is by the use of the arcane powers of a Mythrian Luminos, that is, a grand high master of Mythrian magic, who are few and far between.
All draktas are fire-breathers. The exact mechanism is not fully understood, but in any case, they are capable of ejecting streams of fire that clings to anything in its path. The distance this fire-stream can be projected varies by race, with the Greater stone drakta able to project up to a distance of one hundred yards or so. They exhibit great control over their flames, and can adjust the size, strength and duration of the firestream as needed. It is said that Gandomar Earthshaker delighted in lighting the campfire for his friend Kyr with a single, tightly-focused stream of fire that lit naught but a single stick.
Types of draktain:
1. STONE DRAKTA. (Draktos giganteus Rhindolier). The stone draktain are the largest race by sheer body mass. There are two sub-species: the Greater Stone Drakta (D. g. giganteus) and the Lesser Stone Drakta (D. g. minor Rhandel). They are massive creatures, the Greater Stone Drakta reaching up to forty feet or more in length and the Lesser rarely attaining that size, but both are very broad of girth, with long, surprisingly slender, though heavily muscled legs clearly built for running and which end in viciously sharp claws up to two feet in length in mature specimens. These claws are capable of deeply scoring the hardest stone, and armour is as air to them. A massive, heavy-jawed head tops a fairly short neck. Their color matches the stone of their lair. They are heavily armored with thick, hard plates and scales that are impervious to weapons. They possess the ability to become invisible at will as well as blend in perfectly against any rocky background. Their armor develops various spikes and knobs as the drakta ages, and very ancient ones are a terror to behold.
Although possessing wings, stone draktas rarely fly, preferring to run their prey to ground when hunting. They haunt deep caverns and are not very active, coming forth from their lairs only to feed and then returning to their subterranean holes until hunger brings them forth again. Their prey is anything they can catch.
The Lesser Stone Drakta is easily distinguished from the Greater by a blue spot on the skull between the eyes. Even when camouflaged, this spot is visible. They are no less dangerous, however, than their larger cousins.
All draktain have an odd attraction to shiny objects and collect them in various hoards scattered about its territory. This is most strongly developed among the Stone draktas, who tend to have one main hoard and several smaller hoards. Anything that is bright and shiny can show up in a drakta hoard, from the most worthless piece of junk to the most valuable of artifacts. The single most valuable object to ever appear in a drakta hoard was the Orb of Making, which was found in the hoard of a Greater stone drakta who had taken up residence in the citadel in Corallon at some point during the siege of that city in the year 9525, apparently gaining access via previously unknown volcanic tubes which lay beneath the city.
2. COLD DRAKTA (Draktos frigidensis Rhandel). Denizens of the Roof of the World and the high mountains of Linden, the cold draktain are restricted to the cold regions. Their color is brown in the summer season, white in winter, and they fly more frequently than do the other races, as they hunt from the air. Their legs are consequently shorter, although equally well endowed with claws, and their vision preternaturally keen, and they are much more slender, and less massive than the Stone draktain. They can attain a length of sixty feet or more, with one-third of that tail and one-third neck. Their head is also slenderer than the Stone draktain, and their armour remains smooth, almost polished. Wing-span on a fully mature Cold drakta is about seventy-five feet. Their flame does not stick, and the maximum range is fifty feet or so.
3. GREEN DRAKTA (Draktinidus arboretus Kaalindor). Found only in the southern jungles around Crenanoc, the Green drakta is very rare, and none have been sighted within the last one hundred years. Little is known about them. They are a mottled green in color, making them surprisingly difficult to see in the jungles of that area. They are not known to fly, although possessing apparently fully-functional wings. They have been known to reach up to thirty-five feet in length. They rarely breath flame, although they have the capability.
4. SAND DRAKTA (Vermosinitum arenæum Liiall). The smallest race, but perhaps the most insidious. Few have ever seen a sand drakta and lived to tell the tale. They are reclusive, and live out their lives beneath the surface of the sands of the Watheran Wastes, grabbing their prey from below. Many is the traveler’s tale of people and animals simply disappearing into the ground, swallowed whole by a lurking sand drakta.
The desert tribes thus avoid large open sandy areas, for that is the haunt of the sand drakta. Experienced travelers in the Wastes keep to stony ground whenever possible.
Regarding the fire-breathing ability of the sand drakta, travelers through the Wastes occasionally come upon “lenses” of glass, usually about ten feet in diameter, which the desert people say are made when the draktas breathe flame during mating, turning the desert sand to glass, but this has not been confirmed.
What is reliably known of their appearance comes from the formal description by Liiall of Haal (d. 7543), a man of Crenanoc who had been inspired by some of the notebooks of Rhadolier of the house of Rhindolier. He determined to observe the natural world of his homeland and record all that he learned. He was on an expedition to the Great Falls of the Rhonn when he received word that the body of a strange beast – thought to be a sand drakta – had been discovered about a half-day's ride to the west. He left in a hurry to see for himself this wonder. The carcass, somewhat desiccated by the sun, was measured at twelve feet in length, and Liiall estimated it had probably been at least fifteen feet when alive, if not a few feet longer. Its hide was, as might be expected, an overall sandy dun color, with some variations in the color, the result being a wonderful camouflage for the beast. The tail was quite short and stubby, and the bulk of its length was comprised of the head and gut, both excessively large. It possessed stubby wings about three feet in length, which consisted of ten long, stout bony spines, with the dried remnants of skin between them. The feet all ended in massive, short claws, and the head had a large bony plate upon it, unique to it, and the eyes were covered in a transparent horny eyelid which apparently protected its eyes from the sand. The teeth were very long, sharp and the upper and lower rows interlaced, forming a toothy trap. It was superbly designed for life underground. Based upon his observations, Liiall concluded that the sand drakta “swims” through the sands of the wastes as fish do through water, using its four legs and two stubby wings to propel it underground.
Ethelendar the Bald (H), 8346 - 8449. The oldest harper ever to make Master, he earned his Master’s cord at the age of 63. He entered the harper hall at Aridion City at age 46 when he was accepted as a journeyman, it being deemed that his time spent as an itinerant minstrel (26 years) was an acceptable apprenticeship. His long-time patron, Jermin Whitehose, wealthy landowner of Rothcrest, was loathe to loose him, but on the other hand, felt that Ethelendar’s successful entry into the Master Hall was due to his influence and thus was a credit to him, but then Jermin tended to exaggeration. Ethelendar went bald at age of 35. It was rumored that he accredited this event to life in the aforementioned patron’s household, but this has not been verified. He lived to the ripe old age of 103 and is buried in the extensive vaults beneath the Master Hall in Aridion City.
felshade, creature. The felshade is one of the most feared creatures in Linden. They inhabit dark places, and do not like the light, avoiding it at all times. Fortunately, they are rare. They have been described by one writer (Liiall of Haal, in his Foul Creatures Great and Small) as “shadows with fangs,” and that is probably as good a description as any. They are carnivorous and will eat anything that comes their way. The only creatures immune to them are the draktas, all others being fair game. They do not hunt, but come out of their dark hiding places in the darkest of night to lie in wait for any unsuspecting creature to wander by. They hide in the shadows and are no more than shadows themselves. Their substance is neither flesh nor bone, being amorphous and able to stretch and shrink at will. They envelope their prey and devour it with their great white fangs, yet how these teeth are anchored remains a mystery. If one sees a felshade’s fangs, it is too late, for the only time their teeth are visible is when they are about to devour prey.
They appear to be evenly distributed throughout Linden, but, thankfully, are normally quite scarce. They are solitary in habit, though occasionally two or three may be found together. On one notable occasion however, several dozen were discovered haunting the remaining ruins of the ancient city of Lyria. It took a small army several days to hunt them all down and kill them. Mythrian magic, which can produce exceedingly bright light, was their downfall, and it was wielded to great effect by Siglin Lightbringer, who was part of that expedition.
The Lindensaga is published by Golden Cocker Press beginning with The Last Giant: Transgression.
The Lexicon, D-G
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