Stories of the creature known as Sorezeck have been a staple in some of the more out-of-the-way taverns for the past couple of decades. He is rumored to be methodically searching all the mountainous regions of the world in search of a specific bronze dragon. Those he encounters on his quest are encouraged to either assist him or get out of his way. He travels with a full company of soldiers of assorted races, all with one thing in common... but it's best if Sorezeck tells you his own story, for I have heard it from his own lips.
Sorezeck's Tale, Pt. 1
The Dragon Years
I wasn't much more than a hatchling when I fully realized that I had drawn a lucky cosmic hand by being born a dragon. Although humans believe themselves to be the dominant species of the planet (as do the elves, the orcs, and so on), they are all deluding themselves. In actuality, it is the dragons that are the pinnacle of evolution, and if we so wished it, we could wipe out every other intelligent species.
After all, consider the facts: our bodies are vastly superior to those of the bipeds; we're much larger, exponentially stronger, faster... we can fly without magical assistance, and we are naturally armored and equipped with weaponry. We live for several centuries, whereas most of the bipeds are lucky to see one.
And as for magic, well. It takes humanoids years to mature and learn spells and the skills by which to manipulate them. Dragons are born with magic part of their innate nature. A human who has spent a lifetime dedicated to magic and its utilization is barely a match for a dragon two weeks out of the egg.
So it was that in my youth I maintained a fierce pride in my heritage. Magic and its usage came naturally to me, and even from a dragon's perspective I was an excellent physical specimen. Often did I win our childish games and contests, being stronger and faster than my playmates.
Thus I grew and matured, and it was in the early stages of my adulthood that I first encountered a humanoid in the flesh. I had just hunted down and devoured most of a wild cougar pack, and was debating a nice afterlunch nap on an a nearby hill when I noticed the man coming. Superior vision is yet another item on the long list of physical advantages dragons enjoy, and I am certain that I had spotted him long before he was aware of me.
As an aside, general procedure of dragonkind (at least as I was taught) is to avoid intelligent bipeds. They are not good to eat, and they can be aggressive. Not that it is of great concern; for the most part, an attacking pack of humans is an amusing distraction for awhile, but in the end, no real sport and not worth the effort.
Also, there is the occasional biped out there who inexplicably does possess the power to injure and/or kill a dragon. It has been done. Their names are whispered amongst my kind: Xavier. Slythe. Drek-Tamarius. Others.
This human who now flew towards me was none of those. My sensory magicks told me that all of his magical powers, including the one that freed him from gravity's shackles, were all the result of various objects that had been infused with magic by others. A ring for flying. An amulet that promised protection from harm. A bag for holding things.
It was laughable.
The human saw me now, and hesitated. It was at this point that I should have left, for nothing was to be gained by contact with a human. But, I admit, my youthful curiosity drove me at that point to pretend that I had not seen him, so I continued with my original plan of a midday nap. I sprang to the grassy hill, turned around thrice, and curled myself into a ball. I closed my eyes and waited to see what he would do.
Youthful curiosity indeed. If I suffered from such an illogical shortcoming, then how must it be for a human? With such a brief lifespan, they must spend their whole lives in such a state.
My eyes were closed, but I hardly needed them to track the movements of the human. He landed at the base of the hill, and approached me on foot, taking care to move as silently as he could through the grass. As if such a stratagem would fool one such as I, who could smell the very fibers of his clothing.
Perhaps I should have mentioned that I am a bronze dragon. Those dragons with the scales of precious metals are, by and large, considered the "good" species. In contrast, those dragons bearing the more mundane colors of the basic spectrum are largely "evil".
Being the perfect specimen that I am, resplendent in my shining exoskeleton, I thought it likely that the human desired one of my scales. True, bronze isn't the most precious metal by their standards, but a dragon scale is still a most impressive souvenir. I thought I would allow him to get close enough to believe he may actually succeed at such a prize, and them give him the scare of his life. So, you can imagine my surprise when he didn't sneak up to me and try to wiggle free a loose one.
No, instead, the son of a whore pulled a weapon out of his magic bag and blasted me with it.
I didn't know what it was exactly. Still don't, really. All I knew was that this human had pointed something at me that looked like a stick and sprayed me with a painful burning fire. It did little damage to me, but I was so surprised and angry that I lashed out with such force and speed that I cut him nearly in half.
I didn't mean to do this, but nor was I sorry. The audacity of the human stymied me. As I have said, my species is considered good. Humans know this. I was no threat to him. What reason could he possibly have to attempt my destruction? His weapon caused me little injury, true, but he couldn't have known that; had he a clue of its overall ineffectiveness, I sincerely doubt he would have tried it.
No, this human, for whatever twisted reason, tried to kill a nonthreatening, sleeping bronze dragon. Even if a legendary dragon's treasure trove was his motive, he certainly wasn't going to get it by killing a dragon who is napping in a grassy field, by the gods. Try as I might, I could discern no reasonable motive for the human's deplorable actions.
Thus I concluded that humans were, as I had heard, possessed of an illogical, unpredictable nature. They are primitive beasts, far below dragons on the evolutionary scale, and cannot be expected to behave like civilized creatures.
I decided to teach them a lesson. Since I knew for a fact that human legends chronicle the natures of various dragon species, either this human was a pinnacle of ignorance, or the whole damned human race needed reminding that dragons are their betters and unprovoked attacks on them are intolerable.
Whatever the case, I decided that this human's village would pay the price for his atrocity. I saw very well where the human had come from, and I flew there at considerable speed. Full of righteous anger, I leveled the settlement. No structures survived my wrath, and hundreds of the human's ilk met their ends in the carnage. I did not kill all of them; I am no monster. I spared several dozen so that they may run away and spread word amongst their kind that dragons are not to be trifled with.
Turns out, this really pissed off my father.
Sorezeck's Tale, Pt. 2
Confrontation With the Sire
My father's name is Suthaze (well... it isn't really "Suthaze" any more than my real name is "Sorezeck", but those two names are the closest thing the humanoid vocal system can come to our common designations). Suthaze is an ancient bronze, old even by the standards of our kind. Over the centuries of his lifespan, Suthaze has fathered over three hundred children, so it's safe to say that I was never very close to him. Thus when he sought me out in my desert cave some weeks after the incident in the village, I was surprised, to say the least.
He let me know in no uncertain terms that the slaughter of humans is absolutely unacceptable, and he intended to punish me for my transgressions. I replied that my actions were warranted, and as I saw it, necessary. He became incensed at my lack of remorse, and warned of steeper punishment. I replied that he could take his punishment and jam it very deep into his left nostril. He responded with deeper threats if I continued to disrespect his position. I informed him that I was an adult, master of my own territory, and therefore not subject to his rules.
He responded by bombarding me with polymorphic magic.
Now, as I have said, I was born with innate magical powers exceptional even to my race. Never had I encountered another dragon my age with such mastery and sheer strength in the arcane.
Suthaze, unfortunately, was ten times my age. And ten times my equal. His magicks overcame my defenses as if they were but spiderwebs and bent me to his will. The magicks began to alter my very body, shrinking it and deforming my limbs, causing my horns and scales to meld into my skin.
He was turning me into a human!
In a rage, I fought with every fiber of my being. Dragon magic, all true magic, it is communal with nature and the universe itself, and therefore, tied directly to one's spirit, one's inner self, and ergo, one's emotions. My sheer outrage at this travesty gave me strength, strength enough to fight back even against a wyrm of Suthaze's stature.
My form slowly began to restore itself to normal.
Suthaze was surprised and impressed. He laughed, proud that I was no kobold. I was his son, and worthy of it. This did not free me from his will, however. He was forced to grit his teeth and force the magic further, which caused me considerable agony as my body morphed back and forth as our magicks and very spirits clashed.
After what seemed like hours of this mental tug-of-war, I suddenly felt myself being shoved into the earth, and I sunk deeper and deeper until I hit a barrier and stopped, and then there was darkness.
Sorezeck's Tale, Pt. 3
Twenty-seven years I remained imprisoned below the earth.
For those twenty-seven years, I knew not exactly what I was. For Suthaze had indeed devolved me into a biped, but the effect stopped somewhat short of becoming a human. I still possessed claws and tough skin, and with these bare essentials I laboriously tunneled my way back to the surface. Most of my beloved magical power was gone, and what little remained only allowed me to sense my environment, where I could find sustenance, and which direction the surface lay. Twenty-seven years of seemingly endless toil, and plotting my revenge against Suthaze. I intend to kill my father for what he has done to me. I realize that revenge is evil, purposeless, purely driven by emotion, and illogical.
But... that is how my father has made me.
When I broke through the surface at long last, I howled long and loud, and I am sure sparked a horror story told around a campfire somewhere. I examined my new body, and tested its capabilities. Then I at once set out to find my father's lair and confront him again.
My quest has lasted another twenty-seven years thus far. Suthaze is either dead (which I doubt; I believe I would know somehow), or very reclusive. Along the way, I have had opportunity to meet a wide variety of other creatures, some with similar stories to mine. All of them have been ostracized by their various communities for one reason or another, and over time, I have amassed a small army that is willing to help me enact my revenge. Their motivations are as varied as they themselves, but for now, their fates are aligned with mine, and we shall eventually triumph.
Sorezeck's opinion of humans as an illogical and unpredictable subspecies hasn't changed, and the encounters he's had with them to date have only served to reinforce this opinion. He has never personally killed another human since the razed hamlet 54 years ago, but that's not to say that he won't if another ticks him off. Mostly he just considers them beneath his notice, but neither does he pass up an opportunity to sabotage their lives.
He is followed by a group of ragtag soldiers of the more-brawn-than-brain variety, there being 15-20 warriors (depending on your game's needs) of the "tough" races: minotaur, ogre, half-orc, etc.
Sorezeck would prefer to be single-minded and methodical in his approach to finding his father, but nowadays he has a following to worry about. He realizes the importance of side-missions to replenish food and supplies, among other things. During these tangents, then, he has been known to amuse himself by instigating hostilities between humans by spreading rumors, sending his soldiers out to perform crimes he can blame on others, or merely encouraging his men in random vandalism.
Sorezeck himself didn't know exactly what he looked like until he saw daylight again. He is indeed a biped, but he stands at 2.5m tall (just over 8'), is heavily muscled, and has sharp, bony protrusions that coat his elbows, knees, and chin (giving him the effect of a bony beard). His yellowish, leathery skin is completely hairless, and he has thick claws on his hands and feet. He still possesses dragons' eyes, with bright yellow corneas and elliptical pupils. Gone are his bronze scales and wings, and the loss of these is a sore spot with him.
Sorezeck wears clothing out of necessity, being more susceptible to the elements than he once was. He favors animal furs, cut and worn toga-style, and cloaks if the weather warrants. He is always barefoot, however.
Despite his fearsome appearance, Sorezeck is quite articulate, and can be very charismatic when he wants to be.
Sorezeck still has the vestiges of the immense magical powers he was born with. He senses things he shouldn't know, and he can affect the four elements to a limited extent (cause fires to flare up or die out, induce minor earth tremors, conjure breezes, and make small amounts of liquid move). He possesses incredible strength to a human standpoint, but he's really no stronger than a slightly above average ogre (and indeed, is often mistaken for one). To his point of view, of course, he is severely weakened.
If you do the math, Sorezeck is somewhere around eighty years old. He doesn't know, nor care, his exact age, or what his expected lifespan is. He can be encountered by any party who has set forth to battle a dragon, or has unwittingly wandered into an area where one dwells. Perhaps he will stake claim to the dragon, it being maybe Suthaze or perhaps another dragon with information Sorezeck needs. He may battle the party for what he considers interference, or be convinced into allowing them to "assist" him. Most likely, though, the PCs will be somehow involved in one of his cruel pranks on humanity.
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? Responses (6)-7
Quite well done - I like the story and writing (apart from my personal dislike of color-coded dragons.. seperate discussion).
Awesome write-up, a pleasure to read! Not sure why but his single-minded end mission of finding his father was a little less than I expected with such a complex character. With the unpredictable humans, and since it was their fault he was in this predictament, I was expecting a little more animosity towards them. Not the hostile, killing kind as this dragon is refreshingly self-aware, but more like, "Lets see what we can manipulate these idiot humans into doing that won't be blamed on me." I would have saw him doing odd things to start some small wars between cities and such just for a little payback while he was on his way to his greater mission. Dragon scale "pranks" that would cause quite a bit of disruption which could continue to prove his superiority over them even in his current state.
Really enjoyed reading it!
(PS. 2m = ~6.5ft, not 8 -- you could just say just shy of 3m and we would all get it without the conversion)
Hmm... a good point. Mucking with the affairs of humans is something the character I imagine would do, and it would give him a bit more depth, as well as game usability. Sub revised.
Oh, and I really do stink at the metric system. Sorry.
Nice piece, and, a bit overlooked actually, it deserves far more comments.
An outcast amongst outcasts.
I like... he seems like a perfect prospect for Tamrep.