On Mana, Dragons, and the Seeding of Worlds

As planets form out of the cosmic dust, they take eons to coalesce into a habitable state. Great upheavals in atmospheric conditions and plate tectonics lead to instability that limits the possibility for life to thrive. As these changes finalize, forming planets absorb massive amounts of mana, the nebulous fire  necessary for biogenesis.

Dragons shape this process, knowing instinctually where they are needed, and what should be done to promote the spread of life throughout the cosmos. Their bodies radiate massive amounts of mana, usually providing the last surge needed for a planet to settle into it's semi-permanent state for the rest of time. The world begins producing its own mana, self-regulating its climate, weather patterns, and plate tectonics. 

Once life has taken root to their satisfaction, the Dragons depart, leaving the inhabitants to make their own way towards achieving their own self-actualization. 

On the Formation of Winvolcanus

Winvolcanus was guided through its birth by numerous dragons- all pushed by a sense that it would be a troubled labor. They toiled for millennia, wrestling with the particularly volatile and fiery core of newborn world. Violent storms wracked the surface, the oceans boiled, and the ground spewed ash and acid into the sky.

Long they poured mana into Winvolcanus, thus that it would enter a stable equilibrium. Slowly, painfully, they coaxed it to exhibit cold poles and a warm equator, to have an atmosphere that wouldn't choke any who dared step out onto the surface without a sealed suit, and to allow the volcanos to go dormant.

When seeding life on Winvolcanus, the Dragons chose to utilize species that they knew were hardy and robust. A powerful disquiet lurked within Winvolcanus, a great promise that they hoped would allow the life there to someday travel among the stars as the Dragons did.

On the Departure of the Dragons

Humans, dwarfs, and Elves quickly established themselves as the dominant species on the world. The Humans liked to inhabit the extremes of the world, priding themselves on surviving where others could not. The Dwarfs learned to craft magnificent works of great magical power, and to grow crops underground using relics known as Sunstones. The Elves lived nomadic lives, traveling the world where their whims took them, perhaps being the closest to feeling the mana flows within Winvolcanus itself. All three slowly started to build settlements, learning how to coexist and build great works together, all while learning from the wise Dragons who guided and nurtured their growth.

The Dragons taught and observed with quiet satisfaction. Soon the time to stop supplying Winvolcanus with Mana would come, and the clarion call of their nature would force them to turn their attention to the next world to seed with life. One by one, they flew off into space.

Sylarion, the final dragon, waited. Instinct did not compel him to move, allowing him to feel as Winvolcanus shuddered, the disquiet within it suddenly no longer contained by the influx of draconic Mana.

Regarding the Eternal Eruption

Massive volcanic eruptions started almost simultaneously, shattering the idyllic lives of the life seeded on Winvolcanus. Millions were buried under pyroclastic flows, asphyxiated by choking gas, or incinerated by lava. Cities were entombed, towns obliterated, and lava seared scars across the land. The sun was blotted out by ash, causing day and night to bleed together.

The survivors gathered where they could, trying to move where the eruptions were less severe. They created new settlements, in the hopes that the eruptions would stop. Ash continued to pour up into the sky, seemingly endless.

The Elves fared poorly, few surviving the treks across the shattered wilderness. Those that did agreed to make their way to the largest surviving city in the world, Winvo, to best ensure that they would continue to have enough children to sustain their population.

The Dwarfs were generous, realizing that the Sunstones would be a key to survival. Courageous groups of Dwarfs trekked the world, attempting to ensure that any community that needed a Sunstone would not go without. Sadly many of those attempting the treks died, as did the communities waiting for Sunstones that never reached their destination.

The Humans, best equipped for harsh environments, suffered. The sun was choked by the ashen sky. Temperatures dropped. Crops failed to grow outside of the too-small influence of the Sunstones. Livestock starved, or was slaughtered to eat.

Famine gripped the world. And yet still the ash continued to spew up from the ground. Humanity continued to stubbornly carve out existence in small towns and villages, communally feeding the Sunstones the mana they needed to function. The Dwarfs established underground settlements, barely able to sustain a population able to sustain itself. The city of Winvo grew into a beacon of civilization, the expatriate Elves forming deep connections to the city itself, helping bolster it against the forces outside.

Sylarion's Gift

Distraught by the cataclysmic destruction he witnessed, Sylarion despaired as the compulsion to move onto the next world began to build. Seeing the starving, the maimed, the hopeless, Sylarion with haste called the most faithful students of the Dragons to a great holy place. Desperately, Sylarion cut off a portion of his cosmic self, swirling mana and the partial fragment of his immortal soul into a clutch of eggs.

"Guard these well, for in their hatching is the return of Dragons to this world." Sylarion said, entrusting them to the faithful. "Despair not, for hope, life, flame, and mana are all intertwined."

Hobbled, incomplete, and broken, Sylarion was pulled away from Winvolcanus, unable to resist the mandate innate to all Dragons.

The Ash Season

The world cooled, and agriculture became impossible outside of the glow of Sunstones. Wildlife struggled, but hardy and tenacious species continue to survive. Reindeer fared particularly well, as did bears, seals, whales, bison, mammoths, and wolves. Most humans now travel with the aid of sled dogs. Horses, cattle, and goats are nearly extinct. Travel is rare, for many fear to venture into the dark between Sunstones.

Monsters began to appear, creatures of cold and death, void things that sucked up mana as they passed. Experimentation led some to learn that those energies could be used to bring back the dead in profane mockeries of life. They search the wastes, with undead servants attempting to dig through the snowpack to allow access to more bodies for their masters to raise.

Some communities have grown cold and callous, abandoning the spirit of cooperation and cohabitation taught by the Dragons. Suspicious, paranoid, they clash against one another while pushing the world deeper into the long dark.

Faith Stone Village

Faith Stone Village is a small establishment far to the North. Originally founded before the departure of the Dragons, it was located next to The Temple of Faith, and served as a place of learning and teaching. After the Eternal Eruption, half of the village was consumed in lava, but thankfully after the initial event the Volcano did not produce lava again, instead slowly wafting ash up into the sky.

The village was one of the last to receive a Sunstone, delivered by a ragtag group of Dwarfs that had lost half their number in the journey. 

Life continued on, and the village persisted. Their Sunstone grew strong, slowly expanding its radius over the years. The Temple of Faith continues to be inhabited by the Dragon Monks, whose survival is confirmed by infrequent sightings of their travels to and from the Temple. Faith Stone Village has a robust herd of caribou, and most of the families present raise chickens or rabbits for additional meat. The farms churn out a steady supply of produce, but never as much as would be needed to thrive. Fishing expeditions are common, but usually stick to the water sources close to the village.

The Delivery

A man rides into Faith Stone Village, his dog sled hauled by a single Dire Wolf. He pulls it to a halt, and checks that the precious cargo tucked into his robe's inner pocket is still there. The warmth radiating from the egg in his possession helps thaw the hopelessness he's felt for a long time.

He looks up towards the ancient temple, carved into the side of a volcano. Hopefully the Dragon Monks here still live. He's running out of known temples, and it won't be long before the heat of the egg brings the hunters back out of the dark.

He decides that he'll give the villagers fair warning, so that maybe they can prepare and beat back the attack he knows is on its way.

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? Quest

When you are under siege, you have nothing but time. But the abundance of time is just as much of a weight as the enemy outside the gates. It is time for the Citadel to develop a creative Stimulus Package to support the Strolenati during this unique time. After no deliberation and no votes, the following will be the procedures followed through the the Citadel Stimulus Quest. (Subject to change, amendment, and adjustment as needed.)

  • Every Monday a minimum influx of $40 will be added to the Stimulus Package to keep the Creative Citadel Economy out of a Recession.
  • The Stimulus Package will accumulate $40 weekly until there are 5 unique author submissions.
  • Authors can write as many submissions as they like and each will be considered on their own merits.
  • On the Sunday after the 5 author requirement is met, the 5+ submissions by 5+ authors will be weighed and measured by the Strolenati.
  • Whomever is determined as the winner(s) will receive funds (as determined by the Strolenati) that have collected in the Stimulus Package.
  • On Monday, if winners were awarded, the Stimulus Package will be re-established at $40 and the quest will restart.
  • The quest will continue in this cycle until such a time that the Strolenati Council has deemed the siege over.
Current Stimulus Package: $40
Next Update: Jul 13
Contributors: Strolen, Murometz

Round 1 completed May 10: 7 Weeks - $280 in Stimulus reserves. Since it was the first round, and the amount was enough to pass around, we decided everyone who took the time deserved something. So sayeth the Strolenati.

Round 2 completed July 6: 8 Weeks - $340 in Stimulus reserves. Incresed funding and a stabilized creative force has allowed some increases in most awards. So sayeth the Strolenati.

Round 1Round 2
1. Scrasamax - $115
2. Ted - $75
3. manfred - $50
4. Siren no Orakio - $20
5. valadaar - $10
6. Aramax - $10

  1. Ted - $120
  2. Scrasamax - $75
  3. Moonhunter - $55
  4. Chaosmark - $ 30
  5. Moonlake - $20
  6. valadaar - $20
  7. WAR10CK - $20