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Revision as of 02:52, 9 July 2024 by Jeffbuterbaugh (talk | contribs) (Moved all the Adrian lore to a new subpage)
Durzibethinus
Moments after his rebirth as a Dragon.
Relatives Feredemius, Smargarg
Affiliations Ruby Court
Aliases Emerald Thane of Sardior, Durian, Adrian Grunwald
Date of Birth 826 PR
Place of Birth Northern Snowy Mountains, Isonhound
Species Dragon
Gender Male (he/him)
Eye Color Emerald
Class Deity
Domain Trickery

Durzibethinus, also known as Durian, is an Emerald Dragon and the Emerald Thane of Sardior. Prior to his ascension, he lived a mortal life in Isonhound as a Dragonborn named Adrian Grunwald, son of the high sorcerer in a hidden town called Jadenhill. After leaving home in 825 PR with the hopes of finding a way to protect his clan from hostile Dragons and Crusaders, he changed his name to Durian and discovered the existence of Gem Dragons as well as his own emerald heritage. This sent him down a path towards helping to resurrect Sardior, the Ruby King of Gem Dragons and defeating his disgraced ancestor Feredemius, who served as the original Emerald Thane before the dissolution of the prehistoric Ruby Court. Durian’s role in the ritual to resurrect Sardior caused him to be reborn as an Emerald Dragon and empowered him to sit on the reassembled Ruby Court as the new Emerald Thane. Following his transformation, he took to using the name Durzibethinus, a draconic name his father had given him, in order to protect his identity as well as his clan.

Prologue

Durian was born at the Temple on Jadenhill, a small community off the southern coast of Isonhound. Its population primarily consisted of Metallic Dragonborn and was settled by a clan of devout Bahamut worshippers who emigrated from Pteris in the early PR era to escape the chaos of the Cavalry Rush. The town of Jadenhill itself comprised mainly of the temple, which was partially built into the ruins of an ancient abandoned mining project.

The temple practiced its worship in relative peace and seclusion for nearly three centuries, finding ways to honor Bahamut while they awaited his inevitable return, such as studying the Way of the Ascendant Dragon. However, they would fall victim to the Razing of Isonhound in 700 PR…which flattened most parts of the temple that were not housed in the repurposed mining tunnels. Most lives were spared, but it was a devastating loss that would prove too difficult to build back from without outside help. They began tiptoeing back into the outside world to attempt trade and other forms of participating in greater society.

Blaming the Dragons of Tiamat—the only Dragon Deity they believed to be active at the time—for their misfortunes, the town wrote letters declaring their allegiance to the church of Kragnux the Dragon Slayer and added him to their pantheon of deities. Around this same time, a few of the town's hatchlings had been born with brilliant, emerald-colored scales and proved to be gifted with psionic powers and sorcery. The source of their unusual ancestry was unknown, but the temple leaders referred to these gemlike hatchlings as "patinas" and believed them to be a blessing from Bahamut…serving as living proof that their clan was on the most righteous path.

This interpretation would prove regrettable as the growing church of Kragnux became radicalized against not just Dragons, but against all draconic races. The temple heard word of the Dragonborn being slaughtered in the Second Draconic Crusades and quietly dissolved their ties to the church, but it was too late to recluse their community again. They had rebuilt and thrived with the benefit of outside trading partners who knew of the temple and would soon be visiting in greater numbers.

The temple leaders devised a system for receiving guests, erecting a mage tower dubbed the Court of Quartz to serve as a visitors center as well as house many of the artifacts pulled from the former mining tunnels over the years…including a large amethyst gem shaped like a Dragon egg. They also appointed a high sorcerer—one of the "patina" Dragonborn—to reside in the tower and perform an essential part of their plan using one of the few gem relics in the collection brought over from the old continent.

Dubbed the Selune Splinter and described as a fragment from an ancient moon crystal imbued with peculiar paranormal properties, it was able to amplify illusionary magic to increase its effect and distance. Wielding this artifact, the high sorcerer could cast a spell over the entire town to disguise its Dragonborn residents as Wood Elves…the primary inhabitants of the Woldlin region. This deception was successfully kept up for the remainder of the century and the monotonous high sorcerer position would be passed between "patina" Dragonborn before reaching Durian's mother.

Ironically, the long-awaited return of Bahamut in 795 PR would also soon signal the end of the town's ruse. As all Dragons had been set free to inflict their will on the realm, the temple came under attack by an unidentified Dragon at the start of 825 PR and the Court of Quartz was robbed of its collection…including the Selune Splinter which they had spent decades relying upon for protection. The town's residents were suddenly left vulnerable in a realm which found itself increasingly at odds with Dragons for the first time in over a century. How long would it be before the rest of the realm grew frustrated and turned its sights back on who was left of the draconic races?

Adrian Grunwald, son of the high sorcerer and presumed next in line for the position, adopted the alias of Durian (a portmanteau of his elvish and draconic names) to conceal his origins and snuck away from the temple with aspirations to show the realm that the Dragonborn were equal victims of the Dragons' ransacking ways and could be strong allies in the fight against them. If he could also uncover a new means of protecting his clan somewhere along the way, that would be all the better.

Into the Greedy Green

Durian
His Dragonborn form prior to his rebirth.
Player Name Jeff
Languages Celestial, Common, Draconic, Dwarvish, Elvish, Infernal, Primordial, Telepathy, Wiki
Affiliations Harbingers of Sardior
Date of Birth 806 PR
Place of Birth Jadenhill, Isonhound
Species Dragonborn
Gender Male (he/him)
Height 6' 4"
Weight 260 lbs
Eye Color Emerald
Class Sorcerer

Draconic Divinations

Durian leaves home for the first time and is given an alarming vision of the future before meeting a Silver Dragon with a peculiar ideology, causing him to have a crisis of faith…

Durian did not ask for explicit permission to leave Jadenhill, but after the Dragon attack and theft of the Selune Splinter, he felt an obligation to protect his home and find a new way of defending his clan from annihilation. He wore his Wood Elf disguise everywhere early in his journey due to fears of hostility towards Dragonborn, but dropped this precaution soon before arriving in the city of Synàra to gage how people would respond. Sensing no immediate animosity, he ceased the pretense of a disguise while still remaining guarded about the hometown of Dragonborn he heralded from.

He had arrived just in time for the celebration of Asar Ogalas, an elvish festival of rebirth which commemorated the Razing of Isonhound. Durian jumped aboard a cart which offered guided tours, marveling at the town's trees with trunks wider around than the columns of any tower and branches which seemed to graze the sky. The sight of them made him fantasize about how his hometown of Jadenhill must have looked prior to the Razing, secluded by dense canopies of foliage. All manner of folk from across the continent had gathered to hawk their wares and labors, including some elvish jewelry which, at least in Durian's eyes, did not compare with what had recently been ransacked from the Court of Quartz. Pixies and satyrs were also abound cross the festival, but Durian had been raised to leave the forest's Fey creatures unbothered.

He entered a fortune teller's tent, expecting an entertaining swindle for one gold piece…what he got instead was a cryptic prophecy. The teller gazed into his scrying sphere as the lights dimmed and he described a flood of smoke which would precede the return of powerful Dragons. The teller peered to Durian, staring him down with a bewildered expression and asked "who are you?" Durian could only stutter out, "I'm a Dragonborn," unsure of how to respond. The fortune teller warned, "you should leave Synàra," before light returned to the tent and the prophecy faded from view.

Durian exited the tent shaken, but barely a minute passed before he would experience his first crisis of faith in the teachings of Bahamut as he witnessed Sro the Silver Dragon, seemingly allied with a Red Dragon and a Black Dragon, descending upon the festivities and attacking the city. Durian joined a group of adventurers who were dashing towards city hall to confront the Silver Dragon. Once they caught up, however, they quickly discovered the Greatwyrm was simply too powerful to take down as it laid waste to the building's stone walls as if they were parchment. Durian avoided a breath weapon which took down most of the city guard and followed the massive creature inside the building. He tried to get closer to its head by climbing onto a balcony, but one whip from the Dragon's tail sent Durian tumbling back to the ground floor. As Durian struggled to stand back up, he tried sending Sro a telepathic message: "child of Bahamut, what is it that you want? Let us help you and cease this destruction!" The Silver Dragon turned his head towards Durian and bellowed out "bring me the mayor!" What they didn't know was that some of the other adventurers were smuggling the mayor out of the building as Durian helped distract Sro. The mayor was rescued, but the Dragon grabbed one of the mayor's assistants in its claws before flying away with a thunderous boom.

Durian was left confused and with so many questions…why would a child of Bahamut conspire with spawns of Tiamat to commit such a seemingly evil act? To find out why, Durian responded to some local calls for aid and joined a rescue party that was on its way to confront Sro at his lair. The journey took several days to navigate Isonhound's thick forests, but after scaling a mountain and finally arriving at the lair's cavernous entrance, the Silver Dragon was surprisingly receptive to them. Sro clarified that he was not allied with the Chromatic Dragons, but rather, he had been abducting mayors in order to better prepare humankind to battle Dragons again. Durian was not impressed with this answer but held his tongue, knowing better than to fight or argue with one of the children of his deity. Still, he could not shake his worries…was it really wise to be raising armies of Dragon killers only a few decades after the heedless genocide of the Second Draconic Crusades? How long would it be before a new generation of crusaders rose up to finish off the remaining Dragonborn? He returned to Synàra in search of another job, one that he hoped would reveal a better path forward.

Surprise Sapphire

Durian discovers the existence of Gem Dragons and attempts to befriend one of them, leading him towards questions about his own identity…

Not yet convinced that fighting was the best solution for his clan, he found himself in the town of Tsoljcanth where he was intrigued by the unique problem plaguing its residents: they were being rendered invisible to one another at seemingly random intervals. Durian joined a search party in following clues to the potential source of the problem: a stolen Dragon egg, strange in appearance and not dissimilar to the "egg-shaped gem" that had been stolen from Jadenhill. The party tracked the egg into the forest and found themselves battling invisible monsters. In a last-ditch attempt to shake them off, Durian shouted at the monsters that "I need to protect that egg!" In that moment, the monsters became visible to him and a brilliant Sapphire Dragon appeared flying overhead. Durian had never heard of a Gem Dragon before. He called out to her "who are you, who do you follow?" before witnessing her fly off with the egg, questions unanswered. Shortly thereafter, the party heard a voice in their heads declaring them friends of Gem Dragons and being granted the Boon of Bleucorundum the Sapphire Dragon, a protection which would render them "invisible to any Dragon who would hurt you, so long as you don't shed any Dragon's blood." Possibilities raced through Durian's mind, could this boon lead to the solution for his clan that he'd been looking for? What is a Gem Dragon, could this be the reason he looks and feels so different from the other Metallic Dragonborn at home?

Bronze Boating

Durian tests the limits of the boon that Bleucorundum gave him by taking a job which would lead him to encounter another child of Bahamut

Eager to find out how Bleucorundum's boon really worked, Durian took a job in an area where a Bronze Dragon had reportedly been sighted. He would be providing protection to a cargo boat named the River Queen while it sailed from Sneerwell to the Ssaphíbían River. He met the rest of the adventuring team at the dock and they all boarded the vessel, which was being captained by two Korreds. They were not on the river for long before they had their first sighting of the Bronze Dragon swimming towards the stern of the ship. They managed to put some distance between themselves and the Dragon by kicking the boat's engine into temporary overdrive, but the Dragon eventually caught up and attacked the boat with its lightning breath weapon. The team managed to get one more boost out of the boat's engine to escape the Dragon again, but the engine was shot afterwards.

The Korred captains docked the boat to address any damages and refuel at their midway station, which turned out to be an illicit mining operation in the Isonhound forests that the captains were involved with, even hauling mining equipment on their boat. As they pulled in, however, it was clear that the site had been completely destroyed, presumably by the Bronze Dragon. The team explored what was left of the site—displeased with the environmental scarring that the mining had caused—and quickly turned against the unapologetic Korreds. So much so, that when the Bronze Dragon eventually caught up with the team, they fed the Korred captains to him. They had a brief conversation with the Dragon, who revealed that there were still enslaved workers trapped in the collapsed mine. He was unsympathetic to them, however, as he believed that anyone involved with this mining "deserve their fate." Durian also spoke to the Bronze Dragon, but it was very clear that Durian was invisible to him as the creature struggled to make eye contact and follow the sound of Durian's voice. This was curious to Durian…did this mean that the Bronze Dragon still sought to harm him, or was he simply now invisible to all Dragons of the Metallic and Chromatic variety? More importantly, what did it say about the moral perspectives of Gem Dragons if Bleucorundum viewed all non-Gem Dragons as potentially harmful? There was a Warforged on their team who also seemed to be invisible to the Dragon, but Durian did not know where the Warforged sourced their invisibility from.

After the Bronze Dragon took off, the team's Druid melded into stone in order to rescue the enslaved workers trapped underground and return them to the surface (including a Shifter from the Igneous of Isonhound tribe). Meanwhile, an Artificer worked on the boat's engine to make it operational again and the team was able to sail home.

Hoping to further test Bleucorundum's boon, Durian took another job not long afterwards which he hoped would lead to him encountering a spawn of Tiamat. This job proved to be a bust, however, as the alleged Red Dragon who had been causing trouble for the town of Briar Glen turned out to merely be a major image that a retired Wizard had been casting in order to manipulate the local Kobolds into doing his bidding.

Sardior Secrets

Durian meets an ancient witch who is the first to divulge the existence of the Ruby Court as well as his god Sardior, the Ruby King of Gem Dragons

Durian's questions regarding the Gem Dragons would remain unanswered until he met Yggwilv, a powerful witch possessing ancient powers and knowledge. Durian asked her about the Gem Dragons, to which she unfurled the story of Sardior the Ruby Dragon, the lost third pillar of Dragonkind. She explained that he was an ancient god of neutrality who once had a court consisting of each type of Gem Dragon, but that he had died sometime before Prehistory. She told Durian that Sardior was his god, and that if Gem Dragon eggs are suddenly appearing in the realm, it may be a sign that this forgotten pillar of neutrality is needed once again. Durian left Yggwilv's Hut, unsure of what it means to worship Sardior but determined to do all he could to find out.

Seglock Siege

Durian struggles to enjoy a festival in Seglock when Horatio Cheshire crashes the party, riding atop what appears to be an aspect of Tiamat

The people of Seglock had been gifted with an artifact known as the Moonwell, capable of encompassing the city in a magical dome that Dragons could not penetrate. The city threw a festival to celebrate their newfound protection, which Durian attended. He arrived at the festivities to mingle with other adventurers, as he had heard whispers of another team returning from a job with an item of great personal importance to Durian: the Selune Splinter. It had been months since a Dragon had raided it from the Court of Quartz, leaving his clan without any means of protection from the outside world. Durian never expected to see the item again but, to his astonishment, the rumors were true! After some wandering around, he spotted the familiar Selune Splinter in the possession of another adventurer at the festival. To Durian's horror, however, the adventurer was using the item as a mere barstool.

Before he had a chance to confront them and explain the item's importance, however, the festival was interrupted by the familiar sounds of chaos in the distance. A horde of strange, mutated-looking monsters had begun assaulting the city. Durian flew towards the noise emitting from the center gate of Seglock University, helping to fight off the attacking monsters along the way. Upon reaching the gate, he discovered that it had been overtaken by a horde of Cheshire Goblins. He helped to fight them for a while until Professor Nguyen, a staff member of the school, appeared with his Autom bodyguard and began shooting the Cheshire Goblins with a liquid which melted them in one hit. Durian and a group of adventurers followed Professor Nguyen deeper into campus, hoping to obtain more of this miracle liquid. As they darted through a courtyard towards one of the campus buildings, however, Horatio Cheshire flew overhead riding what looked like an aspect of Tiamat, raining the team with acid. Thankfully, the team was able to patch each other up and help everyone into the building. When the team questioned the professor about the liquid he had used to melt the Cheshire Goblins, he explained that it was Drakkoth blood and that they would be able to obtain more from his laboratory. The adventurers helped Professor Nguyen fight off the monsters through several halls and classrooms until finally reaching his laboratory, where he was able to supply them all with vials of Drakkoth blood. They used the blood to help push back Horatio Cheshire's siege on the city and take down whatever was left of his forces.

Over the next several weeks, Durian and the other adventurers used the Drakkoth blood to continue fighting against Cheshire's monsters until Professor Nguyen's supply ran out. However, they would soon be approached by a woman named Brenna, leader of a group calling themselves the Protectors of the People. She invited Durian and some other adventurers back to the group's hideout, where they brokered a deal which would provide both Seglock University and the Protectors of the People with a steady supply of Drakkoth blood for the foreseeable future.

Shadow Showdown

Durian is recruited by the Curator to help shut down the Shadow Forge and put an end to Horatio Cheshire's abominations once and for all…

Despite the adventurers' best efforts, it was clear that Cheshire's monsters would continue to wreak havoc across Isonhound until the mad alchemist could be stopped at the source. Durian answered a correspondence from a Fey entity calling himself the Curator, requesting his help with that very matter. He joined a large group of adventurers at a secret location where the Curator debriefed them on his plan. As it turned out, Horatio Cheshire had somehow broken into a forge located in the Shadowfell and was using the equipment in this Shadow Forge to create his monstrous abominations.

Durian was split into a team tasked with infiltrating the forge and destroying the machines used to create the monsters. As they snuck in through one of the Curator's Fey portals, they heard the humming sound of several capsules lined along the walls continuously spitting out more Cheshire monsters. Fighting off an endless supply of monsters would have been a fruitless effort unless they could also cut off the machines' power supply. Across the room, they heard the blare of another enormous machine powering up. In a flash, the machine produced a gargantuan assemblage of reanimated flesh and metal. The grotesque abomination sprung to life, creeping forward with thunderous steps towards the team. Durian's psionic attacks proved very ineffective against a monster which had no means of thought, so he flew swiftly past it and focused his attacks on points of the machine that appeared to be feeding it power. Targeting the machine seemed to work as parts of the forge began to crumble around them. Much of the team fought through the horde of monsters towards the other end of the room, joining Durian in attacking the weak points of the main machine before it could produce another abomination. As they appeared to finally cut off the last thread of power to the machine, the ceiling of the forge started to cave in and they were all forced to retreat back through the Curator's portal.

Having successfully taken down the machines in the Shadow Forge, the Curator sent their team to defend a portal leading to the mad alchemist himself, as it was currently under attack by invisible Shadowfell monsters. Being capable of seeing invisibility, Durian hovered over the battlefield and relayed to his teammates where to target their blows. This method proved effective, as they were able to protect the portal long enough for the adventurers on the other side to weaken Horatio Cheshire and his Dracohydra that he had been passing off as Tiamat. The team made their way through the portal themselves and joined the rest of the adventurers to help land the killing blows on Cheshire, finally putting an end to his abominations. The Curator thanked the adventurers, offering them each a favor of information from his vast library of Fey knowledge as gratitude for their service.

Splintered Priorities

Durian joins a guild in order to reacquire the Selune Splinter, an artifact of tremendous significance that had been stolen from his clan…

Before Durian could put any more legwork into pursuing the path of Sardior, he would first need to address the loose thread from his past which had made an unexpected reappearance in his life: the Selune Splinter. Unbeknownst to him, the Wold Order had taken possession of it sometime after it was stolen from the Court of Quartz, using it in one of their training grounds to create the illusion of a Red Dragon's lair. Even more frustrating, the adventurer who had swiped it from the Wold Order refused to hear Durian out about the significance it carried to his clan. In a move that felt almost mocking, they also seemed to openly carry the Selune Splinter around with them everywhere they went. Durian kept close tabs on them, awaiting an opportunity when he could negotiate for the artifact that, as far as Durian was concerned, was the only thing standing between his clan and certain annihilation. After three months, he learned that the Selune Splinter had traded hands once again. After formally meeting the Band of the Iron Hawk at the battle of the Shadow Forge, however, Durian was invited to join their guild—giving him the title of Psionic Sorcerer—and they used their connections to help negotiate the reacquisition of the Selune Splinter. Having finally recovered his coveted artifact, Durian spent lots of time on his own practicing how to channel illusionary magic through the Selune Splinter, trusting that it would not be long before he could arrange for its safe transport back to Jadenhill. In the meantime, however, he returned his attention to uncovering all he could about the Gem Dragon god: Sardior.

Jeered Tears

Durian sets out to learn everything he can about Sardior and acquires one of the only known physical remnants of the Gem Dragon god…

Following the battle of the Shadow Forge, the Curator offered a favor of information to those who aided in the battle. Durian used his favor to ask the Curator about Sardior, but he was unable to provide any new leads except to reaffirm all that Yggwilv had already said. He suggested seeking out the Gem Dragons for more answers, a recommendation which Durian felt very intent on following. He spent six weeks conducting research on Sardior and the Gem Dragons, using bribes and favors in order to compile a list of nearly everything ever put to paper about the ancient ruby god. It was not a terribly long list, which is predictable when conducting research on Prehistory beings, but Durian was confident that it was at least comprehensive. One particular find caught his attention: stories of an unknown sixth type of Gem Dragon. He immediately connected this sixth type with The One That Waits, a mysterious dark entity who had recently began plaguing Isonhound. Durian surmised that Sardior must have casted this sixth Gem Dragon out of his court and that they had returned to exact revenge on the reemerging Gem Dragons. He felt further supported by this claim after some other adventures turned up a previously unknown Gem Dragon type: Obsidian.

Around the same time, a handful of adventurers returned from visiting Sro with six ancient artifacts called the Tears of Sardior. Durian was shocked by the possibility of a physical remnant of Sardior still existing on the realm. He attempted to leverage his research in exchange for one of the artifacts. He soon felt guilty for withholding information and apologized for attempting that trick, freely sharing the research with the Band of the Iron Hawk as well as his theory about the identity of The One That Waits. Durian would eventually acquire a Tear of Sardior by bartering with someone outside of the guild. Being the only artifact of Sardior that he knew, he fastened it into a necklace to wear as a holy symbol in the same manner as his pendant of Bahamut.

Sanctified Machines

Durian meets the Most Sanctified Disciples of Sardior and pledges to support their efforts to resurrect Sardior by any means necessary…

Not long afterwards, Durian accepted an invitation from the Wold Order in Synàra who proceeded to grill him on how he was able to remain invisible to Dragons. He was familiar with the Elves of Woldin, having dealt with their diplomats frequently at the Court of Quartz, but he could not discern what their intentions would be if they found out about the Gem Dragons. Durian pretended not to know anything, but they still asked him to join a search party to track a Warforged-Centaur back to a mine inside the Northern Snowy Mountains. Deep inside the mine, the party discovered the base of the Most Sanctified Disciples of Sardior, an alliance of Warforged bearing gem names and colors, who explained their mission to resurrect the Topaz Dragon from the court of Sardior. Durian was ecstatic to learn of another group who shared in his goals, as it had felt like an uphill battle at times trying to convince other people that Sardior was important. He bombarded the Warforged with questions and showed them the Tear of Sardior, which they excitedly verified to be a genuine artifact. After departing the base, Durian was determined to do all he could to support their efforts in locating the missing members of the court of Sardior.

Emerald Epiphany

Durian tracks down the lair of an Emerald Dragon who teaches him how to read minds in exchange for helping to return one of his eggs…

Durian spent the next month conducting research to track down the potential whereabouts of the Emerald, Amethyst, and Crystal Dragons. He joined a party sailing up the Ssaphíbían River in order to follow a lead he found on the location of Feredemius, the Emerald Thane of Sardior. The expedition was contracted by Professor Miranda Wright, a psionic professor from Katharda Academy. As they arrived at the fiery entrance to an underground lair and the professor sensed the psionic activity within, Durian and the professor realized that they were both after the same thing. Durian, hovering over the entrance, folded his wings and plummeted straight down the hole leading into the lair, soon joined by the rest of the group as they each jumped in. It was immediately apparent that they were being watched as Durian spotted a clairvoyant eye peering from a nearby lava pillar, which disappeared after its owner was taken aback by being spotted. The group negotiated their way through the lair, encountering major illusions and conversing with the disembodied voice of a Gem Dragon as it picked through each of their memories. They eventually found their way to the main hall where the Dragon resided, but it was not Feredemius, but rather Smargarg the Emerald Dragon. It may not have been the Emerald Dragon that Durian had set out to find, but it was still the first physical evidence he had encountered that Emerald Dragons still walk the realm. He found the experience both incredibly validating and intimidating. Smargarg explained that all draconic emerald beings trace their lineage back to Feredemius, and that he could sense the psionic presence of Feredemius somewhere in Isonhound. Durian asked the Dragon if he could be taught to sense Feredemius, and he promised to grant the party this power if they could return an Emerald Dragon egg that was stolen from his hatchery.

A couple days later, Durian connected with another adventurer who had also been along to meet the Most Sanctified Disciples of Sardior, who confirmed that their most recent party had come into possession of the missing Emerald Dragon egg. However, the egg had been damaged and possibly possessed by The One That Waits, so they agreed to bring the egg back to Smargarg in hopes that he could help repair and purify it. Upon the egg's return, Smargarg granted the party a Boon of Telepathy and tasked them with "searching the minds of men to see if you can discern the presence of the emerald Feredemius, or maybe even The One That Walks Among You, or the presence of other mental powers such as The One That Waits…" Durian accepted this assignment and, with his new mind-reading ability, set his sights back on reassembling the court of Sardior.

Fairly Devious

Durian uncovers the true identity of The One That Waits and weighs the consequences of sharing his revelation with any other adventurers…

As the party left the lair of Smargarg, something that the young Emerald Dragon said continued to echo in Durian's mind: "I can feel Feredemius' presence…everywhere…he is still alive somewhere, somehow, in Isonhound." It seemed like such a strange thing to leave on. After all, had Smargarg seen everywhere lately? Isonhound was falling into disarray, being slowly overrun by shadow monsters. If Feredemius was truly so omnipresent, why had all this looming chaos not yet lured him out? How could his psionic presence be so strongly felt without leaving any physical trace? Durian returned to his research and combed through it closely, looking for anything he may have overlooked. He came across a piece of information that he had previously regarded as insignificant, namely, that Dragons could achieve a form of immortality by allowing their soul to repeatedly possess an egg of their same or similar type. This tidbit seemed to be backed up by the Most Sanctified Disciples of Sardior's mission to resurrect Tuschello using a Gold Dragon egg. So why would The One That Waits want to possess an Emerald Dragon egg with his corrupting shadow energy? Durian had a silent epiphany. "Fuck, The One That Waits is Emerald…" he thought to himself while flipping through his notes, praying to Sardior that he had missed something. It had made so much sense for The Once That Waits to be the forgotten Obsidian Dragon, but was it possible that Durian had unintentionally misled his guild and the other adventurers? And if what Smargarg said was true about all emerald creatures being descended from Feredemius…could Durian really be descended from such a sinister being? He wanted to broach this newfound revelation with the rest of the adventurers in Seglock, but he felt he needed to handle it delicately…lest he earn the their wrath and they turn against all emerald creatures. The realm had already attempted to massacre the Dragonborn race only a few decades ago, it seemed foolish to think the masses would be above taking up arms against Emerald Dragonborn specifically. Durian decided to bide his time with revealing The One That Waits' true identity, holding out for an opportunity to share the truth with a reliable group of people in hopes that he could mitigate the fallout for himself and any other emerald creatures.

Harbinger Havoc

Durian learns names for all of the original Ruby Court members and ponders what it means to be a Harbinger, forming the Harbingers of Sardior to share information more efficiently…

Shortly after returning to Seglock, Durian began compiling everything he had learned about the Gem Dragons from his visits with Smargarg as well as the Most Sanctified Disciples of Sardior…attempting to organize his scattered notes into a tome of more comprehensible information that others could benefit from. Arguably the most significant discoveries from his most recent outings were names for two more of Sardior's court members…the EmeraldFeredemius—and the AmethystThe One That Walks Among You. Durian was among the first to meet the SapphireBleucorundum—early on in his journey, and another party had uncovered the name of the CrystalEros—several months ago. All that had yet to be uncovered was a name for the fifth court member…that is, until another adventuring party returned from the Northern Snowy Mountains wielding an artifact called the Topaz Astrolabe and finally putting a name to the TopazTuschello. Additionally, the party claimed that the artifact gifted them boons of a Harbinger upon its activation and that it had briefly opened a portal to the soul of Tuschello within the Astral Sea. Durian was impressed by these claims and was particularly intrigued by the party's use of the word Harbinger, as it was the first title he had heard which resembled anything pertaining to a formal role in the court of Sardior. He certainly had theories about what such a role may have entailed in the context of an ancient court, especially since the benefits of the Harbinger boon—namely, a gem-based breath weapon and resistance—seemed to mirror his own innate abilities as a Gem Dragonborn. But it was the only title he knew thus far to describe a follower of Sardior…so regardless of whatever its official meaning once was, Durian was determined to be a Harbinger, too. He finished compiling his tome of Gem Dragon notes—deciding to title it the Harbingers of Sardior—and treated it as a pseudo-guild, extending invitations to share the tome with any adventurer who expressed interest in learning more about the Gem Dragons and who might want to contribute any relevant information that they pick up along their travels.

Festive Fall

Durian brings the Topaz Astrolabe to Sneerwell in hopes of deciphering its purpose, instead confronting The One That Waits face-to-face while Isonhound is enveloped by shadows…

Durian and another member of the Iron Hawks made plans to take the Topaz Astrolabe to Sneerwell, knowing that the home of Pendergras Industries was a hub of technological development, in hopes that somebody there could help identify the artifact's function. His guild mate fell ill, however, and Durian had to make the trip alone. Upon arriving in Sneerwell, he discovered a festival taking place as it was Asar Oglas once again. Durian hadn't realized that it had been a full year since he left Jadenhill. So much had changed since then, and festivals made Durian feel uneasy these days as he couldn't forget the previous year's celebration in Synàra which had been attacked by three Dragons. Still, he stopped by a fortune teller's booth as he had last year for old times' sake, but used his newfound mind-reading ability to discern that this city's fortune teller was a swindler.

Durian emerged from the tent, wiser than he was the year before, and his weariness around festivals was quickly validated as a thunderous, quaking boom crashed the celebration. In the panic, Durian noticed a commotion coming from the Pendergras factory and darted towards it with another group of adventurers to investigate. They saw a shouting Half-Gnome man remote controlling a group of Automs and demanding to know what was going on at his factory. It was Tolmè Pendergras, who turned to the adventurers and asked what they knew about the situation. Durian noticed a familiar sight barricading the entrance into the factory: the amethyst Warforged-Centaur from the Most Sanctified Disciples of Sardior. "It's a Warforged-Centaur," Durian shouted in surprise, but this did nothing to clarify things to Tolmè as he readied his Automs to attack. Durian turned invisible, trying not to rouse a showdown, and spoke in the minds of the other adventurers to convince them to help the MSDOS. Likewise, he sent a telepathic message to Tolmè pleading to stand down his Automs and let them handle the situation. Tolmè seemed very skeptical, but allowed the adventurers to push through to the entrance of the factory.

After a bit of struggle crossing the Iron Horse track that circled the factory, they entered to find it in the midst of a large-scale heist. Warforged-Centaurs were rolling around collecting as much Wovenstone as they could for use in the MSDOS' project to resurrect Tuschello the Topaz Dragon. Durian also spotted the topaz Warforged from MSDOS standing atop a high balcony giving directions, and he called up to ask how they could help. The Warforged thanked him, telling them to grab Wovenstone and start carrying it to the cart they had parked outside. Durian began to do so, but Tolmè soon caught up with them and discovered his factory in the midst of being robbed. He turned his Automs on the adventurers as well as the Warforged-Centaurs and even began shooting at them himself. Durian tried to escape by hitching a ride on a conveyer belt deeper into the factory, where he discovered MSDOS' Clockwork Dragon also wreaking havoc. This gave Durian an idea and—in the chaos of the factory floor—he casted a major image of Smargarg the Emerald Dragon. Echoing the prophecy he had learned from MSDOS, the illusion roared "court is called, the five complete the four, the ruby will be…Sardior's return is inevitable!" This served to briefly distract the Automs in the ensuing fight which persisted until everyone heard a monstrous roar coming from outside. The adventurers fled the factory to find the source of this roar and discovered an enormous Red Dragon attacking the town. Believing that he couldn't help in this fight without drawing Bleucorundum's wrath, Durian fled through one of the Fey portals that the Curator had left behind, depositing him and the Astrolabe at the Lunaran temple in Seglock.

Within the safety of the temple, Durian met Echemus the Crystal Dragon for the first time, who was using his healing tears to cure adventurers' wounds. The Lunarans debriefed Durian on just how bad things really were on the outside. The seismic explosion he heard in Sneerwell had actually been felt all across Isonhound, its epicenter being the Northern Snowy Mountains. Dark Shadowfell energy was flooding from the exploded Mountains, rendering the surrounding areas uninhabitable and quickly sweeping across the entirety of Isonhound. Even Sneerwell, which was closer to the southern coast, would soon be enveloped in darkness along with the rest of the continent. On the bright side, the Lunarans and the adventurers held up in the temple had discerned that the Astrolabe was capable of producing a protective dome that repelled dark energy, similar to the dome that the Moonwell created around Seglock. This meant they could potentially use it to save one other city, if only they could figure out how to activate it. At first they thought it might attach to the Moonwell somehow, but none of the configurations they tried seemed to securely fit them together. So they tried a different approach, postulating from the Lunarans' books that the Astrolabe could only be activated once in a lunar cycle. They counted the time since its last activation, discovering that the next cycle was set to begin in a mere couple of hours. The adventurers debated the best location to activate the Astrolabe and landed on Gammelgard, reasoning that it was a port city which could allow them to transport refugees safely off the continent. Durian, ready to jump back into the fray, took the Astrolabe and leapt into the Curator's portal headed to Gammelgard.

Durian emerged from the portal, finding himself inside Gammelgard's main forge as other adventurers were battling hordes of twisted shadow monsters. Durian summoned his spectral wings and joined in the fight, raining attacks from overhead as he cradled the Astrolabe and tried his best to stall for time. Thankfully, just as they had hoped, the Astrolabe began to glow with a pulsing light the moment the clock rang in a new lunar cycle. An adventurer suggested activating it atop Gammelgard's lighthouse to secure the artifact while allowing it to serve as a beacon of hope. They all agreed and departed the forge, fighting their way through the darkness-engulfed city and towards the coast. They confronted more mobs of shadow monsters as Durian flew towards the lighthouse, inserting the Astrolabe into its beacon and pressing the button to activate its magic. In an instant, a bright light emanated from it and pushed outwards in every direction, enveloping the city and warding back the dark energy of the Shadowfell. Once things finally seemed handled in Gammelgard, Durian retreated back to the Curator's portal to make another stop: the Northern Snowy Mountains.

As Durian flew out of the portal, all he could see below was a flood of smoke and darkness. One of Pendergras' airships idled overhead, an epic confrontation taking place on its deck. Directly in front of him, however, was the visage of a massive Ruby Citadel that drifted slowly closer. Atop the floating structure was a giant Obsidian-looking Dragon, The One That Waits, sitting on it like a throne. Durian glared into the monster's green eyes and sent it a telepathic message: "were you part of the court of Sardior?" The One That Waits looked down at him and roared back, "Sardior is a fool!" Durian asked "how do you figure?" But the Dragon only continued to menacingly study him as the Citadel nudged ever closer. Durian shook his head disappointingly, responding "you better not be Feredemius," before folding his wings and falling straight back down into the Curator's portal.

The portal dispensed Durian in the skies above Sneerwell, the city where he had began this chaotic day. He glided over the city searching for any signs of life. But just as he was warned, the city had been completely swallowed by darkness. The only signs of movement came from various shadow monsters, including one shaped like the Warforged-Centaur he had fought alongside earlier. At a loss for what else to do, Durian turned invisible and landed back at the Pendergras factory to search for survivors there. Inside, he heard another group of adventurers and the familiar voice of Tolmè shouting angrily. Durian shouted back at him and the moment Tolmè heard his voice, he began storming around the room shouting "where is that Dragonborn?! Look what you and your Warforged friends have done!" The two of them got in a heated squabble, Durian blaming him for hoarding so much Wovenstone, while he blamed Durian for not using the Astrolabe to rescue Sneerwell. Exhausted and everyone feeling at their lowest, they surrendered their fight and loaded a cart with the rest of the survivors to head north towards the safety of Seglock.

Slight Sworn

Durian becomes disillusioned by the network of guilds and decides to leave the Iron Hawks in order to focus all his efforts towards resurrecting Sardior

By this point, Durian had gained a reputation in Seglock as the go-to expert for any information pertaining to Sardior. Other adventurers both in and outside the Iron Hawks were routinely directed to him to answer any gem-related inquiries. For a long while, he gladly accepted this role and did his best to assist anyone who requested his expertise. But with the quantity of questions he received, it eventually started feeling like a chore and it became difficult to rise above the feeling that he was being used. After being called upon by multiple parties all at once to answer some oddly similar lines of questioning about Gem Dragons, he asked one of the questioners if there was anything more going on. They revealed their plan for a so-called “alliance of the guilds” which they had dubbed the Lightsworn in order to deal with the shadows which had overtaken Isonhound. They made Durian an offer to come on as an Advisor and help lead their “research department.” Knowing what he knew about The One That Waits' true identity and still hoping that Feredemius could be redeemed, he agreed to help them on the condition that he would have an equal say in any group decisions pertaining to Sardior and the Gem Dragons. They agreed to these terms, and Durian was initially relieved that he’d be able to safely disclose his knowledge of Feredemius to the leaders of this new group. Since they were amicable to giving him a say in decision making, they weren’t simply going to turn around and vote to slay his ancestor without his knowledge…or so he’d thought. The next day, he accidentally overheard a conversation amongst this new group’s leaders, which included several Iron Hawks, calling the Advisor title a “hollow role.” Durian confronted them and they immediately swung into damage control, but the harm had already been done. Feeling betrayed, Durian questioned why the Harbingers of Sardior had been excluded from this supposed guild alliance in the first place and argued that the only fair path forward would be for them to give him an equal council vote so he could represent his group’s interests. They condescended and lashed out at him in response, accusing him of being “overly possessive” of all the information he’d acquired about Sardior. They scolded him for “making demands” and “bring ungrateful” after the Iron Hawks had helped him reacquire his ancestral artifact…as if he was supposed to be perpetually indebted for this and tolerate blatant deceit. After this fuming back-and-forth which went nowhere, Durian decided that if he was going to help these adventurers going forward, it was going to be on his own terms. He broke ties with the alliance and, in the dead of night, packed his things and departed the Iron Hawks’ guild hall. He had allied himself with these Dragon slayers long enough, especially if he was going to help resurrect an ancient Dragon god.

Amethyst Altercation

Durian encounters Bleucorundum once again, who sends him on a mission into a city with no name that is being guarded by a possessed Amethyst Dragon

Durian joined a party that was venturing into the Shadowfell-infested forests in search of a city whose name could not be remembered by anyone. As they delved deeper into the gloomy woods, they spotted the head of The One That Waits peeking out from the forest ground as the creature seemed to swim towards them. The group found themselves grappled by his shadowy tendrils, and they would need to pull out all of their tricks to escape his grasp as he crept ever closer, eager to assimilate them into his hive-mind. Some used magic to teleport away, others used brute strength to rip out of his clutches. Any attempt to communicate with The One That Waits was met with the same word echoed loudly in their heads: “fall.” This was all they could hear repeated from him until Durian attempted to read his thoughts, demanding to know “where’s Feredemius?” The One That Waits fell quiet at the mention of this name, turning with his head cocked to stare directly at Durian. Unable to tell if this expression was one of being pleased or of animosity, Durian shook his head in frustration and fled with the rest of the team.

Eventually the party came to the Ssaphíbían River where some of them heard yet another voice inside their heads, beckoning them into the river and offering them sanctuary. The voice was familiar to Durian: “…Bleucorundum? How do we know it’s really you?” She responded, “surely you don’t expect me to reveal myself?” With that, Durian waded into the river. The rest of the party joined in and were swept downstream into the protected underground lair of Bleucorundum, cluttered with a magnificent hoard of weapons and other such trophies of battle. Bleucorundum continued to speak to the party while remaining invisible to everyone except Durian, who had learned to see invisibility following his first near-death encounter with the Sapphire Dragon. She explained how her lair was shielded from the shadows which had overrun the outside world, gesturing to a quartz-looking gem egg which Durian recognized as the one which he’d helped save nearly a year prior. Durian inquired, “is this egg one of the Keys to the Court?” Bleucorundum narrowed her eyes at him and said with a smile, “you’ve clearly been doing your research, you seem to know more than you let on.” It was funny to think that a year ago, Durian hadn’t even known what a Gem Dragon was before being nearly eaten by her invisible gelatinous cube.

The party inquired about what it meant to be a Harbinger, and the Sapphire Dragon did her best to draw upon ancient memories…from long bygone times when she sat on the Ruby Court. She recalled that a Harbinger was a position in the court, typically held by younger Gem Dragons but could also be held by Gem Dragonborn or really any creature who possessed some trace essence of the Gem Dragons, tasked with taking the place of their respective Gem Dragon's court seat on occasions when their Thanes could not be present for meetings. She pondered, “it’s been so long since I’ve had a Harbinger, I don’t know what I would even do with one now.”

By this point, the rest of the group began to reconvene, chiming in with their own questions about the Ruby Court. Durian asked if she has had any contact with Feredemius. She said no, but that Feredemius is a master at hiding, protecting his location by dispersing his essence amongst the Weave. Echoing what Smargarg had described prior, “I can feel Feredemius' presence…everywhere, he is still alive somewhere, somehow, in Isonhound.” She asked Durian, “you’re an Emerald Dragonborn, can you not sense his presence everywhere, as well?” He responded, “I guess, but…have you seen everywhere lately?” He then asked about Kristang the Obsidian Dragon, to which Bleucorundum began to loudly laugh. “For as much as you seem to know, it’s funny that you would still believe in a bogeyman like Kristang!” He questioned why Kristang had been given a Harbinger if he wasn’t real. Bleucorundum theorized that since it had come from the Topaz Astrolabe, it was likely merely a tribute from Tuschello the Topaz Dragon who had something of an obsession with Kristang. But Bleucorundum was adamant that there had only ever been five Thanes on the Ruby Court, never six. Durian insisted that, even if not Kristang, there was at least some sort of Obsidian-looking Dragon terrorizing Isonhound on the surface. But Bleucorundum was entirely certain, “shadow and Obsidian are different,” and whoever The One That Waits really was had merely taken the form of a Dragon as a means of intimidation and that they seemed to have a vendetta against all Gem Dragons for whatever reason. Durian replied how that seemed accurate, seeing how Smargarg was having a similar rough time trapped underground in his hatchery of Gem Dragon eggs. At the mention of there being more Gem Dragon eggs in danger, Bleucorundum’s face filled with surprise and worry before slowly recomposing herself; “no…Amethyst first, then we can focus on saving the hatchlings.”

She told the party that if they could arrange to rescue Smargarg and his hatchery, she would provide him sanctuary in her lair. But in the meantime, her priority was trying to locate her friend the Amethyst Thane. She described rumors of an Amethyst Dragon in a nearby city with no name that was also being protected from the shadows (presumably by one of the Gem Artifacts), and she offered the party shelter in her lair if they agreed to venture into this city in search of the supposed Amethyst Dragon. The team readily agreed, as the city is why they had come out there to begin with…but there was also a catch: the city had been overtaken by the cult of Att-Annalo who were keeping the city heavily guarded and under quarantine. Bleucorundum granted the party one of her Boons of Neutrality, rendering them invisible to the cultists so long as they don’t harm any of them (since Bleucorundum’s boons could not stack, Durian opted to keep his existing boon of invisibility to Dragons, reassuring the group that his normal invisibility spell would be sufficient for him to avoid detection by the cultists). So after resting off their head-on encounter with The One That Waits, the party ventured back to the shadowy surface of Isonhound in the direction of this unnamed city.

As the team made their approach, Durian imparted his knowledge about Amethyst Dragons being the most powerful type of Gem Dragon due to their ability to deal force damage and manipulate gravity. Just then, they got close enough to take in the entire city, portions of it being torn apart and lifted upwards into the sky. The cultists were alerted to the approaching party members by the sound of clanking armor and turned invisible to try and engage them. Having a visual on the invisible guards, Durian leapt from the rooftops to try and help escort the rest of the party through the inconspicuous chaos while taking four direct hits of necrotic damage from the cultists. Still managing to retain his invisibility, he teleported out of that mayhem and into the nearest floating building he could spot in the distance. Despite immediately recasting invisibility, he was briefly spotted by a crazed Halfling known as Father Mel who launched into a long villainous speech and challenged Durian to strike him down. Not being one for obvious bait, Durian chose to hide. At the first opportunity, Durian leapt from the floating building, narrowly avoiding landing on the rest of his party as they all regrouped on the rooftops.

As the team investigated another floating building, they located a humanoid figure with dark Amethyst-looking skin and pitch-black eyes sitting in a trance on the bed. They repeatedly warned, “you shouldn’t have come here…they know you’re here…you need to leave.” The party questioned them about the Amethyst Gem Artifact as they seemed to struggle for control, but they replied that it was safe and deep underground. It was then the group realized that there was no Gem Artifact protecting this city, but rather, it was the sheer force of will from this Amethyst Dragon constantly pushing the shadows away with gravitational force. The group began discussing other ways of extracting the charmed Amethyst Dragon, but they refused to leave so long as there were people in the city. Meanwhile, Father Mel discovered the rest of the party’s presence and began sounding alarms across the city.

Finally, the Amethyst Dragon lost control and transformed into their Dragon form, rapidly launching the room high up into the air. Most of the party was able to jump out, but one teammate got caught in the Dragon’s grasp. Seeing his friend get launched ever further into the sky and panicked by his inability to reach them, Durian casted a major image of The One That Waits to try and briefly distract the Amethyst Dragon. This would prove just barely enough assistance for them to wriggle free and feather fall one hundred and twenty feet from the skyward room.

Meanwhile on the ground, another teammate kept Father Mel at bay by darting through the streets of the city and making as much noise as possible to lure him away from the rest of the party. This gave everyone enough opportunity to successfully escape and report back to Bleucorundum, confirming the presence of an Amethyst Dragon within the city.

Kill Durian

Durian resists The One That Waits as his true identity is confirmed and he sneaks some of his shadow monsters into Seglock to take out his uncooperative descendent…

In a grubby tavern at the edge of Seglock, Durian sat alone as he conjured a small image of an Emerald Dragon on the tabletop in front of him before dissipating it into smoke with his fingers. He did this repeatedly, feeling defeated after his last encounter with The One That Waits failed to produce confirmation of what he dreaded to be true. Over the sound of a lone tavern musician, they heard a particularly loud howl from one of the Shadowfell monsters which roamed outside the magical dome protecting the city. "There's another one," the barkeep remarked dismissively, no doubt accustomed to the sounds by that point due to working so close to the dome wall.

Durian peeked outside the tavern window to see a towering monster banging impotently against the wall of the dome. He went outside to get a better look as other Shadowfell monsters also began lining along the protective barrier, unable to penetrate it. Sensing the commotion, some other adventurers also exited the tavern to see what was going on. Durian cautiously approached the wall, slightly concerned with how it would hold up against such a brute force attack. As soon as he stepped within thirty feet of the monster, however, it ceased its banging and began to sniff the air as if it smelled something familiar. Locking its eyes on Durian, it leaned its head back and let out a chilling wail as the line of monsters began to part. The wailing sound summoned another monster which swam through the darkness right up to the wall of the dome, and Durian once again found himself face-to-face with The One That Waits. Just as he had before, he stared Durian down with his piercing green eyes without uttering a word. Durian broke the prolonged silence with his telepathy, entering the creature's mind to say "hello again…remember me? I'm going to ask you one more time…where's Feredemius?"

Durian was unable to gleam anything from this question the last time he had encountered The One That Waits in the forest…but for some reason, this time was different. The One That Waits gave an unsavory smirk as visions began to flash in Durian's mind with such vividness, it was as if he was really there. He saw the court of Sardior as it had once been, very long ago, when the Thanes all presided together to serve the Ruby King. Each type of Gem Dragon appeared to be present and getting along, including Feredemius and even Kristang the Obsidian.

Suddenly, the scene flashed forward to a moment after Sardior had been shattered. He saw Feredemius sinking into a life of hedonism after the Ruby Court had broken up, occupying a village as its people tried and failed to satiate him. "More food, more merriment" he demanded, but the villagers pleaded that he was wringing them dry and that they would have no food to last them the winter. One villager protested "you really are a Greedy Green," but Feredemius did not care and as soon as they had nothing left to offer, he simply moved on to the next village and left the people to starve. This pattern repeated until eventually, villagers began to fight back against Feredemius wherever he appeared. Feredemius did not take kindly to their unruliness and unleashed an onslaught to take what he felt entitled to. He eventually became such a problem, that five heroes wielded the Keys to the Court to imprison Feredemius in the Dwarven Citadel beneath the Northern Snowy Mountains. Energy from the Shadowfell continued to seep into the Mountain as he sat waiting within the Citadel for nearly a millennia, further corrupting his mind and turning his brilliant emerald scales to a dark obsidian color (his eyes, however, remained the same emerald green). He carried on sowing his influence over other creatures' minds from within the Citadel, amassing a cult of followers using the mantle of The One That Waits. Once there were no more Keys to the Court in or around the Mountains to suppress the Shadowfell energy, the mounting pressure set Feredemius free in an enormous umbral explosion, the sound of which stirred Durian out of his vision.

"My child…" Feredemius beckoned, "join me, and I'll grant you power beyond your imagination. We will rule the realm together." Durian, ashamed to be proven right in this moment, rebuked "you're too late, Feredemius. My soul belongs to Sardior…and soon we'll have all the Keys to the Court and you won't be able to stop us from bringing him back." Feredemius paused before staring down Durian yet again. "But Sardior cannot return if the emerald court seat can't be filled," he hissed before slithering back into the veil of darkness. The other Shadowfell monsters retreated alongside their leader and everything seemed strangely quiet, at least for the moment.

Suddenly, they heard screaming coming from further into the city and Durian ran towards the noise alongside a handful of other adventurers. They discovered a group of dripping, ogreish Shadowfell monsters attacking various people and buildings, seemingly looking for something. To everyone's horror, Feredemius had found a weak point in the protective dome and managed to sneak in some of his monsters. Some adventurers tried to fight them head-on, but their hits would cause anyone in the vicinity to get doused with necrotic goop. As they kept up their attack, the monsters' eyes flashed green and they spoke as a single voice, promising protection from the shadows to anyone who would kill Durian. The adventurers refused this offer, and a couple of them even tried to get Durian to play along with faking his death so see if they could trick the monsters. They were unconvinced, however, and Durian ducked away to hide as the voice from the monsters continued to echo "kill Durian." One of the shopkeepers opened his door to the adventurers, however, and they all rushed in. Inside, they were able to get properly suited up to deal with the monsters and staged a plan to attack them with projectiles. This approach proved more successful as the monsters were whittled down from a distance and safely neutralized out of range from any bystanders.

As the dust finally settled and Durian processed his greatest fears being confirmed, he realized that he also had a new problem to deal with. Being a descendant of the original Emerald Thane meant that he carried potential to fill the emerald court seat, when the time came…but it also meant that Feredemius would stop at nothing to prevent that from happening, even if it meant killing Durian and every other emerald being in the realm.

Green Tech

Durian returns to the Pendergras factory in Sneerwell and is once again forced to confront his ancestor, The One That Waits, who has taken over the facility…

Following his recent revelation, Durian was left stirring with a lot of complicated emotions. He felt vindicated for being proven right, he felt concerned for his loved ones' safety…but most overwhelmingly, he felt ashamed. How could he be descended from such a terrible creature as The One That Waits…and what might that mean about him? Could the emerald court seat ever be redeemed, or were all emerald beings forever doomed to be tainted by the shadow of their progenitor? For now, all Durian could think to do is continue to try and help ward off the umbral void left across the continent by his ancestor.

It would not be long before another such opportunity arrived, as word had spread that Tolmè Pendergras was seeking adventurers to revisit his factory in Sneerwell and retrieve an essential component for his latest invention…an artificial Moonwell that could produce a dome of protection similar to the authentic Gem Artifacts. Durian had not gotten along with Tolmè in the past, but he recognized how vital such a device would be for protecting Seglock while they utilized the real Moonwell for Sardior's resurrection ceremony. So Durian joined a small group of other adventures to answer the call. But he took one precaution beforehand—both for self-preservation and as an outward expression of his shame—employing a spell that he hadn't used in over a year…he donned his Elf disguise that he was forced to wear back in Jadenhill. After what had felt like such progress towards overcoming his identity issues…at the moment, Durian couldn't stomach the thought of being spotted as an emerald being in public.

Tolmè picked up the adventuring party in one of his Airships. Durian lingered at the back of the group, hoping that Tolmè would not recognize him from the last time they had fought. As they approached their destination from the skies, Tolmè debriefed the group on their mission: navigate through the shadow-infested Pendergras factory and into its underground hangar, grab the component for the artificial Moonwell, and commandeer the resting Airships to fly out of there. Tolmè idled his Airship over the main entrance to the factory and allowed the adventurers to disembark before flying off.

The factory was in a shocking state compared to the last time Durian had been there. All of the walls and ground were coated in a black, tar-like substance. Any sources of light were tinted with an eery, green hue. The adventurers approached the door, but a thick layer of tar was sealing it shut. They heard a sound as a corpse which appeared to be melted and fused with the tar sprung awake and began taunting them with a familiar set of glowing, emerald green eyes. "Open the door, Feredemius," Durian impatiently commanded. To the group's surprise, the monster obliged as the tar receded from the crevices of the door and it slid open. The inside of the factory was not any better for wear, however, as every square inch of the floors, walls, and ceilings were coated in the same tarry material. Durian didn't normally wear shoes, but he was grateful to be wearing some that day. The party inched their way down the first hallway, passing more corpses that appeared similarly fused with the tar. Occasionally, one would spring to life and reach out to smear tar on one of the party members. The tar had a strange effect when it contacted skin, eating through one's flesh while gripping their mind in a state of euphoria. Thankfully, the other party members were able to wipe off the tar using a solvent.

They carried on deeper into the factory, descending lower until finally reaching the basement. Another one of the corpses with glowing, emerald green eyes sprung up in front of them as they approached the hangar bay, but most of the party simply walked past it. Durian, however, hung back and questioned The One That Waits, "I don't understand…why haven't you tried to kill us yet? All you've done so far is taunt us." By this point, Durian's Elf disguise had worn off and The One That Waits slyly hissed back, "which one of your friends do you care about the most?" Indignant at the question, Durian refused to answer and stormed past him to catch up with the rest of the team. They located the component they were searching for on a nearby worktable and grabbed it before turning their attention to unchaining the fleet of Airships. As he was helping to disconnect the chains, Durian heard the familiar voice of The One That Waits cackling in his head, "I'm going to kill you, but first you're going to watch me kill all of your friends!" Just then, the entire party heard a loud, monstrous roar from one of the far-off dark corners of the hangar. They had already managed to unchain two of the Airships, so they quickly designated pilots for each Airship and all hurriedly climbed aboard, launching off as quickly as their thrusters would propel them.

As Durian peered off the stern of the Airship, he saw the reanimated skeleton of a gargantuan Dragon flying towards them with incredible speed. Its eye sockets were filled with green fire and it was steadily gaining on the two Airships. Members of the party launched ranged spells and weapons at the monster, which seemed to slow it down for a while. Thinking back to the massive Ruby Dragon woven into the tapestries in Bleucorundum's lair, Durian casted a major image of what he imagined Sardior to look like and yelled out, "you cannot stop him!" For a brief moment, The One That Waits seemed startled by the visage of his old boss before coming to his senses and flying straight through the illusion. The party continued pelting heavy blows at the monster until they managed to put a respectable distance between them. Durian casted another major image while standing on the stern of the Airship—this time of a massive Emerald Dragon like how Feredemius appeared in his vision of the prehistoric Ruby Court—and shouted "if you want to stop the return of Sardior, you'll have to kill me first!" Seemingly accepting this challenge, The One That Waits was visibly enraged as the skeletal Dragon became entirely washed over in green flames and caught up to the Airships with a sudden burst of speed. In his shock, Durian roared his breath weapon at the monster as it quickly bolted towards him. This was in vain, however, as the skeletal Dragon grabbed Durian in his teeth and slammed him into the deck of the Airship, knocking him unconscious. His wounds were stabilized by another party member as the rest of the group threw a final round of blows at the monster before its bones began to break apart and land scattered on the ground below them. The party carried on their course towards Seglock, having secured two Airships as well as the vital component for Tolmè to craft an artificial Moonwell.

Chronoseptic Antics

Durian is sent to Gammelgard by the Curator to investigate the Dwarven Citadel and is hurled back in time by the Dragon Uhlm to free Kristang from his imprisonment…

As the day of Sardior's resurrection ceremony quickly approached, Durian kept busy trying to assist anywhere he could in the meantime. He had practiced how to cleanse Shadowfell corruption using Moonflowers by purifying an Emerald Dragon egg from Smargarg's hatchery, so he volunteered with the Lunarans in Seglock to help cleanse incoming refugees of shadowy contamination from outside the Moonwell's dome. In return, the Lunarans offered to keep the Selune Splinter safe in their temple and even gifted Durian a key to access the artifact anytime. Not long afterwards, he received a message from Smargarg pleading for help with escaping his lair as he had been trapped inside by Shadowfell monsters. Durian assembled a team straight away and helped escort Smargarg back to Bleucorundum, who had offered her lair as a sanctuary for displaced Dragons since it was protected from the shadows by her Corundum Egg. Durian chose to also stay in Bleucorundum's lair for the night, discussing with the Dragons about the upcoming ritual before retiring to his bedroll. He felt so tired from fighting off shadows by that point, he would have been content to rest his head just about anywhere so long as it was dry.

When he awoke the next morning, however, his pillow was far more comfortable than he remembered it and for a moment, he felt as though he was back in his bed in Jadenhill. He tried to rest with that memory of home for a few more minutes until all of his memories flooded back to him and he jolted awake. He sat up, realizing he was not in Bleucorundum's lair anymore. He climbed out of the strangely cozy bed and found himself in what looked like the chamber of a gorgeous crystalline cavern, the walls embellished with accents of emeralds not unlike what he had seen decorating Smargarg's lair. Aside from the bed and ornamentations, the room was oddly empty except for a contrastingly simple door embedded in the opposite wall. Suddenly, an image of the Curator materialized in the room and invited Durian outside. Durian followed the apparition towards the door and opened it, flooding the room with the golden light of a new morning.

As Durian's eyes adjusted, he crossed the threshold and found himself looking out upon a semicircle of cabins sat within the clearing of a dense Feywild forest. The faces of five other familiar adventurers stumbled out from their own individual cabins, and at the edge of the semicircle stood the Curator. The other adventurers seemed similarly surprised to find themselves there, and they pressed the Curator to know what was going on. The Curator revealed that he knew they were about to attempt resurrecting Sardior, but that it would be nearly impossible while the Shadowfell was still spilling out from the Northern Snowy Mountains. Additionally, he warned that the chaos plaguing Isonhound had drawn the attention of Chronepsis—the Dragon Deity of time—and that she was preparing to purge the existing timeline if it steered any closer towards a realm-wide cataclysm. As such, he had handpicked this team for their unique abilities and summoned them all there to help seal the Shadowfell rift before the resurrection ceremony. Durian irritatedly asked why the Curator pretended to not know anything about Sardior the first time he had inquired about the Gem Dragon god. The Curator simply smiled at Durian with a glint in his eye and replied "you were not ready yet."

The Curator claimed to not have an exact plan, but he suggested that they go to Gammelgard and seek out Longfang (also known as Dippy in his Dwarf form) to learn what had originally attracted him to the Northern Snowy Mountains during his brief alliance with Cheshire's Goblins. The team agreed and decided it would also be wise to ask Falgrim Norest for help in tracking down Longfang. Durian had not spoken to Falgrim since being recruited by the Order of the Watchful Eye several months ago to help take down a coven of Hags, but everyone seemed to agree he would be a good place to start. The Curator opened a Fey portal and the team stepped through, finding themselves just outside the entrance of Gammelgard.

The team entered the city and found Falgrim at the Watchful Eye's usual base of operations, so they asked him about the whereabouts of Longfang. He unfortunately did not know where to find that specific Dragon, but he was able to put the team in touch with Longfang's uncle Gideon, a Copper Dragon. Gideon met with the team and, after some questioning, he agreed to lead them to his nephew Longfang. He guided them through the Gammelgard sewers which eventually led into a cave beneath the city containing Longfang's lair. Gideon explained why they were there and the team offered Longfang a diamond tribute to his hoard in exchange for a brief moment of his time, which he agreed. The team asked about his time in the Northern Snowy Mountains and he described feeling drawn to the area as a place to build his lair. While there, however, he would hear the psionic voice of Feredemius urging him to enter the Dwarven Citadel and free him from inside the Mountains. After infiltrating the Watchful Eye using his Dippy persona, he learned just how much trouble the Citadel could prove to be and settled on a different location for his lair. The team thanked Longfang for the information and returned to the Watchful Eye's barracks to reconvene with Falgrim.

With assistance from Falgrim and some added insights provided by the Curator, the team devised a plan to try and close the Shadowfell rift inside the Mountains. Since the Gem Artifacts repelled Shadowfell energy, they got the idea to construct a bomb which integrated essences from as many types of Dragons as possible—most importantly, Gem Dragons—in the hopes that it would counteract the Shadowfell rift if set off in close enough proximity. Falgrim offered to help construct such a bomb if they could gather all of the essences needed, but there was still one problem…given how polluted the Mountains had become with Shadowfell energy, the team would die before they got anywhere near close enough to the rift for the bomb to work. The Curator reassured them, however, that he had an acquaintance who could help them work around that issue.

So the team went about collecting the various Dragon essences they required. Between the entire team, they had connections to at least one of every Gem Dragon type who would be willing to contribute to their plan. They paid visits to each of their contacts—Durian even brought them back to Bleucorundum's lair where they obtained essences from Bleucorundum and Smargarg—and soon they were able to return to Falgrim with all of the Dragon essences needed to construct their weapon.

As soon as the team was ready with the bomb, they set off to ask for help from the Curator's acquaintance. But as was frequently the case with the Curator, his directions were less than straightforward and the team was led to a tavern inside of a demiplane where time seemed to exist on an endless loop. It was inside this tavern that they were introduced to Uhlm, a massive purple-scaled Dragon whose body filled nearly the entire room. This Dragon pitched them a deal: in exchange for a compelling story, he would send the team back in time to before the Northern Snowy Mountains were engulfed in shadows. Specifically, he would send them back one thousand years, just before the Dwarves locked down the Citadel. Durian surmised from this offer that Uhlm must be some sort of aspect of Chronepsis…or perhaps one of her Harbingers or Thanes. The team entertained Uhlm with the best story they could, acting out their various adventures that had brought them all to that point. Uhlm seemed adequately pleased and bestowed each of them with a single-use, round-trip time travel watch. He issued a warning, however, that they would remain stuck in the past should they do anything to drastically alter the timeline. Durian asked Uhlm if he had ever considered joining the fight against the shadows himself, to which he quipped "is that not what I'm doing right now?" The team graciously thanked Uhlm for his help and prepared to travel to the Northern Snowy Mountains the next day.

Upon their arrival at the Mountains, they endeavored to get as close to the sealed Citadel entrance as they could without suffering harm from the shadows. The Curator accompanied the team to see them off, preemptively casting Dwarf disguises on each of them. They went over their plan one last time, said their farewells to the Curator, and activated their watches all together. In a flash, they saw the shadows over the land rapidly melt away and the heavenly bodies race through the sky as time traveled backwards at an alarming pace, until everything finally began to slow down and steadily march forward once more. The team glanced at their surroundings. They stood in what seemed assuredly the same location…but where there was once complete deadness, there was now the bustle of urgency as Dwarves ran in every direction, absorbed in the midst of some major conflict. They blended in with their Dwarf disguises and approached the now unsealed entrance to the Citadel. Durian was the only member of the team who could actually speak dwarvish, so he would need to take the lead. Thankfully, he did not have to say much to convince the guards to let them enter as the Dwarves were constantly rushing in and out of the Citadel to complete their tasks. They made their way through the mines, guided by a foreboding draconic energy as they traveled increasingly deeper into the Mountains. Finally, they turned a corner where none of the Dwarves dared tread and walked into a truly terrifying sight: Feredemius, with his original brilliant emerald scales, looming over a chained Kristang as the Obsidian Dragon's sprawled body was forced to prop open a large Shadowfell rift. The team gasped in horror, synchronously slamming their watches to flee the past before they could be spotted and disrupt the timeline. As they were hurled back to the present, the visage of Feredemius evaporated before them…but Kristang remained restrained atop the Shadowfell rift. The team shook at the chains, struggling to rip them apart as Durian whimpered repeated apologies for what his ancestor had done.

At last, they managed to break through the chains and free Kristang from his thousand-year-long imprisonment. The team activated their bomb and flung it into the Shadowfell rift, praying for the best as they fled back in the direction they came. Durian gripped Kristang, who was still too weak to run, teleporting the both of them repeatedly upwards through the mines until they reached the surface in front of the Citadel entrance where the rest of the team had broken themselves back outside. They all propped up Kristang and dragged themselves as far away as they could manage, marveling as they glanced back to see the erupting geyser of Shadowfell energy from the Mountains steadily wither and dry up. They continued to walk for some time until Kristang mustered back some of his strength and spoke for the first time, muttering "time for you to go back" before suddenly teleporting the team far out of sight. They regained their bearings and realized that the Obsidian Dragon had dispensed them just outside of Seglock. Durian's relief from having accomplished their mission suddenly turned to panic. It was the day of Sardior's resurrection ceremony…and he now had a lot of catching up to do. He rushed towards the Airships, praying he wasn't too late and that Smargarg was already on his way to the emerald ritual site.

Divine Rebirth

Durian wields the Emerald Blade during the Battle of Five Lights, causing him to be reborn as an Emerald Dragon and transformed into the new Emerald Thane of Sardior

Smargarg was supposed to meet them at the Mountain peak, but as the emerald team docked their Airship into place there was still no sign of him. They unloaded the brazer and began carrying it towards the ritual site when all disaster broke. The frightening presence of Feredemius landed right in front of them, and in a booming voice demanded they hand over the Emerald Blade. But they could not dispense it even if they were charmed to, as Durian had grabbed the Blade and teleported high into the air, flying well above everyone’s line of sight. When the shadow-corrupted Dragon’s demands were not satisfied, he summoned all manner of monsters to attack the team before flying off to antagonize another of the five ritual sites.

The ritual was already in motion, Durian could hear the incantations of the Amethyst Tome reverberate in his mind. It was now or never, they could not wait for Smargarg any longer. Durian let himself fall safely back to the ground and yelled out to the rest of the team, “I think I need to be the one to do it.” As an Emerald Dragonborn, he was suited by blood to wield the Blade…but he was small and weak compared to the mighty Dragons it was intended for. He had been warned by Bleucorundum the Sapphire that the power of the ritual would undoubtedly kill him, hence why they’d recruited an Emerald Dragon to do it instead. But in truth, Durian hadn’t really felt alive anyway until learning of the Gem Dragons and their Ruby Court the year prior. He had set out to track down Feredemius the Emerald and ask him for a job, but from how things were going with the shadow monsters, Feredemius didn’t seem in any mood to be dealing favors.

Half the team was already engaged with the monsters, while a couple others stayed close by, casting wards of protection and healing around the site. They lit the brazer and, as per the ritual’s instructions, Durian held the Blade over the flame to heat it. He closed his eyes, attempting to block out the chaos around him and focus on attuning to the Blade. What should have only been six seconds felt like an eternity as he took a few heavy blows from monsters who snuck past the wards of protection, but his trance-like concentration and the wards of healing helped him endure through the pain.

At last something happened with the Blade, as a wave of psychic energy jolted out from it and blasted everyone in its radius. Durian took the most direct hit but, having natural psychic resistance, maintained his hold on the Blade still. The sky glowed even redder than it was before and beams of ruby light shot out and bounced between each of the ritual sites, strengthening their connection. The team just needed to hold out for a bit longer and Sardior the Ruby King would finally be resurrected. Durian wished he’d be around to see it, but took solace knowing he could at least serve Sardior in death.

Feredemius appeared again for one final confrontation, blasting the team with a breath weapon of necrotic energy. Fearing another hit like that may shatter the Blade, Durian prepared to teleport away with it again if necessary, but thankfully the team was able to knock the shadowy Dragon away with purifying magic.

Finally, another wave of psychic energy blasted from the Blade with twice the intensity as before, knocking back everyone in range…except for Durian. At first he felt nothing, but then began to feel a dull heat rising in his chest cavity. The warmth quickly grew and soon worked its way into every crevice of his body. He realized what was happening as the energy from the Emerald Blade flowed directly into him, and showed no signs of easing up. The warmth escalated into an intense heat, and then a writhing inferno. His hands squeezed tighter around the Blade’s hilt as he was paralyzed by the seething pain. Durian could not even open his mouth to scream in agony as every fiber of his body was being burned away at the same time. It took no time at all for the power to eat through his physical form and, in another blast, his consciousness exploded out and suddenly he became hyper-aware of everything and everyone on the Mountains. He could see the five ritual sites all at once, including the Corundum Egg which now glowed with a blinding ruby light. His consciousness bumped into the other “court candidates,” and in their momentary mind meld they saw each other’s similar ordeals. Their swelling consciousnesses hit their limits, and Durian felt a ruby tether connecting him to the Blade as it pulled taut and began slipping loose. He knew in this moment he could choose to let go and have his soul carried to whatever peaceful afterlife awaited him. But remembering the words of Yggwilv, he knew his soul belonged to Sardior…and he was determined to stick this out until the very end. So he grabbed the tether and held onto it with all the strength of an incorporeal consciousness. The explosion began to subside, and his consciousness intermixed with the energy from the blast as it receded back to its origin point.

Durian felt himself yanked back to the ritual site. The immense psionic energy that had melded with him began clumping back into a solid, humanoid-sized mass, but the intense burning returned again and did not relent. The pain only seemed to intensify until, like a dying star revolting against its own collapse, the energy inside him pushed outwards in all directions, expanding his form and twisting it into a powerful new shape until his body grew large enough to contain the energy and the burning sensation waned. He should have been exhausted from the ordeal, but the psionic power which had been searing him moments ago now vibrated through every part of his being and even hummed in the air around him. He stood up, disoriented, his line of sight rising far higher than he recalled, despite feeling his feet planted firmly on the ground. Before he had any chance to process what had occurred, he heard a new yet familiar voice ringing a single command inside his mind: “fly.” Compelled to obey, he leapt from the Mountain peak intending to summon his spectral wings but, strangely, he found them already protruding from his back as he flapped them with unfamiliar might. The Emerald Blade still firmly gripped in his hand, he flew towards the Corundum Egg with incredible speed before landing at the site with a ground-shaking thud. He knew from the Egg’s blinding ruby glow that it was time for him to fulfill his role. He approached the Egg, recalling how intent he was on protecting it over a year ago…it felt right that he must now be the one to break it. Wielding the Emerald Blade high in the air, he plunged the weapon into the Egg, splitting the shell and causing a brilliant ruby light to shine forth. It glowed so brightly that he was at last forced to look away and noticed his other surroundings. He towered over the other adventurers as they slowly gathered and seemed to gawk up at him in awe. He felt the weight and power of his body as he lumbered back on four legs to give the Egg space to hatch. Four brilliant Gem Dragons of differing types—Amethyst, Crystal, Sapphire, and Topaz—encircled the Egg with him to witness the final portion of the ritual. It finally began to sink in for Durian: he had been reincarnated into an Emerald Dragon. But not just any Emerald Dragon, he was the Emerald Dragon. The Emerald Thane of Sardior.

His conscious mind thought to panic, but a strange instinctual pride and reassurance grappled him in place. He found surface feelings of self-doubt were immediately snuffed out by something rooted to his new nature. “Was this not a mistake?—No, Sardior doesn’t make mistakes. But should this not have been Smargarg?—No, you are the chosen, otherwise Smargarg would be standing here.” It didn’t sound like something he’d say, but his core commanded him to believe it. He found odd comfort in this overbearing confidence, and he understood now why Dragons seem to often behave in such arrogant ways.

A high-pitched hum accompanied the Egg as the brightness reached its final intensity. More cracks formed along the surface until, at last, the Ruby King burst apart the shell, scattering its remnants to parts unknown. For the first time since Prehistory, Sardior arose from the Egg and levitated into the sky to bless the gathered crowd of heroes.

As the intense glow subsided, however, Durian looked around to discover he was no longer standing atop the Northern Snowy Mountains. He and the other transformed Thanes had been transported to a Gem Demiplane composed of brilliant crystalline structures. He could sense that these halls contained incredible ancient power…but this place also made him feel at ease for the first time since his adventure began.

The five Thanes would not be alone for long as suddenly their King flew in from above, ready to conduct the inaugural meeting of the revived Ruby Court. He was a humbler size than any of them expected, certainly nothing like the colossal figure woven into the ancient tapestries. But this was Sardior, no doubt, as his scales were a brilliant ruby and he emanated an incomparable psionic power. He took the form of a slim Dragonborn, even smaller than Durian had been prior to his rebirth. But perhaps his appearance made sense…a god's power is linked to their followers, and the Ruby King had been nearly forgotten to history until now. Durian realized his next purpose with Sardior…it would be the task of the Ruby Court to build him back up and herald his great return. Durian turned to the other Thanes as they all deliberated where to start, for their real work was only just beginning.

Emerald Atonement

Durzibethinus sends Rooney, his first Harbinger, to help investigate a surge of psionic activity which leads to the lair of a purified Feredemius

Five years after Sardior's resurrection, the Ruby Court sent a request for aid to the adventurers who fought in the Battle of Five Lights. Those who answered the call were summoned to the Gem Demiplane and the Thanes debriefed them on the situation: they had detected major surges of psionic activity at two separate points in Isonhound—one at Seglock University, and another in an unexplored cave beneath the Ssaphíbían River—so they asked that the adventurers split into two teams and scope out both areas. Durzibethinus had a hunch about one of the psionic sources and sent Rooney, his first Emerald Harbinger, to help explore the Ssaphíbían River so that he could watch over the mission from afar through the Drakewarden's eyes.

Upon reaching the point of activity along the Ssaphíbían River, the team discovered an underwater entrance into the cave they were searching for. Rooney and Smaragdos—his Drake companion who had hatched from the emerald egg in Smargarg's hatchery—took a flying start, dive-bombing into the water and through the entrance. They had to quickly pull up, however, to avoid hitting the boiling pool at the bottom where water flowing in from the river merged with an underground stream of lava. Once the rest of the team had carefully made their way down, they began delving further into the subterranean cave system and found sporadic clumps of emerald geodes growing from the cave walls. They came to a fork in the cave where one path had collapsed from the burdening emerald geodes, and the rest of the team verbalized that they may very well be in Feredemius' latest lair. Rooney asked who that was, having not been present for the Battle of Five Lights. When they explained that Feredemius was an Emerald Dragon, he hurriedly started pulling away rocks from the cave-in to try and rescue the Emerald Dragon he thought might be trapped inside. They tried to reassure Rooney that, despite his boss's background, this would not be an Emerald Dragon he would want to be saving. Rooney was doubtful, but gave up on his futile rescue attempt to follow the rest of the team down the other path.

The team carried on deeper down the path as it began to narrow and they grew concerned they were reaching a dead end…until they turned a corner and witnessed an Elf standing in their way. Some of the team recognized him as the infamous Baron Faro, a wealthy socialite from Seglock, as he called out to them to try and dissuade them away. In this moment, however, they received a distressed message from the other team sent to explore Seglock, warning them that this Baron Faro was actually Feredemius in disguise. Some of the team started swinging at him, to which Feredemius responded by growing into his full Emerald Dragon form and raining psychic breath upon his attackers. Rooney became confused by this sight—being rather face-blind when it came to Emerald Dragons—and mistook the now Shadowfell-cleansed Feredemius to be Durzibethinus. Rooney pleaded with his "boss" asking why he was suddenly attacking his teammates. Feredemius tried taking advantage of this case of mistaken identity, snapping back "either help me end them or stand out of my way!" Rooney, still hesitant to attack, pondered aloud "that doesn't seem very neutral of you…"

After some brief combat, the team realized that Feredemius was only targeting those who had attacked him in his lair first. Consequently, the team's Bard casted a spell to calm everyone's emotions so that they would cease their fighting and have a chance to talk things out. They all had a long huddle where Feredemius claimed he took up residence in the cave as a means of self-imposed banishment to try and atone for his actions while under the influence of the Shadowfell. Since this lair had been found out, he declared that he would need to move again. The team seemed skeptical at first, but they could think of no other explanation for why he hadn't killed them all outright. At least for now, it seemed like Feredemius truly just wanted to be left alone. The team chose to leave Feredemius to relocate after he promised to keep self-isolating and not cause any more trouble.

Rooney and the rest of the team returned to the Ruby Court to report their findings to the Thanes. With Durzibethinus' hunch confirmed, they decided that they would keep eyes on Feredemius from a distance, but not intervene upon him for the time being. They presumed that if Sardior desired Feredemius to be fully destroyed, he would have taken the opportunity five years ago rather than simply purging him of the Shadowfell energy. Perhaps disempowering him and having his successor appointed was enough, in the Ruby King's eyes, to make Feredemius no longer a concern. The Thanes thanked the adventurers for their continued service to the Ruby Court and transported them all home their separate ways…court adjourned for now.

Appearance

Durian providing aerial support during The Shadow Forge Shutdown.

Durian

Durian was sturdily built like most Dragonborn, although he was not exceptionally strong. His scales were a shimmering emerald color with a fine, prickly texture and translucent at the surface. He had draconic emerald eyes and long head tendrils which hung down his back like a mop of hair. He also had a tail, uncommon but not unheard of amongst Dragonborn. His garbs would forego the customary blue of most Bahamut worshippers, instead opting for assorted metallic hues to better resemble the Metallic Dragonborn most common amongst his clan. He still expressed his allegiance to Bahamut, however, by donning a conspicuous pendant with his religion’s traditional symbol and color. He also wore a necklace that he handmade fastened with a Tear of Sardior, symbolizing his mission to help resurrect the god of Neutral Dragons.

Durzibethinus

In his true form, he is a massive Emerald Dragon with shimmering, translucent scales and two lengthy horns crowning the top of his head. Clusters of smaller crystalline protrusions encircle the rest of his head like a mane. His eyes glow with a pupil-less, emerald hue. Powerful, sinewy limbs match his long neck and tail while broad wings spread from his spiny back. Hard spikes stick out from each of his leg joints. His feet are adorned with razor-sharp claws.

Despite his imposing natural shape, he often favors disguises and will even polymorph into his prior Dragonborn form. In this shape, he appears nearly identical to how he looked before his rebirth, with the addition of wings which are similar to his old spectral ones except that they remain a permanent fixture.

Personality

Durian

Durian’s prior knowledge of what existed outside Jadenhill had all been secondhand, so he looked upon the realm with wondrous eyes. He asked lots of questions, seeking knowledge and solutions to problems that may not have even occurred yet. He had a deep appreciation for his own mortality, but would go all in for a cause he felt was just. He would try to fall back on the teachings of his temple when confronted with a new moral dilemma, but often privately struggled to fit all quandaries into the good-versus-evil paradigm that Bahamut espoused. He hoped that joining the fight against Dragons would help bring clarity to his religious anxieties. The realities of the conflict, however, only further muddied his outlook.

Durzibethinus

Becoming a Dragon has altered his mind in ways that even he does not fully understand. Emotions feel larger than before, for better and worse. He is more confident and curious, but also more paranoid and mistrusting. It’s difficult to discern if these changes are entirely the result of his new form, enhancing traits that were already there, or if they are in part due to Sardior’s influence. When he begins having an intrusive or self-doubting thought, it’s as if another part of his mind rushes in to squash the thought before it can fully form. He is persuaded to his core that this is what he was meant to become…and yet he sometimes feels a dissonance between mind and body, as if he’s merely the same insecure Dragonborn piloting this huge, powerful creature. He quietly hopes and trusts that these incongruent feelings will dissipate as he acclimates to being a Dragon.

Abilities

Durian

Durian was naturally gifted with psionic abilities, but the way he wielded those powers was often lacking in finesse. Aside from communicating via telepathy, he could also psychically lash out at enemies like a mind whip and exhale psychic energy as a breath weapon. When dealt damage at close range, he reflexively retaliated with a burst of telekinetic energy to push away the aggressor. He could also summon temporary spectral wings which allowed him to fly.

He could create fire at will, drawing upon the Gold Dragon part of his ancestry. He was also taught a number of illusionary spells meant to prepare him for being the high sorcerer of Jadenhill, such as disguisement and invisibility. Additionally, he was very multilingual as a result of his upbringing as a courtier.

He utilized his innate magic abilities to find new ways of avoiding close brushes with death. He figured out how to feather fall after being thrown from a crumbling balcony during his first encounter with Sro. After being nearly digested by Bleucorundum's phase gelatinous cube, he learned how to see invisibility.

Following his reacquisition of the Selune Splinter, Durian used it as an opportunity to practice some of the ranged illusionary magic that he was only just beginning to learn before the artifact was stolen.

After tracking down the lair of Smargarg the Emerald Dragon and requesting his help with locating Feredemius, the Emerald Thane of Sardior, the Dragon taught Durian the Boon of Telepathy, which strengthened his existing psionic abilities and enabled him to read the minds of other creatures.

Durzibethinus

The Thanes of Sardior are meant to be Exarchs for their gem types, so Durian’s psionic and psychic powers were radically amplified by his transformation as well as his physical size and strength. He has unmatched prowess in telepathy, clairvoyance, and illusions (skills which he can further project while interfacing with his Gem Artifact, the Emerald Splinter). He is able to exhale a disorientating breath weapon of psychic dissonance. He has a powerful bite and claw attack. He can also fly, teleport and change his shape at will.

His psychic presence seeps into his surroundings over time, a trait which he can use to purposefully imbue certain items and even other creatures with his own emerald essence. He used this ability to transform Rooney into his first Harbinger, forging a Patron-like relationship and psychic link which allows him to see through the Ranger's eyes as well as telepathically communicate.

Adrian of Lyaphaire

Adrian of Lyaphaire, the lingering gold echo of Durzibethinus’ mortal life.

Adrian of Lyaphaire is an aspect of Durzibethinus that was created as a byproduct of his ascension into the Emerald Thane of Sardior. During his transformation, the residual gold part of his mortal ancestry was shed away and discarded into the Astral Sea. It drifted there, eventually forming its own consciousness and being pulled into another realm known as Lyaphaire. Still possessing the same memories as Durzibethinus up until the Battle of Five Lights, this aspect reverted to using the name Adrian Grunwald—Durzibethinus’ birth name—as he endeavored to build a life for himself in this new realm…and perhaps someday regain his emerald heritage.

Click here for the story of Adrian’s adventures in Lyaphaire.

Trivia

  • Durian’s family was primarily of Gold Dragon ancestry, hence why his simpler spells were often fire-based. Exhibiting gem features seemed to be a recessive gene as Durian’s immediate family were all gold sans for him, his mother, and grandmother.
  • Despite knowing that he differed from his siblings in a major regard, Durian identified as a Gold Dragonborn until his encounter with Bleucorundum. Being faced with the existence of Gem Dragons completely shook his sense of self.
  • Durian was one of very few telepaths in Jadenhill and took extra coaxing as a child to verbalize his words, so he was overly eager when meeting other telepaths on his journeys and would try using telepathy as the primary means of communication with them.
  • In 820 PR, visiting representatives attempted to scout Durian for Katharda Academy, a proposal which his mother outright refused as he "has a purpose here" and stated that the school "cannot accommodate our unique situation." The representatives warned of the escalating War of Dragons but, after implying that they could see through her Wood Elf disguise, she angrily dismissed them, exclaiming "this is your fight, we're just trying to survive through it." Durian kept a longstanding grudge against his mother for not allowing him to go, and he likely would have gone himself had he not been a year short of fifteen (the age of adulthood in Dragonborn societies). His place was instead offered to Frances Langford, the next candidate on the school’s list.
  • Durian's mother eschewed many aspects of Dragonborn culture due to the fear of her family being discovered by Crusaders. This included conventional draconic names, so she named her son Adrian at birth with the intent of making him sound more elvish. His father, however, was far more relaxed and gifted him the draconic name Durzibethinus on his fifteenth birthday. Upon leaving home, he combined both names and began calling himself Durian in a halfhearted attempt to reclaim some part of his identity.
  • Before leaving home, Durian had never seen or tasted the fruit of his unintended namesake. Coincidentally, however, durians are one of the few fruits that appear on the Scavenging Table for the Dragon-populated mainland of Kiston. Additionally, a single durian fruit once came into Jadenhill as a gift from an overseas diplomat, but it just ended up used as a kickball.
  • While visiting the lair of Smargarg, Durian came across the Amethyst Dragon egg which had been stolen from the Court of Quartz. He left it alone as he could not tell it apart from any other gem egg, but the party's ship captain managed to swipe the egg and fled before anyone could see as it almost immediately hatched into an Amethyst Dragon wyrmling.
  • Throughout most of history, the Gem Dragons went to great lengths to keep their existence in the realm a secret…a behavior that the Dragonborn of Jadenhill seemed to similarly display. By choosing to forgo his Wood Elf disguise upon leaving his hometown, Durian inadvertently helped lead the charge for Gem Dragons and other gem beings to allow themselves to be seen once again.
  • Following his ascension, Durian became a LEGNdary Character throughout the mortal realms and his adventures were echoed over the centuries, even inspiring a myth about an Elf who accrued so much knowledge of Dragons that he ultimately turned into one.

Behind the Screen

  • Durian was created out of a desire to introduce Gem Dragon lore into Quelmar following the release of Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons, as well as to help answer the question of why Dragonborn continued to sporadically appear after the point in the Quelmar Timeline when Dragonborn were presumed to have gone extinct (the implication being that a few clans managed to survive undetected throughout the Second Draconic Crusades). Some secondary elements from Durian's backstory, such as the Selune Splinter, served as callbacks to previous Quelmar campaigns that his player participated in.
  • Several elements of Durian's backstory drew upon themes of queerness, such as the power of language and its impact on identity when sufficient vocabulary does not exist to properly describe oneself. This manifested as a Gem Dragonborn, ignorant to the existence of Gem Dragons, identifying as metallic as it was his culture’s closest (yet entirely inadequate) approximation for what he was. Other themes included masking to fit into a social order and how such forms of suppression can be multilayered, as in the case of an Emerald Dragonborn masking as a Gold Dragonborn masking as a Wood Elf.
  • Despite being an Emerald Dragonborn, Durian also possessed Gold Dragon ancestry due to his Draconic Bloodline Sorcerous Origin.
  • Another one of his player’s goals was to test the outcome of playing a character whose motivations for learning new spells were entirely narrative-based (specifically as a Sorcerer, a class whose spells remain the same from day-to-day). For example, Durian learned Feather Fall following a session in which he nearly died after falling from a great height. The next time he leveled up, he learned See Invisibility after being nearly killed by an invisible monster. Following this approach, the highest level that Durian reached as a player character was level 8.
  • One of the primary inspirations for Durian's name was Adrian Greenburg, a costume designer most famous for designing the ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz.

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