ZHYX, THE GREAT RED WYRM
In the country of Haiden on the mythical world of Tygan, there is a legend, a creature of unmatched power and fury, whispered of behind shuttered windows and darkened tavern corners down through the centuries. The mere mention if its name has wrought many a sleepless night, and darkened torchlight on many a street. Even nature itself trembles before him, with everything from the insects to the birds silencing themselves to herald his approach. That legend is a dragon known as the Great Red Wyrm, though few know his real name. Zhyx.
Zhyx (pronounced Zix) is of the elder race of Saar (what dragons call themselves.) He’s over a thousand years old, 1023 to be precise, and his age is only matched by the fear he inspires. His name is a dragon tongue word, translating simply to ‘Red.’ Even among dragons, Zhyx is a rarity, not many others having a shade as vibrant as he. While most dragons are dull in color with brown, tan, black and grey, Zhyx’s burning hot shade of red makes him immediately distinguishable from others of his kind. His skin has been compared to simmering embers by some, and the crimson rivers he is sure to leave behind by others.
Zhyx’s size is as vast as the terror he summons. The fingers of his hands alone are larger than the average person. He stands 30 meters tall, 34 if you count his horned crown. From his snout to the tip of his tail he is roughly 65 meters long, and his wingspan is nothing short of colossal. His fire is so searing hot that it liquefies most rocks that it touches, and burns away the courage of even the most courageous of warriors. It is well known on Tygan that the hottest temperatures measured have all come from the fire of dragons.
Zhyx quite enjoys the solitude of his home in the nearly impassable Phoenix River Canyon, where he has dug an elaborate series of tunnels and caves to form a complex and difficult to navigate lair. He makes his meals out of native fauna such as fish, steer, goats, birds, and large cats that live nearby, but will happily indulge in whatever horses or cattle stray too close.
He has been the death to countless dragonslayers and greedy plunderers. Be they revered knights, noble kings and queens, or lowly thieves seeking their last big score. Whether the prize they sought was Zhyx’s vast hoard or his head, all were met with failure and death. The few that have gazed upon Zhyx and lived to tell bring back stories of the horror his mere presence inspires. Many of these ‘humorous accounts’ have been read by Zhyx himself, much to his everlasting amusement.
But these are merely the technical aspects of the Great Red Wyrm. Zhyx is powerful, a fact that isn’t lost on him. Typical of most dragons, he is vain, boisterous, condescending, and displays a remarkable cruel streak when dealing with his enemies. Unlike most dragons however, he doesn’t just rely on his power. He has a very keen eye. The wyrm carefully observes any enemy that challenges him, and quickly picks up on body language, subtle gestures, and tone of voice to figure out his enemy’s character. He uses this to his advantage, finding out ways to toy with and torment his foes. He knows what scares them.
But Zhyx’s life is soon thrust into an unexpected upheaval. For the first time in his millennium long life, someone successfully steals a piece of treasure from his hoard. And not just any piece, but the single most prized possession in his entire collection, a rare luminescent gem known as Lunar Quartz that only he and a few select others knew of. The rage of this towering creature unleashed, Zhyx quickly tracks down the thieves and makes a shocking discovery. The purpose of the theft was not to obtain the treasure, but to draw him out.
Zhyx finds himself the victim of blackmail. The parties responsible have hidden the treasure, and promise only to return it to him on one condition. A great evil threatens the land, something that nearly shoveled Tygan into the grave. It is an evil more feared even than him, and something that only Zhyx has half a chance of destroying. If Zhyx says no and kills the thieves, they have hidden his treasure in a place where he will never find it.
Zhyx grudgingly agrees to partake in the task, and is given the nickname ‘Red’ by his travel companions. Thus, Red embarks on the most important journey of his life. He will meet many individuals and do many deeds that may dispel the world’s views of him and define what the world things of him for ages to come. Zhyx, the Great Red Wyrm has been for many years Haiden’s greatest horror, and now due to circumstances beyond his control, he now finds himself their greatest hope. Zhyx may not have a noble heart, but as a hero he may prove to be effective.
Zhyx, ‘I am the vision demons have in their nightmares.’
River’s story is one of sadness, betrayal, and unimaginable hardship, made all the more tragic that his ills befell him at the tender age of seven. Now fifteen, more than half his life has been nothing but a never-ending ordeal of starvation, illness, and a deep sadness he seeks to end.
River was born to a woman of the Flatlanders, the plains faring hunter gatherers from across the ocean from Haiden. His father was a knight from a family of great nobility, but the so called partnership between River’s mother and father was hardly one of love. His mother was a sex slave, who was only married by the knight to keep up his public image. The household River was raised in was one of regular abuse and neglect, his mother being the only one who ever showed him affection. The two spent their time fishing, hunting, and practicing the art of battle, which River’s mother was familiar with.
At the age of seven, his father came home drunk and beat him. In retaliation, River’s mother killed his father, and the two planned to leave the country and return to the Flatlands. However, River’s uncle Slight, a highly decorated and celebrated adventurer, stopped by their secluded cabin and found his brother dead. He beheaded River’s mother in front of him, locked the child in a weapons closet, and set the cabin aflame. The only reason River is still alive is because he used his mother’s morning star to break down the door, severely burning his hands in the process.
Slight was able to convince and bribe his way out of prosecution, claiming that River’s mother had killed his brother attempted to kill River in a murder suicide, and that he got there when the boy had already burnt to death. River became a child who didn’t exist, without any legal documentation of his citizenship, no family to go to, and no way to make his way to the Flatlands. Thus, his life has become but a quest to avenge the death of his mother, and he has been hunting his uncle ever since.
It was this quest which brought him to an abandoned crypt, where he had a chance encounter with Zhyx, the Great Red Wyrm. It is River’s reaction to seeing him, one of fascination rather than fear, that sparks Zhyx’s interest in the boy.
River may not be the most experienced or authoritative of the group, but he may well be the most hardened. In spite of his withdrawn and suspicious nature, he is self reliant, able to go without food, water or sleep for days at a time, and has a very high tolerance for pain that even professional soldiers have marveled at. He is not very trusting of people due to his eight years as a street urchin, thus he finds Zhyx more relatable and trustworthy as the dragon is about the farthest thing away from a human there is. As such, he doesn’t interact with others in the party very much, instead keeping close to Zhyx, much to the wyrm’s dismay.
In spite of his usually reserved appearance, a burning rage ebbs just beneath his skin. When his anger is unleashed, River deals with his enemies with shocking brutality, becoming nothing short of psychotic. He has killed many people in his life, mostly friends of Slight’s, and is unfazed by violence. His one and only prospect is killing his uncle, something he is so focused on that he has no dreams beyond his revenge.
The only joy he gets out of life is remembering what few happy hours he had during his first seven years, and he desperately seeks some form of companionship. His clinging to Zhyx, though it irritates the wyrm, only serves to interest the wyrm even further. Though he is subject to many insults by the Great Red Wyrm, River’s admiration of Zhyx only seems to be getting stronger.
Celice ‘What, have you been living under a rock?’
River ‘When I’m lucky.’
MAJOR CELICE ARIETTA
Major Celice Arietta is a born soldier. Not by lineage or even being selected for service by her country’s rulers. In fact, from an early age, she was subject to much hardship in gaining a career in the military. Celice is a soldier simply because that is the thing she is best at. Tough and unyielding, she is the only one on all of Tygan both brazen and insane enough to blackmail a dragon as ancient and powerful as Zhyx.
Celice began her military career in joining small rebellions. She partook in many battles in her youth, some successful and others not. Unlike the droves of people around her, she always walked away. Her first official position was when she was a grunt in the notorious Lich Uprising, a war where the dark masters of the dead attempted to subjugate all of Haiden beneath their undead armies. Celice eventually killed the most powerful lich in the uprising, barely escaping with her life.
It was through this that she met Glaive, the Supreme Healer of the Paladins. First saving Celice’s life, Glaive quickly found himself in need of help, and is only alive now due to Celice dragging him across a desert to an outpost. Inspired by her courage, Glaive requested that Celice join the Paladins’ Guard, which she did. The two fought side by side in many great battles and wars, surviving some of the most costly wars that shook Tygan in the last 20 years. Eventually their relationship became more than professional, and the two married.
Celice has been one of the most active members in the fight to ensure Assylyl never returns. Well aware of the history behind the Far One and knowing what it would mean should the creature come back, it was she who first suggested that mere magic and swordplay would not be enough to destroy the beast. They would need something more powerful, something like a dragon. With her friends to help her, Celice descended into the layer of the Great Red Wyrm and stole his favorite treasure, in the hopes that the promise of its safe return would be enough to enlist his aid.
Celice has been working with the saintly Paladins for most of her life now. In spite of her ruthless take no prisoners attitude, she has come to respect and embrace many of their ideals. She is very effective in combat, hardened by over thirty years of exposure to battle and war. She is ruthless, lethal, and does not hesitate to strike down any enemy that threatens her world. Celice is sworn to live and die so that Tygan will be safe.
Her experiences make her a prime authority figure, serving second only to Zhyx himself in commanding the group. She holds deep respect for Blondie, but has great disdain for Hunter, irritated by the elf’s constant joking. Though she despises Zhyx’s condescending attitude, she is well aware of how important he is to her world’s survival, and will readily give her life in defense of his.
Despite her tough exterior, Celice has collected a fair amount of scars from her travels. Apart from the usual flesh wounds, she has suffered a great mental strain that has begun to wear down on her. Though war is her greatest skill, it is a part of her life she would sometimes just like to leave behind her.
Celice ‘Just because I hate war doesn’t mean I am not good at it.’
HUNTER ‘SPARKS’ NIGHTSHADOW
One would expect a wizard to be a very dignified individual, a wise arbiter to provide nothing but wisdom and morality to their fellows in battle and travel. Hunter Nightshadow, nicknamed ‘Sparks’ by those close to him, is anything but dignified, wise, or a source of morality. Though his skills in magic are in rapid growth, he makes sure he is not dignified, and in the words of Celice, is ‘a wise ass whose perfect face only makes you want to punch it even more.’
A self admitted “embarrassment to the Nightshadow name’, he was born to one of the most powerful families in Haiden, and was being groomed for a career in politics. After several run ins with his elders over different career prospects, he was eventually disowned at an early age when he refused to marry a powerful elven queen. Without family or resources to aid him, Sparks became a prostitute at the age of eighteen to support himself. Sparks was able to build himself a pretty successful business, and served many of Haiden’s most wealthy royalty. Though many often assume this would be a dark chapter in his life, Sparks took it all in stride, maintaining a very high spirit during his elicit dealings with the nobility. His customers’ wealth also provided the elf with a pretty solid living for the next ten years.
He met Celice and Glaive shortly after the two eloped when he rescued the pair from a gang. Though Celice was nothing short of infuriated by Sparks’ humor, Glaive took pity on the elf and asked him what his greatest dream was. When Sparks told the Supreme Healer of his fascination for the Arcane Arts, Glaive took it upon himself to make sure that dream became a reality, and was able to secure the elf a spot in one of Haiden’s best Arcane schools, putting him on the path to becoming a wizard.
As such, Sparks views Celice and Glaive in the highest regard, and has put himself in their dept. He has saved the two many times since their first meeting, always maintaining a high spirit while doing so. Though he jokes quite often, Sparks is not beyond taking something seriously when the situation calls for it, and has proven himself a force to be reckoned once he lets his lightning fly.
His name comes from his primary focus in magic, electricity. Sparks has gained much skills in lobbing lightning bolts, lightning orbs, and just about any electrical attack imaginable at his enemies. He is still a novice wizard, thus his powers are not yet great. But what little magic he does have, powers of levitation, influence, electricity and others, have always proven useful in battle. Due to his inexperience, he does suffer from Arcane Fatigue when he overuses his magic. Apart from his lightning, Sparks desires to strengthen his levitation and flying abilities in the hopes of overcoming his fear of heights. He has dubbed his magic staff the ‘sexy stick.’
Though he sometimes annoys those close to him, even they are aware he is one to be trusted. Sparks is extremely loyal to his friends and will never leave someone’s side in battle. His death before betrayal attitude has caused Celice to enlist him on many quests. Though she would much rather talk with someone else, Sparks is the one who will come through when you need it most.
Hunter ‘This place smells worse than that time I got crotch rot.’
PROFESSOR GRAGA ‘BLONDIE’ KELPLA
Professor Graga Kelpla, or ‘Blondie’ to her friends is the head of the History and Archeological Departments at the prestigious Linbrandretta University in Haiden’s capital city of Ravenwood. She has always been a scholar at heart, her intellect far outweighing her already impressive physical strength. Those that know her best, be they professors, museum curators, soldiers or even just her friends have called her the very definition of an overachiever.
Orcs are a very isolated people, thus when Blondie first expressed curiosity in the outside world, she was met with many challenged from those seeking to maintain tradition. In spite of many naysayers and constant discouragement, she was finally able to leave her native Tundar Valley on a sailing party with her family, seeking a better and richer life in the lands and seas beyond. After a treacherous journey across the sea, she eventually made it to the country of Haiden where she made her new home.
Working labor to pay for the costs, Blondie entered the academy at Librandretta University in Ravenwood, and soon took an interest in history. Though overworked and under rested, Blondie soon surprised everyone when she climbed the academic ranks to eventually be counted among the elite. She started to take substitute teacher positions, and so greatly impressed those who ran the school by her abilities to retain whatever knowledge she acquired that she became a professor at the academy immediately after graduating.
Working in the field of history, Blondie spent many years translating texts and organizing archeological digs in between advancing her teaching career. During this time, she worked with many of Tygan’s museums to ensure they received historical artifacts and accurately recorded as much of Haiden’s history as possible. She soon became an author, writing a lexicon of Tygan’s history that in its short time has become the definitive work on the subject, a lexicon that constantly grows as Blondie documents more and more of Tygan’s past present, and possible future.
She has developed a near encyclopedic knowledge of the world, its geography, and the lives of its most notable figures. Whenever someone needs information, she is the one to go to. At Celice’s insistence, she got involved in the blackmailing of Zhyx, and helped find a suitable place to hide the wyrm’s treasure. She joins the quest early on, feeling that not only could her knowledge be of help, but also to chronicle the no doubt historical events that are currently underway.
However, Blondie has a chip on her shoulder. She is not terribly fond of dragons. She was one of the most vocal opponents of Celice’s plan to bring a dragon into the running against Assylyl, due to tragic events in her past that she refuses to speak of. Even after Celice explained the need for a dragon to join their cause, Blondie only managed the most grudging of agreements.
Blondie is polite, compassionate, and very enthusiastic about history and its implications for the future. She speaks with great passion about the subject whenever she can, and is always the one to go to when you have a question. She will often collect souvenirs and keepsakes from her travels in the hopes that they too may one day be part of museums. Though she is not trusting of Zhyx, she is well aware of the historical undertaking the group is on.
Though her mind is her primary focus, Blondie has not lost what it means to be a warrior. She doesn’t carry weapons. She doesn’t really need them.
Blondie ‘It’s wrong to destroy history.’