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Month Index: March, 1994


From:     Joseph_DuBois.WBST102A@?????.com
Date:     Wed, 23 Mar 1994 10:38:49 -0500
Subject:  Re: Myrkandite 5
Part 5
    A quick interrogation, and Cameron sheepishly surrendered the
samples.  Allain then revealed to Cameron that he was a dragon in
disguise.  After the war, he tired of the constant politics of his
kind, and preferred an easy life of adventure on the seas.  He told
Cameron that his race had a name for the substance.  Roughly
translated, it meant Dragonsbane.  Not only did it thrum in the
presence of dragons, but the vibration audibly irritated any
dragons in range.  The substance was well guarded, but occasionally
weapons and armors were found containing Dragonsbane.
     Cameron spent a month in Krynn, talking to various dragons
(friends of Allain) about their experience with the substance. 
Most items found containing the substance were sent to a vault deep
within the earth, far from where they would interfere with
dragonkind.  The tour culminated with a visit to a scholarly
bronze, who conferred a scroll upon Cameron.  On it was everything
the dragon had dared learn about the metal, which wasn't very much. 
Allain returned Cameron to his ship, and cautioned him about
further research.  Allain was a good dragon, used to humanity and
their curious nature.  Other dragons would not have been so
understanding, thinking the metal an attack.
     Before Cameron left, a messenger arrived at the spelljammer
with a package wrapped in heavy burlap.  It was a rod, forged of
Myrkandite.  With it was a message, advising Cameron to take the
dagger as far as possible, and never return.  Heeding these words,
Cameron made for home with his precious cargo.  Never before had he
possessed an item fashioned of the substance.
 
     To understand the effect Myrkandite has on Krynn, it is
     first necessary to understand how dragons communicate. 
     Many believe that two dragons somehow communicate through
     telepathy, when facing off against one another.  The
     truth is actually quite more profound.
          On the back of a dragon's head is usually a series
     of horns or hairs that seem to serve no purpose, and are
     indeed only seen in action during dragon combat, when
     other dragons aim their attacks specifically at these
     objects.  A closer examination of these horns and hairs
     reveal that they are actually filled with holes.  Within
     these holes are channels covered with fine hairs.  In
     many ways, these organs replicate the same effect as ears
     do.
          When a dragon breathes, the air is dispatched
     through a variety of chambers, some travelling to the
     deep lungs, which remain inactive when dragons sleep,
     some to the shallow lungs, which is the primary air
     system, and some travel to the areas that control the
     dragon's breath weapon.  When the air is expelled, it
     passes by something very much like a human's voicebox.
          However, such an organ would be wholly impractical
     for communications when a dragon is in flight.  An
     interesting adaption, then, is two constructs, composed
     primarily of the hard bone of the neck, which is
     stimulated by the breathing of the dragon.  The deeper or
     more excited the dragon breathes, the more the bones
     vibrate together.
          Dragons can control the amount the bones vibrate in
     a manner very similar to the way a human can control his
     vocal cords, in order to speak, to scream, or to sing. 
     The noise produced, however, is ultrasonic, well out of
     the range of human perception.  Thus, dragons may "speak"
     to one another without any humans hearing a sound.  The
     only sign that this communication is taking place is that
     the two will seem to preen and cock their heads, trying
     to position their sensory organs in such a manner for
     optimal transmission.  This sound is called the
     "Keening."
          Since the dragon's lungs are exceedingly powerful,
     this sound can be transmitted over miles, warning other
     dragons, who pick up the vibrations in their super-
     sensitive horn or hair organs.  As alluded to above, it
     is an exceptional tool for communication in flight, early
     warning, and navigation (it works as a very crude form of
     sonar).  Dragons may try to muffle to sound, but this is
     tantamount to holding their breath, something they are
     wont to do.  Dragons who are shapechanged may opt not to
     broadcast, but some do, to warn other dragons away from
     their presence.  Chances are, if a dragon picks up the
     keening, and sees no visible dragon, the shapeshifted
     dragon in question probably doesn't want to be seen.
          There is one final application of the keening
     pertinent to this discussion.  Those dragons who become
     agitated tend to allow the "harmonic" bones to vibrate
     uncontrolled.  This sound dips far below the standard
     ultrasonic range at which they speak, passing almost to
     the standard sonic range.
          When this level of keening strikes the basilar
     membrane of lesser animals, it creates disharmonies
     within the inner ear, and sets up disorienting pain
     within the cranium.  The standard response to this effect
     is the much dreaded dragonfear.
          On Krynn, Myrkandite continues to display absorptive
     capacity, in addition to energy translation.  The
     substance absorbs the sound of the keening, making the
     Myrkandite vibrate.  Thus, if the dragon is breathing at
     all, there is a good chance the Myrkandite will pick up
     the vibrations.  Anyone standing within 10 feet of
     Myrkandite will be rendered immune to dragonfear.
          The immunity has to do with the second property. 
     The Myrkandite acts very much like a sonic prism,
     absorbing the noise of the keening, and breaking it apart
     into different frequencies.  One effectively cancels out
     the keening, creating a zone of silence.
          The second sends out disharmonious frequencies which
     aggravate the sensory organs.  Dragons thus affected seem
     distracted by the noise.  All rolls made by the dragon
     are at -1.  Further, the dragon will act irrationally, as
     if bothered by an itch it just cannot scratch.  Over
     time, the agitated beast will begin to lash out, trying
     to divine the source.  It would make sense that the
     dragon should notice a connection between the keening and
     the amount he is annoyed, but this is seldom the case. 
     Few dragons know enough about Dragonsbane to seek it out
     as a cause.
          The third, and most puzzling, translates the keening
     into lower frequencies understandable to humans.  The
     wielder of the Myrkandite will not receive a verbatim
     translation but will understand intent, as well as a
     general message.
 
     The Rod of DrachensDoom:  The Rod was created in Ergoth
     before the Cataclysm at a time when the Forges were
     bustling with legendary life.  A cleric of Paladine,
     convinced by the Kingpriest of Istar that an evil dragon
     assault was coming, commanded a few of the faithful to
     steal samples of material, and make a weapon he could
     use.
          Forged of the same stuff and in the same manner as
     the DragonLance, the three foot weapon has a Myrkandite
     dragon's head, screaming in agony, on one end.  It does
     the same damage as a mace +2, except against dragons,
     where it acts as a footman's dragonlance.  Further, it
     possesses all the properties of myrkandite, sensing
     dragons within 100 yards, as well as causing them
     excruciating pain (-2 to dice rolls) within 50 feet. 
     Finally, the Rod will allow the wielder to speak the
     dragontongue, though those she speaks to may not be in a
     friendly mood.



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