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.