The Fertile Lands
Aeris and Azkhan
Before the reigns of the Kings Lukas, the Fertile Lands were six provinces united and protected by Aeris, the wise dragon. His bronze scales inspired many tournament suits of armor and his eyes were emeralds that shone bright as the Day Star. Under his guidance the Six Lords united at the Falcon’s Perch and sealed the Concord. For decades thereafter, the six Fertile Lands prospered and flourished under the watchful shadow of Aeris and his home in the west.
It was the old ranger, Erik Longstrider that first returned with tales of smoke billowing out of the Black Mountain and warnings of doom; it was the same ranger ignored.
During the reign of King Lukas II, a born-trader from Turin and never a soldier, the Black Mountain expelled a great fire and ash that could be seen from the Fertile Lands. It was said that the eruption was the work of a great sorcerer; Believers claimed that the Father of the World was unhappy and sought to purge the world and begin anew. Distracted by the spectacle, King Lukas II ignored the reports from the West that Azkhan had returned.
King Lukas II timidly met the reports of fiery death from above with inaction and prayer. When Aeris arrived at the Falcon’s Perch to beseech him into action, the King was found by his steward in his bed with his royal knife in his hand, soaked in his own blood. Without a King and with his homeland under attack, Aeris returned to the West to face Azkhan alone.
In the turmoil throughout the Fertile Lands at the loss of the King and the burning of the West, no one is sure what happened to the once-great Aeris or the Treasury of Caceres. Legend claims that Aeris was able to kill Azkhan but only by sacrificing himself to the flames that engulfed the West. Darker rumors contend that Azkhan escaped to the Black Mountain with the entire Treasury and that he was only wounded. Those same rumors are often sung as warnings to children:
Beware the rising smoke,
That heralds doom for all.
Without protection from the sky,
Surely we all shall fall.
For on that day, engulfed in flame,
Aeris met his fate;
The wounded foe must wait,
But Azkhan surely comes again.