Beneath the Shadows of Dragons
Ashardalon: The Red Emperor
Ashardalon is well known for his tenacious clasp on life, no matter his injuries and setbacks. When he was struck a mortal blow by his great rival Valamaradace, the Golden King, Ashardalon bound a demon into his breast as a second heart. Ashardalon resembles an ancient red dragon in its prime, but certain odd features stand out. He has a demonic visage, and on his chest is a gruesome scar in the shape of a large winged humanoid: a Balor. The dragon’s eyes are twin beams of burning fire, and tiny bolts of lightning constantly play between his claws and fangs. For nearly three centuries, Ashardalon had taken refuge beneath the earth to regain his strength after he had bound a balor into his chest. During the war, Ashardalon was the second in command of the Red dragon flight under the first Red King, Gulthias. Ashardalon was chosen by Gulthias to act as the general of the red dragon armies. His skill in battle and incomparable war strategies earned him great respect among all the chromatic dragons. He was one of the most feared warriors that the chromatic dragons had on their side and was a key figure in the extinction of the Brass dragon flight when he led the combined forces of the red and green dragons into Brass dragon territory. Yurinias, the Brass King, made a final stand with his remaining forces and had managed to drive back the brown dragon flight from the deserts of Ionis until Ashardalon emerged from the skies with the red and greens at his back. A violent struggle ensued in the desert and the brass dragons were all but decimated by the combination of red, green, and some of the returning brown dragons who were invigorated to fight again at the sight of the other chromatic dragons aiding them. Ashardalon himself finished off Yurinias in a nearly one sided display of dominance. Disgusted with the weakness of the brown dragons, Ashardalon ordered his forces to finish off the brown dragons and then swore the whole lot of them to secrecy for the remainder of their lives. A story was concocted attributing the death of the brown dragon flight to the brass dragons and that Ashardalon and his force avenged their fallen chromatic brothers.Near the end of the war, an epic battle between the red and gold dragons ensued and Valamaradace struck down Gulthias, casting his remains into a great volcano. The death of Gulthias sparked in-fighting between the reds for the throne, but when Ashardalon, who had recently returned from a battle with the silver dragons, claimed the throne, no other red dragon opposed him. Ashardalon took the full force of the red dragons to avenge Gulthias at the site of his fall. Valamaradace and Ashardalon had fought to many stand stills in the past and were determined to end their rivalry once and for all. Ultimately Valamaradace gained the upper hand in the battle when he struck a heavy and terrible blow to Ashardalon and tore a hole in his chest. Ashardalon retreated and returned, defeated and disgraced, to his lair. The dying dragon prayed to his god Tiamat who, hearing his prayer, sent her answer in the form of a powerful balor which Ashardalon bound into his chest through a blasphemous ritual with the aid of a cult of humanoids who worshiped Ashardalon as their god. With the ritual a success, Ashardalon sank into the earth to regain his strength over the next three centuries. Ashardalon’s lieutenant, Pyroclast, had been acting as a regent for the red dragons and led the flight in Ashardalon’s absence until the day that Ashardalon finally returned to the surface to reclaim his throne. When Ashardalon did return, he had been changed both physically and mentally: his chest bore the balor shaped scar, his eyes glowed with an evil fire, and powerful magic energy crackled between his fangs and talons. Ashardalon thirst for revenge against Valamaradace burned to the point of near insanity, which was only fueled by the realization of the changes that the world went through while he had slept. Ashardalon, who arrogantly assumed the title of Emperor, rules from his lair, which he has called the Sunless Citadel, that sits atop the very volcano, now dormant, that his former king Gulthias was cast into. Ashardalon has been waiting patiently for centuries now and seeks ways to bring down the barrier that imprisons him on the continent of Ignias. The cult of Ashardalon has grown exponentially over the years into a full blown religion that dominates most of Ignias. Those of the lesser races that are not members of the church of Ashardalon, live in fear of the “Crimson Clerics” that conduct heretic hunts all across Ignias. Ashardalon’s madness only continues to grow as the face of Valamaradace haunts his every waking hour; should he escape the confines of his kingdom, the gold dragons will face a red dragon flight unlike any they ever knew in the old war.