Blue Dream, as you've certainly heard, was a magnificent city. Built where the Blue Spire mountain range bent to form a protective lee on two sides, Blue Dream was first founded centuries ago by men exploring the western reaches. Those first explorers discovered a mountain range of magnificent, iridescent blue stone, and fertile land below. They set up camp and sent word east, then set about the work of building a home.
What began as a camp, soon grew to a town. Farmers, began to work the fertile soil, producing magnificent yields. Drovers and cattlemen, hearing of the sweetgrass, brought their herds here, building their ranches, watching their animals grow large and healthy. Men came to mine the blue stone, then to quarry it in larger amounts. Builders came to work the stone retrieved from the mountains. The blue faded a bit when quarried, but the stone was strong, and surprisingly easy to shape. Men began to build structures out of it. Perhaps inspired by the color, or some other muse, they shaped their buildings in unusual ways. The buildings began to resemble huge works of art more than constructs. Oddest of all, over time, the stone blocks fused together, strengthening the buildings.
Wizards and Sorcerers came to study the rock, and found the area rich in magical energies. It pervaded everything to some extent, imbuing the land and its denizens with health. The energy seemed to be the reason for the stones fusing; scholars who came and took samples away found they didn't fuse at all when removed from the region by more than a few days ride. The wizards and sorcerers remained, to study and use the phenomenon. One such wizard built the Tower of Dreams, which still stands a few days ride to the south.
Scholars who came to study the area also remained, and soon Blue Dream's first college opened. And like that, the town of Blue Dream became the city of Blue Dream. Traders established trading houses founded on the trade of blue stone and fine produce and animals, and the fine goods made from the plants and animals.
The land knew prosperity and peace, and the city grew in size and prominence over the centuries. It served as the capital of the realm of Fertile Harvest, as the land came to be known. Citizens were healthy and prosperous, food was abundant.
Of course, children, you know what happened. Although no-one seems to know precisely how; no-one has more than a guess at why; still so-one can deny it happened, though many wish they could deny it. But they can't, nor will they ever forget. that day, a bit more than forty years ago.
It began as a rumbling of the earth, the ground shaking gently. Tremors such as these were not uncommon, and almost always brief and free of serious incident. A woman might drop her basket of eggs, or perhaps someone will turn an ankle or lose balance. Rarely anything more serious, and the people who grew up here didn't fret at all.
But this time, the tremor didn't end. The shaking grew. People began to fall, animals began to spook. Still it grew. The buildings of wood or clay or brick began to fall first. The buildings of blue stone began to sway. Still the tremor grew, and now the ground was shaking with alarming force. People began to panic - always slower than animals in this regard - and flee the buildings in search of open ground. The first blue stone building toppled, killing dozens, and the panic reached new proportions. Abandoning everything people pelted away from the city, screaming, falling, clawing at each other to get away. The mountains above trembled, and people though they might collapse.
But of course, the Blue Spires didn't collapse.
At first, no-one could tell what was happening. So vast were the mountains, no-one could see enough of them to make sense of it. Like holding your eye too close to something, you can't see it for what it is until it you pull away, and find some perspective.
Imagine the terror those people felt, children, as the mountains they had grown up in the shadow of, the mountains which had sheltered them, provided for them in the form of the blue stone which drove most of the trade, the mountain which had always just... been... as mountains are supposed to be... imagine the terror when those mountains began to rise up out of the ground.
The Blue Spires... moved. They rose up. People near the ends of the range saw immeasurable huge trunks of blue stone beneath the mountains. But those near the city saw only the distant horizon beyond what was once their mountains as they pulled free of the earth and continued to rise into the sky.
Then a vast, iridescent blue canopy unfurled from the mountains, slowly reaching to blot out the sun. Imagine utter darkness children. No sun, no stars, no torches because they people had fled their homes in a panic. Blackness as complete as being in the mines, but with the sweetgrass under their feet. and the wind blowing. More than blowing, they realized. The wind was whipping into a fresh gale.
The canopy lifted into the sky, and the wind changed direction. Sunlight flooded back, but the respite was brief as the canopy quickly descended again, this time bringing a monsoon. The forest near the city flattened and hundreds of people were flung to their deaths. Then the canopy lifted again.
With a final lurch toppling more buildings, and another blast of wind flinging more people to their deaths, the Blue Spires launched into the sky. The mountains leapt into the sky, children. At they rose, the people finally saw what it was. The distance gave perspective, though many wished it hadn't.
Wings. The canopy was wings. The vast trunks were legs. As it rose higher than the sky itself, the people finally saw the Dragon. And then, it sounded a roar which was heard across the entire world... and vanished. Even in the terror of the moment, the people were stunned. A Dragon. Blue Dream was built at the base of a Dragon. Two weeks ride, tip to tail, the beast had slept for millennia, mistaken for a mountain range. The people had mined it for centuries, digging into it without ever causing so much as a twitch. And then one day it woke, and flew into the sky, then vanished.
The city was devastated, but somehow the majority of people survived. While some buildings survived, including a few of the... less artfully constructed blue stone buildings, most of the city was reduced to rubble. Even as people began to assess the devastation, they realized the ocean was pouring into the vast depression the beast had left behind. Over the next few weeks, the water filled in, forming the Dragon's Bay.
Left with nothing, men worked to rebuild their city on the shore. Farmers and Ranchers returned to their lands to rebuild and reseed while others began to build new shelters. Using the abundant supply of wood from the nearby downed forest, they were able to build shelters for the short term.
Within a few months the the city recovered to the point where they were no longer worried about survival. Rebuilding began in earnest. Docks and piers were built for the ships which could now reach the city. Farms and ranches began to produce enough to support the people. If the harvests were not as bountiful as they once were, if the animals were not as strong, their coats and skins not as lustrous... well, they still fed the people, still clothed them.
Today, forty years later, the city is again a thriving center for trade, with new routes to the west by ship. The fields are still bountiful, artisans still produce works of blue stone using the remains. No more buildings, but works of art have become highly prized. In addition, the university has been rebuilt, though many of the wizards have long since found other places to study.
Of the Dragon, no-one has seen or heard anything since that day. No-one really wants to. Some fear the time it may return, and with good reason. Thousands died that day, and forty years later people still wonder... did the beast even notice us?
And that, my children, is why we call our city Dragon's Wake.
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? Responses (10)
Update: Summary fixed and a few typos caught.
A great tale, either to use as actual history, or at least a local legend.
Well written and I see how it ties into the Order of the Ivory Tower.
A very compelling tale, though it somewhat overshadows the city itself. I get a sense of the land around the city, but not much I can use to describe the place in a game. Do the blue buildings still exist? What about the Tower of Dreams? Either way, I love the epic scale of the thing and will definitely consider stealing the legend at some point for a game!
You're right, a bit. I probably should have made one or two locations, and the event separately. In fact, this might be more properly described as the event, and then I should make the location separately.
I can see where some of what I had in mind didn't translate to the page. I'll edit to clarify. Though it does say the Tower of Dreams still stands to this day, the fate of the buildings is not quite as clear. My original intent was none of blue stone buildings survived, but in retrospect some probably should... might make people surviving more implausible if the city is crushed flat.
No, I don't think you need to make separate submissions for the event and the location -- that would most likely yield two average submissions instead of one fantastic one. I do think your changes afterwards clarified what you'd find in the city today (a large, inland bay next to a city of wood), however.
If I were going to use this in a game, it's enough for me to start with, but I'd still need to flesh out more of its sights/sounds, major economic influences, major attractions, and perhaps another cultural tidbit or three (do they have any celebrations? Dragon's Day, perhaps?). Maybe a few notable NPCs, or religions/cults that were founded after the Dragon left. The bit about blue stone sculpting is and the Wizard's college are good starts, but I'd want more to make it really stand out in the minds of my audience.
Update: Edited four paragraphs after the dragon vanishes to more clearly discuss some of the aftermath.
Very nicely done, and that is a truly monumental dragon they had there.
After reading both sub and comments, I too think this might be mislabeled. It seems to focus more on the legend than the city itself, if I were you I'd change the classifications. But as a legend, it's a good one. One has to wonder, where did such a large dragon go off to. And if it was so big, you'd think every creature on the planet would have gone deaf for a generation or so after hearing its roar.
But what little you did write about the city itself was also compelling and certainly original, though I don't really see it working in any other setting than high fantasy, except if most of those sculpture-like buildings were gone.
This section right here, really confused me though, might want to re-write it;
'Of course, children, you know what happened. Although no-one seems to know precisely how; no-one has more than a guess at why; still so-one can deny it happened, though many wish they could deny it. But they can't, nor will they ever forget. that day, a bit more than forty years ago. '
Thanks for the feedback. Your comments highlight some issues I've had removing events and places from their game- and world-specific context to make them more widely useful. I need to think on that a bit.
The odd buildings were inspired by a piece of artwork. I tried to find a copy online to link to but could not. The building almost look like they were grown, not built.
Regarding context... You're right. This probably doesn't work in most settings. This was part of a story in Everway, in which there is a context for Dragons as... ancient beings of unimaginable power. Old Dragons were second only to the Gods in power, and in fact their legend is very similar to the stories of angels told today: First beings created by the Gods, perfect and powerful, favored of the Gods', The worlds men live in today were created by the Gods for the Dragons to play with. Not the Dragon's natural habitat, but a playground. Until one day they began to defy the will of the Gods'. There was a great war and all the Old Dragons were killed, or punished afterward. Modern dragons and many other monstrous beings are descended from those punished dragons, and much lesser in scope.
Into this setting I placed a legend, of an Old Dragon who was considered old by the other Dragons of its time. This Dragon spent all its time sleeping, and in fact slept through the entire war. When the Gods finally noticed it, they couldn't bring themselves to punish it. They set it down on a world and left it alone, to dream its dreams.
Everway is a setting of multiple words, and as the Dragon slept away the ages, its magic warped the worlds around it, changing how the gates worked, and even moving them so one set at its head and one near its tail. It also bolstered magic in the entire world. Men found their way there, marvels at the odd mountains, built a city, etc.
So, when the Dragon woke, it vanished, to go home. I have a sub in the works which further discusses this, too. I've been very lax about finishing my subs though.
As to the classification... yeah... I've waffled on that. Maybe this is more of an event after all.
What others said already, a great legend.