Istaria, Part 1

Istaria is an older MMO that many who read this journal have heard me mention in the past, and one that I still visit on occasion for a month or two when there isn't anything else going on.

In Istaria, the world is a rich tapestry that is woven by its inhabitants – each a vibrantly colored thread in the over all design. This tapestry continues to be woven, even if a player is away for some time, so it's not uncommon for a returning player to post a bit of a 're-introduction' in the official forums when returning from an extended absence. It informs folks the player knows that they are back, opens up comments from other players as to what has transpired, and serves to sort of 'set the tone' for the player's re-emergence into the world.

What follows is my re-introduction post from last year for my Dragon “Kaeliss Silverscale” – a large, white adult Dragon who follows the Helian traditions and is therefore a bit more amiable to the Naka-Duskael, the 'non Dragons', and less likely to simply eat one.

The Dragons in Istaria also have their own player-derived language, which is fairly complex and has a great number of phonetic rules – and being who I am I'm fairly fluent in it, so you'll see some in my postings. While literal translations aren't required as the general feeling of the phrase should be easy enough to figure out – if anyone is really interested I'll translate for them.

Non-Istarians might also need a little back story: We dragons refer to any time we are away from the game for any length of time as 'sleeping'; we sort of hibernate, for weeks or months – some times even years… And to the non-Dragon, it can even appear as if we have passed on to our next incarnation – but we usually get up and move around eventually.

For me, the sleep leading to this post was about three months.

Fortunately our lairs are warm, dark, and safe – located deep in the ground and created by our own hand. The average lair is a vast labyrinth of interconnected tunnels, tubes, and chambers – several stories deep – and all but impossible for the non-Dragon to figure out.

Unless they are very, very persistent…


*poke poke*
“Kaeliss, are you awake?”

Something tries to pry open an eyelid…

One large sky blue eye peeks out from under a half open eyelid – the vertically slit pupil contracting tightly from the sudden brilliant light. The scaled brow winces, and the eyelid snaps closed.

A loud, rumbling, {{Egut kor Drulkar!}} shakes the very walls of the cavern. Then a voice somehow resolves into a melodic basso suspended in the chill air of the cavern: “I am now… Extinguish yourself, bug, before I forget my manners…”

The Dryad, not much bigger than the eye it was just addressing, hovers on translucent wings that, until a moment ago, sparkled and glowed with a dazzling light. “Why must you Dragons keep to such dark places anyways? I have such a time finding my way down here…”

“The dark is better for sleeping, and the winding path would indicate to any other race that, perhaps, I do not wish to be bothered…”

“Feh. Always sleeping. It’s not amazing that you Dragons don’t get anything done. Why I was just speaking to my cousin…”

The dragon sighs, a sound more felt than heard as huge scales grind on stone in the gloom.

Another rumbling, but quieter {{Tond eln Gaet, g’rei oiorna}} fills the chamber. As the words are spoken, large crystal outcroppings embedded around the chamber begin to glow with a diffuse blue light. As the pale light fills the cavern it reveals immense chains; each link twenty feet in height made of metal as thick as a human. Four of these chains descend from the ceiling and suspend a large bedrock platform which the Dragon was sleeping on; the platform itself smoothed into a slight bowl by years of scales sliding across its surface.

The cavern itself could contain a guildhall – it has been clawed from the living rock of the mountain and is finished with an otherworldly sense of design; there are no sharp angles, save for the faceted crystals embedded in the walls. Stone features flow from shape to shape around the cavern, creating channels and pools for water flowing from the waterfall on the far end. Even the floor to ceiling granite columns look as if made of melted candle wax and are graced with precious gems and yet more giant crystals.

The Dragon shifts a bit, getting into more of a sitting position and settling its great leathern wings and long tail around its massive body. It then peers down at the diminutive winged creature hovering between its forepaws.

The basso voice moves through the cavern once more, “What can I do for you, Quin?”

The buzzing of the Dryad’s wings increase in pitch as it flies up to the Dragon's eye level. “Oh, it’s horrible Kaeliss!” The Dryad begins to get brighter, betraying his excitability and causing the Dragon to turn away slightly and wince once more.

The Dryad paces back and forth as if standing on solid ground some twenty feet above the floor and waves his tiny arms around illustrating points as he talks: “There we were, my uncles’ cousin’s brother and I, minding a flock of essence. We have some of the best essence fields around as you know – why just the other day I was talking to Jerin about this year’s essence crop and he was saying…”

Kaeliss looks up at the cavern ceiling and sighs heavily again… “Quin…”

“and that if the rains come it’ll wash out the beaver dam – Meressa, that lovely Saris lady down valley, said she’d come help, she bakes wonderful bread you know – even better with honey. In fact the last time we all got together she brought…”

The Dragon has often wondered if Dryads actually breathe, or if they lived out their span simply exhaling words… “Quin, what did you wake me for?”

“that’s when the potter fell over laughing and got clay all in the Satyr’s fur… You know he’s building an addition to his home, I think there’s a little bundle of hooves and horns on the way – they’re so cute when they…”

Kaeliss roars; “QUIN!”, and outside the lair entrance startled birds in the nearby trees take flight.

Two thin ribbons of smoke rise from the Dragon’s nostrils, “Quin! Focus! What was so blighted important that you needed to wake me for it!?”

The Dryad stops in mid-pantomime sword strike and blinks, as if realizing for the first time that there is a Dragon in the room. “Kaeliss? Oh! Kaeliss! You’re awake! The Skulks! Come quick!” The Dryad launches himself towards the opening in the cavern, disappearing down the tunnel in little more than a flash of wings.

Now it’s the Dragon’s turn to blink a few times. He shrugs and thinks to himself, “If it was truly important, they would have sent someone with a slightly longer attention span…” and hefts himself up onto all fours to head to a storage cave where he can gather his armor.