Lelerough, Destroyer of Worlds
Daisy Marion Lelerough, of the Arkash Grim Flight, out of Luciola, by Rememnkem. Destroyer of Worlds. Much-Hated Blood Enemy of the Marcon Alliance. Bloodkin to all Dragonkind. Epic Hero of the Unity Earth Sphere Alliance. Favored of Eieber. Favored of Laytami Gudersnipe. Anointed by Draco. Honorary Slayer Dragon. These are just some of the honors and titles given her.
Lelerough was a "dragon" sorceress who ruled The Dragonlands for a period of 441 years, from B.G.A. 1315 to 901. Though she was an absolute monarch, she never took a formal title herself, and appointed numerous kings and dukes to administrate her domain. She ruled with an iron fist, but was still greatly loved and revered. Under her command, dragon magic was combined with human agriculture to create a massive surplus of food known as "The Great Plenty" and insured that none of her dragon subjects or human slaves ever starved. The surviving humans who escaped the destruction of The Dragonlands would continue to revere her, eventually raising her to the status of a deity some two thousand years later.
Lelerough was not full-blooded dragon, but one-quarter human. She is the only-known incidence of a very unique interaction: her father was a full-blooded dragon, her mother a dragon-half by a human mother. While her mother had the ability to transform, her "most comfortable" form was human, so she conceived and gave birth to a daughter in that shape. Thus, Lelerough was born in human-shape, but was only one-quarter human.
Though such a being has never been observed, studies of dragon-form dragons who are one-quarter human give much insight into what Lelerough must have been like. Her DNA was a blend of dragon and human; unlike full-bloods or halfs, she probably lacked a distinct set of either genetic material, and likely was unable to transform.
The historical account supports this, as she is always described as a human of "unnecessary beauty" (in the language of the Dragonlands, this was the highest of compliments), described arriving everywhere on the back of a (full-blooded) dragon, further indicating an inability to transform.
Nothing at all is known about Lelerough's early life, though she was believed to be around fourteen when she came to power. Historians speculate that she may have had some experience with starvation or inadequate food during her youth (or was exposed to others that did), because of the high-emphasis her reign placed on the availability of food. Herbet Patric Galactis speculated that she was raised by dragons and grew up in an eerie, where she would have lived side-by-side with other juvenile dragons. In early years, it is common for the adults tending the hatchlings to feed them very little, letting the clutch fight over food to teach them early combat skills. As a small and comparatively frail human-form, Lelerough would have been unable to join these fights, and may have experienced a great deal of hunger. This sub-theory is only supported by a modern understanding of dragon child-rearing techniques and an account of Lelerough when she first ascended to power that described her as very thin.
As was his way, Galactis also offered a second, completely contradictory theory of Lelerough's childhood: that she grew up amidst plenty and had a very happy, very prosperous childhood. This had such a profoundly positive impact on her, that she desired to provide the same to everyone under her rule, be they human or dragon. Yet another theory postulated that food was used to keep the human population in line--not by depriving them of it, but by providing such an over-abundance that they could not ask for more. The "over-abundance" notion is supported in the language, where a word that translates to "unnecessary" was used to describe having much more than needed (Lelerough's "unnecessary beauty" essentially meant that she was much more beautiful than she had to be).
Ascension to Power
Lelerough's exact age is unknown, but assuming she appeared human and aged at a normal human rate, she is thought to have been fourteen at the time of her ascension to power. However, it is also thought she may have aged much slower, and ascended at the age of thirty or forty. Regardless, she looks to be in her early teens in surviving depictions.
A sorceress of unmatched power, Lelerough was perhaps the most powerful that ever lived. If she is considered a dragon, she must be compared to the likes of Draco and Hrethrel Jusenkyou, both full-blooded dragons. Draco lived to be nearly 10,000 years old and created the Slayer Dragons. Lelerough nearly wiped out the Marcon Alliance. Honestly, it's a toss-up.
In B.G.A. 1314, Lelerough brought together an alliance of nine dragon flights, who together commanded a sizable portion of the Greater Continent. Lelerough then strengthened the alliance by pairings between all the different flights, effectively uniting them into a single flight (though each maintained a separate identity and multiple eeries).
The exact reasons are unknown, but the dragons followed her unquestioningly. It was most likely her great power as a mage that commanded their respect--not through intimidation or brute force, but through sheer admiration. Once she had the flights bound inseparably by matings, Lelerough turned her attention to the humans beneath their wings.
The Dragonlands were essentially formed through conquest, and by enslaving the human populations. Ultimately, Lelerough considered humans a valuable natural resource, to be well-cared for and handled with dignity, but little more than livestock. Such an attitude was not uncommon among dragons, and Lelerough was neither first or last dragon to enslave a human population.
Lelerough split her attentions at first between defense and strengthening her empire's interior. Under her direction, the dragons used their magic to make the land flourish, while the humans used their agriculture to grow bountiful crops and raise huge herds of livestock. This negated the dragons' need to hunt, as their food was provided by the humans. The humans, in turn, were left plenty for themselves, which freed many to work on other things.
A system of roads and canals, much of which still survives and is even navigable today, was built all across the Dragonlands. Bridges crossed rivers, and dams controlled them. Life for the human slaves was considered quite good, and it was a high priority handed out personally by Lelerough that no human should go hungry - this put the burden of ensuring a steady food supply on the dragons.
Lelerough also put into place a system of hospitals, where human doctors were trained in basic medicine, and dragons provided magical healing. Later on, human mages took their place, and many people were trained in the art of healing. The Dragonlands is one of the few civilizations throughout history known to have developed magical cures for common diseases, not just injuries as is typical in most places. It is thought that the discipline of Auromancy may have originated in the Dragonlands.
Lelerough never took an official title, but ruled the Dragonlands as an absolute monarch for four hundred and fourteen years.
Later Life and Death
As a one-quarter human, Lelerough could not have lived a normal dragon lifespan (typically five to seven hundred years). As dragon-form one-quarter-humans live four hundred years at most, and dragons can live longer in human-form, Lelerough is thought to have lived a full life. Assuming the age of fourteen is accurate for her date of ascension, she lived to be about four hundred and thirty years old - a good lifespan for a one-quarter-human (for a dragon-form, living to four hundred is the equivalent of a human living to one hundred and twenty; it is basically the upper-limit of their lifespan).
Lelerough fought the Marcons with metal and magic for most of her life, but ultimately the Marcons used ideology to destroy what she had built. With her empire in ruins, she rose to the fight and slaughtered every last enemy dragon in her skies. She then personally laid waste to the invading Marcon armies, and cut a swath across the Marcon Alliance. Her attack on the capitol at Lake Bentika can still be seen in the deformations along the shore, 7,500 years later.
But there was only so much damage Lelerough could cause to the Marcons and remain on Arindell. At the time, the Marcons controlled a vast inter-dimensional empire, with their holdings on Arindell representing only a very small fraction of the over-all territory.
So Lelerough set out to attack just that.
Though records of the battle that followed are scarce, it is known that Lelerough fought for two years. Not that she waged a war as long, but that she fought a single, unending battle. Alone. Her form of operation involved first attacking, killing the soldiers and leaders if she could, and giving the slaves time to flee; then once the city had been emptied, razing it to the ground.
Such was her rage that she destroyed entire planets - possibly even whole solar systems (if two or more planets are inhabited, it's faster to blow up the sun). She liberated dozens of slave worlds and destroyed hundreds more. Her attacks on the Marconian infrastructure were devastating. Within a day, she earned the title of "Much-Hated Blood Enemy", at the time the worst thing a person could be to the Marcons.
By the end of her fight, Lelerough had caused so much damage that the Marcons began to revere her as an awesome force of nature. They named her "Destroyer of Worlds" as a sign of respect. Eventually, she would be remembered as one of their heroes.
The Marcon account tells of a heroic battle in which The Court personally came out of their tower to fight Lelerough head-on, and by the sheer strength of their will, were able to defeat her. This version of events is, to put it simply, horse shit. The Court DID come out of their tower and attack Lelerough directly, and she killed them all and then destroyed their terror, proportedly with little effort.
The battle did end with Lelerough's death on a distant Marconian world, but it wasn't the Marcons that killed her - it was old age. Lelerough died of natural causes, most likely from renal failure, though the exact cause is pretty much summed up as "she was older than dirt". All of it, the massive, two-year non-stop battle, destroying countless worlds, was all the work of a frail old lady, at the end of her life.
Lelerough was given great honor by the Marcons, and buried in a golden casket (which, they felt, befitted a dragon), itself placed inside a massive marble sarcophagus sealed in a mausoleum. Her tomb was filled with tributes from all over the Marcon Alliance. Historians believe this was quite an interesting attempt at spin on the part of the Marcons - despite all the damage they did, by turning her into one of their heroes, the new imperial court was able to claim her actions as their own. In the end, it didn't matter that the trillions of people she killed were all Marcons; she was a force of nature and she "belonged to us!".
Such was the power and fear she instilled that, even centuries later, her tomb was untouched. The necropolis around it was dismantled and every other tomb looted, but Lelerough's final resting placed remained intact, her body never violated by Marconian hands (the ones that buried her did so with great reverence, and even had slaves handle her just so it could be said she was never touched by a Marcon). The mausoleum was eventually buried, and the location lost.
Over two thousand years later, near the start of the Second Age, Alliance workers surveying the valley for a hydroelectric dam stumbled across the ruins of the necropolis while digging for soil samples. The find was extremely advantageous, as Lelerough's remains could have been lost forever had the dam been built.
The planet was in a region of Joint Space and the dam project was being administrated by both the Alliance and Foundation. Once the ruins were found to be Marcon in origin, the Foundation took total control over the dig. The Foundation had been working, ever since the beginning of the Second Chaotic Period, to destroy all copies of the Bravkar and suppress as much information about the Marcon Alliance as possible. The Foundation was legitimately concerned that an intact tomb might include a copy of the Bravkar.
The excavations lasted almost twenty years, with eleven of those alone devoted to clearing Lelerough's expansive tomb. It yielded a treasure-trove of Marconian artwork and provided an important window into Marconian culture. Moreover, it allowed historians to finally discover the fate of Lelerough, and close that chapter of her mysterious and wonderous life.
The tomb did in fact contain six complete copies of the Bravkar, ceremonial in nature, of the type found in royal tombs. Each Bravkar was hand-written in six volumes, placed inside six nested shrines, with six copies total. That the Marcons would give what (to them) was considered such an important gift to a "Much-Hated Blood Enemy" speaks volumes about the respect Lelerough commanded. All six Bravkars were carried immediately outside of the tomb and burned in jet fuel, and the ashes dissolved in acid. While accounts vary, it seems the acid vats were either thrown into a volcano or hurled into the sun. The Foundation felt they should provide the Bravkars with at least as much disrespect as the Marconians provided it respect, so any blank pages were probably used as toilet paper.
Lelerough's body was removed and carefully examined, and found to be quite well preserved. Pathologists discovered that she suffered from severe arthritis and walked with a cane (over eleven thousand elaborately-decorated canes and other walking sticks were found in the tomb). They also determined she had suffered a stroke at some point and had only limited use of her right hand and leg. This probably happened years before the destruction of The Dragonlands. Finally, the Foundation's pathologists ruled that Lelerough had undoubtedly died of age-related maladies, and that her death was "probably... quite peaceful".
Most of the Marconian artwork recovered from the tomb was decided to have no important relation to Lelerough and was passed out to museums. Everything gold (except the gilding on the Bravkars) was kept, though much of it was melted down and pressed into coins (objects of little historical or artistic value were simply stripped of their gold). The sarcophagus and casket, however, were deemed "crafted with great respect and reverence, this was the work of artisans who admired the person they were burying". Quite shockingly, the coffins did not include a single Benka or passage from the Bravkar, which only re-enforced the belief that it was a fitting resting place for Lelerough.
Lelerough's body and funerary equipment toured the Foundation and Alliance for several years. Multiple replicas of everything but the body were made, and some placed in permanent exibits while others continued on tour. Lelerough herself, along with her solid gold casket and beautiful marble sarcophagus, were taken back to The Dragonlands, uninhabited since the Mage Wars.
Though few people would ever see it, the Foundation spent twelve years building a massive monument to Lelerough in the heart of the Dragonlands. Her body, and all of the gold buried with it, were re-interred in a secret location also in the Dragonlands. The new burial also included tributes from hundreds of dragon flights, giving Lelerough a sizable hoard upon which to sleep for eternity. Her funeral, held in the city of Arindell, was attended by hundreds of dignitaries and heads of state from all over the Alliance, and an elegy was given by Laytami Gudersnipe himself. Nine dragon flights, representing the nine flights she had united, and led by King Dragons from High Mountain, formed the honor guard that flew Lelerough's body home.
Despite her invented importance to the Marcon Alliance and her habit of enslaving humans, Lelerough is widely regarded as a hero throughout the Known Worlds, easily on par with Eieber and Laytami Gudersnipe for ending the Mage Wars. Statues of her are found in nearly every nation, and she was posthumously given many awards and citations. All of the flights that participated in her funeral agreed to name her "Bloodkin to All Dragonkind", the highest honor a dragon can receive, and the only time such an honor has been universally recognized.
In the centuries following Lelerough's reburial, the Dragonlands were re-inhabited by members of dozens of dragon flights. They formed new flights and bedded down in the old eeries, forever watching over the great dragon sorceress.
Honors and Titles
A few of Lelerough's more important honors and titles are mentioned in the opening of this article, but a bit more detail will be given here. 'Destroyer of Worlds' and 'Much-Hated Blood Enemy' were both given to her by the Marcon Alliance, and she treasured both (though 'Blood Enemy' was meant as an insult). The rest of her titles were given when she was re-interned during the Second Age.
Two that stand out are 'Favored of Eieber' and 'Honorary Slayer Dragon'. During his life, Eieber gave out many citations to his Slayer Dragons and his generals, but the highest honor he could bestow was simply "Favored", which meant absolute trust. Following his death, this title became known as "Favored of Eieber". When it was bestowed on Lelerough, it was both the only time it had ever been given out postumously, and the only time it was ever given following Eieber's death. Each Pendragon since had a "Favored" citation, but it was felt at the time that only Favored of Eieber would do. Lelerough was also made an honorary Slayer Dragon, as simply 'Favored of Eieber' didn't feel like enough. While many others have recieved that title, Lelerough is the only such individual to have a statue placed in the Valley of Sleeping Dragons.
Her most important honor, however, was 'Bloodkin of All Dragonkind'. Typically speaking, such an honor is extremly rare. A dragon might be named Bloodkin to another flight, or recognized as Bloodkin to a handful of flights, but 'All Dragonkind' seldom acknowledge any individual as universal 'kin'. That Lelerough received this title, and from all standing flights, indicates again the awe in which she was held.