Parceltongue Institute

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The Parseltongue Institute is a research university dedicated to the study of dragons. It is located in the city of Warsong on Kladeth. Curiously, it is not connected to the Warsong Dragon flight.


Originally named "The Institute for Applied Dragonology", it was founded in A.Y. 3991, five years after the city was renamed and peace established between the dragons and the humans. The new institute gathered one of the most extensive libraries of then-available research in the known worlds, and published four new books in its first year. Their most significant discovery, made in the last year of the Third Age, was of Parseltongue, the spoken language of dragons. The institute was also the first research organization to do serious work on Scoriography, which had been documented but was not known to be a writing system before then. The institute was renamed in A.Y. 41, both to mark the start of the Age and to celebrate the discovery.

Despite these earlier achievements, the institute did little more than collect and collate information. Surprisingly, few dragons were interested in co-operating, and did not view themselves as objects of study. This changed in the early The Fourth Age|4th age, and it was thought major advancements were quickly forthcoming. The institute's hopes were quickly dashed, when the 'dragons' who agreed to conduct interviews and allow for concerted scientific efforts, proved to be Wyverns perpetrating an especially involved practical joke.

The institute would likely not have lasted, were it not for the work of Lacroix Brennt. A wealthy aristocrat, his interest in dragons had grown to obsession. He came initially to the institute to avail himself of its library in A.Y. 486, and quickly fell in love with the place. He bought the Institute and, using his keen business sense, quickly turned it into a successful money-making venture, using the proceeds to further fund the mission.

Under Brennt's guidance, the Institute transformed from a pure research program funded entirely by donations and the proceeds of publications, into a full-service university primarily focused on the study of Mystical Creatures. While Dragonology remained the core mission, the expanded base offered tuition and endowments. It also allowed the organization to attract more talented experts, which both furthered research goals and heightened credibility.

Brennt's primary influence was a shift from direct encounter to passive observation. The study of dragons was still his principle obsession, and he reasoned that if the dragons would not submit themselves for analysis, he would simply analyze them from afar. He ordered the construction of a high observation deck for a team of spotters. Using telescopes, field glasses, and various other equipment, they began an intensive regime of systematic study of the dragons flying around and above Warsong. When this program began to yield useful results, a second team was assembled in Arindell. Brennt would later set up expeditions around the known worlds, using a practiced and disciplined approach.

His first major contributions to the field of Dragonology were the discovered that dragons nearly always fly in perfectly straight lines, and the delineation of the various life-cycle stages. While these would later become better known, Brennt was the first to observe clear differences between Reds, Blacks, and Golds; and was the first to prove conclusively the Fire, Earth, and Air type-variations. These had been hinted at before, but as no dragon would explain them, it was up to Brennt to divine them. He is widely regarded as the first true Dragonologist, and is recognizably the first to undertake a systematic study of dragons.

Though it did not happen until after his death, the Institute was responsible for the first widely-accepted treatise on the subject of dragonology, titled The Beasts of the Air. When questioned, the dragons responded, titles like were why they never talked to anyone from the institute.

By A.Y. 4400, the ongoing meticulous research at the Parceltongue Institute had mapped the three then-known stages of the draconinc lifecycle, and began to make real estimates on the lives of dragons. Many books were written, but the nature and volume of the work was published in folios. One such collection was brought to the Library of Arindell for preservation, where it caught the eye of a budding young philatelist named Yule Steinheart. Yule would use this research to build much of his seminal work On Dragonology, published in 4479. Yule made only a few short visits to the institute itself, but had a long and very close relationship with it throughout his life. Several buildings are named after him and there is a large statue of him on campus.


"Parceltongue" is not actually the correct name. Dragons in fact have a spoken language of their own, which humans mistakenly called Parceltongue. In fact, "parceltongue" is a very rough translation of an extremely crude and offensive word which has no human equivalent. It came to be known by that term thanks to early dragonologists, who observed dragons speaking it to one another, and made the mistake of asking what it was called. This incident later gave rise to the the dragonologist's first maxim: "Don't ask a dragon any direct questions".

When Yule Steinheart asked Ikelani Nosval about it, Ike did his best to explain: "it's as if an exceptionally sexist word and an equally racist word conceived a child together, and that word in turn were raised by all the discriminatory terms for Necromancers". As such, you will never hear a dragon utter the word in polite company, but most will laugh like five-year-olds when a human says it. To them, it's like teaching children to say swear words: funny, but extremely inappropriate.

While dragons will typically tell you otherwise, it is possible for humans to learn and speak draconic. The language consists mostly of glottal stops, hissing, percussion, and throat-clearings, and is said to be largely interpretive in nature. A lot of words have many meanings, and rely on context, shared experiences, and dragon genetic memory to be properly understood.