Yule Steinheart was an historian and dragonologist who lived in the Fourth Age. He was widely regarded as an expert on the subject, and his work formed the basis for Scalgdorf's On Dragonology published a few centuries later. Yule also released a multi-volume book by the same title. While Scalgdorf's books were more popular, he himself openly praised Yule as the true expert; and as a result, was still being re-published during the Age of the New Day.
Yule was born in the city of Arindell in A.Y. 4380 to parents Ada and Quarett Steinheart. His mother was a highly respected computational analyst, and his father a wealthy financier. Yule led a charmed life, a youth of considerable intelligence he attended the finest schools and completed compulsory education at the age of 16. He had long used his family money to focus on his greatest passion, of collecting and trading stamps, and was well-known at the time as "a colorful philatelic player". He attended university in Arindell and made excellent marks, but took only a generalized major, and did not complete his degree. He used his time to make connections, and by the age of twenty had exceeded his father's wealth through the buying, selling, and trading of rare stamps.
Yule took his first job at the age of twenty, as a librarian in the acquisitions department of the Library of Arindell. He certainly did not need the money, being both gifted with a large trust fund, and a sizable personal fortune, but his superiors reported he did the job quite well and with considerable passion. His role was taken for one quite simple purpose: to acquire stamps. Due to the magical nature of the library, books were constantly received from all over the known worlds, many by post. Working in the Acquisitions department, Yule had access to an immense variety of stamps. Though few of these had any value aside from novelty, Yule was avid to collect, catalogue, and preserve new specimens.
Yule had been working at the library for nine months when his life changed forever. His daily duties were focused around opened and cataloging new acquisitions. He had never before shown much interest in any, simply collecting the stamps and completing the rest of the task with efficiency. However, a large batch of parcels had arrived from Kladeth, shipped out of the city of Warsong. Since Yule had never collected stamps from there, and the collection had a varied set, he was excited. He would later report something "caught his eye" in the collection of folio books he was organizing, and admitted that since it was his first encounter with this specific variety of books, it "Was lucky it was something interesting, else I wouldn't be remembered at all".
The collection was the body of research from the Parceltongue Institute, shipped to Arindell to be preserved. Yule had never had any interest in dragons, but the way the folios collected and collated information appealed to him, and he became obsessed with the subject, and quickly discovered two facts: the first, there was no seminal work on the subject; and the second, what was known was based entirely on passive observation. Since dragons were thinking, talking, reasoning beings, he saw no reason why this information could not be confirmed through questioning.
The strange reality, however, is, while dragons were seen in the skies above Arindell almost every hour of the day, their interactions with humans were rare. Nearly four centuries earlier, a dragon named Ferrimeso, of the Phoenix Tavern Flight, had collaborated with Herbet Patric Galactis on the Accepted Histories. There was also Draco, who created the Order of Slayer Dragons, and helped establish the truce that allowed Arindell to be built. Other than that, records of dragon/human interactions were few and far between.
Relationship with Ikelani
However, Yule had heard a rumor of one that could be found: "Olde Ike". He was thought to belong to High Mountain Flight, and was a notorious drinker. Though he very much did not enjoy being made a spectacle, he did have a favorite tavern he liked to frequent in human-form, and it was well-known you could meet him, if you didn't mind taking your life into your hands.
Yule had in fact never developed a taste for alcohol, nor was he of legal drinking age, when he first entered the bar. He recounts that his first interaction with Ikelani was being made fun of for having ordered a soda water with lemon. Yule, however, was not rebuffed. Having read much of Lacroix Brennt's work by this time, and was keenly aware of the secret. In his first night, he proved his hunch true; by keeping quiet and hanging back, he observed that Ikelani was perfectly willing to interact with the other regulars at the bar, but would rebuff any advances by patrons he didn't know. Thus, Yule reasoned, if he wanted to get close to the dragon, he simply had to become a fixture.
The tavern, known simply as "Smokey's", was not exactly Yule's scene. He was a small man, slight of build, who wore fine clothes. Smokey's usual clientele, however, were rough working men from the nearby factories and rail yard. As he was a very out-of-place sight, Yule set about ingratiating himself without making a spectacle. He had always been an excellent talker, and was an especially good listener. Being smart and a quick thinker, he knew not to flaunt his wealth or education. Though he was the butt of many jokes, he soon became popular among the regular patrons, enough so that Ikelani warmed up to him, and the two began a friendship of sorts.
In his journals, Yule records that he had known Ikelani almost three years before the subject of his nature even came up in conversation. Ikelani certainly liked to talk, made numerous references to flying and breathing fire, and openly used many draconic colloquialisms in his speech. Yule made note of everything, compared it with the research from the Parceltongue Institute, and was able to draw many conclusions.
For his part, Ikelani did not care too much. He found Yule amusing, and unobtrusive, even going as far as to eventually answer several direct and pointed questions. However, questioning was of little use. Most of Yule's more valuable insights came simply from letting Ieklani talk. He learned about the dragon names, customs, and the use of formations. He learned the meaning behind many of Brennt's observations, and even began publishing papers on the subject.
For 79 years, Yule was a fixture at Smokey's, even owning the tavern for several decades and running it at a loss, simply to keep close to Ikelani. He filled countless notebooks, and was eventually introduced to a great number of dragons. It's unknown exactly when he started serious work on his opus, but he had likely conceived of it before that first night at the bar.
The first edition of On Dragonology was published in A.Y. 4479, when Yule was 99 years of age. At fourteen volumes, it contained information on all aspects of draconic life, nature, and habits. It was Yule's life's work, and sadly he did not live to see his next birthday. In fact it was the book that killed him, not literally (although given the volume's size, quite a few cartoons were made portraying the event as such). While on tour promoting his work, Yule was hospitalized and later died. The exact cause of death was renal failure, but the inquest ruled "old age" as the culprit. Yule had already been in failing health when the tour began, and despite being "in excellent health for a man of 99", he was indeed still a man of 99. It is questionable whether he would have lived much longer anyway.
Still, he was respected within his lifetime, and there was little doubt left at the end of how popular and successful his book would be. He said it was his gift, and he only wished he'd had more time to complete it.
Yule's body was burned in an ash pit, and his funeral attended by a considerable number of prominent dragonologists. All were on hand to witness, when, above the pyre, three dragons flew in a familiar formation. The eulogists remarked: "It is thanks to others that we know of that shape; but it is only the tireless work of Yule that we know why".