How does one go about surviving a dragon encounter? Jenn Lyons, author of the Chorus of Dragons series, has a simple answer: Just don’t. BUT if your dragon-y meet and greet is unavoidable, she has the following advice to give. Check out today’s Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift piece below!
By Jenn Lyons
First, I think it’s important to point out that most sure and certain way to come away from a meeting with a dragon alive, with health and sanity intact, is to never meet one. Don’t go searching for your death in the Manol, as they say in Quur.
However, that choice isn’t always ours to make, given that dragons can and do fly about on their own. So, in those cases, what can be done? Of the eight known dragons (and the ninth that no one talks about), each one is unique in every regard except perhaps basic shape, so it would be ill-conceived of me to hand out blanket advice and expect that to be universally applicable. So let’s discuss each dragon in turn.
Aeyan’arric, the Lady of Storms, is one of the smaller of the dragons, but that makes her no less dangerous than the others. In appearance she’s a white color with blue, violet, and silver accents. She’s capable of creating storms over a wide area, preferring snowstorms and blizzards to rain. She’s not particularly verbal or prone to communication, but she is excessively territorial, meaning it’s unlikely that attempts to bargain or haggle with Aeyan’arric could succeed. The good news is that she’s one of the least inclined of all the dragons to pay attention to humans as long as they stay away from her. Her preferred prey animals are much larger than humans, so she simply isn’t interested.
Recommendation: Take shelter immediately. The threat from Aeyan’arric isn’t a direct one – she rarely attacks people. The real threat is the storms that roll up in her wake, which are devastating.
Probably one of the most famous dragons because of his famous feud with Emperor Simillion, Baelosh is also one of the most loquacious of the dragons. This may trick people into thinking he’s reasonable, but don’t be fooled. He’s as evil as any of them. He just likes to chat more (a trait he shares with his brother Sharanakal). He is strongly connected to plants and flora of all kinds, and areas around him tend to quickly become overrun with toxic, lush, and amazingly hostile plant life. He breathes out a combination of spores and acid that not only kill but promptly turn the victim into garden fertilizer.
Recommendation: Baelosh is one of the only dragons that can be bribed, having a marked fondness for faceted gems like diamonds and emeralds. He especially likes tsali stones of all kinds. Emperor Simillion showed that it is possible (albeit it incredibly dangerous) to engage Baelosh in a riddle battle, and Baelosh may well share his brother Sharanakal’s fondness for music.
The problem with Drehemia, dragon of secrets and shadows, is that it’s exceedingly difficult to find her, meaning that any encounter with the dragon is likely to happen on her terms. She can create huge swaths of darkness, turn invisible, and has the ability to make people regress to mindless savagery, attacking anything nearby, including each other.
Recommendation: Drehemia seems to have a collection of ‘game pieces’ similar to Sharanakal’s stone garden, and it seems probably that these weren’t willing volunteers. So don’t try to bargain with her. Just leave as quickly as possible. If you must face her, then know that she doesn’t seem to enjoy light, but whether that’s an offensive advantage or just a bullseye is anyone’s guess.
Gorokai may well exceed Baelosh for gregarious tendencies, but it’s difficult to know for sure. For centuries the fishermen living around the edges of Rainbow Lake used to tell a story about a magic talking carp who would either grant wishes or twist the meaning of said wishes in the most destructive and awful ways imaginable. It wasn’t until Gorokai revealed himself that we realized these carp myths had a basis in fact. Gorokai is a shape-shifter, one capable of incredible shifts in size, shape, and ability. He seems to be perfectly capable of copying the other dragons. In his own ever-changing shape, he has a breath weapon that wreaks absolute havoc on all surrounding matter, including people, ranging from turning them into potted flowers to turning them inside out.
Recommendation: The main problem with Gorokai is that he’s an unpredictable, chaotic mess. He apparently has helped people, but whether or not he will be helpful or not in any random encounter seems to hinge on a coin toss.
Morios is a metallic dragon so covered in sharp long spikes that it looks like he’s made up of swords. He can breathe a storm of metal blades as well, which is a bit of a problem for most wizards since there’s enough variation in form that it’s extremely difficult to block what he’s tossing at them. He is the largest of the dragons, the one who tends to sleep for the longest stretches, and also the one who causes the most devastation when he wakes. He seems to have an enormous enjoyment of fighting, which is a problem when the only forces capable of taking him on are gods and armies. Also, and this cannot be stated strongly enough – he seems to gain power from acts of intentional violence against him.
Recommendation: The only time anyone has successfully defeated him was by not attacking him directly, but rather letting him be collateral damage to an attack aimed at someone else. So in theory, it might be possible to defeat Morios through explosive spells targeted against others, or by passive abilities that are not, in of themselves, meant as direct attacks. Generally, I recommend avoiding Morios if at all possible.
Rol’amar is a dead dragon somehow still made animate through the curse that empowers him. Unfortunately for Rol’amar (and everyone else), it’s left him in unspeakable agony, to be the point where communication with him seems no more possible than communicating with a wild, mad dog. This means his rampages truly are that. Also, he seems to animate any dead around him for quite some distance, so typically people facing Rol’amar will be fighting both him and an entire animated army of dead.
Recommendation: Leave, preferably through a gate or teleport or some other similar method, since unlike some of the other dragons on this list, Rol’amar does like to chase. Rol’amar doesn’t seem to like healing magics, but it’s unlikely this would be enough to permanently defeat him.
If a volcano could be reborn as a dragon, his name would be Sharanakal, or as some of the locals around the Zherias region liked to call him, ‘the Old Man.’ Like all the other dragons, he naps for long periods at a time, but when he wakes is extremely active.
Recommendation: Sharanakal is extremely fond of music. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal solution, because he’s also fond of kidnapping musicians and keeping them as his own private entertainment. He does this by magically trapping them inside stone pillars which he refers to as his ‘garden’ – I assume that this is some kind of dig at his brother Baelosh – and freeing them only for long enough to sing a few songs before imprisoning them once more. Avoid him if at all possible.
It’s extremely unlikely that anyone will run into Xaloma, since she almost exclusively makes her home in the Afterlife. The ghost dragon is fond of water and can usually be found resting in the Afterlife’s lakes and oceans. Because it is so rare to run into her, very little about her abilities are known. She is Sharanakal’s sister (but not Baelosh’s – Baelosh and Sharanakal share the same father, while Sharanakal and Xaloma share the same mother) and doesn’t seem to be particularly talkative.
Recommendation: Xaloma seems to be fine as long as one doesn’t infringe on her territory – and then she is not fine. So basically, do not disturb.
And last but certainly not least:
Relos Var is certainly an interesting case, since he rarely appears as a dragon, preferring to instead maintain a human form whenever possible. He most closely resembles his niece, Aeyan’arric, being primarily white in coloration as a dragon, although with an opal, rainbow sheen where Aeyan’arric is silver and blue accented. He breathes an extremely hot blue fire that is capable of metal metal in seconds and which poisons whatever it touches for years afterward.
And yet, he’s more dangerous as a human wizard.
Recommendation: Avoiding him can be taken as given, but that’s usually not so easily done if he has his eyes on you. Mainly, one should always be aware that Relos Var rarely comes out on the losing end of any deals he makes, so if you think you’ve gotten the better of him, assume that just means there’s an angle that you don’t yet understand.
Jenn Lyons lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, three cats and a nearly infinite number of opinions on anything from Sumerian mythology to the correct way to make a martini. Lyons traces her geek roots back to playing first edition Dungeons & Dragons in grade school and reading her way from A to Z in the school’s library. Formerly an art director and video game producer, she now spends her days writing fantasy. In 2020, she was nominated for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. Her five-book Chorus of Dragons fantasy series begins with The Ruin of Kings. The final book in the series, The Discord of Gods, hits shelves everywhere 04/26/2022.
Pre-order The Discord of Gods here: