Knowledge of the Dragons
During the Age of Dragons, there lived a boy who sought knowledge of the Blood Storm. He was a wise boy and knew that if such evil could be stopped, it would be through good intelligence. So he sat in his town’s library, in a tower by the sea, and read every tome and scroll he could find about the dragons. He listened to every rumor, every soldier’s horror story, every old wives’ tale.
The other children mocked the studious boy. They were all eager to win glory in war, to thrust sword and spear into the dragons’ scaly hides. The boy only shook his head sadly and said, “If you think the Blood Storm are just big lizards, I hope you never see what’s under their scales.”
The others fell into sullen silence when the leaders of dragon-hunting parties came to consult the boy about how best to assault the horrible gods. At a young age, he became the foremost authority on the dragons, learning of them one by one: Regulos, Crucia, Maelforge, Laethys, Greenscale…
And at last, Akylios.
There Are No Words
Confident in his wits and will, the boy recorded the ravings of madmen. He charted the patterns of the waves, and in his seaside library, he read of the Deep Lord. Of this most perplexing dragon, he learned many useful things:
Akylios covets knowledge, all knowledge. He learned every hideous secret he could and invented many of his own, refusing to forget anything he learned even when his vast mind became full to the outer limits of madness.
When Crucia hollowed out every mind on an invaded world to fill with her own iron will, Akylios gathered the cast-off insides and sucked them up like jellied fruit. Between these feasts, he floated in the cosmos, singing along to the dance of the stars. And the stars who heard him went cold and would sustain no life.
Like all the Blood Storm, Akylios’s true form is an expression of everything he represents, and can best be described as the best way to peel a man is in one long spiral strip, like an apple. So strange did Akylios become that even his cohorts found him unsettling, and his “dragon” form bears little resemblance to anything the sane would imagine.
A collegial visit
Like any true devotee of enlightenment, Akylios is sociable with fellow scholars, so by night he would slither up from the sea and coil around the library tower. He would lean in through the window, his chitinous head filling the library behind the boy, hiding his presence with the silence of the crushing deeps. Only when the student closed his book for the night did Akylios lose interest and retract himself from sight.
The boy soon felt the hideous presence behind him, but would not turn around. Though he sensed the dozen eyes reading over his shoulder, he did not turn. Though he heard the Profane murmuring at the very outside edges of his mind, his eyes stayed on the book, even when Akylios would let his awful tongue sway just outside the scholar’s peripheral vision.
And then one night, staying up late to study, the determined boy thought he heard his mother call him down for dinner. Moments later, the townsfolk heard something enormous splash into the water and swim away, and then a scream that would not cease.
All they found in the library was a flayed skeleton, mouth open till the jaw cracked, eyes still in their sockets. They buried it deep, under layers of stone, but people who walk those shores can still hear it scream. To this day, Akylios loves to visit those who study him. But that heavy presence behind them is likely only their imagination.