The polished armor of the Imperial Legion glinted under the high sun. Tens of thousands flocked to watch the military parade tracing the path upwards Krysperium, the great and impregnable capital city. The balconies overflowed, sidewalks bustled, windows swung wide open, and necks craned to get a glimpse of the brave men and women who fight for the empire.
The banners of various regiments and martial noble houses flew, a clash of wild colors riding the wind. The rhythmic clinking of hundreds of armors accompanied the loud cheers of the onlookers. The parade started from the gates climbing the different levels of the city. Every step of the way acclamation resonated, and festive air abound.
An Osbyrian tahlran rider headed the procession. Astride his majestic golden furred hound, he raised the standard of Krystfallen, the first Dragon Emperor. The crowds howled in approval. This legendary emblem was said to have been used during the Unification Wars and has been graced by the touch of Krystfallen himself. This ancient artifact was one of the prized possessions of the Imperial Legion.
The military procession entered the vast temple square. Masses waited under the heat of the sun for the appearance of the standard of Krystfallen. Cheers erupted as they arrived. The people parted as the Legion made way for the end of the square where several platforms, draped in white and blue silk, stood. Nobles, magistrates, bishops, generals, men and women of great import occupied these premium seats. They all stood in obeisance at the sight of the approaching standard of the founding Emperor.
Mauvehaven Claudio Throndelhern, by the Divine Will of the Paximillion, Emperor of Krysperia, of the Viridian Glades, of the Drunstin Nine Peaks, Subjugator of Ghalzan, Progeny of the Great Dragon Emperor Krystfallen, rose from his throne, set on the grandest dais, and honored the memory of his ancestor. His regal wife stood by his left side and the princess heir apparent on his right.
A hint of shimmering air above the platforms betrayed the presence of a force field protecting the royalty. In front of the emperor’s dais stood a single guard, a Devastator Knight. The greatest of the warriors of Krysperia, foremost of its vast armies, an embodiment of its massive military might. They were few in number and rarely seen, for their enemies do not survive the encounter.
The sight of the Devastator Knight drew the attention of the crowds. Accounts of heroic deeds of Devastator Knights have the status of legends in the hearts of the people.
Emperor Mauvehaven was all smiles as he looked at his subjects before him. He stretched forth his arms to welcome the standard-bearer of the Imperial Legion. The latter alighted from his mount and knelt before his liege, the standard raised. With a gesture from the emperor, the standard started to levitate, high above the people.
The responding roar of the gathering shook the heart of the city.
“Exactly five hundred years have passed,” the emperor began, in a booming, magically amplified voice, “since the Dragon Emperor Krystfallen gave his life to deliver the whole continent from destruction. Five hundred years have passed since his selfless sacrifice ensured the survival of our forefathers. If not for this most noble act, we would not be standing here today. In exchange for his life, we have ours.
“It is only but fitting that we commemorate his memory, no matter the passage of time. The length of time that this empire has stood, nay, that this continent has thrived, has flourished, is a testament to the weight of his sacrifice. It will forever be engraved in the slate of the history of Forkspear, by the sturdiest chisel, the memory of its people, that there once was a man, a man guided by the deific hand of Paximillion, a man who saved us all.”
Cheering once again erupted, the emperor acknowledge them with a nod. He gestured to a figure in the middle of the square, placed on a raised pedestal for all to see. Standing thrice the height of a grown man, it was veiled by a black cloth and ringed by city guards. The people started to argue in hushed tones as to what it might be.
“A descendant of one of the Dragon’s Chosen, the elite warriors handpicked by Emperor Krystfallen, has dedicated this masterpiece to his ancestor’s master’s memory. The Grandmaster sculptor Wilhelm Edward Ethaniel Dieter has created this magnificent statue of the Dragon form of Krystfallen.”
The guards pulled away the veil. The people gasped as a draconic figure loomed over them. Fangs bared, claws grasping the edge of the pedestal, wings unfurled to its full span; it was a portrayal of terror. Yet, its eyes showed majesty and wisdom. It stood atop the pedestal as if governing his people from the heavens- a truly magnificent creation.
Sculpted from a single tusk of a Tyrant Drunstin mammoth, it gave off the fabled unearthly glow not present in normal ivory. The intricate and close attention given to fine details attest to the supreme genius of its sculptor for the material is said to be harder than diamond.
“A true work of art!” The emperor’s voiced thundered out once again, snapping the people out from their reverie brought about by the splendor of the sculpture. “An undying homage to the first Dragon Emperor! Join me in this month-long celebration of the great sacrifice that became the foundation of this everlasting empire.”
The standard floating above their heads glowed brightly even against the midday sun. An inexplicable feeling of peace settled the hearts of the people in the square.
Silence enveloped the plaza. Everyone-man, woman, and child stood transfixed at the levitating standard of their savior. It descended towards the emperor, who grasped it with both hands and raised it high above his head. He solemnly gazed over his subjects and said:
“For the Blood of the Dragon was spilt…”
“…that our blood might flow,” finished the congregation in unison.