Campaign of the Month: June 2008
Horn of the North
Shadraxil the Dragon
Detailed information can be found in Dungeon Magazine 155. The article that details converting the Keep on the Shadowfell to the Forgotten Realms covers the specifics. This wiki page covers the highlights for our usage later.
Before the Spellplague
- A Great Wyrm Shadow Dragon.
- Sire of Shhuusshuru
- Grandsire of Aurgloroasa
- Laired in the Thunder Peaks in and around 236 DR.
- A knight named Jerold Keegan commanded a contingent of warriors and War Wizards that led the beast into an arcane trap, a prison in the Plane of Shadow.
After the Spellplague
- It is speculated that when the Plane of Shadow was folded into the Shadowfell by Shar during the Spellplague, Shadraxil’s prison was somehow affected.
Quote from Douven Stahl:
“When I set out to dig, I had thought this was the burial site of the great wyrm, Shadraxil. He was a terrible shadow dragon slain by a group of Cormyrian soldiers led by the knight, Sir Keegan. However, the skeleton of the dragon here is much too small to be that of Shadraxil. I can only wonder what became of the great beast.”
Research of Valthrun the Sage of Winterhaven:
“Shadowfell Keep, as folks call it now, was not always known by that name. It seems that this name arose only in the past century from people’s fear of the plane through which the dead travel. Not so long ago, yet beyond the memory of most, the keep was known as Keegan’s Keep.
“Stories tell of how the lord of Keegan’s Keep, Sir Jerold Keegan, became a crazed lunatic and slew his family and friends, forever cursing the place. However, the truth of the story is much more tragic.
“Sir Keegan was a renowned hunter of dragons. Thus, when the great wyrm, Shadraxil, a shadow dragon of particularly ill temperament, began to plague Cormyr, it fell to Keegan to come up with a way to defeat the beast.
“The knight lured the beast to the keep, and there, he managed with sword and sorcery to occupy the creature long enough to perform a ritual to trap it away in a place of shadow. That would have been the end of the story were it not for the power of Shadraxil.
“Incensed by his defeat, the wyrm poured all of his malice into revenge against the knight who trapped him. Such was the dragon’s power that even from beyond the Shadow Rift, he was able to deceive Keegan into believing his friends and family were conspiring against him. Eventually, the knight’s mind snapped.
“The author of the historical treatises speculates that he suffered paranoid delusions, for Keegan went on a rampage through the keep, killing his wife and comrades before eventually a grievous wound drove him to flee into the keep’s crypts. It’s not known what happened to him after that.
“Cormyr’s leaders, fearing that Shadraxil might continue to wreak havoc upon those stationed at the keep, ordered the place destroyed and its secrets hidden. They slew a juvenile shadow dragon and created a false burial site, all in an effort to conceal the truth—that Shadraxil still lives, waiting just beyond the rift for an opportunity to have vengeance upon those who did him wrong so very long ago.
“Whatever activity is occurring at the keep, it can surely mean ill for Winterhaven and those of nearby lands. Please, will you do what you can to help?”
Words of Jerold Keegan, Ghost:
“I am Sir Keegan. I was the lord of this keep. It was my charge to keep the Shadow Rift sealed and prevent Shadraxil from breaking free and unleashing a reign of terror upon Cormyr.”
“Shadraxil’s power was so great that the wyrm was able to extend his influence from beyond his shadow prison and consume me with madness. I was possessed! In a rage, I slew my wife and then moved through the keep, killing my comrades one by one even as they stood stunned. I became a murderous fiend!”
“Finally the alarm went up, and what remained of the legion banded together against me. Even in my rage, I realized I couldn’t best them all, so I fled into the crypts to hide from vengeance. Only then did the madness lift. I realized what I had done and despaired. I had killed my love and broken my oath. More than that, I had done so with my sword, Aecris, an implement given to me by King Tharyann when I was knighted.
“The remnants of my legion sealed the passage and trapped me here. I selected this as a fitting place to spend eternity.”
“I am past redemption. But perhaps I can grant you aid. I cannot leave this crypt, but Aecris can. Perhaps this elegant weapon, unlike me, can be redeemed. I give it to you that you might purge Shadowfell Keep of those who work to open the rift.”