Defenders of Autumn
Mother of the Dead, Autumn's Mausoleum Dragon
Centuries ago, the Lich King killed The White, the namesake of all White Dragons in the world. Though they are cruel and ill-tempered (many would say “evil”) they are also icily vengeful. Without a leader, many White Dragons have come to an uneasy truce with The Empire, pledging themselves to defending imperial graveyards from reanimation and necromancy in return being left alone. They pledge their lives to thwarting the Lich King’s threat to the Empire.
Autumn’s graveyard holds the bodies of many great heroes, a succulent treat to the followers of the Lich King. For centuries, Malastraza has held them at bay with both her(1) power and clever mind. She has a reputation for savagery that she enjoys, though by Imperial Compact she is judicious in its use.
When she entered her compact with the so-called “Dragon Empire” of humanity-and-friends centuries ago Malastraza willingly agreed to create no progeny. The Lich King had cursed those who took the compact, using the heart (they say) of The White to do it. “Crib or grave, you can’t have both” is said to be the terms of that curse, though some historians argue it’s more complicated than that in the original Dearth language the Lich King used. Their oath to defend graves mean their cribs cannot survive.
Little has been said of what changed Malastraza’s mind. She certainly knew better, and none would accuse her of ever being “motherly”. In one of her last public appearances she and Sheriff Autumn were seen arguing in the graveyard (in a tongue none who heard could understand) before she flew off carrying him on her back.
Since that night two years ago Malastraza had been almost unseen and never with another sentient — always alone. She is seen in brief flashes at night as she leaves or enters her lair, coupled by threatening glares at any who catch her eye. All who report this have looked away. It is possible some did not and are no longer around to report. Autumn does have a curious number of unexplained disappearances…
During the recent Shade’s End Festival it was revealed that Malastraza had somehow created an undead set of hatchlings and had been attempting to revive them by leeching magical energy from the ancient (and formerly well-protected) Tomb of the Valley King (see Rear Guard).
These skeletal hatchlings had been destroyed by a party of adventurers including Blue, Gnaomi, Mort, and Mur. Malastraza had been lured away by a threat to the graveyard. It seems a curse had overtaken a plot of nearby land that was threatening to cause a massive mudslide that would wipe out the graveyard, nullifying its protection over those buried there. Her Compact forced her to join the town forces led by Sheriff Autumn in creating a combination of physical and magical reinforcements that would reduce and guide the slide away from the graveyard. She herself was tasked with trying to remove the curse, as it seemed to be caused by the Lich King.
At the Shade’s End celebration that followed, Malastraza landed and attacked Sheriff Autumn, who seemed prepared for her arrival. When she lept at him he grabbed her by the throat and ripped her incorporeal self from her body.
Rather than dying, her body, now shrivelled and darker, attacked those remaining including our heroes. At full power these heroes would be no match for the ancient Malastraza. Even against this… “husk” of what she was the heroes were hard pressed to survive.
But survive they did. When Malastraza’s corrupted body was destroyed, Sheriff Autumn released his grip. The non-corporeal part of Malastraza still had a furious glare, darting between the heroes and the Sheriff, but she backed away and gave a short nod before leaping into the sky.
- Dragons are shapeshifters. Both gender and sex vary individually (and sometimes daily). Many consider themselves truly neutral and beyond the whole “gender” thing until they have specific need of it. Malastraza identifies as feminine, and fairly femme. She is savage and panther-like in combat, eyes locked on-target as the rest of her body… prowls, preparing for the perfect strike.