How the Dragon's Spine arose
"You ever noticed how Toney Hill looks just like a dragon's snout, trailing down to the harbour? Well, let me tell you how that came to be. But it's thirsty work, mind..." The stout man leans back on his bench, looking hopefully at the others seated there. A halfling laughs and takes the bait. He stands up and snaps his fingers, and a flagon of beer appears in front of the man. He takes a deep draught, wipes his sleeve across his mouth, and sighs gratefully. "That's good," he says. "Your very good health, sir. "Now, where was I? Oh yes - Toney Hill and the dragon's snout. Well, it was many years ago now. Many, many years. This place was flat as a pancake - rolling fields of grass from the Akesoli Waste to the Darokin River itself. No lake, no Toney Hill, no Dragon's Spine. Just mile after mile of grass, with cows and deer and elk twice the size of anything you see today. "Parenath Toney was a mighty hero, who travelled the world on his black dragon Akorros. Ah yes - well may you recognise the name! The evil demon Thanatos had broken into this world and was striding across the land, and wherever he went, he left death, destruction and corruption behind. The grasses withered at his footsteps, cattle corpses were strewn for miles, the birds (those which couldn't fly fast enough) fell out of the sky. Darkness covered the land, and the smell of the rotting bodies made one gag. "Mighty Parenath was having none of this, so he and his noble mount Akorros came to challenge Thanatos, and they met here on the Plains. Long and hard they fought, taking grievous wounds and tearing huge chunks out of the demon. The demon took to the air, and with a leap, Parenath was on Akorros's neck and following. Still they fought, matching blow for blow, strike for strike. Akorros's acid breath seared the demon, and the demon's deathly aura burned Parenath and Akorros with an icy fire. "Eventually, Parenath saw his opening, and he grasped Thanatos and cast him down, creating a huge rent in the world in his ruin. Akorros, brave Akorros, nearly blinded, with great rents in his wings and corruption in his lungs, just managed to glide to a rough crash landing at the edge of the new crater, throwing Parenath off onto the ground beside him, and stretched out his neck in his agony. "Parenath wept to see his friend so reduced and in pain, and he prayed to the great god Khoronus to have mercy on Akorros in his last minutes. And Khoronus heard. He called forth water that Akorros might drink and quench the dreadful burning. And Akorros stretched out his mighty neck, dipped his mouth in the water and drank. With a sigh, he relaxed and died. "The water continued, filling up the crater where Thanatos had met his doom until it became the lake we know today. And Parenath wept tears of despair. For although he had triumped over the demon, the cost had been too great - he had lost his greatest friend. And so Parenath vowed to watch over his friend's body always, protecting it from harm. "He cast a mighty enchantment, and the dragon's body grew harder and harder and eventually turned to granite. And here it remains to this day - his back and tail forming the Dragon's Spine ridge which shelters the Darokin Road from the southerly gales, and his head this very Toney hill we are on now, with his snout forever dipped in the cooling waters of the lake which bears his name. "And it is said that Parenath waits still, guarding his friend forever from some secret location nearby. I don't know about that, but I you can see the dragon's head for yourself if you look at Toney Hill from the north or south, and you can see the individual vertebrae of his spine sticking up out of the grass and heather on the hill."