Dragon Orbs, known as Slave Spheres by dragons, are mysterious artifacts that give the wielder control over a specific kindred of dragon.
OriginsAt the completion of the Second Creation, when the primordials and incarna withdrew from Therrmordia, the dragons were left as the most powerful species in the world. Their might was only challenged by some of the giants and the hidden Abombnelyths. Some Dragon Courts ignored the other races or ruled benevolently, but others were tyrants enslaving and dominating vast areas. The Dragon Orbs acted as a check on the power of the dragons and their use has spilled more dragon blood than any other instrument.
DescriptionAccounts of the Orbs are often contradictory if not outright mutually exclusive. The most agreed upon description is that the orbs are spheres of polished mineral. The type of mineral and its color varies form source to source, with some saying each orb is a different color and some saying the orbs look identical. Sometimes the orbs are described as being banded with metal or encased in a latticework of metal. Given sizes also vary for the orbs from around two inches in diameter up to twelve. There have been several attempts to explain these discrepancies. The first explanation is that most accounts are inaccurate, either through the authors deliberately lying, describing fake orbs, or mistaking another object for a Dragon Orb. Another explanation is that each orb is different looking and accounts with describe the complete set are false. This concept is bolstered by the fact that for most of their existence the orbs have been separated in unknown locations, so the only chance to describe the entire set would be just after their creation, if even then. No one since their creation has ever viewed more than one orb. It is also possible the orbs themselves have been modified over the millennia, such as an orb being placed in a case of latticework or a small orb being placed in a larger crystal shell. this would allow various accounts to be true at specific times while not accurately representing the orbs in others. A fourth possibility is that the innate magic of the orbs changes their appearance over time or for different people. The final possibility is tied into the mystery over the number of Dragon Orbs and suggests that all the accounts are true because there are far more Dragon Orbs than commonly believed and each description is of a different one of the dozen of orbs. Given the lack of concrete information about all physical aspects of the orbs bar their shape, it its perhaps not surprising that the number of orbs is a matter of debate. Excluding the few people that think each account of an orb is of a different object, most people think there are four orbs. Events in Snassarian have begun to challenge the prevailing view, and there are many on the continent that argue there are in fact six orbs.
UseThe power of the orbs is to seize control of the mind and will of one or more dragons of a specific type. Each orb is keyed to a single kindred of dragon, and most people believe that there is only a single orb per kindred. To activate the orb the wielder needs to hold it up and speak the correct command phrase. The zone of control can expand from the wielder in a ring or a narrow cone, with each version having its own command phrase. Variations of the command phrase are used to expand the size of the zone, up to a maximum of about fifteen miles in radius for the ring and fifty miles long for the cone. All dragons of the appropriate type caught in the zone of control are under the command of the wielder. Once control is established the wielder is able to telepathically command any dragon under his control. This is not true communication, as the dragon cannot respond in anyway and the wielder cannot say anything but commands. The wielder knows how many dragons are under their control but not where they are or their abilities (besides their breath weapon which is determined by dragon kindred). The control bestowed by the orbs is near absolute, the only limitation being the dragon will not do anything actively suicidal, but will obey an order that passively puts it in fatal danger. This means the command, "Impale yourself on that large metal spike." will not work while "hold still while I cut your head off" will work. Two controlled dragons can also be ordered to fight to the death. Control lasts until the wielder relinquishes it or the dragon moves outside the control range as an unintended consequences of an order or the dragon staying put and the wielder moving.
CreationThe generally held view on the Dragon Orbs was that they were created by the dwarves at the end of the Era of Myth or the beginning of the Era of Legend. Dwarves are the master craftsmen of stone and metal and their preference for dwelling in mountains gave them increased contact with dragons, so creating the orbs makes sense. The idea that there might be six orbs has upended this creation narrative completely. When the dwarves were supposedly creating the Dragon Orbs there were no longer six kindreds of dragons, which suggests the orbs were made during the First Creation, prior to the existence of dwarves. There is quite a bit of speculation on who could have created the orbs besides the dwarves. The elves are a common thought, as are stone giants, though the stone giants have never been recorded as using one of the orbs. Otherwise speculation turns to the primordials and their incarna. There are four main contenders. The Earthfather and Mephrezhon are suggested for their affinity for stone and metal. Escalmanir is suggested due to his foresight. Finally Mythalias is suggested due to the massive amount of magic contained in the orbs. All of these also have counter arguments. The Earthfather is possible, but he was already creating one of the only races that could stand against the dragons in the giants. Mephrezhon doesn't have any strong connection to the orbs once dwarves are removed from the picture. Escalmanir possessed the knowledge of how to make the orbs, but if he had access to the orbs during the Godswar the conflict would likely of ended much differently. Mytalias is the mother of dragons and is unlikely to have created the most potent anti-dragon weapons in existence. Without even knowing when the orbs were created who created them is likely to never be solved.