The Heroes Behind the Epics Ethnicity in The World of Cartyrion | World Anvil

The Heroes Behind the Epics

"It's amazing! That Villem Rattlemace has done it again! How does he come up with such wonderful tales of epic heroism?"

"I don't know. I've heard him say that every one of the tales is true, too. Not sure if I believe that, though... some of the things in his tales seem rather far-fetched, and don't quite match what I've read about our ancient history. Either way, though, the stage plays are great, and I wouldn't miss them for the world!
— Patrons overheard while leaving the Elderkeep Performance Theater
C[ritics of the art of stage performance and the writing of epic drama plays all agree that the greatest playwright that ever lived in the First Kingdom was Villem Rattlemace. His stories of epic struggles between heroic commoners and corrupt leaders were unsurpassed. His tales of spiritual journeys were riveting. His tales of duty and adherence to a code of honor were inspiring. And according to the playwright himself, all were true tales gleaned from the annals of Human history and passed down orally within his family - a family that had more than its share of renowned minstrels and bards.

Only part of that claim was true.

The events that Rattlemace wrote about did indeed happen, but they didn't happen to humans. These were the epic tales passed down among Taxlatl (lizardfolk) people of the deeds of their own heroes. Rattlemace's true claim to fame was in journeying far from the kingdom and finding one of the remaining remnants of the last great Taxlatl civilization far to the west, beyond Tyrnabay and the fiery peaks of the Broken Range. He spent five years there, recording the tales of great honor and great deeds that the Taxlatl taught their children to inspire them to greatness. The few Taxlatl of the First Kingdom do not recognize them because now, over 2000 years after their second great civilization was destroyed in the [The Great Strife, the tales have been lost to all but those who remain in the few small bastions of that ancient civilization.

The Taxlatl Talekeepers

Since their Awakening, the Taxlatl have had a tradition of revering those who excelled at the art of the telling of tales. The Talekeeper subculture among the Taxlatl stressed the importance of remembering the past and teaching the young by stories that provided example. But they also always understood the importance of making a story interesting. Because they valued truth as well, they codified the stories that were gleaned from their actual history over the years to ensure that the retelling of historical deeds was always accurate. These tales involved the heroism of honorable leaders, the fall from grace of the corrupt, the ultimate rewards of those who dutifully kept their honor and followed their destiny. These historical tales were reinforced with fairy tales and other fictional tellings that were not so well codified, and so may have varied from Talekeeper to Talekeeper.
Holding Back the Horde
This play was written by Rattlemace in 1824CR and was his debut smash when performed in Elderkeep. In the play, the complacency of the leaders of the city of Westkeep nearly results in disaster when Orcs invade out of the Lanlokan forests. It is the bravery and leadership of Durash Hightower, a City Watch Lieutenant, that rallies the people of Eastkeep to throw back an attackers and win the day. In the original Taxlatl story, also called Holding Back the Horde, it is barbarian Humans that are attacking a Taxlatl city, and it is Commander Taxhasssh Kasssishi that steps up when the priests and nobles of the city are found lacking.
Treachery in Elvenpass
This play, written by Rattlemace in 1826CR is by far his most popular work to this day. In this tale, Archduke Henree Talbot is deceived by the Dwarven Ambassador from the Iron Hills Delve and believes the Elves are about to invade through the Elvenpass. After having the Elven Ambassador assassinated, the Archduke attempts to invade the Elvenhome, but the effort ends in disaster. In the original tale, the Fall of Emperor Tzzinn IX, it is the Taxlatl emperor's priests who convince him to side with the Orcs and others as the Great Strife is erupting. By the end of the Strife. This proved to be the undoing of the entire Second Civilization as the side chosen by the Emperor was defeated in the god-war.

The Taxlatl Culture Preserved in the Tales

The Taxlatl have always been an honorable people. Even though they have often been viewed by other Folk as cold, harsh, and unforgiving, it has been reluctantly conceded that they always adhered to their code of honor - what they called Sstelasssa Rassstashah, or the Correct Way.

The code demands honesty, and a faithfulness to duty and commitments. When a Taxlatl promises to do something, it is safe to assume that thing will get done. The code also stresses personal excellence and assumption of responsibility. Of course, the Taxlatl, like all the Folk, have people among them that do not regard the Code of Honor as something to live by. Some of the Dishonored, as they are called, see the code of honor as something to be either flaunted or ignored. Taxlatl epics often tell about the downfall of historical Dishonored to reinforce the lessons that shirking the code was not profitable.

In brief, the entirety of proper Taxlatl behavioral culture can be summed up in the simple phrase taught to every young lizardfolk:

Sstelasssa Rassstashah ka Sstelasssa Chataah
translated: the Correct Way is the Only Way

Human Appropriation of the Dramas

The only thing a Human likes more than being told a good story is being shown a good story.
— Villem Rattlemace, from A Commentary on My Works, 1861CR


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Page background cathedral Image by 5163451 on Pixabay
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Character portraits by RPGDinosaurBob on Hero Forge®


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