Monstrous Compendium Ch7 bit – Dragon Geek

“I’ve never yet found lore that explains why the blending of human and dragon blood can be so incredibly different when the human outweighs the dragon. Humans are furred creatures, not feathered; you’d think if dragon scales gave way to anything, it would be fur. Which would make draconics look like werebats who got into a dye vat, so perhaps that’s for the best….” Caerulus paused, one talon of a finger raised in thought. “And yet, some speculate that the griffins may have been an offshoot of some pre-sentient dragon lineage. And fully feathered draconics don’t seem to have been born before the Year of Blood and Flame, over six centuries ago, when the Silver Flame itself was first manifested in Thrane. So we cannot rule out coatl involvement. Servants of good they may be, but if their offspring the shulakassar are anything to judge by, there’s little they enjoy more than slapping we mere mortals in the face with their grand and glorious piety….” He coughed into a fist. “Ah, never mind a grumpy old dragon. There are probably worse fates than being an innocent bystander caught between a transcendent shulakassar paladin and the fiend he’s sworn to destroy, but I haven’t survived any of them. Yet.” Scaled eyelids blinked, like a flicker of twilight. “So you have distinct opinions on preening, do you, young swordsman? Very unusual in a human. Very unusual.”

Kirito shifted on his feet, as if he were caught between curiosity and an all too reasonable impulse to dash for the door. “I know some draconics.”

“I don’t doubt that. But the chronicle I’ve been reading – Thinker’s Aincrad Newsletter, is it? – implies your bands of adventurers only met draconics a few weeks ago. And no one has that good an eye for feathers without a bit more experience-” Caerulus inhaled. And chuckled. “Well, well. You do know what you speak of. It’s not everyone who can groom a cockatrice.”

“A cockatrice?” Asuna echoed, aghast. She’d never seen one, but – Kirito was deliberately touching things that could turn him to stone?

“Check the Compendium Symptomatica Animalia Mystica,” Caerulus instructed her, waving her deeper into the stacks. “Under G.”

“G?” Kirito looked just as baffled as she would have been last week.

“For granite? It’s indexed by tracks and symptoms,” Asuna explained. “The author wrote it for adventurers who were trying to figure out what might have attacked a village.”

“Indeed, for granite,” the half-dragon nodded, toothed maw bent in a pleased grin. Which faded slightly, taking on a befuddled air. “Or was it F, for fluffy?”

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43 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch7 bit – Dragon Geek

  1. I like this old coot of a half dragon. 😀

    >
    an innocent bystander caught between a transcendent shulakassar paladin and the fiend he’s sworn to destroy
    >
    That sounds like a story that needs to be told in the company of copious amounts of alcohol.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Though if Caerulus is a wizard/scholar with extensive amount of lore, magical and otherwise, this could be start of clerics, wizards and artificers showing up among the players.

    Because previously magic was apparently rare and lore regarding it even more so in the game, but apparently Stheno’s statements to Big Red forced him to make things a little more realistic in the new levels.

    Good, that means Lisbeth’s decent into mad mad realms of magitek can begin. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. One of these days I want to see magitech written by an imaginative physicist.

      It *starts* with endless energy from something as simple as *endure elements* – a metal with infinite heat capacity is a metal that can be used to flat out ignore the laws of thermodynamics and pull as much energy as you’d like out of the environment. Endure elements also has applications in industrial chemical production, in the maintenance of ideal catalytic chemicals. Catalysts themselves – particularly inert catalysts such as silica support bearings, which primarily act by providing a site for reactions – are nonmagical materials not consumed in the process of construction, meaning they can be freely conjured with effects as simple as prestidigitation without being dispelled in the process.

      And that’s not considering the more abstract applications. The existence of certain mind-effecting spells at low levels (charm person, anyone?) implies the existence of ontologically basic minds, meaning that objective psychological diagonosis through altered scrying spells should be possible. Scrying implies the existence of sympathetic links; what else can be passed along them? Could you transmit power across distance through identically *shaped* power stations? If so, what else qualifies? What about a word, or an imagined construct? Can you bless any organization with a certain hierarchy, a certain shape in their organizational chart? Is there any way of scrying the *existence of sympathetic links* – so that you could simply look at a bureaucracy and say “corruption affinity at 85%, go figure out which half of your crew you need to fire”, or the like?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You should read Mother of Learning. It’s a very well written (except for some glitches because of ESL author) original fic, based on taking all sorts of usually silly fantasy tropes seriously, and making a very detailed world out of them. Even if you don’t like the story, the sheer amount of “how stuff works” details are still worth the read. Like the library magic based on divination.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. This reminds me of a book series where the magic system consisted of creating and editing magical languages. One of the magical languages the scholars are studying is the magical language that was used to bring life into existence. Studying it makes you go crazy for various reasons, but some of the few things they do know about that language is that it has only four letters and is shaped like a double helix…

        Liked by 2 people

      3. But you are. That’s why I like your stories so much. Remember, while most people use “physics” for “that mystical subject involving labcoats and particles and other esoteric mysteries”, it actually simply means “the study of the subset of the rules of reality involving stuff happening”. And there’s no limitation to “just this reality is a valid subject” (tho separate realities should be kept distinct when keeping track of the rules). You do an amazingly good job, tho, of working with physics, even fixing mistakes others make because of not understanding what it really is.

        Tho, I’ll concede that’s a divergence from the point, and acknowledge that the one thing I do always find myself wishing after reading one of your fics is for more detail. You put just enough descriptive detail in to “see” stuff in my mind’s eye, while being just vague enough that I have to guess at the physics. Of course, it’s better than most authors, who try to explain the physics in too much detail, and leave it blatantly obvious they either didn’t know what they were talking about or didn’t consider the unintended consequences of the rules they chose. So while I’m constantly left wanting more, I also recognize that it’s a good thing you know when to stop.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. *nod*

        Not a lot on the “nuke everything to heck” level, but going– say– “oh, look. Fireball. We know that there’s a thing where you can make a disk. What if you combine them?”

        Basically, doing the “magic is rational” thing and MEANING it, instead of hand-waving science into it and not APPLYING it.

        Liked by 3 people

      5. I’m not too terrible with classical physics.

        One of my buttons is engineering (doing to science’s knowing) done right in fiction. Like the turbine failure in the Evangelion fanfic Use More Gun, or that oscillation amplifying interference scene in Mahouka. (I thought Mahouka seemed to reserve the sound engineering stuff for the magic system. The technical worldbuilding outside of the magic had aspects that did not impress me.) For me, it is more about the flavor than about what I can personally verify. If the pacing is good, I don’t take the time to even do back of the envelope unless I’m already a huge fan. Bad pacing, and I’m not invested enough to invest time and effort.

        I recently outlined and developed a pitch for a fanfic project that I’d decided to describe as ‘Engineering Fantasy AU’. Because I liked the sound of ‘engineering fantasy’ better than ‘science fantasy’, not because it would push my ‘engineering’ button. It is primarily a videogamey and then mystical story, and I haven’t even had the resources to think it out well. (Sleep is a wonderful thing.)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Boom. New favorite character.
    Really hope this guy falls under ‘Youkai Lords’ and not ‘Beniryuu’ for faction affiliation. So far clues point towards the Youkai Lords, but I don’t want to get my hopes up preemptively.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually… Rereading this part…

      He directs them to ‘G’ for granite so Asuna can look up facts about cockatrices. But – given that it’s organized for Adventurers based on ‘symptoms’ of monster attacks – wouldn’t that same section also contain more’n a few notes on Medusae?
      Seems like just the sort of section that’d be of interest to anyone who’s interacted with Stheno… or even anyone who just knew someone who’d met Stheno.

      …Clever old Dragon.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. … Also? Er, just so you know. I was doing some wiki searching to find out more about the Shulakassar mentioned above, since I’d never heard of them before. And it looks like you might’ve been misspelling ‘Shulassakar’? I find more results for that term at least.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem, I figure the occasional back-up spellcheck is one reason to post snippets here first before the full chapter hits Ao3 anyways.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. “Indeed, for granite,” the half-dragon nodded, toothed maw bent in a pleased grin. Which faded slightly, taking on a befuddled air. “Or was it F, for fluffy?”

    ….If I rolled a nat 20 for perception, I suspect I’d sense “mischief” and/or “hamming it up”….

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Enough people that he maintains it!

      Though, based on personal experiences, the best sustained acts like that have a grain of truth. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s actually something of the Absentminded Professor to this guy, he just… exaggerates. Probably both to be underestimated later (whether for Socratic lessons to Young Whippersnappers or in case of actual danger) and to put at ease people who might otherwise be on edge due to “powerful enough Half-Dragon to perform adoption + Wizard + Librarian of a Library for Adventurers = ohgodohgodrunaway.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. *nod*

        Plus, “absentminded professor” is the “flutter” option for guys– imagine Ron’s mom, from the Harry Potter universe, if she wasn’t so FLUTTERY– “oh gosh golly gee, you sweet boy, let me help”— she’d be scary.

        But she acts like a mom.

        Like a mildly distracted, love-y mom.

        So not a threat.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I had a professor who admitted to purposely doing the Absentminded Professor act. He was old enough and had the right build to pull it off successfully, tho, and even had his wife in on it choosing the clothes that’d best present that image. He was cool.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. For the paladin anyway. Getting turned into an ewe for a week until Caerulus decided he’d learned his lesson was not fun.

        Even now he’s got to remind himself that grass is not for eating, he doesn’t have cud to chew and that when a sheepdog barks, he does not need to obey.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. >>For the paladin anyway.[…]

        I dunno. While it may have ended that way Paladins are notoriously hard to deal with via Save Negates effects, durn Divine Grace. Worst thing in the world for many casters is a Paladin with a Ring of Evasion. ‘Specially if they went with Two-Weapon Fighting, Archery, or another Dex heavy build and so forsook the Heavy Armors for Light Armor+high Dex. Suddenly any spell that allows saves is probably being negated and a Touch AC that’s almost as good as their regular AC. That’s the point when you direct a group of straight-up Fighters at the barsterd paladin.

        No. I Swear I Am Not Speaking from Experience as a GM. (Lies, all lies!)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. >
        You see, he managed to tick off a certain medusa Moonsword…. 😉
        >
        “Sure thanks to all the blessing and enchantments you’ve got, I can’t simply turn you to gravel and my stone gaze will wear off in a couple of hours.”

        “Unfortunately for you, I have a hammer, a very good chisel, can channel my magic through said tool and am feeling rather sadistic today.”

        So what happens when you reshape a target that has been turned to stone but later reverts to flesh? I can see it being something like a polymorph or just blood and gore everywhere.

        Liked by 1 person

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