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The Legend of BurnClaw

     In his youth, BurnClaw was not extraordinary for his race. His domain consisted of the Brokenstone fields far from the edges of Elderwood and the Dead Moor and was patrolled irregularly by the young wyrm. His lair was a hollowed depression in the core of the volcano that had wrecked this area, which even though dormant still contained several steam vents from the molten flows deep below. The dragon inspired incredible fear in both the ancients (the original humanoids of the planet) and the wild elves of the wood. Mostly due to his habit of cooking whatever meat he had caught before eating it. Many had watched the powerful wyrm grab up a handful or two of elves or beasts and breathe his intense firebreath into his claws before tossing the burnt flesh into his awaiting mouth. Though he rarely ate, and even more rarely ate intelligent creatures, the sight of such a cruel fate spread his fame very quickly. Many sought to free themselves from the terror of the wyrm and met the same cruel fate as his meal. BurnClaw never roamed outside his land and as civilization grew it grew farther from him. Fewer and fewer shepards and ranchers kept large herds in the area and BurnClaw had to roam outside of his own territory to find food when he required sustanence. The battles that ensued expanded his territory to Elderwood and even across the Outlet into the Dead Moor. The defeat and death of Lisserallin, a middle aged bronze dragon, allowed him to lay claim to the foothills of the Grey Peaks, though the hoard of the wyrm nearly escaped his grasp. The gold dragon Margileolir finding her friend, and one time consort, dead had begun transfering his treasures to her lair almost immediatly. BurnClaw had discovered the lair of the bronze in time to claim only half the huge treasury, which was missing most of it's magic and gems.
   While battling the ancient black wyrm, Keristirtilin, BurnClaw noticed the giant crabs and crabmen milling along the shores and shallows of the Outlet. When he had burned the wings from the dragon and plunged it below the surface of the sea, he dove onto the sandy shore and rolled to wipe away the acid that ate away at his hide. Suffering only slightly scarred sides and the loss of the tip of one wing, BurnClaw continued his search for food. The giant crabs had scattered at the sound and earthquake that he had caused landing heavily on the shore. He carefully crawled to a position in the nearby canyons, where he could still see the shore and quickly leap into the sky, to await the return of the huge crabs.

   With his telescopic dragon vision BurnClaw noticed several lizardmen searching the opposite shore. Each wore a weathered black dragon scale upon a leather necklace. The scales were obviously the product of the constant loss of scales by wyrms and had been pierced cleanly most likely by the acid of the dragon's breath. BurnClaw realized he could use these creatures to lead him to the lair of the now deceased dragon to secure the treasure in the hidden hoard. To search the dense murk would require time and leave his own lair unprotected. He pondered how to use their knowledge or gain their trust while he awaited the return of the large crabs. Soon a few of the crabs hesitantly made their way into the shallows in search of food. The lizardmen gesticulated at the great crabs speaking heatedly among themselves. BurnClaw awaited more of the creatures hoping to catch as many as would be needed to feed himself thoroughly. Before the patient wyrm was satisfied with the number of crabs upon the near shore, a large group of armed crabmen rose from the Outlet and attacked the lizardmen. The two groups joined the fray quickly, avidly seeking to slay the other.
   Silently, BurnClaw leapt into the sky. Only the crabs and lizardmen saw the behemoth take flight. The giant crabs scattered into the sea once again. The lizardmen turned to flee into the swamp, leaving the crabmen to think they had won. The unsuspecting crabmen pressed their victory, but by pushing farther away from the Outlet they had insured their doom. Blinding fire shot among them boiling many of their number in the shell. The few who survived the sudden assault dove for the salt water only to boil in the shallows as BurnClaw wheeled and spit flame again. BurnClaw landed lightly on the soft wet earth and began to eat the spoils of his ambush. As he sat ripping open the shells and feasting upon the tender meat, he felt the lizardmen return. Though he could not see them, he knew they watched his feast. He took the last corpse of the crabmen and laid it across the collection of weapons dropped by the reptilians in their flight. He slowly walked the murky shore away from the location of the battle and curling up comfortably waited for the lizardmen to grow brave enough to leave their hiding and claim their prize. They obviously feared a trap, but soon overcame their fear and scrambled out of the swamp toward the awaiting corpse and weapons.

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Through the long, black night the single candle of a wizard's power burns bright.

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