Wednesday, December 18, 2013

History of The Dragon, Part 2

Hi, folks. I’m late again. I’m afraid that’s going to be the rule rather than the exception while I approach the deadline for Red Wolf Rising. I’m committed to getting the third Red Wolf novel out this Spring, so that’s where my priorities lie until then. Thanks for your patience.
In trying to make the most of my writing time, the historical narrative I’m currently posting serves a dual purpose. The story of The Dragon (aka Pieter, aka Dr. Nigel Petros) provides insightful background material for the Red Wolf saga and readers may find it interesting taking that knowledge into the next two books, Red Wolf Rising and Rivers of Red. But I’m also trying to establish a stronger foundation for the next planned series (the Half Human saga), which is centered around Pieter’s quest to reunite with his kind and perhaps reclaim his crown.

But first…

What I’m Currently Reading…
I finally finished Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Brimstone. To be honest, I got a little tired of Agent Pendergast’s Sherlock-like sleuthing towards the end, and I even found the cliff-hanger ending a bit anti-climactic. Still, I had to give it four stars, because the writing is excellent and it was rewarding to read a well-edited novel after a string of books I’ve come across that didn’t seem to have been edited at all. I’ll definitely read the next few books in the series.

And now I’m delighted to be back in my favorite genre. I’m well into Frost Burned, by Patricia Briggs, the seventh book in her Mercy Thompson series. You might remember this series was number four on my Top Five Paranormal Countdown. I thought the books about this shape-shifting coyote raised by werewolves started to go downhill after Mercy chose a mate, but I felt I owed both her and Briggs another chance. My perseverance has been vindicated. Frost Burned is non-stop action from the get-go.
One of the things I like about Brigg’s werewolf universe is that she occasionally mixes characters from her Alpha and Omega series in with the Mercy Thompson books (and vice versa). She’s got one of my favorite minor characters from Cry Wolf reprised in this one, Asil, the Moor. Great stuff.

Okay, let’s see now. Last week’s post covered all the pre-historical background and brought us forward to the time when the Fae had decided to create vampires in an attempt to destroy mankind. A small group of dissenters, led by Pieter, who had abdicated the dragon throne over the issue, had decided to approach mankind with an offer of help.

History of The Dragon, Part 2…
Although Pieter and his followers all agreed in wanting to help mankind, they faced a number of obstacles in coming together on how that should happen, the biggest of which was a lack of time. The Fae are never ones to make hasty decisions. The plan to create vampires came to fruition only after several millenia of debate. Pieter’s counter-plan to fight them was developed and implemented in under five hundred years. That’s hasty by any Fae standard. Still, it was almost too little and too late.
The Fae unleashed the first vampires on an unsuspecting population around 12,000 BCE. The undead succeeded in killing or turning a significant percentage of humanity within a few centuries. Had mankind not been spread out so thinly across the globe at the time, they would certainly have been destroyed. As it was, many large groups were completely wiped out, significantly slowing the advance of human civilization.

Such was the climate when, sometime around 11,850 BCE, Pieter and two of his dragon allies approached one of the early Mesolithic peoples in what is now the Ukraine looking for volunteers to participate in a desperate experiment. It turned out to be a hard sell.
First contact didn’t go well. The dragons thoughtlessly approached the hunter-gatherers while in their true forms. Dragons being the stuff of nightmares, as you can imagine, these primitive people reacted with fear and aggression. Subsequent attempts at contact in the guise of human form resulted in better communication, but the vampiric plague had not yet reached this section of the globe. The clans were reluctant to rally against a foe they knew nothing of. Generations of humans came and went with no volunteers.
But the dragons kept at it. They planted the seed. And when the first vampires eventually appeared in the Ukraine, people recognized them for what they were. The legends and superstitions became a reality. Finally, the dragons found an audience willing to listen.
The greatest caveat in determining the plan to create the vampires was the elves’ insistence that the Fae not get their own hands dirty in the process of mankind’s destruction. Vampires fit the bill perfectly, since once created, the Fae could step back and watch the deed be done. They wanted as little contact with humans as possible. Pieter’s group was no exception to that rule.
Pieter’s plan called for as little intervention in day-to-day human affairs as possible. What he offered the humans was a way for them to help themselves. While the vampires were a result of dark Fae magic, Pieter wanted to “lend” some light Fae magic to what he already regarded as humanity’s greatest strengths, the ability to quickly reproduce and evolve.1
He proposed to allow selected humans to draw upon the strengths and abilities of some of the powerful beasts around them, giving them the power, when needed, to transform into a supernatural creature capable of fighting and destroying a vampire.
The names of the first volunteers to participate in Pieter’s experiment are lost to antiquity, but they all came from a single clan that controlled a large territory carved out through many generations of strong leadership. These people revered the wolf over all other animals. It was the totem of their clan, and they insisted on choosing that animal from which to draw the strength and cunning they would need to protect themselves from the vampiric threat.
Pieter later admitted he had a more simian creature in mind, but the willingness and cooperation of the volunteers was essential to his plan, so he acquiesced to their choice. The first werewolves appeared on the scene around 11,700 BCE. They went after the undead with a vengeance, and vampires quickly disappeared from the Ukraine.

Unlike Vampirism, which is spread by the bite of a vampire, Lycanthropy is an inherited trait triggered by environmental factors, such as the presence of vampires, the bite of another werewolf, or simply the presence of a significant number of other werewolves (i.e, a pack). The first werewolves were encouraged to spread their seed far and wide, and given that they were gifted with thousand-year life spans, the Lycanthropic gene spread throughout the human population relatively quickly. By 8,000 BCE, the tide of vampirism had been turned.
Pieter’s plan had proven successful, but his satisfaction was short lived. He and his followers were ostracized by the other Fae for what they’d done. He continued to defend his actions, advocating for humanity at every turn and insisting that his peers would soon see the benefits of human survival as mankind evolved into something more worthwhile.
Problem was, mankind provided no evidence to back up Pieter’s arguments.  In fact, they only continued to support the worst fears the Fae had about them. The Neolithic Revolution saw the advent of agriculture, which had a two-fold effect on the Fae. The number of humans on the planet increased exponentially as their food source became more readily available. And, particularly for those of the Fae for whom magic was drawn from the natural flora of their chosen planet, agriculture sucked the magic from their very being.
By the time the first civilizations began to arise in lower Mesopotamia (around 3500 BCE), things had gotten so bad for the Fae they decided to leave Earth. The next five hundred years saw a mass emigration that is estimated to have reduced their population on Earth by almost 90%.
Pieter’s name had become synonymous with hopelessness, failure, and treason. When the dragons decided to join the exodus from the planet, Pieter was not invited to go with them.
It is unlikely he would have joined them in any case. He had committed himself whole-heartedly to the cause of mankind. He wanted to see the future he imagined for them come to fruition. Since the werewolves had succeeded in all but eliminating the scourge of vampirism, he should have been able to retire to another realm and monitor the progress of mankind from a safe distance, as he’d originally planned.
But something happened to change his mind.
The vampires came back.

1  Debate continues among human and Fae alike as to the ability of the Fae to evolve. Some groups contend that, given the nature of life itself, Fae evolution must occur, that we cannot see the evidence of it due to the longevity of individuals. However, there is no documented scientific evidence of mutation in the existing gene pool or in the scant fossil record.

We’ll continue to track Pieter’s activities and conflicts into modern times with the next post. Be on the lookout.
       Until then… Happy Reading!

My Books
The Draculata Nest -----------------------------------------------------------------------

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The Dragon of Doughton Park ----------------------------------------------------------

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