We have a winner in the Dragon's Tale contest—Mark Bishop! For his winning entry, Mark wins a Dragon Collector's Set, which he'll receive shortly.
It wasn't an easy choice. We got loads of entries, and many of them were great fun to read. Our thanks go out to everyone who participated.
Here's Mark's winning tale:
In a land where all the gargantuan beasts had been vanquished, the decaying corpse of an ancient green dragon lay buried beneath the earth. Generations passed and the bony spears that protruded from its bleached and thorny back appeared as the broken trunks of sycamores in the dense forest.
Forgotten to all but an aged gnome who was knowledgeable of the dragon's whereabouts, and of the curse that had been placed upon it, he planted a tree above its rotted skull.
"From the ground you came and to the ground you shall return, and all your knowledge shall sleep in the earth. If this be the curse, then I shall draw that knowledge with the roots of a sapling, and your wisdom shall come to me in the fruit of the tree!"
But the gnome never lived to see the tree bear fruit. The trunk thickened and the branches formed appendages and only the children who played in the wood saw in their imaginations how closely the tree resembled a youthful dragon. T'was their favorite place to play. A hand was nicked; a drop of blood from a descendent fell and then—there was the opening of an eye.
We loved the imagery and flow of the language, the subtly implied mythology, and the menace of the ending. Well done, Mark, and congratulations.
Steve and Trevor
December 5, 2011 1:49 PM PST
There's no second prize, but there was another entry from Steve Miller deserving mention. While it wasn't really what we were looking for, it made us so darned happy that we can't let it go unrewarded. RPGs and RPG fandom are awash in bad poetry; this rises above the flood. We're going to send Steve a copy of The Book of Vile Darkness (in a few weeks, when it's available) as thanks for bringing us such fevered joy. We're not even sure Korval-kad is a dragon, but we're glad that Steve shared the beautifully dark imagery of this piece. After reading "Korval-kad," we expect that you'll agree BoVD is the most fitting reward.
Korval-kad: his fate was forged
In the fiery pit of the under-ward,
Where devils ring their brazen bells
And harlots sing of the seven hells.
From thought to form his body took,
His soul inspired by the baneful book
Which, penned in blood of maidens fair,
Be bound in skin and stitched with hair.
In waking hours man hath not met
More dire a beast, yet shan't forget,
Once glimpsed in dream, his figure bared;
No mortal can withstand his stare.
His wings a graceful crescent trace,
But lo! The marks upon his face!
There swords have broke and arrows failed
To pierce the mystery of his veil.
His power lay in sleeping man,
For Korval-kad knew not this land,
Knew no beginning, and no end;
For Korval-kad is the brain of men!
Hark! What sounds from the sullen deep
Echo on the tide of human sleep:
Tis the dread roar of ages past;
The toil of kings, dead at long last;
Tis Korval-kad, the Maker of Things,
The Master Mason and the Lord of Schemes;
Tis Korval-kad, the brain of men,
In whose great wake all dreams attend.
Steve and Trevor
December 7, 2011 4:24 PM PST
Congrats to Mark and Steve for their entry. These were fun read
December 12, 2011 3:16 PM PST
I received the box of dragons in the mail today. They look fantastic! As an Encounters DM, I wish that I had had the white dragon for the beginning of the Lost Crown of Neverwinter campaign.
Thanks WOTC for sponsoring the contest... I have only this past year begun playing D&D again as my kids are now old enough to enjoy it. Looks like they will be enjoying some cool dragon battles in the future!