The Shaded Dragon – A Brief History

The Shaded Dragon sits atop a large tree laden hill on the outskirts of the known kingdoms. It is not just one building, but rather a hodgepodge campus of buildings from various ages and cultures. The origins of the buildings are mainly lost to time and can only be spotted in the most fringe of folklore.

The origins of The Shaded Dragon are however much more clear cut. In a world inhabited by heroes there should be a place where they can go when they decide to hang up their armour for the last time. A paradise if you will, full of buxom wenches (and the studliest males), a large bar with the finest of ales on tap (and of course wine and other beverages!), and stuffed to the rafters with the best medical care these heroes deserve. It is believed that this version of The Shaded Dragon lasted only a few months, or more precisely until the first bill for running such a place was received by those picking up the tab.

In a world full of magicians (both good and evil), and where their dying days were plagued with the fear they could lose their grip on the power they controlled too soon (with catastrophic results), it was decided that The Shaded Dragon would make a good place to send them, too. Of course the fact that many of the heroes had spent their years cutting the wizards down to size meant a new building had to be opened just to house the wizards. This Wizards Tower was again funded by the public purse, but the people could see the purpose of it. Heroes Hold was still considered an unnecessary burden to the person in the street (or field or mine shaft).

After a few successful years, and more than a few rebuilds, the public started to resent footing the bill to house the heroes who had saved their lives countless times in their old age. Indeed, as the histories show, at the same time heroes stopped being employed by the public and became self funded through various guilds, mercenary camps and grand covens. These ‘fat cat’ heroes (as they were dubbed), it was decided, could pay for their own first class care at The Shaded Dragon. Some concern was raised over those heroes who would not be able to afford it, and much cheaper level of care was created for those sent under the public purse.

In order to accommodate and differentiate these two levels of care, a new building was funded and built by The Friends of The Heroes League. This building would be grand and built specifically with the needs and welfare of the ageing hero in mind.

The Golden Castle, a large building of over forty stories, was designed, built and torn down in a little over a year. Sadly at no point during the design stage were any ageing heroes actually consulted, and it turned out very few of them could walk up and down forty flights of stairs. Instead the name The Golden Castle was attached to the old house that had stood in the centre of the grounds since time immemorial and the paying heroes lived happily within those old walls.

Eventually even the care of the poorer heroes within Heroes Hold was considered too burdensome on the public, and the outlawing of wizards and wizardry meant the money coming in from Wizards Tower was dwindling year on year. All money earned by The Golden Castle was to be spent purely on those heroes residing in The Golden Castle, and so could not be used to help fund the poorer heroes. As the public money going to The Shaded Dragon started to dry up, but more and heroes were delivered to their doors for safekeeping, cash flow became a real issue.

This was made even worse when The Golden Castle was moved from The Shaded Dragon and became its own entity. Now it was not moved physically; it was moved on paper, in a way only lawyers and bankers truly understand. Worse, The Shaded Dragon found itself responsible for the upkeep of the outside of The Golden Castle and its grounds.

Now in its sixth hundredth year, The Shaded Dragon looms on the brink of financial collapse even as it houses more and more heroes within its walls. Can Matron, the woman now in charge, keep the old girl going?

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