Spoiler warning: Vague SPOILERS for Margaret Weis’ & Don Perrin’s story “To Convince the Righteous of the Right” in Heroes and Fools: Tales of the Fifth Age can be found below. If you want to know absolutely nothing about the story, please turn back.
I’d been thinking about draconians a bit lately, and yesterday, I bought Heroes and Fools: Tales of the Fifth Age. The story “To Convince the Righteous of the Right”, which deals with Kang and the other draconians from The Doom Brigade, adds some more insight into draconian moral character.
I didn’t much care for the insights–they didn’t really seem to fit with what we ‘know’ about draconians–or for the story itself, as it continues some trends in Weis’ and/or Hickman’s DRAGONLANCE work that I personally find annoying. However, they did continue to spark my thinking, and I’ve got a theory on how the process of creating draconians ‘works’. This theory incorporates the abishai and explains why draconians are, for the most part, Evil, but also explains how some have managed to shake off the yoke of their Dark Mistress and follow a path of Neutrality or even Goodness. It contains elements that aren’t explicit in official material, but I think it fits the facts and explains a few things.
My theory is that the ritual creating draconians has three primary effects, which can be categorized as Transformation, Disruption, and Conjuration.
Transformation is the basic part of the ritual, in which the unborn dragon’s form is broken and twisted to create young draconians. It should be noted that this does not ‘divide’ the unborn dragon’s soul; rather, each fragment being takes on a life and thus a soul of its own. Apparently, the soul retains a draconic nature.
Disruption renders that soul fit for the third and final stage of the process. The spirits of the mutated dragons are bombarded with thoughts and emotions in what could be considered a very intense, very fast form of magical brainwashing. The result tends to be a confused and emotionally crippled young dragonman whose mind has been suffused with Takhisian propaganda. At that point, it’s ready for the third process.
Conjuration is the process by which a small portal is opened to the Abyss, and Evil spirits are sent by the Queen of Darkness to inhabit the draconians. This is apparently not a form of possession; if it were, the spirit would have to be driven out in order for the draconians to defy the Dark Queen, and that doesn’t appear to be the case. Instead, it’s best described as a tempter. The spirit takes up residence in the ‘back of the mind’ of the draconian, and serves as a mockery of a conscience, trying to subtly but constantly persuade the draconian to serve the cause of Evil and the Dark Queen.
Imagine, if you will, having an ancient and thoroughly Evil being at your side constantly throughout the day, observing your actions and trying to convince you to choose a path of slavery to Evil? Now, according to some beliefs (including my own), we all do suffer from that. But what if your natural resistance to such temptations and threats had been sorely damaged, and you’d been brought up to listen to this creature and to see its way as right, even when something deep inside your soul screamed out that it was wrong?
Not a pleasant existence, I would think. And yet, despite all of this, some draconians appear able to resist, ignoring the subconscious promptings of the Evil thing that shares their existence and overcoming the brainwashing that they’ve been put through before they were born. Draconians may be fanatical soldiers in the armies of Evil. Their hearts may be untouchable by all but the kindest and wisest mortals. But even they, results of a process that appears to have been designed to deliberately pervert some of Krynn’s most noble creatures, are not beyond redemption.