She was murdered by her lover,
In the name of Heck’ne’s throne.
And from her pieces rose the Empire,
The strongest ever known.
The tale of Gagoo’galornga and Maiden Klict is a tale shared by the harpy, nurlak, and foxen races. It is also believed by many wolven people. It has strong ties to the Har’py religion and has effected Heck’ne law.
It has many names in the Empire, but the one most commonly used is ‘The Rise of the Empire,’ which is told throughout the Foxen Empire and the Wolven Kingdoms to explain the foxen people’s origins.
They tell it as the story of a powerful nurlak man from the Heck’ne who murdered a wolven woman in a desperate attempt to become king, and how the Foxen Empire rose from the woman’s remains.
In the Heck’ne, the most common name for the story is ‘The Fall of Nurlak,’ which tells a similar story to the Empire version.
In the Heck’ne version, Gagoo’galornga was a powerful warrior who fought for his homeland until greed took over and he challenged the Prophet for ownership of the Heck’ne. The Prophet had banished him, but Gagoo’galornga had returned with the skin of a dragon and used the power imbued in the scales to force the Prophet to allow him to rule until the Foxen Empire had risen and punished the Heck’ne for Gagoo’galornga’s crimes.
The following is the tale of Klict and Gagoo’galornga, as recorded by Klict’s blessed: Immortal Queen Distro Nigelle. While Distro’s version of the story is similar to other known versions of the story, she stays adamant that Gagoo’galornga was not evil; that was trying to save the Heck’ne and not forcibly take over.
Though this version comes directly from Klict’s blessed many foxen people do not believe it to be the true version and instead argue that, as Distro’s mind is connected to Klict’s, Distro is as infatuated by Galornga as Klict was…. Distro takes great offence to this, referring to Gagoo’galornga as an “ugly sod” who she has no interest in.
The True Story of Klict and Gagoo’galornga
Many generations ago, when the planet was still fresh and the Heck’ne had no true boundaries, there was a Har’py known as Gagoo’galornga.
He was crass, crude, and cruel… but he was also a powerful warrior that fought great beasts and protected his homeland with fierce determination. Born a nurlak, Gagoo’galornga had struggled to find his place in the Heck’ne wasteland and had fought hard to become what he was: a loyal Heck’ne warrior who followed the Har’py code without fail and risked his life for his people.
No one in the Heck’ne saw him as anything but a hero: he had always been a loyal warrior who never strayed from his duties… but he had wronged many outsiders and was branded evil by those who didn’t follow the Har’py ways.
The true evil in this generation, however, was the Fourth Prophet Har’kark, who feared Gagoo’galornga’s influence over the Har’py people and resented the respect that was shown to the warrior.
Gagoo’galornga was the most powerful Har’py in the wasteland and Har’kark feared that one day the Har’py people would turn to the warrior for leadership. So Har’kark sought to use Gagoo’galornga’s loyalty against him and slowly began to plot his death.
It was a hot, cloudless day when Har’kark summoned the loyal warrior to his throne. The sun beat down so hot it cracked the dirt and made the already low rivers completely dry.
The sun was unbearable, but Gagoo’galornga didn’t hesitate to take his place below the Prophet’s throne. He kneeled low to bow and felt the hot sun scorching on the back of his neck as he waited for the Prophet’s orders.
Har’kark watched the warrior for a long while before he finally told him why he had been summoned.
He was to slay a dragon. Not just any normal dragon, either, but a great beast that lived in the furthest reaches of the wasteland. It was the dragon that had chased away the Heck’ne’s clouds, the Prophet told him, and the drought would not end until the dragon was slain. If Gagoo’galornga killed this dragon and brought back its skin he would prove himself the most powerful Har’py ever born, and would become the second-ruler of the Heck’ne. A king who’s rank was beaten only by that of the reining Prophet and the great Zen’efay herself.
This was, of course, a lie. The dragon had nothing to do with the drought and the Prophet never expected Gagoo’galornga to return and become king. Gagoo’galornga himself said he didn’t wish to be more than his fellows, but Har’kark convinced the warrior that it was to be so, and the warrior loyally left in search of the dragon he was charged to kill.
Gagoo’galornga walked three days and four nights without food, water, or rest. He was determined to find and slay the beast.
It was the morning of the fourth day when he found the footprints of the dragon. He followed them out of the dusty wasteland into a large swamp.
He tracked the dragon through the swamp, following its footprints until he found its cave by an algae-filled river. He entered the cave. It was filled with what most would consider priceless treasures, but Gagoo’galornga didn’t see it. Gold and gems and books were worthless to Har’pies, so the warrior sat atop a pile of discarded animal bones and waited for the dragon to return.
Another day passed by, ever so slowly. He didn’t eat or sleep. He just stared at the cave’s entrance, waiting for the dragon to return to its hoard.
It was at the end of the second day of waiting that Gagoo’galornga grew impatient. He flung himself from the pile of bones and began to ransack the cave, destroying the dragon’s carefully collected hoard in his frustration.
As he scattered the dragon’s possessions, he saw a shadow moving in the back of the cave. Could it be the dragon? Had it been in the cave all this time?
Gagoo’galornga leapt over the ruined treasures and pursued the shadow. He chased it through the narrow tunnels, forcing it further and further back into the cave.
There was a dull thud, and he saw the shadow he pursued had stopped running and was circling frantically in place. It was a dead end.
He raised his hand, confident that his long, sharp nails would do the job, and prepared to strike the dragon down. But then, suddenly, the shadow of the dragon spoke to him; begging for mercy.
The Har’py couldn’t believe his ears!
It was not a dragon that he had pursued. It was a wolven woman; dressed in fine silks and glittering gems. She wore a gold tiara signifying her wealth, and had the Har’py been able to read, he would have discovered the maiden’s name engraved in the beautiful jewellery: Klict Canis. The lost heir to the La’Can throne…. But Gagoo’galornga scowled and spat at the woman, not caring nor understanding that she was royalty.
He demanded to know where the dragon was, but Klict couldn’t answer him through her tears. The warrior grabbed her by her hair and dragged her through the cave. She screamed for him to let her go, but he refused. He was desperate to know where the dragon was. For his people, and for his Prophet, he had to kill it!
He threw Klict onto the remains of the treasures he had destroyed and demanded again that she tell him where the dragon was, but the maiden continued sobbing. She cried so hard she couldn’t speak.
Gagoo’galornga struck the maiden and ordered her to speak, but her sobbing became a wail and the Har’py warrior didn’t know what to do to make her stop.
Six months Klict and Gagoo’galornga remained in the cave together. Six long, lonely months. The Har’py wondered of his homeland often and got what news he could from hunts along the swamp’s border. It was still in drought, and people were dying.
Klict was so scared of the Har’py that she never tried to escape. Even when Gagoo’galornga left to visit the Heck’ne, she didn’t dare to move from where she sat in the broken debris of the dragon’s hoard.
The warrior had given up on the maiden telling him the location of the dragon and was tempted to just kill her and be over it, but something stopped the Har’py.
One night, when Gagoo’galornga returned home with his hunt, he sat by the maiden and watched her as she slept. He felt guilty for what he had done to her.
He decided he’d bring her back to the Heck’ne with him, as his mayt. If he became king of the Heck’ne, she’d be his queen. She’d be safe and respected, and he could be by her side and make her happy.
Klict hadn’t known what had changed in the warrior, but he’d started treating her kindly, and it had been a long time since he had asked about the dragon. It seemed almost like he had forgotten what he had come in search of.
She’d lost count of the days since the Har’py had first invited her to hunt with him. He’d been surprised at her skill and praised her greatly. Klict hadn’t been able to tell if he had been trying to find out about the dragon, or if his friendship was genuine.
Now she knew what had changed, for Gagoo’galornga stood in front of her, waiting for her answer.
Yes. She would be his mayt. But there was something she had to show him, first.
The maiden stood in the swampy water in front of the cave she called home. Gagoo’galornga stared at her, waiting for her to show him her secret.
She was scared but determined. With a deep breath she summoned all the magic she could, and slowly, her body began to change.
Her face grew out, and her skin became scaly, and her fur hardened into spines along her tail.
It was hard, for she hadn’t used the spell in a long time, but the three moons shone brightly overhead and with the help of their magic she transformed. She became a dragon. Not just any dragon… but the dragon Gagoo’galornga had been searching for.
She turned to the Har’py warrior, who watched her with his mouth agape. He couldn’t believe what he had witnessed.
Klict was the dragon he had been sent to kill.
Gagoo’galornga turned pale and stumbled. He couldn’t kill his own mayt, could he? But he had to protect the Heck’ne. The rain had to come again or his people would die.
Slowly, Klict stepped towards him and gently put the tip of her muzzle on Gagoo’galornga’s cheek. She had begun to turn back into herself upon seeing the warrior’s distress, but the maiden had exhausted herself turning into the dragon, and her transformation back was slow.
The Har’py warrior closed his eyes and held Klict close. He felt Klict struggle in his grip and he whispered an apology. He had to do this to save his people.
The maiden’s struggling became frantic, and she cried for him to let her go.
He said again that he had to do this to save his people, no matter what the sacrifice was, and broke the struggling girl’s neck.
Gagoo’galornga cradled Klict’s body for a long time. Tears rolled down his cheeks and he felt like his heart was breaking in two. It took him a long moment to accept what he had done… and to prepare for what he had to do next.
The warrior went into Klict’s cave and retrieved a small silver knife from her hoard. With the knife he began to slowly slice through Klict’s flesh, separating maiden from dragon.
When he was finished, he gently lay what was left of Klict’s body in the swampy water and said a short prayer, begging Zen’efay to look after her spirit and forgive her for causing the drought.
As Gagoo’galornga left, he did not see the pieces of the maiden begin to glow.
Had it been any other night, what was left of Klict’s body would have sunk to the bottom of the swamp to rot into nothing… but it was not any night. It was the night of the triple moon.
The magic that had helped the maiden transform into the dragon now coursed through her shredded body and her pieces reformed, stronger than they had been before, as foxen men. They were smaller than wolven men, being made only of small pieces of the maiden, but they were strong. And they were angry.
Gagoo’galornga returned to the Heck’ne with a heavy heart, and presented the scales to the Prophet Har’kark.
Har’kark was shocked that Gagoo’galornga had returned after so long away. The Prophet was sure the warrior had been killed years ago when he first set out to find the dragon. To see him now was a shock. To see him successful was unbelievable.
The Prophet was, however, forced to keep his word. He turned the scales into a cloak for the warrior to mark his newfound rank.
Gagoo’galornga accepted the title of king and set out through the Heck’ne. He intended to live the rest of his life protecting his people more fiercely than ever.
That was when the war started.
The anger of the foxen men was overwhelming. They attacked the Har’pies and demanded that the dragon-slayer be presented to them. The Har’pies refused to give up their king and fought back in the thousands, only to find that a single foxen man had the power of seven Har’pies combined.
They demanded that Gagoo’galornga be presented to them. But the Har’pies, loyal to their warrior king, continued to fight and defend him.
Ten years passed and the triple moon came again, boosting the foxen men’s powers beyond anything the Har’pies had seen before.
Gagoo’galornga had had enough of the fighting. He was tired of watching his people be slain in a pointless war that he could end.
The king presented himself to the foxen men and offered his life in return for peace. All he asked of the foxen men was an explanation. Why had they attacked? Why did they want him?
When he heard it, he couldn’t believe it. Had these men really be born from the lover he killed all those years ago?
Gagoo’galornga hung his head in shame and removed the cloak of scales from his back. He willingly returned it to the men and begged their forgiveness.
It was not given.
The Har’py king was slain, and as he died he looked to the moons and wondered if his love understood why he had done what he had….
The foxen men tore apart the scaled cloak, tearing separate each and every scale and leaving them in the spilled blood of Gagoo’galonga.
The scales shimmered in the light of the full moons, and a magic sparked through them. They began to grow, and rose as the women of the foxen empire. They were stronger than the men, having absorbed power from the Har’py king’s blood, and found that unlike their male counterparts they had inherited the magic of dragon-shifting from the maiden.
The foxen men were finally calmed after the destruction of the cloak. They and their women left the Heck’ne in peace. They returned to the cave in the swamp and began their empire.
It was then that the drought finally ended.