The Dragon

Many aspects of Mandrake's lore and history function on several different levels. The Gymnasium is an example of this, being place and regimen and philosophy all at once. Intertwined with this is the concept of the Dragon.

On its simplest level, the dragon is a symbol of Mandrake's history. Famed hunters and slayers of the old great wyrms, tales of dragons are scattered liberally throughout the history of the House, most often when they intersect with the great Mandrake heroes. There are even hints, poorly supported, that Mandrake has the actual blood of dragons in its heritage.

It is also an old title within the House, used for martial leaders. Dragons have been Dukes in the past, but very rarely - they tend to come to the fore only in times of strife, and have often had poor political sense. It is an archaic title these days, and somewhat arrogant to use, as it makes a claim of identity between the person using it and the House - just as the Duke is Mandrake in a political sense, the Dragon is Mandrake in a military sense.

More deeply, though, the Dragon represents the inner drives that lurk in most Mandrakes. As Feldanes wrestle with madness, and Karm with temper, Mandrakes must face a more complex set of internal motivations. The Dragon has its strengths - tenacious and fierce, with a strong sense of honor and dedication. When cultivated, these qualities can create a person of true nobility, an asset to their House and their country. Unfortunately, the Dragon also has negative drives as well. Greed and lust are common, as reflections of the acquisitive nature of the namesake. Fury, less directed than the vengeful anger of Karm, can cause one to lash out without cause, taking offense where there is none intended. Dedication can become possessiveness, and jealousy is an ugly enough thing without the power of a Great House behind it. Even the best Mandrakes can be driven to excess by these impulses, and the worst cases are referred to as being 'taken by the Dragon'. Mandrakes in that state degenerate to gold-hungry debauchees, or cruel monsters that must be handled by the family for the good of everyone.

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