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The Dragon Lord Mei Lung Chen-Shan-Tien-Kung-Te, or simply Mei Lung, was a great lung dragon of the Celestial Empire and the Grand Historian of the Celestial Bureaucracy.[3][6][7] He was the creator of the Herald of Mei Lung, a magical tome that told the whole history of the world—right up to the present moment and even into the future.[6][7][8][9]

Description[]

By the 14th century DR, he had lived over two millennia[3] making him old for a dragon.[4]

Personality[]

He liked to listen to others[4] and loved history and knowledge,[10] but he valued his privacy intensely.[5]

Abilities[]

He had some powers over time, which enabled him to see into people's pasts.[10]

Lair[]

Mei Lung dwelled within the Impossible Palace of the Silver Domes somewhere in the empire of Shou Lung. He relocated it regularly, often to the bed of a deep river or to some other hidden and hard-to-reach place to avoid unwanted visitors, and occasionally to areas facing a grave threat, at which times it was most obvious and accessible.[5] Mei Lung found much of what was written about the Impossible Palace in the Shichi Hsi, the Histories, to be false and fantastical.[11]

Activities[]

As Grand Historian, he was tasked with keeping a record of past, present, and future events in order that the Celestial Emperor could know all that had transpired and be able to best judge the deeds of humankind.[3][6][7] In this capacity, he studied all the peoples and places of Kara-Tur over the course of their history, and journeyed widely to consult with countless other "Chroniclers of Events" to add to his records,[3] as well as the great sages of the Path of Enlightenment.[12]

He was known to write books on history for mortal readers too. The Great Library of Perpustakaan included his account of the creation of the Shao Mountains by the Nine Immortals and the Celestial Emperor, the story of which had been passed down from father to son since Chih Shih himself.[13]

But he could only observe; Mei Lung was forbidden from having direct involvement in the affairs of mortals. Nevertheless, he was permitted to provide information, and even magic and weapons, to those whose need was great and the empire was at risk, if they came to him.[5]

However, Mei Lung did not appreciate trespassers within his palace or those who disturbed his privacy without good reason—in fact, he tended to eat them. Most adventuring companies who tried met this fate. Only those heroes who still dared during a crisis might be met by more than his fangs. To those, Mei Lung gave tests, from games of riddles to battles with dangerous monsters, and sometimes simple conversation on current events or classic works of art and literature, depending on his whims and the situation. Only when he had the measure of a visitor's true nature did he decide whether to aid them, or devour them.[5]

Mei Lung also maintained some position as an ambassador of Shou Lung, which conveniently let him travel around the empire and beyond.[5][10] He presumably did so in disguise, as dragons of Heaven were rather recognizable.[speculation]

Relationships[]

In my wanderings through the Empire, I have met many people, human and not. Each has a story to tell, and while these stories are small, I do not ignore them. For the wise man knows that the seeds of history begin this way, in small actions, the heroisms of simple people, and the way in which they resist the sweeping tides of the Universe.
— From Mei Lung's letter to Elminster[14]

Mei Lung was the seventh son of Men Lung Chen-Shan-Tien-Kung-Te, who was the elder of his clan, and the great-great-grandson of Chih Shih Chen-Shan-Tien-Kung-Te, one of the Nine Immortals and the god of history.[3][13]

He consulted and befriended a number of sages and scholars, including the poet-sage Hung Te Ping, whom he had maintained a long friendship with,[12] and Elminster of Faerûn, also a great friend of his.[3] He was a firm friend and quite a fan of Tan Hikao Nong the Balladeer, with whom he shared a passion for history and lore.[10]

History[]

Mei Lung was appointed by the Celestial Emperor himself as the Grand Historian, the 223rd since the creation of the world.[3][6][7][note 1] With the end of history itself at stake if he failed, Mei Lung created a back-up to preserve his chronicle—the Herald of Mei Lung.[6][7]

Moreover, should something terrible happen to him or his household that even he did not foresee, Mei Lung placed the Herald in the custody of the lamas and monks of Ko'Chung Gompa in Tabot[6][7][1][8][9] some time between Shou Year 585 (−665 DR) and Shou Year 640 (−610 DR) when the monasteries were established there.[2] Thereafter, however, Mei Lung had little contact with Tabot and lost track of the place.[1]

The hero Wo Mai once contacted the Tsui Tong to learn the current location of the Impossible Palace, in order to recover the Silver Flower Sword of Tan Ming.[15] Evidently the dragon was caught on a good day, for Mei Lung only chatted with Wo Mai,[5] who survived and later became emperor.[15]

For a time, he posed as an advisor and observer to Ambassador Hing Ti Chin of Shou Lung, with whom he visited the rival empire T'u Lung. There, Mei Lung first met Tan Hikao Nong the Balladeer in Shang Stzi, and then again in the capital, Wai, when Nong visited him in his apartments. But Mei Lung had been following Nong's career much longer, having seen him perform in Karatin and at Sung Tsi's wedding. They became fast friends and later spent a week in Wafang together.[10]

Around 1350 DR, Mei Lung found the young siblings Meo Cha and Meo Li washed up on a beach at Yu Tai Shuni in Shou Lung, having survived the tsunami that destroyed the invasion fleet of the king of Silla. He allowed them to live in his house, where he gladly heard tales of their homeland, Koryo, before they returned there.[4]

Listen with the wisdom of age, Elminster, for youth colors the truth with certainty, and Pang's biases masquerade gaps in his knowledge.
— Mei Lung's letter to Elminster[1]

Mei Lung came to desire to rediscover Tabot and looked for a chance to return. He got it within a year. Around Shou Year 2607 (1357 DR), Tabot negotiated peace with Shou Lung and invited a delegation to the ceremony at the Temple of Heaven's Heart on Mount E'kwong. As there ceremony was within his jurisdiction, Mei Lung elected to attend in person (though, as a dragon, it seems he was in disguise) with attendants and escorts. He watched the procession of pilgrims for two days, noting people of all ages, warriors, monks, priests, and servants, before the monk Pang introduced himself on the grounds that he looked "important enough" and asked to walk with him up the mountain. On the way, Pang told him much about Tabot, though Mei Lung found him biased and his knowledge lacking, owing to his youth.[1][2][16]

I set pen to paper to record the Myriad Things of this Land of Shou Lung, as requested by my most Honored Friend, the foreign scholar Elminster, and as commanded by my Lord as the duty of the two-hundred-twenty-third Historian of the Celestial Bureaucracy.
— From the introduction of Mei Lung's letter to Elminster[1]

Elminster asked Mei Lung for an account of the lands of Kara-Tur, with all its peoples, places, and histories, to be read by another, addressed only as "you"[3][17] and the Celestial Emperor approved that it be written. Thus, in 2607, Mei Lung wrote up this information, including his own knowledge of Shou Lung,[3] his correspondence with Tan Hikao Nong the Balladeer for T'u Lung,[10] his meeting with Pang and his account of Tabot,[1] and the stories of Koryo from Meo Cha and Meo Li.[4]

Appendix[]

Background[]

Mei Lung is the primary narrator of Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms, with the Shou Lung chapter presented from his point of view and three more chapters—T'u Lung, Tabot, and Koryo—introduced by him but narrated by others. However, not all chapters follow this convention: one has a narrator speaking directly to Elminster, others do not make it clear who the narrator is speaking to, and some lack a narrator altogether. This article includes only those chapters with narrators confirmed to be speaking to Mei Lung.

Notes[]

  1. While Book of Artifacts says Mei Lung was given this role "at the birth of the world", Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms makes it clear Mei Lung is only the 223rd Grand Historian, if over 2000 years old. The Book of Artifacts story may represent mortal belief or be mistaken, or else the first Grand Historian had the same name. Ronin Challenge makes it clear Chih Shih was the one at the world's creation.

Appearances[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 69. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 73. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 3. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 117. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 David "Zeb" Cook (December 1993). Book of Artifacts. (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 978-1560766728.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 slade et al (November 1995). Encyclopedia Magica Volume IV. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 1440–1441. ISBN 0-7869-0289-2.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 71. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), pp. 76–77. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 43. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  11. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 36. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), pp. 25–26. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Curtis Smith and Rick Swan (1990). Ronin Challenge. (TSR, Inc), p. 66. ISBN 0-88038-749-1.
  14. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 33. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 23. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  16. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  17. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
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