Traditionally, within a year after a child is born, there is a ceremony: A wise man or woman tells some version of the Tale of the Dragon and names the child.
Without that ceremony – without the Tale and the Name – tradition says that the child will grow up without an independent soul, nameless and unnameable, never to become truly human.
A thing of terror and inhuman might, never truly born into the world and never entirely separate from The Dragon.
This appears to be true.
The powerful and unscrupulous have occasionally experimented with this belief. This is harder than it seems; even the most ignorant of caretakers seem to be instinctively driven to speak to a child of where it came from – and to give it a name of some sort. Such children may grow up twisted, but they are not numbered among the neverborn.
Success in such an endeavor appears to be its own punishment.
Some version of the Tale is told at most new beginnings. It’s told at weddings, recited to bless construction sites, and chanted at funerals. Why take chances?
The Naming Ritual of the Varnic Church:
You knock upon the Gate. You seek a new beginning, as have your Fathers and your Fathers Fathers throughout all the ages of the world.
This is the Great Tale. The Song of Creation, the First of all Tales. Still your tongues and ready your ears, for this is the lore which has been passed to us. In it lies the seed of all lesser tales, wherever they are told, and at its core lies the seed of all new beginnings. It is the Heart of Eternity.
It is the Tale of the Dragon.
Not the dragons of quests and heroes. Men speak freely of those dragons. They speak of their splendor, their freedom, and their power with awe and reverence.
Their might shakes the foundations of the world.
But this is not their Tale.
Such creatures are mere sparks, fallen in passing from the jaws of The Dragon as men draw sparks from flint and steel.
In the Beginning was The Dragon.
Burning with infinite celestial fire, its power unimaginable.
Its scales, worlds. Its breath, the stuff of magic. Its blood, the power of creation. And its coils, the spiraling coils of time.
It was the First Age, a time of glory and unbridled power, an age when all things were possible. An age when the mutable essences of deathless spirits changed and flowed within the coils of The Dragon.
But – in Eternity – Chaos births all things. Order arose. The Sleeper Woke from the wordless Unity of The Dragon. The Sleeper Spoke, and the Word was manifest. He Named Himself, and thus stood apart from the primal essence of The Dragon.
Now Himself alone. He Spoke again, and Named, binding the formless, ever-changing essence of The Dragon, birthing individual beings and forces, dividing Future from Past, Matter from spiritual Otherworld, and Life from Death.
He brought Desire and Regret, Knowledge and Oblivion, and Purpose apart from the endless Dance. Spirits, if they returned at all, would no longer remember from life to life. The Sigil of Order was inscribed upon the world.
And by that Sigil, by my Hand and Voice, and by the unforgotten Word of the Namer, known to us as An-Ywor, that tiny fragment of the First Name which it is given to men to speak, I name thee [———-]. Be yourself, [———-] unique and apart, throughout all the ages of the world.