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Dreen #3

The Dreen are powerful entities of extra-dimensional origin existing, according to Baron Wulfenbach, "tangential to time" as humans experience it.

Physical Description Edit

Dreen are of about average human height or a little taller and seem to be built along roughly humanoid lines, though their obscuring clothing makes this very uncertain. Over their bodies is worn a golden or brass-colored conical hat, from which descends a translucent veil, about half the length of the robes. Only their very slender arms are exposed outside of the black drapery, and whether that's black-and-green-striped skin terminating in cyan hands or suit sleeves with gloves, they still have unnaturally long, spidery, claw-like fingers (arachnodactyls) which seem sharp and strong enough to easily penetrate a slaver warrior's carapace. (see below under Novels.)

History Edit

The Dreen were accidentally brought into Europan humanity's plane of existence by Agatha's ancestor Robur Heterodyne, thanks to his experiments with the nature of time. In a conversation with Gil and Higgs, Castle Heterodyne at least implies that it was a witness to this event, without ever mentioning the Dreen by name. Believing the creatures to be angels sent to punish him, the terrified Robur smashed his machinery in an attempt to banish them, but evidently this didn't work, or at least not completely.[1]

At Robur's desperate request, the Dreen and the device which summoned them were taken from their arrival spot by the Corbettite Monks. At some point long after this, at least two of the Dreen somehow came to be working for (or at least with) the Wulfenbach empire, while the device made its way to the Incorruptible Library under Paris. The story of their arrival is evidently not common knowledge; even Gil appears to be unaware of it.

Based on the depiction of their summoning, it is possible that only three of these creatures are currently present in Europa. However, in Castle Heterodyne's rather sketchy version of the story, there were dozens of them . (Perhaps most of these left after the machinery was disabled, with just a few staying behind to keep a visor on the situation.)

In the Comic Edit

In the comic proper, the Dreen are first mentioned when the elder Wulfenbach considers them to be strong and/or powerful enough to serve as guards for Adam and Lilith. (Though said guarding never takes place.) Before we were properly "introduced" to them, Word of God told us that the shrouded, conical-hatted things in the background of this page (the image above) are them.

Along with fighting the slaver-wasp infestation on Castle Wulfenbach, The Dreen take part in Klaus's attack on Mechanicsburg, where their reputation is so fearsome that even the normally stalwart Jagermonsters opt to flee from them . This attitude is promptly shown to be well-founded when Knight of Jove pilot Martellus von Blitzengaard attempts to squash one of them; the targeted Dreen shrugs off the attack and obliterates the Knight with an energy blast, with Tweedle just barely leaping to safety.

LurkingDreen

Lurking in St. Szpac

Two and a half years later, Gil and Higgs retrieve Vole from the time-frozen Mechanicsburg, but not without the aforementioned conversation with the Castle, which insists on their looking at of the center of the time stop. They see a enormous being that doesn't look like the Dreen, or at least isn't dressed like one, but evidently shares a similar origin point. The Castle estimates that it will arrive in Mechanicsburg in two years, with likely Something Unpleasant then happening to the inhabitants of this three-dimensional world. So that's the deadline for rescuing Mechanicsburg from Klaus's time freeze.

Shortly thereafter, a lone Dreen appears in the bowels of the Corbettite Depot Fortress following the Beast's escape-rampage through the fortress's treasure-vaults. Agatha's Wasp eater seems to notice and react adversely to the Dreen which, as seen in the included picture, lurks in some shadows as Agatha and Co. go running past. It is unknown at the current time if this is a legitimate triggering of the Wasp-eater's intended function (i.e., identifying wasp-infected Revenants), or if a Dreen is just that scary. (The whole "tangential to normal time" thing would seem to suggest the latter.) Either way, the Dreen is then shown either watching, trailing or pursuing Agatha's group, but Agatha and friends eventually defeat the Beast, finish construction on the Corbettites' new Sparky super-train, deal with the arrival of Gil and his forces, and depart the fortress for Paris, all without further interaction with the Dreen.

It is Gil himself and Bangladesh DuPree who are finally confronted by the creature, which is identified as not being one of the two(?) working for the Wulfenbach empire, and which enigmatically announces Agatha's intended destination to Gil, adding that Gil will be journeying there himself. This prompts Gil to recall Castle Heterodyne's comments, specifically that the newcomers "wore hats". Agatha later learns about the summoning from a notebook in the Immortal Library, but not that Robur's "angels" were the Dreen.

The Novels Edit

In the print novel Agatha H and the Airship City, the Dreen are described as 'killing with a touch' and as being the only thing that the slaver wasps seem to honestly fear: "Deep within the midst of the enemies moved the Dreen, two unearthly terrifying creatures garbed in dark wide brimmed conical hats and long, obscuring veils. They killed with a touch, and they alone seemed to scare the Slaver Wasps. Everywhere they drifted a circle of emptiness opened around them as wasps desperately tried to escape."

Possibly relevant outside information Edit

From a discussion archived on NNTPnews.net:

  • The Dreen are the bad guys in a series of novels by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor.
  • Also, another race called the Dreen feature in Star Rider by Doris Piserchia.
  • And a race by that name appears in "Man of Two Worlds" by Frank Herbert and Brian Herbert.
  • Dreen is also a dialect variant of the word drain.
  • The Dreen appear in the 1993 trilogy written by J. Calvin Pierce about a place called Ambermere. The female Dreen is first mentioned in The Sorceress of Ambermere.

In the Myth Adventures by Robert Aspirin, the first which was adapted into a graphic novel by the Professor, the word “demon” turns out to be a shortening of “dimension traveler”. Robur Heterodyne’s term “angel” (unfallen demon), which the characters find puzzling, may be a reference to this.

References

  1. Castle Heterodyne doesn't acknowledge any limitation: "So he smashed his device, which banished the…well, banished whatever they were…and then he had pie. Crisis over." , volume 1 of act 2, page 043 (web), panel 7. So it seems the Castle either didn't know, or perhaps did not want Gilgamesh Wulfenbach to know the whole story. Gilgamesh himself, after all, was trying to hide his identity from it until this point in the dialog.
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