Types of Dragons You Should Be Aware Of
What If They Were Real?
This article discusses the mythical world of dragons from the perspective of one that might have existed, had he been real. To that end, I will caricature the information from the point of view of a dragon to make the information more interesting and well versed. Provided there are those who enjoy this piece, I'll write more similar articles like this in the future.
So, put on those little magic glasses that let you see past reality and into a world of magic and myth where anything is possible. Concentrate real hard to leave the mundane behind and to experience a world unlike any other you have seen before, as we enter the world of Bahamut, Lord of the Dragons ...
A Thousand Years Hidden Amongst You
Throughout my lengthy existence I have learned many things, but few so important as the knowledge of my own dragonkind. Thought by many mortal men to no longer exist, we remain hidden from humanity, as many of our kind were hunted down and slaughtered during the dark ages.
For you to see a dragon today is a rarity, simply because we chose not to be seen, But rest assured ... we are here among you. It was the grand mage Merlin whom insured our survival. Having pity on us over the endless hunt and slaughter, he taught us the art of shape shifting, allowing us to walk in your world unnoticed until you finally believed us to be extinct.
In return for his great service, we offered him protection from the feye, Vivien. But she tricked us all, leading us to believe Merlin had went off to fight with King Arthur, when in fact, she had sealed him stone with an enchantment that can never be broken. Her bones were my only taste ever of flesh ... and it was justified ... for she killed the last mortal man who favored our kind.
Ah, such were the days when enchantment was common among men, but Merlin was the last of the Oerthly mages, and with him died most of the secrets of wizardry, with the few remaining pieces left within our control.
Dragons and Their Wealth
In the human world you know as Earth (but it's known to our kind as Oerth), everyone works to serve a purpose. For us dragons, it's much the same.
Much of what you accept as nature, is in fact magic guilded from our own breaths. In man's madness to destroy that which he could not understand, he nearly laid waste to existence itself. But it was for his service we were created, which is why many of us chose to forgive mankind's past foibles.
Were it not for the more aggressive breeds, man might have made peace with us long ago, but not all diamonds sparkle the same, much like all dragons never fully understand their role. For you see, we do have a weakness in life - a weakness we have yet to understand. Above purpose we cherish wealth, and wealth has always been our undoing.
Though having grown to be a wise, old dragon, I still remember those improper days of my youth when I would raid the abbeys, plundering the gold and stealing it back to my den. I invited the anger of mankind, all for the lust of owning that which sparkled in purity. To this day I still don't understand this need to amass wealth. All I can assume is that it is the glint of the rock that captivates the eye, causing our minds to behave so irrationally. To date, I have amassed enough gold to rebuild all of the abbeys I have ever plundered ... and yet, I would never do away with a single piece.
This is the way of all dragons, and can never be changed.
The Importance of Purpose
All dragons are born to a purpose, and the color at birth determines what that purpose will be. From the majestic Silver dragons (such as myself) to the vile chromatic dragons, we all are born into our role with no chance to ever assume another.
As dragons we accept our identity from birth. It's the role of the chromatic dragons to provide the needed things to make Oerth livable, offering destruction along the way to keep balance.
As for the metallic dragons (such as myself), we work to harness in the whims of our chromatic brethren and to insure that they follow the immutable code handed down to us from generation to generation. Our purpose has always been to serve the tribes of man, and so long as one silver dragon survives that will always be our way.
As purpose is given to our kind at birth, there are no good or evil dragons. We simply are what life makes of us at birth.
Types of Dragons
"To understand a dragon, you need only look at the color of it's scales. "
This was taught to me by my long departed father, and now I will share all the knowledge with you as he once did with me.
To understand our kind, you must understand the dragons of the first rank who live amid the ebbs and tides of the astral plane and the dragons of the second rank who live out their existence upon the Oerth. I will start by speaking of the dragons of the second rank, as these are the dragons you speak of in your mythologies and they should be more familiar to you,
Own Your Own Dragon
The Chromatic Dragons
The chromatic dragons take a bit of work to classify, as each serves a specific purpose and is of a certain character. While I could go on and on about each species I will do my best to keep to the facts you will find most useful to know.
The most important thing to know is that chromatic dragons spend all but their birth moment on Oerth, and as such, they all bear a remembrance of the wounds brought upon them by the crusades of men - and still harbor a deep vengeance toward their kind. Still, purpose demands that they serve the needs of man, though they often do so in a convoluted way that also serves themselves.
To establish order, one dragon rules over them all. Her name is Tiamat and she is the eldest of all dragons. It is said she can never die until all of her five head are slain (each with a color matching one of the five species below) and to date, her worst scrape was the loss of three during a surprise raid on her chambers in 534 AD. It was then that she understood the hatred toward men that her fellow offspring felt, and she remained behind as the metallic dragons fled to the astral plane, awaiting the day when the last silver dragon would die, leaving her as queen to all dragons.
It's important to note that Chromatic dragons have always served mankind from their first inception, and they lived in peace with one another for thousands of years. But given the many wrongful encounters they had had over time, they eventually grew bitter, turning their backs to their metallic dragon brethren and their anger onto mankind.
While they represent bitterness, they still must obey the code of the dragon, which is that they must do anything within their power to help humanity continue on. Sadly, this guiding message has been convoluted to serving the problem of overpopulation, whereas chromatic dragons see natural disasters as the cure for the current plague.
Black dragons are born of the element of water and have quite a nasty disposition. Disdained by man's wickedness, they often bring floods to the lands, causing much death and destruction along coastal regions.
As if that isn't enough, their breath exudes an acidic ooze that killed many a crusader in their time. While I have always found these brooding beasts untrustworthy and disloyal, I must favor their existence for allowing us to live on through the dark ages.
Blue dragons swear their loyalty to Tiamat upon birth and insure her survival. Serving the element of earth, they cause the great sands of the desert to spread upon the lands, causing famine where once fertile fields lay.
They have been known to fly hidden among great storms, breathing out lightning that sets fire to the lands down below. If there ever was a breed that hated mankind as much as Tiamat then that beast would be a blue dragon.
Green dragons are another member of Tiamat's fold, which serve the element of air. They are responsible for the many tornadoes that touch down upon the ground and often work with black dragons to form hurricanes that devastate thousands of lives every year.
They have remembered the dark ages when men hunted our kind down and slaughtered them. With an acidic breath to match that of the black dragon's, they stood against the onslaught of the crusades to give the rest of our kind a chance to survive.
Red dragons serve the element of fire, but no one else. Of all the dragons it is the most renown, and it was also the most hunted. Its choice to live inside caves made it the ideal conquest for the crusaders as it was so easily found. Nearly hunted to extinction, these foul tempered beasts are only now starting to make a comeback
The finest remembrance I have is of Fenax, who lived peacefully below Mount Vesuvius until humans learned of his treasure and tried to steal it from him. It was a day they would all rue, for her anger was so great that she spewed out a burst of flame that blew away the mountain and buried everything surrounding it in lava and ash. Quite a destructive breed ... and thus, the reason they were so hunted by men.
White dragons stand on the elemental line between water and air. As such, they can create snow at will and are often the cause of ice ages and great avalanches. Preferring to keep to themselves, they don't cause much trouble unless their layer is disturbed, preferring isolation over all but wealth.
All but forgotten, these great slumberers awake once every few centuries to bring a driving cold to Oerth, only to soon fall to slumber again. As they sleep, a constant frost pushes out from their nostrils, which is carried up by the trade winds and deposited in the northern hemisphere for one half of the year and the southern hemisphere for the other half.
Alone in the arctic regions, they tend not to have the same distaste for mankind as other dragons do, though they share no loyalty with them either
Much like their chromatic brethren, metallic dragons serve the elementals as well, but as they work most of their whiles from the astral plane they have a lesser effect on mankind ... though it is always a benevolent one.
Brass dragons serve the element of fire. It was the a brass dragon that gave fire to man and showed him how to harness its usefulness. Back then, man and dragon lived together in harmony, each understanding the role of the other. Of course, all that changed when the metallic dragons left for the astral plane, leaving behind the less rational elemental dragons to serve man's needs.
It is the brass dragons that bring warmth across the lands when the frosty breath of the white dragons becomes too much for humans to bear. As with all metallic dragons, this type exists to create balance, as that's what has always been deemed necessary for the continuance of all mankind.
Bronze dragons serve the elemental of water. They create the rains that provide water for man, allowing him to drink from unsalted seas. Fickle in nature, they can be stubborn about giving rain to those in need if they find themselves feeling slighted or unappreciated.
Of their favorite humans, the America Indians appeased them the most, offering endless days of song and dance in their honor. However, some bronze dragons found themselves lost in the worship and allowed their purpose to slide, losing many of those who so highly devoted their lives to them.
Copper Dragons serve the element of Earth. Their job is to keep the lands risen above the seas, providing new places for man to live. Unfortunately they have an ongoing rivalry with red dragons that will often get the better of them, causing them to try to rumble the slumbering dragons from their sleep, with often catastrophic results.
When a brass dragon reaches the end of its life cycle it does not die as other dragons do. Instead, it travels past the great barrier at the edge of the astral plane and returns as a gold dragon.
As gold dragons are brass dragons which have matured into their second life, they still serve the elemental of fire, but they spend much less time caring over Oerth and more time discussing the balance of life in my court. Having already lived one full life and moved onto a second, it is their age and wealth of knowledge that makes them worthy of being my consults.
No creature of any realm understands the needs and wants of men like they do, for in their previous life as a bronze dragon they spend much time walking in disguise among mortal men, learning about those we were created to serve and bringing that knowledge back to me.
Of all the types of dragons, silver dragons are the most rare to be found, as only two can ever exist. I represent this species, as did Adalia, my daughter. Murdered during the crusades, it was the anguish over her loss that drove me to open the portal to the astral plane, and I fear now that I am the last of my kind, for none have been born since.
My kind have always served the element of air, which allowed me to open the portal between Oerth and the astral plane centuries ago. It is from here the metallic dragons chose to watch over Oerth, free to be ourselves without constantly having to fear those we were created to serve. But being a plane away does not refrain one from the responsibilities I have been given, so once each year I must travel to Oerth to restart the trade winds that cause warm air to circulate around the world.
As ruler over all dragons, it is my purpose to see to it that Oerth remains an orderly place, conductive to life among all humans. Given the destructive way of man this is never an easy task. Even less helpful is the pantheon of dragons who remain on Oerth, still vindictive over past sins against their kind. While I have the power to force obedience, I dare not to challenge them too much, for Taimat always seeks my throne and needn't much of a spark to start a revolution that could overthrow my rule and lead Oerth into unbridled chaos.
As the chromatic dragons tend to fight amongst each other for power, I manage to promote my course by pitting then against one another, which allows my will to be done. However, I can't live on forever, and without a successor my reign is doomed to pass on to Tiamat, who has already threatened to establish her own council in my absence and to will finally end the long held rule that our lives be given to serving man.
How long do dragons live?
Time on Oerth and time on the astral plane are two different things. On Oerth, a dragon might live to be 500 years old, with the exception of Tiamat, who was given the gift of eternal life. However, those dragons who remain in the astral plane find that time moves a bit more slowly, as a dragon in the astral plane ages at 1/4 of it's normal rate. Given that as true, your typical metallic dragon lives anywhere between 1500 and 2000 years, with a lot depending on their time spent on Oerth.
Wyrmlings are young dragons that are born of the mating of two other dragons. Upon birth, all wyrmlings are brought to the astral plane until they become young adults and their survival is better insured. At that point in life their white baby skin molts, reveling their color and their purpose.
At that point, chromatic dragons are sent back to Oerth, where Tiamat teaches them how to harness their elemental powers, whereas metallic dragons are brought to my court where they are educated in the ancient ways of all dragons and instructed on human needs.
While one might think that the mating of any two dragons should produce a wyrmling matching one of its parents, this isn't always the case. As with all facets of life, dragons resemble balance - from the moment they are born to the moment they die. As such, there will always be a certain percentage of all dragons, with the exception of silver dragons, of which there is normally two, but currently only one.
We have waited nearly 1500 years for another silver dragon to be born, but as of yet there have been none, which I see as a signal of our decline. Of course, other dragons see things differently.
In Tiamat, it is a changing of the guard from the metallic to the chromatic dragons, while the gold dragons of my court insist it is humanities lack of belief in our existence that is allowing our kind to fade into obscurity.
And so, having foreseen my inevitable death, it is by the advice of my council that I have come here to meet with you. For if there is to be another silver dragon to take my place, they insist it must be born from your belief. So I ask of you, son of Adam who I have served faithfully for years ... I ask of you to close your eyes and believe again in my kind, so that one more silver dragon can be born to allow a continuance of both of our species for at least another 1500 years.
As we believe in you ... we ask now that you once again believe in us.
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