Bestiary

The Dragons Part 2

It wasn’t long before dragons started to work together. At first it was for personal gain. As the leader of a gang, you could sit back and watch your minions do all the work, while you quite literally reaped the rewards. The leaders, however, always had one eye over their shoulder, for there was always another dragon looking to place himself in the ‘hot seat’. Fear, treachery and assassination were commonplace. In most parts of the world, the infighting lasted centuries, and devastated what would have been a thriving population. But here and there, small pockets of dragons working together to form communities would pop up, much to the disgust of the gangs and their leaders. Hard fought battles between the groups were won and lost on an almost daily basis, so booming and widespread was the dragon population.

Some of these dragon communities found themselves living inside, or around, many of the large volcanic disturbances that defined this particular age. Many dragon historians believe this is when dragon individuals, and dragon society as a whole, became captivated with lava, and the chance to live beneath the surface of the planet. The larger caves offered more than the necessary heat the dragons sought, while providing safety and shelter from the elements, and the few remaining dinosaurs that may have acted as predators.

The communities that based themselves in and around the volcanos thrived, due to that sage environment, and because the heated ground in the surrounding caves proved the perfect place for dragon eggs to incubate and finally hatch. In a matter of generations, the communities spread out, swallowed up or destroyed all of the remaining gangs in the wilderness, and started a pattern of living that can still be recognised today in the dragon domain, throughout the world.

It is believed that in this age, much time was dedicated to learning all about the planet. As well as hunting, plants, animals and minerals were all studied in minute detail, forming the basis of some of the very early mantras. Many of the communities revered every aspect of nature, and would go as far as to leave the young alone, from any flock or herd of animals that they raided for food, realising the impact of sustainability. These very principles underpin dragon society today, and can most definitely be traced back this far.

The Dragons Part 1

It had started as an accident. Pure and simple. The ellipitical orbit of the meteor had lasted in excess of four months, during which time thousands of tonnes of debris had spewed out across more than four fifths of the world. The impending impact would spell the end of the dinosaurs. But thanks to the magical properties of the laminium ore secreted throughout the meteor, a complete fluke would give rise to the race of beings that would go on to rule the planet.

As with everything, it started slowly. The effect of the laminium on the particular strands of DNA in some of the prehistoric monsters left roaming the Earth took generations to take hold. And generations more to start mutating into something remotely recognisable as a dragon. Immunity to heat and fire was the very first change initiated by the magical metal, and just in time. For everywhere around them the extinction of the dinosaurs carried on because of the raging temperatures, the molten lava (something the dragons would come to love) and the rampaging forest fires throughout the lands everywhere.

Not long after that, other strands of DNA were altered. Strength, understanding, desire and a fighting instinct all asserted themselves in less than a century. This was the final nail in the dinosaurs’ coffin. Already fighting the changing elements of the planet, they now became prey to not only a terrifyingly ferocious predator, but one whose intellect was beginning to show. Slowly the dragons took over the skies, and then in turn the ground. Individuals roamed everywhere except the Poles, and soon learned to work together, well…………nearly. The most powerful, dominant individuals used their cunning and guile well. Under the threat of violence, they coerced other dragons into working for them. Then in gangs, they would reign terror everywhere they went. This became pretty much the norm for many centuries, long before intelligent man roamed the earth. The period itself became known as the ‘Age of Barbarism’ and has long been consigned to the forgotten realms of dragon history. But it was at the very start of this period that the, by modern standards, primitive dragons discovered their telepathic abilities, although at the time they didn’t exactly recognise the skill. Of course, they just used it as a weapon, some using it to control other dragons, others using it in battle, some dragons using it to extract precious information, and some using it just because they could. It was a brutal and devastating time in dragon history. Many a dragon had been driven insane by other dragons invading their mind, mentally raping them if you like. Another long forgotten aspect of this was the belief at the time that by consuming another dragon, you gained his mental strength, adding it to your own. This has never been conclusively proven, and is something that few dragons even know, but was common throughout this age.

The Basilisks

Feared throughout the ages by everyone and everything, the Basilisks were always held in high regard by the dragons. Whether through fear of their incredibly toxic poison (said to be able to poison water supplies and rot fruit, vegetables and crops), their ability to kill beings with a single glance, or the fact that they were renowned strategists and tacticians, isn’t clear.

What is clear is the historical importance of the Basilisks. They were personally selected by Artorius the Seer, to be part of the ‘agreement of races’, and were committed to the binding and irreversable ‘humanity prophecy’, alongside the Dragons, the Manticores, the Heretics of Antar and the Hydra Queen herself. The prophecy is still bound to this day, and is thought to be the last that Artorius ever induced.

Sometime after the being part of the prophecy, whispers had it that the Basilisks had problems of their own. A faction not content with being one of the most important, and major contributors to the wellbeing of the planet, decided that they were worthy of more power and control. This breakaway group was thought by some to have used their magical abilities to change themselves into even more formidable adversaries. Rumours at the time suggested that on top of their already deadly skill set, their changes allowed them to kill by touch and gave them a very poisonous breath that destroyed anything it came into contact with. These mutations/changes also made this grouping more aggressive than their more reasonable relatives. A civil war engulfed a period of some decades, with the aggressive Basilisks eventually being wiped out, but at quite a cost to the rest of Basilisk society. It is this weakening of the Basilisks that is thought to have afforded the Nagas the opportunity to sucessfully attack and wipe them from the face of the planet. It is not known if any Basilisks still survive. In theory it is possible in the most remote regions of the world, but dragon historians (of which there aren’t many) theorise that if any of the Basilisks had survived, then they would have at some point, reached out to the Dragons for some help…something that seemingly has never happened.

They will forever be remembered as the best guardians of anything that needed keeping safe, for their ability to protect and guard was possibly their greatest magical property.

The Nagas

All Nagas resemble serpents in some way, shape or form. Looking mainly like the cobra, with half their bodies off the ground most of the time, some show glimpses of human-like form. Arms and a human-like chest are not uncommon. They like to live in shallow, remote ocean areas, underground caverns, or on the odd occasion hard to reach waterways. Examples over the last two centuries include outreaches of the Amazon river, and crocodile infested areas of the river Nile.

Ancient human writings tell of Nagas bestowing blessings on individuals, villages, crops and entire regions. Their reputation for hoarding wealth or treasure was second only to that of the dragons themselves.

The Nagas were rumoured to be displeased at not being part of the signing of the ‘agreement of races’, as well as not being told of the so called ‘humanity prophecy’. Some say it was this that caused the devastating and brutal war against the Basilisks, although the Hydra Queen herself strongly denies this ever really happened.

Throughout the ages the Nagas were assumed to have magic comparable to that of the dragons. It was said to renew them and prevent them from being easily wounded or killed. Some thought that they too could have the power and ability to change their forms….although this was never substantiated.

No one has heard from the Nagas as a race for many centuries despite dragons watching for signs of them throughout this time. It’s assumed that they are in the cold waters of either Antarctica or the Arctic, provided that the race itself is not indeed extinct.