Other species / races have numerous names for the dragons, not all of them complimentary.
- Dragonborn (borrowed from D&D).
- Ddraig (Gwerin word for dragon)
- Drake: Although many use this as a name for the Dragons, it actually denotes a male dragon or male duck.
- Rámalóce, Lúg (Gwerin)
- Great Worm
- Shadow Spawn
- Winged Snakes
Dragons do not live in family groups or have close familial ties. They can recognize blood relatives via a combination of blood scent and psychic aura known as the bloodsense. This keeps them from inbreeding, it does not signify a specific bond beyond that. The only permanent familial bond in a dragons’s life is his or her lifemate and Morrighan.
An Empress is the ruler of a siege or sieges if there is more than one within close geographic boundaries. Queens do battle to become Empress. There’s never more than one empress in a siege. An empress will often challenge the most dominant queen to battle in an attempt to preempt any challenges for rule.
An empress will not usually accompany units in the field. Her primary responsibilities are to defend her siege and its rookeries. If a queen imprinted before becoming the empress, that bond still exists. The empress and her Morrighan will join in training exercises. Should an empress accompany a phalanx or wake into battle, she is in command.
Generally speaking, queens are female dragons. They are usually a bit larger than the males and less vibrantly colored. Particularly dominant queens will likely challenge the Empress sooner or later.
First Daughter, First Son
These dragons are those from a pair’s first clutch.
The Voice is a position similar to that of a Chief of Staff. In many cases, the Voice holds a rank higher than that of the Empress’ lifemate. The Voice is not necessarily a dragon. He or she might be a member of one of the biped species. The main requirement is that they are fluent in multiple languages.
Drakes are younger male dragons without a lifemate. They may be bonded to a Morrighan.
Rexes are male dragons that are lifemated to a female. These are usually large, fully mature alpha males since drakes have to fight for their mates. They also tend to be older and very combat experienced. The Empress’ Rex is very protective of the siege and, like his mate, pours most of his energy into seeing to its well-being. However, the Empress’ Rex will not interfere when she is challenged for the rule of the siege. It is very likely that he will compete to be the new Empress’ mate.
The Siege Council
The Siege Council is a siege’s commanding body that answers to The Voice. It is usually a mixture of Morrighan, Gwerin, and other trusted individuals. The Lord-Paladin of the Morrighan and the Lord-General of the Dragonguard are also members of the Council. However, due to their duties, it is often a senior staff member that attends the council sessions in their stead. This body is often referred to as the Empress Council or just the Council. This council serves two bodies, the Empress and the Danu.
The Ministers are a Siege’s ambassadors and envoys to other governments and the Concord of Nations.
The Morrighan are the air force of the Siege’s armed services. A Morrighan usually refers to the dragonrider.
Paladin is the rank given to a Candidate that has completed their training and successfully impressed a Dragons, forming the psychic link that will bond them until one or both die. The Lord-Paladin is the commander of the Morrighan.
Compare this to the United States Air Force. We do not address a serving member of the USAF as United States Air Force Roger. They carry a rank such as captain, lieutenant, or airman. In the same vein, if addressing a Morrighan, you would call him or her Paladin Roger.
The Dragonguard is the army of the Siege consisting of cavalry and mounted infantry.
Talons: Infantry (horse-mounted)
Fangs: Horse mounted regiments (cavalry).
Sages are a siege’s scholars and scientists. Although they may have military skills and training, they are usually non-combatants. They are the dragons and, sometimes, Gwerin that are the curators of the ancient dragonsongs (history). They also are the keepers of any written records of dragons’ dealings with others, such as treaties. Sages often serve as Ministers and envoys to other nations.
For the dragons, science is learning all they can learn about the world around them, the beings and creatures that inhabit it, and the Shadowed One’s influence and forces. This knowledge is needed so that the Morrighan can effectively battle the Dark Horde and protect Aereth.
There are a plethora of others residing in a siege’s citadel. Foreign dignitaries, crafthalls, support staff, non-combatant dragons, Morrighan candidates and trainees, Squires, Morrighan, their families.
Dragons tend to have short tempers and a healthy appetite for meat. Weakness and being poor hunters are considered the ultimate sin. They value strength and power above all else – except for the odd shiny bauble. They are even shorter tempered when molting old scales.
Almost all dragons are deeply protective. They are guardians against the forces of the Dark Ley and natural warriors. This trait extends to being equally protective of their siege, their mate, their Morrighan, and their offspring while still considered a hatchling or nestling.
While the overwhelming majority of dragons are fierce predators and warriors, there are those amongst them that curate the dragonsongs and seek knowledge, not combat. They gather information from the world and weave it into their songs and tales. These songs are exchanged when dragons visit the different sieges or meet after a battle.
Dragons are highly intelligent and, surprisingly, highly social – most of the time. Their social behavior is a learned adaptation for survival, so it can occasionally come into conflict with their territorial instincts. As with all intelligent creatures, their core personalities vary. Some are more tolerant or curious than others, some are more focused on eradicating all vestiges of the Shadow from Aereth.
Many dragons have a well-developed, albeit somewhat droll, sense of humor, and most have a true appreciation for beauty. The biggest thing to remember is that while dragons have evolved and learned to deal with the bipedal beings on Aereth, they are not remotely human. They will perceive things as a predator would, they are highly protective of their own whether it is a biped they have imprinted or a lifemate, even their aerie.
There is also an innate arrogance that comes from the great age of their species and of individual dragons. Remember, as you create and write your dragon, his or her ancestors had culture and society before the first intelligent bipeds were created or evolved. Their incredibly long lives also play into their rather arrogant view of the world around them.
Dragons are moderately influenced by their Morrighan’s personality as well. This slight blending of personas does not radically alter who the dragon is or impact its individuality. Although somewhat short-tempered, dragons experience the full range of sentient emotions.
This bond is a psychic link. It is formed during the mating flight and cemented once the male shows the female to his bower. It is only then that she completely accepts him. Lifemates love one another although the emotion is expressed via the psychic link and not as most humans would understand it.
A Dragons will never form a lifemate bond with a member of another species.
Imprinting with a member of the biped races forms another type of lifemate bond. This is also a psychic bond but lacks the sexual component of true lifemates. Over time, the imprinting becomes even stronger and more resilient than the lifemate bond. A dragon can survive the death of his or her Morrighan, but the severing of the link is agonizing on both the physical and emotional levels. The dragon will often spend several months or years grieving. Whether or not a dragon will imprint another Morrighan often depends on where they are in their life cycle as well as how strong their bond was with their Morrighan (i.e., how long they were imprinted).
The term given to those that have been imprinted is wingbonded. A wingbond can be voluntarily severed by the dragon. However, as this is both physically and emotionally painful, it is usually a last resort. Dragons that know they about to Cross Beyond the Veil will free their Morrighan of the bond before Crossing. Wingbonds that are severed without any preparation can be crippling, in some cases, neither party recovers.
Imprinting vs. Impressing: A Dragons imprints on a biped. A biped impresses a Dragons.
Note to Roleplayers: As one of our roleplayers, you may choose to play both a Dragons and their bonded biped (Human, Gwerin, Traveler, Wyr, Murian or – while unlikely – a Dwarrow). However, to expand your opportunities for interaction, we suggest that you make your biped an adoptable NPC or create a Character Request. While waiting for someone to claim it, you can write the biped as an NPC.
Marking is another form of Imprinting. It is less intense and generally occurs between non-combatants. Marking is usually a matter of choice by both the dragon and biped. While a light psychic bond forms, it is primarily for communication and can be easily severed. Severing a link formed by marking is not difficult or detrimental to either party.
This is not actually the bond of blood relatives. Dragons do not have strong family ties. However, over time, they will form emotional (not psychic links) attachments with other members of the siege – other dragons and bipeds (humans, Gwerin, Wyr, etc.).
Dragons do not give themselves names as humans or other sentient bipeds understand them. A dragon’s identity is a combination of sounds (song and echolocation), emotions, aura or psychic impression, and images that they telegraph to others of their kind.
A dragon receives its human-sounding name when they imprint on a biped. Part of the bonding includes the Morrighan, Sage or other biped giving them a name. While they do not have a preference for human-sounding names, there is a trend of giving them names that contain a dd, th, or ss sound in them. Dd and Th sound similar to one another.
An aerie is a dragon’s den or lair. Some aeries are natural caves, others are created by the dragons by using its fire to help it hollow out chambers in the mountains. Aeries tend to be light, warm, and dry with large chambers. They usually consist of at least three interconnected chambers or caverns. Two for dwelling and one bower that lies behind the first two and is easily defensible. Bowers are usually somewhat smaller and easily heated.
Dragons live in colonies of aeries called sieges. A siege can be made up of a few dozen aeries or several thousand. The size of the colony depends on how good the hunting is in the area, availability of aeries, how suitable the terrain is for creating an aerie, and how well the local population or ruler of a nation supports it.
Almost all sieges are located in collapsed craters of extinct volcanoes. A large enough caldera, such as the Burning Sea, can support more than one siege.
See the document: Dragon Sieges.
When speaking of a siege, it is normal to refer to them as Siege Name. For example, you would say Siege Airlanth.
Sieges will be added or deleted as necessary when we begin laying out the map of Aereth.
A citadel is a fortress-like structure that has been built over and around a siege. The construction pauses but never stops completely. Citadels grow as the siege itself grows. The designers and builders are usually the men, women, and dragons that live in and around the siege itself.
Citadels are both cities and defensive forts. The majority of the Gwerin, Morrighan, Dragonguard, and other people with business in the Siege are housed within the citadel. If there are nearby villages, the residents can be sheltered within its walls during times of war or other aggression.
A rookery consists of a large number of dragon nests. All rookeries are located within the craters and calderas of active volcanic systems because the dragons rely on the heated soil to complete the incubation of their eggs.
Originally, rookeries were scattered around the world on volcanic islands. Their locations were closely guarded secrets that not even the Morrighan knew. As biped races increased in number, the locations of some of the rookeries became known and were exploited by the enemies of the dragons. This led the dragons to begin consolidating their nests within their sieges since most sieges are located within volcanic mountain chains. If the siege exists where there is not enough geothermal activity to support a rookery, then that dragon population uses an off-site rookery that is well-guarded.
Nests are hollowed out in the cliffs around a caldera or crater. If the heat in the cliff walls is not sufficient for incubation, nests will be dug into the floors of these structures near the base of the cliff walls. A Dragons instinctively knows when a volcano is entering an eruptive phase and will abandon their nests if necessary. If a volcano goes extinct or becomes too active, Dragons will find a new site for their rookery.
Nest sites are valuable real estate and often a source of disagreement between pairs of bonded dragons.
Baara – Lord of Ys
Baara was a powerful Gwerin sorcerer on Uthuria. When the continent was destroyed, he barely survived. The Great Darkness chose to nudge him back to life. In return, Baara vowed allegiance to the Shadowed One. In the thousands of years since, he has become viewed as an immortal god-king. Baara rules the Obsidian Isles under his self-styled titles, Lord of Ys and Lord of Shadows.
This siege rivals Siege Perilous as the most ancient of the Dragons colonies. At one time, it was the Dragons’s outpost on the continent of Uthuria. It still stands on the dark and foreboding Obsidian Isle and is the lair of the drakhmar. Siege Azdiel is ruled by the first drakhmar, Empress Xorayss.
Needless to say, there is no love lost between these people and the Dragons. The original groups probably came together out of fear of the dragons and there are those that still become a Dragonslayer because of hatred and fear. However, modern slayers are more about greed and the black market which pays a huge price for true Dragoneyes and Dragons hides.
Dragons pay a steep price for their ability to fight the Shadowborn. Any dragon who has their eyes taken by the dragonslayers loses a vital source of protection against the Shadowborn and prevents them from Crossing Beyond the Veil to the Sword of Light.
They become a drakhmar: a semi-lifeless, lethal, demonic version of his or her former self. A drakhmar is distinctive because of their glowing eyes that flicker like pale flames in the empty sockets. The drakhmar also lacks the sheen or iridescence to their scales that it had in life. Instead, it is usually a dull shade of black or dark ashy grays; all color and beauty are gone from their scales, unlike even a black dragon who has a raven’s wing iridescence to their scales.
The reason for the drastic transition lies in the theft of the eyes, and the murder. The act causes the Dragons’s soul to be riven, besmirched and absorbed by the Shadows. The drakhmar are a living (or rather undead) nightmare for all races alike, as their powers are much greater than that of a common or even major horde. They are also able to take command of the Horde, by controlling them through their mind and dreams.
A drakhmar is often ridden by higher-ranking creatures within a Horde. There are also rumors that they become mounts for the Heptarchs.
Note: Technically, the drakhmar is neither dead or alive. They are caught somewhere between life and death. Most of the people of Aereth call this place, the Abyss, the unearthly realm of the Shadowborn.
Xorayss is the Empress of Siege Azdiel. Being the first of the drakhmar, she is ancient beyond measure, and an implacable foe. No one, ally or enemy, wishes to be taken to her aerie. Xorayss is the epitome of an evil dragon.