The Dragonslayer Guild is not a formal guild that anyone can walk in off the street and join. Their existence is more rumor than fact, and the locations of their meeting places are closely held secrets. Most nations on the continent of Vendia frown on the practice and have enacted laws against murdering the Ddraig (dragons). Wyverns, however, are not similarly protected and are considered fair game. Therefore, if ever challenged, most ‘slayers will claim to be wyvern hunters.
For many thousands of millennia, the Ddraig (dragons) lived and worked in concert with the elder biped races to keep Aereth safe from the Shadowborn. The only “dragons” that were fair-game for hunting and killing were the wyverns and evil drakhmar. Even the youngest race, Murians, were sheltered and protected by the dragons.
Then, two things happened. At some point, the idea that all dragons were evil and dangerous began infiltrating the cultures of the world, likely brought in by Travelers from medieval Earth.
The other thing is more nebulous – somewhere and somehow, it was learned that when dragons Crossed Beyond the Veil (a form of death), their eyes were left behind as spectacular gemstones. However, dragoneyes, as the gems became known, also disappeared, presumably scattered by the Four Winds. Occasionally one or even a pair would be found deep in the earth by miners or even laying amongst river stones. It was also learned that the dragoneyes could enhance a magic-user’s connection to the Ley, lending them more power and increasing the power of spells and hexes. The value of these gems soared. Lastly, it was learned – or even general knowledge – that dragoneyes only formed if the dragon Crossed or if the eyes were extracted from a living dragon. In the first instance, it then became a matter of luck to find the gems. Capturing a dragon, removing its eyes, and killing it was more of a challenge, but the reward was having a perfectly matched pair of dragoneye gemstones. The downside, the dragon lost the ability to Cross and became a drakhmar. The dragon hunters did not care. The eyes were worth a fortune.
Who Are the Dragonslayers?
Those that hunt dragons and wyverns are drawn to the practice for many reasons. Although an overwhelming majority of ‘slayers are Murians or Travelers, there are Grayborn of many races amongst their number. Inlander Raiders often work with dragonslayer gangs. Even splitting the proceeds can leave everyone wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.
Why become a dragonslayer?
These are just a few reasons that dragonslayers cite as reasons they do the work.
Safety and Protection: Your average person cannot slay a drakhmar. It takes a dragon’s fire to destroy one. However, some of the more ethical dragonslayers hire themselves or their gangs out to rid an area of packs of wyverns or marauding skrill. Less scrupulous ‘slayers will eliminate the local “dragon” for terrified residents and present the body of a large skrill as proof.
Greed: The first and foremost reason that most men and women turn to ‘slaying is simple greed. One dragoneye is worth a fortune, a pair is worth four times the amount of a single gem. Dragon hides are exceedingly rare because their body ceases to exist upon death. Some ‘slayers are willing to skin them alive for the additional money a hide will bring.
Fear and Hatred: Along with other beliefs, Travelers from certain Earth regions and time-periods brought the fear of dragons with them to Aereth. When your village is burning, or your family has been destroyed, you do not always make the distinction between which creature was responsible. A drakhmar does have physical differences from their former dragon-self, but when running for your life, those differences are not always what is remembered. Skrills, a species of wyvern, are large enough to be mistaken for dragons by those unfamiliar with dragon-kind.
Status: There are a few people on Aereth that believe that being a dragonslayer gives them status and enhances their reputation.
Heritage: Many dragonslayers are born into the family business, and that is all they know how to do. This last group are the ones most likely to learn the error of their ways and be sickened by the practice.
Wyverns are dangerous creatures. Even the smallest ones, which are about the size of squirrels, travel in large groups and can kill humans. However, experienced ‘slayers can hunt down the various species of wyverns and dispatch them with relative ease. The hardest ones to kill are the skrills which can grow to the size of a large horse, excluding the tail. They also spit a caustic poison that will eat through a person’s skin very rapidly. Skrills also have tough hides and skins, so the dragonslayers have to employ more powerful weapons.
The hunting and killing method will vary depending on the reason the ‘slayer has for the hunt. This section will assume they are hunting dragons for their eyes.
The dragonslayer or dragonslayer gang will wait patiently along a route or near a dragon siege. They usually hide a specialized felldrake in their lair that uses a hollow bolt that delivers a huge dose of merasha into the dragon’s system.
The merasha disrupts the dragon’s senses and abilities. They cannot change shape, they cannot fly or generate fire. In essence, they are helpless.
If the ‘slayers merely want to kill the dragon, they employ felldrakes that use normal anti-dragon bolts.