Deep We Go
The Hearthland’s relationship with dragons is complex, one mired in myth, fear, circumstance, rumour and the fragmented, internecine relationships between the various races; some, like the mannish, see them as an idle legend, whilst the Eladrin consider themselves almost friends to these mysterious creatures; the rakshasa, meanwhile, barely notice them at all. Whatever the opinion, dragons are an intimate part of the history and culture of the Hearthlands, imprinted on the land and the sky, and the minds of many of its denizens.
Seen variously as beings of immense strength, longevity, wisdom, evil, greed, violence and courage, obsession with the dragons ranges from the worship of Bahamut’s monotheistic legions to the rabid and misunderstood cultists of Tiamat amongst the kobold tribes. Recently mannish governments have been attempting to wage a war of propaganda against the symbol of the Flutt Uws (the Prel Ud word for dragon, meaning “don’t look up”), turning the populace’s awe into something approximating superstitious derision. However, many see this as an irrelevant move; the ballads and sagas on the subjects of dragons range in the hundreds, and it is unlikely that most people will ever cease to nurse a distinct warmth towards them. More importantly, dragons are rarely seen in mortal lands these days; indeed since before the Saeml Gor their numbers have dwindled. Most people only hear these songs telling of brave adventurers slaying twisted drakes of unimaginable ferocity, or learning at the claw of wise old lizards, long since departed glittering into the sky. The only legacy left behind aside from their influence is the dragonborn race, their primordial language warped and half-remembered in the ceremonial natterings of their offspring.
Of those dragons remembered by those living, the oldest of the Eladrin, those few gnomes that will speak of such things, they are said to be magnificent creatures, most being bigger than a lord’s castle, or a longship, with scales shining in many different colours; it is said that they drew the air and the land into themselves, from the rich blues of the sea, to the rusty red of mountain rock. Legends tell that the mountains were created by the dragons for their homes, but most regard this as the stupidity of the peasantry. A dragon’s hoard is said to depend on the temperament of the dragon itself; one of the famous dragons of old, Gosa Brolt Mir, said to have gifted the men of the Haze Era with magical devices of times even before theirs, kept only the weapons of those who came to slay him, and who instead became his followers after the soothing and wise words of the dragon placated their bloodlust.
Such stories are told, and more are made every day. Those few dragons who have been seen in mortal realms in recent years seem to be of an almost separate breed; they are spiteful and cruel, only interested in plunder and displaying their superiority over the Higher Spirits that are arrayed before them. Warriors from all over the Hearthlands still search out battle against them, though their hunts are often fruitless.
Despite this apparent dearth of dragons to slay, however, the supposed weaknesses of the undying race are still touted throughout hunter-lore. Dragons are said to loathe the taste of sweet things, and that sugar is a torturous poison to a dragon’s tongue; apart from this it is said that a dragon may eat anything, and that he may never be blinded, as beneath his eyes are other sets, that peer out through the eyes above them, and so on, down into their skulls; and, that, if they align these eyes and stare deep into their enemy, they may pluck out his soul without ever lifting a claw.
Many will recite such advice for you, in exchange for a yard of bale, and many will claim to have rested his foot on the smoking skull of Young Kurz or Baolomat, but it is likely that most in the world today will never see another dragon, unless they find some way to fend off death and follow them into the Nourthern Waists.