The Elder Scrolls
The Dragons (drah-gkon and dov-rha to the ancient Nords, or dov in their native language) are a rarely-seen race of large reptilian beasts of Akaviri origin often thought to be extinct. Little is known about them beyond their remarkable intelligence and affinity for magic which, among other things, grants them the abilities to speak and fly despite their lack of lips or aerodynamic frame. There are several varieties of dragon that come in a range of colors.
Dragons are large, scaled creatures, easily several times larger than a human or elf. They have long, slender extremities, with thin bat-like wings and ridges of spikes along their back. Dragons have three sharp talons and one vestigial digit known as a dewclaw on each of their legs, as evidenced by their written language.
It has been suggested that they may be able to shape-shift in order to disguise themselves. It is rumored that Tosh Raka, leader of the Tiger people of Ka Po’ Tun, has succeeded in transforming himself into a dragon. So-called “”/campaign/the-elder-scrolls/wikis/Dragonlings/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Dragonlings" found around the Iliac Bay area are actually over-sized lizards unrelated to the progeny of Akatosh, who are larger, smarter, and much more deadly.
Historically, dragons lived in and around isolated mountain villages. If any of these settlements still exist, they have yet to be rediscovered. The villages were situated in areas that allowed flight free of obstructions as well as flats for raising cattle, which dragons would snatch from the air when they wished to eat. There is even some indication they practice smithing. Dragons are also known to prefer solitary mountain lairs safe from thieves and aggressors. The avatar of Akatosh is a flaming dragon, he is said to be the father of dragons, whom he made in his image. Many stories tell of Akatosh co-mingling with and organizing groups of dragons, although this representation may be metaphorical. Peryite also takes the form of a dragon, but this is only to spite Akatosh.
The Dragon Age
During the Merethic Era, dragons in Skyrim and elsewhere terrorized and subjugated the mortal races, led by Alduin, the first dragon and self-proclaimed aspect of Akatosh. Dragon Priests kept the population enthralled and obedient by means of a widespread dragon-worshipping cult, the Dragon Cult, and many people of this era became the undead Draugr that still prowl the crypts of Skyrim, Solstheim, Atmora, and anywhere else the Dragon Priests “kept peace between dragons and men”. The center of power in Skyrim of this dragon empire is thought to have been Bromjunaar, where dragon priests decided matters of their law. The subjugated populace overthrew the dragons and their priests in the legendary and brutal Dragon War, sending any remaining dragons and cultists into hiding and clearing the way for the many empires which have risen and fallen since. While their large numbers made little difference at first, mortals were able to find ways to kill the dragons, who were previously thought undefeatable. Some people, notably priests of the Nine Divines, claim that Akatosh intervened against the dragons to help end the war, and that some dragons fought against their own kind.
The Disappearance of the Dragons
Dragons became more elusive after losing their grip on power. Their numbers dwindled over the years due to many causes: their population in Akavir was wiped out by the Tsaesci, who also brought their onslaught to Tamriel, and the dragons in Vvardenfell were overrun by invading cliff racers. The Akaviri Dragonguard and its successor, the Blades, along with other heroes, hunted dragons and their followers throughout the eras until dragons were nearly extinct. Tiber Septim offered those who remained protection in return for their fealty. Despite his pledge, almost all known wild dragons were killed or driven off, disappearing from sight in Tamriel.
Some sources claim that all dragons disappeared at once, being devoured by a dragon king or absorbed by Tiber Septim when he ascended to godhood. Many held the belief that the dragons were extinct. This was not true, as live dragons continued to exist throughout the Third and early Fourth Era. The Akatosh Chantry hold dragons as their holy symbol, and keep tamed dragons in their “sacred grove”. Many ancient legends tell of dragons making deals with other races to protect themselves. According to Brarilu Theran, at least one dragon is known to have laired in the smoking ruins of Vvardenfell after the Red Year, long after the cliff racers were driven off by Saint Jiub.
The World-Eater Wakes
After being largely absent from the affairs of Tamriel for hundreds of years, dragons reappeared en masse in Skyrim in 4E 201 thanks to Alduin, the first and most powerful dragon, who had led the fight against mortals in the Dragon War. Alduin, who had been transported through time by the ancient Nords, was able to resurrect many of his fallen brethren, as only the dragons and Dragonborn have the power to permanently kill a dragon by absorbing its soul. The Dovahkiin of prophecy emerged to defeat Alduin and absorb the souls of many of the dragons he unleashed. The fate of the remaining dragons in Skyrim is unknown.
Alduin – First-Born of Akatosh, bringer of the end times.
Nafaalilargus – A soldier of Tiber Septim. Slain by Cyrus the Redguard.
Paarthurnax – Younger sibling to Alduin, and the one responsible for teaching the Nords how to use the Thu’um.
Skakmat – Nulfaga’s familiar, who created the dense fog at the Battle of Cryngaine Field.
Tosh Raka – The king of the Ka Po’ Tun, who according to popular myth was transformed into a dragon.
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