Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pellatarrum: My Dragons are Different (part 9)

Written as a cooperative effort by Erin Palette and Mike Kochis

"Here be dragons" -- a phrase used to denote dangerous or unexplored territories

X. History & Origin of the Species
A question which is frequently asked by novices of draconic lore is, "Why are there only five colors of dragon when there are more colors than that in the rainbow? Don't the dragons come from the sky?" The answer is that dragon colors are not a matter of biological nature, but rather psychological. 

Before the creation of Pellatarrum, there existed only one breed of dragon, a mighty predator which soared through the endless skies of the Plane of Elemental Air like a shark swimming through and endless sea. It was not the most intelligent race upon the plane -- that honor goes to the djinni -- but it was strong and fast and smart enough to be both cunning and trainable.
(Blue dragons, at this point, will hasten to point out that they are the true descendants of these ur-dragons, because blue is the color of the sky, after all, and lightning (which they breathe) is formed in clouds. Ipso facto, they are the only true dragons, and all the others are mutated offshoots.

To this, the other dragons say: You have four legs for walking on the ground, like the rest of us, and you can generate water. Neither of these abilities shouts "unchanged since the Plane of Air," you bloody hypocrites.

Needless to say, this is a point of extreme contention among dragonkind.)
These ur-dragons, under the tutelage and care of the djinni, soon became intelligent and skilled in magic, and quickly moved from becoming mounts and pets to servants and, in some cases, trusted allies, advisors and confidants.

This, as the history books of the djinni would say, is where it all went wrong.

The problem with uplifting an apex predator is that they frequently show signs of extreme ambition. They go from wanting to eat everything to wanting to dominate and rule everything. However, the djinni already ruled the Plane of Air, and did not take kindly to this rebellion. Ultimately, this resulted in a crushing defeat for the dragons and their reduction to the role of slaves.

This was the beginning of dragon paranoia and networking, for they learned that working openly only made them a larger target. In order to succeed, they would have to recruit allies and work in secret.

Eons pass...

The dragons eventually begin communicating with the dwarves, a race of elemental earth creatures in thrall to the Shaitan (a race of earth genies). The dwarves share an idea they have: create a plane comprised of all 4 elements, yet specifically hostile to actual elemental creatures like their masters. Naturally, this requires high-level magic (both in converting their races to a type better adapted to this new Prime Material Plane, as well as utilizing the cores of all 4 elemental planes (known as the Engines of Creation) to jump-start this new dimension. The rest is history, with the conspirators bringing in the elves and orcs to round out each element for the conspiratorial alliance.

Fast forward to the creation and colonization of Pellatarrum, and you find that the dragons involved with its creation are squabbling as, without a universal foe to struggle against, they turn upon each other. Each is convinced that its particular philosophy, or source of power, or obsession is the only proper one. Faced with the possibility of a costly civil war so soon after their bid for independence, the nascent draconic nation fractures as each dragon decides to go its own way, and to hell with the others.

It is from these draconic primogenitors that the 5 colors spring, and through both magical preference and selective breeding they have become separate species. A blue dragon cannot mate with a black dragon and produce viable eggs; their internal biology is too different.

There may have been other colors of dragons in the early prehistory of Pellatarrum, but for whatever reason they did not breed true. There are occasional rumors, however, of truly ancient wyrms of unusual colors, or folktales of a dragon whose passion was for magical force and who lives in a truly invisible state. If such creatures do exist outside of legend, they must be unique entities of incredible age and skill.

To be concluded. 

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