a subject of heated debate
As with many terrifying beasts that are a dangerous threat to humans but don't procreate very often, Dragons were hunted mercilessly to extinction by the beginning of the fiftieth century. Originally they had nests all over the Arbor mountains, the Spines, and the Grey Ridge. Some would even fly across the Sea of Devastation from parts unknown to bother the Drylanders. Killing dragons and the science of killing them became more and more sophisticated. Originally, only the classic brave Knight would go after a local dragon. Mages did so sparingly...their interest was magical power, not the preservation of the local sheepherders. So the sheepherders took things into their own hands. Brave individuals would experiment with poison, with steel, with fire, with acid, and with magic. Eventually they discovered five or six good ways to kill a dragon that had a fairly low failure rate. From them on Dragons were methodically hunted down and the Dragon Hunters grew rich as kings from grateful employers. As Dragons dwindled, the practice became more of a trophy hunt. Rich noblemen would get in on the game by paying a Dragon Hunter to guide them so they would either slay the Dragon themselves or pay the Hunter to do it. Either way, they would claim the head for their ancestral home. When the Dragons were gone, so was the profession. This changed, however, in the year 6539 AC. Creatures were spotted in the sky, and those who had seen them swore up and down they they were dragons. Smaller than the legends claimed, but dragons nonetheless. Sheep began to be reported as missing, but it was in such small, scattered quantities that the Barons accused the shepherds of withholding them from the tax census. The stories grew more numerous, with one tall tale even claiming that the Alchemists had created a Dragon Hatchery, of all things, and they'd hidden it in some forsaken mountain in the Spinelands. Only Dragons could get to it, of course, so no one had visual proof. The story was largely disregarded, as not even the government could be so stupid as to breed Dragons in large quantities. Still, some intrepid young men and some old veterans took out their Dragon hooks and acid flasks and began hunting the slopes again, looking for the mythical dragons as one might hunt for faeries or unicorns. Legislation Further fire was added to the rumor flames, however, when the Aeternum made an unprovoked decree, declaring that Dragon Hunting was now illegal and anyone caught risking their lives in such a senseless fashion would be burned alive at the stake. Why such a useful profession would be banned has many people scratching their heads. Why it needs to be banned at all is a good indicator that there might be some truth to the Hatchery rumor after all.
Agricultural / Fishing / Forestry
"I don't care what Da says. I've got the gear ready...tomorrow I'm climbing the Chilled Peak and I swear I'll find the Hatchery. I know it exists! Little Bella saw dragons in the valley yesterday evening!" "They say the burned hand teaches best. You're gonna learn real well." "Go ahead and make fun of me. My great-grandpa was the best Dragon Hunter there ever was...it's in my blood to find them!" - a young Spinelander and his cousin, circa 7500 AC