Ancient Dragons

Written by Noctivox

The Ancients and the Celestials're one in the same...Y'ever wonder why they don't look like the Dragons we got nowadays?
— Ludvig vel'Drag

  Ancient Dragons, or Guardians, were the first dominant creatures to roam the Old World. They were gargantuan creatures, and were revered as gods by early Fælen and Humans.

They were some of the longest lived and most powerful creatures to roam Vernelis, believed by many to have transcended mortality, but they were not exactly divine beings. The similarities between records of the Ancient Dragons and the Celestials of the Risen World are also striking, leading many to believe that the Celestials are reincarnations of the Ancients.

History

The Ancient Dragons came to be during the Time of The Trinity, when the Roaring Trinity still had direct influence on the world. It's said that Dragons were among the first creations of the Trinity once life began.

This was a time of great conflict within the Trinity, however. The Gods often argued and started fights between one another out of fear of each other's powers. Their magic was imbued in the Dragons who were caught in the crossfire of their battles, and it killed most other forms of life.
The Ancients quickly adapted to the Gods' magic, and were soon able to use it for their own purposes. When the Trinity noticed this, they figured they could use the Dragons as their pawns. This started the War of Three Gods.

But after years of tumultuous skirmishes, they realized that their war was pointless; they were all equally matched. Noting the destruction their bickering had brought on the world, they decided their power should never be used again.

As a gift to Dragonkind, they allowed the Ancients to keep their abilities. As the Trinity slumbered, their bodies turned to lead, and their forms were sealed in a delicately formed balance of magic. For eons to come, the eldest Ancient Dragons would protect their creators against any who drew near.

In the modern day, the Ancients' magic is still harnessed by Dragonminds, utilizing their Souls' power to their fullest extent through the use of their draconic language.

Classifications

The vast spread of the Ancients across the world meant that there was much variety to their evolution throughout the millennia. Generally, historians categorize the Ancients into four types for simplicity, but their genetic variety stretches much further.

Tropical
Tropical Ancients primarily inhabited the more humid regions of Vernelis's equator. It's believed these areas were home to several massive rainforests, within which these Dragons roamed.

Their bodies were long and snake-like, with relatively small wings. It's thought that these Dragons did not do much flying, and only did so to escape other Dragons. Despite their serpentine bodies, they had limbs, and would use them to lunge at prey. Their magic was believed to manipulate the flora and plantlife of their environment in order to trap prey or defend their territories.

Mountainous
Mountainous Ancients are the most well-known and respected variants of the Ancient Dragons. Many would claim entire mountain ranges as their home, which included any valleys, plains or rivers. These were where most early Faelen and Human civilizations would settle, so when any Ancient claimed the area, they owned their villages too.

This is believed to be how most early mortal-deity relationships formed. Entire villages would provide food or other sacrifices to their Guardians, and in return the Ancients would protect their homes.

Physically, they were distinct for their massive wingspans which could easily eclipse the Suns. Their magic involved the use of fire, most often for defense, intimidation, or judgment of villages. Fire was also used as a part of their language itself, though its meaning is unknown.
Mountainous Ancients usually slept in a single large cave that they might spend years digging out themselves. These caves were also a common hiding spot for the valuables they collected through sacrifice. Eventually, it became common for Ancients to hunt other Ancients in attempt to steal their valuables if their own villages were destroyed or abandoned.

This led to more frequent confrontations and battles between Ancients, which were observed and recorded by early civilizations, even leading to some of the first observations of Soul Fusion, and the speaking of the Aresian language.

Oceanic and Arctic
The domains of the Oceanic and Arctic Ancients were mostly bound to the surface of the Old World, meaning that records of their existence are very hard to come across in the modern day Risen World.

The Oceanic Ancients dwelled in the deep oceans, surfacing only to take shallower-dwelling prey off-guard. When the world was risen, the oceans were left behind in the depths of the Blackness, making any fossil records or observations impossible. Primary accounts of their existence do survive, though, and there was a very prominent fear of attack by these creatures by early Faelen explorers.

The Oceanic Ancients' magic was thought to help them survive in the deepest, coldest parts of the ocean, and they could willingly allow their Soul's energy to leak into the water surrounding them. This would heat the water to boiling temperatures, surely killing any creatures that came near. Of all the Ancients, they are the most likely to still survive due to their adaptibility.

Knowledge of the Arctic Ancients are similarly sparse. They are thought to have lived at both poles of the planet, and while some may have survived the Great Death and the Dark Era, it is believed they would have perished as the lands were risen, as the North and South poles of Vernelis are some of the most shattered and hostile regions known.
Extinct
  Also Known As
Guardians
The Ancients
The First Dragons
  Genetic Descendants
Drælen
Dragons
Kobolds
  Lifespan Average
Thought to be immortal, possibly tens of thousands of years.
  Intelligence
Highly sapient
  Average Height / Length of...
Mountainous Ancients
10-30m / 24-60m
Tropical Ancients
5-15m / 25-35m
Oceanic / Arctic Ancients
Unknown


Cover image: by Sebastian Wagner

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