The Dragons of Istaria are an enigmatic, ancient race whose existence predates the earliest of written records. In fact, a good deal of what is known about early Istarian history comes directly from sources the Dragons have shared with the other Living Races. Dragons have always held themselves outside the affairs of the other Living Races; only recently did both factions of Dragon society begin active cooperation with the "naka-duskael", or roughly translated as the "unscaled" in the Dragon tongue. Even amongst the Dragons, the necessity of survival will foster action outside the norm of their isolationism. This is quite the far cry from a race that many scholars believe were revered as deities in the times before the Age of the Gods.
Dragons themselves are quite alien when compared to the other Living Races physically, contributing to the solitary nature of the race. They are the largest of the races, with the eldest of the Dragons, the ancients, many times larger than the largest of the bipedal races. Dragons, once they reach a certain age, achieve the gift of flight; their enormous wings provide balance and some control in the air, but their ability to fly seems to be based more on their harnessing of external, mystical energies. Their skin is covered with thick scales, offering better protection than the majority of the armors the Living Races use. Dragons also have the natural ability to expel energy at a target by using their breath; most Dragons show an affinity with fire as their breath weapon of choice, though fire is not exclusively the energy used. The older a Dragon is dictates the potency and the variety of energy they might breathe. Dragons shun the use of conventional items and tools, relying more on their innate powers of magic to craft devices that suit their needs and to alter the environment around them. Dragons are also very possessive creatures; what a Dragon owns is of paramount importance to them. Dragons keep hordes of gold, resources, and items in secret caches only known to them; Dragons seem to be able to feed (in the figurative sense) off of the size of their horde, giving them added power.
Even with the distinct and unique nature of Dragon-kind in Istaria, there are certain realities of being that even the mighty Dragons cannot escape from. For hundreds of years, the Dragons have endured what outsiders call the Great Schism. In what is known of current Dragon society (the Dragons are not fond of openly sharing the details of their personal business with the world at large), there are two major factions: the Lunus and the Helian. The Lunus view themselves as the paragon of civilization, and that the other races should serve either to edify Dragon civilization (from a comfortable distance away), or they should simply get the hell out of the way. The Helian see themselves as the protectors of knowledge and the world at large; they feel the other races of Istaria could learn much from their example, and often inform them as much when they do decide to communicate. While other smaller factions have existed, these two represent the bulk of the mindset of their society.
While the differing philosophies of the factions at first never found themselves at odds, they began to clash when the maturing Living Races no longer feared and revered the Dragon-kind as they did in times past. The Lunus are typically the warriors of Dragon society; they felt that the other Living Races, especially the Humans, would eventually spell the downfall of the Dragons and wanted to take appropriate action to stop it. The Helians are more of the scholars and mages of Dragon society; they countered the Lunus by saying that they should take the lead in Istarian society, re-earning the reverence the other Living Races once had for them. The differences compounded between the factions, and over time became twisted as the inherent, unflattering draconic characteristics of possessiveness and greed twisted each side?s view to the point that they found themselves at odds. Eventually, both factions became so disaffected with each other that unless immediate and drastic changes were made, the Dragons might turn on their own. The Helian acted first, choosing to relocate themselves away from their ancestral home so that they could pursue their agenda in peace. The Lunus were not happy with their society being torn asunder, but they did not move to stop the Helian; cooler minds realized that a civil would certainly have spelled the doom that they had predicted would befall them all along.
Though the Dragons now have turned their attention to the continuing threat of the Withered Aegis and their Undead Hordes, the memories of the Great Schism are still fresh in their minds as though it happened yesterday. The Helian have an open dialogue (as open as dialogue with a Dragon can be) with the Humans, the Dwarves, and the free city of Tazoon. The Lunus have found it necessary on occasion to work with their neighbors in the mutual defense of their lands from the Undead Horde. The Lunus also share a dislike for the Humans with the Fiends, and their mutual dislike has fostered cooperation between them. The Dragons remain two distinct cultures to this day, and even though the menace of the Undead Hordes might force them to work together from time to time, there is little chance that the Dragons will reunite under a single banner anytime soon. Dragons are blessed with an unbridled strength, making them fearsome Warriors. Dragons also strike a balance between power and focus, making them solid practitioners of the arts arcane.
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Dralk is the ancestral home of all the Dragons of Istaria. Dragon legends establish that it was Drulkar himself, the God of Fire and the "First Dragon", who shaped the first lair of the city. Much like the alien physiology and psychology of the Dragons, their home city is one that looks quite strange and somewhat foreboding to an outsider. Dralk is a network of lairs and caverns betwixt numerous crystals, floating islands and perches. There are very few communal places in Dralk, but these are lavishly sculpted and detailed. Such places house the shared knowledge of the Dragons as well as many tablets of detailed magical knowledge.
As magnificent and exotic as Dralk appears, one cannot also help but notice that the city feels somewhat isolated and deserted. While the Dragons as a race adopt an isolationist attitude toward the other Living Races whenever possible, they cannot hide the fact that the city once was significantly more populated. For hundreds of years, the Dragons have been separated into two factions that are divided along ideological lines. The Dragons of Lunus, which by and large constitute the warriors of Dragon society, hold their dominance over Dralk. The Dragons of Helian have long ago relocated to their city of Chiconis, far to the southeast of Dralk.
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The Helian faction of Dragons, having exiled themselves from their original home city during the height of the Great Schism, came to the Granitefall Mountains hundreds of years ago to set up their new home. Chiconis is that new home ("new" being a relative term to the Dragons) for the Dragons of Helian, located between the Dwarves and the Humans. Many of the Helian Dragons are the scholars and mages of Dragon society, and the relative seclusion of Chiconis high in the Granitefall Mountains offers them the solitude and space they seek to pursue their own agendas. Travel to the city on foot is difficult at best, and though they are warmer to the other Living Races than their counterparts of the Lunus faction, the Dragons of Helian are very suspicious of uninvited visitors to their city.
Chiconis has many of the trappings of Dralk - numerous shaped spires and perches line the city, along with a labyrinth of passages that connect the various lairs to the outside world. The city, however, is noticeably smaller and considerably more plain in design than Dralk is. There is also the feeling of temporariness in the city, despite the fact that it is made of stone; one certainly gets the notion that the Helian do not intend to make this a permanent home.