Loremaster’s Archive—Dragons in the Second Era

01/11/2019

The community has lore questions about Dragons during the time of The Elder Scrolls Online, and we have answers! Check out the latest Loremaster’s Archive, written by Loremaster Leamon Tuttle himself!


Greetings, fellow scholars! I hereby call this lecture to order. I hope you’ll forgive any outbursts of scholarly enthusiasm. It’s just that I’ve waited ever-so-long to assemble this gathering of like-minded academics. You are all most welcome, and I will endeavor to provide detailed answers to your every inquiry! Perhaps an introduction to start?

My name is Camilla Calsivius—arcane naturalist in residence for the University of Gwylim. I’m also a member of the newly established Dragonguard! Or should I say reestablished? Honestly, it hardly matters.

While I have the utmost respect for the famed swordsman, Sai Sahan, the army he’s assembled strikes me as… unconventional. To put it mildly. Now, I’m no warrior; and even if I were, I would be loath to assault such majestic creatures as Dragons. But, spending time with the Dragonguard has provided ample opportunity to study the creatures up close. I offer modest support for the Dragonguard’s research, and in turn, they allow me to accompany them on their hunts. I can scarcely believe my luck!

Now, I suppose that’s enough about me. Let’s start this conversation in earnest. Who’s first?

 

“What prompted Kaalgrontiid to split off from the bulk of the Dragons in the Northern Lands, if they were originally part of Alduin's kingdom?”

An excellent question! Let me begin by admitting that I’ve never spoken with Kaalgrontiid, so I can offer little more than supposition. As I’m sure you already know, Dragons are conquerors by nature. All my research indicates that this thirst for domination is not unlike our thirst for water in a desert. They need to bring the world to heel. This drive to rule may have prompted Kaalgrontiid’s abandonment of the north.

Personally, I would take the assertion that a literal world-eating Alduin reigned over Skyrim with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, Dragons do reliably fall into natural hierarchies. In all likelihood, one Dragon reigned over all the others—a king of kings. Was this supreme Dragon the legendary Alduin? Perhaps. Perhaps not. In either case, a Dragon as proud and powerful as Kaalgrontiid would likely chafe against this chief Dragon’s hegemony. How can one conquer what already belongs to one’s elder brother? I believe pride and ambition drove him to leave.

Also, Elsweyr strikes me as a far greater prize than Skyrim. Which would you rather rule? Pristine jungles and dizzying plateaus peopled by one of Tamriel’s elder races, or a frozen wasteland inhabited by mead-guzzling barbarians? I’d choose the former, personally. No offense intended to any Nords in the audience!


“It surprises me that there are no known notable Draconic constructions, given the might of such beings. Was their civilization truly so simple as to perch on hills and mountains all day, as is told in stories, or might they have created great constructs which have been long lost to us?”

A “simple” culture? My word, I hope you never say that when a Dragon sails within earshot!

I would answer that question in three ways. First, some scholars do contend that Dragons “built” structures and “smithed” weapons in ancient times. These theories strike me as totally absurd, but I suppose anything is possible in the churning, timeless times of ancient antiquity.

Second, what self-respecting ruler builds their own monuments? Do you really think that the Na-Totambu kings took up the pick and spade to build the stone wonders of Hammerfell? Or that Vivec swings a hammer in that gaudy city he’s building? Certainly not! That’s what a loyal workforce is for. The Dragons ruled over countless thousands through their proxies in their Dragon Cults. Better to let the mortals toil in the stone and mud, right?

Finally, you must recall how profoundly old the Dragons are, and how quaint the labors of mortals must seem to them. Just try to imagine: Dragons sailed over the face of Nirn before “time” had any meaning at all. They witnessed the birth of all that is. Where you see “hills and mountains,” Dragons likely see the majestic, exposed bones of creation itself! Can we honestly claim that an ancient castle is somehow superior to the sublime majesty of Tamriel’s highest peaks? Perhaps you can, but I certainly can’t!


“Naharanji has found what are obviously Dragon eggs in her travels. What is the proper way to care for them such they grow into a financially lucrative opportunity? Obviously nurturing these eggs such that they become young and ferocious would be ideal, but as others have mentioned, one never sees these juveniles in the wild.”

May I? Oh dear. Yes, well…. Naharanji, what you have here appear to be wamasu eggs. It’s an easy mistake to make. I guess. I’m certain you can find a buyer somewhere. Perhaps in the “markets” beneath Senchal?

If any other attendees brought “Dragon eggs” with them, I’d kindly ask that you place them outdoors. Dragons do not lay eggs. I’m sorry if that comes as a surprise to anyone. Mara’s mercy….


“The skeletal remains of Thurvokun were recently reanimated in the mines of Fang Lair by the foul Blackmarrow Cult, his ancient bones used as a vessel for the soul of their leader. Does this imply that Thurvokun's own soul was devoured by a fellow dov at some point in the past, or could he rise again?–Legoless”

Oh, thank the Eight. A real question!

The persistence of Dragons’ souls remains a matter of intense debate. All my research indicates that the soul of a Dragon persists eternally unless consumed. So, on that point, we are in agreement. As for this Thurvokun you mentioned, I can’t say for certain. I’ve never crossed paths with one of these Blackmarrow rascals, and I hope I never do!

Honestly, I find it extremely hard to believe that a mortal necromancer could manipulate a Dragon’s soul, but it does invite some fascinating hypotheticals. For instance, if someone managed to pry a Dragon’s soul from its mortal remains, where would that soul go? The particulars of soul magic are regrettably outside my area of expertise, but it seems to me that the link between a Dragon’s soul and its physical remains is far stronger than that of a mortal. Flesh and bone make up a Dragon’s form, but given their cosmic parentage, can we really compare that flesh and bone to our own? I strongly suspect that a Dragon soul, sheared from its remains, would either dissolve over time like cream poured into the ocean, or return to its point of origin—Akatosh himself. In either case, resurrection (as we understand it) would prove impossible. Reanimation, however, remains a horrifying possibility.

In summary, the classical binary of soul and body that we rely upon to explain life on Nirn just might not be broad enough to explain that relationship in Dragons. We may need to develop an entirely different vocabulary to articulate it.


“Are there such a things as modern-era Dragons that aren't wholly interested in death, domination and… well, fire?–Vivyer”

Well… no, to be perfectly frank. Dragons do occasionally find common cause with mortals. The red giant, Nahfahlaar, for instance. I’ve even heard rumors of a Dragon “monk” who dwells among those Nord ascetics on the Throat of the World. But even these exceptional Dragons cannot escape their intrinsic nature. At least I don’t think they can.

Again, we must remember that Dragons dwarf us in more than simple size and strength. Dragons are older and more primordial than the mountains they dwell upon. The forces that drive a Dragon cleave closer to natural laws than the simple whims of mortals. Waves crash. Moons wax and wane. Dragons conquer and rule. I’m afraid it’s as simple as that. Bad news for us mortals, but an astounding feature of the world at large!

Now, I’m afraid that’s all we have time for. I do hope this has been an enjoyable and enlightening lecture for all of you. Perhaps we can gather again soon. Farewell, my friends!

Oh, and Naharanji… please collect those eggs on your way out.

***

A big thank you to everyone who submitted their questions to our venerable Loremaster. If you have some questions of your own related to The Elder Scrolls Online, you can put them to the community within the lore section of our official forums. Keep an eye out for new Loremaster’s Archive articles in the future, too!

The Elder Scrolls Online: Dragonhold is now live on PC/Mac and is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation®4 on Tuesday, November 5.

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