By Dominic Ford
Long ago, when Dragons walked the empty world alone, they began to struggle mightily to find their place in this vast world. With so much to explore and so little to do, the Dragons began to grow restless. As the clans grew and the younger dragons began to mature, they began to squabble with each other. This led to a variety of inter-clan struggles, often resulting in egg stealing and ritualistic dueling. The Elder Dragons watched this with fear and trepidation in their hearts, and knew they had to intervene before one Dragon forgot their divine heritage and killed another. The Elders convened at the First Forge, and discussed the various issues the clans had with each other. After days of petty squabbling, they finally concluded that they needed the assistance of Tiala, the mother of Dragons.
Each Elder brought forth a small token of their clan for their mother, and Tiala rushed quickly to help her children . She listened carefully to their concerns, and then at the end presented them with the First Gift, which became the Lost Gift. This was the Song of Dreaming, the Dragon Horn of Sleep. Simply blowing the horn played a sweet lullaby which sent the listener to a long sleep filled with vivid dreams. The council agreed to only use the horn against the worst offenders, but as time passed their resolve slowly slipped. Finally a young Dragon was sentenced to a long sleep for building a wall a few feet higher than his older neighbor desired. In a fit of rage the young Dragon seized the horn and blew it long and hard, sending the entire council of Elder Dragons into a deep sleep. When they awoke, the horn was gone, lost forever. Thus was the First Gift received, abused, and lost.
The Elder Dragons, again at a loss and now without even the basic punishment of the Horn, turned to their divine father, Bahu. Their gifts woke him from slumber, and he immediately determined that their conflict stemmed from nothing more than boredom. Bahu developed and taught each clan secret methods for creating a strong material, unique to each clan. This formed the Second Gift, which is the forgotten forge lore. This was the True Secret of Fire, purest Dragon Steel. Naturally, the clans were far from content with their own secrets and sought that of the other clans. Each clan engaged different methods, varying from the Iron hiding in forges and Gold seducing Masters to Blue scrying for secrets and Silver torturing those who opposed them. This only served to increase the inter-clan conflict, as each clan had new reasons to be angry with the other clans.
Worried and unsure of what to do next, the Elders once again went to Tiala, seeking her wisdom once again. Tiala was greatly displeased to see her children again, and flew south, across the great plain and beyond the Southern Lands, on the border between the Dragon mountains and the great birthing place, which had become the Dragon Sands. Here she diverted the winds and dried the land, and created a desert valley trapped by high mountain wells. She called for the Elders, and they came, one at a time, to answer their mother. Tiala showed them this new place, the Third Gift, the Dead Lands, and promised the Dragons this would be a place of solitude, where they could think and consider their actions. Each Elder, save the White, waited within the confines of this desolate valley until the flesh rotted from their bones and their power infused the sand, the air, the mountains with powerful and dangerous magic. The White Elders stand today, guardians of this ancient place, torn between their final respite and their sacred protective duty.
Younger Dragons knew they couldn't last long without a council of Elders to watch over them, and each clan set their own criteria for who should sit on the council. The Silver dragons chose based purely on age, the Whites based on number of offspring, the Coppers on crop yields and the Blacks on an election system. Each clan chose a different way, but eventually a new council was convened, but the strife and conflict between clans was stronger than ever. At last, the Dragons turned to Bahu a second time, pleading for something to end the worst crimes - the egg stealing and the constant shedding of blood outside formal duels. Bahu found the worst offender, a Dragon who had stolen at least twenty eggs from each other clan. With this criminal Bahu set the example and began the Rite of Dra-keth, ripping off the dragons front wing bones and cursing the Dragon to amplify pain and hunger, remind her of her crimes and feeding on her intellect. This formed the Fourth Gift, the unmentionable gift, the path to Destruction, the Dra-Keth.
After several years of performing the rite only against those who most deserved it, the young Council grew concerned again. The authorized blood duels were getting more frequent and less lenient, and the Council worried it was only a matter of time before one Dragon killed another outright. Finally they went to the first forge and spent five long months in prayer and meditation, avoiding all food, drink, or carnal vices. Thin and weary, they called upon both Tiala and Bahu for guidance. Their parents arrived to find the young councilors on the brink of starvation, and knew the Dragons needed something to keep them occupied and distracted. Tiala and Bahu exchanged a knowing look, and developed a plan. Tiala formed dozens of small creatures and Bahu breathed them to life. This was the Fifth Gift, meant to be the Great Distraction. This became the Pure Honor, as the Dragons became virtual gods to the Dwarf Children.
The Dwarves, inspired by their parents, began feuding almost immediately. The Dragons, attempting to be as excellent parents as their own, quickly began to intervene. They spoke of patience, of service, of clan loyalty above your own, of family and honor. The Dragons began to follow their own advice, and the danger of murder seemed to lessen gradually as time went on. Still, strife boiled under the surface. Bahu and Tiala knew that someday the Fifth Gift would fail their jealous and difficult children, just as the first four did. Until that time, the Dragons would be occupied with their children.