As far as they knew, Dragons were the first sentient species on Earth and thus the oldest. Their usual lifespan was about 3 millennia and they were easily the strongest, most agile and most knowledgeable species in existence. They also were one of the so-called ‘Magical Creatures’, beings of magical origin, magic flowing through their whole bodies, not necessarily spell casters or magicians, but magic was part of their life. Being the first, they originated from the purest form of White Magic, later called Dragon Magic for this cause. It was their essence, their source of life, and quite likely also the source of all their powers.
After they reached a state of mental development at which reasoning and logic replaced instincts and primal urge, they stepped forth from their caves to explore the world they lived in. It was a strong need for them to gather all knowledge they could and by time pass it on to their successors. Knowledge and wisdom became the highest-valued possession and their inborn irresistible curiosity drove them to all places on Earth.
It was at the dawn of their civilization when Draconus, Eldest Dragon and suspected ancestor of most of them, decided it was time to take another place in history after their rather violent and instinct-driven past. So he designed a set of, let’s say, ‘moral rules’ for all his ‘children’ to follow from this time on. Draconus was convinced it was the duty of the strong to help and protect the weaker, and his race being the strongest resulted in an inborn duty of them to protect all living beings. Not all Elder Dragons shared his vision, but nobody wished to oppose their ‘father’ who was slowly reaching the end of his lifespan already.
Following Draconus’ wish the Elder Dragons assembled the Codex Draconis, something comparable to a ‘code of honor’, but dragons being a very honorable race and loyal to their Elders without exception, it was quickly accepted as ‘rules’ to live after and to obey by all means. No dragon ever dared disobeying the Codex, dishonoring Draconus and thus all their ancestors. It was just a few sentences, but they became the new basis of all their actions.
The Great ‘Codex Draconis’ for all of Dragonkind to live after, from now till eternity
By Draconus The Eldest on behalf of the Council of Elder Dragons
Year 5102 in the Age of Dragons
- “Never kill a living being. You’re not the one it received its life from, you have no right to take it away.” – Killing an opponent in fight should be prevented by all means. Only when it’s really inevitable to protect the life of others in imminent danger, you may end the life of the threat to save them, but even then it is still a great loss and your failure to prevent it. The best fight is a fight not fought.
- “Never a word leaves the tongue of a dragon which isn’t the truth.” – Be true to yourself and to others and search for the truth in all things.
- “Protect the weaker, fight for the helpless, help the needy.” – We are gifted with incredible abilities no others possess. It’s our duty to use them to the advantage of all.
- “Seek for knowledge wherever you are, as it is the key to wisdom. Share your knowledge for all to profit.” – There can never be enough you know, you’ll always need more. Curiosity is the only urge we can’t resist, so sate it at every opportunity and share your wisdom with everyone you meet.
- “A true Dragon never values itself or Dragonkind higher than others.” – We might be superior, but by no means are we any ‘better’ than other races. We only had significantly more time to develop. Always be aware of ‘your’ superiority and use it to ‘their’ advantage.
- “Never lightly give your word. What you promised, you must keep.” – It’s a question of honor. Don’t dishonor your race by breaking your oaths. It’s a binding contract you’re bound to with your very own life. Keep this in mind before making promises.
(Loosely translated from Ancient Draconic tongue)
Soon other sentient races appeared on Earth, and while the dragons were constantly expanding their colonies and settlements, so were most of them. It became vital to create a peaceful relationship in coexistence, but the dragons’ violent past and their appearance being intimidating to most other species of course didn’t help in this endeavor. Some millennia after Draconus’ death most animals were getting used to dragons acting as protectors. They were still careful and kept their distance but at least didn’t fear them anymore. Their instincts told them they were safe in a dragon’s vicinity, nobody would dare to harm them with a majestic beast like this nearby.
The dragons also got quite used to their role and by then most of them understood why this was so important to Draconus. It felt so good looking into the eyes of a poor critter, still heavily shaking but obviously calming down in your presence, you just saved from guaranteed death simply by letting out a single loud roar. They did understand the other animals’ need to feed and their instinct to hunt other animals for food, wasn’t it much different for them just some millennia ago, and never would they dare telling another being what it may or may not do, but still being hunted by other animals for food wasn’t the only danger and even the fiercest predator avoided hunting when a dragon could be watching.
The first sentient beings after the dragons were the other Magical Creatures. Earth’s surface was covered by streams of magic, natural sources of supernatural power. It was in the air, in the ground, in the trees, magic was flowing through all material. Where different streams of natural magic met they occasionally intertwined, mixed with each other, grew in strength and very rarely created a new form of life, most often a hybrid of sorts, a mixture between existing races, or something really new and unknown. There were for example Gryphons, half bird, half lion, or humanoid forms of other species, like the Kaiser Cobras, head of a snake and humanoid, upright-walking scaled body, or even the Gargoyles, half living being, half stone, they all were created by these random occurrences, thus their classification as Magical Creatures.
Some of them instinctively remembered dragons from their feral time, making attempts to get in contact a bit easier, but without means to communicate these rare exceptions were the only contact dragons could make with other sentient beings. This was unacceptable. It was impossible to teach others their tongue, as these lacked the organs to voice most of it, so the dragons fell back to learning the others’ languages instead, which turned out to be way easier anyways, as each was just another piece of knowledge to gain, another one of nature’s riddles to solve.
In their search for knowledge about the other species dragons soon became the first anthropologists in history. And as real anthropologists they of course also had to live among the civilisations they studied, taking part in their rituals and everyday activities, getting to know them in a way as if they actually were one of them. Quite soon dragonkind was spread all over the world, mixing in with all civilisations they could find. New colonies were founded when their number at a place was large enough.
The Council of Elder Dragons quickly changed the way its members were selected to adapt to the changes in their social structure. The Eldest Dragon from each of the major colonies automatically became a member of the Council, so when they met they always exchanged their experiences from all places on Earth and the Council was always well-informed about the world-wide situation of dragons and the other races. Rarely was it necessary to decide about any changes in direction which would affect all of dragonkind in these peaceful times, thus the Council of Dragons soon became rather a group of scolars and scientists collecting and spreading knowledge from one colony to all the others, so the younger dragons could be educated in all they needed, or wanted, to know about the world they were going to live in.
Dragons soon were valued by the other races not only as protectors but also as wise and very knowledgeable scolars or teachers. Their urge to share their knowledge with as many others as possible became quite attracting and soon all borders between them and others dropped, all last doubts and mistrust faded, dragons were heartily welcomed wherever they stopped.