The first Dragon was created by the High Lord Phylax (FIE-lax) near the end of the First Age as a living, self-replicating schema (spell). Foreseeing the rise of the Anarch and knowing that the Crysknights would not be able to protect man from the approaching Elemental War, Phylax created the first dragon to guard and protect mankind. Unfortunately Phylax was killed while in the act of finishing, disrupting the schema and altering the outcome. Instead of one dragon, two were created. The first, Archyron (ar-KIE-ron), became known as The Drakyre (dra-KEER) or Dragon Lord. The second, Nyrlth (nigh-RILTH) Ikthul (ik-THOOL), became the mother of all dragon kind. For a brief while, Archyron and Nyrlth were happy together. But as the war approached, Nyrlth sided with the N'kroi and the forces of death who sought to overthrow the High Lords and the Overlord of the Seven Spheres. It was during this struggle that Archyron mortally wounded the undying Nyrlth though she escaped.
In the intervening years Nyrlth abandoned her own kind and bred with other creatures, earning the title "Mother of Abominations". The Spawn of Ikthul soon became feared throughout several worlds, especially the half-human Drakonin (drak-OH-nin). It would be several ages before a reluctant Archyron, circumventing his own law, would use his own half-human son to banish Nyrlth (hopefully forever) to the Void.
Dragons are divided into two different groups. The common draek is a winged reptile. It may vary in size from that of a man to a city block. At best they can only be considered semi-intelligent.
True dragons are born fully intelligent. They are living creatures of pure Xaris energy. From infancy to early adulthood, they have a physical form like that of a common draek. But, after a short breeding season, they metamorph into their true form. A mature dragon (who has gone through metamorphosis) may take any form it likes while on the physical plane, but they generally prefer only two. The draek form is most convenient when a dragon needs to tap into its magical abilities; otherwise most dragons prefer the human form whose limited senses are especially suited for a physical realm.
When a dracaena (dra-KAI-na, or female dragon) is ready to lay her eggs, she finds a draek's nest in which to deposit them. Magically stunning the draek, the dracaena enters the lair and deposits a clutch of three to nine eggs (with six being the average). If the draek mother awakens too soon from her magical sleep, she will destroy the dragon's eggs, which are oblong, flexible and leathery unlike the draek's eggs, which are hard and white and somewhat larger.
The baby dragons will awaken almost immediately and begin a race for power and position that will consume them their entire lives. Ripping open the tough egg casing with a razor sharp "egg tooth" (which points backwards from their snout), the baby dragons begin breaking into the draek's eggs and consuming them. Being born intelligent, the young dragons will even use sticks or rocks as tools to crack the hard shell.
The dragons are very aware that the one who consumes the most food and amasses the most raw physical power will have an initial advantage over his siblings. (Obviously birth order is important in the hierarchy of dragons.) Occasionally, though only extremely rarely, a dragon has been known to consume one of his siblings in the initial competition for food. Since dragons never truly die, this usually results in insanity for the consuming dragon, as he constantly struggles to master the other personality within him.
Once a dragon reaches maturity, he quickly begins looking to breed. Dragons only breed once, and having accomplished that, they go through metamorphosis into their true form. In essence, they simply shed their physical bodies and leave the material word, passing into realm mortals cannot even guess at.
One of the most amazing facets of dragon physiology is the "Dragon's Pearl". The dragon's pearl is a crystal sphere created within the dragon's body that contains the dragon's essence or life force. The pearl is a translucent/opalescent sphere about the size of a man's head, though it may vary in size. It serves as the dragon's anchor to the material world and is one of the rarest treasures one can find. The truly amazing thing about the dragon's pearl is that the dragon itself can cough it up and hide it away, instilling in the dragon a significant immunity to magic, particularly against spells of a non-physical nature. Unfortunately, it can also render the dragon helpless if the pearl finds its way into the wrong hands.
When an adult dragon is preparing to undergo metamorphosis, he often hides the pearl away to protect it while it ventures into other realms. If the pearl is destroyed, the dragon will be unable to return. When he does return, the pearl serves as an egg, through which a new physical body may be hatched. As long as the pearl is safe, the dragon is never without a body. However if the pearl is destroyed the dragon loses his connection to the material world. His physical body will be destroyed, and his eternal spirit will be left to wander the higher planes.
The length of time a dragon wanders among the higher planes after metamorphosis varies wildly. If he is gone too long, the connection will be lost and the pearl will "die", becoming comparatively cloudy and dull. These "dead" pearls are still extremely valuable and are often collected by both humans and other metamorphosed dragons (the other dragons sometimes magic these dead pearls into decoys for their own pearls). A "living" pearl is worth a kingdom's ransom (and has been used as such) since with the proper magic, the dragon can be magically enslaved to serve the pearl's possessor.
Perhaps it was because Phylax created the dragons to protect mankind from elemental and other forces, but all dragons are obsessed with gaining and preserving power in all its forms, whether wealth, magic, political and military.
Dragons are fiercely competitive and obsessed with social position. Though not over fond of gambling, they do enjoy contests of call kinds, especially riddles and insulting word play where (in rare group settings) everyone publicly keeps score of everyone's relative standing.
Dragons tend to paranoia and are very subtle. Rarely do they reveal their existence to others, preferring to act indirectly through others to accomplish their goals, the more convoluted the plan, the better. Part of their reasoning may be a fear of exposing themselves to attack if their presence is known, as well as the Dragon's Law prohibiting direct confrontation between dragons.
Dragon society is feudal in nature and is organized along clan lines. Each dragon is fiercely protective of his territory, which he sees as an extension of itself. Dragons are generally loyal to their clutch-mates and their clan only because they see them as allies of circumstance and because they fear retribution. Dragons can be very vengeful, but never to the point of endangering their own position. About the only time dragons voluntarily gather is the great convocation which occurs every seven years. All dragons must gather to renew their oaths of obedience, starting with clan leaders who must give their oaths to The Dragon Lord, then on down to the individual clutches.
While it might seem that dragon society is in constant turmoil, it is quite stable. It is held in place by two factors: the dragons' preference of intrigue to direct confrontation and The Dragon's Law. The Dragon Lord established this law after the Elemental War at the end of the First Age in which half of dragon kind was banished to the southern continent. Recognizing the danger's of the dragons' territorial natures and the destruction of the war, the Drakyre feared the destruction of the world itself should further conflicts rage unchecked. The Dragon Lord thus established a law that no dragon could enter another's Korion (territory) unless he had already received an oath of fealty from that dragon. Disobedience required the offending dragon to take an oath of fealty to the trespassed dragon or face the wrath of the Dragon Lord himself. Since the Dragon Lord had personally banished half of his race, the law has remained unbroken.