To me, dragons are the epitome of magic and fantasy. They are epic in both proportion and power. With fifty novels in the fantasy genre, I’ve created my share. I’ve worked on dragons in my own worlds and helped develop those in others. I’ve always attempted to make them different from one another, at least in some regard, so that each world has something unique to give to the reader. In fact, I actually think that dragons themselves offer that opportunity just for being who and what they are. Below, are a few prime examples, including my latest, the dragon from the Black City Saint series.
The Dragon Kings and the drakes of the Dragonrealm
My first creation, the Dragonrealm has been, and continues to be, an active part of my career from its inception. The simple explanation is that many of the lands in the series begin under the claws of shape-shifting ruler of a race that has two basic forms. Giant dragons and, for the males, scaly-armored knights. The females are a bit more successful, managing what appears to be more elven forms.
The truth is, however, that there is a reason that a human form has more and more appeal to them. The drake race of the Dragonrealm shares the same ancestor as the humans—an ancient race of sorcerers called the Vraad. Through desperate manipulation of spells, some of the Vraad attempted to escape their dying world by transporting their spirits to remotely-created human bodies strengthened by the essence of animalistic dragons discovered in what would become the Dragonrealm. That plan backfired badly, resulting in them becoming sentient dragons who, with a few exceptions, forgot their lives. Their descendants remain mostly unaware, but newer drakes sometimes seem more and more human again… which may only make them more sinister.
The dragon folk and the dragon who judges gods
In my more recent Rex Draconis saga, there is a very distinct and tumultuous group of gods suddenly become more interested again in the mortal world. Some have good intentions, others do not. They can be glorious and they can be petty. Yet, in Tiberos, the world of the series, there is a power even greater than them, set by an enigmatic force to try to ensure that the world stays in some sort of balance. The title refers to the legend of a powerful dragon that even the gods fear, but who is so rarely seen that even the deities wonder if he still exists. He moves in subtle ways, using agents who may or may not understand they serve him. Despite his vast power, Rex Draconis wields it judiciously, well aware of the chaos he himself might be capable of.
On the other end, though, are the dragon folk, consisting of the Afafni and the Fafni, two races diametrically opposed and with ambitions harmful to the mortal races. In their secretive war against one another, they seek to become the gods they believe they should be. Each wears the form of a dragon part of their life, with one group during the night and the other during the day. Much to their bitterness, though, their dragon forms are mere shadows of Rex Draconis, and that jealousy only makes them more vicious. They would yearn to be true dragons, and, thus, true gods, in their minds.
The most primeval of dragons
In the beginning…of the Black City Saint saga… there was the dragon. He had no name. He had one purpose, one… curse. Condemned to guard the gate between the mortal world and Feirie, he was forced to follow it as it ever shifted from one location to another. That is, until he was slain by a Roman tribune unaware of his true task, a tribune who would become known as St. George.
However, two things neither of them expected to happen forever changed them. One was that, with its guardian slain, St. George became the unwilling replacement. For the next sixteen centuries, he would follow the gate, trying his best at all times to prevent dark powers on either side from crossing. The second was that the mixing of the tribune’s and the dragon’s blood during combat sealed their existences together. Now the dragon is a part of Nick—as St. George calls himself in Prohibition Chicago—but while the dragon must lend him his power, the ancient leviathan ever yearns to break free, to take over the body they share and become himself again. He’s come close, including ending up setting fire to Chicago itself in 1871. In the meantime, the dragon in Black City Saint is like the proverbial devil whispering in the saint’s ear, trying to weaken his resolve with his sarcastic or seductive comments and biding his time for the next chance to make everything burn…
There are more dragons I could mention and more to come, I’ve no doubt. Like Nick / St.George, I think I may have one whispering in my ear now, telling me what the next world will be… and what dragon will rule it.
Check out Richard A. Knaak’s dragons!
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