Friday, December 2, 2016Posted by Mitch Williamson at 4:02 PM
Forest Dragons are an ancient breed of Dragon that seems to only dwell within the ancient woodlands of the Old World. At first thought, it seems incredible that a creature as vast as a Dragon could make its home in the dense forests of Athel Loren. Yet, in the deepest recesses of the Chasm Glades, there lurks a distinct race of great sky wyrms who long ago adapted to life within the greenwood. Protected by the forest canopy and shielded from the attentions of young heroes seeking to make names for themselves by the sheer rock faces of the chasms, these Forest Dragons thrived and multiplied.
Such providence has proven itself a stark contrast to other places in the Old World, where Dragons and their kin have long since been either slain or driven into the mountains. Nothing dwells for long in Athel Loren without being changed, and the Forest Dragons are no exception. Like certain groups of Wood Elves, the Dragons have slowly become an extension of the forest’s will to survive and prosper. Though still voracious predators, the Dragons hunt only when the forest has need of them, resting in a state of hibernation for the remainder of the time. Should there be an intrusion by creatures too mighty for Athel Loren’s spirits, the forest will occasionally goad one or more Forest Dragons to wakefulness in order to counter the threat. More often, the Elves will themselves petition the aid of a Dragon to serve as a steed for a Glade Lord — a request to which the beast cedes with reasonable grace, provided it wasn’t disturbed from a particularly fascinating dream. Over time, a Glade Lord might form a strong bond with a particular Forest Dragon, the two becoming friends, more than mere allies at need.
Regardless of the reason for its waking, a Forest Dragon is a ferocious foe and one not easily matched. Few can stand firm against its wrath unless they can master the primal fear its countenance provokes. This fear only grows when the beast descends, arrows and bullets scattering off its scaly hide, to eviscerate and devour all who oppose it. Even those enemies fortunate enough to find themselves beyond the crippling sweep of the Forest Dragon’s talons inevitably succumb to its soporific breath. Those who breathe this cloying emerald vapour collapse into a stupefied daze, their will to fight or flee utterly spent.
Despite their monstrous appearance, Forest Dragons are actually highly intelligent, and maintain a keen interest in events that occur far beyond the boundaries of Athel Loren. They are particularly voracious for tidings that relate to their long months of slumber. In part, this hunger is fed by the Elves who petition them for aid, but the Dragons do not necessarily consider the Elves to be wholly unbiased observers and often seek out others to provide counterpoint. Indeed, it is not unknown for a Dragon to spare a suitably intriguing opponent, providing that it has the potential to expand the Dragon’s knowledge. If the captive’s news is sufficiently valuable or intriguing, the Dragon feels duty-bound to spare his life in exchange for the information; if not, the captive is invariably devoured on the spot for unknowingly having squandered the Dragon’s precious time.