The advance of civilization throughout the mainland realms of the Severian Empire drove many dragons to the outer fringes of the known world. A few settled on the islands of Engweald and Iyarlaan, and they fought each other for territory while enslaving the hapless indigenous folk (humans, orcs, dwarves, goblins, elves, you name it). Eventually, the Severian Empire set its mind to conquering these remote islands, and the dragons that were not slain by Severian swords and magic were driven back to their cavernous lairs. Every few years, a dragon would emerge from its lair to challenge its neighbors and stake a claim. The last dragon to die on Valoreign was the great white wyrm Ezenglaur, whose death in Tarnstead (well south of the dragon’s frigid lair in the Sundown Mountains) marked the end of the Winter Wars.
The kings of Valoreign have always lived with dragons, which are rightly feared and respected. However, King Thomas was the first sovereign lord to realize that slaying dragons is hard and costly, and thus he sought a peaceful coexistence. Many at court thought the king mad for pursuing such a treaty, but the majority of the Council of Magi believed that dragons could be bribed into helping defend the realm against mainland threats. It took years for representatives of the king to treat with the dragons, but all were promised generous tributes in exchange for their allegiance. These tributes are paid annually, and the citizens of Valoreign carry the burden of paying taxes not only to fill the king’s exchequer but also to “plump up” the dragons’ hoards.
The Council of Magi keeps a watchful eye on the dragons of Valoreign, through magic and spies. Since dragons are prone to hibernate for years on end, it’s not a particularly taxing endeavor. However, once in a red moon a new dragon will rear its ugly head and catch the archmages by surprise.
Some of the most notorious and feared dragons of Valoreign include the following.
Arkynaster: The fabled Red Dragon of Riddle Peaks is so old that none but the king’s emissaries have seen it in this lifetime. Its lair is filled with winged kobolds that flutter around nervously like bats and collect the treasure delivered to the dragon’s doorstep.
Cryovain and Dreadfrost: Believed to be the offspring of Ezenglaur, the White Wyrm, these cruel siblings live among the orcs and giants in the snowcapped Sundown Mountains. One or the other is occasionally sighted flying high over the mountain cluster known as Dwarf Crown.
Harrowfel: Once mated to Venomeer, the “Green Queen” hired adventurers to kill her mate shortly after giving birth and sneaking off with her clutch of wyrmlings. She has taken up residence near the Emerald Cradle, a sylvan woodland in the Duchy of Brightmeadows.
Immoldroth: The offspring of Arkynaster slaughtered her siblings and claimed their hoards as her own, but she lacks the strength and will to challenge her father. She lairs in an abandoned dwarven fortress where the Riddle Peaks meet the Sundown Mountains.
Lyursigul: Rangers in Gorgonhold refer to her as “Black Beauty,” although this mold-encrusted black dragon of the Shadowcrowns is anything but beautiful. The goblins enslaved by her carry shields bearing her skull-like visage, and they call her Skullface, the Dread Mate of Maglubiyet.
Malastrom: The “Storm Dragon of Norn” is a temperamental blue wyrm that lives in a crumbling stone lighthouse on the northern cape, overlooking the wrecks of ships that were dashed upon the rocks. Harpies sing to her constantly, requiring the king’s emissaries to fill their ears with wax when treating with the dragon.
Shiver: This female white dragon lives in the northern mountains of Iyarlaan amid the remains of a berserker stronghold that she ravaged long ago. Her treasure is kept in an ice-covered lodge, the interior of which is “plastered” with frozen corpses. The Winter Wolf tribe believes she’s possessed by the spirit of Cryonax.
Sinister: This black wyrm haunts the Drackmire, a fetid swamp that dominates a long, finger-shaped peninsula in northeastern corner of the Ducky of Warfield. The lizardfolk that inhabit the Drackmire are vile, wicked creatures that worship Sinister as a god.
Venomeer: This green dragon was rumored to have died over a hundred years ago, killed by adventurers during the reign of Ronald Starhewen, the Gorgon King. However, the wood elves of Engweald believe the scheming dragon is very much alive, though it receives no tribute.
Voltaran: Dubbed “Big Blue” by the fisherfolk of Brightmeadows, Voltaran has taken a shine to the islands off the southern cape of Engweald and pretty much devoured everything that once lived there. He occasionally “beaches” on the south shore, to bask in the sun after eating a killer whale or two.