Dragons are the land. So goes the saying, and it’s more than just a fanciful turn of phrase. In some ways, dragons are the land and the sea and the sky. Valanese dragons are elemental creatures that reflect the environment where they make their lairs. The dragon at the heart of the forest has scales that reflect the summer sun on the leaves. The dragon of the mountains is gray and brown like the stones, and its roar is thunder and earthquake. True dragons are rare — usually only one inhabits any major distinct swath of terrain.

It’s said that there are only so many dragon souls in the universe. When true dragons mate, if none of those souls are free to reincarnate, the eggs hatch as drakes. Wyverns, basilisks, hydras and dragon turtles are all reputedly draconic descendants that bred true.

Thankfully, dragons rarely engage themselves in the affairs of mortal races. The legendary dragon of Rasenna, Mercurius, is said to be a shining beast of orichalcum and quicksilver, a living embodiment of the metallic purity alchemists strive for. It is uncertain where she lairs: some say the mountains to the north, others the Howling Forest of Maviolo, where once she inspired the Dys to decorate the city Ladona with her image. Some fear that she fell asleep in Lamosca before the blight came on the land, and now she has become tarnished and corrupt in her slumber.

The other dragon known directly to Rasennans is Malestron, who makes his bed at the bottom of the Saanwater. Malestron is an incarnation of storm and seawater, feared as much as any sea monster might be. Ships on the Saan set aside a portion of gold and treasure as Malestron’s ransom in case he may appear to demand it; the formation of a whirlpool near a ship is a clear sign of his interest, and a captain will quickly call for the dragon’s ransom to be cast into it. Yet it’s also said that Malestron can be generous as well as greedy, and some folktales tell of fearless and honest sailors who delighted the Dragon of the Saan and were rewarded for their virtue.

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Rasennan Summer Barastrondo