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Dragon

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This article is about the concept of dragons in general throughout the series. For the specific class in Fates known simply as Dragon in Japanese, see Feral Dragon. For the final boss of Fire Emblem see Dragon (Fire Emblem GBA).

A fire dragon, the most common and archetypical dragon breed.

Dragons (Japanese: dragon), collectively referred to as the dragonkin (Japanese: 竜族 dragon tribe), are a species of powerful and legendary giant reptiles which frequently play a significant role in the Fire Emblem series. There are numerous subspecies of dragon, each with command over a unique elemental power or other trait. In the eras in which each Fire Emblem game is set, they usually appear in the form of Manaketes, shapeshifted into a human-like form in order to preserve their strength and avoid consequences to their health.

History

In Archanea/Ylisse

In antiquity, Archanea was the epicenter of an advanced and enlightened dragon civilization prior to the rise of humanity, one overseen by the wisdom of the divine dragons. The dragon civilization reigned supreme and uncontested for at least three thousand years, until the species entered a period of decline: a mysterious wave of deteriorating health struck them, rendering them infertile and slowly driving them mad. In response, the dragonkin learned that the only way to survive the condition was to take the forms of humans, and so sought to convince all dragons to do so. While many (including almost all earth dragons) refused to accept this and eventually devolved into mindless beasts, others accepted the word of the dragon elders and took human forms, thus becoming Manaketes.[1] By sealing their powers into dragonstones, Manaketes retained the ability to temporarily become dragons, but never for long owing to the risks posed to their health. Meanwhile, those dragons who shunned the Manakete form ultimately turned into wild, volatile beasts with no remaining semblance of self, and eventually came to populate the wilds of Anri's Way in the continent's untamed north. The earth dragon clans, meanwhile, engaged humanity in an aggressive war, only to be repelled and defeated by Naga and the divine dragons; at this war's conclusion the defeated earth dragons were sealed away by Naga in the Dragon's Table and remained there for millennia under the watch of one of their own kind, the Manakete Medeus.

In the following millennia as humans became the dominant power over the Archanean continent, Manaketes became the target of racism from humans in an exercise of their new-found power over the land. In their weak humanoid forms, the Manaketes were easily abused and mistreated, and were condemned to living in poverty. This ultimately led to the rise of Medeus and his Dolhr Empire, which sought to exact vengeance upon humanity for their crimes against the Manaketes and to retake Archanea as the land of the dragonkin.[2] Although he succeeded in ruling the world for two periods of time adding up to several decades, Medeus was thrice thwarted and killed: first by Anri, then twice more by his descendant, the Hero-King Marth. During his third reign of terror, wild dragons served Medeus and his minions, Gharnef and Hardin, in fighting Marth's forces; this included a number of earth dragons, as the seal in the Dragon's Table had been progressively weakening for centuries.

It is uncertain what became of dragons in the post-Marth world. In the era of Chrom of Ylisse, Manaketes continued to exist, but little is known of what social presence they may or may not have held, other than that they are regarded as rare and mythical entities.[3] The Anri's Way region was ultimately settled by humans to form the kingdom of Ferox,[4][5] implying the wild dragon populations of the region were wiped out or relocated.

In Elibe

The Scouring was a genocidal war against the dragons of Elibe.

In ancient times, Elibe hosted a dragon population which coexisted peacefully with humanity. This changed with the start of the Scouring, a war waged by humans to take Elibe as wholly their own and to purge dragons from it entirely. Despite their immense power, the dragons were hindered by their lower population and far slower birth rate compared to humans, prompting the creation of a demon dragon intended to artificially bolster the number of dragons fighting in the war. In retaliation, humans forged the eight legendary weapons, extremely powerful weapons forged solely to fight dragons. As with their Archanean counterparts, the dragons of Elibe were also forced to become Manaketes as a result of the Ending Winter, a distortion of the laws of nature caused by the power of the divine weapons which resulted in dragons no longer being able to exist in their present forms.[6] In the Scouring's aftermath, the vast majority of surviving dragons fled Elibe through the Dragon's Gate on Valor; most of those who remained took up residence in Arcadia, while one more - Jahn - hid in the Dragon Temple for the following centuries to heal wounds sustained in the Scouring. Occasionally, dragons crossed back into Elibe through the Dragon's Gate: three fire dragons were summoned through it by Nergal in the year 980.

In Magvel

Only two dragons are seen to still be living in Magvel during the course of The Sacred Stones, both of whom take the form of Manaketes. These two Manaketes, Morva and his adopted daughter Myrrh, are said by the people of the village of Caer Pelyn to act as watchful guardians over humans. In the original conflict with the Demon King Fomortiis in Magvel's antiquity, Morva's power was a crucial factor in ensuring the Five Heroes were able to use the Sacred Stones to defeat Fomortiis and seal him away.[7]

For the following eight centuries, Morva remained in Darkling Woods, the last resting place of Fomortiis, to protect the world from his ongoing influence. Although Morva's role in combating Fomortiis is not acknowledged in retellings of the tale by the majority of Magvel's population, the village of Caer Pelyn holds Morva, and Myrrh by extension, in reverence for their contributions.[8]

While Myrrh and Morva are the only living dragons seen in Magvel, the presence of reanimated dragon corpses suggests more lived there at one time. Myrrh also mentions being orphaned during the original war with the Demon King;[9] this, the reference to Morva leading an entire tribe, along with the presence of the reanimated corpses suggests that dragons and Manaketes were significantly wiped out at some point, or simply rarely interact with humans. Myrrh initially expresses some doubts to protecting humanity like her father,[10] possibly suggesting other dragons avoid interaction with humans.

In Tellius

The dragons of Tellius are but one of the tribes of laguz, shapeshifters who can take both human and animalistic forms, and so have a very different origin compared to the dragons of other lands. Like all laguz and beorc, the dragon laguz evolved from the Zunanma, an ancient race of the first non-divine sentients to dwell in Tellius. In the centuries following the Great Flood and the ensuing sealing of the dark god, the dragon tribe resided in their own nation, Goldoa, which maintained a strict policy of total isolation and neutrality. The dragon king Dheginsea believed that the dragons were too powerful to co-exist with the other races and that, to preserve the balance of pace, they must not interfere with the outside world, but nonetheless on several occasions dragons left Goldoa anyway to explore the rest of the world. Several dragons are known to have been subjected to the experiments of Izuka and transformed into Feral Ones.

Characteristics

Across their numerous subspecies dragons take a wide variety of forms and present great diversity in their appearances.

Dragon subspecies

  • Fire dragons: The most frequently seen type of dragon. Fire dragons are red in hue, typically bulky and grounded, and have the ability to wield powerful flame breath. They have a heated history of war with humanity.
  • Ice dragons: Typically found dwelling in frigid regions, the ice dragons are thinner, distinctly serpentine in shape, and can exhale blasts of ice to attack.
  • Mage dragons: This breed of dragon is oriented around magical powers, and are completely immune to opposing magical attacks from humans. They have a close relationship with the Earth tribe.
    • In Elibe they are instead called demon dragons, a soulless one-of-a-kind breed born by transforming a divine dragon and intended solely to produce war dragons.
  • Wyverns: An entirely airborne dragon species whose agility is unrivalled among the dragonkin.
  • Maligs: A race of "evil dragons" sharing characteristics to the wyvern, with darker scales and glowing red eyes.
  • Divine dragons: Hailed as the greatest of all the dragonkin, the divine dragons typically act as wise leaders among dragons. In Archanea, the divine dragon Naga is worshipped as a god by humanity, and has long fought to protect humans from the dangers of dragons.
  • Earth dragons: A prideful breed of dragons whose might rivals that of the divine dragons. Imposing and armored, earth dragons have the ability to exhume a sinister shadow power on their foes. Historically the earth dragons have hated humans and sought to dominate them, exemplified by Medeus and Loptyr.
  • Shadow dragons: A twisted evolved form of earth dragons, born of dark powers. The only known shadow dragon is Medeus.
  • Astral dragons: A dragon species native to the astral plane with the ability to travel between worlds and Deeprealms.
  • First Dragons: A group of godlike dragons that held unimaginable power before their decline.

Laguz dragons

Main article: Laguz

The laguz dragon tribes do not share the elemental classifications of the other dragons, and instead are divided into three castes which, while all physically similar, differ in strength, power and body color. Their relation to the dragons of other lands is unknown.

  • Red dragons: A caste of dragon laguz who tend toward being bulky and physically strong.
  • White dragons: An arcane dragon laguz caste which wields power more in line with the magic of humans.
  • Black dragons: The rarest of the laguz dragons and their ruling caste. Black dragons are extremely powerful and possess longevity greater than any other laguz clan, and by extension vastly beyond that of beorc.

Others

  • Blight Dragon, a unique draconic form taken by the Empty Vessel, Garon, upon drawing the strength of Anankos. Looks identical to (and has the same name in Japanese as) Nohr's Dusk Dragon depiction of Anankos.
  • War dragons: Artificial dragons spawned by a demon dragon such as Idenn. They all possess no emotions, and exist only to fight on the behalf of their master. All known war dragons are fire dragons.
  • Necrodragons: The corpse of a dead dragon reanimated through the fell magic of a dark god such as Duma or Fomortiis.
  • White dragons: A more powerful and rare variant of Necrodragons.

Trivia

  • In Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Mystery of the Emblem, and some supplementary material, the dragon races were also given clan names which are derived from mythical reptiles: the fire dragons were called the Salamander (Japanese: サラマンダー),[11] mage dragons were called the Basilisk (Japanese: バジリスク),[11][12] and the divine dragons were called the Naga (Japanese: ナーガ).[11][13] The references to all but the Naga tribe were removed in Mystery of the Emblem and Shadow Dragon, and all the dragon types introduced in Mystery of the Emblem and later, as well as the earth dragons, lack clan names in this style. However, unused and supplementary material say the earth tribe is known as the Gaia. Notably, Salamander and Naga are names of the gods of the fire and divine dragons, respectively, although the reference to Salamander was removed in the DS remake.

Gallery

Etymology and other languages

Names, etymology and in other regions
Language Name Definition, etymology and notes
English Dragon --
Japanese
ドラゴン
• Dragon. Used in the dialogue of most games.
• Transliteration of English "dragon". Used in some Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light dialogue.
Spanish Dragón Dragon
French Dragon Dragon
German Drache Dragon
Italian Drago Dragon

References

  1. "If you really wanna know... Tens of thousands of years ago, the dragon tribe settled down on this continent, and created a civilization. They possessed intellect and abilities far exceedin' those of humans. But suddenly, outta nowhere, their day of destruction came. At first, they couldn't bear children. Then they began to lose their minds, goin' berserk one after the next. The elders warned that the end of dragons as a species was approachin'. There was no longer any way to prevent it. However, there was one way they could survive: to discard their identities as dragons and live on as humans. The dragons fell into a panic. Those who believed the elders sealed their forms within stones and became humans. But those who couldn't throw away their pride as a dragon; those who adamantly refused to become human... They eventually lost their minds and became naught but beasts..." - Xane, Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem
  2. " Y'see, I don't like humans. I've got nothin' but contempt for those who treated the defenseless Manaketes like insects. So I can understand why Medeus despised you humans so. Medeus, an earth dragon prince, was the only one of his tribe who become a Manakete. And, as ordered by Naga, he guarded the Dragon's Table. But the once peaceful human race, drunk with power, began to rule with tyranny. They oppressed the dragons who had done nothin' wrong. Furious at their betrayal by humans, the Manaketes gathered in Dolhr, and they created a nation for their people. Then they fought to conquer humanity." - Xane, Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem
  3. "By the gods, she's a manakete... I never thought I'd see one." - Chrom, Fire Emblem Awakening
  4. "Tiki: The realm you call Ferox certainly brings back memories... How do the people there fare today? I remember only a cold, harsh land. Have you found a way to cope with the heavy snowfall and barren soil?
    Flavia: Well, we've struggled with the harvest for generations. Honestly, it took years and years of work before the soil was worth a damn... Still, I hope we've improved it some from what you remember.
    " - Tiki and Flavia, Fire Emblem Awakening
  5. "Flavia: Tiki, tell me more about the Regna Ferox you remember.
    Tiki: Well, all right... After all, I slept there within the ice for several centuries. As I recall, it was a frozen hell plagued by barbarians and mage dragons.
    " - Flavia and Tiki, Fire Emblem Awakening
  6. "Jahn: When the order of nature collapsed, we dragons suffered the most. With nature weakened, we could not maintain our dragon forms. And so, we sealed our power into gemstones and took human form.
    Roy: The dragonstones...
    Jahn: Yes. We were utterly powerless against the humans. In human form, we were even more feeble than the humans themselves. The humans took the opportunity to slaughter us.
    Roy: Why did you choose the form of humans? Why not some other shape?
    Jahn: In the new order of nature, the human form required the least energy to transform into.
    " - Jahn and Roy, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
  7. "Eirika: Demon King? Are you speaking of the legend of the Sacred Stones? The hero Grado used the power of the five Sacred Stones to defeat and seal away--
    Dara: No, no, that's not right at all. Ah, how quickly did mankind forget its debt to the Great Dragon. To hear the story now, one would think humans alone brought about victory. That is a gross mistelling of the tale. Only through the Great Dragon's strength could the Demon King be sealed away!
    " - Eirika and Dara, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
  8. "Mankind may have forgotten its debt, but the Great Dragon never forgets. It watches over the bones of the Demon King in Darkling Woods. It keeps the Demon King's dark brood from swarming the world of men. The Great Dragon's vigilance alone has kept us safe from their blind rage." - Dara, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
  9. "Uh-huh... My foster father leads the dragon tribe. In the last great war... both of my true parents were killed. Morva took me in and raised me as though I were his own child." - Myrrh, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
  10. "... My father has dedicated his life to protecting humans. For the longest time, I could not fathom why he would do this. But now, after spending time with all of you... I begin to understand how he felt." - Myrrh to Saleh, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "しんりゅうぞく ナーガ
    まりゅうぞく バジリスク
    かりゅうぞく サラマンダー
    " - Malledus, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light
  12. "Haha... You came back just to die? I'm the most powerful servant of Medeus: Morzas of the Basilisk." - Morzas, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light
  13. "You there. Have you come across a young girl, one by the name of Tiki? She must be found, boy! Tiki is the last of the Naga, the divine-dragon clan. Without her powers, we cannot challenge the Manaketes who serve Medeus…" - Bantu, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon