Degenerated Dragons, sometimes referred to as Feral Dragons, are dragons that have lost their sanity and reason, becoming little more than mindless feral beasts. Degenerated Dragons are a major antagonistic force in many games of the Fire Emblem franchise.
As their degradation is primarily mental, most degenerated dragons resemble healthy members of, their species. However, on rare occasions degenerated dragons show signs of physical corruption. Duma's body and two of his eyes slowly decayed, revealing exposed bones an a single, glowing third eye. Anankos' wings appear damaged, and the core of his being developed into an eyed sphere that fills his mouth.
In the earliest stages of degeneration, the dragon slowly becomes more paranoid and prone to violent outbursts. After thousand of years the dragon hits the point of no return, losing their their memories and sanity. Most become feral monsters that act only on instinct. Degenerated dragons mostly live in places isolated from human civilization such as caves, ruins, and valleys. There, they prowl their domain in search of food, when they spot potential prey, such as a human they attack without question with sheer brute ferocity.
However, not all degenerated dragons are aggressive predators. Many feral wyverns have been tamed by humans, becoming the loyal mounts of Dracoknight soldiers. Furthermore, the most powerful dragons, such as Duma, Mila, and Anankos are able to maintain their sentience, though they still think irrationally. These dragons prove to be the most dangerous, as through their insanity they can plan and coordinate attacks on other civilizations.
In Archanea and Related Continents
Thousands of years ago, before humanity flourished on Archanea, there where the dragons. These dragons lived in various tribes segregated by species: fire dragons, ice dragons, earth dragons, mage dragons, wyverns, and the most powerful of all, the Divine Dragons. Eventually these tribes merged into one kingdom under the leadership of the Divine Dragon Naga, which entered a long and prosperous golden age. However a wave of degeneration began to afflict the kingdom's population. Seeing the dangers if the problem was left unchecked, Naga preposed staving off degeneration by sealing their draconic powers into a dragonstone and assuming a humanoid form called a manakete. Some dragons agreed to this solution, but many refused. In particular, an overwhelming majority of Earth Dragons thought that becoming manaketes was lowering themselves to the likes of primitive humans, and thus was a disgrace to their people. And so, virtually all of the earth dragons refused and degenerated with their pride.
As the number of degenerated dragons grew, they began to wreak havoc on whatever human civilizations they came across. This resulted in war between Naga's army and the degenerated dragons, with Naga sealing the most of them away in what would later be known as The Dragon's Table, with Medeus (the only earth dragon to become a manakete) acting as it's guardian. However, after centuries of manakete discrimination and abuse at the hands of humanity, Medeus grew to detest humanity and left his post to form the Dolhr Empire. Medeus then tried to conquer Archanea several times; during his first attempt, human slaves of the Dolhr Empire discovered that it was possible to tame degenerated wyverns. The slaves quickly trained the wyverns as mounts and, led by Iote, spearheaded a revolution against Dolhr to free more slaves. When Medeus was struck down by Anri, Iote founded the Kingdom of Macedon, which rapidly became known as the home of dracoknights. Medeus' final attempt at ruling Archenea involved destroying the seal on The Dragon's Table and ravaging the continent with a feral dragon army. However, he was thwarted by Marth, a descendant of Anri, and his allies.
Dragons living outside Archanea, who did not know about sealing their powers in dragonstones, started to degenerate as well. In Valentia, the Divine Dragon siblings Mila and Duma ruled each half of the continent for thousands of years as patron deities of Zofia and Rigel. However, their growing insanity caused them to wage war against each other, greatly harming their kingdoms, until both were slain by Rudolf and Alm, respectively. On the continent of Jugdral, the kingdom of Thracia had a wyvern population that went feral, though the Thracian military also learned how to tame them. By the time Archanea and Valentia were renamed Ylisse and Valm, degenerated dragons had largely been hunted to extinction, with only the useful wyverns surviving.
The dragons of Tellius are but one of three tribes of laguz, a sentient race of shapeshifters that assume both human and animal forms. Following the Great Flood and the sealing of the dark god Yune, the dragons founded the Kingdom of Goldoa, led by King Dheginsea. Dheginsea believed that dragons were too powerful to co-exist with other races and so imposed a culture of isolationism. Even so, many dragons left the kingdom to experience the outside world.
All leguz are sensitive to chaotic energy. Exposure to high levels of chaos, particularly on the battlefield, will erode a leguz's sanity and cause them to lash out violently. Dragons are particularly vulnerable to these rages, another reason for Goldoa's isolationist stance. Unfortunately, the Daein scientist Izuka, who believed leguz were subhuman, concocted a drug that greatly enhances physical strength but reduces their mental facilities to a bestial state. When applied to leguz, it also locks them into their animal forms, which are known as Feral Ones. However, Feral Ones could also be tamed, and Daein weaponized them for war. Many dragons were the victims of Izuka's drug; some were set loose on enemy solders, while others were ridden like wyverns. The Mad King Ashnard used the drug to turn Dheginsea son, prince Rajaion, into his obedient, flying war mount. Both were both slain by Ike and his Greil Mercenaries, Rajaion recovering his mind long enough to die in the company of his lover Ena.
In the World of Fates
In a dimension far beyond Archanea, twelve all-powerful dragons known as the First Dragons waged war against each other to see who would rule the world. During their conflict, they gave their human followers drops of their draconic blood granting them great power and access to Dragon Veins. The descendants of these dragon-blooded humans would later become the founders of the kingdoms of Nohr, Hoshido, and Valla, each kingdom worshiping one dragon each as their patron deity. Nohr worshiped the Dusk Dragon, Hoshido the Dawn Dragon, and Valla worshiped the Silent Dragon Anankos. As the war had raged for centuries, the dragons slowly started degenerate. To prevent the madness from fully corrupting them, some dragons discarded their physical bodies and became spirits, while the Rainbow Sage used a dragonstone to seal his power away and become a manakate. Anankos choose to neither option, but fearing his growing insanity, he created a song that could quell his madness.
The effect of the song only proved temporary, and Anankos' worshipers, now fearing him, sealed him away within the kingdom's catacombs. This act enraged Anankos, as he felt betrayed by his people. He then plotted from within the shadows to manipulate the kingdoms of Nohr and Hoshido to wage war with one another, in a conflict that would eventually destroy all three kingdoms. Regardless of his child Corrin's choices, the Rainbow Sage began to experience degeneration despite becoming a manakete, blessed Corrin in some way, and passed on before going mad. Anankos himself was also thwarted by Corrin's army, though the casualties of the war varied.
Aside from the First Dragons, a population of wyverns lived in Nohr, as well as a similar species of dragon called a malig. Though both species degenerated by the Hoshido and Nohr conflict, the Nohrian military learned to tame both. In addition, both Corrin and their child Kana degenerated into Feral Dragons after experiencing strong negative emotions (From losing their mother Mikoto and being attacked by enemies after seeing Corrin for the first time in years, respectively). However, Corrin's degeneration was reversed by their cousin Azura, who gave them a dragonstone to control their draconic side. Kana likewise exhausted their power, returned to their three-quarter human form, and was given a dragonstone by Corrin.
- In addition to a loss of sanity, the dragons of Archanea also experienced declines in fertility. It is unknown if reproductive issues also plagued the Feral Dragons of other nations and worlds.
- It is possible that forming a blood-pact with a human can ward off dragon degeneration. Loptous formed such a pact with the Jugdral bishop Galle, and while he utterly despised and oppressed humanity, he was one of the few Earth Dragons to not fall to madness.