Dragons, known as Dov or Dovah in their native tongue, are a race of legendary reptilian creatures that play a major role in The Elder Scrolls Series of games. They where once the immortal rulers of mankind but have since then been on the decline following the end of the "Dragon War". only for them to make a resurgence with the return of Alduin becoming the main antagonistic force in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.
Unlike the typical depictions of modern fantasy dragons the where popularized in Dungeons & Dragons, the dragons from the Elder Scrolls series posses only four limbs for legs and wings, instead of six limbs for arms, legs and wings, a design akin to that of the Wyverns from medieval European folklore. Furthermore, they don't posses genders and thus never mate nor lay eggs, despite debunked sources claiming otherwise. They are described as celestial beings that are never born nor created, they have simply always where and always will be, unageing and unyeilding. A dragon doesn't just simply shoot fire out of their mouth as fire breath, their language known as the Thuum allow them to bend the very elements to their will and conjuring them into being thru shouting. As such when dragons clash with breath weapons, they are actually having an heated verbal debate. As their immortality stems from them being connected to the flow of time itself, a dragon cant truly be slain, their souls persist even after defeat. The only way to permanently rid a dragon from the mortal plane is for a dragonborn to absorb their soul after defeating them.
At first glance, dragons might seem feral and animalistic, but closer inspection reveals that they are very wise and intelligent creatures. However they are no less cruel, arrogant, and greedy. Since they are debatably the strongest and smartest creatures in all of Tamriel most dragons believe that all should cater to them and them alone. Dragons themselves are driven by a strong insatiable instinct to conquer and dominate all that they deem inferior, only a sparse few dragons where able to control such temptations such as the dragon Paarthurnax whom thru self-isolation and meditation was able to quell his instinctual urges. Like all sentient races, dragons a very sociable creatures that require company and companionship to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such is the case with the dragon Numinex who was driven to madness after years of imprisonment to point of forgetting his own name. Despite their tyrannical tendencies many dragons have a great sense of honor and duty, they often never lie and when given a sacred oath they are determined to protect that oath till their very last breath. They show great admiration to those who serve them dutifully and would even serve certain mortals if they where to garner their respect, as the case with Nafaalilargus and his allegiance with the human king Tiber Septim, along with Odahviing and his allegiance with the Dragonborn.
The exact origins as to where dragons come from is unknown. Some say they where the children of Akatosh the god of time that came into existence after Akatosh created time, while others say they where the creation of a similar god. Regardless of which theory is correct, they came into history during the Merethic Era. They supposedly lived in the continent of Akavir thousands of years ago before being driven away from the mainland by a race of vampiric serpents known as the Tsaesci. The fleeing dragons would then find the continent of Tamriel and made it their new home, it is here that the dragons discovered humanity whom began to worship them as gods. The dragons quickly embraced their new role as gods of what they perceive as ''frail primitive simpletons'' and set themselves as the local rulers of humanity. The dragons built cities and temples of worship all across the northern parts of Tamriel and gave power to their most loyal followers becoming the dragon priests, and thus the golden age of dragonkin had begun.
Thou it's highly debated what life was like for mortals at that that time, it is highly believed that the dragons where once kind and benevolent rulers who taught humans magic and wisdom, and granted them great weapons as rewards for upholding their duty to protect them and their kingdoms. But as time past the dragons slowly became more lazy and power-hungry, they opted to stay out of human affairs and let their Dragon Priests do the work for them, who belittled and enslaved humanity with their over-zealous nature, even their leader Alduin relinquished his duty as "World-Eater" to rule over the world instead. Eventually humanity have had enough, and decided to rise up against their oppressive deities kickstarting the bloody conflict known as the Dragon War. Despite humanities' greatest efforts, they were no match for the dragons' sheer power and immortality. Cities were burned to the ground and civilians where set ablaze as the dragons "rained hell on earth". Humanity was almost doomed until Alduin's Lieutenant Paarthurnax betrayed his master. Having been disillusioned by Alduin's delusions of godhood and being tasked by the goddess Kyne into protecting humanity, Paarthurnax taught humans the way of the Thuum allowing mortals to wield draconic magic. Humanity than turned the tables on their draconic oppressors, slaughtering dragons by the thousands until they eventually confront Alduin and banish him across time and space. With the war over and humanity victorious, the remaining dragons where either hunted down by dragon slayers or remained in hiding ever since.
In the years to follow, dragons slowly fell into obscurity, with most mortals today regarding them as little more than myths and legends. Only a sparse few dragons have been known to exist at the time of the Third Era, those being the dragons that swore loyalty to human lords in exchange for their protection such as the red dragon Nafaalilargus. But they too where eventually hunted down. It was only after the return of Alduin that the myths of dragons became reality once more. Alduin began resurrecting previously slain dragons to amass an army to retake Tamriel from mortals, and rule over the world as gods once more, kickstarting the Dragon Crisis. Unfortunately Alduin's dreams of conquest were then thwarted by the Last Dragonborn who slew his forces and eventually himself in Sovngarde. With alduin defeated once more the remaining dragons scattered in disarray. The fate concerning the surviving dragons, remains as of today unknown. It is likely that they will be hunted down once more until they eventually become all but extinct. Only if the dragons where to relinquish their instinctual desire for conquest can they survive for another thousand years.
- Thou dragons in the world of Elder Scrolls have only four limbs for legs and wings, there still creatures that resemble more traditional six-limbed dragons, such as the Daedric Titans and the Daedric Prince Peryite.
- Dragons have their own unique language that can read and translated into english called Dovahzul.