Creating your Dragon
The Bond and Bonded Dragons
The bond between dragon and rider is a mysterious one, not fully understood by the Legion or its member dragons. Of all of those who have knowledge of it, only the Council of Agents is said to know all of the secrets. The vow of secrecy that pervades the ancient order, however, prevents much of this knowledge from becoming common information. A dragon scholar, Alestarius the Blue, a former member of the Council wrote a book on the information that had been gathered. It is the only known account of the bond and how it relates to dragons.
The bond between a dragon and a mortal is a powerful one. From it, the mortal race gains the long lifespan that dragons enjoy and the dragon gains a companion capable of translating, for them, the mysteries of the mortal race. This unique viewpoint, the curiosity, is what separates bonded dragons from wild dragons in mentality. While smaller and more agile than wild dragons, a bonded dragon is more capable of thinking strategically as part of a team. The bond is the sole advantage that they possess against the wild dragons and their destructive tendencies. The Dragon Legion, therefore, is careful in selecting those who will benefit the dragon as much as they will benefit Mydial.
The test of initiation, a process that all initiates to the Legion must undergo, is one that serves to ensure that only those who have the greater interest of Mydial and the Legion on their minds. It is both a moral and physical test; justice cannot be acted upon without willpower and strength. The bond formed prior to initiation is an intimate one, allowing the bonded pair to see and hear each other over vast distances as well as allow the dragon to see if they will be able to live with the mortal for their long lifespan (and vice versa). The bond, however, is not Confirmed until the test of initiation is completed and the Council of Ancients has the opportunity to call upon Bahamut and Tiamat to allow the bond to be cemented in place. Once Confirmed, the bond is nearly unbreakable.
The Legion, therefore, is very careful in who it allows to appear for confirmation. The Immortal Vow helps keep the desires of Bahamut and Tiamat in check, ensuring that one or the other cannot deny confirmation simply out of spite toward the other deity, but most often it is the Legion that denies confirmation of the bond. Prior to confirmation, a dragon may remove itself from her bonded status if she feels that her partner is not a good match for them. At this, the Initiate may attempt a bond with the other unbonded dragons within the Legion, or wait until a Wyrmling becomes available and serve the Legion in another capacity until such a time. Similarly, if an individual proves to be a poor match for the Legion – showing tendencies of corruption or unlawful behavior – the bond may be forcibly severed by the Council of Ancients using the Gladius of the Dragon Gods.
Blessed by both Bahamut and Tiamat, the weapon is the only known way of severing a bond between mortal and dragon. It is kept carefully guarded and is used only in situations where the bonded dragon, too familiar with a corrupted partner, refuses to willingly withdraw from the bond. It is an incredibly painful process, which leaves both members unable to bond again. The process is not life-threatening and those involved are still alive, but the pain of the separation often drives those involved mad. In the history of the Legion, this has only happened four times, and each time it was seen as a blow to the Legion itself. A special form of swordbonding prevents the Gladius from being stolen, ensuring that it is always available for use by the council.
Sometimes, though, the Legion does not detect the corruption or unlawful behavior until it is too late and the pair has already fled. When this occurs, the Legion will immediately send out a group to locate and arrest the pair. If captured, their bond will be immediately severed and the two involved will face the justice system of their native country – the Legion has a vested interest in the outcome and therefore is not allowed to place its own members on trial. The dragon, on the other hand, is banished from Mydial, and forced to fly over the seas and not allowed to return. It is claimed that some of the more vicious and feral wild dragons that now inhabit Mydial are actually dragons that have been banished to the Wilds and then returned, their intelligent mind and understanding of the Legion allowing them to evade capture and death at the end of Legionnaire’s blade. The mortal half of the pair is almost always executed.
In very rare instances, a member of the Legion has appealed to be removed from the Legion in any kind of official capacity due to disagreements with policy or changes within the Legion. These disenheartened Legionnaires are allowed to go free and retain their bonded dragon in exchange for a few freedoms. They are not allowed to serve in any military organization, as an advisor or a soldier, nor may they seek a political office or leadership of a country. They must take a Vow never to reveal the secrets or treasures of the Legion. Violation of this Vow will result in the immediate death of the mortal and dragon involved. These prices are very high to pay, and, thus far, none have accepted the offer.
When the mortal half of the bonded pair dies, the dragon will often go through a period of loss and withdrawal. Quite often, the dragon will leave the legion and go to the Westlands, a mysterious place that none of the mortal races have been allowed to visit and return from. When the bonded dragons ask, they are quiet and solemn. It is where dragons go to die. Those dragons that chose to stay with the legion may choose to take a new partner. The pain of the loss will often drive the dragon to pick a partner that is very different from their previous one; a male for a female or an elf for a dwarf, to ease the pain of memory. Some few dragons, however, have chosen families to bond with and will ease their transition by returning to the homelands of their previous bondmate and picking one of their descendents, creating, in their mind, an unbroken chain of bonding and care. Either way, the dragon and the new initiate must, a second time, pass their trial to confirm and cement the bond.
It is a rare occasion where a mortal bondmate outlives their dragon. If a dragon is slain before her rider, then the rider loses the ability to bond a second time. The bondmate loses the extended lifespan that was granted to them by their partner and begins aging from their apparent mortal age. Grief and loss, as well as a realization of their new mortality, will often have a great impact on the bonder, though the reaction is as varied as the personality of the mortal. There is no set course of action for those who lose their dragon, but they almost universally leave the service of the Legion. Some few stay with their commitment, serving other roles and, assuming that the death of the dragon was honorable, they are remembered for their past service.