This is a project I worked on today, and I hope you guys like it. It's going to be a long one, and it'll be a bit... different from most of my stories. It's written in Epistolary voice, where the main mechanisms are letters, scientific papers, advertisements, anything like that.
Disclaimer: The following articles are reproduced from some of the surviving scavenger "scrolls", as well as some personal diaries by dragons living at the time, in addition to various scavenger kingdom reports. The “authors” did not write these, and they claim neither credit for doing so, nor responsibility for inaccuracy. The story told is real. A cohesive story is foregone to attempt to give a truthful picture of what actually transpired all those years ago. The scavenger articles were translated by various scholars of various tribes, and as such may be inaccurate. Dates are set by the Start of the Scorching (SS), not our modern system, as the relation of the two is unknown.
We regret there were no dragon historians to write this, as the few pieces that look like histories are in a scavenger or an obsolete language. Brackets have been used by editors when words were untranslatable. As above, these could be greatly inaccurate, but we hope they at least convey the feeling of the Scorching, if not the details. At least one member of every tribe was included, bringing whatever information they could.
--The compilers, translators and editors,
Truthfinder, NightWing (editor)
Leadfollower, NightWing (compiler)
Preystudier, NightWing (translator)
Outcrop, SeaWing (editor)
Sonoran, SandWing (translator)
Downburst, SkyWing (compiler)
Ooze, MudWing (compiler)
Supremacy, RainWing (compiler)
Graupel, IceWing (translator)
A Note on the Third Edition
This book was written three years before the war started. As we are now seventeen years into the war it was impossible to get all of our members together, as several of them are dead or missing. Due to this and some new evidence from scavenger dens, we have made several changes. We preserved our members’ contributions, and we would like to thank them again for making this possible.
--Truthfinder, Leadfollower, and Preystudier
It is arguably the most important event in the history of dragonkind.
Not much is known of this critical period, and what is known is scattered and often contradictory. Everyone agrees without it we wouldn't have had life as we know it, but almost no one actually realizes what happened all those centuries ago. This scroll’s primary purpose is to remedy that.
This scroll has other purposes as well, of course. It is meant to be at least somewhat interesting, so it is realized that even though we are separated by time, the dragons of those days lived lives just as we do. We hope the authors find it amusing to see how a tyrannical civilization fell, to be replaced by our modern world. While not perfect, as the current war is showing, at least we are safe in the knowledge that with intelligence and strength, we can easily kill a scavenger and not have to perch in mountains to hide from them.
This scroll starts shortly before the Scorching, and continues into its aftermath and eventual consolation of the victory by the dragons.
However, a brief study of scavengers is in order first.
Scavengers are bipedal, treasure-loving tertiary consumers. They eat everything from plants to predators. They have a small tuft of fur on their heads. They have simple technologies, although according to historical records they once had very dangerous weapons. They are most dangerous against solitary dragons, but in the past they have raided entire nests and killed all the dragonets. For proof of their capabilities, look at the case of Queen Oasis and the cause of the war. They live in dens, built usually of wood or stone, but occasionally with some metal. Metal is the component of their claws, artificial weapons used like very short spears. They have many pets, not least among them dogs and cats.
There are a variety of scrolls on scavengers. We recommend A Longitudinal Study of Peculiar Scavenger Behavior for further information.
-The editors, translators, and compilers
Article One: “Goodbye" (8 years BSS)
(Translated from Old Sky by Graupel)
This may be my last entry.
My entire family was killed. The dragons are dying off rapidly. The bipeds are getting stronger and stronger. They have new weapons now. Weapons that throw stones so fast they can go right through a dragon. We can’t keep living like we have. If we want to survive, we have to change. I don’t know what we’ll change, but whatever it is, it must be really obvious for us to miss it. As I inscribe this, I can only hope my future reader lives in a happier, safer time. A time when a dragon outside a family isn’t an enemy and where peace is at least possible. I hope my reader lives in a time when dragons can be protected.
Alas, this is clearly naught but wishful thinking. War will never stop. Now I am alone, any dragon I meet will kill me, unless they decide I could help them, and join another family. It would never be the same, though, unless I picked one of them as a mate. Alas, we are doomed...
This is Air’s final inscription.
Article Two: “Dragonslaying Now a Sport” (9 years BSS)
(Translated from Scavenged by Preystudier)
For those who have feared dragons, alleviate your worries! Science has progressed to the point where death from such a source is no longer a threat!
For centuries, dragons have been a looming terror, feared by all us [scavengers.] But no longer! Now, everyone is safe, thanks to our advances! No more fear of claws slicing you to pieces, or fire incinerating you before you could get close enough to do much damage! No more comforting your young [scavenger-ets?] during their nightmares about dragon-kind!
With our fantastic new [unknown weapon, likely ranged] we can kill dragons outside of breath distance! Just put in the [small metal ball], add [explosive?], pull the trigger, and they’ll die!
Buy one today!
Article Three: “On Dragons” (8 years BSS)
(Translated from Scavenged by Preystudier)
There are few creatures in our world more dangerous than dragons. With breath attacks, they are extremely dangerous. Huge reptiles, they are the terror of the skies, feared by all, no matter their strength.
There are five known kinds, [SandWings], [SkyWings], [SeaWings], [MudWings], and [IceWings]. All are capable of devastating a [scavenger den]. No [scavenger] should underestimate them. However, large groups of [scavengers] are capable of killing a dragon, especially if it is asleep. The best weapon to fight one is a [unknown ranged weapon], but if that is not available, then a [bow?] is ideal. If no ranged weapons are to be found, use numbers and surprise.
They are to be treated carefully, especially to those courageous fools who dare to keep them in [public display cages?]
Article Four: “On the Future of Dragonkind” (7 BSS)
(Translated from Scavenged by an unknown NightWing)
[Editors’ Note: This seems to be written by a radical scavenger who knew the Scorching would happen seven years before it did. It is one of the most important scavenger documents in recorded history, for it, translated for the first time into Old Night in 5 BSS, and Old Draconic 1 BSS, aroused public outrage among dragons. It was the primary cause for the Scorching. According to NightWing lore, the scavenger was saved in the Scorching by the NightWing who translated it. Of theoretical interest is that this article could, perhaps, also be used to argue for the non-harming of scavengers.]
In the course of history, if a powerful sentient group or species is repressed solely by division and disunity, it is weak. However, if it is ever brought together by some shared hardship, it will unify, and it will always overthrow its previous rulers. We stand on such a time now. If the [scavenger queens?] dare to order the extinction of dragons, then they order their own doom. No leader should ever dare to do such deeds, and the [scavenger queens] have now made this fatal mistake.
To all [scavengers]: Cease your harm of the dragons immediately, if you want to survive. A storm is coming, and either you will join it and gain great power, or you will oppose it and be blown away. Disobey your [scavenger queens] and flee if you want to survive.
To all dragons: Embrace your destiny and do not shrink from it. You have allies here who wish to see the [scavengers] be overthrown. If you unify, no force in the world can oppose you. You are smarter, bigger, stronger, fiercer, and deadlier than the [scavengers]. You are to rule the world someday.
Judging from the current state of [scavengerkind] and dragonkind, I would expect [the Scorching] to happen at most in a decade, and no sooner than a year.
In a sentence, the future of dragonkind is to control the world, to master it, and to defeat the [scavengers].