|Event Name||Dragon Crisis|
|Dates and Times||December 7th, 305 AC - April 3rd, 306 AC|
|People Involved||Regalian Empire, Dragons|
The Dragon Crisis was a conflict between Dragons, reborn and open to the public eye for the first time in centuries. The Dread Dragon, Rikkira, started it when she attacked the City of Regalia but then the Imperial Dragon, Cedromar Kade, emerged to confront her. Their battles above the capital were great and destructive, areas of the city being flattened, but ultimately, Rikkira fled and left the capital for the West with her mentally enslaved subjects freed from her control as a result of her departure. While she did return far later, the event still saw her defeat and showed many that the third century is likely to continue to be a changing one.
Dragons had long been a major power in Aloria. Majestic creatures of varying sizes, shapes and colors; their control of unknown powers long saw them worshiped, if not at the very least respected across the world. However, with the coming of new Religions and new Races, Dragon Worship faded from the world, and most Dragons gradually retreated as well. The first strike against them was the Dragon Hunt, enacted by the Altalar of Daen in the twilight of the Allorn Empire. They wiped out three species of Dragon, and from there, yet more began to die. Eventually, by the year 150 AC all Dragons had vanished from the world. Intervening years brought many questions out about them and their powers, as more evidence mounted in the modern age of their great and ancient importance to civilizations across all of Aloria. Ultimately though, none saw the Dragon Crisis coming, as while the world had been battered by magical events since the start of the fourth century, it had yet to see the sort of unquestionable return of such an ancient power.
Return of Dragons
Before the Crisis began, a faith pogrom was being enacted within the City of Regalia, with detainees brought to a ramshackle facility outside of the settlement known as Fort Loyalty. At an event of public execution, on December 7th a Blue Crown Dragon appeared above the Fort. This one was not like the regal and distant creatures that the Anglians had worshipped long ago, but far more aggressive and bent on destruction. The Fort was levelled as the terrified citizenry and guards rushed back into the city, before the Dragon retreated. It returned on the 18th, landing and addressing a vast crowd of regular citizens in the Square of the Martyrs found in the eastern corner of the City. She then lost her Dragon form, morphing into a female Ailor that called herself Rikkira. She decried the faiths of Aloria, and stated that she intended to rule the City, to show the world the power of the Dragons. To prove her point, she used unknown Magic to enthrall a number of people in the crowd, while also revealing her total control over four Arken that presented themselves to the citizenry. She then departed, the Arken crafting portals which the possessed citizens entered, before all vanished. Claims that she said she’d defeated the Emperor were not confirmed, and so panic gripped the city and more and more people started to randomly turn to serve her. Meanwhile, all Isldar loyal to Frisit across Aloria received a powerful vision, that of a weakened, collapsed Cedromar and then the clouded eyes of Frisit, which ordered all of them to resist the Dragon which had risen in the City, and to rescue the Emperor.
Rise of Rikkira
Over the coming weeks, more and more chaos broke out across the City. First, Rikkira suddenly fought with a different Blue Crown Dragon which would soon be revealed to be Cedromar Kade, then Emperor and unknown to most, now freed from Rikkira’s imprisonment. Their fight in the sky was quick and indecisive, but she ultimately backed down leaving the newly named Imperial Dragon to land and recuperate. Following this though, the situation continued to deteriorate. More and more people appeared to be possessed by the Dragon’s powers, from guards to merchants to bureaucrats to average citizens. Indeed, on December 28th, a mass exodus of these people from their places of work was accompanied by another flyby by the enemy Dragon. Even Imperial Guards and the nobility were not free of her influence as a number were openly known to have left their posts within the Imperial Court and joined the Dragon Worshipers who now swarmed over major city and countryside structures. Most still in control of their senses within the Regalian Government had determined that for now, Rikkira was content to let things overall function, but that her actions were to sow seeds of chaos and paranoia across the capital.
Shortly after the new year began, 42 confirmed loyalists to the Regalian Emperor unaffected by Rikkira’s spreading control were summoned to the foot of nearby Mount Heress Helena. They then marched up, led by Tristan Kade then the Imperial Steward who had called them all here for unknown reasons. They proceeded up the mountain’s path, overall an easy climb but made far more difficult by the mass of Dragon Cultists which now polluted the pathway, guarding the mountain peak. The group found hard against the turned people, eventually punching a hole through their lines and reaching Rikkira’s lair. There, an elderly woman of unknown origin held two children but before she could do much, had a sword put through her face. Tristan Kade then revealed what had supposedly happened, that Rikkira had kidnapped two of Cedromar’s children and was seeking to corrupt them, the explanation being short as Rikkira herself suddenly dropped from the sky. The group retreated down the mountain, covered by the Imperial Dragon which had arrived to battle Rikkira, a fight it ultimately lost as it was dumped exhausted into a nearby river with a crash. But, the group had still rescued the two children and had made it back to the city safely by that point, their victory marking the first thwarting of Rikkira’s apparent ambitions.
Over the coming months, Rikkira lost ground as the wider Regalian Empire was strengthened. Vultragon Unionism expanded after its leadership conferred great significance on the Imperial Dragon. Similarly, the other Schisms and Cults of the Regalian Empire were also more closely knitted together in worship and prayer for the Imperial Spirit and its power. At the same time, the Imperial Dragon was getting a good amount of training in. Cedromar used his power against the Avanthar, ending them as a threat in the Regalian-Altalar War, additionally defeating Altalar ships attempting to attack Regalian coastal towns. Finally, nails were truly put into Rikkira’s coffin when the Arken under her command were slowly, one by one, broken out of her control. How or who did this is unknown, but their freeing caused the usually mercurial beings to all turn to a common goal: getting rid of her.
With this as the backdrop, a final fight occurred between the Dragon Rikkira and the Imperial Dragon on April 3rd, the Imperial Dragon aided by various groups who had already fought Rikkira in the past. Numerous towers and cathedral spires were used to mount cannons, taking aim at the denounced Dragon while it struggled with the Imperial Dragon above numerous districts of the city. Cannons were fired, numerous houses were destroyed by collateral damage, but eventually the hopelessness of Rikkira’s fight was becoming obvious. The vile Dragon eventually attempted to flee, the Imperial Dragon in pursuit high in the clouds, though after two hours, only the Imperial Dragon returned. Rikkira was last sighted crossing westward towards the direction of the Dread Empire. The Dragon Crisis, as such, seemed to be over. Anyone still under the control of Rikkira, or under the Imperial Dragon’s control was released, all Dragon Magic seemingly fading from the Imperial City as Rikkira was now hundreds of miles away. Still, the end of the Dragon Crisis was perhaps fittingly such a small event, given the far more tense ongoing crises in the Archipelago between noble families and the heating up of the Altalar-Regalian War.
The Dragon Crisis showed Aloria once and for that the past was no longer the past. First, a returned Estel had caused multiple damaging events to Aloria, and now, Dragons were again flying through the skies. Scholars set about reevaluating whole libraries of information, priests and pious men sought out answers to this fundamental change, and laypeople across the world whispered excitedly or fearfully of the events. Ultimately, a number of opinions emerged. Among the Regalian Empire, the creation of the Imperial Dragon was lauded as a holy act, as indicated by the knitting of Unionism. Additionally, a number of Dragon Worshipers who had been so naturally, without Rikkira’s influence, converted to Unionism, and the Isldar saw their numbers fragment event further as an entirely new Isl Zeal was born. But elsewhere, the emergence of Dragons was seen with abject shock, primarily among the Songaskians. Long considered the only true children of the Dragons, many began to question their faith and their beliefs in the wake of the return of the Dragons not with them, but among their longtime enemy of the Regalian Empire. The full ramifications of this have yet to be realized. Finally though, the Dragon Crisis set the stage for a later conflict with the Dread Empire. It is now realized today that Rikkira’s arrival in the Far West likely triggered the surge in aggression and the intense war that followed, her power and presence likely urging the Kathar into further warring with the Altalar, and then the Regalian Empire. Indeed, her appearance in the final major battle of the war suggests as much, but her origins and role in history are still to be fully determined considering her disappearance after the battle. For now, the Dragon Crisis is viewed mostly as a prelude to the later Dread War, but also a dangerous warning on how powerful the Dragons of the past really were.
- During the Dragon Crisis, a team loyal to the Emperor breached an ancient Dragon Vault in the Regalian Archipelago. What they discovered remains unknown, but given later events of the Anglian Mist Crisis some would say it was invaluable knowledge for the future.
- Rikkira is not known to have been one of the few members of the Blue Crown Dragon species recorded by the Ailor who knew the creatures intimately. As a result, some wonder if she is an exile, or a loner, who went unmentioned in the histories due to her being vilified.