|Event Name||Dragon Hunt|
|Dates and Times||230 BC - 190 BC|
|People Involved||Allorn Empire, Dragons|
The Dragon Hunt, also called the Great Dragon Hunt, was a period that lasted about 40 years where the Allorn Empire and its Mages actively hunted Dragons. During this period, the Green Forest Dragon was rendered extinct, and the Nightdrake was driven from Daen into more northern regions along with those Altalar who protected them, who eventually became their own Races. The period also saw the hunting of various other Dragon species across Aloria. Why the Hunt took place can only be speculated at today, some claiming it was divine will while others feel it was politically motivated. Regardless, it is clearly marked out as the first event in what became the drastic decrease in Dragons over a 300 year period, through the Cataclysm until the end of the Red Hunt in Farah’deen.
The Allorn Empire once had a proud tradition of Dragon hunting - their great and powerful Empresses of the Consolidation ruthlessly hunted them and displayed their unique bodies as ultimate trophies to their skills in Magic, as well as the power of their reigns. It was during this period that the Great Sea Dragons were rendered extinct, though other species largely avoided this purge. One of these was the Green Forest Dragons, a group of medium-sized Dragons which were right at home in the dense jungles of Daen. But as the Altalar urbanized and the forests of their homeland were peeled away for grand cities of seamless white stone, the Green Forest Dragons grew fewer in number as they retreated into isolation. Also with time, the practice of hunting Dragons became an old relic of power, inadequate compared to the true thrill of one-on-one Mage duels or completing complex magical challenges. Later on, as the factional warring in the Allorn Empire grew, the Cult of Drogon was born. Loving Dragons of all sorts, but primarily serving as the guardians to the Nightdrakes, the Cult slowly grew under the nose of dismissive Mages who focused on combating each other rather than single outlying centers of deviant devotion. Change was soon to come to this stance.
The Rebirth of Tradition
No one is exactly sure how or why the Allorn Empire and its many provinces returned to the practice of Dragon hunting. Some claim it was Estel’s will for the creatures to be cleared out of the forests, the mountains, and the skies, to make them fully Altalar dominated. Others believe such edicts were mere covers for Void Worshippers craving to capture and kill these magical creatures in the name of their gods. But the largest and most adopted theory is that it was really targeted at the Dragon cults which were gaining traction in Altalar society. For decades before the Dragon Hunt, the Cult of Drogon, and smaller offshoots in more urban regions beyond the Draconic strongholds they held, were a threat to local traditional power. In the instability and complexity of the Allorn Empire, these fortresses remained immobile, steadfast, and unchanged in their appreciation for all of Dragon-kind. The theorists claim that both the Void Worshippers and those devoted to the Altalar Pantheon turned on the Dragons to prove their superiority over their worshipers and to fully crush these “dangerous radicals.”
The Campaign against the Drogons
The first and most immediate actions against Dragons within the realms of the Allorn Empire were to fully map and target their Draconic strongholds, scattered in the mountainous terrain across Daen which the Nightdrakes so favored. Then the assaults began and, to the shock of the Altalar who organized them, they were easily repelled. The Cult of Drogon were not as meek as they had hoped and were aided by the use of powers and spells unknown to the Void Worshiping or traditionalist Altalar. More assaults were organized, and over time the southernmost fortresses began to fall, their cultists killed and Dragons slaughtered. The groups in the north were largely protected by the Fracture of Allorn, which saw many of the provinces in what is now L’Elvellen go dark as they became independent from the Allorn Empire. Despite this, the Cult began to fracture as one group sought to protect the Dragons through coexistence and mutual dependence on their Magic, while the other, often more effective group sought to take and harness it aggressively. These groups also argued about where it would be best to protect the Nightdrakes, which now numbered only in the double digits, and while the group who sought harmony recommended fleeing to Drovv land or even past it, the other group wished to stay where they were. This internal debate ultimately formed the Isldar, who did indeed flee into Drovv territory but who reached even further into Ellador while those that became the Voltalar remained in Daen for some time. But eventually, even they could not resist and in their pride, they “departed to locate better lands suited to the exploration of the powers of their Dragon-charges” and promptly left Daen, heading straight north where they settled. Ultimately, the campaign of the Dragon Hunt had helped to clear Daen of the Cult’s influence.
The Campaign against the Green Forest Dragons
While the Cult of Drogon was defeated and ultimately pushed north, a campaign of the Dragon Hunt was taking place much closer to home for many Altalar. The Green Forest Dragons were largely unprotected by the Cult of Drogon, who focused on the Nightdrakes, and so the verdant Dragons were promptly targeted. Hunting parties of Mages followed every rumor, track sign and trace of the Green Forest Dragons before ending them in an intense battle. The task was made difficult by the Dragon’s color, which made it easy for them to be able to blend in with the nature surrounding them. Ultimately, some Altalar came to believe that this species of Dragon was impossible to end truly. But, in almost suicidal bravery, the Green Forest Dragons seemed to prove the Altalar wrong. In 198 BC, the Altalar province of Prëv’ralla went dark, and many quietly assumed it was merely another land fallen victim to the Fracture of Allorn. But this was incorrect as a stream of refugees filled the neighboring provinces, claiming that Prëv’ralla and its capital city of Prëven Protla were infested with Green Forest Dragons. With them had come an explosion of nature, garden plants overgrowing their carefully manicured borders and vines crawling up every surface. When scouts went to investigate, they determined that this was indeed true and so the Dragon Hunt turned its eyes toward the overgrown city. Here though, the efforts were led by one of the Empress’s daughters, secretly a member of the Daughters of Chaos, a Void Worship offshoot cult. Marching forth with her personal retinue of allied Mages and those refugee Mages from Prëven Protla, she attacked the city and began a systematic cleansing of the Dragon population found there. It took almost a month, but in the end, the Altalar won. No Green Forest Dragons remained alive and what eggs had been found were either petrified to preserve them as trophies or opened for the Altalar to discover what Dragon babies looked like in such a young stage. The city remained overgrown and was fully abandoned for another, with the province returning to the Empire for a mere decade before truly going dark in 188 BC.
Aside from these two campaigns carried out on Daen, some among the Altalar pursued Dragons in other continents. In Hadaria, which the Allorn Empire had abandoned almost a hundred years prior, the Yellow Water Dragon was one such target. Aquatic and thus more easily able to avoid Altalar attempts to capture them, the Dragon was also small and presented little challenge to the Mages who went after them. Then there were the Yellow Sky Dragons. While the same color as the Yellow Water Dragon, they were far more wild and more of a challenge to the Altalar. The majority of them lived in Sendras, only hopping over the Snake Bend Strait for personal amusement at the cost of the coastal cities of the Allorn Empire. The Dragon Hunt quickly convinced them to avoid Daen, which they did in the aftermath of three of their kind being felled by one city in the year 210 BC.
Next, there are the scattered and rumored actions undertaken by Altalar into more distant regions of the world. Some, usually scholars of the Regalian Empire, claim the Altalar foolishly pursued Blue Feathered Dragons for months if not years in the Regalian Archipelago, but were unable to effectively combat their control of the weather and water. This period also supposedly saw at least one Altalar expedition to distant Farah’deen to fell some of the many varieties of Desert Dragon found there, though records of the Sariyd Empire do not discuss such a trip if it occurred. Finally, the Dragon Hunt killed off the last of the Shallow Sea Serpents. While not technically a Dragon, this cousin to both the Great Sea Dragon and Deep Sea Serpent was still seen as Draconic in origin and so was hunted to extinction in Daen, with other expeditions also killing what few lived in the Regalian Archipelago, Drovv lands, and perhaps even Essalonia. By the year 190 BC, there were fewer Dragons in Aloria than there had been a near half century ago and the formal Dragon Hunt came to an end.
The Dragon Hunt, when it was completed, was a lauded and largely enjoyed event by the vast majority of the Altalar, but even at the time others saw it for the dangerous effects it had on the world. The Cult of Ciellonia (the precursor to the Cielothar) was horrified at what happened to the Green Forest Dragons, and in the final years of the Allorn Empire its ranks came to include people who agreed that the destruction of such a creature was wholly wrong. Today, the Cielothar still vilify this action but spread hope Estel will perhaps revive such noble creatures in the future. As for the Altalar, they largely shirk the blame for everything onto those who are now the Kathar. They also state the Cult of Drogon was a violent, destabilizing, traitorous force which ultimately abandoned the Nelfin people to create their own Races. Those who proudly accept the role of the Allorn Empire in the Dragon Hunt claim it was necessary, for the reasons stated before about the Cult of Drogon and for the overall dangers Dragons presented to the world. As for the Isldar and Voltalar, both blame each other for the death of Dragons during the era of the Hunt and deride the ideology of the other as a reason the tragedy occurred. But no matter whose fault it was, the Dragon Hunt certainly marked the beginning in the decline of Draconic power in Aloria as, one by one, the other Dragon populations died off or faded from existence from a variety of factors.
The Dragon Hunt has also had a sizable effect on world cultures. Some argue that the Sariyd Empire engaged in the Red Hunt seeking to emulate the model of the superior Altalar. Such scholars are largely Altalar themselves and also ignore the roughly two centuries between the two events, during which the Sariyd remained mostly at peace with the Desert Dragons. But the Hunt also had more definite impacts in culture, particularly in literature. Tales of Altalar Mages and Lancers felling powerful Dragons quickly became part of Altalar culture in the twilight years of the Allorn Empire, surviving even until now in several famous epics. In Ithania, these ideas were converted into Ailor warriors and, ultimately, knights defeating Dragons. Such ideas spread with the Ithanian people into the Regalian Empire, where they became a powerful symbol. Stories of the defeat of powerful water-based Dragons by brave knights exploded into popularity as symbology against the Naylar people during the Chrysant War. Today, the knight in shining armor charging down a Dragon is a well known image to many children across the Regalian Empire, all stemming back from the Dragon Hunt half a millennia earlier.
- The Anglian and Breizh Cultures loathe the stories of the Dragon Hunt, particularly the Ithanian adaptations which emerged during the Chrysant War period, such as the play The Tale of Sir Eamon and the Serpent.
- Some Cielothar claim Altalar records hide the fact that some Green Forest Dragons escaped. Supposedly in one of Prëven Protla’s great halls after the last few days of death, a deep and massive tunnel was found burrowing into the earth with obvious sights Dragons had entered it. The Altalar then supposedly closed the entrance, tired of the fighting and wanting to revel in the glory of the event.
- Despite the Tarnic Serpent’s supposed extinction, rumors persist to this day of serpentine lake monsters in their image which remain in places like the Highlands of Gallovia in the Regalian Archipelago or the deep eastern forests of Essalonia.