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Welcome to #DragonNation!




Hello Hello!

Welcome to DragonNation, a nation of Scale, Fur, Skin and Feather! We are a diverse group from all over the globe. If you love dragons--you've come to the right place! Be you an author, an artist, or a roleplayer-- you have a home here in the Nation!

There are never any joining requirements to be a member and you are automatically accepted!


Hyvera1 by DJ-Sky What can I submit?
1. Any artwork with a dragon in it, more specifically:

>>>>A deviation with no less then one mythical creature, anthro or feral (meaning not one in Earth's current animal kingdom)
>>>>|or| a deviation including #DragonNation's mascots; Hyvera and Ryozan
>>>>|or| a hybrid dragon, as long as it is clearly written out in the description that it is a hybrid/cross dragon.

2. No Work in Progress artwork. (You can join our Discord to share works in progress)

3. No desktop screenshots, regardless of who drew it

4. You may only submit artwork you created. No images from Dragon-creators, regardless what you add to it afterwards. No coloured free-to-use bases. Collaborations are welcome, however.

5. You MAY submit free-to-use lineart or bases, as long as you created them.

6. You may not submit journals of any type to our gallery.

7. DragonNation strictly prohibits vore, therefore no vore images are allowed in the gallery.

8. No overly fetishised images, no visible genitalia. Please refer to deviantART's deviantArt's policy around sexual themes for more information.

9. Please note that, if you commissioned artwork from an artist on deviantART, you MUST submit the piece DIRECTLY FROM THE ARTIST'S GALLERY. We will not approve of pieces, bought or gifted, from the recipient as it would detract some attention from the original artists. Some people have to do this for a living, not a hobby. If the artist is on a different platform however, you may submit the art as long as you link it directly back to the artist.

10. Please be mindful to submit to the correct galleries.


Hyvera1 by DJ-Sky How can I be a Contributor?
You can note us or ask us on our Discord. We're interested in people that can follow guidelines and have common sense, as well as a taste for art that is unique and unseen. Remember that if you hold an admin position in a group, you're going to get the group bar on your user page as well as getting quite a bit of group messages to vote on submissions.

Hyvera1 by DJ-Sky How can I be a Moderator?
Unfortunately, this position is just for editing access, such as contributors that are managing the gallery, members, adding affiliates, and things.


#DragonNation news!



on right by 1m3 July 20, 2021 #DragonNation is BACK! Come chat with us on Discord!

More news coming soon!

Gallery Folders

Featured
Watercolor Ink - Dragon x Crow - Die Wegweiser by PandiiVan
Watercolor Deepsea Dragons: Lobster Shark Dragon by PandiiVan
Ryozan by SiberianDraco
Commission: Huge Nightfury Reference Sheet by PandiiVan
Digital 1 FULL
Merry Christmas by Zhalia by ZRBoss
COM : Reptile Monster by whiteguardian
Forever crying by arucarrd
Lt. Colonel Feral Cide by dragonguilders
Digital 3
Delta Draws DTIYS Entry by LordMaddie
Here be attatude and a cookieadict by ScarletKnightReterns
Briinah [OC] by vemra
Solna's Advice by CloudCrabCake
Digital 2 FULL
Darkstalker Legends Poster by xTheDragonRebornx
I Am An Ocean by xTheDragonRebornx
Azrael appearance storyboard PREV by CarmanMM-Dirda
Traditional 2
Raincatcher by Lakrenix
Valyrion sketch  by JTD-Arts
For Pasta [GIFT]  by JTD-Arts
Flying 52 by umunschaas
Traditional 1 FULL
Kaido by Melionna
Candy vs IceCream (Colored) by drakenman
DTIYS Entry for Redpersik: Yulgurush. by PandiiVan
amphithere dragon by Viperwings
Mixed Media
dragon time by KaiserMeowser
Commission: Autumn Romance by PandiiVan
Angalithar (Wishlist Gift) by ZRBoss
AB bonus icon by RavenCorona
Literature
Onyxsoul - Chapter 2. - No escape
No escape from the death rowFrom the Customer into the Revered OneA dragon's dream How ironic it was... they had been colourfully cursing and damning their flayer whackers and the trader with heart of stone into the deepest abyss of the infernal hell only recently, of course only in whispers to be not heard... and now, as their merciless master had handed over the keys and left with his skinner guards their final ray of hope was gone with them as well. A careless bystander probably would have been heartily laughing at this irony of fate, yet the slaves knew all too well it meant none other than the signing of their literal death sentence. Their new "owners", the monstrous dragons what had been towering further away now stood up and stepped behind them just as like headsmen on public executions, blocking the sole way leading back if not into freedom, but at least into life with their immense scaled bodies irremediably. Irremediably, and at the same time, forevermore. Not that they would have any chance whatsoever to escape their certain doom anyway. Closely chained together and weighed down by shackles, they could move only as one wherever. One of the slaves, just a single soul from the many godforsaken wretched humans to whom the name Emile Massiliu and the worth of mere four silver ducats were written into the docket of the merchant knew from firsthand experience that how lengthy affliction and endless practice it took even for well-fed and careless soldiers until they became able to march in a single direction as a unit without obstructing each other. He still remembered well how their former trainer sergeant had had to shout himself hoarse every day, throwing a truly endless army of profanities and rebukes to the heads of the rookies tied together with ropes around their hips. Which would have been a smiling memory on its own, if not for the so preferred use of disciplinary caning. And what was so difficult for soldiers was no less than impossible for them, slaves. Every single one of them was in horrible condition. The merchant and his whackers had dictated a ruthless pace with barely allowing any time for rest. And even when they so mercilessly had on rare occasions, they hadn't even removed their chains which were cutting into their flesh and their shackles which were stifling them. They had had even less time for taking care of themselves, and they had been provided with only the bare minimum from food and water, and needless to say, from the lowest-grades. Thanks to this, their ribs were visible and they were just as starving as the giant beasts standing behind them, their tongues were like tinder in their dry mouths. Their clothes, which hadn't been the best ones to start with, had been torn into squalid rags, especially their shoes which were so worn out they barely covered anything from their blistered, bleeding wounded feet. What's even more, as they had so little time for halting and resting, those who hadn't been able to hold it back had had no choice but to spoil their rags. Parasitic lice were swarming in their unkempt hair, annoying fleas were biting them under their dirty tattered clothes. Many of them were so sick they could barely move, and there were more than one who were so weak that they didn't collapse only simply because they were chained together so closely that the slaves next to them had to bear their weights as well. They were a most miserable sight, stinking an even more horrible stench. It would have been an inability to try escaping, they would have only achieved that those standing on the outside would have started to run for a different direction, resulting in not being able to move anywhere as long as chained together. With such a hopeless breaking out they probably would have only increased the voracious appetite of the scaled horrors, triggering their bloodthirsty instincts. And even if they would have been completely free and full of heath, they wouldn't have any chance of escaping the swift wings of the dragons. Let alone like this. Even their whackers had been able to make them move in a single direction by skinning the backs of those standing outside by their harsh whips. Even though Emile had to suffer their fanged lashes only for a day when standing on the outside, he was in such a debilitated state just as his slave brethren. His once battle-trained body was now the long past, the mere memory of a world long gone. Perhaps not even his mother, but neither his old self wouldn't be able to recognize the wreck slavery had degraded him into. Maybe only his nut-brown eyes would have been able to give some help, but the flame of vocation which had been blazing in them once had been extinguished and replaced by the broken despair of slavery. He was barely able to stand on his awfully wounded left feet, and when their owner had "generously" allowed them to stand in a brook for a few moments on the day before while still chained together, of course, he had enjoyed the refreshing coolness of the water at first but then had quickly regretted it as his wet feet only had collected the dirt which dangered his wounds becoming infected. His trained muscles were like as if they never had existed, and now he was feeling the stab of his ribs with each inhales. In the last feeding time back at that dawn, he had been so clumsy that he had dropped the half of his stale bread, and he had no chance to recover it as they had to eat on the march. He was famished but suffered from his thirst even worse, not being able to even swallow with his dessert-like throat. He found no pride in it but was feeling so miserable that he could have been able to kill even for a sip of vitalizing water. He was feeling horrible about the crawling and biting of the lice in his uncut dark brown hair and beard, but not being able to do anything against them was far more maddening than the pain. And even if he would have got free of them for some reason, he would have only won a little respite as more would have climbed onto him after mere minutes from the people standing next to him. Compared to their terrible condition, it was a real miracle that only "a few" of them had died during the long journey. But he knew all too well this would change soon as the exhaustion, the starving and thirst, as well as the diseases would increase the death toll dramatically. Or rather, would only in theory as none of them would live for that long to start with. Emile perhaps would have had a hearty giggle under different circumstances on the irony of his fate: the last, nightmarish episode of his life would end just as it had begun in the first place: with dragons. As on the last day of his freedom, on the forenight of that fateful battle, such a scaled beast had been spotted flying towards the faraway mountains. One half of the army had thought it to be a fortunate omen and the other a bad sign which conflict had almost ended in the brawl of the two camps. Although Emile had wished to believe it as a good omen, he had already known inside that if their state was so inauspicious that they needed such celestial omen in their desperation, then they had been truly already lost. After all, the whole of that bloody campaign had been nothing else than an unstoppable series of disasters. Both opposing sides had just circled each other, and Emile's army had begun laying siege to a major city. A city, what a good joke, for it was a whole fortress with walls so high that pain ached into the man's neck when trying to gaze at the ramparts! Their surprising charge had failed, and it quickly had become obvious after that the Creator had been favouring the defenders. Long months had passed with building siege engines, digging trenches and breaking the walls, only for the defenders to repel each of their charges in a fierce and bloody fight. Even the weather had conspired against them and them, who had hoped to starve the defenders out had run out of the supplies. And of course, the diseases of wartime like dysentery had inevitably quickly appeared among the crowded and hungering army, claiming many lives and weakening others. Desertion had run rampant, and the morale of the soldiers had plummeted. And when their leader had acknowledged the senselessness of the siege after months of suffering and had ordered to break it, their fate had turned even grimmer. The army of their adversary, which had been waiting patiently and growing in strength, had quickly caught their retreating army which had been dwindling in numbers day by day, hour by hour and had forced into an impossible situation where they had had to take battle. And it had been then, a few hours before the clash when that dragon had flown over their camp which had been thought as a celestial sign despite the vile nature of these beasts, believed to be nothing less than sent by the Creator to let them known: despite their low chances, the victory would be theirs. But as it had turned out, the stories hadn't been lying and the passing of a dreadful dragon would remain a harbinger sign forevermore. The battle had been lost after barely an hour and had deteriorated into a disastrous slaughter from which only a handful of men had been able to escape. Most of the soldiers, thousands of people had either died or had been captured, only to be sold as slaves in an instant. Naturally, this hadn't been true for the noble knights who couldn't be harmed according to the laws of chivalry and had been kept in comfy custody until the arrival of the generous ransom. Unlike them, those commoners who're blood had not been blue, had been either left to perish to their wounds on the battlefield or had been sold into slavery for a handful of shining coins. True, a few years earlier their heads simply would have been chopped off. Now Emile was thinking it would have been better if the same would have been done to them, as a swift death seemed like true salvation compared to the many monstrosities of slavery for which... for which there were simply no words. Especially now, with their suffering ending in such a dread way. For Emile and most of humanity, death wasn't an unfamiliar occurrence but a part of their everyday life. He had seen much from it, far too much, and knew very well it could come for him in its many forms. He had given a lot of thought in the past about which way death would claim him. As a reckless but naive young man, he had hoped if he would ever have to go, then he would fall on an apocalyptic battlefield like a true hero, achieving such glorious deeds that his name would be remembered together with the greatest and ancient champions of humanity hundreds of years after... Haha, sure! But he had never dared to even dream about that he would be sold as a broken slave by his kind to no other than the pestilent dragons and would meet his end in the dreadful jaws of one such beast. And yet, now it is going to be so and neither he nor the other unfortunate slaves could do anything against it. He was feeling the hungering glare of the two beasts on his back like a cold, sharp tip of a blade. How would it happen? Perhaps they would burn every one of them with their infernal flames and then would snack on their roasted flesh in delight, like a potato roasted in the embers of campfires? Or they would just simply start devouring the people from the back one by one, not even caring for their iron chains and stuffing as many of them down on their abyssal throats until their insatiable bellies would almost burst? Not Emile, nor the other slaves could know, and neither they could do anything to avoid their certain doom. None of them dared to even give a quick look at the towering dragons behind them, nor to the gold clothed man who had brought them and who was serving the monsters for some reason. Perhaps he had made a vile pact with the horrors, betraying his fellow humans, or he was just a slave like them who had the chance to choose between serving his scaled masters either with his speech or with his flesh? No matter, they were done for either way. They were only awaiting the beat of their final hour with their gazes fixed on the ground or the back of the person standing before them when the razor-sharp fanged maws of the monsters would close on them. Neither of them dared to whisper a single word, and the ills were chokingly holding back the urges for coughing. None other could be heard save for the metal clanking of the chains resulted by the unwitting shaking of their hands in fear. Many of them were holding back crying out in loud with biting to their lips, so only their tears were running down, cutting clean lines into their dusty faces. Next to the horrid stench of the purulent wounds and festers, the nauseating odour of the unwashed bodies and faeces the indescribable but quite real smell of mortal fear was engulfing everything, so much that it could almost have been cut in the air. And into this death awaiting silence exploded abruptly the cry of one of the infants. What's more, the other one joined in as well, freezing the blood in everybody in an instant. Babies could always be surprisingly loud, and now the cry of the poor children was shrilly echoing through the pass. Moreover, perhaps they even reached the ears of the now far away whackers and the merchant who had sold them into the literal maws of death, striking him down as an ultimate curse. If the gracious Creator would truly provide justice, then this flayer slave-trader would never know a calm night and would always be startled out of his sleep by the weep of the two infants whose death he was responsible for. As the life of a barely born, innocent child was already on his greedy heart, or rather, the empty crater which once had been his heart. As not only two but three unfortunate infants had been born during their long journey. But their master had halted the march only when the mothers had been howling like mad in their great pain, and only for the very few minutes of giving birth. They had been urged to move forward by whips right after, caring little about the mother and the baby. After this, it hadn't been a surprise when a few hours later the mother hadn't been able to hold his unfortunate child any longer and dropped him. And by the time the merchant had angrily stopped the march after her weeping begging, some others had trampled over the child as they could barely see before their steps thanks for being chained together. The mother had praised the mercy of their masters when she had received her baby back, but every single slave knew their masters had torn out their hearts long ago and were thinking only in values. Theirs must have been calculating that he would get a nice price for the infant if he survived, and if not, well, that's life. He had cared nothing about mending the wounds of the child. Tragically, the infant had died by the following day, but the maternal instincts of his mother had taken her mind and she had hugged the little boy so close and pampered him as he would have been still alive. And as "mercifully" their master had given back the baby to her before, now as he was worthless for him, so mercilessly he had ordered his whackers to tear him out from the embrace of the mother who had fought like a lioness despite her weak state, only to toss the small body into a ditch next to the road without any kind of respect... The other two who had remained alive and were now crying weren't more fortunate at all, the mercy of the Ever-Mother unkindly turned back to the sinless infants. They had been born, leaving the caring and protecting body of their mother, only so that after a few days of living their short lives would end with bloodthirsty beasts. And now they surely were only hurrying the inevitable with their grievous crying, igniting the murderous instinct of the beasts. One of them was crying near Emile and the man would have begged the mother to quieten her child, but he could barely whisper with his parched mouth. She started hushing the infant on her own, but to no avail. In her terrified despair, she tried to gag the mouth of the crying child with her chained hands. Emile... Emile honestly couldn't blame her if she would have just simply choked the child in her mortal fear. For while this sounded as inconceivable cruelty at first, but in reality was actually the contrary, as it would have been a far more "merciful" death if the mother would have ended the infant's life, instead of the hungry terrors. For the two cold-blooded monsters perhaps wouldn't have even bothered to waste their sabre-like fangs on the tender aged children, but as tiny yet delicious morsels would have swallowed them down alive so that the unfortunate children would... no, it was too nightmarish to even think about this horror. For the sake of the Creator's Mercy, if only they would stop the crying before... But it was already too late. The golden clothed man who had been inspecting them without a move now abruptly turned and started to walk toward the inner of the pass, while signing with his hand. In the next moment, the two dragons behind them stepped forward as one, shaking the ground with their enormous weight. Even though Emile wasn't standing at the back of the group, he was also struck on his neck by their hot breaths, and with these, the two beasts have just achieved what the whackers had only managed to with many shouting and smacking whips: got the march going.~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Although the terrain of the pass only rose further for a while, there was no complaint from the slaves. They didn't know why they had to climb higher and higher, but even if their way was leading right into the open maws of the dragons full of sword-like fangs, every single step meant another second of life until then. The gold clothed man was leading on the front, with the two immense monsters stepping behind them rather slowly compared to their sizes. They were herding them as shepherds herd a flock of sheep, keeping enough distance to not trample down on the slaves, but remaining close enough so the humans would still beware of their presence without even gazing back. Next to the clank of the chains, the noise of the march and the heavy steps of the dragons it wasn't the silence of the grave reigning among the slaves. The sick were coughing, the wounded were groaning, and the mothers were still hushing their crying infants. A few of them were even guessing in whispers about the destination of their march, although none of them could know the answer for sure. Neither Emile, he could only guess about that perhaps there was a more open place deeper in the mountain pass where maybe even more dread terrors were hungrily awaiting them, the arrival of their lunch. Indeed, very few people have ever been given the opportunity to take a closer look at not just one, but several such terrible creatures. But what good would this unique experience be if one ended up in no other than the hell-like belly of one of the beasts? What's even more, perhaps that would be the more "merciful" outcome. Emile had already seen far too much in his life for his weary mind to imagine one horrible scenario after another. What if these fiends of the legends would do the very same to them as they have been treating the animals: feeding, stuffing and breeding them while locked up only to heartily devour their offspring? Or maybe they wouldn't wolf down all of them at once, but only a handful of them selected by a morbid raffle, with the others waiting in dread at every moment of each new day when the fatal choice will dawn on them? Although perhaps many of them were feeling now they would eagerly sell their souls to the Devil itself only to live for another day, but it would end eventually, the final moment would come when the last unfortunate one would disappear forever in the throats of the beasts. Emile rather forcefully shook these senseless contemplations out of his head, they would see soon enough what cruel form of death fate holds for them. Instead, he tried to focus on life, the life which was lengthened by each step. He wasn't able to see much either forward or sideways because of those around him, so instead he was looking down before his feet, hissing in himself as tormenting pain was splitting into his left with each step. Instead of how his life would end, he was more interested in where his death would take place. He had absolutely no idea about where they were at. Until a while ago, he had had no notion at all about people living beyond the vast forests of the northern Twin Duchies in a place called the Golden Meadows, which they already had passed long ago. At one night, one of his more knowledgeable slave-mate had told them about that place, mentioning that in the war that had been raging for years in the Duchies and with which Emile was also familiar, the mercenaries had rebelled and had drawn out to this scarcely populated place known for its golden plains. At that time they had thought they would be sold to these mercenaries to work on the remains of the arsonized and ruined homesteads instead of the driven out or murdered former owners. But this hadn't been the case, the merchant and his whackers had driven them even further north, to which direction there was nothing else according to even this more knowledgeable slave, but the famous end of the world. The enormity of wanting them to be sold to the dragons had become apparent the moment they had seen two beasts and their human servant waiting for them in the pass leading up into the mountains. No men could know where they were being driven now. As far as he could see from his fellow slaves, Emile noticed that the previously narrow pass was expanding more and more, almost like a valley. Evergreen pines were perching on the sides, smuggling some colour into the rather black than grey rocky terrain and the vast mountains surrounding the pass, the snow-capped peaks of which could no longer be seen because of the fog floating above them. The same grey, wet mist was covering the steep climbs behind them, and the terrain in front of them was dotted with more modest hills. Eventually, the halt took place at such an easy slope. The man leading them suddenly slowed down and showed the universal sign of stopping with his hand. The slave march immediately obeyed, and the two dragons stopped as well. Then the golden clothed man climbed up the hill in front of them to turn back and look down upon them from the top. Emile's heart pounded as he recognised, the time had come, they had arrived at the place they were going to die. Contrary to his expectation, he didn't see more dragons and that small number of trees on the sides of the widened pass could in no way hide such large creatures. There was no one else there but them, the two beasts behind them and the man in the golden cloth, the traitor who would watch the bloodbath from the hill. But in the end, what did it matter whether there were two or more monsters, their death was certain either way. The other slaves felt the same way and the grave silence of mortal fear reigned over them again. Only the two infants were crying further unappeasable, expressing the others' suffocated feelings of fear. The moments, then the seconds just passed with severe slowness, but the scaly monsters just didn't move, they just didn't see to the horrible feast. Instead, it was the man standing on the hill who raised both of his hands. "People! I know well how tired you are, but I would still ask for your attention!" he began with a surprisingly loud voice that every gaze lifted to him in an instant. Even the babies were magically silenced. "I can see among you men and women, those in the middle of their lives and old, as well as young and those born into the world just a few days ago. You originate from different parts of the human realms, with many and many life stories behind yourselves. But you are all the same in one thing: some since longer, some since shorter times, but you are all suffering under the bitter yoke of slavery." he continued after a short pause. He was speaking slowly as if he would wish to be certain about everybody understanding him. "It was none others than your fellow humans who have forced you into his lowly fate, and it was they who have sold you as mere cattle. And now destiny has brought you here, as your masters did not shy away from selling you without any care for your fates to any others but the dragons." he spoke, and Emile could swear he was looking straight at him among all the other slaves. "I don't have to see into your minds to guess your thoughts. I can clearly see the terror in your eyes, hear the ringing of the chains on your trembling hands, smell the fear of death among you. And based on what you may know about the dragons from the stories and legends, you have every right to be afraid. For what other purposes would dragons buy human slaves, if not for devouring every single one of you in their hunger? The merchant, Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny felt the same fear, and yet, he sold you the same in the end for some shining coins so that the dragons could satisfy their hunger with your flesh, quench their thirst with your blood. Those two behind you could do this without any issue, in fact, even myself could! For despite my current appearance, I am not at all a human like you... but something entirely different." he said, and before either Emile or any of his fellow slaves could have even the chance to wonder upon what this was supposed to mean, something... unspeakable happened. The man spread his arms to the side and looked up, then from nowhere such a sharp glow emerged that Emile had to turn his gaze away in pain. When a few moments later he was able to open his brow eyes back, the man in the golden cloth and with similar hair and beard was gone without any trace, as if he had never existed at all. But in his place, however... however, may the Gracious Mercy of the Creator keep him, towered an enormous dragon! Such a gargantuan colossus compared to what the two others behind them were all dwarfed, with its immense body covered with an army of such golden scales as if it weren't a living creature, but rather an incredible golden statue! Its bottom was bronze-brown from the end of the huge tail until the chin, just like its enormous belly in which might have accommodated no less than the population of a whole village, so big it was! Stout, iron-grey spikes protruded out from the tip of its tail into all directions of the wind rose and the same was running up over its spine all the way to its massive head. No less than three pairs of thick, grooved horns emerged from the top of its head, one of which was broken in half. Similarly, ancient scars dotted its golden scales, just as a large portion of the left one of the sail-like crests which enchanted the back of its head under the ears was missing as if bitten out by some kind of another giant horror. Moreover, there were several snow-white fangs with broken tips protruding from its blood-freezingly huge jaw, all suggesting that this golden monster might have been terrorizing this world for centuries. At the very beginning of its muzzle, it blew out air vibrating from the heat on not two, but downright four nostrils. And behind them, under the horns, a pair of golden-brown split eyes hiding the experiences of long ages were gazing down at the humans. Emile was feeling as gazing down straight at him. He had never considered himself as a coward, yet now he was so elementally terrified that he would have preferred to ignore his sore leg and flee, just to get as far as away as possible from the golden beast! But just like the others with similar feelings, he was pulled back by his chains, no matter how desperately he dragged them. There was nothing he could do but think like a madman that lo and behold, the stories in which these hellish fiends brought ruination and torment to the good folk while hiding in human disguise were telling the truth! True, it was all true what these tales, often considered just as silly child fairytales said, word for word! There was no doubt, the love of the Eternal-Mother forsaken them forever, they were going to perish there, every single one of them! And as the gargantuan beast opened its fanged and so tremendous maw into which a horse-drawn carriage could have smoothly turned in, he knew, the end was here... "I am the one who is honoured as the Revered One by my kind! I have bought you, you are now completely mine! I am your owner, your master and as such, I have unlimited power over you even according to the laws of humankind, I can do with you whatever I see fit! I can trample you, burn you to ashes, or just gulp every one of you down without any hindrance, as your lives are all mine!" the golden colossus bellowed, his strong voice echoing through the rocks as the oppressive roar of an avalanche. Spreading the robust, also golden wings dotted with ancient wounds to the sides, his impossible stature appeared even more gigantic as their edges seemed to almost scratch the two sides of the valley. The people would have preferred to rush away in panic or to beg aloud collapsed to the ground for mercy to the Gracious Mother. However, as their chains made fleeing impossible, the still echoing bellow of the golden beast drowned out all of their words. Silent in their dread and rooted to the ground with their feet, they only waited for the golden Devil himself to fall upon them. However, he did not but instead closed his fanged maw, retracted his huge golden wings and then sat down on his hind legs which emphasised further his height rivalling the towers of the Exalted Creator's sacred domes. "But I shall do none of these, may the spirits of Mother Nature preserve from them." said the dragon. His voice was still deep, but far softer as if they wouldn't have been emerging from the throat of such a horrid beast. "You are mistaken about the reason for you being here, just as the heartless merchant who cruelly sold you was mistaken as well. I did not buy you to simply devour you, nor to threaten your lives in any other way. As your master, the lord of your life and destiny, I have only a sole commandment for you. Namely, that from this very moment, you... are free, all of you!"~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Like a calf at the new gate, so incomprehensibly Emile and the other slaves looked at the behemoth towering in front of them. Hadn't they been bought to be killed? Were they free? There was no doubt that these lines had been uttered in a sensible, human voice from the dragon's maw full of fangs. In his softer voice, with a small difference, he spoke almost exactly as before, when he had been still... wearing a human form. They heard and understood his words, but failed to comprehend them. No, something was wrong here, there had to be something in the background, they must have been an explanation! Let's say, perhaps it was nothing else than a ruse, a scam, a very ugly scam, no matter how honest it sounded. Yes, only that could have been, a vile hoax! It was not enough that the heartless monsters would devour them alive, but first, they even intended to torment them spiritually to the very end! Wickedly have fun with them and maliciously delight in their misery, just like cats used to play with tiny mice before eating them! Could fate be even more cruel, than... Then the golden dragon lifted his muscular left foreleg, showing to them his sizable clawed paw in which tinily, but still visibly, were sitting the keys opening their chains and shackles. After a few moments, the beast closed its scaly palm and similarly closed down his golden eyes. He raised his horned head while taking deep breaths with his double pair of nostrils, his clenched paw first began to gently tremble, then literally a first faint, but intensifying light appeared around it. His closed eyelids began to vibrate in a similar way as if something were about to break out from under them. And when he opened them back, those were no longer mere golden-brown eyes, but real, miniature suns! They shone with blinding brightness and power, just like those of the hideous demons or those of the angels used in the frescoes of the domes dedicated to Her. His enormous maw opened, and a formed, yet completely silent word left it after which a swift, but also soft zephyr coming from nowhere washed through the slaves in the next moment. Emile and the other terrified people took a step back in shocking awe at the sigh of such horrendous magic, for it could have bee none other than that power of evil, the abominable spellcraft of the dark forces against which may the Eternal-Mother shield humankind! Many of them would have already begun crying pleading prayers for deliverance if a sharp, clicking sound hadn't split into the air. Which was immediately followed by another, and then another, what's more quickly by dozens and even more than a hundred metallic clicks and clank as all the slaves' heavy stout shackles and heavy chains fell with a loud rattle to the ground from their necks and wrists. Emile almost fell from the completely unexpected and unsigned relief, as if a mountain of weight had been torn from him. The slave trader who worshipped hurry had their chains opened only quite rarely, they hadn't even been when either one of their chains or shackles wouldn't have been on them. As a result, they had long since deeply rubbed his wrists and cut the skin on his neck, just like they had to all of his companions. Now that they had gotten rid of them in such a literally magical way, they could only surprisingly caress their limbs constricted by the metals and gaze up at the golden dragon responsible for the spell with sincere dismay. "Freedom is of particular importance to my kind, so it is my pleasure to deprive you of your chains. As I said, you are no longer slaves, but free people!" confirmed the scaly beast, while the golden light slowly faded back in his eyes and left forepaw. Emile looked up with both eyes and mouth wide open at the golden dragon, then to his fellow human beings, silently asking the other with their gazes whether they had heard well, whether this was really the truth? "I understand how difficult it must be for you to grasp all of this after the long and hopeless years of miserable servitude, but it is so. And as I am no longer your master, I can only ask for your further attention! For as forging your own destiny is perhaps the ultimate privilege of freedom, so you have to choose now as free people. As I said, I am your owner no longer, I have no power over you. Therefore if you wish, you can set back even right now to return to the human realms, to your left-behind homes, to your long-seen loved ones. Neither I nor any of my kind would hinder you, the way is open before you. You can return home freely, and to those who would decide to do so, I sincerely wish from my heart to find happiness." he continued, pointing behind them with his scaly nose. Many, including Emile, turned back to where the pass had led back to the human lands. The slate-grey and black dragons who had been standing behind them all the way now stood up as one and walked sideways with some long steps, opening the way back as a clear gesture. Memoirs erupted in Emile's mind, happy memories from an even happier life that had been faded away by the horrors of war and the nightmares of slavery as if they had never happened. "Or if you feel that there is no reason and person to return to your far-away homeland, I offer you an opportunity to start anew. You could come with us so that with your help, together we could realise nothing else than a real dream. For there, behind me in the great valley beyond the pass, which had been once the ancestral homeland of my kind for millennia, we began to build something that had never been witnessed before in history, or if it had been, it had been completely lost to mists of the distant past. A dream, the Dream, where humankind and dragons could live and work together without mutual fear and hatred in realising a brighter future, in the hope of a better life." said the golden dragon, glancing back behind his own back for a moment as the people had done just before. "We will not be your masters, your life will be yours to command, as free as my kind flies on the backs of the winds. We will not be your lords who have taken your crops, who have driven you into wars in the hope of their own further enrichment, and who have seized your family lands without batting an eye and have sold you into slavery, their own subjects if they calculated it worthed them more even by the minimum. In this wonderous Dream, when you will look up at us, dragons, you will not see the horrid monsters known from your legends and tales who hunger for your flesh, but your protectors and helpers. And in the same way, when we will gaze down on you, humans, we will not see bipeds who fear, despise and therefore hate us, but our companions and friends. You are far from being the first, and by my hopes, far not the last people to whom I make this offer. Like you, many fellow humans have already been brought up here by slave traders to be sold into death, only to meet liberation instead of the anticipated hour of the final end. I spoke to them as I do now to you, offered them what I offer now to you. Some of them chose the way home and left, many others decided there was no reason for their return and accepting my offer, joined me to bring this Dream come true..." the dragon continued his speech. As he was saying his last words, Emile was surprised to notice a figure stepping forward from behind the golden colossus. At first, he thought he must have been so weak, so desperate and so confused by the dragon's words that he was hallucinating, but no, it was really a woman. Even from such a distance, he could clearly see she was a beautiful creation with long blond hair, wearing a pretty white dress adorned with greenish colours, and whose slender figure was the perfect opposite to the immense scaled beast. Emile would have preferred to shout at her, warning her to the obvious danger posed by the huge monster, especially as the woman had stopped right next to him, barely a human arm away from the golden scales. The other could have swallowed her with ease, and Emile believed it would indeed happen as the beast looked down at the women bending down his stout neck... but instead, something entirely different happened, something Emile simply had considered impossible. The woman looked up at the terrifying dragon with a wide, sincere smile and he answered her with a nod of his horned head. "... just like Laura." the golden dragon finished his sentence, raising his gaze back to the people below. "However, as I did not before her and others, I will not hide away from you either that this Dream, in which human and dragon work together, is still new, at its dawn, even according to the shorter time of humanity and we still have a lot of work to do to make it a reality. For this reason, if you decide to accept my invitation and wish to participate, we will welcome you all, greatly appreciating your talents and skills. Please, consider the decision carefully, as it is about your very lives! And because of this, you don't necessarily have to make your choice right now. For as one of my friends, a wise human used to say, one can only make a well-considered decision when rested and with a full stomach!"
Onyxsoul - Chapter 1. - Traded lives
A man of commerceThe dreadful monsters of the talesWhat is the price of a slave's life? Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny considered himself a man of bravery. Of course, he did not mean at all by this that he would draw his gem hilted ornament sabre from his lavishly embroidered vermillion sheath and charge into any clash without any fear. This is exactly what his paid bodyguards were for, after all. Nay, his courage did not lie in the heart of a warrior, but instead in what was the most important for him: the world of commerce. In his ascending career, he was never afraid of seeing the opportunity in what others rejected with a wave of their hands, commencing in businesses everybody else would have written off as a hopeless financial loss. And he was always bold to take such grave risks with the promise of immense profit from which even the most daring gamblers of the infamous Velvet-Houses of Melve would have beware of. Without these traits, instincts, visceral intuitions and needed bravery he would have never reached what he had. And fate has been proving him right so far. He gained such fairytale wealth, fame, influence and above all else such extensive, useful, and advantageous connections like only a very few other had as far as he knew. He was an honorary citizen of the greatest and most important commercial privileged cities like Wermount, Hafay or Delaux, and his interests were always represented in their governing councils. His name and assurance alone meant guarantee for literally anything in all corners of the human realms. His word and the shaking of a purse full of shining coins were able to achieve things the same or even better than the prestige of the oldest landlord families could. Earls, princes and even kings welcomed him as a dearest guest in their courts eager to hear his proposals or request as he was financing many of their wars with "friendly" loans charged with even more "friendly" interests. What's more, he was also known in the mansions of the ecclesiarchs, as well as just like in the palace of the Imperator himself. He had acquired all of these thanks to his bravery and he could have easily just sat back and let carefully picked men run his vast businesses for him. But he hadn't and wasn't planning it either. For on one hand, as a proper merchant, he simply didn't trust anyone as he knew all too well what immense power money had over people. Greed could overcome such men's minds when dealing with his wealth and assets, or they could be simply paid off to sabotage his businesses, just like as he often did with his many rivals. Not to mention that employing such persons cost quite a large sum of money. And on the other hand, deep in his businessman being there was a fondness for the excitement and challenges such trips held. They were like fabled adventures and he especially liked the ones with a sense of danger and promise of big profit. Just like this current one was. However, on this occasion, Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny has started to feel for the very first time in his life that he was perhaps mistaken, his calculations and instincts were wrong, and the grave risk was far too real. The caressing feel of great potential profit, the excitement of adventurous business were increasingly suppressed by the so hated feelings of fear and worry with each passing moment. They were wrapping themselves around him as the shining-eyed exotic constrictor snakes did with their prey, squeezing their life out before swallowing them. There was quite a real chance that he would end up just like those unfortunate animals. And if he would then he could only blame himself, especially his unsatisfiable greed which had made him ignorant to the most basic common sense. For what had he been possibly thinking when he had decided it would be a good idea to attempt doing business with none others, but the dragons?! With the dragons, enormous winged creatures covered in nigh-impenetrable hard scales and equipped with sharp claws and sword-like fangs, to not even mention their infernal fire breath! Bloodthirsty beasts of the legends with a voracious appetite for the flesh of humans, as well as wicked monsters of the sacred texts acting as the vile incarnations of the evil itself! They were said to be so cursed that even the mere passing of them harbringered hard times for the lands below their flight: natural catastrophes, revolts, wars, famines and even the dread plagues soon followed in their wake! He had seen only a single one alive in his life so far, back when he was still a child. The dragon had been soaring through the sky and the mere visage of it had scared him so much that he had fled back to the city-mansion of his patrician family as fast as he was able to, not caring about that his strict father would slap him for making his expensive clothes dirty. And now, after so many years, there was not just one, but two of these mythical beasts right next to him! They were towering right above him just like the immense mountain around them as they were sitting on the long, muscular tails which emphasized their huge sizes even more. And while they were positioned further away from the mountain pass, if they wished to they could quickly stand up and easily block the sole way of escape back into the pleasant lowlands away from him forever. One of them was a large beast with slate coloured scales hiding powerful muscles below and multiple fangs reaching out from its closed but still terrifying jaws, as well as primal savagery lurking in its orange eyes of a true beast. The other one was somewhat smaller and had a more slender build, which made him guess that it must be a female perhaps. But despite its lesser size, it was even more terrifying as it was covered with scales as black as the midnight. And the eyes... oh, Gracious Creator keep him, those eyes were nothing less than a real demon's! Dark emerald orbs which were like if they would glow on the contrast of the dark scales, or as if an infernal green fire would have been raging in them. While the larger, robust dragon was a horrible beast, the black one was a dreadful demon which surely has flown out of the deepest pits of hell itself! To ease his ever-growing fear, he tried to see the two beasts not as a mere frightened human but as a confident businessman he claimed himself to be. Instead of two apex predators ready to leap at him at every moment, he wished to see the potential profit in them. For dragons were like a living hill of wealth, as their parts were among the most extraordinary materials all over the Imperium. Their scales, horns, claws, fangs, bones, skin and even their flesh, blood and organs all worthed way more than pure gold and were in impossibly high demand. So much that one of the most renowned banks was founded on some scales! Arms made from their fangs and claws were said to slice through rock, while the armours put together from their scales were deemed invincible. There were numerous studies by the greatest of alchemists that the dragons' parts held the key for the long-sought method of transmuting gold from lowly metals! And while many believed that the very blood of these monsters was the most lethal poison that could exist, there were also whispers about various potions made from their hearts and blood which would not just make a person healthy as a newborn and strong as a bear, but perhaps even grant immortality... And while the thought of the few precious dragon scales he owned in his wealth was always a pleasing memory, but it now also reminded him that he would never see them again most likely. With his effort broken, Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny, who considered himself as a man of bravery usually, was now failed by all of his courage. He was sweating heavily under the thick, warm and lavishly styled suit while he was also shaking from the chilly hand of fear which cut right into his heart. He was feeling the dragons' hungry gazes upon himself, and especially the demonic emerald eyes were like a damned siren call for him to raise his and meet the monster's so that it could delight seeing the terror in his eyes. But he simply couldn't, for those fiery green orbs were just too horrendous to behold! So instead, he faced the closed jaws of the black one which might have only a single pair of snow-white fangs visible unlike to the male's, but this meant no relief for him. He nervously awaited that the dragon would open that terrible maw and lick its lip as if it could taste his great fear as a most delicious appetiser. But this never happened, and he finally managed to gather enough willpower to lower his gaze down from the demon's horned head... only to now see its purple belly through the forelegs. A sight equally or even more terrible... however, his dread gave him the willpower to break away his eyes from the dragons, and look to a far more pleasing sight in the form of his hired bodyguards. While the ideal merchant should always seek to cut his expenses as much as possible, but in their craze for saving, many decided to hire the very first idiots for cheap as an escort, only to be surprised when these "guards" abandoned them at the slightest chance of danger. Or even more, once the merchant and his goods left the urban areas, robbed him themselves just as mercilessly as any bandit or highwaymen would. Unlike them, Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny knew well that it wasn't worth to save the cots in this regard. He had an acquaintance who was dealing with lending guards and mercenaries and who was a "little" indebted to him as well. Meaning that when he asked him kindly for men, he got only the bests of the bests. He was guarded by more than three dozens of soldiers, every one of them a scarred veteran hardened by numerous battles and equipped by top-notch arms. Their armours were painted in bright yellow so that any lowly bandit would see them from afar, daring the brigands to come and try fighting them for the person and cargo they were contracted to safeguard. But now, these brave veterans were shaking like jelly under their steel plates in fear just like their master, not even daring to shoot a slight glance to the two scaled beasts. And honestly, who could blame them? Only the Order of the Beastblood's dauntless hunter-knights knew no fear when facing the terrible dragons. And compared to these heroes of humanity, his guards were like kids wearing shiny costumes. Most interestingly, however, their steeds and the carriage-pulling horses seemed so calm and stoic which was most unexpected in the proximity of such apex predators to say at least. Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny's gaze then moved forward onto the very reason for him being in this madness, foolishly trying to do business with the dragons in the hope that he would get gold and gems for his merchandise: slaves. Slavery had always existed among humanity on some level. People who weren't able to pay their debts were often pushed into bonded labour, and criminals were sentenced for slavery for their crimes as well. Moreover, some groups were in so bonded service to their lords that they were slaves in all but name. However, these were nothing compared to the unprecedented widespread of slavery which had engulfed the Imperium in the last decades. Nobody knew what had sparked this new trend, but it was generally accepted that it had begun perhaps in a battle where the victorious lord had decided to not behead the captured enemy soldiers but instead sell them for labour as slaves. And since then slavery had grown simply massive in most corners of the human realms. At first, these branded people were forced to labour in places which had always required armies of low-skilled physical workforce like large construction sites, digging canals, or toiling in the depths of hazardous mines. But now most forms of productions were based on slaves, they operated at the new manufactories and the workshops of the guilds. Even the most basic activity of humanity, agriculture had become based on them as landlords quickly realised that using slaves to toil on their far-reaching lads was far more profitable and easier than peasants, who were not just considered typically lazy, but were even protected by some ancient and severely obsolete treaties. Like they were even still allowed in some places to move to different lands if they thought their rightful lords' demands for harvest, taxes, presents and others were too high! It was far simpler to force them out from their properties or turn them into slaves who could be forced to work every single day of the week, including Sundays and the many sacred occasions of the calendars. The cost of using slaves was so low, as the owner only had to provide them with as little food which was necessary to avoid starvation to death and employ strict overseers to make sure they are pressed to their maximum and beyond. And if some of them died to hunger, beating, or overwork? The numerous slave markets which had grown like mushrooms always offered dirt-cheap replacements. By now the slave trade was one of the most flourishing and profiting businesses with an unsatisfiable demand and ever-growing supply. Of course, Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny had quickly recognised the opportunities in this new soaring trend and had invested in good time, now considering it as perhaps the most important of his various businesses. And in the recent years, word had started to go around in the merchant circles that up here, far in the north, beyond the gaze of the Blessed Creator none others but dragons sought to purchase slaves. At first, he dismissed these as utter nonsense of course. For come on, who could believe that these monsters would do such a thing? They were terrible, but simple-minded beast, how would they even understand the concept of trade? For the Loving Creator's sake, they couldn't even speak! And while sure, he had heard legends and tales in which the dragons were not just bloodthirsty beasts but devils capable of speaking venomous words, and what's more, in some variants being able to take a human form to corrupt the stalwart and benevolent human kingdoms and spread vile tyranny and misery, but he considered this ridiculous bullshit. Laughably weak exaggerations which mothers invented to make their children behave or the clergy of the Creator's Creed made up to plant fear in the people. Or just some lowly drunkard who got a really vivid imagination, and a stupid company who believed him and spread the words like a plague... However, the rumours hadn't ceased and when one of a somewhat more trustworthy acquaintance of him told him about that the impossible gossips were true, or to be more precise when this other merchant had shown him the gold coins and gems paid for selling a bunch of slaves to the scaled beasts, he had decided to give it a try. After all, he, Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny wouldn't be Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny if he wouldn't have gambled in this surely strange and extraordinary business which promised lavish profits before he would have to fight with the competition! So he had quickly got the goods, contracted guards, made preparations and had set on the long adventure which had taken him through the war-torn Twin Duchies which were considered the last bastions of humanity to the north, and then had passed the plundered fields of the Golden Meadows about which probably only those people knew who had traded with the locals before the fire of conflict engulfed it too. Only to arrive weeks later to a range of impressive mountains and a pass leading through them and to only find out what an idiot he had been when he had believed the rumours and the lies of the other merchants. His visceral intuitions and smell of profit failed him hard, and now he was shaking as much like his guards in fear and was feeling as doomed as the slaves he had come to sell. He brought a moderate group of 120 slaves, that is, they were that many when he had set out on this ridiculous journey. There were both men and women, young and old equally in this emaciated, filthy and stinking band. Their smell was so bad that he forgot his fear for a moment and let the disgust sit out on his face, especially for he had generously allowed them to wash for a few minutes in a brook they had encountered the previous day. Of course, without opening their heavy chains which bonded their arms together and taking down the stout shackles from their necks for doing these would have taken precious time. They were wearing them at the moment as well, of course, chaining every one of them together in a narrow rectangle formation. There were a few empty shackles here and there as some of the slaves had perished on the way, but these losses were fairly common and completely normal in such long journeys. Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny valued speed over everything else and therefore had had his guards who also acted as his slave-drivers to push the merchandise hard with their whips. He had allowed only the necessary time for rest and had kept the chains and shackles on the goods even for the night. For with every day, even with a single hour he reached his destination faster meant a significant cut of cost for him: he needed to spend less on the provision, the guards' payment and other expenses. The loss of a few slaves who couldn't withstand the fast pace was a price insignificant compared to what he saved with the haste. What's more, the group hadn't just decreased in number, but also increased a little most unexpectedly, as some of the female slaves had been pregnant and had given birth to babies on the way. The slave newborns always fetched quite a nice price. And despite how loud these newcomers had been in the last days, always crying so annoyingly, now complete silence ruled among the slave group. Not a low whisper, nor a single cough could have been heard as they were standing still with fear paralysing them. None of them dared to look up to the two horrible beasts, fixing their gazes to the ground or the back of the slave in front of them instead. Only the shiver of their chains and shackles could be heard as they waited helplessly for what would happen to them. And Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny could guess easily what their fate would be. For if there was one aspect in which every legend and tale about the dragons were common, it was that they thirsted for the blood of humans and hungered for their flesh. And for what else would these dread beasts seek to purchase human slaves than to satisfy their unlimited voracity with them? The better question was how were the dragons able to grasp that with the piles of gold and riches they hoarded they could buy slaves, followed by why? Perhaps because it was far more comfortable for them to devour prey unable to escape rather than seeking out and destroying a village? Whatever the answers were, perhaps it was better to not know for they surely were completely alien for the human mind. As he was pondering about the fate of the chained people, Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny unexpectedly started to feel something completely unfamiliar for him: sympathy for the slaves. For the slaves, who most certainly were aware as well of what the sole thing they could expect from the dragons. Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny had sold more than thousands of slaves during his career, including children and young immaculate maidens to paunchy, old and lusting lords. He was a regular supplier to the notorious Bloodsilver mine, which was known about how fast it devoured hundreds of slaves into its deep-reaching gut like tunnels to be never seen again. He had sold slaves to shady sects, and to the academics who worked tirelessly to discover the mysteries of the human body, but were held back by the lack of corpses to study. He had ventured to the east on some occasions and brought strong, fine men to a matriarchate nomadic group of women known as the Reckless Wenches. And what's even more, he had dared his luck once and had gone to the Orkspawns who had ruined the Southreach and the Middenland, the two other human realms south of the Imperium and had sold slaves to the brutal brown-skins knowing that nothing good would await them. Yet, now he was feeling compassion for the very first time in his life for the slaves, for he knew that he was selling them right into the literal devouring maws of death. This was a strange, unexpected and also undesirable sensation in his chest. According to many, Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny was a man without a heart. But of course, this wasn't true. For he most certainly had a heart beating in his chest rapidly because of his fear at the moment, and how would he be still alive if he wouldn't have one anyway? He just only thought that every man and woman should care with his or her heart at first instead of others'. And he couldn't help that while he was so successful tending to his, others were less so. He was not responsible for the plight of the slaves as he had never forced a single human into servitude! He was just a mere mediator who bought goods where there was a surplus and brought them to where there was demand, nothing more. The facts where the slaves were coming from and what would happen to them after wasn't his concern. With this realization of what his profession was, he started to feel better in an instant and the pitiable fellow humans changed into mere numbers in his eyes: every slave a different value, every empty shackle a tiny loss. He was just an honest merchant who brought the goods from one place to another, no matter what the demand wished. Slaves were no different from any other merchandise, for example, exotic pelts, they only required different handle and were able to march on their own feet. They were just like any cattle, only that they were able to emit more comprehensible sounds, nothing more. And as the uninvited sympathy evaporated from his chest, he moved his gaze to the last party present in the mountain pass: the "Customer". Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny was quite talented at reading people as he wouldn't have been so successful in his profession otherwise, but this other was a mystery for him. It was a man who had been awaiting him in the mountain pass with the two terrible dragons standing next to him as like some seriously oversized guardian hounds. And after hailing a greeting, he had introduced himself simply as the "Customer". He was tall and over the great fifty in age as far as the merchant could guess, but still kept himself in surprisingly well shape. He was wearing a simple, but also elegantly embroidered suit all in the colour of gold. While Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny had investments in many tailoring manufactories all across the Imperium, he was unable to tell anything about where the cloth must have been made, which lands the pattern could originate from. If he would have guessed, he would say that it was a human attempt to copy the majestic style of the elves' dresses, albeit leaving out all the insanely rich ornament these rare and greatly valued pieces had on them. Perhaps it had been hand-sewn in the famous Elvenhaven, which was called in an unspeakably difficult name in the elven language, and which was the sole place where some of these ancient and sublime aliens could be found outside of their isolated realm? If yes, then well, this cloth must be one of the very last ones ever made as this attempt for the coexistence of humans and elves had been obliterated to the ground years ago... This therefore insanely valuable cloth covered most of the Customer's body, concealing anything under but his head. He had a fine, clean face with golden-brown hair and had an again golden beard with some tint of red in it. He has been inspecting the slaves in silence for like a dozen minutes now as if he would have been trying to count them over and over again, always failing in the middle. However, it was enough to see into his hazel eyes to know that this mysterious man was no fool. They were the eyes of someone who had seen much, held so much wisdom and experience. And while age was also certainly present in them, but so was unwavering strength. Then, in the next moment, these eyes turned so abruptly on Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny that he almost made a step back in his shock. There was also something intangible in the hazel gaze of the Customer which now made him come up with something very quickly and talk, no matter about what. "As you can certainly see, some of the shackles are empty. We have a long and exhausting journey behind us, and losses can occur sadly in such trips." he started, and was relieved that his silver-tongued skill was still working. "However, as far as I know, the group was increased by even two newborns during the journey which, I can assure you, is most fortunate. As there are no better slaves than those who were born from parents already in servitude. These children grow to be the most effective, obedient and hardworking slaves, not needed to be broken, unlike their parents. I can guarantee they would return the cost and time put into their raising. And of course, it would be far from me to charge any extras for them." he continued, easily changing the negatives into positives. He was on the track and only needed to sell these slaves just like he had done many times before. "Furthermore, this is a varied group with both males and females, young and old among them. Many other traders opt for only strong and young males, but they are wrong doing so, for every slave has its unique benefit. The females are suitable for works requiring great dexterity and can be used in ways that males cannot. Not to mention their ability to birth children, rewarding their masters with free, fresh slaves. What's more, while the bodies of the older ones may be weaker, true, but they are excellent teachers with their vast experience for the strong young ones who might be in their prime but are inexperienced. If I may say, I'm in the business for many years now so I can assure you from my knowledge, good sir, that my words hold the truth!" he finished the speech which he had spoken to clients many times before, and if the Creator allows it, would do so again in the future. His words were indeed true, but not now, not in this situation. Not to customers who intended something completely different with the slaves than any human master would. For these males would never work with their strength, and the females would never give birth to slave children. The old would never share their experiences with the young, who would never grow into elders. And the so valuable newborns... If the Ever-Mother would have been truly merciful, they would have stayed for some more days in their mothers' belly, instead of being born into this cruel world only to end in hungry monsters' after just a mere few days of life... "I see. You are far more experienced in this than I could ever be, thus I shall take your words for granted." answered the Customer finally. He was speaking the Original with some minor, but noticeable accent. But there was little surprise in that, as the ancient human language had become so changed over the hundreds of years, with so many dialects emerging that it was difficult to count. What made Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny wonder was that as with the other's cloth, he wasn't able to identify the used dialect either. "How much would you charge for them?" continued the Customer, clasping his hand behind his back. "Well, I don't work with fixed prices usually. Instead, I like to negotiate with my dear customers, eager to hear how much they value my goods." answered the merchant. But while his tactic often resulted in the client paying more for the trade, at this time he questioned the right for what he had just said. For he would be lucky enough to survive this day without getting eaten or burned to cinders by one of the two scaled beasts, playing to increase his profit seemed overly hazardous for him now. And he indeed started to worry about overextending an invisible limit, as the customer fell back into silence again. "So be it. I take over all of them. I suppose this would cover the costs?" nodded the Customer after some minutes of pondering, and then held out his right with a brown purse in it. Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny had no idea where it had come from, for he was sure about not seeing it in the other's belt before. But he took it nevertheless and was surprised how heavy the purse was. At first, he expected the weight to be a trick only, a poor attempt to fool the merchant by offering a pile of heavy, but almost worthless copper coins. However, as he opened the mouth of the brown leather, he realised that this was far from the case. His chin dropped in unexpected awe as instead of worthless farthings, he found golden and silver coins inside. Right at the top were some Dealuxian silver thalers, coins so rare and valuable that they were used only in small, chipped parts! And Creator's grace, even shiny gems were among them! While he was used to wealth, this was most unexpected. "Yes... they most definitely would! You are extremely generous to me, good sir!" he answered, not being able to even look up from the shining of the coins. "You deserve all of them, for as you have said, you had indeed taken a long and exhausting way to bring your goods to us. And the journey home is still ahead of you." While it was a small fortune which the Customer handed over to him for some mere, doomed slaves, it would have stood far from Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny to not accept it. "Quite true, good sir! But as it is said, the journey home is always quicker!" he answered. Then reached to his belt, and offered a keyring with two bronze keys on it. "Here, the keys. The smaller one opens the chains, while the larger is for the shackles." "The dragons are grateful to you for bringing your goods far up here, where there is a large need for them. They are going to be rather satisfied with them. As well as they would welcome it if they could see you again in the future, bringing up more slaves for them." answered the Customer while taking the keys. "N-naturally! I'm glad I was able to satisfy my... clients. May Heaven bless you, good sir!" he replied, and bowed deeply before the Customer. Then he turned back and signalled to his guards with his hand. As frozen they were until now in their fear, so quickly they started to turn the horse-pulled carriages and wagons. Like their employer, every one of them wished to get away from the place as fast as possible, before the terrible beasts would change their mind. And thanks to this they were on their way down the mountain pass only a minute after, urging the horses as much as the terrain allowed. Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny was sitting in his master made carriage, enjoying the comfort of its silver padded interior. And while his instincts cried out against it, he decided to look back for the last time. It was a mistake. For it was nothing else than the midnight dragon's dark emerald gaze which was staring right at him through the small back window. Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny gasped so loudly as if a bull would have hit him, and so great terror stabbed him as an ice-cold blade to which the fear he had felt right next to the dragons was nothing at all. He began to heavily sweat under his heavy clothes, and he was shaking like jelly as the ravenous flaming orbs of a real horrendous demon was mesmerizing him. His heart started to beat like a mad war-drum, and he was inhaling so hasty as if a stroke would have hit him. At that moment he knew that may he would live for many more decades, he would never be able to forget the diabolical emerald gaze as it burned itself into his memory forever. His fear-engulfed mind imagined for him as the midnight black monster would leap after him and only with a handful of great steps would catch him, tear open his feeble carriage with sharp claws and fangs and devour him in its voracious appetite, or just launch a terrible inferno after him from the depth of its maw. But none of these happened, and after moments which felt for him as eternities, the black dragon finally turned its emerald gaze away from him onto the chained slaves who it and the other slate dragon had moved to block away from the slightest chance of escape with their immense bodies and large wings. Arytom Balzoan Szepoeny forced himself to turn away from what would happen soon. The strange feeling of pity appeared in his heart again, and no matter how insane it sounded, but he thought for a moment about turning back and buying back the slaves from the maws of the monsters. But then, the sound of the coins' ringing took his attention, and as he opened the purse, he kindly allowed the shining of gold, silver and gems to charm him, making him completely forget about the sealed fate of the doomed slaves...
Ref Sheets
Reference sheet: Xeo Sears humanoid form (2022) by Polar--Tang
Marine -  (NEW) Reference sheet by Drachenfunke
Custom design for Arvi_Tea by vemra
Thunder Ref by Jay-Kuro
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YCH dragon animation [Open] Fixed price! by AngelCnderDream14
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Community Spotlight Info (Updated Every Issue)


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tawneyeyes for continually answering those notes! Awesome work!

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Ryozan Hyvera Valentine
Good day #DragonNation! My name is Grace, but many of you know came to know me as DJ over the years. Love is in the air this time of year, romantic love, platonic love, familial love... I'd like to think there's a lot of love in The Nation. After all, we've been around for over a decade! #DragonNation was founded on a mutual love of dragons, and the love we have for our Nation is what has helped bring us back together time and time again over all these years. To help spread that love, I'm happy to announce our art next contest! And by the way, the lovely header artwork above was drawn by our very own @CancerBabe <3
,
. Hershey Kisses - Chocolate - divider .
Valentine's Day Discord Banner contest Rules: 1. Your piece must be at least 960x540px or 16:9 ratio. 2. Your piece must include one or both mascots; Hyvera, and Ryozan and/or be dragon related 3. Your piece must be related to Valentine's Day. 4. Your piece must be safe for work 5. Your piece cannot include copyright material. I.E: Shows, Youtubers, games, etc. 6. Your piece must be your own creation, no paying someone to make it for you.
-Your entry will be featured as the DragonNation Discord banner AND our server invite background until our next contest!* -One detailed drawing from @CancerBabe (Dragons, Humans, or Furries preferred) -One month of discord nitro from @Raptor-21
2nd Place: -One character sketch from @CancerBabe(Dragons, Humans, or Furries preferred)
3rd Place:
-One character sketch from @CancerBabe (Dragons, Humans, or Furries preferred)
All entries Will be featured in our discord server!
*Note: Depending on the number of entries, we may do a banner rotation as we had with the festive banner contest Please submit your entries to our Contest Entries folder here in the group! https://www.deviantart.com/dragonnation/gallery/45214024/contest-entries
DEADLINE is Sunday, 13 February at 10:15am EST. https://dateful.com/time-zone-converter
,
FREE Valentines Day divider
Some less discord specific art contests will be coming soon too. And if you haven't already, please consider checking out our discord too! It's a fairly active friendly community and we would love to see you there!!
Until next time,
,
Glove2
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:iconvixendra:
VixenDra Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2021  Hobbyist General Artist
Your NSFW guide link is not working and I have no means to check if my works are appropiate for your group or not: www.deviantart.com/vixendra/ga… ^^;
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(2 Replies)
:iconvestibulumnocturnis:
VestibulumNocturnis Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2021  Hobbyist Photographer
Hey there! :wave:

Long ago i was part of this group, not for very long but i remember it well somehow. I remember when the chat was so full of people, it was hard to keep up with what everyone else was saying. So strange to see it empty and silent.

I miss talking to a few people i spoke to back then. Is there no discord for this group?.
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:iconnebu-ta:
nebu-ta Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2021  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Character Redesign Contest 2,000 POINTS PRIZEHello everyone! I am hosting a character redesign contest for one of my characters I made very very very long ago. I found this old drawing I did of her on Paint and I was like wow she had a lot of potential but she lacked something. For main dragon OCs I drew often back then I had Harmony, WhiteWind, and this dragon here was named Violet (yeah how creative) She was meant as a villain to my other dragons but I never worked on her design or character development further. I lost all art of her except this piece I dug up from my stash, and I must say I'm not a huuuge fan of her like this, I'm also very unmotivated to redo her completely so here is where you come in! I'm hosting this contest to redo her and then use her as my own.I probably made this like 7 years ago so the art and anatomy/structure/colour scheme is cringey to me. ,My art is more improved so obviously I want a good quality character to draw. (example of my newer work below(not my character)),HOW TO ENTER!-Make a journal about this contest and link back to BOTH my profile and this journal in it and tag me in it so I may see, wouldn't hurt to rave about me to your friends uwu-Watch me if you haven't already-Favourite 5 pieces of my art in my gallery-Submit your art piece of the new character design and in the description tag me and link back to both my profile and the journal I made-Art must be submitted before the deadline!That's it!Now. ****PRIZE IS 2,000 deviantArt points!****(Or equivalent in actual $$ if winner prefers via paypal) ****THE CONTEST WILL END FEBUARY 5TH 2021****WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR -You may change her design in any way, but please keep the original in mind as a sculpt-I rather her have a similar colour scheme to what I made her with just not as ugly LOL (don't make her red or something else silly)-I want you to come up with a new name for her! I rather not basic names like ... u_u Violet, or Sarah, be creative! I'm open to ancient sounding names! BONUS if the names originate from somewhere or mean something! Please add that if so!-I really love her long horns and tail blades... you can change them but I really like it, maybe make them similar or at least anatomically correct! haha -I like the fur hair but I welcome traditional crests (neck/back spikies) as well. Both are OK!-You can change and/or add accessories! -You can change her overall structure, meaning her entire shape, want to take away her front legs or change her face structure or somethin' ? Go ahead! -In your art or the description I want you to give her POWERS! she is a evil dragon! so think evil dragon thoughts! Does she do necromancy? Does she have dark aether fire that melts skin off of bones? who knows! be creative! The more powers the funner she becomes!-A short backstory! I never made one for her. -_- Be creative on her origin its completely open minded!-Interesting things about who she is! Have fun with this-Can change eyes and eye colour too if you wish!-Be creative! My goal is a non mary-sue dragonRULES -Art style does not matter-Art talent level does not matter so beginners welcome!-Don't worry I am looking for full heart and creativity!-NO bases allowed, meaning you must DRAW the character and use no pre drawn lines to colour in from someone else.-Please no begging or guilting for me to let you win-If you act immature (whining or complaining) during the contest or after the results then I may block you-New watchers are welcome-The art/reference you make of her can be as detailed or as simple as you like, if simple then add more details about her to the description!-No headshots please! Must be full body.-Prize is not negotiable-If you don't win please don't be upset :C You did your best-If you don't win you can keep or use the design however you like!-I may even want to buy the design off you if you didn't win but I liked it!-If you win you may not keep or use the design-Be as creative as you would like to be with both her design AND biography-I will be adding all design entries to the final result journal and put a link in this journal to that one! -All entries artist will be tagged under their entry art in that journal-Have fun and goodluck to all entires!-I will be actively participating in the contestnebu-ta
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:iconalita-berserker:
Alita-Berserker Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2020  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi, is this group still active?
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(2 Replies)
:iconluckycloversart:
LuckyCloversArt Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2020  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
very cool groupe Wink/Razz Heart :D (Big Grin) Meow :3 Hug 
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(1 Reply)
:icontaluca:
Taluca Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2020
Where do I post my dragonsona bio?
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(1 Reply)
:iconpolar--tang:
Polar--Tang Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Is this group even active anymore? I've got bunch of expired submissions from this group all dating back to summer last year
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(1 Reply)
:iconhelen-firegirl:
Helen-FireGirl Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2019  Professional Digital Artist

any administrator?
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(1 Reply)
:iconwhite-wyvern-realms:
White-Wyvern-Realms Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2019  Hobbyist Writer
Hey is it ok if I join? If so, can I get an invite
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