“For all of our great power and wisdom, we have fallen prey to a most mortal sin: hubris. To atone for our crime, let us cast away the trappings of wealth, dominion and power and use the gift of our wisdom to walk amongst the younger races, to aid them as they crawl towards greatness, to defend them from those that would halt their progress and to remind them not to succumb to their baser selves.”
And so with the great gold wyrm Akrathon’s words, an accord was reached amongst dragonkind to shed their mighty immortal forms and live alongside the younger races of Isla. Powerful magics reshaped their massive bodies into a shape that would be both recognizable as draconic to the other races and yet of a similar humanoid form, with the hope that this new, less-threatening identity would allow wyrmkind to open diplomatic relations with the mortal civilizations and begin a new Golden Age for Isla. For a long time, the idea even seemed like it was going to work.
Then the world broke, and everything changed.
From the ashes of catastrophe, Bahamut rose to claim the Iron Lands as his throne, calling the Dragonborn, as the wyrm-like humanoids had come to be called, to his side. The Dragonborn had lost much of their lore in the time between the great change and the Godswar and swiftly rallied to the platinum dragon’s side. Bahamut bestowed upon the assembly a purpose; to once again go forth into the world, not to spread enlightenment, but to mete out justice. The younger races had strayed, and now more than ever they needed shepherds to guide them back to the righteous path. And so it was that the dragonborn became the first and foremost amongst the Arbiters and marched forth out of the Iron Lands to shield the pious and punish the sinful. None escape the Unsleeping Eyes of Bahamut.
Dragonborn society is quite secretive in nature. Little is known of their governmental structure or hierarchy, save that Bahamut is the race’s ultimate authority. While an accurate census of the race’s population is impossible due to both their clandestine ways and relative seclusion, scholars reckon that their numbers estimate somewhere between 3,500-5,000. The dragonborn birthrate is incredibly low. Their average lifespan is roughly 500-600 years, although the most common cause of death for a dragonborn is mortal injury sustained through combat. All dragonborn aspire to rising through the ranks of the Arbiters to serve Bahamut’s will. 70% of the population succeed in this goal. The rest form the working class of dragonborn society, caring for the infrastructure of their settlements and engaging in limited trade with the outside world.
Upon reaching maturity at around 30 years of age, all dragonborn are brought before Bahamut and subjected to a closely guarded ritual. The exact details of this rite of passage are unknown, however theologists speculate that the eye of Bahamut himself gazes into the soul of the young adult and judges its purity. If the slightest impurity is found, if the initiate’s commitment to justice is found to be at all wavering, he is branded Qu-alarh (translated as “The Tarnished” or “Dark-Eyed” in various circles) and a mystic sigil which can only be seen by the dragonborn appears over the disgraced initiate’s head. The Qu-alarh is then given food and water to last for thirty days and cast into the Iron Lands. Should any other dragonborn ever lay eyes on the Qu-alarh’s sigil, they are to be killed on sight. Should the initiate’s heart be just, they are named Qu-mahna (“The Shining”) and are considered full members of dragonborn society, able to further pursue their training as an Arbiter.