“So, Demi Flight,” Jason began hesitantly. “What makes them especially feared? I thought Fallen Flights tended to peter-out in a thousand years or so, but they must have been around since at least the collapse of the Alliance?”
“Demi Flight’s special,” Aden spat. “And I mean ‘special-ed’ special, safety pencils and circles of paper, no shoelaces or zippers kind of special.”
“Are you calling them stupid?” Jason asked. “Because you can say that word, its ok, it’s not like it’s a swear or anything.”
“Demi Flight interbred with humans,” Aden explained.
“Kinda like how you keep trying to interbreed with my sister?” Jason leered.
“Yeah, like that,” Aden grinned. “How dragon-on-human action—of course, it would like like human-on-human action if you were there at the time.”
“Not that it would be appropriate,” Jason snorted. “I mean, eww.”
“Ehh, grow up, its natural,” Aden waved. “Anywho. Dragons have to love to mate, I know its corny, but we can only mate and thus procreate with our one true love. Fallen dragons are not capable of love, but they are capable of mating without it. The trouble is… when a Fallen dragon takes a mate and produces off-spring, their children are idiots.”
“Is this like the whole idea where stupid people have stupid children?” Jason asked. “Nature verses nurture?”
“No,” Aden frowned. “Not at all. Children of Fallen dragons are literally born dumb, with the minds of beasts. They are not sentient, at that point.”
“Ahhh,” Jason nodded. “I… don’t get it.”
“It’d be like if you and Denna had a kid, but because she’s evil, the kid was born a dog,” Aden explained. “So instead of being a fully-fledged werewolf, he was just the family pet. Well, ok not like Atlas, but I mean like a regular dog. Not capable of reasoning or logic.”
“Gotcha,” Jason nodded. “So how does mixing with ‘uumens’ help with that?”
“Easy,” Aden shrugged. “And… hard. Ok, first off, dragons are not born Fallen, obviously, unless their parents were Fallen. So, let’s say a regular dragon falls in love with a human—which happens not all that infrequently, you’re great-great-great-grandpa apparently loved him some human. So let’s start with that, their child would then be half-human, half-dragon.
“Now, dragon-halves are special, like you with your wolfyness, they have a human form and a dragon form, they actually have the ability to turn completely dragon, but they haven’t got the same powers as a dragon. A lot of it, sure, but they only have the dragon and human shapes.
So, let’s say our hypothetical dragon-half from a loving human/non-Fallen dragon couple grows up, and falls in love with another dragon. If they were to mate in dragon-form, and this is the tricky bit, their kid comes out three-quarters dragon, one-quarter human, and fully dragon. Yes, I know my math sounds bad, there, but hear me out.
“If they have the kid in human-form, it’s the same ratio, except the kid is basically a dragon stuck in a human body, with only some of the abilities of a dragon. If they had the kid in dragon-form, then he is basically one-hundred-percent dragon, with a catch.”
Aden paused and took a few deep breaths, as if weighing the severity of his explanation, then finally brought his gaze up and met Jason’s once again.
“Humans are born Fallen,” den explained. “They are a Fallen race, it goes back to the original sin. Dragons are not, they have to choose that path, they have to give up what they are born with. Humans, though, don’t loose anything by being Fallen, there’s no special rules coded into their genom about it. And a cross-breed like I just described, they get the same bonus.”
“A dragon who is one-quarter-human, then,” Jason gulped. “Can be Fallen, and have not-Fallen kids?”
“Bingo,” Aden nodded. “As long as the ratio stays above about ten percent, they basically get a blank-check for fornication. No more love, no falling, Demi can breed and army of nearly-whole dragons. They’re not as strong as full-bloods, but it’s a numbers game. All of High Mountain numbers maybe two thousand, and very few of those are combatants. But Demi could raise an army easily twice that. The quarters don’t live as long or grow as big, so they spend more time as fit combatants while eating less. It’s… worrisome.”
“That sounds like an understatement,” Jason gulped.
“Yeah, well, that’s life, you know?” Aden mumbled.
“How about Ozork, how come they didn’t try the whole funky breeding deal?” Jason questioned.
“Didn’t have humans to work with, I guess,” Aden sighed. “Ozork just relied on their breeding-pairs producing offspring younger and younger. Didn’t work in the long run, though; eventually the juveniles started falling before they were even old enough to mate. That’s what eventually did Ozork in. Well, that and pissing off the Pendragon, who was a half-blood belonging to High Mountain Flight.”
Aden drew a long breath and went on to recount how, shortly before leaving the Citadel and while Jason was still unconscious, Naomi had explained to him what Denna had stolen. The Society of Assassins, it seemed, was attempting to rebuild the long-lost magic of the dragon-worshippers.
The dragon-worshippers were called Aramayans, and their civilization lasted for around four hundred years, spanning the tail-end of the Age of Darkness and into the First Chaotic Period of the Mage Wars. Some theorized that the Aramayans were the descendants of the old Dragon Clan, though suspicion was strong that no such clan ever existed. Much more likely, they came from the Bear Clan, to whom many inhabitants of the region could trace their lineage.
“The entirety of the Aramayan civilization,” Aden was saying. “Was contained to one medium-sized city-state and a few small villages. They traded with neighboring city-states and practiced many customs and of local cultures. They were, by and large, not particularly unique.”
“Thank you for telling me they were boring,” Jason quipped while he gnawed on a cow leg. “Aww, crud, Aden, this one didn’t get cooked all the way through!”
He held up the bone and hunk of meat, and Aden obligingly blew a large gust of flame over it. While Jason blew on the food to cool it, Aden continued his explanation.