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Codex entry: Dragon Cults

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On the worship of dragons

Let us suggest, for the moment, that a high dragon is simply an animal. A cunning animal, to be sure, but in possession of no true self-awareness or sentience. There has not, after all, been a single recorded case of a dragon attempting to communicate or performing any act that could not likewise be attributed to a clever beast.

How, then, does one explain the existence of so-called "dragon cults" throughout history?

One dragon cult might be explainable, especially in light of the reverence of the Old Gods in the ancient Tevinter Imperium. In the wake of the first Blight, many desperate imperial citizens turned to the worship of real dragons to replace the Old Gods who had failed them. A dragon, after all, was a god-figure that they could see: It was there, as real as the archdemon itself, and, as evidence makes clear, did offer a degree of protection to its cultists.

Other dragon cults could be explained in light of the first. Some cult members might have survived and spread the word. The worship of the Old Gods was as widespread as the Imperium itself--certainly such secrets could have made their way into many hands. But there have been reports of dragon cults even in places where the Imperium never touched, among folks who had never heard of the Old Gods or had any reason to. How does one explain them?

Members of a dragon cult live in the same lair as a high dragon, nurturing and protecting its defenseless young. In exchange, the high dragon seem to permit those cultists to kill a small number of those young in order to feast on draconic blood. That blood is said to have a number of strange long-term effects, including bestowing greater strength and endurance, as well as an increased desire to kill. It may breed insanity as well. Nevarran dragon-hunters have said these cultists are incredibly powerful opponents. The changes in the cultists are a form of blood magic, surely, but how did the symbiotic relationship between the cult and the high dragon form in the first place? How did the cultists know to drink the dragon's blood? How did the high dragon convince them to care for its young, or know that they would?

Is there more to draconic intelligence than we have heretofore guessed at? No member of a dragon cult has ever been taken alive, and what accounts exist from the days of the Nevarran hunters record only mad rants and impossible tales of godhood. With dragons only recently reappearing and still incredibly rare, we may never know the truth, but the question remains.

--From Flame and Scale, by Brother Florian, Chantry scholar, 9:28 Dragon.

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