I wasn’t sure where to put this, since there are already several threads covering similar ground. But I think this idea is more to do with the many-dragon theory with how dragons consume magic anyway, but I could be wrong. Anyway, what I am about to posit is a theory on the origin of the Elder Dragons. Pretty big deal.
We know that the more magic imbued in a dragon minion by its master, the more power and self-determination it has. The most powerful (and usually, biggest) minions tend to be the ones with the most magic. Something we’ve missed, I think, is that of course this applies to non-dragon minions as well! The question of what happens when we kill an Elder Dragon got me thinking: what will happen to Zhaitan’s corpse? If an Elder Dragon dies, then the amount of magic that dragon has consumed is effectively “returned” to the world, free to be captured in magical items, like the Aspects, to radiate from the dragon’s corpse, or to be…wait for it, consumed by other Elder Dragons. Then, in order to reduce the world to a low level of magic once again, as is the Dragons’ purpose, each Dragon would need to consume more magic than before, as there is more “free” magic in the world (another way you could view would be to say that you have one less dragon, to consume the same amount of magic). But then, since we know that the amount of power one has is proportional to the amount of magic imbued in oneself, this would mean that the remaining Elder Dragons would have the potential to become more powerful than before! So by killing Zhaitan, we haven’t really decreased the amount of power that we need to overcome, only concentrated it into fewer places!
This works on a narrative level as well; the question since the end of the personal story has been how will the story maintain any sort of tension going forward, now that the races are unified and we have a Pact capable of killing Elder Dragons (and apparently without too much difficulty, although that might just be because there wasn’t much tension in the personal story to begin with)? I think most assumed that with the awakening of Mordremoth, the sylvari would turn out to be dragon minions and the unity of the races would fall apart (although given the recent souring of public opinion in Lion’s Arch against the sylvari, it wouldn’t surprise me if something like this could still happen), but now a more obvious answer appears: each Dragon is more dangerous than the last.
So where is the promised theory on the origin of the Elder Dragons? Well, what follows is speculation that, although it has nothing to disprove it, also has nothing solid to support it. All it has going for it is that it “fits”, and I believe it is the simplest explanation given the evidence we currently have. It comes from taking what was said above, about the remaining Elder Dragons becoming more powerful each time one of its brethren dies, and extrapolates backward, operating under the assumption of the many-dragon theory (that there are, or were, more dragons than jut the six we know of).
The theory would be this: long ago, when the world was young, there was a race of dragons that were spread across the world. Their memory can be seen in the architecture and culture of the Canthan Empire even to this day. Perhaps they were sentient, perhaps they were only sapient. At some point, they evolved, were given, or otherwise developed the ability to consume magic, which would increase the power of the individual who did so. It’d be as if humans, who are born with a variable inherent aptitude for magic, suddenly became able to simply take magic from others and become more powerful.
Survival of the fittest kicked in, and before long, the only dragons that were left were ones that could consume magic. The individuals of that race, greedy for more power, turned on one another, destroying each other and becoming each powerful with each death. They developed techniques for dominating and corrupting one another, enslaving weaker dragons to their service. Glint, Tequatl, and the Claws of Jormag are all descendants of these dragon champions, if not those dragons themselves.
The so-called “Elder Dragons” consumed all the magic of the world, in cycles of awakening and destruction. By 10,000 BE, they had reached an impasse – only six remained, each too powerful and different to be killed by any other. They converged on the continent of Tyria, circling one another’s domains. And the rest, as they say…
(edited by Tamias.7059)