The first humans to land on the shores of the land that would eventually be called Dragonia came from an Ancient Roman/Greek type culture (with some slight differences). Which still influences today's modern nation.
Roughly 20,000 years ago, Antillia was a rich continent of abundance which was lost beneath the waves in a cataclysmic event, some say it was war, some say it was the gods. Only two Antillean Kingdoms heeded the omens and signs, Ambrya and Daryen. The each in their own way gathered a flotilla of ships and left on a mass exodus only days before the Kingdoms of Antillia sank beneath the waves forever.
The most common theme in both Ambrya and Daryen was they both had a high concentration of Druids in there respective Kingdoms.
For 30 long days they traveled ever westward, searching for land. When they found land it was upon the site where modern-day Desora now stands. About a quarter of the combined flotilla decided to stay at this spot and build a new home. But neither Queen Anika of Ambrya nor King Dreigo of Daryen wanted to settle there, so after replenishing supplies, the both set sail once again, this time east around the island. Queen Anika found a picturesque place where she eventually founded the City-State of Ambrya. King Dreigo kept going around the island and eventually found a naturally protected deep harbor where he founded his new Kingdom of Daryen.
Many of the Druidic priests of Gaia followed the High Priestess Luna who said she was following the 'Voice of Mother Urth' and undertook a journey to the huge mountain range on the south-western portion of the island, there she found a home for her clergy, there they founded Moondeep high up in the mountains in caldera of a ancient extinct volcano.
Capital City: Weyrcliff and the Begining of Dragonia
The capital city of The Grand Duchy of Dragonia is called Weyrcliff, this ancient city was founded more than 2000 years ago. Weyrcliff at the time of its founding sits on top of a mesa-like cape only 150 square miles in area. It is surrounded on three sides by 400-foot tall cliffs, the landward side itself is a steep slope of roughly a 75 degree angle.
At the time there was a war between two old kingdoms, Ambryan and Daryen. At the time the Daryenian troops were off at war rather than busy oppressing the peasants. An enterprising young farmer named Uriah took this opportunity to sow the seeds of unrest in his hometown in southern Daryen. King Kronwell was an even less popular than most Daryen tyrants, and it didn't take much rabble-rousing on Uriah's part to incite the citizenry to kill the royal Tax Collector.
The movement had progressed rather far along by the time a reserve battalion of troops arrived. By this time, Uriah had nearly 200 followers. Knowing that he could never defeat the Daryen army, Uriah ordered a mass emigration, claiming that if they fled eastward far enough, the soldiers would leave them alone.
Unfortunately, Uriah had not counted on the blind obedience of the Daryen Army. Even though they were sorely needed elsewhere, the battalion pursued the rebels all the way to where a tall wall of cliffs trapping the rebals any further eastward travel.
The story of Weyrcliff might have ended right then and there, if it hadn't been for the timely arrival of a huge dragon that lived atop the cliffs. The soldiers immediately attacked the beast, but the rebel farmers hid in the craggy rocks at the cliff base. In the ensuing battle, the battalion was reduced to ashes, but the dragon was also mortally wounded, and it died no more than 100 yards away from where Uriah had hidden himself.
Inspired by the fact that such a gigantic creature could live undetected atop the mesa, Uriah ordered several of his more nimble followers to scale the steep slope and scout the plateau.
What they found was truly unbelievable. In the Dragon's cave they found it had accumulated a vast horde, apparently from attacking ships. The ground around the cave also appeared to be incredibly fertile, as all manner of trees and plants grew atop the mesa, many of them enormous in size! It wasn't long before the rebels (now settlers) set up a basket winch along the steep slope and hoisted the entire group to the top. Eventually a small village was constructed and named Weyrcliff (A bastardized combination of the words Weir, a dragon's home, and cliff).
Later, against the wishes of some, Uriah ordered a narrow road to be carved from the landward slope face, in order to facilitate trade with the outside world. Kronwell, in the meantime, had forgotten the settlers entirely. When he learned of the village, he sent scouts to report on the possibility of sending troops to clean the place out. When it was reported that a handful could hold off an army from the mesa, Kronwell grudgingly accepted the village's independence.
Uriah took as his last name Drachenberg, and towards the end of his life, by popular vote, he was elevated to become the Grand Duke Uriah the First of The Grand Duchy of Dragonia, again in honor of the Dragon that died so they refugees could survive.
Today, 2000 years later, Weyrcliff has grown to be a city of 750,000 inhabitants, most of them are descendants of Daryen refugees. The city is ruled by a mayor who answers to a city council. The current mayor is a wealthy businessman named Lord Xander Drachenberg, a surprisingly honest and moral person as well as a relative of the current Grand Duke.
THE LAY OF THE LAND
Weyrcliff is built on a mesa fifteen miles long by ten miles wide. The mesa is 400 feet high, and surrounded on three sides by water and on the north side by land. The city itself is built at the southern tip of the mesa.
Weyrcliff is blessed with mild summers and winters, being so near the sea. The land atop the mesa is also very good for growing all manners of crops. Only a few wild creatures, such as squirrels, hedgehogs and a very small colony of dragonhawks live here. The cliff walls, however, are home to thousands of sea birds, which wheel constantly about the mesa and the city.
LIFE IN WEYRCLIFF
Weyrcliff has been slowly and steadily growing since its founding 2000 years ago. Now several hundred-thousand strong, the city-dwellers are beginning to feel the effects of overcrowding. Weyrcliff's healthy trade industry and secure location continues to draw new immigrants to the city.
The plateau lands have been unable to support the entire population of Weyrcliff for more than 1000 years. As a result, the Grand Duke of Dragonia at the time decreed that the lands at the base of the slope will become lands that a new city which will be an extension of the current city, will be built upon with farmlands surrounding it. Thus creating in effect Upper Weyrcliff and Lower Weyrcliff and the lands upon the mesa that once was farm land will become a Royal Park for all to enjoy. His popularity at the time was so great that the people agreed to his plans.
At the bottom of the mesa's seaward sides are the many docks for visiting merchant ships. A few stone buildings are also scattered among the docks. This area is known simply as Docktown.
Only four ways exist for getting people and cargo up to the mesa-top. One is the north road, which is carved into the steep slope, wide enough for two cars to pass, and with many hairpin turns. Any wishing to use this road mast pass through ancient guardhouse at the bottom and top, preserved for historical value. The second is more unusual, huge winches have been constructed which lift steel mesh baskets the size of small homes directly from the docks up to the top of the cliffs. In windy weather, riding one of these can be quite a harrowing experience! The third is a tram that takes you from the bottom to the top of the northern slope where one can get on public transportation that takes you to the city at the southern end of the mesa, the cable-cars run on an hourly schedule. The fourth of course would be flying in via helicopter. There is a large airport, but that is north-east of the lower city.
Weyrcliff proper is a racial and ethnic melting pot bustling with frenzied activity. While most citizens are of Daryen or Ambryan background, people of every ethnic group in the The East Pacific and beyond can be found within the city.
PLACES OF INTEREST
In the city center is the Old Town, where the elite make their homes in grand old estates built in era's past. This area is also where the Drachenberg Palace is located. This grand edifice dates back near a millennium. Sitting upon the hill where the dragon had made it's home, this huge castle is made out of a white granite which has a pale-blue hue to it, a rare granite known as Moonstone Granite only found in The Grand Duchy of Dragonia. Rumors say that beneath the Palace in the city vault lies the greatest treasure horde to be found. Also interred there are the bones of the dragon which delivered the first settlers from the hands of the Daryens.
Image Drachenberg Palace
One of the largest open-air bazaars in the regions. The City Market has nearly anything one could purchase if one has the money. Of course, it also helps to know who to ask.
One of the oldest places to lift a pint is known as The Dusty Dog Inne and Tavern. The 'Dog and its outbuildings take up an entire city block. The tavern bar is as big as a feast hall, and the rooms range from small to palatial. One can go to the 'Dog and hoist a pint, have something to eat (which are served in heaping portions), do some gambling, and even find some Companionship for the evening, for a price of course. Mychal "One-Eye" Mavins, the current owner and sometimes bartender, is ex-military of some sort. It is said that he occasionally hires mercenaries for people for the right price.
Just outside the city proper is The Festival Field. Twice a year, this large open field is the scene of a carnival. The Spring and Harvest Festivals draw all manner of folk from the city, the country and the surrounding nations and beyond. There are tournaments, dances, bardic competitions, local crafts are displayed and sold, and the Grand Duke himself presides over the activities.
Today, if you were to walk into Upper Weyrcliff, it is like stepping into the nations past, all the buildings have been historically preserved with loving care. Dragonians are very proud of their history. The only concession to modern times are it's lighting, even there, one would not see wires going into the street-lamps, for they are underground and come up into them, as well as going into the buildings. All the utilities are underground as well, to preserve the 'dignity' of Upper Weyrcliff's history.
Image Upper Weyrcliff street
Very few non-public vehicles run through Upper Weyrcliff. To get around, there are the electric trams that run on a strict hourly schedule, and taxi's. Most people ride bicycles to get around this part of the city. Only non-fossil-fuel vehicles are allowed to be driven in Upper Weyrcliff (i.e. electric vehicles).
Lower Weyrcliff, is a dichotomy of eras, standing next to each other, you have the preserved old buildings and modern gleaming glass and metal skyscrapers, with the hectic bustle of a thriving modern city. People from all walks of life can be found roaming this part of the city.
Image Looking down on Lower Weyrcliff from Upper Weyrcliff
Citadel Drachen and the Dragons
Dragon Isle is a small island south-by-southwest from Weyrcliff. Built upon a rocky outcropping jutting north off of the island is Citadel Drachen. Founded 1500 years ago by the then Grand Duke Andryn Drachenberg as a "summer home" for when he wanted to get away from the court, and he used it as that for his lifetime. His son and grandson built it up some more as well as developed the island with a support town for their comfort.
Image Citadel Drachen
Unfortunately, the great-grandson of Andryn, an Adrien Drachenberg was a corrupt tyrant and used the Citadel for his own perverse torture/pleasure palace. He created his own personal enforcer/bodyguard company he named simply the "Dragons", which he also used as his own spy network and assassins very effectively.
His son used them as well as his grandson, striking terror in the people for their own grim amusement. It was however again, a great-grandson of Adrien that put a stop to it. Jeymz Drachenberg was only thirteen years old at the time, and he already had his own personal code of honor and sense of justice that his predecessors lacked.
Jeymz was a genius of his time, more advanced in his thinking than any other persons around when it came to science and technology. If he could dream it up, he could eventually build it. From the age of thirteen on he slowly gained more influence with the Dragons who where disenfranchised with the current Grand Duke. When he was 15 he knew the time was right to see justice done, and he was the only one who could conceivably do it. His father and grandfather invited him to come to the Citadel and take part in their "entertainment.' Jeymz showed up at Dragon Isle only as an heir to the Duchy .. .. he left as the Grand Duke. No one knows what truly happened but both his father and grandfather where killed in an "unfortunate accident" down in the dungeons of the Citadel.
Jeymz restructured the Dragons into an elite arm of the military directly controlled by himself or his designated heir apparent. The Dragons became the best of the best (think Navy SEAL, Marine, CIA and Special Forces all rolled into one unit). One of his main interests was the characteristics of traits that one sees in animals when they breed with one another, how the offspring picks up those traits. He thought and researched for himself and decided that he can do that with his Dragons.
When he was twenty he started his eugenics program using the Dragons as the "base-stock". Finding the traits that were the most desirable in warriors: strength, agility, speed, intelligence, loyalty and various other traits. He did not care what ethnicity one was, as long as the person/persons had the desired traits he or she would be part of the program. Yes he was so forward in his thinking that he believed that both males and females where equal when it came to jobs and such.
He was subtle when he started his program, with but a word here, a suggestion in the right ear there to the right people, his eugenics program took off. All the children of his program are conditioned from birth to serve the Grand Duke of Dragonia unquestionably, it was a Dragons duty and honor to serve his or her leader.
All of Jeymz's children and grandchildren were taught from a young age on how to continue with the program, he even included the whole of the Drachenberg noble line as part of this program (it weeded out the corrupt, lazy, indolent and hanger-ons). All of his descendants where also taught about justice and honor, but not to be blinded by it when the need to be ruthless needs to happen for the betterment of Dragonia. The Drachenbergs effectively created the "perfect" human warrior.
Grand Duke Jeymz Drachenberg in time was heralded as a true "Renaissance Man", bringing in a new age of prosperity for Dragonia with his inventions and innovations in science and technology. (While Dragonia's close neighbors where still using horse power, Dragonia itself was at it's infancy of their steam-power age.)
Today with the advances in genetics and genetic engineering, all the Dragons are now "enhanced" from birth with superior attributes. The Dragons are a force to be reckoned with second to none. Conditioned from birth to be unquestionably loyal to the Grand Duke who himself is a product of this genetic engineering, but even more enhanced. The current Grand Duke, Jeymian Drachenberg III is a third-gen enhanced human and leader of the Dragons, who himself has gone through the training like all Dragons do.
As technology and science improves so will the Dragons.