Many who have stepped on a true battlefield know that the greatest dangers lie not in front of you, but above. Seeing the sun be obscured by the large, scaly wings of a Dragon is an experience few can say they’ve lived to share with others. Their strength is, however, raw and unwieldy. Very few warriors can turn these powerhouses into veritable forces of nature. These warriors are known as Dragon Lords; and while their order is very secretive and elusive, their origins are easily traceable to the avid historian.
The first interaction humanoids had with True Dragons was their destruction of Silver Elf territory and the subsequent rise of the Dragon Slayers. Osbert was the first Dragon Slayer, and his prowess is well documented in other literary sources like the Draconimicon. Suffice to say, many more followed in his footsteps, and this order of Knights synonymous with hunting Dragons earned the admiration and envy of many. One such person who opposed their methods was one Lady Elysia, nowadays knows as the Mother of Dragons. Back then, she was a simple priestess, tending to needs of the many pilgrims and travelers who came upon her little hamlet. In one unfortunate evening, after straying a bit too far from her usual gardening spot, she was snatched up by the True Dragon Alkriloth, taken to her lair to be presumably eaten. No one but the two know what was discussed; all that is known is that years later, Elysia showed the world that Dragons were not just beasts to be hunted, but friends to be made. While all other experienced Dragon Slayers mocked her naïveté, Osbert included, they nevertheless considered her as one of their own, albeit within unconventional boundaries.
A few years later, a dedicated group of Estridian monster hunters approached the Dragon Slayers, seeking to be inducted into their ranks. The Silver Elves scoffed at the barbarians trying to ‘play with the big boys’ so to speak, and directed Elysia as the leader of their sect of Dragon Slayers. The Estridians accepted her warmly into her ranks, and treated her words of peace and coexistence with Dragons without the prejudice Silver Elves had for their mortal enemies. Under Elysia, the Mother of Dragons, and her trusted companion, the Estridians developed powerful Receptacles that could bind them, with ceremonial draconian imagery engraved upon them. With these artifacts, the Dragon Slayers rechristened themselves as the Dragon Lords, knights who would prove their strength to a rampaging Dragon before binding their souls together. These Thaumic chains were not used for controlling, but rather, to expose each being’s soul to the other; to bring about true understanding between man and beast.
This sudden development was rebuffed by the Elven Slayers, who decried the Estridians as pretenders, failures who would rather break bread with the enemy instead of scourging them off of the face of the planet. An elite team of Slayers gathered outside of the Dragon Lord stronghold of Reach, and imposed an ultimatum: in one month, they would march in and slay every last Dragon and those who would call themselves their partners. A team led by Osbert could easily extinguish the still-young Order of Dragon Lords, so the maneuver was most likely done to pressure the Lords into starting the confrontation, and ruin their reputation forever.
The scheme was not lost on Lady Elysia, who met their executioners with open arms and kind words. Historical records on what happened during these decisive 30 days are few and far between, but all seem to agree on a single point: it was here that Osbert and Elysia fell in love with each other. This turn of events likely planted the seed of doubt on the First Dragon Slayer’s head: if enemies such as Dragon Lords and Dragon Slayers could find love, why couldn't humans and their draconic foes?
At the end of the month, Osbert returned to his fellows with a new order: they were to embrace the Dragon Lords as fellow hunters at all occasions: their methods were dangerously naïve, but he now knew better than to dismiss them outright. While most Slayers trusted Osbert’s leadership over their own personal feelings, some could not be dissuaded from their ire: the most infamous deserter was Osbert’s lifelong friend Samson, who accused Lady Elysia of manipulating all of them for her own desire for power. Nowadays, both Orders remain friendly, but the animosity this love triangle brewed lingers on each member to this day.
At the present day, very few Dragon Lords are seen, as during the Valerian landing, they were driven to near extinction by the opposing army. During the first skirmishes many heroic defenders of the elven kingdoms were felled by firearm volleys, who tore through the dragon’s scales and removed their presence from the skies. Even then, the presence of the Dragon Lords was still a frightening presence, but one who would eventually work against them.
The Dread Fighters, a force within the Valerian nation who had recently risen to fame, took it upon themselves to create countermeasures to combat these dragons. It was during this time that the infamous “arcane return” technique was created, and such was the focus in hunting the beasts of the Dragon Lords, that it became common for illustrations of Masenshi to be made with heavy Nodachi strapped to their backs, weapons they used specifically to shred the dragon scales.
Even after the war ended, it became a problem when many Dread Fighters started a practice of “dragon hunts (Ryukiri)”, where they would target, ambush and assassinate Dragon Lords without rhyme or reason, only to claim that they too were “Dragon Slayers”. In the face of this, and the discovery of spirit possession during the same period of time, The Dread Company was created, as a coalition of Dread Fighters who took it upon themselves to seek out and punish other Masenshi who abused of their power to kill senselessly, or that had become possessed.