The Grey Dragons of Draoithe
I could be wrong, but I believe I mentioned dragons for the first time in the Draoithe Saga at the end of Druid Fox in chapter 23. Fox had been searching for them and believed them extinct. He and Artie discussed them in connection with phoenixes and other rare first-order legends when Artie asked about first-order shifter mates. I mentioned dragons again in Arctic Fox, Vampire Knight, and Dream Walker, but one finally materializes in Vampire Panther.
If you've been following me for a while, you may know I didn't have a clue about any of this when I started writing. Kingdom Rising began life as a tale of opposites attract. A tiger shifter met a direwolf shifter, sparks flew, and the rest is history. As early as the second volume, the tale had grown out of my control. I didn't know it, but from the beginning, dragons had a destiny to appear in the story.
If you're new to the dream, allow me to let you in on a secret. I still don't know what I'm doing. Don't laugh. I'm being honest, and I admit to having no formal training in writing genre fiction. Much of what I'm about to disclose I discovered long after I had written over twenty novel length stories in the Draoithe Saga, and some of it I'm discovering as I write this post. So, the mention of dragons in that second volume became an unintentional Easter Egg I had to explain later.
A few posts back, when I mentioned dragons as quintessential urban fantasy characters, I promised to write about them from the Draoithe perspective and attempt to define them. It's a serious task which I quickly realized needed multiple posts. This is my first attempt. Allow me to introduce the Grey Dragons of Draoithe by illuminating the first one to appear in person.
Emrick Driscoll, Ash, the Lord of Dragons of Draoithe
Lord of Dragons of Draoithe
Emrick Driscoll, also known as Ash, is the Lord of Dragons of Draoithe. Once upon a time, he was something else. He began life as a mortal man who became a knight and the leader of a band of soldiers unbeholden to any single castle lord in Ireland. He died in an ancient battle at Lachsmead, which he can no longer remember.
Six hundred and twenty-nine years ago, a necromancer shaman resurrected him as a first-order immortal dragon. He was the first of seven to rise as dragon protectors of the realm, making him the lead dragon, holding specialized magic to judge other immortals for crimes committed in the dream. But over time, corruption of the magic which created the over-kingdom left him and his brothers without a home or purpose. When Fox and Javier raised Luke to the position of Ri ruirech, the magic called Ash to serve again.
It was then that he learned his Valkyrie was dying. Following an ancient prophecy, he ventured to Draoithe with a desperate hope to once again take up his role and locate the one woman he needs above all other beings in the dream. When he met Luke Mendez and learned Fox was an old Druid king he once worked with, Ash didn't have time to analyze things, but believing he followed the right path, he offered to swear fealty.
Luke instead demanded he and his brothers prove their worth by manning a mission to rescue women from a recently discovered warehouse used in Peter Elliot's criminal magic mixed with medicine experiments. This set the stage for the tales of how seven dragons joined the Druid pack.
Grey Dragons General Knowledge
Grey dragons were all men. Resurrected by necromancers as first-order immortal shifters, dragons possess magic from the Netherworld. With such powerful magic at their disposal, safeguards such as riders and fealty oaths to kings ensured a servile role for dragons. Without such service, most of their magic became dormant.
As invincible immortals, they often served as the protectors of the realm, something akin to a police force with the magical ability to judge criminals and pass sentences. Grey dragon leaders who possessed the magic to confess other immortals for crimes committed in the dream were so darkly grey as to appear black. They held the title Lord of Dragons and acted not only as an all powerful last judge, but served as the battle commander for other grey dragons who served the over kingdom.
Along with all these abilities, dragons also claimed the usual urban fantasy abilities to shift forms, breathe fire, and view the magical capabilities of others in their auras. Routine weapons training as knights made dragons excellent warriors, and those talented in military strategy sometimes served as a war council for their kings.
Interestingly, while they don't need money per se, they're quite talented at hoarding it. Ancient kings routinely exploited this skill and used dragons to build the coffers. When the medieval feudal system collapsed, dragons often found work in the banking and commerce industries. But as one would expect, with no rider and no king, a dragon's magic became severely limited, and wealth couldn't compensate for an inability to shift or use most of their magical talents.
Above is a reference table for the seven grey dragons and their Lady Valkyries, who will take the stage in the Draoithe Saga in the Valkyrie Riders miniseries. The opening tale, Quest for the Valkyries, is currently publishing as a serial on Substack as I edit, with new episodes posted each Friday. Substack readers will have the first read.
Once the story wraps up there, it will begin publishing as a serial at OpheliaKee.com with a later release as an ebook, a paperback, and AI audiobook. Valkyrie Riders miniseries purchasers and those who support the dream through the Just Let Me Read the Dream subscription will have the story, all the extras, including research with character videos and art, and the AI audio, as well as all the behind-the-scenes tidbits which always arise as I create the stories in the dream. As the series closes, I'll eventually release an ebook boxed set. I'm hoping to get the miniseries completed by the middle of 2024.
Please watch for my Dragons Researched video coming to YouTube soon!
Thank you all for supporting the dream. I need to write. As always, I beg you again to please leave your kind reviews when you read. Until we chat again, I hope you find time to be welcome to the dream...
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