The Dragons (drah-gkon and dov-rha to the ancient Nords, or dov in their native language) are a rarely-seen race of large reptilian beasts often thought to be extinct. They are rumored to be from Akavir (which literally means "Dragon Land"), though there are ancient tales of dragons also coming from Atmora. They are large, scaled creatures, easily several times larger than a human or elf. They have long, slender extremities, with thin bat-like wings and ridges of spikes along their back. Dragons have three sharp talons and one vestigial digit known as a dewclaw on each of their legs, as evidenced by their written language.
Dragons are well-known for their affinity for magic which, among other things, grants them the abilities to speak and fly despite their lack of lips or aerodynamic frame. There are several varieties of dragon that come in a range of colors. Blessed with remarkable intelligence, they are nonetheless susceptible to feelings of pride and melancholy. They are distrustful creatures, even of each other. Despite this, they are also somewhat social, and can be driven mad by captivity and isolation. As the immortal children of Akatosh, they are specially attuned to the flow of time, and they feel an innate urge to dominate others that is difficult to overcome. In the mind of a dragon, being powerful and being right are the same, thus they make no distinction between speaking and fighting; battles between them are actually deadly verbal debates.
It is rumored that Tosh Raka, leader of the Tiger people of Ka Po' Tun in Akavir, has succeeded in transforming himself into a dragon. So-called "Dragonlings" found around the Iliac Bay area are actually over-sized lizards unrelated to the progeny of Akatosh, who are larger, smarter, and much more deadly.
Historically, dragons lived in and around isolated mountain villages. If any of these settlements still exist, they have yet to be rediscovered. The villages were purportedly situated in areas that allowed flight free of obstructions as well as flats for raising cattle. There is even some indication they practice smithing. Dragons are also known to prefer solitary mountain lairs safe from thieves and aggressors. The avatar of Akatosh is a flaming dragon, he is said to be the father of dragons, whom he made in his image. Some stories tell of a dragon named Akatosh co-mingling with and organizing groups of dragons, although this representation may be entirely fictional. Peryite also takes the form of a dragon, but this may only be as some primordial jest to Akatosh.[OOG 1]
 The Dragon Age
During the Merethic Era, dragons in Skyrim and elsewhere terrorized and subjugated the mortal races, led by Alduin, the first dragon and self-proclaimed aspect of Akatosh. Dragon Priests kept the population enthralled and obedient by means of a widespread dragon-worshipping cult, and many people of this era became the undead draugr that still prowl the crypts of Skyrim, Solstheim, Atmora, and anywhere else the dragon priests "kept peace between dragons and men". The center of power in Skyrim of this dragon empire is thought to have been Bromjunaar, where dragon priests decided matters of their law. The subjugated populace overthrew the dragons and their priests in the legendary and brutal Dragon War, sending any remaining dragons and cultists into hiding and clearing the way for the many empires which have risen and fallen since. While their large numbers made little difference at first, mortals were able to find ways to kill the dragons, who were previously thought undefeatable. Some people, notably priests of the Nine Divines, claim that Akatosh intervened against the dragons to help end the war, and that some dragons fought against their own kind.
 The Disappearance of the Dragons
Dragons became more elusive after losing their grip on power. Their numbers dwindled over the years due to many causes: their population in Akavir was wiped out by the Tsaesci, who also brought their onslaught to Tamriel, and the dragons in Vvardenfell were overrun by invading cliff racers. The Akaviri Dragonguard and its successor, the Blades, along with other heroes, hunted dragons and their followers throughout the eras until dragons were nearly extinct. Tiber Septim offered those who remained protection in return for their fealty. Despite his pledge, almost all known wild dragons were killed or driven off, disappearing from sight in Tamriel.
Some sources claim that all dragons disappeared at once, being devoured by a dragon king or absorbed by Tiber Septim when he ascended to godhood. Many held the belief that the dragons were extinct. This was not true, as live dragons continued to exist throughout the Third and early Fourth Era. The Akatosh Chantry hold dragons as their holy symbol, and keep tamed dragons in their "sacred grove". Many ancient legends tell of dragons making deals with other races to protect themselves. According to Brarilu Theran, at least one dragon is known to have laired in the smoking ruins of Vvardenfell after the Red Year, long after the cliff racers were driven off by Saint Jiub.
 The World-Eater Wakes
After being largely absent from the affairs of Tamriel for hundreds of years, dragons reappeared en masse in Skyrim in 4E 201 thanks to Alduin, the first and most powerful dragon, who had led the fight against mortals in the Dragon War. Alduin, who had been transported through time by the ancient Nords, was able to resurrect many of his fallen brethren, as only the dragons and Dragonborn have the power to permanently kill a dragon by absorbing its soul. The Dovahkiin of prophecy emerged to defeat Alduin and absorb the souls of many of the dragons he unleashed. The fate of the remaining dragons in Skyrim is unknown.
 Important Dragons
- Alduin - First-Born of Akatosh, bringer of the end times.
- Dragonne Papre - A dragon who lived in the Battlespire.
- Durnehviir - An undead dragon who guards the Soul Cairn.
- Nafaalilargus - A soldier of Tiber Septim. Slain by Cyrus the Redguard.
- Numinex - A legendary dragon who was imprisoned for many years by King Olaf One-Eye.
- Odahviing - A red dragon who allied himself with the Last Dragonborn.
- Paarthurnax - Younger sibling to Alduin, and the one responsible for teaching the Nords how to use the thu'um.
- Skakmat - Nulfaga's familiar, who created the dense fog at the Battle of Cryngaine Field.
- Tosh Raka - The king of the Ka Po' Tun, who according to popular myth was transformed into a dragon.
 See Also
- Atlas of Dragons by Brother Mathnan — A glossary of Skyrim's dragons
- The Dragon War by Torhal Bjorik — A religious text describing the primordial war between men and dragons
- King Edward
- There Be Dragons by Torhal Bjorik — A report on the nature of dragons
- ^ a b c d e f g h The Dragon War — Torhal Bjorik
- ^ a b c d e f g h There Be Dragons — Torhal Bjorik
- ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: Other Lands — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- ^ a b c d e Mysterious Akavir
- ^ a b Dragon Language: Myth no More — Hela Thrice-Versed
- ^ a b c d Paarthurnax's dialogue in Skyrim.
- ^ a b Loadings screens in Skyrim.
- ^ Arngeir's dialogue in Skyrim.
- ^ a b King Edward
- ^ Tamrielic Artifacts — Yagrum Bagarn
- ^ a b Olaf and the Dragon — Adonato Leotelli
- ^ Events during the Oblivion Crisis.
- ^ Varieties of Faith in the Empire — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor
- ^ Amongst the Draugr — Bernadette Bantien, College of Winterhold
- ^ A Minor Maze: Shalidor & Labyrinthian
- ^ a b c d e f Atlas of Dragons, 2E 373 — Brother Mathnan
- ^ Annals of the Dragonguard — Brother Annulus
- ^ a b c The Book of the Dragonborn — Prior Emelene Madrine, Order of Talos, Weynon Priory
- ^ Daggerfall - Avenge the Dragons quest
- ^ a b Akatosh Dichotomy — Alexandre Simon, High Priest of the Akatosh Chantry, Wayrest
- ^ a b Twin Secrets — Brarilu Theran
- ^ a b Daggerfall's Glory Road - The Complete Walkthrough, The Daggerfall Chronicles — Ronald Wartow
- ^ Alduin is Real, and He Ent Akatosh — Thromgar Iron-Head
Note: the following references are not found in game. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.