Dragons are the stuff of legends. They fly. They breath fire. They've got the strength and size of titans. They live for millennia, and those intelligent enough to give voice to their thoughts have proven to be some of the wisest beings ever to walk the earth (or fly over it). Small wonder they are imitated.
Non-dragons who study dragons are called dracologists. Those who merely employ dragon-like powers in combat have taken up calling themselves "dragoons."
Dracologists have identified four fundamental abilities that seem to be naturally unique to dragons. Intensive study and conversation with intelligent dragons has helped dracologists to identify the mechanisms behind these abilities, and to find ways for non-dragons to mimic them, albeit to a lesser extent.
Dragoons are a fearsome sight on the battlefield. Some leap high into the air and attack their enemies from above. Some have been said to turn blades off of their bare skin. All fight with unnatural strength.
The dragons themselves are generally disdainful of such developments, and dragoons are therefore uncommon, and sometimes characterized as savage, like the lesser of the dragons. After watching developments among the other races, most dragons have broken off widespread contact with them; some go to great lengths to preserve their own isolation. This, more than anything else, has probably contributed to the image of dragons as mysterious or even mythical, and there is no place in the world where the word "dragon" does not evoke the fears and imaginations of the people.
Welcome, young one. I have few visitors of late, and I welcome the chance to talk.
You wish to hear about my line of work, I presume? I fear that I may be the last living dracologist for quite some distance. The science lost most of its following when the dragons stopped teaching us, and it has declined since then.
It has long been known that dragons have powers that go beyond the merely physical. One of these is what the dragons call "veltah." The closest translation is probably "might." Most dragons already have a great deal of strength, but they can further enhance their natural strength by infusing their actions with their veltah. Or so they say, at any rate. I can certainly say from experience that a lance pierces thicker armor in the hands of a dragoon.
The second is called "kuoq" by the dragons or "integrity" in our tongue. Dracologists are taught a story about a warrior named Kelar who set out to slay a dragon. Many others had tried to slay this dragon, but none of them had the strength to pierce his scaly armor. Kelar succeeded in killing him, and then collected the dragon's scales and wove them into armor. Thinking himself impervious in this dragonscale armor, he fought a duel with his enemy, Navaark, but Navaark easily broke through Kelar's armor and killed him.
The lesson behind the story is that dragons have more power bound up in their armor than just their scales. Kuoq allows dragons to hold their entire beings together and bind all of themselves up into a single, atomic unit. Dragons become less a collection of scales and bones and flesh and muscle, and more a single, indivisible entity. This makes it much harder to pierce their scales that it would otherwise be, but this ability evaporates for the most part as soon as this wholeness is damaged. That is, the first time an attack does get through their armor, it becomes, for the most part, simply a collection of scales (until the dragon heals the wound).
"Ixtiryn," the third, is that in a dragon which is opposed to the rest of nature. You might call it "discordance." This allows dragons to draw into themselves and isolate themselves from the rest of the world. In so doing, they partially remove themselves from the physical world, and from any others they may inhabit, focusing purely on their "dracological" elements. Among other things, this helps them to fly, because it lessens the influence of physical forces like gravity. Dragons' wings are not strong enough to support their entire weight in the air for long. This is how many dragoons launch their dreaded "death-from-above" attacks.
Finally, "Ziy," or "essence," is an internal energy that dragons possess. Most famously, this is exhaled as fire breath. However, because it is fueled internally, it does not easily surface. Some berserker dragoons have been rumored to deliberately cut open the palms of their weapon hands before going into battle so that their ziy can flow out onto their blades. In an unwounded person, it can only exit at one of the person's natural openings.
Most of the dragons have been rather displeased by the way our dragoons have applied what we've learned. Their bloodlust has robbed the dracologists of the opportunity to learn more from the dragons, and we are left groping in the darkness, trial and error our only means of progressing. It has effectively put a halt to our learning . . . which, I suppose,