Dragons (Dovah, plural Dov) are a reptilian race originally native to Akavir that were once widespread throughout Tamriel. Although animalistic in appearance, they are known for their intelligence and wisdom as much as their raw, uncontrolled power.
They possess their own spoken and written language, and are capable of comprehending other languages. For the most part, they consider non-dovah to be weak minded. Their spoken language can be articulated to cast powerful magic known as Thu'um or Dragon Shouts. They were nearly rendered extinct, and were widely believed to be so until 4E 201 when they resurfaced in Skyrim with the return of Alduin.
The precise origin of the dragons is unknown. They are believed to be the children of Akatosh and as such are specially attuned to the flow of time itself . They were indigenous to the continent of Akavir, but when the Tsaesci attempted to "consume" them, the dragons fled to Tamriel. The Ka Po' Tun of Akavir wished to become dragons (the word Ka meaning dragon), and it is said that their leader, Tosh Raka, has been successful in transforming into a dragon.
The College of Whispers has questioned several dremora, who claim dragons simply "were, and are": eternal, immortal, unchanging, and unyielding.  In this respect, the dragons are closer to the Daedra than to animals and the mortal races; they are ageless and immortal, with their souls enduring beyond physical death, and they do not mate or breed as animals do. As such, there are no known examples of dragon eggs or dragonlings. The Iliac Bay area has stories of such things, but so far all have proven false. The alleged eggs turned out to be the eggs of over-sized lizards, not true dragons. 
Alduin, the self-proclaimed "first-born of Akatosh," is believed to be the first dragon to have come into existence . While both Akatosh and Alduin are represented as dragons, many scholars believe the two are separate entities,, which the Nordic pantheon seems to reflect.
Merethic Era and Dragon worship
When Ysgramor came to Tamriel in the Merethic Era, his people brought with them a faith that worshiped animal gods. Foremost among all animals was the dragon, or drah-gkon in the ancient Nordic tongue. Occasionally the term dov-rha is used, derived from dovah, the dragons' name for themselves. Using either name was forbidden to all except the Dragon Priests. Many of the temples built to honor the dragons survive today as ancient ruins, haunted by draugr and undead dragon priests.
Dragons embraced their role as man's god-kings. In their eyes, they were clearly superior to the tiny, frail, and short-lived beings that worshiped them. To dragons, power equals truth, and their power over men was indisputable evidence of their superiority. In exchange for the obedience of their priests, the dragons granted small amounts of power to them, bestowing magical masks upon their most favored priests. In turn, the dragon priests ruled over men, wielding authority equal to the kings.
In Atmora, where Ysgramor and his people came from, the dragon priests demanded tribute and created laws which kept the peace between dragon and man. In Tamriel, their rule was quite different. It's unclear if this was due to an ambitious dragon priest, or a particular dragon, or a series of weak kings. Whatever the cause, the dragon priests began to rule with an iron fist, making virtual slaves of the rest of the population.
When the populace rebelled, the dragon priests retaliated. The dragon priests failed to collect the tribute and their control over the masses began to slip. The dragons' response was swift and brutal. This began the Dragon War. At first, men died by the thousands.
Kyne intervened, and instructed Paarthurnax to assist mankind. Paarthurnax, originally the first lieutenant of Alduin, had become disillusioned with Alduin when the latter proclaimed himself a god. As a result, Paarthurnax betrayed his former master and taught the power of the Voice to mankind.
With the rebellion against the dragon priests, dragons were slaughtered in large numbers. The dragons that survived chose to live in remote places away from men. Alduin himself was banished by a group of Nord heroes on the peak of Skyrim's Throat of the World, where they used an Elder Scroll to send him into another time. While the Nord warriors hoped that Alduin would be lost in time forever, he would eventually return to terrorize Skyrim again in the Fourth Era.
The dragon cult itself, however, survived. They built the dragon mounds, entombing the remains of dragons that fell in the war, believing that one day the dragons would rise again and reward the faithful.
Before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the last known sighting of a dragon in Tamriel was in the time of Tiber Septim. He made a pact with the few remaining dragons, swearing to protect them if they would serve him. Despite his promise, dragons were still hunted and slain. It's not clear if the last ones fled Tamriel or if they were exterminated.
Alduin, the World Eater, is a dragon-god whose return was a result of an Elder Scroll. He was first removed from Tamriel through the last resort of the ancient Nord heroes who used an Elder Scroll to force Alduin to become lost in time and hopefully never return. Instead, he was sent forward to the Fourth Era, to the timeline of events in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the Dragonborn's story; Alduin's triumph would ensure Nirn's destruction, according to prophecy.
Before the Dragon War in the Merethic Era, Durnehviir lived amongst his kin in the skies above Tamriel. While his brethren used more traditional forms of combat, Durnehviir pursued an interest in Necromancy that eventually led him to the Ideal Masters.
His wish was to raise armies of undead for his own ends, so he made a pact with the Ideal Masters to gain access to their realm's undead. The pact specified that Durnehviir was to serve as the keeper of the Soul Cairn, and guard a powerful necromancer named Valerica until her eventual death - terms to which Durnehviir, being an immortal dragon, agreed. The Ideal Masters deceived Durnehviir, as Valerica was a vampire, and thus also immortal. As a result, Durnehviir was doomed to guard the Soul Cairn for eternity.
A dragon that was worshipped by a particular sect of the Dragon Cult. According to Tolfdir, the cult was quite fond of ritual sacrifices to the extent that the High Priest would spend a great deal of time sharpening a dagger, named Kahvozein's Fang, so it was always ready for its next victim.
The Dragon Nafaalilargus was a loyal soldier of Tiber Septim. Nafaalilargus calls himself as the Proud Jewel of the Imperial Crown. In order to destroy Prince A'Tor and the Redguard resistance once and for all, Tiber Septim sent Admiral Amiel Richton to Stros M'kai, the last base of the Redguard Crown. Nafaalilargus was tasked to accompany the Imperial Navy.
Nafaalilargus was also tasked to guard the soulgem of Prince A'Tor. Cyrus infiltrated the Palace through the Catacomb in order to acquire the soulgem. Cyrus was confronted by Nafaalilargus. After a long difficult battle, Cyrus managed to kill Nafaalilargus.
It is possible that Nafaalilargus was also the dragon known as Nahfahlaar, as they both have similar names and were known to help mortals. Since Cyrus was not a Dragonborn, Nafaalilargus' soul was not absorbed and could have been revived by Alduin.
King Olaf One-Eye subdued the great dragon Numinex in a legendary duel of Thu’ums, and brought him back to the fledgling town of Whiterun as a captive. It was then that the magnificent keep of Dragonsreach was rebuilt and renamed to serve as a cage for Numinex, whose skull still adorns the Great Hall. Paarthurnax notes that Numinex went mad due to his captivity and forgot his own name.
PaarthurnaxPaarthurnax is the leader of the Greybeards and the brother of Alduin. He served as Alduin's lieutenant during the Dragon War in the Merethic Era, during which he was said to have committed terrible atrocities against mankind.
Skakmat was the dragon familiar of Nulfaga, a powerful female Breton wizard and necromancer. At the Battle of Cryngaine Field, Skakmat produced a mystic fog (under Nulfaga's orders) in an attempt to halt the battle in which Lysandus was to be slain.
Places of worship
When the Dragons ruled Nirn with an iron fist, and the Dragon Priests carried out the orders of the Dragons, there were temples and tombs that the people of Nirn built to worship the Dragon Priests and the Dragons. Most of these locations were also cities where people lived.
Notable places of worship
- Labyrinthian/Bromjunaar Sanctuary
- High Gate Ruins
- The Divine-being Akatosh is associated with dragons, and his avatar takes on the form of a dragon.
- The Daedric Prince Peryite is known to take the form of a dragon.
- In The Elder Scrolls Online, the Ebonheart Pact's crest is depicted as a dragon.
- The symbol of the Septim Empire, as of the Third Era, is the Red Diamond, which is a red dragon shaped inside of a diamond and is based off Nafaalilargus.
- All known dragons are males.
- The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Dragon Language: Myth no More
- Where were you when the Dragon Broke?
- The Dragon Break Reexamined
- Atlas of Dragons
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 There Be Dragons
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - dialogue with Paarthurnax.
- ↑ The Alduin/Akatosh Dichotomy
- ↑ Alduin is Real
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 The Dragon War
- ↑ 7000 Steps Etchings
- ↑ Xan (last edited by The Librarian on 20 July 2012 at 09:28). Nafaalilargus.
- ↑ Atlas of Dragons
- ↑ Varieties of Faith in the Empire
|Humans||Akavir • Atmoran • Breton • Imperial • Keptu • Kothringi • Nede • Nord • Orma • Redguard|
|Mer||Aldmer • Altmer • Ayleid • Bosmer • Chimer • Dunmer • Dwemer • Falmer |
Lefthanded Elf • Maormer • Orsimer • Snow Elf
|Beast||Argonian • Imga • Khajiit • Lilmothiit • Sload • Giant|
|Akaviri||Ka Po' Tun • Kamal • Tang Mo • Tsaesci • Dragon|
|Et'Ada||Aedra • Daedra|