Tyria should have known. The signs of the dragonrise were everywhere:
The earthquake that shook Rata Sum.
The tidal wave that carried ships into the streets of Lion’s Arch.
The geysers that erupted in the tundra beyond Hoelbrak.
The pall that hung over the Black Citadel.
Tyria had been wracked by such terrible birth pangs before.
The people should have guessed that a dragon was rising.
— Chapter 27: Dragonrise, Edge of Destiny
Dragonrise is a term used to refer to the cyclic awakenings of the Elder Dragons. Dragonrises occur roughly every 10,000 years, lasting for several centuries before the Elder Dragons fall back into slumber from consuming all of Tyria's available magic. The rises are often accompanied by cataclysmic events as the Elder Dragons' initial activity transforms the very land around them with corruption.
According to the Elder Dragon Jormag, the dragonrise cycle of feast and famine may not have always existed in such a destructive form but it eventually led to the Elder Dragons consuming entire civilizations on Tyria in their hunger for magic. Glint, scion of the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik, was not born as a Branded dragon and is said to have regained her free will via a Forgotten ritual at the Altar of Glaust albeit remaining in her crystalline form. This evidence, along with Glint opposing Kralkatorrik's ideas in the past, suggests that Kralkatorrik's methods may not have always been as severe as they later became.
The elder races, who were active during the previous dragonrise that occurred circa 10,000 years before the Exodus of the Gods, remained unaware of how many times the Elder Dragons had actually risen in the history of Tyria. The charr, dwarves, jotun, kodan, norn and tengu are known to have lingering stories passed down through the generations about the last rise of the dragons, with jotun stelae mentioning a "sextet of swallowers". According to scholars, the very existence of these tales indicates that the Elder Dragons have awakened at least twice in history. Ancient documents, presently found in the Durmand Priory's collection, reveal accounts passed down by other races such as the powerful Seers and even the Six Human Gods themselves.
Little physical or written evidence remains of the civilizations and races which existed in prior dragonrises, showing the totality of the destruction wrought by the Elder Dragons. The now extinct Great Giants were some of the many victims of the Elder Dragons' reign. The oldest known and identified structures and artifacts from the previous dragonrise belong to the elder races of the dwarves, Forgotten, jotun, mursaat and Seers; the origins of other old structures such as the Eye of the North and the Altrumm Ruins of the Echovald Forest or relics from locations such as the Aurios Mines within the Jade Sea, and whether they date back to the prior dragonrise, remain presently unknown.
The five elder races formed the first known multiracial alliance to fight back against the Elder Dragons during the previous dragonrise. The Forgotten and the mursaat assaulted the Elder Dragon Zhaitan but failed to slay it. The mursaat blamed the lack of involvement from the dwarves, jotun and Seers in the assault as the reason for the failure, and it eventually led to the alliance dissolving. With the help of unknown "divine resources", the Seers were able to gather the unspoiled magic in the world and lock it within a great artifact known as the first Bloodstone, eventually speeding up the Elder Dragons' fall into slumber.
Known dragonrises and their effects
|Jormag||Caused the Dragonstorm that lasted for several seasons and forced the kodan to flee to the north seas.|
At the beginning of Guild Wars 2
|Dragon||Date of most recent awakening||Place of awakening||Effects|
|Primordus||1120 AE||Beneath Central Transfer Chamber, Depths of Tyria||Invaded Quora Sum and other asuran cities, drove the asura and the skritt to the surface, and eradicated many subterranean races entirely.|
|S...?||Unknown||Somewhere in the Unending Ocean||Unknown initial effects. Its advance is speculated to have been the reason why the krait fled to surface waters, which in turn forced the southern quaggans to flee north as the krait captured or killed the royal markissios family and caused the disappearance of the quaggan goddess Mellaggan.|
|Jormag||1165 AE||Somewhere in the lands beyond the Far Shiverpeaks||Created a massive blizzard that lasted for four years and buried the northern passes, killed several norn and forced them to flee south in the norn exodus. Caused the disappearance of four of the Spirits of the Wild—Eagle, Owl, Ox, and Wolverine. Forced several kodan to flee south to the Shiverpeak Mountains and caused the creation of a new inland sea in the Far Shiverpeaks. Tore apart Gunnar's Hold with a massive glacier.|
|Zhaitan||1219 AE||Beneath the Ruins of Orr||Caused the Rising of Orr, creating the Great Tsunami that flooded old Lion's Arch and Atholma while turning Dajkah into an archipelago.|
|Kralkatorrik||1320 AE||Kralkatorrik's Emergence Zone, Grothmar Valley||Created the Dragonbrand with his breath, corrupted several beings in Ascalon and sent them to assault Ebonhawke in the Ogre Revolt, killed Glint and Snaff during a battle in the Desert Highlands.|
- ^ Chapter 27: Dragonrise, Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King
- ^ The Ruined City of Arah explorable Jotun path
- Varra Skylark: This is an amazing discovery! The jotun's sky-sweeper shows a stellar match with the last time the dragons awoke.
- <Character name>: When was that last time?
- Varra Skylark: Around ten thousand years ago. You know what this means? The Elder Dragons may have been responsible for the extinction of the Giganticus Lupicus!
- ^ Voice in the Deep
- The Whisper of Jormag: I understand why you want to silence me, but you must listen. For Tyria's sake.
- The Whisper of Jormag: For thousands of years, I've watched this broken system consume entire civilizations.
- The Whisper of Jormag: But it was not always this way. You, Aurene, and I—we can save this world. Preserve it.
- ^ The Way Forward
- Sadizi: The millennia-long Elder Dragon cycle is one of feast and famine. Ravenous, they rise. Sated, they sleep.
- Sadizi: Glint and the Forgotten set out to break this cycle of extremes and to restore true balance. [...]
- Sadizi: We theorize these vacancies must be filled with entities that circulate and share magic rather than hoard it.
- Sadizi: Only then will the balance of magic truly become stable. Only then will Glint's legacy achieve its ultimate purpose.
- ^ The Ruined City of Arah (explorable) Forgotten path
- Warden Illyra: I have learned that the last time the Elder Dragons came, the Forgotten worked with Glint, who hid the old races from the dragons' power. [...]
- Warden Illyra: Yes. Yes! Look at these runes. The Forgotten were able to remove Kralkatorrik's control over Glint.
- Warden Illyra: Glint remained in crystalline form, but she regained her free will and identity. [...]
- Warden Illyra: This is the altar. It was here, before the human gods came, that Glint was freed of the Elder Dragons.
- ^ Scion & Champion
- Glint: With you, Champion, I share my true legacy—and Kralkatorrik's greatest secret.
- Glint: He foresaw the possibility of a world at peace. A world without strife between dragons and mortals. A world without him.
- Glint: It terrified him. He demanded I help prevent it from coming to pass.
- Glint: But where he saw doom, I saw a gift to the world.
- ^ The Ruined City of Arah (explorable) Jotun path
- Varra Skylark: They studied the world and the heavens, and inscribed their discoveries on their great monument stones.
- Varra Skylark: My study of those stones in the Shiverpeaks leads me to believe they knew when the dragons would awaken. [...]
- Varra Skylark: Yes, yes! This clearly shows some new stars in the firmament. And they line up with the jotun designs!
- Varra Skylark: The appearance of the Elder Dragons is reflected by the stars themselves. When they awaken, so do these new stars!
- ^ Myths and Legends of Ancient Ascalon
- ^ Unspeakable, Unknowable
- High Priest Alkar: The Stone Summit are dangerously close to uncovering the Tome of the Rubicon. Inside is the true name of the Great Destroyer, the bane of the living and nemesis of the Great Dwarf himself. If the seals that bind that book are dispelled and the true name spoken... well, let's just say there is no worse thing that could happen in this world. [...]
- High Priest Alkar: Long ago, the Great Dwarf took from his greatest foe the one thing that give him his power...he took from him his name, sealing it away until the time of their final battle.
- High Priest Alkar: To ensure the name was unspeakable to all but the Great Dwarf, the name was sealed within the Rubicon. There are few left with the knowledge and power to open the Tome.
- High Priest Alkar: If the true name of either is spoken aloud, it would mean the end of the world as we know it. We must not allow that which is unknown to again become known. Not now. [...]
- High Priest Alkar: If that Hierophant reads the Great Destroyer's true name, he will summon upon this world the most malignant creature ever seen by mortal eyes.
- ^ The Ruined City of Arah (explorable)
- Ogden Stonehealer: This isn't the first time the dragons have risen.
- Ogden Stonehealer: The Tome of the Rubicon speaks of the dwarves fighting the dragon's champions.
- ^ a b Scholar Caterin
- ^ a b c Prosperity's Mystery
- "The Nature of Dragons" by Ogden Stonehealer.
- Or, should I say the "Dragons of Nature"? Yes. Dragons have long been thought to be as much a part of Tyria as the sun, moon, land, and seas.
- No one, not even the dwarves, know how long they've been here. The jotun and the norn both have lingering stories passed down through the generations about the last rise of the dragons.
- Most scholars give these tales little credit, unfortunately, as so much time has passed. It was over ten thousand years ago that the dragons last returned to their slumber.
- The very existence of these tales, however, indicates that the dragons have awakened at least twice in history.
- Ancient documents, found now in the Durmand Priory's collection, reveal accounts passed down by other races such as the powerful Seers and even the human gods themselves.
- ^ Enduring Icicle
- ^ Genzhou Talonrend
- ^ Tome of the Five True Gods
- ^ GuildMag Issue 9: A New Dawn - Lore Interview with Jeff Grubb, Ree Soesbee and Scott McGough, GuildMag.com
- ^ Mursaat Lore Tablet
- ^ A Study in Gold
- ^ The Ruined City of Arah (explorable) Seer path
- Randall Greyston: The Seers were a magical race, once close allies to the mursaat.
- Randall Greyston: When the Elder Dragons first awoke, they gathered the unspoiled magic in the world and locked it within a great artifact—the first bloodstone.
- ^ Kodan Snowcaller
- ^ a b The Wisdom and Power of the Kodan
- ^ That Old College Try
- ^ Nanacatl
- ^ Pastkeeper
- ^ The Mostly Harmless Quaggan
- ^ Thyrie Bylund
- ^ A Spirit of Legend
- ^ Gamal
- ^ "Chapter 18: The Calm Before", Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King:
- "We fought Jormag—gladly we fought it, for norn are made for battle. But never had we fought a beast like this. It was a living blizzard. It and its minions froze us where we fought and buried our lands in snow and ice and tore apart Gunnar's Hold with a massive glacier. It took our lands. It drove us south."
- ^ Sea of Sorrows
- ^ The Movement of the World
- ^ Of Maelstroms
- ^ Edge of Destiny
- ^ The World Summit
- ^ Torn from the Sky