Listen well, children. I have an age-old tale to tell you this day.
Two hundred years ago, the lands of Vazparlee were whole. Our six great countries thrived here, content within the spheres of our influence, and unwilling or uncaring enough to see beyond our own shores.
We did not care to know if anything else existed past the vastness of the surrounding sea. And in our careless neglect, we overlooked the signs. For surely there were signs, lost to time as they may be. Perhaps a shipwreck boasting colors and sails we did not know washed ashore - perhaps strange sights on the horizon.
And then the Plague Years came. Our scribes tell us it was ten long years of poor harvest and decay in the fields. And within those long years, they came. The dead came to Vazparlee.
They arrived on the Lost Islands without warning - dozens of black ships, stinking of death. And while each of us suffered alone within our own borders, Kultainen was ravaged. It was not until the islands had been totally decimated and the kingdom on it's deathbed that we awoke and took notice of this plight.
At first, those far from the battle - the mighty dwarves of Barreak and the pirates of Isula Labirintu - thought they could not be touched. That Kultainen, the most glorious of us, would be able to afford an army strong enough to repel any aggressor. At first we thought that no force would be able to take all of Vazparlee, never in a hundred years.
But then, Kultainen the Golden fell. And the hordes of filth turned their gaze to Kruna. Small, elegant country that it was, nestled at the very North of us. Peaceful. And also taken.
It was then that we in Endochora knew things must change. It took us twenty years to finally realize the danger that this force posed. So we sent out our messengers. Small, quick dragons with riders took ledgers and proposals and tactics all across Vazparlee in a desperate attempt to stop the tide of death slowly creeping across the land.
But things developed slowly. And the force crawled on. Thirty years. Forty. And then Fifty. The second generation of warriors was born into these times, where their rulers stayed awake at night with the fear that these black armies would come clawing at their doors. They tried catapults, erected ballast and hired mages. The Battles in Kultainen raged and spread West across the Aizmirst, finally drawing the eyes of the warriors of Tukul Tuhan.
Twenty more years drifted by. Those born into battle grew hard and strong. The borders of Endochora were breached and streams of undead filtered down through the mountains. They began to fan Southwest around the Sisimeri. We sent more dragons with willing riders to request aid from the dwarves in the safety of their Peninsula, and also to the pirates in their archipelago.
We struggled through 85 years of brutality and strife. And we do not know who the first child was, or how he managed to do it - but one day, flying over the battlefield was a dragon. Not the small, spritely drakes who carried our messages, but one of the goliaths from the mountains, and upon his back was a young child.
This was where the tide of war changed. Our people rallied behind his great beast, and soon more joined their ranks, and over the next 15 years we drove the dead back and off of our shores, the grim nemesis behind their unholy designs was felled in battle and out lands were our own again.
But as such a great cost. 100 years of war, three generations of suffering.
Even now, 100 years later, the Aizmirst is unclaimed. Forgotten. Kultainen is a grim shadow of its former glory, and none have heard word past the River now known as Veri Vesi - Blood Water. Kruna lays shrouded in gloom and rests undisturbed, out of everence or fear. Or both.
Endochora, Barreak, Tukul Tuhan, and Isula Labirintu worked hard to rebiuld. Borders were reforged and the Ulivani Accords were signed, in the shadow of a great ruin of what was once he grand city of Ulivani.
These accords pledged peace and cooperation from all the countries - even Kultainen was present, though poor lost Kruna was not.
Over time the Accords have been called upon to help solve disputes over leadership, forge truces and trusts between families, and most importantly, forge a great keep for the breeding, training and riding of dragons and their riders.
Vouno Drakou was finished almost 50 years ago, and has been a beacon of trust and hope for all of Vazparlee.
So. Since you have been accepted, I suggest you get to packing. You wouldn't want to miss the Dragon bonding, would you?