The arrogance of man is amazing, isn't it?
Humans are always trying to find ways to make themselves unique; above all other beings. 1,500 years ago, humans said that the Earth was at the centre of the universe; the nexus point of everything. 500 years ago, humans thought that they were made in God's image, separate from the animal kingdom. 50 years ago, it was said that Earth was the only planet with life in the entire universe. And 5 years ago, it was thought that our universe is the only existing one. The very idea is ridiculous.
There are thousands of universes; a great multitude of islands floating in the cold, unforgiving sea of space and time. In each of these alternate universes, the reality is different than our own. Sometimes only slightly, sometimes quite radically. Every possible eventuality exists and is expressed.
The number of universes is not infinite; new universes do not pop into existence. How is a new universe formed, you may ask? Central to the formation of a universe is a battle between creation and destruction; a new universe is made on the remains of an old one. From death comes life, in a never-ending cycle of destruction and rebirth.
Why is this important? We'll get to that.
In the universe that existed before this one, there was a name. A name which, when uttered, made many a lifeform quake with fear or quickly turn away, covering what passed for ears. The name belonged to creatures so powerful, so frightening, so infamous for its sheer destructive nature that those who knew of them either cowered from their visage or worshipped them, praying for deliverance… their names were the Lloigor.
They ruled their original universe and, when it wound down and came to its end, they cast themselves through the howling void of time and space to manifest themselves in its replacement. They were on Earth long before the first hominid screeched and jabbered in the Pleistocene sun. We knew them by many names; in China, they were ying lung, in Mongolia luu and in Japan, they were tatsu or ryu. Most humans, however, knew them by a far simpler name. A name that once struck terror in the bravest. A name that made kingdoms tremble… Dragon. We thought of them 'gods' and 'demons,' and begged them to spare us and prayed for salvation. It was aught for naught, of course; the Lloigor terrorised us wherever they found us. We were little better than pests; things to be crushed and eradicated. Until, one day, the worst of them all set his eyes on us.
Before that, we must journey to a far-off land; the land that we, one day, would call Svalbard. There was the city of Dale, its markets known far and wide, full of the bounties of vine and vale, peaceful and prosperous. For this city lay before the doors of the greatest kingdom on Earth; the beautiful kingdom of Erebor. Built deep within the mountain itself, the beauty of this fortress city was legend. Its wealth lay in the earth, in precious gems hewn from rock and in great seams of gold running like rivers through stone. The legends stated that the skill of the Dwarves was unequaled, fashioning objects of great beauty out of diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire. Ever they delved deep, down into the dark, uncovering more and more gems and gold from the rock. However, the years of peace and plenty was not to last. Slowly, the days turned sour and the watchful nights closed in. King Thrór's love of gold had grown into greed; sequestering it all in a massive hoard in his throne room. A sickness had begun to grow within him. It was a sickness of the mind. And where sickness thrives, bad things will follow.
Smaug the Terrible, the greatest and deadliest of all the Lloigor had come. His powerful claws and teeth sliced and swiped away all who stood in his way. The shock of his tail had created an earthquake that shook the land and his breath reduced the city of Dale to ash. Such wanton death was dealt that day. However, this unfortunate city was nothing to Smaug. His eye was set on another prize. His true goal was the mines of Erebor, for he coveted gold with a dark and fierce desire. Erebor was lost and the dwarven race driven near to extinction; over time, they eventually died out, leaving only their great artefacts and the ruins of their strongholds as trace of their presence. For the survivors of Dale, no such mercy came. They lived in fear of Smaug's wrath and cowered in terror at his vengeance.
This all changed when a brave Viking warrior heard of Dale's plight. This Viking had spent several years travelling far and wide in search of worthy adversaries; helping the helpless and stopping the evil. He heard of Dale's plight, decided to free them from Smaug's tyranny and journeyed to the ruins of Dale to defeat him once and for all. What happened next… is a mystery. Somehow Smaug was defeated and imprisoned. Some say that there was a great battle that tore the land for miles asunder; while others say Smaug was bested and sealed with aid from the warrior's troll ally, who used magic so powerful and so ancient that it could barely be understood by the minds of us mortals. Whatever the case, Smaug's kingdom had become his prison; unable to leave, he was sealed for all eternity. The survivors of Dale dispersed – as long as Smaug lived, they could never return to their old home. They spread all over the world – why, we may even be descended from them ourselves. They put the dragon out of sight and out of mind; and, over time, all memory of Dale and its destroyer had disappeared, as if they had never existed. We went about the planet, none the wiser.
Of course...a Lloigor would not be so easily defeated. Oh no, not by a long shot. Smaug, raging in his prison, vowed revenge on the one responsible, one for which he had gained something that he had never experienced before: CONTEMPT. He would not just die. He, and his entire family line, would be erased as though it were a speck of dirt on the tiniest scale, and woe be to whatever foolish creature that stood in its way.
Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters…