So, we have five floating islands in the southern sea. Their surfaces are mainly composed of fields of grass and fruit trees (weeds, non-profitable trees, etc. are disposed of) A dozen or so feet of earth separates the surfaces of these islands from the root cities beneath them. The island cities are close enough to each other that huge root bridges connect them.
The levitation of the islands and their root streets, buildings, and bridges are maintained by magic. To keep the islands floating and the cities intact, the strongest magic users (one for each city) devote their lives to maintaining the spell. When a magic user is chosen for this task, they cannot move until they ‘retire’. They sit cross legged 24/7, never moving, not to speak, eat, etc.
Centuries ago, these islands were perfectly normal, non floating islands and their inhabitants lived in normal villages composed of huts, but then dragons began to fly over on their way across the sea. They mercilessly attacked the villages and gave no hint for years of ever changing their route. The magic users received visions of some sort, telling them to raise the islands from the sea and create cities from the roots of their orchards. The dragons are mighty, magical creatures that only a being with godlike power could hope to defeat, which is why the magic users chose to follow the guidance of their visions.
In the present day, the dragons continue to fly over the surfaces of these islands. When they do, bells ring once throughout each city and their occupants hurry inside their homes. None of the islanders live on the surfaces of the islands and only a few times a year, on and off for several days, groups are sent up to tend to the fruit trees. Their primary trade is fishing and, thus far, even before the islands were raised into the air, the dragons have not attacked their boats. The root cities are open to the air, composed of several levels of streets and buildings each, all of which have a level that is used as a harbor for their boats. Huge dumbwaiters (not sure what to call these; lifts?) lower boats into the sea just before dawn and raise them back up into the harbors just before sunset.
It occurred to me that the fruit of the trees might be what keeps the dragons flying over the surfaces of the islands, as they might use the fruit as a sort of mid journey meal, but I don’t want them eating all the fruit, because it’s an important trade item of the islanders. Because this was already an established route of travel for the dragons, I’m having trouble figuring out why they would naturally switch their latitude of flight after the islands rose into the sky.
There is a tomb of sorts within the earth beneath the surface of the largest island, the existence of which the islanders are unaware of. Within it, an ancient, terrifying creature guards two enchanted weapons of considerable power. I have trouble with the idea of connecting this to the raising of the islands and the dragons’ changed elevation of flight: Though the entrance is accessible, from the surface of the island, I do not want the dragons taking a mid journey nap in this tomb; besides, it is hidden before the start of the story, which begins a few centuries after the islands began to float. Also, the ancient creature that guards it is primarily a beast, unable to cast spells or think intelligibly, aside from anything pertaining to its goal of killing whoever enters the place. I can see how the raising of the islands would be beneficial to the protection of the tomb, as it would be less likely to be discovered. However, the tomb was created by an ancient warrior and a long dead magic user of the island, neither of which would have the power to cast a spell of the caliber required to trick the dragons into flying high (they would’ve had the same limitations as the present day magic users) Besides, as I said, they are both long dead.
Basically, I don’t want the changed course of the dragons to be caused by a spell. There is no one in my world related to this situation that is powerful enough to cast a spell on a dragon and receive anything more than an incredulous scoff (in spirit) for their efforts. Not to mention, the islanders ring bells and hide when dragons fly over, because drawing attention to themselves is still potentially dangerous.
My question is: Why do the dragons continue to fly over the surfaces of the islands, instead of flying by the root cities? Why does living beneath the surfaces in these root cities keep the people safe from the dragons? How can I make sense of this?
If there’s anything wrong with my question or if more info is needed, please let me know.