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Background: Last we checked, the dragons had come up with a plan to preserve their species by sending samples of SEDNA (Spiritual Equivalent of DNA) into willing women, causing them to give birth to dragons in human form. Every time, the dragons used covert methods to accomplish this, so the mothers are in the dark. However, it's been quite some time (all of the dragon children are sixteen years old now) and the dragon's government is getting flack for not thinking things through. Why?

  1. These dragon-born have not been raised right (according to the dragon's view)

  2. They have no idea they are actually dragons and not just powerful human mages

  3. They have not embraced draconic culture, heritage, or tradition; in other words, they are not carrying on the species in any way.

Why are they in the dark? Well, thanks to years of anti-dragon propaganda and dragonslayer campaigning, just about everyone is anti-dragon. Everyone's told they are enemies of humanity; brutal, cruel, ruthless and just plain evil, beginning in childhood. (Luckily, the dragons moved to an alternate dimension centuries ago!)

As for why the dragons don't just capture and indoctrinate any human, that's because of the dreaded '9-1-1 system.' If the dragons were to kidnap someone and attempt to brainwash them, the victim would be able to send a warning signal telepathically, and then the feared dragonslayers would teleport in and kill the dragons.

However, the dragon born are a different story. You see, the 9-1-1 system only works if a law is being broken. Dragons appearing on Earth? It's illegal for them to be in the human world, so they can be reported. But the dragon children are dragons in human form; taking them to the realm of the dragons isn't illegal, so they can't use the 9-1-1 system to report that. In fact, the dragon's actions technically aren't illegal here, rendering the 9-1-1 system useless as far as the children are concerned.

Now the draconic leaders face one daunting task, which they have split into parts:

  1. Reception Years of brainwashing and mistraining must be removed so the dragon children can A) handle and accept the news of their true identity and B) so they can be trusted with the truth (ie. be relied upon to not betray their kind).

  2. Message Delivery The message of their true identity must be delivered as covertly as possible, because otherwise the dragonslayers and the aforementioned "9-1-1 system" (which allows any citizen to magically notify the dragonslayers of dragon-related events) will get involved.

  3. Relocation Considering 1 and 2, it seems best to simply remove the poor children from their anti-dragon environment and bring them to the dragon realm. It removes the risk of the 9-1-1 system, the dragonslayers, the possibility of the dragon's secret being revealed, and will make betrayal by one of the brainwashed dragon children nigh-impossible (as portal access is highly, highly restricted). So....

  4. Cover-up The dragons have some human allies, so they can set up something like a 'prestigious academy'-think Cambridge or Princeton-as a front for this whole thing. The key is to cover-up the whole thing so it seems perfectly legitimate when in reality it is a dragon repatriation scheme.

So, my question is, what are the best methods to accomplish this 4-step scheme to bring the dragon children into the fold?

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  • $\begingroup$ Is this question too broad? If it needs fixing, I would greatly appreciate your feedback. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 5:06
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    $\begingroup$ I've seen the previous question and with this one I really struggle to see what the plans of the dragons is. Can't they take...basically anybody? What is the advantage of having "dragon children" that seem to be pretty much human for all intents and purposes and then having to get them to join what amounts to a "secret society" or "cult"? Can't the dragons do the same with any human at all - just collect and (re-)educate them? $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 12:34
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    $\begingroup$ Odd phrasing: "willing female women"... this seems to imply there are non-female women, too? $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 16:28
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    $\begingroup$ Two points on which I would like clarification: 1) How recently was this plan carried out? Are these "dragons in human form" still children, or have some of them aged into adulthood? "Collecting" adults would require a very different approach from "collecting" children. 2) When you say the mothers were "willing", did they know they were making a deal with dragons to bear dragon-children? Or were they kept partly in the dark, e.g. a mysterious peddler sold them a fertility potion, "guaranteed to work, and your child will be a wizard to boot! Don't ask what's in it." $\endgroup$
    – MJ713
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ Third point: why can't the dragons just have children the conventional way in their alternate dimension? I assume there is some kind of obstacle to this (e.g. in the book Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, dragon eggs simply will not hatch unless they are exposed to the light of Earth's moon), but you don't actually mention it. $\endgroup$
    – MJ713
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 17:03

2 Answers 2

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These dragon-born have not been raised right (according to the dragon's view)

I'm not clear on the longevity of your dragons. If they have similar longevity to humans, or at least within an order of magnitude or so, then it's probably too late to "fix" this problem. Dragon culture is going to change (if there are a lot of the dragon-born) or else the dragon-born will not be able to properly integrate into it (if there aren't), at least in the short term. In the long term, it may be possible, with a lot of conscious effort, for the dragon-born to deliberately shift their cultural values and instincts to those of the dragons, but this will likely take years at a minimum.

They have not embraced draconic culture, heritage, or tradition; in other words, they are not carrying on the species in any way.

That, on the other hand, is a fixable problem (you can choose to care about a culture even if you don't instinctually identify with it), but it's secondary to...

Why are they in the dark? Well, thanks to years of anti-dragon propaganda and dragonslayer campaigning, just about everyone is anti-dragon. Everyone's told they are enemies of humanity; brutal, cruel, ruthless and just plain evil, beginning in childhood. (Luckily, the dragons moved to an alternate dimension centuries ago!)

That's the real problem here: Your dragon-born don't want to be "rescued" and will probably regard their adoptive (human) families as their "real" families.

So... what are your dragons going to do about it? I can see three options, which are (mostly) mutually exclusive:

  1. The dragons could kidnap them and try to force them to like dragons, as your question suggests, but the dragon-born will interpret this as confirmation of the anti-dragon propaganda. It will be extraordinarily difficult to persuade them to trust dragons after dragons have kidnapped them, especially if you wait until the dragon-born are 16. You might be able to pull this off at a much earlier age, but this raises a variety of logistical problems, as small children have less independence and cannot be so easily separated from their parents. Also, if the humans figure out what you're doing, they will spin it as "dragons steal children."
  2. The dragons, and their existing human allies, can focus on counter-propaganda at large. This could take many different forms, and might or might not work at all, depending on how many humans you have available and what kind of timeframe we're talking about. If it's possible to shift public opinion from "everyone hates dragons" to "dragons are controversial and people have varying opinions," then you may be able to leak word of the dragon-borns' existence, quietly and only in social circles associated with strong magic users. This will naturally filter through to the actual dragon-born, and you can then provide a means for them to reach out to the dragons voluntarily.
  3. We can split the difference, and create a real school of magic which happens to also secretly repatriate dragon-born to the dragon realm, but only voluntarily, once they have rejected the anti-dragon propaganda on their own. It can also focus on subtle counter-propaganda within the student body, to help the dragon-born reach this understanding without the use of force or coercion. This is a bit riskier, since it might be seen as unlawful or dangerous to promote "dragon values" in a magic academy - but if the humans place enough value on academic freedom, and if the counter-propaganda is framed in a dispassionate, scientific tone, then they may be able to get away with it.

Here is an example of the sort of "dispassionate, scientific" counter-propaganda I would expect to see for option 3:

Dragons, or Draco, are a genus of magical creatures. They are intelligent, and have frequently come into violent conflict with humans in the past. However, they have not been seen in [years/decades/centuries]. It is not known whether they are extinct, or if they have withdrawn into [some unexplored continent, or whatever the humans believe]. Nevertheless, in their heyday, dragons were capable of great magical feats, far beyond those of human mages... [and now you give a clinical, scientific description of just how awesome dragons really are, backing it up with as much historical evidence as is available, and characterizing anything where the humans lack evidence as "speculative."]

Option 2 would likely need to be a lot more overt, but I'm not sure exactly how it would be phrased because it will greatly depend on the structure of human politics, the extent to which humans value political freedoms, and so on.

Finally, regardless of which approach you use, you may need to come up with an explanation for where the dragon-born are going that will satisfy the human authorities. In a real-world medieval setting, this would be quite simple as pervasive per-person records didn't really exist yet. It would be enough to send some kind of made-up excuse to the families and anyone else who specifically knew about that individual. But in a high-magic world, or in an urban fantasy setting, you might have a greater degree of tracking and bureaucracy, and consequently you might need to forge papers to "explain" what happened to the dragon-born that you repatriated. If you're going with a "magic school," then you will also need to do this in a way that does not draw suspicion on the school itself. This will likely involve the student leaving the school well before they leave the human realm, which further counsels against a kidnapping scheme (the logistics become much more difficult if you can't portal them out from within the school, and you also can't rely on the dragon-born voluntarily cooperating).

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm thinking a combo of 2 and 3. Cover-ups will be necessary. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 1:32
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Step one: Send one of your agents in human form to gain the child's trust, perhaps as teacher. This spy can evaluate the child's mental and emotional state, and can decide if the child is ready to be told the truth.

Step two: Have the spy tell part of the truth to the child; not about the dragons but maybe something like "your family is not your real family; you have an much better family that loves you and is very rich and I can take you to them".

Step three: Don't reveal the truth until you have the child in a controlled environment.

For further reference, the child should be taken young enough (5 or 6 is a good age but as young as possible) that a few year of reprogramming should suffice. Young children are incredibly adaptable and tend to take things at face value, which makes them easy to program and reprogram. If they are too attached to there old way of thinking, they can be easily disposed of.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a great answer, Bryan McClure, but remember almost everyone is anti-dragon. In other words, please add some details on how to de-brainwash the children. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 1:10
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    $\begingroup$ Take them young enough, tell them dragons are actually awesome, and, oh yeah, throw them in the middle of a bunch of dragons that are making a deliberate effort to dote on them. A little exposure to dragons clearly not behaving like monsters at an age when they're still open-minded and impressionable should do it. (OTOH, the OP said the kids are already 16...) $\endgroup$
    – Matthew
    Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 3:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Matthew basically yes $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 4:02
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Bryan! I know I didn't accept your answer, but I still found it useful and will definitely use parts of it. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 5:41

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