Dragons in the World
There is only so much room in the world for dragons. With territories that can span mountains and kingdoms, it may well be a mercy that so few are born. Fewer still live to see adulthood, hunted by griffons and, sometimes, by humans. An established dragon will often extend some measure of protection to stray hatchlings, recognizing the rarity of their kind and the importance of offspring to the survival of their race. However, this protection lasts only until the young ones can fend for themselves, for dragons are fiercely territorial.
Every dragon is regarded as the Sovereign of their realm, and their authority within the bounds of their territory is inviolable. Dragons recognize the authority of non-dragon Sovereigns as well – human Kings and Queens, Ice Giant Lords, and so on - though they may not be held to the same standards or given the same respect as draconic Sovereigns. Other races may be dumbfounded by the tolerance benevolent dragons show their crueler kin, but in truth, they have no right to interfere. A Sovereign dragon can only maintain their power and freedom by respecting the independence of other Sovereigns. If a dragon wishes to interfere in a Sovereign dragon's behavior, they must either overthrow or slay them. And, as few in number as dragons are, one does not set out to kill another lightly.
The dragons' independence does not diminish the value of their friendships; it merely spreads them out over greater distances. Long-time allies and friends may only see each other once every few decades, keeping in contact from a respectful distance with flyovers and friendly roars. In-person conversations are rare and, as such, can last for days. Young dragons and other subservient creatures may approach an older dragon without causing them to become defensive, but even those that manage to strike up a rapport with the powerful creature are unlikely to develop as strong a relationship with them as would another mature dragon.
On the topic of humans, every dragon has an opinion. Some regard them merely as food or dangerous irritants; others find them amusing and clever, if a bit short-sighted. But whatever else they may think, most dragons agree that humans are brilliant at crafting treasure. Long before humans existed, dragons still valued beautiful things, but their treasures were natural crystals, vistas, and starlight. When humans began to create art from metal and gems with their clever little hands, the aesthetic tastes of dragons were changed forever. Just as dragons have shaped the fates of men, men have shaped the nature of dragons.