The Kingdom of Caledor is a thinly populated, mountainous realm. Its sparse population has ever belied its power, for it is here, beneath the blazing peaks of the Dragon Spine Mountains, that the Dragons dwell. Here, long ago, came Caledor Dragontamer. Mightiest of the ancient mages, he bound the fearsome Dragons to his will, using harnesses of enchanted truesteel smelted in the fiery heart of Vaul's Anvil. His descendants named their kingdom Caledor in his honour.[1a]
In the centuries that followed, great granite fortresses sprang up in the misty vales, and from them, Dragon Princes rode the thermals over sullen volcanoes. None could stand against them in battle, for the nobles of Caledor were fearsome mages as well as mighty warriors, borne upon Dragons that were terrible to behold. Though the Dragon Princes were few, the destruction they wrought was unmatched, and few dared court the wrath of Caledor. Eventually the mountains cooled, and the fury of the volcanoes ebbed.
As the peaks lost their fire, so did the Dragons lose theirs. One by one, they drifted into slumber, becoming ever more difficult to rouse. As the strength of the Dragons waned, so did the power of the Caledorian princes. Their grip on the Phoenix Throne slackened, and the old realm of Caledor was eclipsed by other kingdoms. Yet even in their weakened state, the Caledorians are still formidable, and their voices carry much weight at the Phoenix Court.[1a]
Caledorians are haughty even by the standards of other Elves. Indeed, 'Prince of Caledor' is a byword for arrogance amongst Elves of other lands. The banners of the Dragon Princes remain upright whilst all the others are dipped to acknowledge the rule of the Phoenix King prior to battle. When forced to remark upon it, Dragon Princes claim that this stems from the reign of Caledor the Conqueror, who granted them this as a sign of respect for their noble sacrifice. They say that it is not for them to countermand the word of Caledor. Such an act would be to offer far greater disrespect to the lineage of Phoenix Kings than ten thousand erect standards could ever achieve. Others point out that even before Caledor granted this boon, the Dragon Princes refused to lower their banners anyway.[1a]
The Kingdom of Caledor is the location of Vaul's Anvil, the fiercest of all Ulthuan's volcanoes. Upon this blazing black island at the very tail of the Dragon Spine sits the Shrine of Vaul, god of the forge. His temple rests in a great tower of black adamant rising out of the steaming lava within the volcano's crater. The temple can only be approached over a narrow drawbridge of truesteel. Within this shrine, the priests of Vaul forge weapons of power and devices of infinite cunning for use by the Elf lords. The priests of Vaul ritual blind themselves when they enter the Order of Vaul. The act of putting out their own eyes has greater significance than merely leaving the priests sightless. While they lose their earthly vision, they gain something far more. They are bestowed with the skill and shrewdness of their patron deity, and the understanding of the sorrow and suffering that Vaul has undergone to protect the Elves. This knowledge and wisdom enables them to harness the fickle Winds of Magic and use them to create weapons of incredible potency for the High Elves who fight to protect Ulthuan.[1a]