The Djr Archipelago is a series of islands off the coast of the Greater Continent, and home to the Phoenix Tavern Flight. The population are descendants of the survivors of The Dragonlands. The flight consists of three to four hundred dragons, who keep a population of roughly fifty thousand humans as slaves. The islands also see a fair amount of tourism as well as emigration (both to and from).
The Djr Islands are ruled by a triumvirate of the King, the Dragon Archon, and the Human Archon. There is no law that says the king cannot also be the dragons' archon, but this is less common. In practice, the king has absolute power, but the other Archons can oppose him.
The Humans of Djr have their own government of sorts. Its chief duty is the organization of labor and dispensation of supplies. There are dragon overseers, but the day-to-day operations are handled by the humans. The law of Djr places three priorities: health, food, and happiness. If these priorities are met, surplus labor goes to benefit the dragons.
The dragons are in fact very concerned about the health and welfare, physically and mentally, of their slaves. A happy, comfortable slave does more work. As such, dragons trained in healing magic are always available to treat injuries, and human physicians treat illness. Food is plentiful and treated as a divine right; even those punished for crimes are well-fed. The dragons also strive to keep their slaves happy and active; the human council organizes games and activities.
While the gold mine is always worked, the workers may see their shifts reduced if there is a need for extra work on planting and harvesting, or some other project. The dragons are also strict when it comes to mine safety. The human council is equally strict with regards to worker safety.
Ultimately the human council has little power, but the dragons will always side with the council on a matter of safety.
Like all dragon flights, Phoenix Tavern has an elder system who names its Archon. See Flight Leadership for more information.
The Djr Islands are ruled by the Phoenix Tavern Flight, which numbers perhaps three or four hundred. Among the flight, a single dragon family holds lordship over the human population. The leading mated pair serve as king and queen, and see to the day-to-day administration of the island. This pair will appoint one of their offspring as prince or princess, who will then take a mate and succeed to the rule. It is not uncommon for the crown to change hands every century or so, despite dragons' longer lifespan. The continuous line of monarchs can be traced to to the kings and queens of one of the old city-states in The Dragonlands.
The monarchy consists of a king and queen and several crowned princes or princesses. There are no other royal titles. The royal family, in particular the king and queen, are allowed to take human concubines, though these are willing volunteers.
Every dragon is bound, at least once in his life, to make a pilgrimate to Djr and the Dragonlands, and to fly the honor guard formation over Lelerough's tomb. Not every flight ascribes to this, and flights at war with Phoenix Tavern or any of its allies are forbidden (excluding those also allied to allies: dragon flight relationships are complicated). Many off-world flights do not participate, but every non-fallen flight on the Greater Continent will be involved.
For most flights, a pilgrimage is arranged for each brood around the time they become reds. For these dragons, this is often when they have their first sexual experience, typically with a dragon from another visiting flight or a local. It is also often when dragons will have their first close encounters with humans, as Djr has a thriving human population.
Life on Djr
According to one native: "Our food is plentiful, and we feel safe and protected. Our dragon-kings are just and wise rulers. Their laws are fair, their punishments mild. Every day we celebrate life. If this is what it means to be a slave, then I hope to live every day as one."
Indeed, the island has seen surges of emigration, mostly from tourists who find life there much too pleasant to leave. An Alliance cultural researcher who visited the island in the Fourth Age had this to say:
"A typical local works about a ten-hour day, including two one-hour breaks. Some might have shorter work days with fewer breaks, others willingly work longer. The laborers (the miners and the builders) in particular tend to put in longer shifts, as they are rewarded for exceeded quota and completing projects ahead of schedule.
"Average daily intake is roughly four to five thousand calories, though it feels like ten thousand. The food is rich and extremely flavorful, and there is quite a lot of it. Indeed, I had more than a little difficulty keeping up with the locals. They eat five meals a day. In the morning, they begin with a light, typically cold meal. Fresh, seasoned vegetables and milk are the custom, though there are many strange and wondrous foods available. While I found this meal easily enough for a normal breakfast, my hosts insisted it was just to 'whet my appetite' for the coming day. Around mid-morning we had our first big meal: there is no tradition surrounding this one, but I was told fruits and grains were typical. This was two or three hours into the workday. Early afternoon meal came only a few hours later, while I was still stuffed from first and second breakfast. Curiously, we did not eat again until after sundown, hours after the workday had ended. The evening meal was very large, with several courses.
"For a people who love to eat so much, there are few private kitchens. Each town, each block almost, has a few large, communal kitchens in which a handful of people prepare all of the meals. Food is typically served buffet-style, with everyone taking as much as they wish. Cold foods are preferred as you can make fewer trips back to the serving stations, but they had a wide array of hot dishes as well.
"Most curiously is the impact this diet has on the locals' health. Or, rather, the lack thereof. I am told the average life expectancy is around eighty years - better than in most parts of the Alliance. And while I did see a number of overweight individuals, in general the population looked healthy. The laborers were often a lot heavier than the others, but this can be attributed to muscle-mass rather than over-eating. A work day usually begins shortly after dawn, and ends in the early afternoon, leaving the locals with several hours of daylight leisure time, which they like to spend on physical activities. Dancing, hiking, swimming, and a multitude of highly active sports. Everyone walks everywhere, there are no trains or cars or anything of the sort. Even goods are transported everywhere on hand-pulled carts.
"There didn't really seem to be any money to speak of, or at least not that I saw. The dragons dictated what needed to be done, and the economy revolved mostly around subsistence farming. Tourists and other visitors were required to pay a tribute to the dragons upon visiting the island to cover the expense of their stays (though, really, there was so much food available, I could have easily grown fat off discarded leftovers...). There was a barter-economy, consisting mainly of crafted items. As the basic necessities of food, shelter, and protection were provided, the humans were left to fill in any other desires as they pleased, with the only real trade being in leisure items. Toys, games, artwork, fine clothing.
"In all, my stay was quite interesting. The people were friendly, the dragons were... not terribly menacing, and the standard of living was excellent. The locals are allowed to leave if they wish, though having lived their life for a week, I'm not even sure I want to leave."
Because most of the human population lives communally, traditional family roles are indistinct. While bonded pairs are common, the nation has no formal recognition of marriage. Indeed, it is not uncommon for the father of a child to be known. In most cases, the child will have a biological mother, may or may not have a biological father, and if the mother has a significant other, will have a 'pa'. It is still not uncommon to see paired mothers and fathers, but any children are raised by the group.
The dragons promote the ideals of non-attachment among the humans as a means of calming the population. They feel (correctly or incorrectly) such a society will be more harmonious if jealousy is discouraged. In practice this does not always work. However, the dragons have also helped matters by providing an enchanted structure in which conception is impossible. Humans may enter, copulate, and leave without any issue. The dragons likewise take advantage of this state (which is most likely the real reason for the 'free love' attitude). The building is fittingly named 'The Temple of Contraception', and is part of the public baths.
The dragons allow for religious freedom among their followers, insofar as such belief systems do not interfere with the day-to-day goings on of life on Djr. Cardinal Clerics are not uncommon, though they are a distinct minority. Lelroughodaism is the most popular of accepted religious practices, and Djr is often considered the center to those faithful. The majority of humans, however, practice modern forms of dragon-worship, the tenets of which are integrated into their daily lives. Dragon worship is not considered a religion in most scholarly circles, and even the inhabitants of Djr do not openly regard it as such.
Marcus Ransom famously visited the island in his youth, in the company of his mother (Maria), during the Fourth Age. They came as regular tourists; but as the wife and son of the Pendragon were afforded certain privileges. Marcus entered into a disagreement with the dragon queen of the island, which soon turned into a heated argument. As punishment, the young Marcus was given a stern talking-to and politely asked to leave the island at the end of his visit, which was about the worst thing the dragon queen could tell anybody: life in the New Dragon Islands was considered so comfortable, nobody wanted to leave; and the worst punishment, both in Lelerough’s time and since, was exile. The people who saw them off, did not realize he was happy to go, and kept trying to console him.
- Lyarell a princess of the royal family, she is the product of a dragon half and the king.