Dragon Fate is the sixth and final book of the Age of Fire series by E. E. Knight, released on November 30, 2011. It follows book 5: Dragon Rule.
Some time after the events of Dragon Rule, Wistala's first clutch - given to Aethleethia to raise as her own - has hatched, and she and DharSii are forced to scour the Sadda-Vale of trolls to ensure there is enough food for all. DharSii soon finds tracks which he recognises as beloning to a particularly crafty and dangerous troll, and he tells Wistala to watch from above as he continues on foot and tries to drawn him out. Wistala does so, but becomes concerned when she can no longer see him. Following his trail, Wistala finds DharSii being attacked by the troll, which they eventually manage to overpower and kill. As the two recuperate from the stress of the attack and discuss the nature of trolls, DharSii notices green scales amidst the body of the dead troll. Deciding to investigate, the two find their way to a troll cave, inside which they find Yekfoa; trapped and lying with a juvenile troll attempting to burrow into her body. After annihilating the troll, Wistala sees to Yekfoa's injuries - aided by Larb; a bat who followed Yekfoa - and sends DharSii to get aid. After he leaves, Yekfoa reveals that a new civil war has begun in the Dragon Empire, and Ayafeeia desires Wistala's aid.
DharSii soon arrives at Vesshall, where he encounters RuGaard, who, unknown to him, has been musing about the dragons who dwell at the Dragontower in Juutfod. As DharSii goes to get blighters to aid Yekfoa - whose existence he attempts to keep a secret - RuGaard requests that DharSii help him repair his wing brace - ruined from age - so that he can fly again. DharSii agrees to help, and after delivering aid to Wistala, arranges for a group of blighter blacksmiths to repair the brace. When a replacement is made, RuGaard formally announces to the few inhabitants of Vesshall that he plans to travel to the Dragontower and bring the inhabitants back with him. DharSii and Scabia are disdainful; noting that the dragons there are essentially the servants of men, but RuGaard decides to go anyway, and begins practising flying. Shortly after Wistala returns, Scabia gives RuGaard and Wistala a set of ancient headdresses used by the dragons of Silverhigh to amplify their mindspeech; thus allowing RuGaard to keep in contact with the Sadda-Vale. Scabia soon tells RuGaard she suspects he is really trying to rescue Nilrasha, and cautions him before he leaves that to do so would bring war upon them.
Meanwhile, AuRon secretly makes his way to Ghihar to meet with Natasatch; having learnt from an old servant in Dairuss that she is to attend a commemorative feast there celebrating the victory over the Ghioz. Sneaking into the Dragonhall where she is residing, AuRon finds Natasatch, who appears ill; she reveals that NiVom has instituted a custom where dragons are bled in return for gold. After some conversation, Natasatch reveals she suspects NiVom and Imfamnia are plotting something. Later, after he has been disguised to blend in with the other dragons attending, AuRon explores the surrounding area, and eventually finds a vantage point overlooking the feast. As NiVom and Imfamnia arrive, a group of hominids - which AuRon recognises from his experiences as humans attempting to pose as blighter warriors - disguised as thralls arrive and begin annihilating the dragons present - addled from poisoned wine - before NiVom can muster a defence. In the aftermath, AuRon goes to Natasatch, but is forced to hide when Imfamnia arrives to meet with her; revealing that Tyr SiHazathant is amongst the dead. After some discussion about AuRon - with Imfamnia suggesting Natasatch should take another mate - Imfamnia tells that NiVom is arranging for the bodies of the seventeen dead dragons to be taken away by barge; possibly to the Star Tunnel for some scientific use.
At the Sadda-Vale, Wistala and DharSii argue about whether or not to respond to Ayafeeia's summons; ultimately, Wistala decides to go, and DharSii decides to do some investigating into the history of the Lavadome - noting that he fears that the Dragon Empire is secretly being manipulated; perhaps in an attempt to replicate Anklamere's plans. Wistala then meets with Yefkoa and they discuss the route they will take; deciding to enter the Dragon Empire at Wallander. The two set off together, travelling over the lands of the Ironriders, which Wistala notes are strangely desolate; Yefkoa reveals the majority of the Ironriders were enslaved after a number of wars against the Grand Alliance. Yefkoa also tells Wistala that there is a larger demand for thralls, as NiVom is ordering massive expansion projects in the Lower World, and reveals that the Drakwatch and Firemaids are withering away as young dragons either join the Aerial Host or a Protectorate.
Upon arrival in Wallander - which Wistala sees is full of slavers - Yefkoa negotiates their entry into the Dragon Empire with OuThroth; the page of Protector NoSohoth. who eventually informs them of the attack at Ghioz, and reveals that Ayafeeia was amongst the dead. Afterwards, Wistala and Yefkoa go to rest, but Wistala sneaks away when Yefkoa falls asleep and kills a group of dwarf slavers; freeing their victims. The next day, she informs Yefkoa of her actions, and OuThroth later arrives to ask them about the loss of the slaves; they tell him the dwarves were attempting to cheat him with sickly thralls, so they ate them. Following this, they make their way for Dairuss.
At the same time, RuGaard arrives at the Dragontower, and meets with Gettel; the mistress of the tower. RuGaard truthfully reveals he has come out of loneliness, and Gettel ultimately decides to form a partnership with him, as she has heard of his reputation, and then shows RuGaard - who adopts the name "Brighteye" - around the Dragontower. While exploring the foundations, RuGaard finds a large group of rats, who he manages to win over with the offer of frequent food; getting them to spy on the dragons and humans of the Dragontower.
Some time later - after accompanying a dragon delivering messages and learning of the situation around Juutfod - the rats tell RuGaard about a group of dragons dwelling in caves beneath the tower, and he quickly learns from the inhabitants of the tower that the dragons who live in the caves do so because they are unable to fly due to their injuries. RuGaard goes to investigate, and finds Shadowcatch amongst them, who he gets to introduce him to the other dragons, before revealing that he has come in the hopes of finding a way to rescue Nilrasha. RuGaard then asks Shadowcatch how he ended up at the Dragontower, and learns that he remained on the Isle of Ice to get the better of Ouistrela - with the aid of AuRon's wolves - until they ended up mating by accident in the middle of a battle. After she clutched, Ouistrela requested that Shadowcatch leave the island so that their hatchlings would have enough food, and he complied; swimming to the Dragontower.
As time goes on, RuGaard spends more time with the grounded dragons - who he notes work together instead of fighting for dominance - and begins teaching them tricks to use fighting underground. One day, Gettel informs RuGaard that they have been hired to do battle with a group of dwarves who have been raiding the barbarian chieftains. Although he suspects this might really be a cover for an assassination, RuGaard and a force from the Dragontower make their way to the Red Mountains; going underground into an old tunnel network, which RuGaard, Shadowcatch and one of the grounded dragons begin searching. Upon entering one cavern, a trap is activated that threatens to seal them in the chamber with countless dwarves; RuGaard manages to halt it long enough for the others to escape, but ends up trapped himself.
Elsewhere, AuRon follows the barges with the dead dragons on them to Old Uldam, in the hopes of finding out where they are being shifted, and why. After some travel, AuRon reaches NooMoahk's cave, where he finds Istach; who reveals that she has been replaced as Protector by another dragon, FuPozat, who AuRon learns is ill-suited for the position, which leads him to suspect that NiVom has intentionally sent him there to spark a war with the neighbouring Princedoms of the Sunstruck Sea. Later, after gazing into one of the remaining crystals in the library - through which AuRon can see a human and the Lavadome - AuRon goes to explore an old Ghioz mine that he suspects may be being used to hide the bodies. As he nears it, he is confronted by a Copper dragon; FuPozat, who accuses him of trying to steal his position - having heard of his return from the blighters who recognised him. FuPozat attacks him, but is inexperienced in battle, and ends up injuring himself with his own flame. AuRon goes to get Istach to treat him, and finds himself thinking of RuGaard with less negativity, after comparing his faults with FuPozat's. Following this, AuRon finds his way to the mine, and descends into it after finding evidence the bodies were brought into it.
Meanwhile, Wistala arrives at the Lavadome, which she finds drastically changed; the remaining dragon inhabitants are subdued and exhausted from being bled and the demen - significantly altered in body structure due to drinking dragonblood - have largely replaced the Firemaids and are in charge of the thralls excavating the Lower World. After attending the funeral procession for SiHazathant and meeting with the Firemaids, Wistala learns that the majority of the dead dragons - all of whom were members of factions that secretly opposed NiVom and Imfamni - have been laid in state in the Star Tunnel, which has been made off-limits to all but the demen, NiVom, Imfamnia and Rayg. Wistala then travels to Imperial Rock to talk with Rayg, who decides to help her out of thanks for the actions she took in his youth that resulted in him escaping the barbarians. Rayg - whose attitude reminds her of the Red Queen - gives her access to the Star Tunnel. Exploring the tunnel, Wistala finds a pit that contains a large number of trolls - some of which are winged - which are being fed on dragonblood and the rotting corpses of the dead dragons; the latter of which Wistala can see are being used to house the juvenile trolls. Shocked, Wistala inadvertantly signals the trolls to her location, and is attacked by a large number of them. Wistala attempts to flee, but ends up collapsing to the ground; however, AuRon arrives in the Star Tunnel, and is able to guide her away from the trolls into a tunnel. Having escaped danger, they rest, and Wistala falls unconcious; dreaming that she has clutched eight hatchlings with DharSii.
Beneath the Red Mountains, RuGaard is held prisoner by the dwarves, who he learns were once of the Wheel of Fire, but are now members of the "Deep Alliance; made up of those who have fled Hypatia and the Dragon Empire. RuGaard manages to convince them to spare him by offering to organise a truce with his forces, before suggesting they work together at Juutfod. The dwarves agree, and after contact is made with Shadowcatch, their combined forces head for the Dragontower - although the head dwarf; Seeg, is raided in the night of his jewellery; which includes a large crystal, and RuGaard loses the ancient headdress.
Elsewhere, AuRon and Wistala head east to the states of the Sunstruck Sea, in search of Nissa - the daughter of the now-deceased Naf - who ended up there years ago due to the workings of the Red Queen. During their journey, the two discuss trolls, and their legendary origins; Wistala recounting a dwarf legend that states they arrived on "a piece of stone that fell from the sky", and AuRon remembering a blighter claiming that Anklamere "called them down from the sky". Eventually, they manage to find the city where Nissa - now called the "Hidden Widow" - lives, and they meet with her to warn her that the Dragon Empire is planning to invade. Nissa notes she has little authority now that Ghioz has fallen, but invites them to dine with her.
As they eat, Nissa tells them that she doesn't believe the Red Queen is dead; revealing that the Red Queen told her that she had once been an enchantress of the Ironriders who gradually came to power before being slain by the Ghioz, only to be reborn within Ghioz where she repeated her rise to power. Nissa then reveals that the Red Queen was controlling her body from her youth - in what was likely an attempt to gain control over the princedoms of the Sunstruck Sea - but she was freed when Ghioz was defeated by the dragons. AuRon notes that he destroyed a tree in Ghioz that appeared to be forming new bodies for the Red Queen, and they change the subject to discuss the threat of invasion by the Dragon Empire, which they learn has been invading the south. Ultimately, AuRon and Wistala decide to buy the princedoms some time by fooling the Aerial Host into thinking they have dragon allies, and they head south to attack their supplies, before retreating to a safe point where they talk about finding reinforcements; Wistala noting that RuGaard is up to something at the Dragontower - having learnt this through the ancient headdress given to her by Scabia.
Meanwhile, at the Sadda-Vale, Scabia - musing about the Dragon Empire and the growth of her own [[Vesshall] - encounters Larb while returning from a swim. Shortly after Scabia gives consent for him to feed on her, Larb shouts a warning, and three strange feathered creatures descend from the sky and attack. Scabia manages to kill two of them, but has her throat slashed in the process. However, she is rescued by a returning DharSii, who kills the last creature before stitching her throat up with Larb's aid. When she next wakes, Scabia learns that the strange creatures were griffaran; specially bred by Rayg with dragonblood to make a better bodyguard. Much later, Scabia meets with NaStirath - who has been flying guard duty - and tells him that he will become the next lord of Vesshall if she dies, and that he will need to now rise to face the threat of the Dragon Empire. Despite his initial protests, NaStirath soon begins training the blighters to defend against future griffaran assaults, and has a signal tower built for added security. In time, AuRon and Wistala arrive at the Sadda-Vale; having intending to warn them that the Sadda-Vale may be in danger after the two of them attacked the Aerial Host. After a meal, Wistala reveals they plan to seek out RuGaard - although she is concerned that she can no longer sense him through the headdress - and DharSii decides to accompany them to help him in his goal. The three dragons set out for Juutfod, and along the way AuRon reveals to Wistala that he has a feeling he is on "his last corporeal journey".
The three dragons soon arrive at the Dragontower, where they find RuGaard amongst the inhabitants. After some discussion about the recent events, Wistala begins to wonder if they can recruit others to join them against the Dragon Empire, and Gettel reveals the northern barbarians are likely choices. AuRon suggests that they try directing their attack against NiVom and Imfamnia, noting that the collapse of the Dragon Empire could result in an end for dragonkind; especially if the Hypatians attempt to overthrow the dragons as happened with ancient Silverhigh. As they note the armies of the Grand Alliance could be defeated if the dragon forces weren't involved, a scout reports dragons approaching; members of the Light Wing of the Aerial Host, with AuRon's daughter Varatheela amongst them - having joined it to leave the Firemaids after she was stuck guarding an underground pass for two years and left unable to find a mate. When the Light wing arrives at the Dragontower, CuSarrath; the Wing Commander, meets with DharSii, and demands that they turn over RuGaard for violating the terms of his exile. DharSii refuses, and points out that Juutfod isn't properly part of Hypatia; hence RuGaard hasn't re-entered the Dragon Empire. CuSarrath gives him three days to change his mind before they'll attack, and then leads his forces away.
The next day, as the dragons at Juutfod discuss their enemy's numbers, RuGaard decides to request a parley and go with the Aerial Host to the Lavadome in the hopes of reuniting with Nilrasha after proving to NiVom that he poses no threat - or at least securing her freedom with his death - but simultaneously make a show of force at the Dragontower to dissuage NiVom from attacking. AuRon, Wistala and DharSii accompany him south to meet with CuSarrath and the Light Wing, where he makes a speech about the wrongs done to him and Nilrasha by NiVom and Imfamnia, and asks for others to join him; telling the dragons of the trolls being bred in the Star Tunnel, which he believes NiVom may be planning to use against the Lavadome at some future date. In the end, several - including Varatheela - defect to his side.
A messenger delivers this news to NiVom in Ghioz, and he begins giving orders for the entire Aerial Host to head for Hypatia before heading for the Lavadome, where he briefly meets with Rayg - working with crystals to turn the Lavadome into an invincible fortress - to discuss a way to defeat RuGaard and the defectors with minimal effort. Rayg notes that RuGaard doesn't strike him as the ambitious type, and states he would probably leave if given Nilrasha, but NiVom doesn't believe this and leaves; musing about his plans for the Lower World as he does - by building a vast network of tunnels, dragons will be able to move underground in secret from one province to another, which will allow them to rule both the Upper World and the Lower World. Following this, NiVom goes to meet with his mate - who he muses about; noting she became more sensible in the past after being gifted a crystal from the Red Queen - and tells her of his orders, before they leave to eat. During dinner, NiVom suddenly becomes ill, and Imfamnia tells him that she poisoned his meal - with the same poison used to incapacitate the dragons during the attack at Ghioz - as he dies, as he has "outlived his usefulness".
Meanwhile, in Dairuss, AuSurath and part of the Heavy Wing wait for new orders from NiVom, and soon receive word that they are to fly to the Iwensi Gap and prepare for an assault on northern Hypatia. However, as they arrive, new orders tell them to wait at their present location. Not long afterwards, the Grand Commander of the Aerial Host; BaMelphistran, arrives at their camp, and informs AuSurath that his sister has joined the rebels. AuSurath assures him that his loyalties lie with the Dragon Empire, and BaMelphistran begins giving orders to shift the Heavy Wing, while questioning the logic of the recent orders sent by NiVom. That night, the Heavy Wing's camp is attacked by the trolls from the Star Tunnel; who kill the majority of the dragons and their riders. AuSurath escapes with the aid of his rider Gundar; who dies in the process, and flies for two days straight to find RuGaard and his forces; eventually finding them at the Green Dragon Inn. Before falling unconcious from exhaustion, AuSurath announces that they have been betrayed by NiVom, who he states doesn't "need dragons anymore".
At Mossbell, the dragons discuss AuSurath's news, and conclude that NiVom and Imfamnia have gone mad - DharSii even wonders if the crystal Lavadome is in some way linked to this; noting that every Tyr went strange towards the end of their reign. As RuGaard concludes that dragonkind is specifically being targeted for extermination, AuRon suggests they split up and keep the forces of the Dragon Empire occupied in both the Upper World and Lower World. AuRon leaves to bring Natasatch to safety, and RuGaard orders the inhabitants of the Dragontower back to Juutfod before continuing south to Hypat, which they find under attack. Before they can act, they are surrounded by demen and are overwhelmed; RuGaard being captured in the process. The remaining dragons flee to Mossbell - save for DharSii, who heads north to seek aid - where Wistala realises that the demen caught up with them by using a tunnel that led to the old troll cave. As she begins to lose hope, she hears voices beside the river, and witnesses a number of elves form from tree trunks. They reveal that they are descendants of Rainfall - and simultaneously a reincarnation of him - and that they were awakened by a wave of magic, before leaving to attack the approaching demen. In the north, DharSii manages to find barbarians and dwarves ready to fight, and one of the grounded dragons suggests that the dragons help them get there faster by swimming there and towing their forces behind them. In time, both DharSii's forces and the elves found by Wistala reach Hypat, and do battle with the demen. Following this, the dragons make their way for the Lavadome; doing battle with the specially bred trolls and griffaran on its outskirts.
At the same time, AuRon arrives in Dairuss and finds Natasatch, but realises too late that he has walked into a trap and becomes ensnared by Imfamnia, who begins moving him and Natasatch back to the Lavadome. When they reach Imperial Rock, AuRon is thrown into one of the duelling pits with RuGaard. Rayg enters with a lobotomised and crippled dragon, SuSunuth, and reveals that he plans to reduce dragonkind to this state; keeping them alive simply so that their blood can still be used. Imfamnia then reveals that she is in fact the Red Queen; having had control over Imfamnia's body prior to the fall of Ghioz. The two then bring in Nilrasha, and force AuRon and RuGaard to fight one another; telling them that the loser's mate will be killed. Despite this, AuRon and RuGaard only pretend to fight, and secretly work together to try and attack Rayg and Imfamnia. However, their attempt fails, and trolls are sent into the arena with them; one of which attacks RuGaard and seemingly breaks his neck. Nilrasha promptly leaps into the arena and annihilates the troll, and Rayg allows her to leave; revealing he had no intention of killing her or Natasatch, and allows her to leave with his body - despite Imfamnia's protests - out of thanks for the kindness RuGaard showed him when he was Tyr. As Nilrasha carries RuGaard's body away, AuRon is sure he sees his brother wink at him. Following this, AuRon and Natasatch are taken to Rayg's tower atop Imperial Rock, where Rayg prepares to operate on them and reduce them to SuSunuth's state. Becoming aware of the battle taking place outside the Lavadome, Rayg activates the assembled crystals and uses them to raise the Lavadome into the air. Outside, DharSii and Wistala watch the Lavadome emerge from the ground. As Wistala prepares to go inside to find AuRon, DharSii reveals his belief that the Lavadome was some form of "vessel for travelling across time and space", and that Anklamere was a part of it.
In the Lavadome, AuRon sows discord between Rayg and Imfamnia by pointing out that they both have little need for each other anymore, and then tricks Imfamnia into thinking Rayg is planning to kill her. The two end up fighting one another, and in the chaos manage to severely damage the structure of Rayg's tower, before Imfamnia attacks Rayg with one of the crystal components and causes the Lavadome to lose altitude. As the tower begins to collapse, Imfamnia and Rayg become attacked by the bats of the Lavadome; seeking revenge for RuGaard - and the loss of the darkness of the tunnels. Imfamnia and Rayg attempt to fly away, but the bats sever her wing tendons and cause them both to fall from Imperial Rock as the Lavadome settles back to earth, though not as deeply; illuminating the interior vastly.
Over the next few years, a new alliance is formed between hominids and dragons - the Chartered Trust - and the Lavadome and the Sadda-Vale are repopulated by dragons. RuGaard and Nilrasha are never seen again, but their bodies are not found, and a group of blighters later claim to have helped them escape the Lavadome and escape to a cave by the sea where they started a family. AuRon and his surviving family end up relocating to Old Uldam - whose blighters have expanded into the old Ironrider lands - where they begin forming alliances with the princedoms of the Sunstruck Sea, and Wistala and DharSii settle into Nilrasha's old cave. Following a discussion about the power of the Lavadome - and whether Rayg and Imfamnia ended up accidentally sent back in time by it during the collapse - and whether dragons can properly recover with their numbers so low, Wistala reveals to DharSii that she is pregnant.