As many are aware, the races of dragons have been around for longer than even the elves, and have among the longest lifespans of all known mortal creatures. But even the mighty dragons pale in comparison to the first race of dragons, known simply as The Elders. It is from this first race that all the modern races of mortal dragons trace their lineage.
Whereas the current races of dragons live for a thousand years or more, the Elders are nearly ageless, having lifespans spanning at least ten thousands years. They are able to further extend their lifespans by entering into a type of hybernation that can last centuries at a time, during which they cease to age. The Elders are also much larger and more powerful than their "modern" decendents, yet require little, if any, nurishment to sustain them.
They were created by the Greater Powers of the realm, gifted with immense magic, and sworn to watch over the younger races that emerged in the realm. They are nearly ageless, but not immortal, and have slowly died off over the eons. At present, there are only a handful of Elder dragons left in the world; at most one for each primary race of modern dragon.
The oldest and most powerful among the Elders is Granimyre. Unlike the other Elders, Granimyre does not age with the passing of the years, and does not have to hybernate. He was created to be the ultimate guardian of the realm, but such power came at a great cost. Upon creating Granimyre, the gods found that the cost was so great that no more than one such guardian could be created. As a result, the Elders that came after Granimyre could not be made nearly as powerful.
Aside from his unmatched power and age, Granimyre bears yet another unique distiction. Legends handed down over the ages state that Granimyre has a conection to the world unlike any other creature. The legends say his link to the realm is so strong that he can "feel" the land's pain when it is threatened or damaged, and that it is the realm itself that sustains his strength and ageless nature.
The legends further speculate that so long as Granimyre lives, the realm can never be fully destroyed. However, even the mighty dragon himself is not beyond the greater laws of balance. His strength is sustained by the realm, and thus ages as the realm ages. The legends say that when Granimyre eventually reaches the end of his lifespan (however long that may be), it will signal that the realm itself is also reaching its end. Whether the realm will simply die out, or be reborn and renewed, is not so certain.