The asuran researcher, Professor Gorr, once attributed recent drops in ambient magic to the elder dragons, believing them to devour and destroy it; though we now know this to not be wholly true. Records recovered from the previous rise of the elder dragons do in fact say the dragons consume magical energy, but once all magic on Tyria has been consumed, they return to their slumber and the magic slowly seeps back into the world. Until the dragons sleep, the more magic they consume, the stronger they become.
In an attempt to save what little magic was left, the seers, a race from the last cycle created the original bloodstone. Regrettably, the seers were killed off in a war against the mursaat and none were left to release magic once the elder dragons slept. It wasn’t until the human gods came to Tyria and discovered the bloodstone that its magic was released; though man warred with it and their gods split the stone into five, diminishing its power.
Even with this knowledge, it was still unknown at the time what the death of an elder dragon would do to the world. The awakening and movements of one alone can reshape the world. The Pact’s offensive into Orr eventually lead to the demise of Zhaitan and all the magic it had consumed flooded out, most of it returning to the ley-line network. Unbeknownst to anyone, the devious Scarlet Briar had been studying ley-lines for some time and diverted the excess magic to jump-start Mordremoth’s awakening.
To the untrained eye, the Pact’s push in the Maguuma Jungle to defeat Mordremoth seemed much the same to Zhaitan’s, the only difference was the risen were replaced with mordrem. But upon closer inspection, it was clear things were too similar. Each elder dragon has their own minions and their own way to create them; Primordus forms destroyers from lava, being near Kralkatorrik or the Brand can turn the living into branded, Jormag entices individuals with power, Zhaitan rose the dead and Mordremoth grew the sylvari.
If each dragon has a single way to corrupt/create its minions, why was Mordremoth also able to corrupt the dead? Before more recent elder dragons’ activities, it was purely speculative, but it had been suspected Mordremoth had somehow obtain some of Zhaitan’s unique magic. Leaked information about Primordus’ activity lead ANKR inquisitors to Ember Bay, where observation confirmed destroyers there displaying features and abilities of both risen and mordrem. Another report tells of the former Pact Commander slaying an icebrood of similar characteristics.
As unsettling as this information may be, the data is there, the more elder dragons slain, the more powerful the remaining dragons with become. Though it begs to question, why don’t all the dragons already have similar powers to one another; they all consume the same ambient magi the other elder dragons seep out while hibernating. The current hypothesis is that while the elder dragons rest, the magic that leaves their bodies is naturally devoid of corruption. In both instances of an elder dragon’s death, all the magic it contained was released at once, with no way to filter out the corruption. This corrupt magic traveled along the ley-lines, which other elder dragons feed from, giving them at least some of powerful influences of the deceased.
We have disrupted a natural cycle that has gone on longer than any recorded history, for better or for worse. The people of Tyria are now trapped between two choices, neither of which pleasant. For one, Tyrians can do something similar to the bloodstone and save what magic they can before going into hiding, enabling the cycle to continue naturally, hopefully allowing balance to return. The other route leads down our current path, attempting to slay every elder dragon, even if successful, all their corrupted magic will spread across the world and there’s no telling what those ramifications are.