Except they were not. Water, life, death. These were the three different types that were foretold to have existed, with a varying amount of sub-species upon them, being a combination of one another through various amounts of breeding and conception. Infact, it had led to multiple amounts of sub-species, such as dragons who could mold stone and earth to their liking, or fire breathers, or even those able to breath frost. Legend tells of one who could breath a form of violet lightning, to which people called it, the "Chaos Drakon".
Indeed, as time went on, the term Dragon went out of use, instead being replaced with Drakon, to refer to the fully grown and mature dragons, with Draklees for the younger dragons, and Draklings for newly born and child-like dragons. Life expectancy was assumed to be well within thousands of years of age. The earliest sighting was stated to have been when the first tribes were forming on the continent of Arshal, and since there were many of Drakons later in history, it can be well assumed that Dragons are a well lived species, especially given their quoted ability to communicate with other races, including humans, elves, and dwarves.
However, since there the only remains to have been found thus far is a petrified scale, and a few bones from the Sintaki Boneyards, just south of Eastcrest, the capital of the Empire of the West, this cannot truly be stated to the public knowledge, and so, at best, it is assumed that they are long-living creatures. Whether or not the data gathered is truly belonging to that of a dragon or not has yet to been decided, since no other detailed history can be found, outside of folktales, epics, and family stories made up to get children to bed.
However, as most majestic races go, it can be assumed that dragons went extinct as they were poached by the ever growing populations, ever developing technology of the fledgling Empire, then the Kingdom of Parshonia, as well as the Elven Tribes, Kal'jukai Remnants, and Gil'jin, a race of fish-like people.
Hunted for what? Their scales, if they had any, would be prized for armor, or jewelry. Fangs, claws, like any reptile, would likely be wanted for weaponry, elixirs, medicine, or even jewelry such as necklaces. Others may have attempted to extract the magical essence from within the creatures core, in order to aid themselves in improving their own magical prowess. Some may have even hunted them for the glory of saying they killed a dragon, and taking all of its carcass for themself to make a profit.
All-in-all, research on dragons has ceased due to a lack of data, lack of areas to travel due to a lack of bones, remains, and so on. However, this is just the case for the Academy of Mystical Creature Study in the Empire. Individuals still go outside of the Empire in order to fulfill their studies, but so far, none have had as much luck as the Academy has.
With this, it shall be said, that in the near future, we will be looking to investigating the claims of dragons, in hopes to find more remains, bones, scales or otherwise.
--Lord Lukas Alexander, Dean of the Academy of Mystical Creature Study.