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The first dragoon was a knight by the name of Haan, who visited Deist, the island home of the Wyverns. During his time on the island, he formed a bond with the wyverns over a thirty-year period, the first of what would eventually be many to do so. As time passed, the dragoons increased in number, but they became one of the earliest targets of the Palamecian Empire during the events of Final Fantasy II and were believed to have been completely wiped out along with the wyverns. The only people remaining in Deist when Firion's party arrives to recruit the dragoons' aid are the widow named Elina with an adoptive son of one of the fallen dragoons, and a single wyvern who entrusts Firion with its egg before passing away.
One dragoon, Ricard Highwind, is later discovered to have survived after all, having been swallowed by the Leviathan whilst attempting to acquire the tome of Ultima. Firion and his friends escape the Leviathan with Ricard, and he joins their quest to stop the Emperor.
After the Emperor's death, the wyvern egg eventually hatched and joined Ricard in Fynn, uniting the sole remaining dragoon with the last wyvern. Ricard and Firion's party rode the wyvern to infiltrate the Cyclone, During their attempt to assault Castle Palamecia, Ricard was slain within by the reborn Emperor, ending the life of the last dragoon.
Following the final defeat of the Emperor, Ricard's adoptive son decides to become a dragoon, following in his father's footsteps.
"Dragoon" is the traditional name for a special soldier type in classical European warfare. Unlike in Final Fantasy, the original dragoons did not fight with lances, that being the job of "lancers"—a different soldier class. Dragoons were infantry that rode on horseback, but fought on foot. Originally they fought with a musket called the "dragoon," giving them the name. The dragoons' arsenal expanded to include guns, sabres, and axes. During the Napoleonic Wars they became medium cavalry and reached the height of their popularity.
After the Napoleonic Wars, to make better use of the number of men the European military had, the dragoons were trained to use lances and lancers became obsolete. Thanks to the advances of modern warfare, dragoons lost their niche and modern dragoon units exist only for ceremonial purposes.
- Though this is the first appearance of Dragoons in the series, they do not possess the Jump ability that would become their signature in later games.
- The most treasured weapon of the dragoons of Deist, Excalibur, is a sword rather than a spear as Dragoons typically wield. It was not until Final Fantasy III was released that spears became the iconic weapons of Dragoons, as Ricard was trained only in swords in the original Famicom version.
- In the Dawn of Souls release of Final Fantasy II, Ricard's adoptive son shares his name with a dragoon from another game, Kain Highwind of Final Fantasy IV.