Dragons

From The Course Books

Jump to: navigation, search

Dragons are powerful Mystical Creatures in the Course Books storyworld.

Contents

Dragon Names

Dragon formal introductions are done like so:

[Dragon Name], of the [flight name], out of [Mother's Name], by [Father's Name].

Example:

Hunter Jusenkyou, of the High Mountain Flight, out of Sahar, by Hygelic.

Dragon flight names always end with 'Flight'. Example: Ozork Flight, High Mountain Flight, Warsong Flight, Lowland Hills Flight, etc, etc, et agnosiam.

Physical Types

Dragons can be classified by how they fly, and they fly one of three ways:

Black Earth Dragon

Dragons of this type have extremly large lungs and many tiny air bladders within their bodies. They swallow fire to heat the air bladders, thus producing lift much like a hot air balloon's. Small wings are used for steering and propulsion. Black Earth Dragons excel at distance travel and need very little energy to fly far.

Blue Air Dragon

Blue Air Dragons use magic to fly. They will typically have no wings at all or very small wings. Conversly, they might have very large but completely decorative wings that serve no actual function. These dragons are typically the rarest, but most powerful. They are often highly manuverable.

Red Fire Dragon

A Red Fire Dragon flies much like an aircraft, using lifting surfaces and flapping wings for thrust. Red Fires are the most common and typically fill the roles of hunters and warriors. Red Fire Dragons are also the only type subjected to scientific study. According to Rinoin scientists, Red Fires can fly at speeds of up to 400 m.p.h. and can break the sound barrier in a dive.

The scientific name for Red Fire Dragon is Draco Volan Draconoides.

Physical Capabilities

Dragons are very strong, capable of lifting nearly twice their own weight. For brief periods, and depending on available traction, a dragon can exert a force up to three times it's own weight. They are also nearly indestructible, being known to fall from great heights without injury, and to survive rockslides and cave-ins.

Speed and Altitude

Dragons are also very fast. An adult red fire dragon can "cruise" at speeds of roughly three hundred miles per hour, and reach speeds of four hundred for short durations. In a dive, a dragon can break the sound barrier. Some experiments attached G-meters and accelerometers to red fire dragons, which reached nearly Mach 2 in rarified upper atmosphere, and broke the meters at five hundred Gs.

There is no known altitude limit for a dragon's flight. Red fire dragons have been been seen to reach one hundred fifteen thousand feet, the main limit being being their ability to produce lift in the rarified air. They breathe oxygen and cannot stay at high altitudes for long. A dragon achieves the best combination of flight-efficiency and speed at altitudes between fifteen and twenty-thousand feet.

Black earth dragons have a much higher altitude ceiling, clearing one hundred forty thousand feet with little effort. However, they cannot dive like fire dragons, and can only reach those altitudes by inflating their sizable lungs with heated hydrogen. A black earth dragon at altitude is effectively holding its breath, which they can do for a considerable interval, but its generally not considered a normal altitude. Typically, Black Earth Dragons remain at around forty thousand feet, though when traveling with others they will hang around the same altitude.

No studies have been done on Blue Air Dragons, however anecdotal evidence suggests they should be able to "fly" through space, with speed and distance ultimately limited by their magical abilities (a Blue Air dragon can, in theory, magically transform the carbon dioxide in his blood back into oxygen). A Blue Air Dragon's top speed without magical assistance should be roughly comparable to a Red Fire Dragon, but it becomes questionable at which point its speed is "magically assisted", since these dragons fly by magic.

Ground Speed

Dragon walking speeds are difficult to quantify. An adult dragon typically moves quite slowly on the ground, but this is due mainly to the energy requirements and the rather destructive nature of dragon ground movement. Flying is more efficient than walking, and given a full-grown dragon's great size, they would dig massive pits with each step if careful consideration is not paid to footing. Rather surprisingly, a dragon can, with effort, walk very softly.

Running speed is dependent on how exactly one defines 'running'; or, where they draw the line between 'running' and 'flying with your feet touching the ground'. Using its wings for lift and tail for stability, running on its hind legs, and adult red fire dragon can reach forty-five miles per hour. This assumes good terrain, open, with hard-packed earth for support. Running on all fours they are restricted to closer to thirty M.P.H.. Black Earth Dragons have refused to run for analysts, several of whom were eaten for asking.

Unsurprisingly, the juveniles are considerately faster than their adult counterparts. Possessing the same great muscle content, but not being quite as limited by sheer physics, a juvenile fire dragon can reach speeds of over eighty M.P.H. in the open - faster than a cheetah - and can sustain high speeds for a considerable time. Their fastest speed can only be reached for brief intervals, but the same dragon could do thirty-forty M.P.H. got hours at a time. In fact, in the rare cases where juvenile dragons have been left alone (in such cases as they are not old enough to fly) this is how they hunt: by running down their prey until said prey collapses from exhaustion.

Size Descriptors

Dragons also use colors to denote levels of maturity. This is sometimes confused with age; but is thus a misnomer as the lengths of developmental periods vary widely from dragon to dragon. For example, "dragon puberty" can last anywhere from 30 to 200 years. It especially difficult to ascribe ages as dragons are, for all intents and purposes, immortal. They do not die of "old age", and also never stop growing. Further, the sizes are not tied to mental age, at which dragons develop considerably faster. A dragon may be considered "mature" as young as sixteen.

Green

A Green dragon is a hatchling, not yet ready to leave the safety of the rookery. This stage generally lasts a year or two, and requires that the hatchling at least gain the physical size and resistances to survive within the eerie proper.

Pink or Blue

This is the only developmental stage at which gender-differences are specified ('pink' for girls and 'blue' for boys). A pink or blue dragon has reached an appropriate size, developed strong enough lungs, and grown a thick enough hide to move safely around outside the rookery. However, they will still spend most of their time either in the rookery or in the main horde chamber. This stage lasts for 2 to 4 years.

Red

A Red dragon is a juvenile, also often referred to as "dragon puberty". Juveniles have not yet reached full physical maturity, but would appear to an outside to be "surely a dragon". However, when compared to the mature forms, juveniles appear gangly, misshapen, with often disproportionate features.

Juveniles will not be allowed outside the eerie until they have learned to fly; however they will have free run of the entire eerie.

Black

Black is the first stage of physical maturity. A black dragon is a fully-developed adult. Most active dragons within a flight will be black dragons. This stage can last until death.

Gold

A Gold dragon is the lowest stage of advanced age, or an elder dragon. Golds are massive, sometimes reaching lengths of 100 feet from wing-tip to wing-tip. Gold dragons are typically at least 500 years old.

King and Emperor

The last two stages, King and Emperor, are usually reserved for the flight's honored elders (one dragon may be called a King Dragon while another of similar size and age who is not a leader of the flight may not). These do not denote levels of leadership, however; all of the elders of a flight, of necessary size and age, are referred to as King or Emperor (A King Dragon within a flight might have a higher rank than an Emperor).

Dragon Age

Dragons tend not to measure their ages in years or months. Very young dragons might have seasons ascribed to them, but typically dragons don't really keep track of their age, one maturity has set in. Even the life-cycle color descriptors do not define specific ages. The juvenile, or "red", stage can last for centuries, and dragons do not wait all that time to grow up.

In general, dragon maturity is defined by three factors: Mental acuity and demonstrated access to the genetic memory, the ability to fly and hunt effectively, and the ability to shape-shift. Mental and emotional maturity are also a factor. Dragons have no set age of majority: a big part of growing up is simply being recognized by the flight as an adult.

Shape-shifting often comes first, with dragons being able to take on other forms at around the age of 11. When exactly this happens is not generally recognized as, while important, it is not considered a huge marker.

Flying is always the first milestone. Dragons will begin gliding and testing their skills in the eerie, but when they have mastered the ability, they may first venture outside to hunt. Mastering the hunt means they have mastered flight.

Demonstrated access to the genetic memory is the final cornerstone, and takes time. Flight alone does involve some access, but full access requires practice and some training.

Life Span

"A dragon lives forever", and a dragon never stops growing. A dragon's life-span is ultimately limited by how long it maintains the caloric intake required for activity. Most dragons do not survive long enough to reach Gold status, but die in accidents or in battles with rival flights. There are also diseases and conditions within the dragon community. A typical dragon life-span is around 500 to 700 years, though dragons living over 1000 and even into their 2000s is not uncommon.

Older dragons rely more heavily on magic as a replacement for food, allowing a modest level of activity. King and Emperor dragons are usually unable to hunt due to their massive size, and must be fed by the flight, or draw magic to survive. The leading cause of natural death among dragons is not being able to draw enough magic.

Often, elder dragons will find and out-of-the-way corner of the eerie to sleep in, where they draw power from the rocks to stay alive. They can hibernate like this for hundreds or even thousands of years, slowly building up stores of energy. They can, for hours or days, return to the flight with renewed energy, and then return to sleep again.

An old, established flight such as High Mountain or Warsong might have dozens or hundreds of King and Emperor dragons sleeping in its halls.

Dragon Fossilization

Most dragon eeries are built at or below the water table, or contain hot springs. Additionally, dragons typically make their homes over volcanic hotspots, which make their interiors humid and damp.

For dragons in hibernation, partial fossilization of their hides becomes a real problem. Fossilized skin can usually be shed, but the fossilization will sometimes penetrate into the muscles and even reach bone, causing discomfort and reduced mobility.

Rookery

Every dragon eerie includes a rookery or hatchery where the eggs incubate. The hatchlings also live there for one to two years after birth. The rookery is the most highly-guarded cave in the entire eerie, and is usually a small chamber off the main horde. The cave is characterized by a hot spring and the presence of Luminous Drgonola, a bio-luminescent plant found only in dragon rookeries. The plant provides a soft, warm nest for the eggs (which must periodically be turned) to rest on, and is also the primary diet of the newly-hatched baby dragons. Later they will be fed scraps of meat by the elders to help them grow and mature faster, but the Luminous Dragonola is always available for snacking.

Belief System and Laws

The Broodmother

The dragons worship the One King, through a creator they call The Broodmother. According to Tradition, the Broodmother is the ancestress and moral authority of all dragons. Her wisdom was handed down to dragonkind through the Dracosages. The dragon creation story holds that the One King created the Broodmother, and then gave her twelve eggs, from which she hatched eleven sons. She then created mates for her sons by gathering elemental forces (earth, air, and fire).

Because all dragons descend from the Broodmother, whom they hold to be inherently good and sinless, dragons must choose for themselves whether to follow the wisdom of the sages and the path of the One King, or to go their own directions down the path of darkness. A dragon who chooses the latter is called a fallen dragon, and while great power comes with this fall, so to does eternal damnation. To escape the underworld, a fallen dragon must become a rising dragon, and must serve out penance by assisting lesser beings.

Fallen Dragon

Fallen dragons are cursed beings: when they attempt to reproduce, their offspring are born feral. Once a dragon has become "fallen", they cannot rise again within their own lifetime. In order to rise again, a fallen dragon must die. For this reason, many flights will actively seek out and execute fallen members,rather than let them continue down the dark path. In some cases, however, entire flights are fallen. These flights are usually very short-lived, as they cannot produce a new generation.

There are many accounts of fallen dragons living out their lives in solitude, in some cases even trying to atone for their misdeeds in life. Other dragons call this 'ascension training' as the dragon is essentially practicing for its time as a rising dragon. Others simply look for a spot to wait out their lives, trying to avoid temptation.

Rising Dragon

In order to rise again, a dragon must die, and spend time as a sort of spirit or shade, in which form they form a bond with one of the life forms they can change into and help them to achieve a great victory. This process may have to be repeated numerous times. The mortal being is said to "carry" the rising dragon. Hunter Jusenkyou carried several on his skin as two-dimensional figures, which supplied him with magical strength; but this is not unique to him alone.

Law

The dragons belief system is heavily around a series of events from pre-history called The Dragon Cycles|The Dragon Cycles. It was during this time, and throughout the Age of Myth, that the Dracosages laid down dragon belief and law.

While the dragons have no universal governing body, there are a few universal laws that all flights obey.

Chief among these are the War Rule and the Ally Rule. These concepts govern how flights interact and how conflicts are resolved. Though not governed under a recognized 'rule' there is also third-party arbitration (something that dates back to the rules of Antiquity). When two flights are in conflict and have not yet gone to war, they will frequently seek the aid of a neutral third-party in mediating the dispute.

The War Rule

The War Rule determines when two flights can and cannot go to war. Though there are numerous conditions (and some flights honor or ignore different aspects of doctrine), the basic rule is this: when two flights go to war, the war ends only when one flight has been completely annihilated.

Caveats and conditions apply, such as one flight can 'annihilate' the other simply by absorbing it. Flights may also exist in a state of war without open conflict, if the issue that initially drove them to war (typically land disputes, arguments over gold, etc.) is no longer important, or one flight has made restitution to the other.

Typically, flights will avoid war at all cost. However, two flights are considered 'at war' when a member of one flight has killed a member of the other.

While flights are at war, no member of either flight may form a mating pair with a member of the opposing flight.

The Ally Rule

Much like in war, once a flight has become allied with another flight, they cannot break the allegiance until one flight ceases to exist. Usually, in the case of allies, the allied-flight has right of ownership over the deceased flight's gold.

Alliances can form for many reasons, though it is usually mutual defense or the destruction of a mutual enemy. Any intermarriages between two flights are also said to make them allies, though allegiances of this type are sometimes not openly admitted.

Allied flights must support each other in conflicts, either morally or through direct military support. Often simply the threat of bringing down the wrath of many allies is enough to keep two un-allied flights from going to war.

Use of Slavery

Dragons begun to take on human slaves during the Age of Darkness and have held them ever since. Dragons are not, however, known as particularly cruel task-masters; human slaves are treated well and have access to the bounty provided by living on dragon lands. Further, they are not held captive. In general, dragon flights that practice slavery allow their humans to leave at will, often allowing them to take whatever they can carry with them. For the dragons, it is more a case of making use of the land; if there are people living on it, they make use of the people.

Dragon-form

Dragons can shapeshift, but only into a limited number of forms. Specifically other mystical creatures and humans. They cannot disguise themselves as anyone; the dragon has very specific 'forms' in its other shapes, all distinct and identifiable. A dragon in human-form might not be identifiable as such to a human; but if compared to its dragon form, the similarities are obvious.

Feral Dragons

Feral dragons (often referred to as 'Hellkites') have the body of a dragon but the mind of a beast. Dragons do not consider feral dragons to be dragons, and have no more qualms about killing them than you would a monkey or a cow. They are animals; the likeness (in draconic minds) is coincidental. Hellkites have frequently been tamed throughout history and were sometimes ridden during the Mage Wars.

Types

Adult feral dragons are exclusively red-fire types. Blue-Airs are simply never born, while Black-Earths do not survive into adulthood and cannot fly.

Organizational Structure

Dragons live in flights. The flight is a close-knit community with a herarchy and leadership. Usually the eldest dragons lead. The flight will live in an eerie, a system of caves usually heated by geothermal (volcanic) activity. Dragon eeries are heavily guarded; outsiders are not permitted under any circumstances (including dragons from other flights). Though dragon eeries are a community, each dragon considers other dragons as family, referring to each other as 'brother' and 'sister', regardless of actual familial relationships. Dragons do organize into family groups, and are very interested in consanguinity (family relationship; in lay terms "who is related to whom, and how"). Though familial relationships are rarely spoken of, every dragon knows how he is related to every other dragon.

Dragons mate for life. Eggs, however, are hatched in a communal rookery, tended to by the entire flight. Despite the massive size of dragons, eggs are only around a foot in diameter. The exact incubation time varies drastically between flights, with some as low as four months and others as high as two years. Hatchlings grow very quickly, doubling in size every two or three months. Hatchlings remain in the rookery for the first year or so of life, before venturing out into the eerie with their parents. Hatchlings only ever leave the rookery with their parents; when the parents must leave the hunt the hatchlings are returned to the eerie. This continues until they reach the age of three. By this time their physical bodies have matured enough to begin learning to hunt and fly.

Despite their long lives, dragons develop mentally along a similar time line to humans. Much of their early life is governed by instinct, but they soon become aware. Dragons have exceptionally good memories, and thus have no need for books. Every dragon will learn the oral history of the flight by age ten, along with any other information they may require.

Dragon grudges last a long time. When one flight is 'at war' with another, the war does not end until one flight has been completely annihilated. Though the war may not involve any active battle, all dragons know which flights they are at war with, and if one ever encounters a dragon from an opposing flight, they will battle one another until one lies dead.

Types of Dragon Flights

There are several types of dragon flights:

Off-Shoot Flight

Most existing dragon flights are these. When a flight grows too large, a number of its members will break off and form a new flight. They establish a new eerie and take some of the original flight's gold with them. Off-shoots retain very close ties to their original flights, with many inter-marriages and much migration between the two. Only after an offshoot has existed for several generations will it even generally consider itself a separate entity, and even then the mother-flight will remain an important ally.

On rare occasions, several dragons from two separate, allied flights will form a new flight. In this case, the flight is still considered an offshoot, but of both flights. It is known that for a time during the Mage Wars there existed a pan-dimensional offshoot flight consisting of members from hundreds of different flights. The final fate of this flight is not known.

The Dragonlands contained many such offshoot and conjoined flights, with many city-states each centered around a large dragon flight.

Genesis Flight

A Genesis Flight is a flight considered to be original, not an offshoot of an existing flight. According to the legend of The Broodmother, the first dragon gave birth to eleven sons, each of which was given a mate created from a basic elemental (earth, fire, and wind thus account for Black Dragons, Red Dragons, and Blue dragons). Each pairing then founded a new flight. Thus, there are eleven Genesis Flights, or first flights.

The Lowland Hills Flight is known to be a Genesis Flight, and Ozork Flight claims to be one as well.

Pauper Flight

Also called an Exile Flight. Though extremely rare, Pauper Flights are made up of dragons exiled from their birth-Flights. Typically, an exiled dragon will seek shelter with a neighboring flight, if possible taking a mate from it in order to become a part of that flight. Other times, such outcasts will live alone in solitude. Very rarely, a handful of exiled dragons from different flights will band together and form a new flight of their own. Since such flights are not considered off-shoots, they do not receive any gold from their original flight, and any riches they have must be obtained on their own. Hence the term 'Pauper', as these flights are often very poor by dragon-standards.

Dragon Genetic Memory

According to legend, each dragon carries "the secrets of the multi-verse" in his being. In practice, this translates to a encyclopedic knowledge of the physical sciences. Math, chemistry, physics, how the Multi-Verse functions; all of it is coded within their DNA. During Antiquity and particularly Classic Antiquity, dragons used this knowledge to educate humans, informing the high technological advancement achieved by the Eladamri. With the Fall of Roads and the rise of fallen dragons, the dragon population, as a whole, gradually lost their genetic memory. It is believed the technique of accessing it had to be passed verbally from one generation to the next, and that during the Mage Wars this often failed to happen.

Living Accomodations

Since the destruction of all the old nomadic flights, all dragons now live in eeries. An Eerie is a network of natural and artificial tunnels in which the flight makes its home. These are usually built over volcanic 'hot spots' to provide the eerie with warmth. Where a natural hot spot is unavailable or has shifted (as dragons inhabit the eeries for thousands of years), they will often dig tunnels many miles into the earth to release heat, sometimes to the magma if need be.

Eeries are always very hot; the dragons prefer a temperature of between 95 and 110 degrees Farenheit, though personal preferences vary. Average temperatures tend to be inversely proportional to the size of the flight: larger flights maintain lower temperatures.

Bedding

Dragons actually collect gold for a very practical reason. The flames they emit would ignite most forms of bedding; only gold is soft enough to be comfortable but also fireproof.

Most flights have a single, large, communal bed-chamber, though they may store gold in many interlinked sections of the eerie.

Food

Dragons self-identify as carnivores, but most are omnivorous, to the degree of being almost walking garbage disposals. Young dragons especially will eat basically anything, including fruit, shrubs, fruit trees, fruit farmers, small woodland creatures, large woodland creatures, woodlands, and rocks.

In general, the flight's food comes through hunting. Most dragons simply go alone to hunt in the flight's territory, though some flights have organized parties of hunters that gather food for the elders.

Dragons typically enjoy their food raw, or cooked with a blast of flame. The only condiment universally enjoyed is ketchup (see Kladeth), though some flights do have an interesting history of cullinary excellence. Meals are prepared, recipes followed, and all manner of seasonings used. These flights are fairly rare, however, and the food is often still not fit for human consumption.

The Eerie

The eerie is divided into several key sections. At the very center is typically a single large cavern which contains the bulk of the flight's gold. This is called 'The Horde', and the name refers both to the chamber and to the gold within the chamber. In conversation, dragons always seem to know exactly which is meant (the chamber or the gold) and have no linguistic distinction.

The horde is always the best-guarded part of the eerie, and the entrance to the rookery is always through the horde. The rookery is where the eggs are laid. It is usually tended by a dragoness who remains in the chamber at all times. Water is brought from a natural spring or through an artificial channel, so the rookery is always very hot and humid.

Around the horde or near it lies the library, a large network of tunnels and chambers in which the history of the flight is recorded, usually written directly on the walls but sometimes on additional stone tablets. The library may have no clear entrance or border, as it expands with the age of the flight.

Some flights may also have chambers for meeting and chambers for feeding (eating within the horde is considered extremly poor manners), though most dragons eat outside.

The eerie's tunnel system is extensive and has many entrances and exits.

Trivia

Most dragons cannot make the 'hew' sound in human with their mouths in dragon-form, and thus prounounce it 'oo' or 'uu'man. Many dragons are unaware that this is the incorrect pronunciation and will even correct humans who say it wrong.

"Tatsujin" is a dragon term of endearment. Though it has roots in words from the Mage Wars meaning 'master' or 'expert', it has evolved over the eons into a term of affection. Traditionaly reserved for use on one's beloved elders, it is not uncommon to see it put in place of 'friend'.

Famous Dragons

A number of dragons throughout history have had a great impact. Draco is the most popular and notable, however in the city of Arindell Ikelani Nosval is quite the legend. Then there was Khornthises, a dragon sorcerer who rules the city of Khornth during the Dynastic Period. And, of course, no one can ever forget Lelerough, Destroyer of Worlds.

Ferrimeso, a dragon from Phoenix Tavern Flight, collaborated with Herbet Patric Galactis on the Accepted Histories.

Dragon Flights

A list of known flights:

Personal tools