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Dragon

A fearsome reptile that closely resembles the common ancestor that all six-limbed creatures in Lathai share.

Basic Information

Anatomy & Morphology

These six-limbed creatures are iconic in many cultures, as they are so variable and so widely spread throughout Lathai. It is easy to take the form of a dragon and form it into cultural aesthetic for banners and crests.   The standard body plan of a dragon, though exceedingly variable, is as follows: A large, scale-covered bulky body with four legs and two large wings. The neck is often long with a square head. Horns generally adorn the back of the head and down the spine. The tail, likewise, is long, and acts as a counterweight in flight for steering. The main weapons a dragon uses are its long canine teeth, claws, and tail for blunt-force damage.

Biological Traits

There are two dragons that many believe to not be part of this lineage, though they are technically dragons. Neither have wings, and have secondarily lost their wings for a less energetically expensive lifestyle. The first subtype of dragon is the gecko-like Orsonith dragon. These large reptiles come in a variety of colors and builds. Signified by pink on the map, these creatures are nearly worldwide in distribution. They often have the ability to spit acid, but despite their appearance, are rarely aggressive and prefer to conserve energy. In areas that freeze over winter, they have burrows which they pack with mosses in which to hibernate. They eat a variety of foods, small prey items, rotting fruits, greens, and eggs. Their eggs are considered a delicacy in various locations. Their wings have been lost as regressive evolution, as flight is very energetically expensive. They have, instead, decided to live on the ground and sleep inside dens dug into hillsides and rock faces. It is said that you could jump onto one when it is sleeping, and it would not awake.   The second subtype is the serpent-like Dysed dragon. The venom produced by these solitary predators are popular to put in alcoholic beverages and for ceremonies, as there are rarely negative effects. However, a more daring version can be taken wherein one consumes the venom without the alcohol, which can result in death if any of the skin of the digestive tract is compromised. About the size of a large dog, but very long. Can be kept in menageries if fed well and given proper lighting. They are good climbers and use their claws to grip onto prey while their venom brings it down. Feed on anything that can fit in its mouth, and does “death rolls” to tear off pieces to swallow. Fast and agile, they are difficult to escape once targeted.

Genetics and Reproduction

A mated pair will produce a clutch of 6-10 eggs after 100-180 days. They incubate for several months in a protected cave or platform nest. Once eggs hatch, the female will remain home while the male brings supplies to her. The male's care of the young dragons will wane over time. When the infant dragons reach three months of age, the parents will generally cull their brood. Depending on which parent decides to cull first, the clutch will end up looking a little differently. The male will usually choose to cull the males to prevent competition in the future, while the female will tend to choose the strongest individuals regardless of gender.   After this point, the male will decrease the amount of support he gives, taking this time to generally find a new mate. The female raises the dragons until they are three years old before leaving them to their own devices.

Growth Rate & Stages

As they live for quite a long time, they do not reach maturity until around 25-27 years of age. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 24, but do not generally find mate and territory for several years after that point.

Ecology and Habitats

Dragons are native to most small islands south of Alia and the mountains on the eastern edge of Yajemir. They prefer mountainous areas and high elevation rich in prey items large enough to make the effort of flight worth the trouble. Dragons and Wyverns, unlike Ampitheres are confined to the warmer regions due to temperature, sunlight, and food requirements.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Dragons are obligate carnivores, eating meat and fish as their primary sources of food.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Dragons are solitary apart from when a male and a female pair together after mating.

Domestication

Dragons can be trained to be ridden, but must be raised and carefully trained from hatch. Improperly trained dragons, Wyverns, and Ampitheres are a common cause of death in dragon riding circles. Dragons are among the strongest flying mounts, and can be used to transport larger amounts of supplies and trade goods than Gryphons, for example.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Hides, claws, teeth, horns, bones, and organs are all exceedingly valuable. Feral dragons are often hunted for parts to be sold as medicine, armor, and for trophies.

Facial characteristics

A dragon's face is quite square, with wide jaws and a thick, forward facing nose. Sometimes the face is adorned with small spikes, like those on the back of the head and down the spine.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Dragons and Wyverns, unlike Ampitheres are confined to the warmer regions due to temperature, sunlight, and food requirements.

Average Intelligence

Dragons have about comparable intelligence as parrots, so are more intelligent than the average animal. They are shown to have good problem-solving skills, high trainability, and complex maneuverability in the air.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Dragons rely almost exclusively on their sense of sight from the air, and their senses of taste and smell while on the ground.

Genetic Descendants
Lifespan
120 years
Conservation Status
Though these animals are commonly hunted for parts, they have a tendency to put up a fight, so are still doing quite well in the wild and in captivity.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Coloration and markings are highly variable in dragons. There is some evidence to suggest that dragons choose mates based on their pigmentation and markings, though that may not be a universal rule among dragons.

A Beloved Dragon

By far the most famous individual dragon is called Cilzryn, and resides beneath the capitol city of Yajemir. It is said that he dwells in a cave of glass that he made by breathing fire onto the desert sand. Very few have seen Cilzryn and survived, but it's estimated that he is extremely large. A well opens into his cave and the citizens of Qanin throw tributes down to him. These often include gold, meat, and water.     It is said that dragons are content to stay still and do not need a lot of space as long as they are provided food and water. Cilzryn is believed to be pampered so much that he has no desire to leave his lair of glass.  
Kastal Mountains
Desert Mountains Landscape by Linnaea Mallette

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Cover image: Natrix natrix Schuppen (Modified) by Dirk Godlinski

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