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Dragon

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The most ancient and noble of species, dragons have existed on Selaras for hundreds of millions of years. They began as small, winged reptiles, and grew larger and stronger as the biodiversity of the planet bloomed in its earliest eras of life.   These larger winged reptiles eventually experienced a mutation wherein the gene to create a set of limbs erroneously replicated. Thus, a generation of "proto-dragons" was born, creatures who had six total limbs: four legs and two wings.   Protodraconae soon outcompeted the other predatory reptiles in their locales, for it was evolutionarily advantageous to have an additional set of limbs. For the first time, they could hunt easily on the ground as well as from the sky. Their habitat rapidly expanded, for they no longer had to make their homes on high ground to take flight -- they could achieve lift by running and flapping their wings.   Evolution began to select for the protodraconae who had or carried this mutant extra-limb gene, and thus the species diverged into two: the original winged reptiles eventually grew into modern-age wyverns, while the six-limbed mutant creatures eventually grew into modern-age dragons.   Over the millennia, the early dragons became simultaneously larger, faster, and more intelligent. Several draconic variants split into dozens of different species, and they mostly competed amongst themselves for the choicest territory, game, and freshwater sources. It became an evolutionary arms race: which draconic species could hone their skills on land and in the sky to gain the edge over their brethren?   Once these early dragons, or predraconae, gained a certain level of intelligence, they gained the ability to wield magic. Dragons are descended from timemagic, and thus had the ability to wield either lightmagic or forcemagic. They used these powers to their great gain, but it was the magics that also led to their ultimate demise.   The dragons gained further intelligence and developed a spoken tongue, Draconic. This language spread across Selaras and gave rise to several others, including, eventually, The Ancient Tongue.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Modern-age dragons are physiologically anomalous from most vertebrates in that they have six limbs: a set of two forelegs, a set of two hind legs, and a set of two wings.   They are reptilian in appearance, but their particular needs dictated that they become much sleeker than their ancestors and cousin-races. Thus, their bodies have become more serpentine and their bones have become honeycombed to lighten their overall weight and make for easier flight.   They do not have dragging tails; rather, their tails are held erect by ossified tendons, and used as rudders in the air. Unlike larger, more lumbering and cumbersome terrestrial reptiles of ancient times, the dragons' ossified tendons do provide them with side-to-side movement, and are more hinged at the base, allowing dragons to sit on their haunches (though this is an uncomfortable position to maintain for any length of time). There are no bones at the very end of the tail, only cartilage -- this not only cuts down on weight, it gives the dragon extra maneuverability if necessary.   Dragons do have visible ears, which protrude from either side of their head, and which have 270-degree rotational ability, allowing them to isolate the directionality of sound.   Dragons have five digits on each limb, including their wings. Their wingthumbs are small, a tiny protrusion on the crux of the main joint from which the phalanges extend, but dexterous. The thumbs on their forelegs are functional, but smaller and comparatively less dexterous. The thumbs on their hind legs are tiny, and serve little purpose other than to assist in balance when walking or running on land.   Dragons have a nictating membrane, a protective, transparent inner eyelid which they can raise during flight to prevent their eyes from drying out in the wind. The eyelid is also useful for protection in battle or underwater. Though modern-age dragons are not water-based, they are adept swimmers, using their wings as webbed propelling limbs and their tails as rudders, and they can hold their breath for up to an hour at a time due to their massive lungs and efficient oxygen-storing blood.

Additional Information

Average Intelligence

Genius

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

A hundred-thousand years ago, the dragons were united in a hive-mind through the power of Valemagic. This hive-mind connected them all telepathically, and thus every individual's knowledge and experience became available to all their kin. All dragons are able to use this connection for telepathic communication with each other.   As dragons are descended from timemagic, they are all either able to wield lightmagic or forcemagic. Of these powers, forcemagic is the rarer of the two; during the Great War, Necrovar was able to target and exterminate many dragons who were forcemagic wielders, but the bloodlines did not completely die out.

Scientific Name
Drachrae keas, Drachrae gravitas
Lifespan
6000 years
Average Height
7 - 12 meters from ground to skull
Average Weight
3 - 6 metric tonnes
Average Length
14 - 24 meters
Average Physique
Sleek, muscular, narrow
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Dragons most commonly have natural-colored scales -- hues in the brown, green, and yellow range -- which is an artifact of their ancestral reptilian origins, when it was important for them to be able to blend into their terrestrial surroundings. As they evolved and took to the skies, it became more common to see scales in the blue and white range for blending into the clouds.   As time went on and dragons grew ever more intelligent, they began to select for more lustrous scales in mates, since luster was generally indicative of health and good nutrition. As a result, the hues of scales deepened and became more vibrant. No longer intended for camouflage, now the scales were intended as a display of power. Thus, previously muted greens and browns became glittering shades of emerald and amber. Sky blue shades became sapphire and turquoise, ostentatious and showy. Yellows became bronze and gold. Some deepened to red or orange hues, but these were uncommon. Paler shades died out, since pale scales often indicated malnutrition, as it is the nutrients and minerals in a dragon's diet that gives their scales color.

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