Post by Hayvn on Aug 22, 2011 13:24:41 GMT -5
Dragons are described as carnivorous, egg-laying, warm-blooded creatures. Like all of Pern's native large fauna, they have six limbs - four feet and two wings. Their blood, referred to as ichor, is copper-based and green in color. They have multifaceted eyes that change color depending on the dragon's mood. Their head and general body type is similar in shape to those of horses. On their heads they have small headknobs, similar to those of giraffes, and no visible ears. They don't have scaled skin like the dragons of Earthen legends, but rather a smooth hide. The texture of their skin is described as being reminiscent of suede with a spicy, sweet, slightly musky scent when clean. The ends of their tails are either forked or have a spade shape to them.
Newly hatched dragons are the size of very large dogs or small ponies, and reach their full size after eighteen months. Because young dragons grow so fast, their riders must regularly apply oil to their hides to prevent the skin from cracking or drying out.
Dragons, like their fire-lizard ancestors, can breathe fire by chewing a phosphine-bearing rock, called "firestone" in the novels, which reacts with an acid in a special "second stomach" organ. This forms a volatile gas that can be exhaled at will and ignites upon contact with air. The flame was originally used to burn Thread from the sky before it reached the ground. It may still used in combat today. However, the chewed firestone must be expelled from the body after it is used up, for the dragons cannot digest it. Queens cannot chew firestone at all and often carry flamethrowers into battle.[/blockquote]
Unlike their fire-lizard ancestors, dragons are fully sapient. They communicate fluently in human language (although only telepathically), and have personalities and opinions distinct from those of their riders. Dragons' telepathic communication is usually limited to contact with their rider and with other dragons, however a dragon sometimes communicates well with a person with whom their rider has close emotional ties. They do understand spoken human language and occasionally reply telepathically to people whom they choose to speak.
A dragon's intelligence does seem to be somewhat lower than that of the average human. In particular, their long-term memory is severely limited, for some dragons, sometimes not spanning back more than a few months to a Turn. Some dragons tend to have better memories, however, but they, too, are still severely limited.
As a safeguard against the possible damage that could be caused by such powerful creatures, dragons were programmed to be profoundly psychologically dependent on their riders. Any dragonet that fails to Impress to a human shortly after hatching will die. If a dragon's rider dies, the dragon immediately suicides by going between without a destination. The only exception is when the rider of a queen dragon dies while the queen is close to clutching or has a clutch on the sands; the dragon waits just long enough to lay her eggs and see them hatch before disappearing between. A Rider who loses their dragon will often commit suicide, though there are some that do not and live a rather depressed life with very little to no chance at ever re-Impressing.
Dragons were originally designed to be rather calm in temperament. They never fight one another, unless two queens are close to rising at the same time. They are also not dangerous to humans except shortly after hatching, when it is common for confused and frightened dragonets to maul or even kill humans hoping to Impress.
When a dragon hatches, they announce their names to their new riders upon Impression. A dragon's name always ends in -th. They will also give a male Rider an Elided name upon their Impression.
Color Ranking and Maturity:
Dragons once had a ranking system generally based on color and size. The Senior Queen of a Weyr and her mate were the leaders. However, with changes that have happened over the past several thousand turns, this is no longer the case.
There are no longer set distinctive "Colors" nor Ranks based on them. A dragon can be any which combination of colors. They could be teal with gold freckling, or purple with red swirls, or black with white polka dots and yellow stripes. Any variation. Any color. No rank based on that color.
The only difference between dragons mature anymore is gender. Otherwise, they all mature at about the same time, though they may all start rising at different times. Here is the very short list.
- Males - 1 Turn
- Females- 2 Turns
Mating and Reproduction:
All female dragons experience a periodic mating urge, which leads to their mating Flight. Larger dragonesses will rise less frequently and will produce larger clutches, however, even they may not always clutch. Smaller dragonesses will rise closer to once or twice a Turn with smaller clutches and also may not clutch every time they rise.
Although any male my Chase in any female's flight, generally the larger males are the ones picked to catch the larger females because they have the stamina to continue in the Flight. Smaller males tend to catch the smaller, more agile, quicker females while larger males tend towards catching larger females, however, cases of smaller or large males catching larger or smaller females is not unheard of.
Usually, the Flying female will choose their victor, however, an inexperienced female or one weighed down by meat may be caught before they make their choice. Females tend towards choosing the male who Impresses her most in the Flight for whatever skills she may be looking for the most.
The pair mate in midair after the female has been caught. Generally, the higher the Flight, the longer the mating between the two dragons. It is commonly believed that a longer mating Flight results in larger clutches for females if they should clutch.
Info from or based on info found here: Pern Wiki