Biology and behavior
Dragons are large and powerful creatures, sentient, strong and cunning. Though they are predators, they are as intelligent as humans, perhaps even more so, and are able to speak and spit fire. They are winged as adults, with large claws, sharp teeth, horns, long necks and tails, and frills called griff. They are also covered in hard scales, save for a few individuals.
Dragons are carnivores by nature, and will eat anything they can catch if possible, save for perhaps trolls, which taste foul to them. They also will eat a type of grain called Kern, and consume coins and other metals to harden their scales. The more metal they consume, the harder their scales become.
Dragons are highly variable in color, particularly in males. Males are often red, white, bronze, blue, gold, black, copper, or grey. Grey dragons are scaleless and are both more agile and able to change color to match their surroundings. Striped male dragons also exist, but they are usually sterile. Females, referred to as Dragonelles, are usually green, but are occasionally known to be white or other colors.
Reproduction-wise, dragons mate for life, and pair through mating flights in which the male sings a song to the female he chooses of his life and deeds. If she accepts, they mate in the air, locking talons and free-falling several times to seal the bond. Dragon eggs then incubate for several months, and the father hunts for his mate and children. Dragons also go through three stages of development from infant to adult; the hatchling stage is when they first emerge from their eggs until they breathe fire for the first time. During this stage, they are closely watched, guarded and mentored by their parents. Upon breathing fire for the first time, the hatchling becomes a drake (drakka for females), and leaves the family to make its own way in the world. After this adolescence, the wings of these young dragons emerge from the skin on the back, and upon eruption, signal the start of maturity and the final life stage for a dragon. Upon maturity, male dragon names change; once a male dragon's wings emerge, the emphasis of his name shifts to the second syllable, rather than his first. For this reason, adult males' names are written with the second consonant capitalized, to represent adulthood. Female dragons do not adopt this naming convention.
Dragons live an exceptionally long time; some of the oldest can live thousands of years. One dragon, NooMoahk, considered to be one of the oldest and most powerful dragons to ever exist, lived for close to 10,000 years before he died. Many dragons do not live to see such advanced ages.
Dragons spit fire by way of an organ called a fire bladder. The liquid within, called foua, is liquid fats stored from consuming of prey. When needed, dragons can eject this cocktail from their mouths to create oily flame.
Interestingly, dragon blood has strange properties, and over successive feedings and generations consuming it, creatures that feed off it come stronger, taking on dragon-ish qualities and becoming less and less prone to weaknesses of their species; for example, RuGaard, a tyr of dragons, created gargoyles by letting vampire bats feed off his blood, making them larger and stronger. Rayg, a human who nearly destroyed dragon kind, used dragon blood to create strong, controllable trolls and Griffaran with scales and wings.
Dragons hava a language called Drakine, and can speak both it and other languages that they might learn over their lives. Below is a list of known words in Drakine and their meaning.
- Foua: A product of the fire bladder. When mixed with the liquid fats stored within and then exposed to oxygen, it ignites into oily flame.
- Griff: The armored fans descending from the forehead and jaw that cover a dragon's sensitive ear holes and throat pulse points in battle.
- Prrum: The low thrumming sound a dragon makes when it is pleased or particularly content.
- Saa: The rear legs of a dragon. The three rear true-toes are able to grip, but the fighting spur is little more than decoration.
- Sii: The front legs of a dragon. The claws are shorter, and the fighting spur on the rear leg is closer to the other digits, and opposable. The digits are more elegantly formed for manipulation.
- Torf: A small gob from the fire bladder, used to provide a few moments of illumination.
- Griff-Tchk: An instant, and immeasurably short amount of time
- Laudi: Brave and glorious deeds in a dragon's life that make it into the lifesong.
- Kazhin: A dragon related to you on unfriendly terms.
- Uzhin: A dragon related to you on friendly terms.
- AuRon (Auron, Long-Tail Fire-Heart, Firelong): AuRon is the champion of his clutch, being the last surviving male to remain on the egg shelf. He is rare among dragons in the fact that he has no scales, and thus is termed a "grey"; however, his skin color actually changes to match his surroundings. Scaleless, he is lighter and able to fly longer and faster than other dragons. He makes less sound than his scaled brethren. Additionally, AuRon has no appetite for metals, which normal dragons crave and consume to replace their scales. He is energetic and slightly headstrong, though he can be very serious and is extremely smart. AuRon is rare among dragons in that he keeps his egg tooth, which later hardens to become a horn of sorts, which he uses to aim his fire. In his opinion he believes Dragons should not interfere with the tribulations of the hominid races, though he does see the problems of isolating himself in an area with no metal for his family.
- Wistala (Tala): Wistala, the first of two females to hatch in the clutch, has a sharp wit, and is very self-confident. Due to the traumatic destruction of her home, Wistala becomes something of a tomboy rather than being interested in typical dragonelle behavior, such as mating. Her scales are green, as is normal for most females. She shows a thirst for knowledge after being taken in under Rainfall and becomes a librarian of Hypatia. She also shows a particular interest in the dragon DharSii, who later becomes her love interest and eventual mate. From her mother she takes the lessons of how to improvise and to learn from the mistakes of the dragons from Silverhigh, a famed dragon empire destroyed by complacency. Though having promised her father to bear a fruitful clutch, she is the only dragon to remain unmated at the end of her book, though at the end of the series, she and DharSii are revealed to be expecting their second clutch of eggs (the first clutch was promised to Scabia in exchange for living in the Sadda Vale during their exile). She believes dragons can coexist peacefully with the hominids. She is stronger than most dragons (to the point where she can fly while wearing her brother RuGaard's armor) and is thicker scaled then most dragonelles.
- The Copper (RuGaard (Formal Adult name taken when wings come in), Rugaard): The Copper was the first of the three males in the clutch to hatch. Together with Auron, they killed the third male (who had ruby-red scales), but then Auron forced him off the egg shelf, dooming him to a life of namelessness and self-sufficiency (as their parents more or less would not pay attention to a male besides the clutchwinner). He learns to be very resourceful, though, even with the multiple debilitating injuries he acquires: a crippled leg from the fall off the egg shelf, a hurt eye from a fight with Wistala, a stab that cripples his wing from the Dragonblade (for which he eventually is given an artificial wing joint), and a stab to the fire bladder from a group of Demen. The only piece of advice given to him from his mother is to overcome and create a new line all his own. Out of all the siblings he seems to have been given the highest position, yet he still feels estranged from other dragons. He receives the name "Rugaard" upon reaching the Lavadome, though in the narration is still referred to as "The Copper". He is eventually killed by the trolls commanded by his former thrall, Rayg.
- Jizara: Jizara is the only sibling that did not survive the raid of the Egg Cave in Dragon Champion. She is described as being thinner and longer than Wistala, and has a wonderful singing voice (as described by The Copper). She is also the only one who shows any real kindness to the Copper. She is killed by the Dragonblade during the raid of the Egg Cave, her last breaths being used to beg for mercy.
- The Red Hatchling: This red hatchling was the second male to hatch, but was killed by AuRon and the Copper.
- AuRel: A bronze dragon with a storied lineage. He is the father of the siblings. AuRel returns from hunting to find the Egg Cave being attacked. He escaped, but with serious injuries. Wistala finds AuRel wounded and unable to fly, and tries to heal him. While returning from a search to find metal for him, she unknowingly leads The Dragonblade to AuRel. AuRel attempts to fight The Dragonblade, but being injured makes him unable to fight. The Dragonblade kills AuRel as Wistala watches.
- Epata: The mother of AuRel.
- AuRye: A red dragon; the father of AuRel. After destroying an army of humans, he was killed when he faced a second army, filled with survivors of the old, that countered his tactics. A very famous dragon, from the Skotl clan of the Lavadome, AuRye was renowned for his thick scale and skill in warfare, smashing armies. He is recognized by AuRel as impulsive but also very mighty- one of the strongest dragons ever to exist.
- Irelia: The calm, sensible mother of the siblings. She is green, as is common for females. Irelia is killed in the Raid on the Egg Cave.
- Antialovna: The mother of Irelia, and thus the maternal grandmother of the Siblings.
- EmLar: The father of Irelia. He was the grey whose genes were passed to AuRon.
- NiVom: The grandson of EmLar, a cousin to the Siblings. Meets the Copper in the Drakwatch and becomes a full commander. As of Dragon Rule, the siblings and NiVom do not appear to be aware of their relation. NiVom is poisoned by Imfamnia, who is later revealed to be possessed by The Red Queen, in Dragon Fate.
- AuNor: The ancient ancestor of the siblings, whose line they belong.
- ""AuSurath"": A red and the first of AuRon's sons, headstrong and impatient. He later joins the Aerial Host and rises to the position of commander of the Heavy Wing of the Aerial Host.
- ""AuMoakh"": A gold and the second son of AuRon, observant and methodical.
- Natasatch: A green female dragon who is enslaved and sold to the Wyrmmaster. Along with other females she was kept captive and forced to help the wizard breed his army for years, later helping to stage an uprising and evicting the humans from the isle. She becomes AuRon's mate at the end of Dragon Champion. In "Dragon Rule" she develops a keen interest in the newly emergent Empire society that leads to her separation from AuRon during his exile.
- Nilrasha: An ex-Firemaiden, she worked alongside the Copper during the events of Dragon Outcast and fell in love in spite of (or maybe perhaps because of) his unique physical disabilities. She is the centre of much controversy, partly because of her breaking the Firemaiden's oath of virginity to mate with the Copper and also because of the suspicious circumstances surrounding Halaflora's death which many believe she was directly responsible for. The aristocracy of the Lavadome resent her meek beginnings and accuse her of being a relentless social climber. She is later injured during the Battle of Hypatia and rendered flightless, leading to her being forced into an unofficial retirement from the political scene.
- Halaflora: The sickly granddaughter of FeHazathant and Tighlia, she becomes RuGaard's first mate through an arranged mating by Tighlia as a means to legally bind him to the family, although the Copper doesn't truly love her. Although the circumstances of her death is unclear - as the only one around at the time is Nilrasha and she has motive to kill Halaflora - Nilrasha claims that Halaflora thought herself pregnant and, confused, starts to rapidly consume meat. However, Halaflora's sickly nature made her too weak and she chokes on a piece of bone and dies. The Copper and many others view the story with skepticism, but do not dare voice their opinion to Nilrasha.
- DharSii: First appears in Dragon Avenger, is mentioned in Dragon Outcast, features in Dragon Strike and Dragon Rule as well as Dragon Fate. Described as orange or red with several dark stripes along his back. According to several other characters in the series, striped dragons like DharSii are usually sterile and rarely father hatchlings. Former commander of the Aerial Host in the Lavadome. The name DharSii is an assumed name taken after a fatal duel with AgGriffopse, Tyr FeHazathant’s only son. DharSii translates roughly as sure-claw or quick-claw, a reference to the manner of AgGriffopse’s death. Wistala and DharSii secretly mated in Vesshall, producing a clutch given to Scabia’s daughter in exchange for living in Vesshall. At the end of the series, they are revealed to be expecting another clutch they intend to raise themselves and have revealed that they are mated.
- Imfamnia: the self-centered granddaughter of Tyr FeHazathant, and daughter of AgGriffopse and Ibidio. Though described as "a brainless piece of fluff", she schemes her way to power several times. As a drakka, she falsely accuses her friend NiVom of attacking her, to clear the way for SiDrakkon to become Tyr and mate her. During his short, unpopular reign, she gets him to name her half-brother SiMevolant as heir, and mates him as well, becoming queen a second time when SiDrakkon dies. Her scandalous affairs during this period earn her the title "the Jade Queen". After SiMevolant's downfall, she flees to Ghioz and takes NiVom as a mate. After the defeat of Ghioz, NiVom intercedes with the Copper and they become protectors of Ghioz province in the Grand Alliance, though at this time she is possessed by the Red Queen. Failing to seduce AuRon when he becomes protector of a neighboring province, she instead cultivates a false friendship with Natasatch, creates a superarmy using NiVom's blood, nearly succeeds in assassinating the Copper and Wistala in the baths, and orders a surprise attack that nearly succeeds in overthrowing dragonkind.
- NooMoahk: A decrepit but wise black dragon, many millennia old. In his final years he teaches AuRon wisdom and languages. In the writing he is shown to have a failing mind and little distinction between long term and short term memory, possibly due to the effects of prolonged exposure to a mysterious crystal he guards. He later dies fighting AuRon during one such lapse when AuRon is forced to trick NooMoahk into impaling himself on a monument dedicated to the elder dragon's late human friend Tindairus. It is possible that he is an ancestor of the siblings. AuRon is reverent of him to the point that he even takes a false-name similar to his when investigating the Isle of Ice and even names his one of sons after him.
- Dragons of the Sadda-Vale: Distant relatives of AuRon, Wistala and the Copper. They do not feel that dragons should concern themselves with anything outside of their own territory, even if it is the killing of another dragon family. The only one to show any sense among them in DharSii who stays there sparingly and leaves there hurriedly.
- Tyr FeHazathant: An old male dragon (deep red/purple) who is the ruler of the Lavadome dragons. He adopts the Copper into the Imperial family after the latter "saves" some griffaran eggs. The Copper sees him as an adoptive grandfather and is devoutly loyal to him. FeHazathant dies shortly after the Copper/RuGaard, informs him of a potential plot against him by SiDrakkon. The Tyr dies under unknown circumstances, naming the Copper as his heir to Tighlia before his death.
- Tighlia: The old mate of Tyr FeHazathant. Wise but can be seen as calculating and cold-hearted. She has a low opinion of the Copper and forces him to marry her sickly granddaughter Halaflora. She dies at the hands of the Dragonblade
- SiDrakkon: A deep red-purple male who is brother to Tighlia. Often bad-tempered but a capable military leader. Has an unhealthy obsession with the smell (and taste) of human thralls. Inherits the position of Tyr from his brother-in-law FeHazathant. Dies under suspicious circumstances.
- SiMevolant: A gold, grandson of the Tyr. Lazy and apathetic, often described as an idiot by the rest of the Imperial Line. He shows his true deviousness in orchestrating the assassination of SiDrakkon with his sister Infamnia and takes the position of Tyr. Willingly submits to the authority of the Dragonblade. Is killed in a duel by the Copper and Nilrasha. Large and thick scaled.
- NoSohoth: The silver majordomo of the Imperial Line. A loyal dragon, but a stickler for protocol.
- NeStirrath: The red commander of the Drakwatch, lost his wings in a past battle. Mentor and father figure to the Copper. He dies in the final battle against the Wyrmmaster's dragon riders.
- Rethothana: An Anklene scholar and ally of the Copper
- Drakwatch: The draconic equivalent of the ROTC for young drakes in the Lavadome. Taken by many as the chance for glory and advancement. Has a friendly rivalry with the Firemaids. After the establishment of the Aerial Host it withers down to a cadre of outcast and impoverished families.
- Firemaids: The female equivalent to the Drakwatch, except that upon reaching maturity Firemaidens take a vow of chastity. Has a friendly rivalry with the Drakwatch.
- Ayafeeia: The leader of the Firemaidens. Her example of fierce protection of all dragon hatchlings so impresses Wistala that she joins the Firemaidens herself. She initially leads the small force holding the north passes of Hypatia against the Ironriders, but leaves Wistala in charge when RuGaard orders her to return. She joins Nilrasha's counterstrike, and helps retake Hypatia.
- Takea: A fierce dragonelle of the Firemaids, killed in fighting in the northern passes.
- HeBellereth: Leader of the Aerial Host, loyal to RuGaard, involved in retaking the Lavadome and the humbling of Ghioz.
- LaDibar: A highly intelligent, but somewhat obstructionist dragon of the Lavadome.
- NiVom: A white dragon, secretly mated to Imfamnia, wife of Tyr SiNevolant. The two fled his defeat at the end of Dragon Outcast, and joined the Red Queen of Ghioz. He participates in a raid on Wistala's cave, and is captured by RuGaard before the attack on Ghioz, but released to warn the citizens of the impending battle.