THE DESERT DRAKE

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - MYTH/LORE

Appearance. The Desert Drake is one of the few drakes - both great and lesser - that cannot fly. In fact it has no wings at all, and to even further that, they seem to hate heights. These burly drakes compensate for the lack of wings with an unusually thick hide, which ranges from lighter tones of black to deep browns and grays. The hide itself is made up of thick overlapping plates, very much like scales, but harder, and more rock like in texture and appearance. The body is very much like that of an elephant, only somewhat larger, and it has six legs rather than four. Huge curved retractable claws can be found on the drake's first two rows of legs, the hind set are used only for walking and balance. The front legs double as hands, able to grip and move objects, much as any humanoid can, and as such tend to be shorter than the back two rows. The second row is much more foot like, and is used almost primarily for digging - if not then this row is used for walking as well. The back row is solely for walking purposes, and is very wide at the base, aiding in balance when digging, again no claws can be found on the back legs. The drake's neck is somewhat long, usually about the length of one of its front legs and is covered in a much softer hide then the rest of the body. The neck is therefore very flexible and can move with relative ease. The Desert Drake's head is covered with the same hard hide as the rest of its body, except around the eyes and back jaw, where it is a little softer. Large eyelids can be shut over the eyes, to prevent rocks and other debris from damaging the eyes, and the jaw holds, a mouth full of jagged teeth, interspersed with large grinding molars. Return to the top

The Desert Drake
View picture in full size Image description: The typical Desert Drake with its thick overlapping plates and a long neck. Picture drawn by Faugar.

Special Abilities. The abilities of this drake are somewhat limited by the standards of their brethren, but impressive nevertheless. The Desert Drake's uncanny ability to dig miles upon miles of underground caverns, yet never get lost for example, may seem somewhat less thrilling than breathing fire, but the Desert Drake will never lose its way in its own caves. Also among the lesser drakes, Desert Drakes are one of the most intelligent, showing remarkable problem solving ability and even have some sort of language of their own, resembling that of the greater drakes. They even have a strict hierarchical system in their herds consisting of a leader (queen) and her underlings - workers, diggers, soldiers and so on. Return to the top

Territory. As the name implies, these drakes are found in the deserts of Caelereth. Their caves may stretch for miles but all herds center around one body of fresh water. As such there are five known herds of these drakes, each named after the body of water they originate from. To a layman each group may look the same, but they do have different colorings and features that separate the herds. The Aegyslam call the Sveltash Desert of Aeruillin home (also the largest of the known herds). The Tardulan lay claim to the Desert of Light. The Hylmagor and the Bright Witch are constantly fighting one another over space in the Desert of Ysthalinth. And the smallest and tamest of the known herds can be found near the Oasis of Nirmenith at the Rahaz-Dath Desert, which is located in the the southernmost Santharian province of Truban.
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Habitat/Behaviour. Desert Drakes spend most all their time in their own caves, just digging away the earth and setting sand traps to get their food. They do on occasion come up to the surface, but never for very long. They are also extremely aware and protective of their home. If anything enters Desert Drak "soldiers" are soon on the scene to assess the situation. If its food, then the hunters are called in to take care of things, if its deemed dangerous, then the soldiers waste no time in attacking. Sometimes the drakes will find no harm from an interloper. In these cases, workers will come and take the intruder to the nearest surface hole and led them on their way. The whole herd of Desert Drakes acts much like a colony of ants, each different group has a specific job. The following is a brief overview of what each class of drake does for the heard, as observed by the dragon researcher Homloth:

Diet. Desert Drakes are carnivores, eating any and all meat they can find. The hunters do a good job feeding the rest on animals that fall through the many sand traps that the drakes set up, but also get a fair amount of food from other cave dwelling animals that wander too close to the drakes' caves. The latter by the way is the main cause of death for many dune mice. Return to the top

Mating. Every 150 years the mating season begins (keep in mind that the average life span of a desert drake is approx. 500 years). The queen will pick several mates, while the nurses pick a single mate that they stay with their whole lives. Each nurse (there are usually no more than five) will lay two eggs, while the queen will lay around 12. The nurses care for the eggs for about 100 years until they reach the age where they can find their own class. The percentage of births is as follows - again as observed by Homloth:  Nurses 2%, Workers 60%, Hunters 18%, Soldiers 20%.
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Myth/Lore. There is an old tale that says that the ancient ancestors of today's Shendar found a way to befriend and even use these drakes as mounts as they do now with the Aj'nuvic. They were said to burrow under cities and raid them, without even having to pass through a line of defense. But that can only be an old tale - or?
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Information provided by Torek Ozzot View Profile