THE GOLD DRAKE

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

Gold Drakes have the appearance of gold and are also able to change their shape and size slightly. They mainly use mountaintops (most often), deserts, even fields (rare) as their homes. They can be commanders of small groups of dragons and usually only concentrate on gathering piles of gold rather than on all sorts of treasure. A Gold Drake is never to be trusted as many tales tell.

Gold Drake
View picture in full size Image description. The magnificent sight of a Gold Drake. Picture drawn by Faugar.

Appearance. The Gold Drake is sleek, with lean muscles hovering under the skinís surface. The dragonís skin appears to be burnished gold; a thick, tough hide that will deflect common iron. A thinner, webbed skin folds tightly over the hollow, bird-like bones of its wings. Its wingspan, somewhere between 10 peds and 12 peds, is about the length of its body from head to tail tip. The wings are not easily broken despite appearance, and they will not break unless they crash into a cliff face with the full force of their bodies behind them. This of course would be an extremely unlikely occurrence as the dragon has far superior senses in areas of hearing, smell, and eyesight.

The Gold Drake has exceptional hearing, evidenced by their large ears, which slope into a point and are, on average, a fourth of its head length (the head is about one and a half peds in length). The elongated-looking snout of the dragon is slender and allows for a full mouth with tiny, sharp teeth and large, flaring nostrils. The eyes are a piercing yellow surrounding the thin black irises. The crest of the Gold Drake is formed by bony fans that travel the length of the dragonís spine, gradually getting smaller to the tip of its tail, which can be anywhere from 4 to 5 peds, doubling the size of the dragon. Two front feet are decorated with curved, golden claws on 3 toes designed for tearing their meat. The hind legs are well muscled and bulky and the feet can have anywhere from 3 to 5 toes, one on the back of each leg. The claws on these legs are thicker and curved more, designed for balance on a rocky, perhaps unstable, surface. The underside of the feet and belly are made of a soft, sponge like membrane of skin. It is designed for comfort, and balance upon its feet.
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Special Abilities. Unlike their appearance of a cold-blooded lizard, the Gold Drakes donít feel change in temperature. They have strong, tough skin that covers their body except for the abdomen and the soles of their feet. This covering protects them from most bodily harm. If one is daring, one can attempt to hire these dragons. They can lead a whole group of small drakes into battle if necessary and many brave souls have fallen to them. A smart person offers gold for their services. It would be an extremely good idea, though, to have a wizard at your back and available food at all times.

It is also known that this kind of dragons can change its shape and size somewhat. When fighting another of its kind, they find it useful to increase their size slightly for more effectiveness. In fast flight, changing their body some can make all the difference. Also lengthening claws a little can increase their chances for killing their prey at first dive.
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Territory. These dragons live anywhere under the sun. They donít tolerate shade easily. Forests and caverns repel them. As a result, mountaintops (most often), deserts, even fields (rare) can be used as their homes. They do not migrate to follow the heat. Regardless of the temperature outside, the Gold Drakes will stay in the nests they create.
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Habitat/Behaviour. The Gold Drakes were named, not only for their color, but also for their love of gold, which may also be the reason why they are colored this way. A Gold Drake will raid a prosperous village for the gold they can hear singing. They may also lead several drakes in as well for the dubious promise of some of the treasure. Most often, they will ignore jewels and other precious metals, leaving them for the drakes if they are in a good mood. Otherwise, they will eat them. The gold is only thing they are really interested in. Many tales come to the conclusion: Never, absolutely never, trust a Gold Drake!

Gold Drakes live in nests created from animals, bones, twigs, and leaves. The Gold Drakes are a solitary race, mainly because if gold were possessed by another that they could hear singing, they would fall into a frenzy and kill each other. The race would exterminate itself.
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Diet. Gold Drakes eat only meat, either that of another dragon or drake when they kill one or deer and other predatory mammals. Birds do not have enough substance to make killing one worth the time.
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Mating. Gold Drakes gather harems of up to five females. The females, a little less greedy, pick petty fights among themselves, but never go so far as to kill their mate and take the gold. Mating never takes place at any particular time. If one doesnít feel the temperature, timing really doesnít matter. Mating is also quick and takes place without ceremony. They dance and call to the females only when choosing another one for their harem.

The females lay up to six eggs at a time and are egg bearing for many years, often they die still able to bear young. The Gold Drakes can survive up to five hundred years, unlike their cousins who can live many more. Their gathered treasure is available for the taking after their death. Most often, only two of the eggs hatch. If it is male, it is pushed from the nest at less than a year to begin to make his own nest and to gather his harem when he is an adult in one year. Females are kept within the nest for five years. She is then free to choose a mate.
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Myth/Lore. Several legends include battles in the air led by Gold Drakes. While they cannot lead huge groups of drakes and are not willing to fight with other males of its kind, six adult dragons (one male, five female) and possible semi-adult females are enough to scare horses and humans alike. It is also well known that many of the humans who hired the Gold Drakes have fallen to them in the end.
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