THE RED DRAKE ("JUVENILE BLACK DRAKE")

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

Red Drakes are young Black Drakes; they will transform into black colour once they reach maturity. Red Drakes have very unstable personalities and are apt to attack on the slightest whim. They have a moderate command of fire magic, but are not usually in control of it.

Appearance. As its name implies, the Red Drake is a blood-red-coloured drake. It has a smooth, bald looking skull, with no noticeable horns or bumps to be seen, with a smooth snout and jaw line. Its front fangs protrude noticeably from the drake’s upper lip, measuring a palm span or more from where they are visible. It has no other extraordinary marks; no horns, rough scales, spikes, or any other such decoration; what it does have however is very smooth skin, not as tough as most drakes, but thick, with a noticeable fat layer beneath it.

The drake has two hind legs with three claws and a dewclaw to each foot, but no fore feet. The Red Drake has a pair of fully functional wings, but when it flies it is slow moving and has an obvious lack of grace in the air, being incapable of quick turns or maneuvers. This lack of flying ability seems to be attributed more to slow wit and reflexes rather than physical handicaps. The drake has a pair of unusually large eyes, with a yellow green iris and darker green pupil. The overall size of the beast measures four to five peds including the tail, and about two peds to the shoulder when the drake stands with a wingspan of up to 4 peds; an unimpressive, unassuming looking drake.
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Special Abilities. The Red Drake can breathe fire, has a simple command of fire magic, and is also capable of flying. This drake also has a noticeable ability like no other: when it reaches two hundred years of age, it goes through what some learned minds call ‘incomplete metamorphosis’. For those of simpler education, this means that it changes almost completely in form. The Red Drake gorges itself on carrion and dead flesh, then finds a cave or secluded cleft out of sight, and when it emerges four weeks later, the change is awe inspiring: gone is the smooth red skin and simple looking body; in its place are hard black shining scales, a set of horns that look like rams' horns curl near its face, the fangs have curled back towards its neck, the eyes are now shot through with blue and green, the feet number four with four claws per foot and it has lost its dewclaw; it has a row of heavy spikes on the tail which it can wield like a club; and it has lost nearly two peds in its overall length, making it about three to three-and-a-half peds long. The Black Drake shares its fellow drakes' grace in flight, and it is quick and intelligent, though not sentient. For a more thorough overview of the Black Drake, see the entry under ‘Lesser Drakes’. Return to the top

Territory. Red Drakes can be found on the Sarvonian continent at the Tandala Highlands for the most part, near or in the Dragons Maw, but also in northwestern parts of the continent like the Shaddhar or the Domchor Mountains at the Peninsula of Aden. Red Drakes have also been spotted at the Vindel Mountain range near the Chapel Fjord.
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Habitat/Behaviour. A Red Drake is mean and fierce and attacks on the smallest whim, but is not hard to escape and therefore not very dangerous.

The Red Drakes prefers cool and dry climates, but needs a regular supply of food and water through the first two hundred years of its life. In the last weeks before its transformation, it consumes huge quantities of flesh. They are not above cannibalism, especially as they draw close to their hibernation and growth change. Weaker dragons will sometimes be attacked and eaten by the Red Drakes in their search for food; as such very young Red Drakes and drakes in general have to be careful to avoid being sought out as prey.

When the time for hibernation comes, the drake will seek out a warm but secluded cave or cleft, where it curls up like a tightly coiled snake and begins its rest. The dragon will turn and toss often during the process, and in these four weeks the features of the Black Dragon emerge as the fat the Red Drrake has built up is used over the month long change. Several transforming drakes may nest together during the process, and it is interesting to note that Red and Black Drakes, while willing to eat their own kind at any other time, will never bother-and even defend-hibernating Red Drakes. See entry under ‘Researchers’.
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Diet. Red Drakes usually feast on carrion, or any prey they might catch, including their own kind, horned drakes, or any other beastie they might lay their claws on. Usually they eat carrion however, sometimes joining in the kill of other, more powerful dragons, as catching live prey is a difficult task for them.
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Mating. The Red Drake is hatched from the dark brown egg of the Black Drake. The young Red will stay with its parents for two months, and then it is on its own. A clutch of Red/Black
drake eggs usually number five to seven. Red Drakes don't reproduce before they go through their metamorphosis and reach adulthood, which happens not before their 200th cycle. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. There exist many tales surrounding this Dragon, a fact to which was greatly added to by the compilation "Dragonmyths". MoThergerim Taalst of it was dispelled however when after several years and attempts at research, the entries in "Dragonmyths" were proven true. However, it is believed that the Red/Black Drakes were bred for evil mages during the War of the Chosen. For more information see the sections Myth/Lore and Researchers of the Black Drake, and Researchers below.
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Researchers. The following entry comes from pages 23-25 of "Dragonmyths", a dusty old book believed to have been written by a dwarf named Runsek "Sparkaxe" Thuthrum, a drake-slayer that turned to research; like many of the entries of this book, it appears to be some sort of journal entry, written in Thergerim Taal.

"I had seen the Red Drake up ahead, moving slowly and sluggishly, and knew my chance to disprove the old man's myth about a magically transformed dragon was in my grasp. He had said that the Red Drake changed and became something more dangerous and more horrible, hunters with needle-like fangs and rams' horns. The old man was crazy, I knew it: or so I thought. I am merely glad I took Skull Crusher.

I had followed the drake for days, though I would have preferred to have left this land as soon as possible. The red drake I was following was getting fatter everyday, and there seemed no end to his voracious appetite. I have never seen something that could eat this much. It ate anything from grubs under a rock to gnawed old bones.

After nearly five days of this, it took a slow and clumsy flight or glide as it only beat its wings once in a while, to the west for some strals. It moved slowly enough for me to follow, though I kept low and out of sight so as not to be seen by it or any other dragons in the area. After hours of flight - which were more tiring than anything I had done for a long time, as I was on the ground dodging about like a rabbit - it landed next to two huge boulders that seemed to form some sort of arch, with a cliff as a backing; the result was something like an opened roofed cave. After it had crawled between the two boulders and disappeared, I sought out a path so I could reach the boulders without being seen. I crawled, dodged, and maneuvered my way after nearly six or seven hours to the boulders, then scrambled atop of one, so I could look right into the little hollow.

What I saw mystified me to the end of my days; there were five drakes below me, including the one I had been tracking, all spread and coiled and in some cases knotted together in a mass of flesh and scales. Two were Red Drakes; two others had horns, black scales, and four legs feet.

Black Dragons, I realized. The fifth dragon confirmed my growing suspicions; it was a dull black with small scales, two very short horns were growing out of its head, and two fore… well, stumps protruded from the front of its body. It slept alone, but of course, it had no one to sleep with.

I watched them for two days, during which time I saw the signs of maturation beginning on the red pair, and the final stages of growth on the black pair.

At the end of two days, the black pair suddenly awoke. They unwound themselves with a great difficulty, it took nearly an hour, and one of them left immediately. The other stayed behind, nudging the others, but not doing anything to unduly disturb them.

That’s when a pebble fell into the silent little enclave, and I was seen. With a roar the Black Drake came flying up out of the top-by this time I had long since jumped down and was running helter-skelter for the hills. I heard it struggle out of the cleft in a monstrous fury, and I had to turn and fight. My shield held back the fiercest flames as I hid behind a large rock, and when an opportunity showed itself I threw Skull Crusher at its head. The beast fell to the earth in a heap, but before I could recover my axe, several Red Drakes, hearing the sound of battle and smelling the blood, had come flying down and began feasting on the carcass. I fled before I was noticed again. And that is how I lost my axe, and a big pouch of gold to an old man over a foolish bet. "

-- "Dragonmyths" by Runsek "Sparkaxe" Thuthrum, p. 23-25.
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