THE SUNSET DRAGON ("LASTFLAME DRAGON")

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

The Sunset Dragon or "Lastflame Dragon" is closely related to the now extinct Injèrá Dragon. Like the Injèrá Dragon, it draws strength from the sun, shares the Injèrá Dragon’s vibrant gold and red colourings, and is one of the very few dragons that give birth to live young. Unlike the Injèrá  Dragon, it does not depend solely on the sun for its strength, but does require the light of the sun for the ability to blow fire and use its wind magic. It also lacks the distinctive unicorn-like horn that the Injèrá Dragon bore, and has streaks of purple throughout its colouring. The Sunset Dragon's name is derived from its colouring, and that it prefers to play its unique pipe music in the evening hours near sunset.

Appearance. The Sunset Dragon averages about 17 peds in length, and a large portion of that being its long, spiked tail; the record length of the oldest known Sunset Dragon was 24 peds and 2 fores total. This large spike on the end of its tail is often used for boring holes into the glass pipes it makes for it for its wind orchestras; it is also used as an effective weapon. The dragon has weak and fragile looking front claws, which are actually quite strong and nimble with soft but heat resistant folds of flesh which act like pads, and it uses these front claws to roll the hot sand of the desert it melts with its fiery breath to make glass pipes. The Sunset Dragon’s hind feet are strong and well muscled, providing a sure grip and balance on the rocky slopes of its home.

Its three jointed wings are purplish-blue and give good stability in flight, having a wing span of nearly 12 peds; when the Sunset Dragon gets high enough, it prefers to glide on the winds rather than actually fly, and it is believed that it is the dark wings of the dragon that absorb the sun's rays to give it the necessary strength to blow fire and create the breezes for its wind orchestra. Their scales are like plates, resembling fish scales, and coloured in reds and gold, shot through with streaks of purple and dark blue. Return to the top

Special Abilities. The Sunset Dragon, like many of its cousins, can fly and blow fire; it also has moderate, but finely tuned control of wind magic, allowing it to create and control breezes in the mountain caves of its home, to play the music of their huge, complex system of pipes and glass tubes scattered through and near their caves, so that their halls are ever filled with a humming and playing. They can learn to understand other languages fairly easily, but it takes a long time for them to learn how to speak other languages, though it is not impossible. Their own language sounds like a complex mixture of normal animal and dragon sounds, including snarls, grunts and roars. But they can also reproduce a mixture of hoots, squeals and whistles; older dragons can usually speak several languages, but younger ones simply haven’t had the interaction with other species or the time to practice any language but their own.

Glass Making for Musical Wind Orchestras. The Sunset Dragons are famous for their glass making techniques, which we'll try to explain here in detail. What might seem strange and unbelievable for those who haven't seen a Sunset Dragon perform his glass making with such incredible precision, is indeed the result of centuries long, yes even millenia long, practise of a half- sentient beast.

The dragons must first make a bed of rock, like a long rectangular pan, to roll the glass in. When the bed has been made, the dragon then places a rod of some kind onto the bed - the rod can be a stalaglite, or if the dragon is fortunate, of metal, though this must somehow be procured from one of the surrounding tribes or races on the continent (and indeed there exists such cooperations of beast and men!). Sand is then placed into the pan around and under the rod. Then, using its nimble front claws, the dragon rolls the rod in the sand and begins to gently blow fire onto the sand, melting it into glass. As the Dragon spins the rod and melting glass, if the process is done properly, the hot glass will take and elgonated shape, forming into a pipe as it spreads up the rod; during this time, the dragon makes the necessary holes for different notes with its tail.

Then the delicate part comes: the dragon must cool the glass with wind magic, while slowly and gently removing the rod-this is very difficult, but the desired effect can be achieved with practice, though it is common for the pipes to have an extremely narrow and twisted upper end where rod has been removed during the cooling-often, this end is placed in the ceiling of the cave.

Because every rod and every dragon is different, no two pipes are alike, so over the years, the pipes in the orchestras will continue to vary, making an ever-different melody as the years pass...
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Territory. Sunset Dragons can be found making their homes in the caves of the western mountains of Therrein Nermarem of Nybelmar. Sometimes they move to the desert to make new pipes and tubes of glass for their music making, as the old ones often wear out or may break by accidents, ranging anywhere from careless when navigating their caves to minor cave ins, or young dragons practicing playing the music and making too strong a breeze.
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Habitat/Behaviour. These dragons are peaceful by nature, but not beyond provocation, as history has shown. Sunset Dragons have what could be considered an advanced culture for dragons, one might even interpret them as sentient life-forms with a quasi-governmental organizátion within a clan.

It is know for example that when neccessary, the oldest male dragon will settle disputes between two parties, though this happens only on rare occasions. This 'patriarch' as the Korweynites use to call the oldest male dragon with the most power, also acts as a sort of ambassador to other intelligent species and races outside their territory; the rest of the dragons are shown an amount of respect by their understanding of languages and their proficiency at making music.

Sunset Dragons however rarely leave their homes except to go into the desert for glass making or to hunt. While males act as hunters and guards, females care for the young and the cave, and will usually play the unique music in the caves, which can sometimes be heard for miles.

It seems as well that the Sunset Dragons have adopted the Korweynite worldview as their own in relation to the Vardynnian Atonement (see Myth/Lore).
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Diet. Sunset Dragons can survive on surprisingly little food, so long as they have ready access to the
sun. If it becomes overcast or if they lose sight of the sun for long periods, they need greater amounts of food, preferably meat of some kind. They can also eat grubs, woody plants, and have a taste for eggs-particularly demon drake eggs; they will never pass up demon drake eggs if they find them, as they are considered a delicacy. They will also never eat sentient creatures, as they consider this cannibalism. Return to the top

Mating. The Sunset Dragon is one of the few dragons that give birth to live young. An average male can mate at the age of 75 years, though some have been known to enter the mating time around 60; females must wait till they are 90, as they take more time to mature. Males win females by showing their ability to hunt, to be good providers; to understand languages, so that their position on the social ladder can be assured; and their ability to make the glass pipes for the music that they love so dearly.

After a female has been suitably impressed by the male’s abilities, they mate for the first time, and the pair stays together for life. There is no particular season for mating, but the female must wait at least five years between each birth, and gives birth only to one offspring at a time. The pregnancy lasts three years, and the young do not leave the care of their parents until they are 50 or more years of age; during this time they learn to hunt and make glass tubes.
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Myth/Lore. The Korwynites tell an adventurous story on how the Sunset Dragon came to Therrein Nermarem and how they developed their love for music and their glass making abilities. The following tales are recounted in the "Book of Our Past", written by the Korweynite historian Cyrros the Blind:

It is supposed that the Sunset Dragon once used to live in the Dragons Maw, a part of the Tandala Mountains in Sarvonia, until after the Dragonstorm. However, as is told, not every Sunset Dragon participated in the Dragonstorm, and those who did were stranded in the wilderness without a sufficient supply of food when the sun was hidden during the time of the so-called Vardynnian Atonement. When the Atonement ended, rumour has it that the oldest surviving dragon who had not participated in the Dragonstorm led his fellow dragons away from the Maw, intending to leave the memory of those painful times behind. After much traveling southwest, they found the mountainous region in west Nybelmar, and here they made their new home. It was at this time the dragons established their simple form of government, and they abandoned their faith in the old gods.

After several centuries they managed to found a small but thriving community in the mountains, it was at this time they met their first human on the continent, when one of the dragons flew farther east exploring, he saw a young woman. She was a Korwynite; what’s more, she was a musician. She played a flute quite well, and it was because of her music that the dragon took notice of her. He tried to communicate with the woman, and when he couldn’t he took her to their caves (a flight of almost two days, and rather frightening at first for her) and tried to show their genuine interest in her music. She came to understand what it was they were so interested in, and so she played for them often and struggled to communicate with them. After several weeks they had managed to work out a way to ‘talk’, mostly through a rough form of sign language. They wanted to know how to make music, but the human was unsure how to teach them; after all, they were dragons!

The old dragon who had first led his fellow dragons to Nybelmar, took her back to the Empire and began to learn about their culture, and the odd sounds they called music. It was during this time he heard about the god of the sky the Korweynites worshipped, who they called "Inthadin". He remembered the Atonement, and decided that it had been Inthadin’s will so that the dragons would leave the Tandala Highlands and come to Nybelmar, and he took the Korweynite religion for his own; when he returned to the mountains, he persuaded many of the others to his viewpoint. During his time in the Empire however, he learned many things, including the rudimentary ingredients and process to making glass. After he returned to his fellow dragons, he took some of them into the desert, and there they taught themselves how to make the glass pipes and tubes to make the music for which they are now famous for. They returned with the tubes and pipes and made their first orchestra, and over the years perfected the process.

The dragons grew and prospered, and as time went on their musical performances became greater and more complex. And during this thriving period, a young dragon, who was of mating age, decided to impress a female with a daring deed; he invaded the nests of demon drakes being raised by the Orcristh, the dark-skinned orcs. He succeeded, but was nevertheless caught in the act. Not only that, but he boasted to his fellow dragons later what he had done.

The old patriarch was very disturbed by this act, and took the young dragon back to the Orcristh orcs of Orcal to make amends. But even as the old dragon was imparting an apology to the orcs, a fight broke out between the younger dragon and some of the orcs. Very shortly it was out of control, and the old and young dragons were soon fighting for their lives. The Orcristh turned their much smaller demon drakes loose on the dragons, and even started to blast them with fire magic. It was a foolish mistake, as the Sunset Dragons fought fire with fire; and the Patriarch was very old, and his command over wind magic after so many years was nothing to laugh at. Nevertheless, despite the damage the two of them inflicted on the orcs, the Patriarch was overwhelmed and killed. The younger dragon fled, and related to the other dragons what had happened. Ever since then an unofficial ‘war’ has existed between the Sunset Dragons and the Orcristh, and it shows no signs of abating. They don’t campaign against each other in any direct sense, but if the opportunity presents itself, neither side hesitates to attack the other; and ironically, stealing drake eggs from the orcs is now accepted and even praised… exactly the very thing the old dragon had been trying to avoid.
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