Exercise #25: Regarding Dragons

Red dragon

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Exercise 25 Instructions

euxloor /ū’ lōr/ n, pl. euxloor: the organs in a dragon’s mouth responsible for production of its fiery breath.

The challenge of learning the ways of dragons has often fallen to female dracologists of noble blood. It was dracologist and arch-wizard, Lady Zinnathyra Urthadar, a human, who was the first of the so-called “civilized races” to brave, unarmed, the mountainous terrain that is the favorite haunt of draco horribilis, the ferocious dragon.

“Initially,” writes Lady Zinnathyra, “I chose to visit the crimson dragon known as Nathgar the Feared. I was admitted solely on the basis of my noble blood, which Nathgar was surprisingly capable of explaining to me in the common tongue. I concealed my true purpose of learning draconic anatomy and, instead, pretended a simple curiosity, since the experiences of previous dracologists has proven that the older dragons become, the more suspicious they are of those they term ‘the little peoples’.”

Following a year of service, during which time Lady Zinnathyra undertook many of the tasks humans ordinarily allocate to servants and menial laborers, such as cleaning Nathgar’s cave and caring for his body, she finally gained his trust and was able to question him.

Her first discovery was that dragons are not, as has been believed, fire-proof. They are extremely flame resistant, naturally, but they will burn if the flame is hot enough. The only flame known to be that hot is, of course, dragon fire.

Lady Zinnathyra also learned that dragons are immune to all poisons, both known and unknown. According to information gained from the dragon Nathgar, dragons metabolize all the unused chemicals, proteins and sugars in their bodies within small organs called euxloor, located in the dragon’s cheeks, into a chemical that bursts into flame on contact with the air. Special ducts, which only unseal themselves when the dragon’s mouth is completely open, convey this chemical to the mouth where it is exhaled, producing the dragon’s famous breath weapon. This property may also be the reason dragon’s blood has been found to be so valuable in the alchemical field.

She learned, further, that, though reptilian, dragons do not, as was previously believed, shed their skins similar to snakes. Their scales fall out and are renewed over time as they wear out, akin to the way that skin cells replenish themselves in mammals. Their teeth are also renewed in this way, similar to those of sharks, as they wear out. This, of course, is understandable, given that dragons are carnivorous.

The Princess Eilvyre of Oneimeth, an elf, was able to further the work of Lady Zinnathyra when she was inadvertently kidnapped by the dragon known as Rosqumas the Red. It was she who discovered something of the illnesses some dragons suffer from as they age. Younger dragons, highly vigorous, are rarely sick. However, as dragons grow older, their bodies begin to wear out. Eilvyre learned that elderly dragons, which are those over a thousand years old, commonly tend to suffer from overheating, a result of the loosening of the muscles sealing the euxloor ducts. Strangely enough, dragons can also suffer from hypothermia in their later years, a condition that can commonly lead to scale rot and other uncomfortable ailments.

Shortly after this, Princess Eilvyre was rescued by the famed half-elven adventurer, Fruros Gellantara, also known as Fruros the Seeker, who was slain when Princess Eilvyre was kidnapped a second time, this time by Gefima the Long. During her stay with Gefima, Princess Eilvyre learned much about draconic mating practices when, a year later, Gefima passed into her five hundredth year and entered her time of fertility. Following her mating flight with another dragon, known as Dusk Stormflight, Gefima and her new-found mate settled in her cave and the two of them built a nest of rocks and rubbed off dragon scales. Then Gefima climbed into the depression this created and, over the next week, laid a total of four eggs. It was here that Eilvyre learned that newly-laid dragon eggs have soft shells. These hardened quickly, however, as Gefima and Dusk took turns breathing fire on them. It was Eilvyre’s hypothesis that the euxloor of dragons contain nerve endings that allow the dragon to control the temperature of his or her flame. It was later learned that Eilvyre proved this hypothesis the hard way when, eighteen months later, the eggs that remained hatched and, at a loss for meat, Dusk and Gefima slew and roasted her in one of the extremely rare, but highly romanticized, instances of dragons eating princesses or, in this case, feeding one to their hatchlings. Her diaries, which proved highly instructive, were later discovered by an itinerant minstrel.

“When Gefima had laid her eggs,” Eilvyre wrote, “I noticed that they were roughly the same size as the eggs of an ostrich, though more oval in shape. Each of these had shiny golden shells, which may explain the predilection of older dragons for hoarding gold and other valuables. The dragons alternately croon to and breath fire on their eggs, heating both the eggs and the bed of rocks and scales that is their cradle. Following six months of gestation, we awoke to find that two of the eggs had lost their luster. Dusk casually removed these. I never learned what he did with them, but I must conclude that these eggs had become nonviable.”

It was Therlyassa Battlefate, one of the few known dwarven princesses and a consummate dracologist, who learned some of the most crucial information about dragons to date. While exploring with a company of adventurers, Therlyassa and her companions stumbled onto a large cave filled with various treasures. Unfortunately, while they were helping themselves the cave’s occupant, one Iricefi Duskhoard, a notoriously unforgiving dragon, slew and ate all of the interlopers with the exception of Therlyassa, who, until that time, had despised her royal blood.

“I was surprised,” Therlyassa told us, “to discover that Iricefi kept some things not normally considered treasure. She had some ordinary suits of armor, in various stages of completion, a number of glass bottles and about ten ordinary mirrors varying in size from hand mirrors all the way to a full-length mirror framed in teak. Among her collection of gemstones, I also found a number of less valuable rocks, such as quartz crystal and obsidian. Iricefi obviously knew these were less valuable, but continued to treasure them all the same. Then, while cleaning her cave, I found another surprise. On a shelf of rock, elevated above the rest of the hoard and, apparently, carefully preserved, I found half of a large, empty egg shell whose outside was pearly white and had obviously been polished often. When I saw that, I decided I would return home and teach my people to respect dragons.” Therlyassa later escaped her captor in one of the only recorded accounts of a self-rescuing princess.

Thanks to the efforts of these brave and noble dracologists, the communities of dragon-lovers and -haters alike has much to be thankful for. So, to them, we extend our gratitude. We are sure they live on through the pages of their work.

This whole story is meant to be more or less tongue in cheek. It’s another exercise involving creating a definition for another nonsense word, similar to exercise #13 (gasalphot). I actually had a little fun with this one because my daughter and I had just been discussing this same subject. It was fun adding a little bit of fictional history to it.


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