Archive | January 21, 2012

Encyclopedia Draconis – A Survey of Reproduction Methods in Dragons Next Door – Dragons

This is the comment perk from the December Giraffe Call, a setting piece on Dragons next Door.

A Survey of Reproduction Methods

When humanity lived apart from the other sentient races of earth, and spent most of its time encountering creatures only on its particular branch of the evolutionary tree, the study of reproduction was a much simpler, more limited thing.

As the magical races, the hidden peoples, and the Secret Ones came out from the shadows and began interacting more and more frequently with humanity, in some situations living next door to them, shopping in the same places, and going to the same schools, human scientists became, as humans are wont to do, curious. Working with the scholars of many of the older races (once they discovered that many of these races had scholars, which took some time), the human leads at Johns Talbot University have begun this Survey of Reproduction Methods.

Part One: Dragons

Possibly the most interesting of the non-human reproduction methods, the dragons, dracon sapiens, have developed a system depending entirely on a second species.

This symbiotic relationship took a great deal of time to explain to scientists of Johns Talbot, who at first believed that the dragons they were speaking with were talking in euphemism – “the stork does it,” is, after all, too close to the human myth we tell our children.

Dragons are, it appears, mono-sexual; all dragons have the same reproductive equipment, both having the ability to lay an egg and the ability to lay the smaller fertilizing seed. It appears that, according to some fossil record recently found, there may have been a time when these two could combine on their own.

The dragons do not speak of such a time, nor do they know how it came to be that their seed and egg would not join on their own. However, the process of fertilization is very well known to them, and that, they are willing to speak of.

A bonded pair of dragons will agree to have a child. One of them will lay an egg, placing it in a specially-prepared bed of gravel (in nesting places outside of their ancestral lands, they will have this particular type and color (coral-red) gravel trucked in for their egg beds). The egg is about the size and shape of an emu egg, although the shell is very thin. The other will place a much smaller seed-egg in the same bed.

Left to their own devices, neither will ripen or join. But with the assistance of a creature they call a stork, which is about one and a half times the size of the storks normally known to humankind and only nominally similar in appearance, the two become one and ripen. The stork places both egg and seed in its brood pouch (similar to a seahorse’s), along with its own eggs. An enzyme in the eggshell reacts with an enzyme in the pouch, and both the stork’s eggs and the dragon’s come to maturity.

Needless to say, the dragons protect the storks fiercely, sheltering them and treating them as sacred animals. Woe to the predator who attacks one!

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What do you want to know about my settings? [DragonsNextDoor, Stranded, Reiassan]

Okay! So the next thing on my list of things to write this weekend is a setting piece.

Dragons next Door won the setting-piece poll (Dreamwidth) by a landslide, 7 to 4 vote each for the 2 runners-up.

So I’ll be writting a page of Encyclopedia Draconica this evening.

And then a piece of Encyclopedia Stranded Or Reiassan.

What would you like to know about these settings?

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Tea with /HER/, a continuation for the Giraffe Call, Tir na Cali (@DaHob)

For @daHob’s prompt, in continuation of yesterday’s installement: Tea with HER (beginning) (LJ)

Tir na Cali has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

In today’s installment, our plucky protagonist and her slave get names!

“I should hope he does. I don’t act with the intent of being forgotten.”

I chewed on my lip, and then, immediately, stopped myself. That was a girl’s habit, a childish trait. He’d helped me break myself of it – why was it coming up now? I could see in her eyes that she’d noticed, however, and judged me for it.

“You are, I’d agree, quite unforgettable.” The audacious words were out of my mouth; again, my voice was working without having asked my common sense what I should do. That wasn’t her power, was it? I struggled to recall, and couldn’t. If so, what a masterful use!

But she was smiling. “You have some spark in you, don’t you? I like that.” She gestured, cutting off my objection: she’d snuffed the spark out of him long before she’d discarded him. “Slaves are slaves. A woman who will be ruling part of my territory, that’s a different matter. Do you think we can get along, Treanna?”

“I believe we can work together, your Ladyship.” There, now my brain and my vocal chords were working together. “I believe I can serve very well under you.” Wait, what? Was I flirting with my liege lady? I hated her! I didn’t want to flirt with her!

But her smile was growing. “I believe you would. However, as you’ve noted, when someone serves under me, there is rather less of them to enjoy when I am done. That’s why I sold him, you know.”

“I’m sorry?” I blinked, trying to change gears. What was she doing to me, this Ice Queen? “You sold Michael because…”

“There is a length of time one can serve under me. I kept him longer than I’d intended; he serves so beautifully, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, and he is, himself, so flawless.”

Except the brand. But for her, that, too, could have been part of his perfection. “He is a beautiful man, and a wonderful servant,” I agreed, perhaps more warmly than I should have – but I was in love with him, so painfully so. “But he will not love me.”

“Not will not,” she sighed. “Cannot. I had hoped that, with enough time away, he might recover, but I’m not sure he will. Will he let you remove the brand?”

It should have been illegal, but he might have consented. Probably had consented. And would not consent to me having it smoothed from his skin. “No, your Ladyship.”

She sighed again, deeper. “Well, then, sadly, there is our answer. He doesn’t fail to love you, Treanna, because you are not a beautiful young lady – although you are very young – but because he cannot stop loving me.”

“Can’t you stop it?” I almost wailed. Later, I’d remember this with mortification and humiliation, but being around the Ice Queen opened all of your stops, eliminated all of your self-control. “Can’t you make him love me?”

She shook her head slowly, looking almost sympathetic. I hadn’t thought she had an emotion like sympathy in her. “No. No, I cannot. But I can tell you this. In a year, you will look at him, and you will know that, as much as you love him, you can’t keep him anymore. You can’t look at that face, that face that knows all of your youthful silliness, any longer.” She held up a hand. “I know this, Treanna, because, believe it or not, I was nineteen once, myself. And when this happens… come to me again, and we will talk.” She sipped her tea, her eyes smirking at me. “I’ll enjoy it.”

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For flofx‘s prompt, with information from this site.

I do not know how to protect my church from this.

I have been protecting this land for centuries, since they buried me at the front gate of the church-yard. I have warned them of trouble, frightened off vandals, and, on more than one occasion, reminded the good people of the town that there were things beyond the mundane.

I was a lamb, once. Once long before this existence. I can remember, vaguely, the warmth of my mother, the green of the grass, the sweetness of milk. And then there was the dirt, and then this life, this non-life existence, protecting this land.

I was the first buried here, or at least, the first buried in the hallowed ground here. Others who came before me, animals and human, were chased off, pushed off, by the blessing of the land, only their physical remains staying to sweeten the ground and grow the daisies. But others came, human and animal, some lingering, some moving on quickly.

They are all gone, too, every one of them. Nothing but a chipmunk has been buried in my ground in more years than I have ways to count. The people don’t come as often, either, nor as many, to pay homage to the dead, to remember those that have gone. It is harder and harder to make them know me, to chase off thieves and vandals.

And now… now this problem is bigger than I am. Now, this land which has only me and the old priest to protect it is being encroached upon. The city has gotten bigger and bigger, growing from a small town to a behemoth. It has pushed at the edges before, toppling the old stone wall, but always before we could hold it back, him and I. Always before there were others to help.

Now they would dig up the church-yard, they have already begun to dig, to move the remains to cold crypts, to make room for their new building. Now they would take the land from me, and me from the land, and what will i do? Guard a landfill? I am too much of this place to leave it. I am too proud to let them ruin my churchyard.

They say, those who buried me, that one must be buried alive to serve this way. And they have dug such a deep hole, there by the first of the graves. If they could see me, if they could be frightened enough by me…

…then the priest and I would have another to protect the land with us.

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