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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