The Midgaheim Bestiary: The Grand Dragons

1 GD Scale Chart

The Grand Dragons.  Left to right: the Grand Ashen Dragon, the Regal Mountain Dragon, the Gilded Dragon, the Briar Butcher Dragon, the Green Bellied Mountain Dragon, the Cervine Cloud Dragon, the Viridian King Dragon, Sir George’s Coca Dragon, the Diamond Regent Dragon, and Queen Claire’s Dragon

Members of the Greater Drake dragon clade, the Grand Dragons are so named because of their exceptional size, strength, and lifespans.  They rank among the largest and most powerful creatures on Midgaheim, which is no mean feat.  Thankfully for the other creatures on the continent, they are incredibly rare.

While the different families of Greater Drakes are mostly divided by the number of struts or “ribs” their wings sport, the Grand Dragons are also distinguished from their kin by their unique life cycle.  Grand Dragons spend the first sixty years of their lives growing at a a rapid pace, particularly in the final twenty years.  While this is a slightly long adolescence by dragon standards, it wouldn’t be unusual on its own.  After this a Grand Dragon’s growth slows to the point of being barely noticeable, again, much like other dragons.  However, something changes once they reach their second century of life.  Upon this milestone, a Grand Dragon will go into a full fledged hibernation – not the torpor many dragons experience during winter.  They will rest for dozens of years, all while their body grows at a rapid pace once more.  Upon completing this second adolescence, Grand Dragons not only become truly immense, but are so attuned to magic that they no longer have need for eating, drinking, or most other fundamental needs of life, as they subsist entirely on magic itself.

Despite their immense power, most Grand Dragons spend this part of their life in almost complete solitude, rarely ever leaving their lairs until the day they finally die.  Knowledge of this strange second adolescence remained obscured for a long time as a result, with many members of the Grand Dragon family being known only by their immature forms (and thus paling in comparison to more infamously powerful families, such as the Great Dragons or the Scourge Dragons).  The existence of these massive dragons was debated for a long time among scholars of Arcane creatures, and by the end of the Lost Epoch only ten species of the family were recorded to be part of this mysterious yet powerful family of serpents.

 

2 Green Bellied Mountain Dragon

A Green Bellied Mountain Dragon, a member of the Grand Dragon family.

Green Bellied Mountain Dragon

  • Average Adult Length: 400 feet
  • Average Adult Wingspan: 700 Feet
  • Largest Specimen: 444 feet long, 820 foot wingspan
  • Average Lifespan: 600 years
  • Homeland: Bretonc
  • Additional Facts:  Perhaps the most common of the Grand Dragons, there have been multiple recorded sightings of immature Green Bellied Mountain Dragons, with more than a few specimens being documented in great detail.  Ironically, a fully matured specimen was not found for a long time, even after the true nature of Grand Dragons was discovered and dragon scholars began organizing dragons into families based on their number of wing struts.  As a result, the taxonomic placement of “green bellies” was a matter of some dispute, as though they had the same number and arrangement of wing struts as other Grand Dragons, they weren’t known to go through a second adolescence (which had by this point become the defining aspect of the family).  Eventually a suitably enormous and long lived specimen was discovered, putting an end to the debate.
    Though not the largest or most visually flashy member of the family, green bellies have proportionally larger and more muscular legs than other Grand Dragons, which makes them faster on land than any other species in the family.  The webbing on their legs also makes them fairly decent swimmers, making them a fairly versatile dragon all things considered.
Virdian King Dragon

A Viridian King Dragon, a member of the Grand Dragon family.

Viridian King Dragon

  • Average Adult Length: 350 feet
  • Average Adult Wingspan: 650 feet
  • Largest Specimen: 480 feet long, 840 foot wingspan
  • Average Lifespan: 500 years
  • Homeland: Celpict
  • Summary: Found on the mountainous islands of Celpict, Viridian King Dragons may be on the small end of the Grand Dragon family, but they make up for it in sheer tenacity and aggression.  The many spikes on their bodies, large fangs in their jaws, and their strong jaw muscles make them formidable fighters.  One spectacular account of a Viridian King Dragon details its death struggle with a Stoorworm, itself one of the largest guivres to stalk the seas around Midgaheim.  Despite being one third of the sea dragon’s size, the Viridian King Dragon won the mortal duel and survived for another fifty years before finally succumbing to a wound sustained in the struggle.
Gilded Dragon Main

A Gilded Dragon, a member of the Grand Dragon Family.

Gilded Dragon

  • Average Adult Length: 550 feet
  • Average Adult Wingspan: 1000 feet
  • Largest Specimen: 790 feet long, 1460 foot wingspan
  • Average Lifespan: 800 years
  • Homeland: Bretonc
  • Summary:  One of the first Grand Dragons discovered, the earliest record of a Gilded Dragon sighting is a folktale where one rampaged throughout the country of Bretonc after its lair had been invaded, only to be brought down by a humble bard wielding a charred yet still lethal arrow.   The size of the bast in the folktale was believed to be standard artistic hyperbole until another fully mature specimen was discovered centuries later.  Like Green Bellied Mountain Dragons, there are more recorded sightings of Gilded Dragons than is usual for Grand Dragons.  They have a far less sociable nature, however, and as a result most of the sightings don’t shed a lot of detail on the lives of these beautiful dragons.  Their hoards are reported to be particularly stellar by dragon standards, and their scales have more luster than most – hence, their name.
Regal Mountain Dragon

A Regal Mountain Dragon, a member of the Grand Dragon family.

Regal Mountain Dragon

  • Average Adult Length: 600 feet
  • Average Adult Wingspan: 1000 feet
  • Largest Specimen: 860 feet, 1540 foot wingspan
  • Average Lifespan: 800 years
  • Homeland: Francobreton
  • Summary:  The second largest of all the Grand Dragons, the Regal Mountain Dragon is not only considered one of the most powerful beasts in all of Midgaheim, but is held in high regard by the country of Francobreton, with some legends even claiming one of these beasts founded the country itself.  Four powerful magic swords were carved from the tail spade of one specimen and went on to become legends in their own right: Caliburn, Clarent, Durendal, and most famous of all, Excalibur.  Other specimens are famous among dragonkind as being notable philosophers, with one even being given the prized status of Philosopher King.  Among both humans and dragons alike, the Regal Mountain Dragon is considered to have more than earned its noble title.
Briar Butcher Dragon

A Briar Butcher Dragon, a member of the Grand Dragon family.

Briar Butcher Dragon

  • Average Adult Length: 560 feet
  • Average Adult Wingspan: 1000 feet
  • Largest Specimen: 660 feet long, 1200 foot wingspan
  • Average Lifespan: 600 years
  • Homeland: Celpict & Germanor
  • Summary:  While most Grand Dragons live in mountain caverns, where they can hibernate in relative peace without worrying about intrusions, the Briar Butcher Dragon instead creates its own safe haven by cultivating a garden of tough-skinned thorny vines.  Their thorny lairs can extend for a few miles, and the barbs on their protective vines are not only wickedly sharp, but drip with a highly toxic poison.  To navigate these mazes, the Briar Butcher dragon is armed with sharp claws and several clusters of articulated spikes which can cut through the brambles like scissors.
Cervine Cloud Dragon Main

A Cervine Cloud Dragon, a member of the Grand Dragon family.

Cervine Cloud Dragon pink variant

A Cervine Cloud Dragon with the rosy color morph.

Cervine Cloud Dragon

  • Average Adult Length: 650 feet
  • Average Adult Wingspan: 1000 feet
  • Largest Specimen: 1000 feet long, 1800 foot wingspan
  • Average Lifespan: 800 years
  • Homeland: Francane
  • Summary:  Though longer than most other Grand Dragons, the Cervine Cloud Dragon also has a thinner, lankier build than many of its kin.  As a result it’s more nimble than most of its enormous family members, though that flexibility comes at the expense of raw muscle.  The glittering, iridescent white scales of this species are particularly sought after, as are its ornate horns, though despite this very few dragonslayers have succeeded in hunting them.  Though technically on the small end of the family, one of the largest Grand Dragons on record was a Cervine Cloud Dragon.
Grand Diamond Dragon Blue

A Diamond Regent Dragon, a member of the Grand Dragon family.

Diamond Regent Dragon

  • Average Adult Length: 450 feet
  • Average Adult Wingspan: 600 feet
  • Largest Specimen: 510 feet long, 820 foot wingspan
  • Average Lifespan: 600 years
  • Homeland: Ruslovak
  • Summary:  One of the dragon biology texts was written by the conjurer Larsadi, who, being a conjurer, focused on the specific useful gems one could steal from dragon lairs, and organized dragons according to the most common gems found in their hoards as a result.  While this system of taxonomy fell out of favor over time, some dragon species retained their names from that system, and such is the case of Diamond Regent Dragons (originally just called Diamond Dragons).  Perhaps the most beautiful of the Grand Dragons, Diamond Regents are also known for their melodious calls (far less guttural than is common for dragon speech) and graceful flight patterns.  Though they are sometimes characterized as just being things of beauty, it should be known that the wrath of a Diamond Regent Dragon is horrible to behold.
Grand Ashen Dragon

A Grand Ashen Dragon, a member of the Grand Dragon family.

Grand Ashen Dragon

  • Average Adult Length: 800 feet
  • Average Adult Wingspan: 2000 feet
  • Largest Specimen: 1200 feet long, 3000 foot wingspan
  • Average Lifespan: 900 years
  • Homeland: Ruslovak
  • Summary: The largest of all Grand Dragons, the Grand Ashen Dragon’s wings are proportionally larger than any other member of its family.  The exact reasons for this aren’t entirely known, as the magic that allows Grand Dragons to fly removes the need for large wings (or, indeed, wings at all).  While their purpose is unknown, recorded sightings of Grand Ashen Dragons have made those massive wings quite famous, as the inherent drama of an obsidian dragon emerging from its mountain lair to blot out the sun with its enormous wings has been written about in great detail.  Size alone isn’t to blame for their notoriety, as Grand Ashen Dragons are also considered to be the most aggressive and violent member of the Grand Dragon family.  Indeed, there are more recorded attacks by Grand Ashen Dragons than there are of all the other Grand Dragons combined.  One rampage even roused the ire of another Grand Dragon – a Regal Mountain Dragon, to be specific.  Despite the size advantage, the Grand Ashen Dragon lost the battle, and was sent scurrying off to its lair in shame.
Queen Claire Dragon brown

Queen Claire’s Dragon, a member of the Grand Dragon family.

Queen Claire Dragon green

A Queen Claire’s Dragon with the green color morph.

Queen Claire’s Dragon

  • Average Adult Length: 380 feet
  • Average Adult Wingspan: 700 feet
  • Largest Specimen: 420 feet long, 780 foot wingspan
  • Average Lifespan: 400 years
  • Homeland: Castalan
  • Summary:  Smallest of the Grand Dragons, Queen Claire’s Dragon is still a force to be reckoned with.  Though not as common as Green Bellied Mountain Dragons, Queen Claire’s Dragon is by far the most well researched, as the specimen that the species was named after spent its entire lifespan in the care of a human kingdom, having been adopted by the royalty as an egg.  Though aggressive and independent in nature like all dragons, Queen Claire’s Dragon has been noted to have a high degree of emotional intelligence, as well as a greater tolerance for company than is normal for dragons.  A few specimens even allowed humans to build them armor and fought alongside human soldiers for the safety of their kingdoms, leading other human kingdoms to attempt to raise their own dragon soldiers in turn (often with far less success).
Sir George Coca Dragon

A Sir George’s Coca Dragon, a member of the Grand Dragon family.  This particular specimen is in fact the one for whom the species was named: Coca, the dragon who slew Sir George Garston I.

Sir George’s Coca Dragon

  • Average Adult Length: 450 feet
  • Average Adult Wingspan: 800 feet
  • Largest Specimen: 740 feet long, 1420 foot wingspan
  • Average Lifespan: 500 years
  • Homeland: Castalan
  • Summary:  The name of this particular dragon is still a matter of debate, as some claim it earned the right to simply be called the Coca Dragon.  The reason for this is that, unlike all other dragons who bear Sir George Garston I’s name, the Coca Dragon was not slain by the famous dragonslayer.  Indeed, the Coca Dragon is famous (or perhaps infamous) for being the only species of dragon to not only survive Sir George Garston’s slaying attempt, but to kill the famous dragonslayer himself.  The specimen who gives her name to the species, Coca, fought Sir George three times in her life.  The first scuffle occurred when both Coca and Sir George were in their teens, and despite being incredibly young by dragon standards, Coca won the fight, sparing Sir George out of childish precociousness.  Sir George won their second battle two decades later, cutting out Coca’s tongue and slashing off part of her left ear, but the dragon managed to escape him before he could land a killing blow.  Over three centuries later, Sir George, being a magically attuned paragon whose life was further extended by his constant contact with dragons, decided to try and kill Coca once and for all while he was still in what he considered to be the prime of his life.  Though Coca had not been seen for almost two hundred years, he knew she was not dead, and tracked the dragon to her mountain lair.  Records say that the mountain was still for an hour after George entered, only to split in two like an egg as Coca emerged for the first time in ages.  Boiling blood poured from their aerial battle like rain, and after ten minutes of screams, thrashing, and jets of flame, an armored carcass fell to the ground: Sir George Garston I was dead, and Coca remained above, triumphant.  As a result of this hard fought victory, Coca is one of the few dragons whose physical strength is considered noteworthy in dragon culture, and many dragons invoke her name when confronted with their own would-be slayers.  Likewise, humans regard her species with great dread.

Meta Notes:

Thematically, the Grand Dragons are more rooted in modern Fantasy tropes than mythology, being the kind of awe-inspiring, near-godlike creatures that dragons are often portrayed as in stories nowadays.  If my experiences on the internet have taught me anything, this trope is falling a bit out of favor among fantasy fans, but it still holds an appeal to me – it should go without saying that I’m the kind of person who really likes the idea of there being a bunch of big weird lizards who hold unfathomable power.  Their tendency to hibernate under the ground or within mountains is also partially inspired by daydreams I had as a kid about dragons having hidden themselves within the earth to wait out the dragonslayers, growing larger and more powerful all the while.  Child-me would have loved these guys.

The Gilded Dragon and the Grand Ashen Dragon are homages to Smaug and Ancalagon the Black from J.R.R. Tolkien’s middle earth stories.  The former’s name was suggested by Tumblr user theload, while the latter’s was suggested by Tumblr user virouvac.  Fun fact: the Gilded Dragon’s main color morph is based on the Smaug costume I wore in my seventh grade theater production of The Hobbit!

The Briar Butcher Dragon is in turn an homage to the fairy sorceress Maleficent in Disney’s adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, whose dragon form is one of the most iconic modern depictions of dragons ever made.  Its name and use of briars was suggested by Tumblr user bugcthulhu, who also told me about the Coca dragon legend and helped me develop Sir George’s Coca dragon in turn.

The Cervine Cloud Dragon is based on a prompt and name provided by tumblr user theload, and in turn homages her own dragon character, Landilizandra.

Queen Claire’s Dragon is based on a prompt provided by tumblr user Glarnboudin, and is sort of a loose in-spirit homage to the T.rexes from Jurassic Park.

The Diamond Regent Dragons aren’t a reference to anything in particular, especially not a popular children’s TV show that attracts flame wars faster than a gasoline spill.

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