Acary has, for as long as humans have existed on New Terra, been the home to more species of Drake than all the other Drake Habitats on Greatland combined. Ranging in size from miniscule to dragon-esque, Drakes come in shapes and varieties as numerous as stars in the sky. And for the most part, the Acarids have done a pretty good job of coping with their natural cohabitants.
One of the smaller, rarer species of Drakae, is the Peregrine Drake. So rare is the Peregrine Drake, it is considered a great fortune to hear this Drake in the distance. Simply because so few people see the little beasts living.
Peregrine Drakes are about the size of a small dog, covered in glimmering scales, mostly of white, but with the underbelly and feet being primarily black. Drakes are distant cousins of the Dragons of myth, which are assumed to be long gone from New Terra. Unlike Dragons, Drakes have no ability to breathe fire or ice or any other manner of breath weapon, and the largest Drake is little more than a half the size of a youngling Dragon. Most Drakes (the Peregrine Drake not included) are also pack animals, and have the ability to stand and walk on their rear legs, bipedally, a feat that most dragons would probably have found daunting.
Drakes, however, are much more aerodynamically adept. All drakes have wings. Without exception. Unearthed Dragon skeletons have proved that not all Dragons had wings, some even lacking in any sort of vestigial organs or bones indicating they might have had wings at one time. All Drakes, flightless or otherwise, have wings. And if they aren't used for flying, they are often time used in combat. This is especially true for the Peregrine Drake.
The Peregrine Drake, or sometimes called "the Screaming Drake" is well known for the high pitched, ear splitting sonic emission that it makes when it dives. Diving from high altitudes, the Peregrine Drake can reach speeds of well over 300 miles per hour by folding it's wings close to it's body. Peregrine Drakes do not have a long, prehensile neck, like many of their kin, and their tail is short and fanned, much more like a bird's tail than a dragon's. It's head is bullet shaped, with two large eyes, mounted forwardly on the sides of it's head. It's mouth is a wide open maw, lined with two rows of razor sharp teeth. On each side of it's mouth, are two wide slits in it's cheeks. Air flowing through these slits, or gills, is directed over the sides and back in such a way to force the folded wings closer to the body to keep a rigid bullet shape to best cut through the air during a dive. However, the air flowing through the cheeks so rapidly also emits a high pitched scream that can quite literally be heard for miles.
One might think that this would be harmful to the hunting habits of the Peregrine Drake - but it's food is mostly fowl and raptors. Birds, having a complex series of sinus canals within their skull, find this sonic sound to be disorienting, leaving them confused and unable to tell where the sound is coming from and utterly confused as to what to do about it. This effectively leaves them a veritable "Sitting Duck" for the Drake.
Once prey is captured the Peregrine Drake spreads it's massive wings, which span twenty feet from end to end, more than twice it's body length. Most drake wings are unable to withstand being deployed to quickly, and would simply tear apart under such duress, but this beasts wings are designed more like parachutes rather than sails, with thousands of small slit-like vents that open and close millions of times in a single second to slow the descent without tearing the fabric of the wings. Of course, it still takes hundreds of feet of open air to slow such a dive, and is especially straining with a mouthful of fidgeting, flailing prey.
What this means for humans is that few ever get to see these Drakes up close. The most common sighting of Peregrine Drakes is unfortunately, in forests with high canopies, where the fledgling drakes often times crash to their deaths after misjudging a dive. Few still live, albeit crippled, and are rehabilitated and cooped in the Royal Drake Aviary in the King's Palace. Even these broken crippled Peregrine Drakes are a rare sight to behold, and fetch a very pretty penny on the black market (the unregistered sale of Drakes is prohibited in Acary.)
Some Drakes boast an almost human sentience and intelligence to them. Usually the larger the drake, the more intelligent the animal, much like dogs. This rule holds true for the Peregrine Drake, which is not one of the more intelligent members of the family. It has a high instinctual aggression when dealing with captors. It's an utter pain to deal with for most custodians. Though the Drake will not eat things bigger than itself, (by instinct, it won't eat anything it can't physically fly back to it's roost) it has no qualms with biting or flailing it's sharp wings to deal with threats. Running or fleeing, even when outnumbered hopelessly, is not a tactic in this Drake's book. As mentioned before, the finger bones of it's wings are lined with sharp, bone like protrusions, and the arms of the wings, made to withstand powerful gusts of winds and to be deployed at high speeds, are quite strong and muscular. It's vision is exceedingly good, almost to the point of being able to pregnosticate movements by the subtle quavering of certain small muscles, making it exceptionally dangerous in close quarters - light or dark. It's rows of sharp teeth make shots to the jugular highly fatal, which it can do with impressive speed on what seem to be fairly stout little legs.
Many species of Drake have adapted to living in urban areas around humans. Military Drakes are common sights among Mounted Brigades, who use flightless Drakes (not wingless, however) as urban patrol animals, and Aerial Scouts or Bombardiers who use them as artillery. Peregrine Drakes tend to stay away from areas with high human population, as there are few things that it could effectively fly off with. This is one of the very things that makes the Peregrine Drake so sought after by most humans. They are not particularly rare or endangered, they are simply unseen by most people.
It should be noted that even when held captive, the Peregrine Drake is simply too stupid to tame. To say that it's temperment is foul, is perhaps being too delicate. Any manner of instruction is met with open jaws and claws. Peregrine Drake babies are hostile from the egg, being born with perfect vision and being able to distinguish human from drake. They bite, claw and spit and so far, attempts to domesticate the breed have all been met utterly by failure. Food has to be tossed into the cages, as it will ruthlessly attack it's captors should they get too close. In many cases, the animal is sedated and the bone spikes on the wings are filed off, and it's snout is muzzled to keep it from biting the Aviary keepers.
It is territorial to a ridiculous degree, putting on a vibrant show to scare away any rival males. Many Drakes keep harems, but the Peregrine Drake does not. It bonds solo, with only one other female. Thus there is a special, large "range" section of the Aviary devoted to these Drakes. It is open air, as all the Peregrine drakes found are crippled and in no danger of flying away. They make their roosts in small, stumpy thick-trunked Babao trees which they can climb up with help from their clawed feet. This may not be natural roosting behavior for healthy, non-crippled Peregrine Drake however.
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? Responses (5)-5
How do you tame one?
One of these? You don't. They are almost completely untamable. Too stupid to be tamable. The bigger, more intelligent ones however....
Update: Added a final paragraph about breeding, captivity and domestication attempts.
A cool critter with lots of nice details.
Making it completely undomesticatable limits its usage though - perhaps a small percentage are actually less pyschotic and potentially tameable, though for some reason this trait is not inherited. As a result, people may still keep and breed them, and the rare few that are usable would become highly prized.
An elicit trade in 'tame' Drakes could emerg, where normal P.drakes are magically tamed and sold, only to result in unfortunate incidents when the magic wears off or is dispelled.
They could also be used in cage fights too, given their nature.
I like how the actual drake is somewhat biologically sound. Overall, a good creature. Would they attack people who entered their territory, or is such ferocity retained for the captors?