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Draconic ep.2 “Enter Sandman”

The following is a fictionalized version of natural and human history. All that is not solid fact is a product of the author’s imagination.


Montana…

66 million years ago…

The Late Cretaceous…

Two months later…


The sky was dark and gray. Huge clouds blotted out the sun while Quetzalcoatlus circled above, their wings keeping them in the air. But down below, tragedy had struck for the young dragon.


The dragon continued to nuzzle his mother’s snout, her colossal body limp. She had lost her fight with an infection that began at her torn up shoulder. And she has just weakened her son’s chances of survival.


Young dragons, both male and female, are creatures that require lots of care. Without their mothers, their potential skill levels for hunting, flying, combat, courtship and communication drop dangerously low. Not only that, but any dragon without a mother at our male’s age is likely to be killed. They could die of starvation or be preyed upon by dinosaurs or even older dragons. But our male isn’t totally helpless.


He began to rip and chomp away at his mother, reluctantly swallowing chunk after chunk of flesh. Up above, pterosaurs had begun to gather, attracted by the putrid stench of death. This was his mother’s final gift to aid him in the battle for survival. But this might be the last easy meal of his life.


SSKKRROOOAAARR!!!


Suddenly a thunderous bellow rang out that scared away the circling pterosaurs. The young male looked back at the tree line where the sound had come from. And out of the misty conifer forest emerged an absolutely colossal prehistoric dragon. A huge bull, almost the size of an Edmontosaurus, lumbered out of the tree line. It was a colossal male with charcoal-colored skin with white stripes. And his horns were massive. They were like the swords of Roman legionnaires, long and pointed. But these, unlike the formidable weapons of war, were calloused and worn, slowly eroded by time.


He marched up to the female’s body and began to rip and chomp away at it, tearing out huge chunks of meat and causing blood to pool on the floor. The younger male, still grieving, noticed something. Even while the bull ate away, it kept its eyes locked on him.


Sensing that the old bull would prefer fresh meat over rotting meat, the young male ran into the misty forest, his dinosaur-like feet propelling him forward. The old bull followed suit, his tattered wings still folded against his body. Inside the dragon’s body, though, his system was working overtime.


Heart beating, mind racing, and hydrogen gathering at an astonishing rate in a special organ connected to his lungs called the “Lift Sac”. The Lift Sac serves as a lightener for dragons. It connects to both the lungs and the stomach, the latter of which holds special bacteria. These bacteria release hydrogen that gets sent straight to the Lift Sac that stores the hydrogen while preparing for and in flight and only deflates once the dragon has landed. While his internal organs were performing a remarkable feat of biological engineering, the dragon’s mind was a very different place.


Demons seemed to come lunging out of the gloom of his past, mental incarnations of fear, grief and desperation. The pounding of his heart resonated in his brain, a deep and colossal rhythmic thumping that seemed to blot out all noise. His breaths were shallow, fast and raspy. His eyes were wide, the gloomy forest around him nothing but a blur of dark and dull blues and browns. He wanted to just float away, freeing himself from the coils of death. But his feeling of restraint was not unwarranted.

The undigested meat in his stomach weighed him down, preventing the Lift Sac from lightening his load. Instinct, along with his fight or flight response, took over.


BBLEEGH!


A huge glob of stringy and rancid meat came flying out of his maw, splattering onto the floor. The huge bull, not fifty paces behind, stomped on it and continued his chase, calm and collected as though he was chasing just another Pachycephalosaurus or Anzu.


Finally, the Lift Sac ballooned to almost double its previous size. But there was something else. A huge crevasse seemed to appear out of nowhere. And this was exactly what the young dragon needed.


He leaped off the edge, spreading his wings to their maximum and his Lift Sac inflating to their full capacity. And finally, with a final flap of his wings, he was floating. Air whooshed over and past his wings and face, his legs and neck straightening until he was in the optimal flight posture. Below him, the crevasse seemed to disappear and was replaced with the sight of an ash-covered world. Small green trees dotted the landscape, and the frustrated roars of the old bull were nothing but an echo. An echo that served as a reminder that he was no longer defenseless and had finally left his terrifying past.


Okay! So here we go again with the tiny essay.


Now, this is where I really want to talk about the sexual dimorphism in these prehistoric dragons. That means the difference between males and females in a species like how male deer have antlers and female deer don’t. In these prehistoric dragons, adult males and females are pretty easy to tell apart. However, they both have two legs, a pair of wings, horns, and a white underbelly with a charcoal-colored back and stripes. However, males have longer horns with grooves (think of these like those on the horns of an impala) that are far more noticeable. And their tips are far more blunt. Not only that, the underside of a male’s wings is a dark azure color with a single big red eyespot on each wing. Plus, males are just bigger. Females, on the other hand, are smaller. Their horns are shorter but sharper and the grooves are far less noticeable. Not only that but the underside of the wings of a female prehistoric dragon are gray with a big gold stripe, one on each wing. Something else I feel is worth mentioning is that the Lift Sac isn’t a real thing in any species. I just made it up on the spot.

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