Extended Information for Bishel Dragons
Over the years, detailed information has been developed for Bishel dragons. This section of the website holds knowledge that, while not vital to the beginner adopter, deepens the understanding of this species and can be very useful when developing your dragons.
Questions asked by adopters often spur the addition of material, so feel free to ask me questions over at the BishenRealm DeviantArt group or via the contact form.
All Bishel dragons begin life as an egg. Machesri egg clutches are regularly laid in Bishen Realm, and in recent years, clutches have been laid outside the Realm by generations of adopted Bishel dragons. No Hirgyae eggs have been laid outside native Hirgyae territory. The Hirgyae give each viable egg a name in the Old Language. Tr'ynka Valae, the ambassador from the Hirgyae clan, is responsible for transporting eggs to Bishen Realm for adoption.
Machesri eggs are smaller than Hirgyae eggs usually. They are smooth shelled, with textured patches of color. Blue eggs with lighter blue patches hatch into females, while green eggs with yellow patches hatch into males. Larger Hirgyae eggs are very textured and rock-like in appearance. Bluish eggs hatch into females, and greenish eggs hatch into males.
Eggs containing multiple dragons are easily recognizable by their increased size. Only twins have hatched in this fashion; eggs containing more than two embryos have never been known to mature to hatching. Note that twin eggs can contain either identical or fraternal twins.
While in their eggs, developing wyrms have little to no magical ability. They are able to telepathically sense those around them and can communicate through emotions, light, and color. A baby dragon's connection to the outside world is weak unless it becomes bonded. When a dragon bonds with another being, its telepathic link with that being strengthens. Thoughts, emotions, and images can be transmitted across the bond. As hatching time grows close, the young wyrms can direct more defined feelings and, in some cases, telepathic speech. Their sense of other beings outside the egg also expands as they grow stronger. Baby dragons can become meddlesome as they try to explore the minds of anyone who comes within range. Mostly, they are curious, but they should not be given free access to the minds of others. Even at this early age, they should begin learning to respect another person's right to privacy.
Hirgyae eggs are often very uncommunicative and weak at first due to the conditions of the dark lands from which they originate. Despite their silence, most baby Hirgyae have been taught some of the Old Language used by their parents and often begin to speak it later in life. Forming a bond with a Hirgyae egg is much more difficult than bonding with a Machesri egg. It is unclear if this is an inherent difference between the clans or if the eggs are simply influenced by the prevailing attitudes of their parents prior to attempted bonding. Hirgyae eggs can become telepathically aggressive if anyone besides another Hirgyae attempts to link with them. Once the young wyrms gain strength, they often begin aggressively probing the minds of others in an attempt to gain information. Hirgyae test their caretakers at every turn, and anyone who bonds with a Hirgyae egg must guard against interference and attacks. Because of this, beings with strong telepathic or magical abilities are selected to care for Hirgyae eggs.
Eggs with bondmates develop more understanding of the world because they are able to view the outside world through the eyes of their bondmates. To eggs without a bondmate, the world outside is more likely to be a mystery. Speaking to eggs regularly, through directed thoughts or vocal speech transmitted through the egg shell, allows wyrms to develop language early. Eggs not exposed to other beings hatch wyrms that lack language and social skills. These dragons will have to learn these skills as they grow. It is possible to give a wyrm a large head start over its peers by beginning its education while inside the egg.
The dragon grows to a wyrm while inside the egg and hatches when it has exhausted the space or nutritional resources inside its egg shell. Machesri wyrms have fully developed their color at hatching time, but their type has yet to be determined. A Machesri wyrm has no wings or legs, making it look like an adult Marine type dragon. Hirgyae wyrms, in contrast, develop both color and type while inside the egg and hatch with any wings or legs they will possess, appearing as a miniature version of their adult form.
Wyrms explore the world with all their physical senses. This is their first exposure to anything, although bonded wyrms often have more visual recognition of the world at hatching time because they have learned from the mind of their bondmate. This is assuming, of course, that the bondmate sees the world in a way similar to Bishel dragon eye sight. Newly-hatched wyrms are the curious toddlers of the dragon world and can get into trouble if not closely supervised. If comparing to human development, the wyrm stage is all of childhood, from a baby's first steps up through physical maturity.
Wyrms often have a high level of mental acuity, with those who were taught while in their egg stage being able to express more understanding at hatch time. Dragons differ from humans in that their minds are able to learn at an incredible rate. Telepathy allows growing wyrms to grasp new concepts and information faster than one would expect. While most wyrms quickly learn the language of their bondmate, they may choose not to communicate outright for a time. Hirgyae wyrms that do not respect their bondmates are more likely to use only minimal communication.
Telepathic abilities also grow during the wyrm stage, allowing more communication with other beings. Wyrms are able to bond, just as eggs can, although the older the dragon becomes, the more difficult it is. Hirgyae wyrms especially are much less likely to bond after hatching. Bonds intensify during wyrmhood, especially in cases where the wyrm tests its bondmate's mental strength and awareness. Wyrms can become manipulative as they learn the weaknesses of others. They are usually not strong enough to control someone outright, but they can use more subconscious nudging to get something they want. Caretakers need to learn to recognize this sort of interference early on or it can lead to a dangerous amount of control from the growing dragon. Caretakers of Hirgyae wyrms need to be especially careful. Hirgyae tend to define their world by rank and constantly jockey for top position. A caretaker that proves to be weaker than the dragon will be tormented as the wyrm grows stronger. While everyone who comes into contact with a wyrm needs to use caution, bondmates are by far the most susceptible to invasion or attack.
Bishel dragons have innate control of movement when young. While they may struggle with fine motor skills at first, they do not need much time to learn. Hirgyae wyrms tend to be more mobile because they often possess wings or legs, but never underestimate the ability of a legless wyrm to slither into danger. Wyrms often find creative solutions to their lack of limbs and can end up in surprising places using only their jaws, muscular bodies, and prehensile tails.
The only skills limited in a young dragon are those pertaining to magic. Wyrms have very limited access to or understanding of magic. Their color influences what magic is available or interesting to them. Even with a strong teacher, wyrms are unable to manifest much magic until they mature into shrapes.
A dragon is considered a shrape when it is physically mature. This means that the dragon has reached its adult form and growth is beginning to slow, although the dragon will continue to fill out and strengthen with time. Machesri develop their elemental type before entering shrapehood. The method of growth differs from dragon to dragon. Some may slowly grow legs or wings, while others may burst into full form with a magical jolt. Dragons can also grow new physical attributes before entering the shrape stage. Grown dragons are very strong and able to fight and kill if that is their inclination. Hirgyae dragons tend to be more territorial than Machesri, and they are thus more likely to be aggressive with outsiders.
Shrapes do not bond often, as their minds are far less impressionable. Bonded dragons learn to control the influence of their bondmate, so bondmates may find their bond with their dragon closed at various points. The dragon will develop a stronger sense of self versus others during this time if it has not previously made such a distinction. Shrapes are able to use telepathy to its full extent, and caretakers must be ready to defend against mental attacks and probing. Because it is important for a Hirgyae to know its rank in comparison to others, Hirgyae shrapes particularly are likely to rebel or attack. This is the time when decisive battles may be fought in relationships that have been rocky or combative. A caretaker unable to meet the telepathic strength of his dragon may find himself being controlled.
Shrapehood is the time when dragons begin to access magical abilities. The type of magic available to a shrape is heavily influenced by color, but elemental type can also play a small role. The beginning of the shrape stage is marked by an increased awareness of magical energy, and this stage is used by the dragon to explore magic and discover what elements are attractive. For Machesri shrapes, it is enough for them to know their elemental affiliations and being to understand them. Machesri shrapes do not try to directly access magic. It is considered dangerous for them to do so without a magical object, as Machesri typically do not have the control and power of Hirgyae shrapes. Hirgyae shrapes, in contrast, must harness magic into an attack or ability. Only once a Hirgyae has displayed its power can it become a Bishen. To this end, Hirgyae shrapes train extensively during shrapehood.
Hirgyae shrapes choose a second name in the Old Language. This name is often merged with their first and reflects what the shrape wishes to be or achieve. It may also reflect their chosen specialization or attack.
Machesri shrapes are given their first magical object by their clan in order to become Bishen. The clan will not bestow an object on a dragon until it has developed a sense of its magic. The object must always represent the dragon's core element. This magical object allows the dragon to finally access its magic safely to perform attacks or abilities.
Hirgyae shrapes must develop a useful magical attack or ability to be recognized as Bishen in the Hirgyae clan. The shrape must demonstrate its magic to the Hirgyae clan Kailan or Tr'ynka Valae, the clan ambassador. If the magic is accepted, the shrape becomes a Bishen. Otherwise, the shrape must return to training to develop a more impressive display of magic.
Bishen can continue to develop and expand their magic. A dragon can learn new skills within its core element or, with more targeted training, form new elemental affiliations. The magical growth of a dragon never really ceases. Based on culture, Machesri tend to collect magical objects to gain access to new powers. Hirgyae, on the other hand, often will not use magical objects because they are considered a crutch or an admission of weakness.
Dragons generally do not change physically once they have reached Bishen stage, but harnessing their magic can sometimes cause physical manifestations. Bishen do not bond, as their individual sense of self is far too defined at this point. That does not mean they cannot open connections with other beings. Bishel dragons have strong telepathic abilities and are generally able to communicate and defend themselves mentally. The connections made as a Bishen will never be as strong as a true bond formed during youth. Machesri bonds should be fairly stable by this point. Hirgyae bonds can continue to change, as a Hirgyae dragon will always be testing its rank with a view to become more powerful.
Dragons can live a very long time, and there is no maximum age for a Bishel dragon. A dragon can be killed by most normal means, although their magical nature (or the magic of others) means that they are sometimes able to heal from injuries that might have been fatal under normal circumstances. As for aging, the process varies between individual dragons based upon their environment and temperament. Bishel dragons age by becoming weary of the world; they fade and die when, in their heart, they no longer wish to live. A bonded dragon will often match the aging of its bondmate and die shortly after the bondmate's death, but some may choose to live after their bondmates are gone. It depends upon the dragon's will to live.
The telepathic bond between a Bishel dragon and its bondmate allows the sharing of thoughts, emotions, and memories at a deeper level than would normally be allowed by telepathy, to the point where the experiences of one individual can feel like they belong to the other. Communication over the bond is strongest when the individuals are in direct contact or line of sight. As distance increases, the clarity of information also decreases. Strong, concentrated projection, like telepathic "shouting", can be used to send more distinct messages over long distances. At great distances, the bond is more likely to feel like a nebulous presence that simply exists. Strong emotions can be transmitted far, and a dream state also allows emotions and images to travel more freely. Shared dreaming is common, especially when bondmates are separated and unable to communicate more normally.
The bonds formed by Bishel dragons are very strong, but they do not exclude sharing with other entities or always result in death if broken. Someone bonded to another creature or individual can bond with a Bishel dragon as well, unless the other bond is an exclusive one, meaning that it does not allow for multiple bondings. The bond can be broken, although it will result in emotional distress for both the bondmate and the dragon involved. A broken bond can lead to depression, especially if the bond is not broken willingly, as is the case when the bondmate dies. If the dragon loses the will to survive, it may indeed die rather than continue living after the bond is broken. Most Bishel dragons can recover from a broken bond when the bond is consciously broken, but they require special care and support and must want to live.
While adult Bishen normally do not bond, a Bishen that was previously bonded has the ability to accept a new bondmate. The process of substituting a new individual into a bond is not seamless and is more difficult than a first bond, but it is possible, especially where the individuals are well matched.
Bishel dragons use telepathy as their main form of communication. When very young, the telepathy may lack definition and come across as emotions or blurred impressions, but most older dragons use directed thought and image projection. Machesri dragons communicate mostly in the language of their caretakers, as the language used within the clan is strongly based on images alone and can be difficult for outsiders to understand. The Old Language survives in names only. Hirgyae, on the other hand, know at least some of the Old Language, even if they pick up additional languages from their caretakers. Native Hirgyae converse in projected language with other telepathic impressions used only to enhance understanding. Hirgyae also have a tendency to accent telepathic speech with vocalizations.
All Bishel dragons can perform a vocalization that is known as a dragon bugle or trumpet. It is something like a mix between a howl and a bird call and very loud. It can be heard over long distances and is often used as a touchstone call between an individual and its group. This call can also be used as a battle cry or a sign of aggression. Dragons can also seethe or hiss, an extreme expression of aggression.
Machesri dragons produce other whistling or crooning sounds that are quite birdlike. They may also try to mimic sounds from their environment. The Machesri have a high, trilling sound that is used as a warning of danger or an expression of surprise. This distress call is usually described as a piercing, "TREEE!"
Hirgyae produce growls, roars, and other similar sounds. The vocalizations of Hirgyae dragons are far more guttural and deep than those of the Machesri. They also hiss a great deal more to accent thoughts or correct others.