Monday, April 12, 2010

Dragons V War birds, a comprehensive view.

To war!! Now, do we ride the dragons or the war birds?
The age old question…..or maybe not so age old. Imagine yourself a young lieutenant in an army. We’ll say for the sake of the article, the army of Yure. You are called for a midnight mission of stealth to launch a surprise attack on a neighboring city. They allow you to pick your mount; the fire breathing, spark snorting dragon armored in scales. Or one of the great war birds armed with only their beak and talons, but with the ability to stay aloft almost indefinitely. A tough choice to be sure! So today I hope to demystify the giant winged war birds, and perhaps shed new light on the oft-used dragon mounts. Now back to the story.

You walk to the dragon pens pondering what your choice will be. “Snwork!”, a dragon snorts, sniffing out who the trespasser is that is keeping them from their beauty sleep. The answer to your question looms in front of you. A giant, midnight black dragon named Xaul. Battle scared and experienced, he will carry you if but a little slowly to the attack and once you arrive he will be many times worth his weight in diamonds in a pitched battle. The decision is so simple, you think to yourself. Why anyone would chose a war bird for this mission is beyond me. What we need is brute strength for the attack. Sweep the enemy like grain before a thresher. Your heart beats in excitement as you soar on the wings of victory, namely Xaul’s membrane skinned bat wings. Sighing contentedly, you pat his nose and received a blast of scalding air for your gesture of happiness. “Fine!”, you exclaim with a chuckle, “Blow steam at me, but you are going to be my mount so you had better get ready you big lizard!” With a snort he turns his head away and lumbers to the back of the pen. As you watch him stretch his wings and settle down on the fresh straw in hopes of getting more sleep, a horrifying thought surfaces. If that membrane on the wings is punctured, it will rip like paper and both Xaul and I will meet an early death. A second thought comes to you. It’s nigh. Dragons are slow at night, that is, slow and loud. But then again, once Xaul got moving, his blood would warm up and his lethargic-ness would wear off. Not that he would ever be the fastest steed. Even with that reassurance, somehow the realization that this wasn’t the perfect mount if you intend to live to an old age dampens your enthusiasm. No longer was there an easy answer to this question. This would require more thought. Your solemn footsteps carry you away from the pens and into bird loft. Their cheeping chatter meets your ears like a welcoming committee. With a sharp “Fweeet” whistle, beckoning the birds over, swiftly they swoop down from the rafters with the silence of specters. Leading the group that glide or trot over to you is a shimmering molasses colored bird. The shifting eyes as black as Xaul’s scales, yet showing intelligence. After checking the tag at his ankle, you find it was the tag at her ankle and her name is Gloria. With a sigh, you stroke her head and smile absently. Perhaps indeed your quest for a carrier has ended? But then you remember the fire breathing warrior you left. Whose red blood pulses in rage in battle. A fearsome foe to be sure, strong men quaked before the wrath of a full-grown, male, battle trained dragon. What could this feathered friend do in battle? You begin to take stock of Gloria. A twenty-two foot wingspan extends as he ruffled her feathers. You tap her beak in the signal for feeding, curious what she will do. With an “EEEK” she opens her mouth and tilts her head showing the dagger sharp point on her beak waiting for you to drop food inside a mouth that could easily swallow your hand if she so desired. You tap it again and she closes it with a discontented Snap!. You think hard and try to decided what would be the best choice. As she hops away her razor sharp clawed feet leave marks in the hard wooden floor. Her feather covered wings were tougher than they appeared and you had heard talk of more than one rider landing even when his bird had an arrow sticking in its wing. With a sigh you walk outside the loft and sit down on the damp sand outside of the building still unsure of what to chose. After a time, you get up and stand with purpose, you have decided. With a smile of determination, you go to claim your steed.
What did you chose?



  1. Millard: Really? *chuckles* I might join you ;)

  2. It depends on the mission. :) But in any case the most important thing is which steed knows your desire before you communicate it via reins.

  3. "I agree with Sir Emeth. Mind-reading is the most essential skill of a battle stead, be it dragon or bird. Even so, I am inclined to choose the dragon."


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