Look below the table for additional information.
Dragon Races: Table
race = ryuuneko
The ryuuneko were specially created by Ryuugami to help her serve her worshipers and dragons--a model based off the Inkaaneto of her sister [[Nekogami. Originally, there were only a handful of the dracokitties on Gaera but their number have multiplied greatly; there is a special proliferation of the creatures where dragonkind are numerous. They are also to be found frequently in Baron, especially with the Draconic-fluent dragoons and in the temples of Ryuugami; it would also seem that some have taken a liking to areas of Nekonia, Solasia, and the southern Shumans.
A ryuuneko's lifespan seems to correlate in part both to his or her health and the health of Ryuugami at the time of their birth.
NOTE: A ryuuneko is sometimes called a Stacean dragon. The first Stacean dragons were created by Ryuugami as a surprise for her sister goddess, Stacey, and were basically fluffified Aldrosians. Very few of these "fluffy dragons" exist anymore, beyond the first few "prototypes"--however, the ryuuneko themselves are the major, lasting result of this experiment.| }}
The Aldrosians, old race that they are, are still the most recent of the large-breed dragons Ryuugami has created. They are known to be an adaptable, sociable race which lives primarily on the continent of Igala.
Historically, females have been socially on par with male dragons (they are also physically on par, with the exception of forest dragons). Aldrosians quickly and easily form and adapt to societies consisting entirely of their own race or of many races. Of all dragons, Aldrosians are the most likely to allow a rider, due to a combination of sociability, curiosity, and flexibility; indeed, the tradition of dragon-rider pairs has been established in many areas.
While the Long spend much of their time in their humanoid form, which form an Aldrosian spends the majority of their time in varies from dragon to dragon and often depends upon the needs of the society in which they live. A dragon may live their entire life never using their bipedal form; however, it is unsafe for physical and mental health to live in the humanoid form for extended periods of time without breaks. This is especially true for half-breeds.
Emperors and Empresses
An "emperor" dragon is an unnaturally large dragon. Emperors occur with extreme rarity; in perhaps every 5000 dragons who grew to adulthood, 1 dragon will be an emperor or half-emperor (which is just what it implies, an exceptionally large dragon, but not quite an emperor).
Empresses are also found amongst females, but despite the minimal size variance between the sexes under typical circumstance, Empresses and half-empresses occur with a frequency closer to 1:9000.
In dragon-dense societies, these dragons are expected to take up the role of leadership. Often the call is answered, but in the cases where it isn't, the pressure to lead is then passed onto the offspring. The next in line is often a generally respected dragon, but will be expected to contend for power physically, socially, or both--and to want to do so.
- Appearance: A pure elemental shadow dragon has a thin, needle-like head with slender, almond-shaped eyes which are often red or black. Sometimes, when folded close to the body, the wings look ragged and shredded; at the very edge of the wings, old scales and skin fall and sometimes tear away, making room for new.
A terrain dragon with an affinity for shadow element will have the traits of the terrain race, but may have some lesser traits showing its element.
Much like other dragon races, the vast majority of shadow dragons do not become Rai; however, it is noticeable that more Rai are shadow dragons than any other dragon race. Every society likes its scapegoats, and the shadow dragons have been a popular one for the Aldrosians.
The shadow dragons have been popularly characterized by the other breeds as being harsh, cruel, cold and basically evil. The efforts of celestial dragons, who are very extreme and unbending in their holy-good affinity, has not helped to promote acceptance of the shadow dragons, either. Thus, one has to keep in mind that--depending upon the source--a dragon called Rai might not be, in fact, Rai.
Shadow dragons across Igala have responded in a multitude of ways. Some have fought, with varying success, to prove their character. Some have left for more accepting societies. Some have banded together to form their own societies. Some have crept away to live alone. Some have retaliated against their tormentors.
- Appearance: A pure elemental celestial dragon, like a deific celestial, has an amount of say over its body shape--thus, you will find celestial dragons in a variety of body shapes. However, they tend not to stray too far from the basic Aldrosian standard. No matter the shape and size, a celestial dragon is easy to spot by its feathered wings--atypical for Gaeran dragons--and glowing aura.
A terrain dragon with an affinity for celestial element will have the traits of the terrain race, but may have some lesser traits showing its element.
Celestial dragons are much more homogenous than shadow dragons, in both goals and ideals as well as personality. For the most part, they seclude themselves to their own, single society on the celestial plane, with rarely a reason to leave. As such, these dragons do not spend much time with other dragons or most races
Preferring the serenity of their plane, the celestial dragons are more content to watch the world play out than bend it one way or another. When such a dragon does visit the physical plane, it may seem aloof and mysterious, and like as not because it is.
It was not always the case that celestial dragons lived like this. Much like any other dragon, they once lived in various societies with and like their brethren, as diverse in thought and deed as any other. When and why this changed is unrecorded.
These dragons rarely speak aloud, preferring telepathy, but their voices are quite nice and they enjoy singing.
Shadow v Celestial
Celestial dragons and shadow dragons are neither opposite nor opposing ends of the spectrum.
As mentioned, celestial dragons are known to live in close proximity to each other on their elemental plane, dedicating themselves to the same ideals and goals. They are uniniterested in leaving their plane or meddling in the world's affairs, except when driven by their dedication to what is good and holy.
Shadow dragons, on the other hand, are not similarly dedicated to the concept of evil, as is a common assumption. Scattered across the face of Gaera, there are many individuals with many different--and changing--ideals and goals, based on all manner of circumstances.
Unlike the celestials, shadow dragons do not live on their elemental plane. The shadow plane is a place with powerful energies and unfriendly creatures and is more than capable of snaring and controlling the unwary. Common belief amongst shadow dragons is that the celestial plane is full of much the same and is equally unsafe to live on, being responsible for the celestial dragons of today.
Rai is a term which can technically be applied to any race, but is unlikely to be. It is used most often amongst the Aldrosians of Igala but is not unknown elsewhere.
While the Rai are not a true race of dragons, much of mainstream dragon society itself would like to segregate them as a race apart.
The origins of the term is said by some to trace back to Ryuugami herself, with an original meaning of "beyond redemption." These words are often to be taken with requisite caution, given the questionable objectivity of those making the claims as well as the generally poor record-keeping of those in the faith of Ryuugami.
Today in Gaera, the common usage of the phrase usually indicates one of the following meanings: insane, outcast, or damned.
In More Detail
Connotation One: Insane
The phrase Rai is usually used in one of two different senses. The first of these two present-day meanings to develop can be summed up in the equivalent phrase insane.
Theoretically, dragons which have gone insane are no more or less than just that--insane. Given their size and power, they can most certainly be a menace; however, they are not necessarily evil, or for that matter, good.
However, one must keep in mind that rarely does a word keep a dictionary definition, free of bias or connotation. Indeed, Rai is a term such as that dragon society feels a need to try to define it as a separate race. It might come as little surprise that Rai is applied much more inclusively to certain subsects of the dragon population--in particular, it takes much less trespass to "become" Rai if one is a dragon with a an elemental affinity toward the shadow element or if one is a halfbreed with an ancestral enemy race. Meanwhile, a dragon of another kind may be seen as simply assertive, youthfully character-flawed, or perhaps even in deteriorating health--which needs attention and help.
Unsurprisingly, dragon lore holds that shadow dragons and halfbreeds are in greatest danger of turning Rai. Also rumored to be in danger of instability are dragons of any race who spend unhealthy lengths of time in their humanoid forms.
Connotation Two: Outcast
The other sense of the word Rai means outcast.
Any dragon can be outcast, provided they break the rules of their society. Generally it takes a display of something considered truly "evil" or corrupted to deserve such a harsh punishment, but dragon settlements are not without their own political corruption.
Also, again, certain townspeople may be outcast on lesser offenses; either their offenses are perceived as worse or the town views ejecting the offender as legitimate self-defense.
Connotation Three: Damned
A third meaning of the phrase to have developed translates to damned. At first, this meaning came into use for application to the entire subrace of shadow dragons--a reference to their situation in dragon society. This is the first time that Rai has found widespread use amongst shadow dragons themselves, an interesting phenomenon.
Some of the newest generations of dragons, and some griffons, have taken to calling themselves Rai as well. After the Solasian Wars the dragon community adopted the general belief that Ryuugami had abandoned them entirely, and gave rise to this custom.
All artwork by Nekogami unless otherwise noted.