A Male Longwing
|Coloration:||Black with Bright Markings|
|Height Range:||2.2m (7'6") - 3.7m (12')|
|Length Range:||5.5m (18') - 9m (30')|
|Weight Range:||375kg (830lbs) - 600kg (1400lbs)|
|Lifespan:||200 - 600yrs yrs|
Longwings are the black, frilled race of Dragon that makes up the upper class of the Dragon Empire. They are black with bright markings and long wings, as their name suggests. They are capable of flight and advanced thinking on par with Sparkclaws and Sparkwings. They are also venomous and the largest of the races of Dragon, on average height.
Longwings are always very dark grey or black, depending on their age and lighting conditions. They have bright markings that contrast heavily with the rest of their scales. These markings follow their spine and about halfway down the body and are generally mystic or wave-like patterns. Every Longwing has an eye marking that is unique to them and only them in the same color as their other markings. It's used as identification among all Dragons, as Longwings can end up looking quite alike with their simplistic design.
Both male and female Longwings have a frill going down their entire spine, but a male's frill starts at their forehead, while a female's starts at the back of her skull. A female also has another frill known as a ruff along the back of her jawbone and where her head meets her neck. Males usually have straight horns and females waved or curled ones, unless they are a part of the Royal Family, in which case that is swapped. A Royal Family female also has the ruff going up behind her horns and over her eyeridges. Males are also generally larger than females by a small margin, usually 30-60 cm (1-2ft) at the shoulder, varying much more when the Longwing reaches Elder status at around age 300.
Longwings possess a powerful venom injected through their canines. This venom blocks certain receptors in the brain of the victim, causing subconscious activities such as breathing to stop. The heart isn't affected, but other muscles spasm, causing damage to the body. This horrific death lasts about 5-10 seconds on creatures smaller than a Longwing, but creatures the size of Sparkclaws and above can take almost as long as it would take for them to suffocate, allowing time for an antidote to be administered if the reaction is fast enough. Unfortunately, it's still too small of a time window for most cases. The major drawback of this venom is that it requires a large dose for these effects to happen, draining reservoirs of venom very fast if the Dragon is fighting many others. Small creatures may only take a few drops, but other Dragons and some Wyverns may require a small puddle's worth of venom to be in danger. A Longwing who has spent all of their venom will produce a full venom gland's worth in about a day's time.
The eyes of Longwings are slitted in average light conditions but can dilate to fit to any condition necessary. The darkest darks and brightest brights are still issues for their eyesight, but their range overall is extremely advanced. They can also pinpoint prey the size of a deer from the cloud line if focusing well enough, but this requires a lot of practice of scanning for movement and discoloration in the environment below. A Longwing's eyes are angled forward towards the snout, looking down grooves along its length for uninterrupted vision. Both eyes move at the same time and cannot look in two different directions.
The scales lining a Longwing's body are small and circular, cutting down on air resistance and weight. Despite their looks, they are very strong and can deflect the claws of enemies scrabbling at them. A strong blow or bite is required to break through the surface. The scales have no heat resistance whatsoever and can be fried as easily as a fish.
Also, to support their large forms, Longwings have a special type of internal heating system. While most creatures are endo- or exothermic, Longwings are novothermic, meaning they can change whether they use energy to heat their own bodies or not. During times in which the Longwing cannot support itself for whatever reason, they will 'switch off' their body heat to conserve energy, but this requires an external heat source for the Dragon to not just die of hypothermia.
Barring interactions between races and beliefs of superiority, as they vary between nations, Longwings have a distinct culture.
Longwing hatchlings are cared for by their mother until they are around three years old, at which they're expected to start being able to fend for themselves. This is also the age where they are allowed to leave their home on their own with certain restrictions. They are dependent on their mother for protection at this age, as their scales are rather flimsy and their venom is completely ineffective. Their wings are far too small to fly and are more for show than anything. A few years later, Longwings are considered juveniles and are allowed free roam outside of home. Parents still won't mate again until their hatchlings are fully moved out of the nest at around age fifteen to twenty. At this point, a mated pair may try for hatchlings again or wait a few years until they work for another generation.
Families stick together for life. While they do not live together all the time, they live in close proximity to each other. Siblings tend to live together until they pair off with mates of their own, but even then they tend to stay together during normal activities such as work. The sibling bond is unbreakable and is stronger than that of the mother-child bond. If one sibling dies, the others mourn for days, weeks, or even months. Some refuse to eat until their entire skeleton is noticeable through their body, leading to some depression-related deaths. Many Longwings like to trace their lines back through the names of their oldest known grandsire. If said grandsire was well known for one reason or another, it usually demanded respect for the family line in general.
Elders are treated with the utmost respect by Longwings, believed to be the most knowledgeable of all Longwings existing. They often are asked for advice and their blessing before large events and demand respect in public places. When an Elder dies, any Longwing that has even remotely heard of them will mourn for their lost knowledge and soul.
An Elder is classified as a Longwing who has managed to live past age three-hundred. Adulthood is considered reached at age thirty, and a hatchling becomes a juvenile at age ten.
When a Longwing finds another it loves, the two will choose a day to be bonded on. This bonding ceremony is conducted by a priest - usually an albino Longwing - and lasts a few hours. The soon-to-be-mates will vow to forever protect and care for their mate and never leave their side until the day their soul leaves their body. Then the two will take off into the air, impressing each other with impressive aerobatic maneuvers. (There are caverns large enough for this in the Dragon Empire.) This lasts for thirty minutes to an hour, ending when one finally feels they cannot outdo the other. Family and friends may cheer their friend/family member on during this - it's a lighthearted event that generally gets everyone in high spirits and shifting their wings. Afterwards, the guests and new mates will get together for a feast, in which the pair will give small words of gratitude and appreciation to their supporters in life, thanking them for helping them get to this day of joy and happiness. After feasting, the group will depart and the new couple will return to either their separate homes or a new home they live in together, depending on the situation.
Longwing mates stay together for life, but there are possible complications as there are in every sentient society - adultery, falling out of love, etc. Those who lose their mates will mourn for life, refusing to mate again. Females who are unmated or lost their mate tend to oversee hatchlings that aren't their own to try to fill the void of not having any themselves. Unmated males tend to be more brash if they do not have a female to care for, sparring with friends or brothers for fun. If someone were to hurt their sister, though, if they have one, they would become as angry as the mate of said Dragoness would and seek revenge.
Longwings do not mate with Sparkclaws in the Dragon Empire whatsoever, as it is against the law. Those associating with Sparkclaws tend to be referred to as Tornwings or Firebreathers, insulting terms for any proud Longwing. Therefore, even Longwings that may tolerate Sparkclaws as fellows will treat them as lesser to avoid this cruel treatment. Most Longwings in the Dragon Empire truly believe that Longwings are superior to Sparkclaws, though, as no Sparkclaws have ever entered the upper class and they take up the laborer jobs in the Empire.
|In the Red Claw, relationships and friendships between the races are rather commonplace. Interracial interaction is encouraged and the production of Sparkwings is smiled upon rather than condemned. Any Longwing and Sparkclaw pair that gets bonded in the Red Claw tend to mix up their traditions. The two races are considered entirely equal.|
Upper-class Longwings have a habit of painting themselves many colors to accent their natural coloration. This paint often changes every day or so, depending how often the Longwing cleans themself. If the Longwing is very wealthy, they will mix in gold or silver fleks with their paint to truly make their scale shine. These rich Longwings often hire Sparkclaws to fix up their looks for them. The tasks assigned to these Sparkclaws often include trimming mismatched scale and uneven claws or rubbing in oils to the wings and frills to help the leathery skin shine like scales.