|WARNING: This Page May Contain Spoilers!|
|The Red Claw|
The emblem of the Red Claw
|Population:||32,400 (24% Longwing, 21% Sparkwing, 55% Sparkclaw)|
|Currency:||Cinnada (Metal coins)|
|Area:||357,168 km² (137,903 mi²)|
|Biome:||Deciduous Forest, Grasslands|
The Red Claw, while made purely of dragons, is still a relatively racially diverse nation. While cross-breeds are discriminated against and killed in The Dragon Empire, their creation in this nation is very much encouraged. They make up a noticeable chunk of the population and are treated like every other citizen.
In the Red Claw, the pioneering gender is male despite the generally warm temperatures of the upper world most of the nation resides in. This is due to the fact that the citizens of the nation still prefer to raise their young in caves or structures that are generally much cooler than the world outside, leading to the creation of male hatchlings over female.
Language in the nation is all the same - Drakeen. All inhabitants can read the language and most can write it. Schools very much stress the important of being able to communicate via writing no matter how hard it is or terrible your "paw-writing" is. Due to this, the shapes of their language's letters vary slightly from the Dragon Empire's official writing system due to the years of simplification. However it is still very legible and recognizable between both nations.
Juveniles and hatchlings are rather hard to come across as most members of the nation are refugees from the Dragon Empire, leading to a population gain in the older generations rather than the younger. These dragons are usually pretty stressed and left families behind already, leading to a lack of procreation.
The Red Claw's architecture is rather complex for quadrupedal creatures, and varies depending on when the buildings were created.
Most structures are made of wood and stone, with the former making the frame and roof while the latter is the walls. Public buildings are often rectangular or square in shape and usually tall enough for the largest Longwing to stand up fully in. They are reminiscent of colonial American buildings, but minus the more complex parts: framed windows, doors, and whatnot for example. Furniture is nothing but varying slabs of stone, but other furnishings can include things like tapestries created by artisans and furs. Windows are just holes in walls with either nothing in them, or crude glass made by Sparkclaws. Buildings have flat roofs rather than peaked ones and therefore no attics. It's not uncommon to see a small Longwing who just learned to fly resting on these flat roofs, either, since they can easily support their weight.
Not many buildings really vary from the rectangular wood-and-stone build. Living quarters can also be like this, though some Dragons prefer to live in small caves they've dug out of hillsides. The caves are much like the ones in the Dragon Empire in form, but the structures are slightly different. They usually have two or three rooms - one living space, a "quiet room" (occasionally), and sleeping quarters. Families share houses and all sleep in the same room, though not always together. Eggs tend to be laid in these quarters, too, though not on their beds. Beds are made of leaves, straw, and other soft materials. Richer Dragons may use fur instead of those as well for more comfort. Quiet rooms are just small rooms encased entirely in brick, usually sunken into the ground some. They're sealed off from the world - no windows and a thick door. They're meant to be used for quiet contemplation, writing, reading, or anything else that requires peace. It can be calming to refugees from the Dragon Empire to have somewhere to go during the bright days that reminds them of the colder caverns of the Empire.
Brickwork is more common in the Red Claw than in the Empire and often is what lines most of the larger streets, though the rest are just dirt and trampled grass.
The most noteworthy structures of the Red Claw are the Gathering Building, training grounds, and the Monument of Twelve.
This building is where the government meets and decides plans of action. It's a large stone brick building surrounded by water and plants for decoration. Inside is a hall that ends in a circular table at which the council's members sit and discuss. Before that is a long walkway, designed to be able to house many Dragons at once for announcements and open discussion. Usually, this building is closed to the public so the council can discuss in peace, but sometimes it is opened to get more input or just to let Dragons see the inside of their government.
The training grounds aren't one specific building, but rather just the general places where Dragons train in the Red Claw. Usually, these grounds are open fields with dummies of dragons placed within them - usually very crude and often reused for far longer than they should be. Dragons practice their aim, fighting tactics, and general strength training. Pits of sand are also present for sparring between fellow Dragons, though venom and fire are obviously banned in such activities.Fire in general isn't very recommended for the training areas, considering the flammability of the area.
Other notable parts of the training grounds are the equipment shelves, where armor and weapons are stored. Dragons will use the armor mostly to get used to the weight on their scale, flying with the heavy load or fighting with it. They may also fight in it to try to find ways to counter their own armor, hopefully to figure out the armor of the Empire as well.
Usually training grounds will also have a source of water nearby for refreshment and are generally attended by a Wing leader for instruction and training.
Monument of TwelveEdit
This monument is a stone wall painstakingly dug out of the ground with twelve paw marks in red pant. Below is written " This is but the start of the play - are you ready to join the cast? ". This monument is dedicated to the original twelve Dragons that founded the Red Claw many years ago. It was built relatively recently after the creation of the Red Claw by the twelve themselves to remind themselves of the oath and promise they made to their fallen comrades. Occasionally Dragons will sit near the wall and stay silent, honoring the memory of the twelve that risked everything to found a better place for their descendants.
The monument is located high up on a hilltop on the outskirts of the nation, overlooking the fields and residential areas. Twenty-three trees surround the monument to honor both those who still stand and those who have fallen, and due to their age, the trees have grown to monumental size and dwarf most of those in the surrounding area. Today, this monument is used as the place for those being initiated into the Red Claw to take the Oath officially titled "Blood Red Claws".
Environment and ClimateEdit
The Red Claw was founded in a natural savanna-like plains environment. It is often dry and hot, usually around 32°C (90°F). There are very little to no trees right around the nation, but further to the east there is a forest from which the nation gets its wood. This is dangerous, though, due to the Forest Wyverns within.
Rain is not commonplace, but it happens every so often. Nearby rivers can flood during the rainy season, but they are too far to actually hinder the Red Claw. Nearby buildings are built far from the riverbank in expectation of this, leaving the banks to nature.
Government and PoliticsEdit
The Red Claw's political system is a specialized form of democracy. Officials are elected to occupy sections of a council known as Boards, the officials themselves known as 'Board Directors'. Each Board is specialized to cater for a specific need of the nation. There are six in total - the Boards of War, Diplomacy, Health, Economy, and Ethics. Votes are carried out privately where each voting-aged Dragon submits a small piece of parchment where the name of their preferred Board Leaders are written into a box. Multiple Dragons count out every vote. If there are high discrepancies between the numbers, a different group of counters are chosen. If there is only one or two votes varying between the counting group, then the votes are averaged out for counting errors. Any dragon can run to be a Board Leader but only those who are known to excel in their Board's area will be chosen by the public.
Behind each Board's official representative are consultants and officials personally chosen by the Board's current director. They exist to give advice to the Director and help solve sticky situations or problems. Usually these consultants are next in line to the position of their respective Board Director by will of the people's vote, especially if they have proven themselves worthy in that time. One term for a director is ten years. Below the Director and consultants are employed workers for that specific branch.
During peacetime, the most power in the council is on the shoulders of Diplomacy Board Director. He calls the shots and the other Directors tend to follow his advice or ask for it when needed or if the council's tied up. If an epidemic were to strike, the Health Board Director is given heavy power to command the nation directly to help curb the effects of any disease. During wartime, the War Board Director is given near absolute power. He is the highest commander of the armies of the Red Claw and often has a lot of military knowledge due to previous confrontations with other nations. Once the war is over, however, the War Board Director is expected to step down. If he does not, there is not truly much to worry about. Unless there is a dangerous faction within the nation eager to follow the War Board Director's every word, he does not have any true power over anything. Even the army itself would disobey a commanding and dictator-like War Board Director during times of peace.
Board of WarEdit
This board is expected to discuss military tactics, organisation, and operations during times of war and is responsible for regulating the military's recruitment and training programs in times of peace. The Board Director appoints generals with approval from his or her personal officials, although usually this only happens if a previous general stepped down or died. It's extremely rare for generals to be fired entirely unless they participated in dishonorable conduct worthy of a discharge. The Board Director only has control over the generals, though, as the rest of the ranks below are left up to the generals themselves to organise and decide upon.
As this board has little use in peacetime, the Director may often work with training current reserves or recruiting new willing paws to join the military. The Red Claw's general military is entirely voluntary as small wars with nearby Wyvern nations often require few soldiers. However, if there is ever war with The Dragon Empire, for instance, the entire population above a certain age cut-off and without hatchlings to guard is expected to stand up to fight. Therefore, many are interested in military training programs, if not the voluntary military. Training is offered to anyone.
Board of DiplomacyEdit
This Board is the most general, working with domestic policies, laws, and issues as well as international ones. It's meant for peaceful relations and the workings of treaties and communications. Board Directors in this category are often very good at phrasing their words and are well educated in the ways of other nations and tribes. Law enforcement comes from this branch rather than the war branch, employing guards to patrol the Red Claw's territory. These guards are mostly for show as order is commonly kept in the disciplined society.
Board of ScienceEdit
Responsible for scientific advancements and the research of technologies, this branch is often headed by a very sharp Dragon who is never afraid to try new things. Many advancements have come from this branch, including the creation of metal alloys previously unknown to any other empires. The furthest advancement is the invention of rudimentary watermills and windmills, allowing automation of a few processes.
Board of HealthEdit
Board Directors from here are usually mother-like figures to the nation, giving off a semblance of calm even when there's absolute chaos. This branch researches cures for diseases, medicines, and the general anatomy and workings of animals for better understanding of Dragon kind. Herbal medicines are very common to pop up from here, often inspired by old wive's tales of certain plants healing certain ailments that actually end up being true. Guinea pigs for new medical testing are often those terminally ill or the elderly, who feel they should be the ones at risk rather than the youngsters. All testing is voluntary, of course.
Board of EconomyEdit
As the name implies, this Board works with regulating and watching over the economy. Most of this Board's work includes working with lawsuits from one business to another or from a customer to a business. Often working alongside the Board of Diplomacy, it puts up laws for standard working requirements and health regulations. The Director of this board tends to be rather frugal, often hoarding money and curling around the golden coins when they sleep - or so they say.
Board of EthicsEdit
The Board of Ethics works primarily on social issues. Racism is the biggest issue even in the very pro-integration society. Those working for this board look for ways to ease old tensions between the races and work with the Board of Diplomacy to create laws against racism and segregation. Racial conflicts are often passed to this board. Beyond racial issues, this board deals with general ethical questions, such as if dueling is morally sound or if Dragons should try to be more like the surrounding Wyvern tribes. Usually this board is quite quiet, though, and the Board Leader is usually a Sparkwing due to their race neutrality.
The economy of the Red Claw is very similar to that of the Dragon Empire but is more regulated. Laws surrounding worker's rights, labor regulations, and fair practices aren't uncommon and are very strongly enforced. Any Dragon can open up any business they like whenever they like, but it's up to their management on whether or not it will succeed. The currency used by the Red Claw is the exact same as the Dragon Empire but with different patterns carved into the metal to signify that they are truly a different nation.
Sparkclaws still tend to join low-pay labor jobs surrounding metalworking and mining simply because it is the only real 'talent' they retained from the Dragon Empire. Those not born in the Empire end up following their own course, but some still do continue the family 'tradition' of mining or metalworking. Longwings tend to focus on luxury items still, but not nearly as exclusively as in the Empire. Sparkwings just make their own path as they really don't have any sort of image to follow.
Starting as a rebel splinter faction in the Dragon Empire, the Red Claw was nothing more than a group of thugs hellbent on 'fixing up' Dragon society. Met by the heavy hand of the pro-segregation law-force, the initial rebellious group of Dragons fled to the deepest forgotten recesses of the Dragon Empire's caverns. The group of twenty-three Longwings and Sparkclaws looked to each other for support and to survive, bonding with each other and feeding an ever-growing hatred for the Empire and the Royals.
Eventually, one of the Longwings in the group couldn't take hiding it anymore and spilled the secret of the Upper World. He explained how the Empire hides this upper world from most of the population, only teaching a few Longwings about its existence - those that the Royals can surely trust. The Longwing who spoke, Drakuis, was once an upper-class 'pet' of the Royal family. Living with basically unlimited wealth and freedoms, he had nothing to fear in society and enjoyed the Royal company. Once he learned their secrets and true feelings of hatred towards Sparkclaws and any mixed race, his feelings began to change from acceptance to confusion, frustration, depression, and finally hatred. He kept the secret despite this, though, as he wasn't sure what would happen if he were to tell someone. Yet, he did and if he didn't, the Red Claw may have not existed, for when the initial upper world expedition party of twelve - three Longwings, nine Sparkclaws - returned to the site where the rest of their group was waiting, all they found was death. Flesh, blood, and scales littered the floor amid the corpses of their comrades and friends. A single ominous sentence was left spelled out on the wall in the blood of their friends - You who have turned your backs shall feel your necks snap.
Despite frantic searching by the expedition group, there was not one Dragon left alive. Surrounded by the blood and mutilated corpses of their friends, the ragtag band of rebels made a pact. They solemnly promised to never give in to the Empire no matter what happens. They would fight until the last drake to avenge their lost friends. Their descendants would personally rip the throats out of the Royals as they gurgled for the mercy they never showed to anyone.
Knowing the royal guards would return any day to clean up the mess and hide it like many other incidents in the Empire's history, the founders of the Red Claw decided to leave a note back. Dipping their paws in the largest pool of mixed Sparkclaw and Longwing blood in the center of the floor, they each put a bloody pawprint on the wall in turn - three toes, one thumb, three toes, one thumb. The one identical piece of the two races.
Underneath, they wrote: This is but the start of the play - are you ready to join the cast?
Military training starts young in the Red Claw, beginning with basic military tactics and organisation in the general beginning school. Complex, up-to-date tactics are taught to Dragons after their education for one year during their conscription. Put into groups of siblings where possible, they are taught to work together to fight and protect. Discipline and duty is pressed onto them during this year before they are set free to join the workforce.
All of the Red Claw's population is considered part of the reserves, excluding those too young or too old to fight without being killed instantly. Any Dragon without young hatchlings and of the proper age are expected to report back to a Board of War representative every two years to refresh their training and fighting skills for a month. During this month, their spouses and family, if they have any, are reimbursed with payments equal to the missing Dragon's salary as to prevent it from hurting families.
The standing army of the Red Claw currently only is able to support one legion (6,000 Dragons), but the Board of War is attempting to create a second legion. The first legion is led by Draekor. From there, the army splits into flights - 1,000 strong branches of Dragons. Flights are split into wings of 100 Dragons. Wings are then split into claws, which are groups made of pairings of siblings. (For example, one claw can be made from three brothers of X family, two sisters of Y family, and five siblings of Z family.) It's been proven through trial and error that sibling groups tend to work and fight best together, as they're protecting their own blood rather than strangers. Instinct helps encourage the selflessness required to fight for others in a species of otherwise "fight for yourself" mentality.
During a time of all-out war, those able to fight are expected to stand up and fight for the Red Claw. Those excluded are the same as previous, protected by a wing of Dragons in case enemy lines draw too close or the enemy tries to flank the Red Claw and take civilians as easy game.
Militaristic by necessity, the society of the Red Claw is ruled by a strict code of ethics and honor. Dragons may spar between each other to maintain the honor of the family lines after a particularly negative experience of argument, the loser being whoever backs down first or has their neck pinned to the ground in the jaws of the other. During introduction, Dragons may say the name of the sire at the end of their own name if their family line is especially proud or boast-worthy. Usually only younger drakes participate in such activities, though, as they're the most eager to prove their worth in this society.
Interracial interactions and communications are commonplace. The heavy racism of the Dragon Empire does not exist in the Red Claw, as the group was formed and maintained by those who wish for peaceful co-existence and blending of the races. Racism does still exist, though, in isolated cases usually involving some other cause of irritation or anger beforehand such as personal disagreements. Despite the eager promotion of race-blending, the population of dragons that breed interracially is rather low. The amount of Sparkwing young and adults is also very low simply because it's hard for one race to impregnate the opposite race as the DNA of the two are almost too far apart to mix. They do produce viable young able to reproduce as well, though, despite this difficulty. Interracial relationship tendencies cannot be explained as easily, however. Most dragons just simply prefer to stay within their own race when choosing a partner by personal preference. There truly is not other answer for that.
Family life in the Red Claw is pretty rough. Hatchlings are brought up from a young age being taught how to fight and fend for themselves if it ever comes to that. They're taught very young that life isn't going to be nice to them. Each Dragon is trained to be prepared for an invasion by the Dragon Empire at any point in time. Hatchlings from age three on are drilled to be prepared at any moment to jump up, grab any sort of armor covering they can, and join a group of fighters nearest to them. Now despite this, families aren't unloving or cold. Dragons in the Red Claw teach their young from a young age to never forget the unneeded hatred and fury brewing between the races that was encouraged by the Empire. They're taught to love and care for every individual out there, whether their race or not. Dragon mothers tend to stay never leave the side of their hatchlings until they're old enough to fend against the wildlife of the upper world; there are many incidents of hatchlings wandering into nearby forests only to be murdered by hungry beasts. Fathers often work long hours to support their family alone, but most do not complain as they feel it's worth it to ensure their young's safety. Once the young are school aged, most mothers start to work as well to relieve the heavy load on their mate's shoulders. At the school age, hatchlings are able to fend for themselves. They're taught to stick in familial groups as well for 'just in case' protection, often leading to bonds stronger than anything between siblings. In fact, the military in the Red Claw is often organised into groups of siblings as most refuse to not fight by the side of their brothers and sisters. Trained together, they are usually an extremely effective fighting group who understand each other on what seems like near telepathic grounds.
The age of sexual maturity in society is thirty. However, most younger dragons end up in frisky relationships before that despite it being looked down upon by older generations. Very young cases of this can lead to accidental clutches that are sadly often destroyed under the forepaws of the father, as the parents know they could never possibly raise a hatchling at such a young age. Luckily this is quite rare and isn't a plaguing problem. Bonding (marriage) between dragons is very dependent upon which race is bonded to what. Interracial bondings are extremely varied with various mixes of the two race's traditional ceremonies. In the Red Claw, homosexuality is looked down upon more so than in the Dragon Empire as the nation often requires a steady influx of young. Homosexual pairings don't produce young themselves, giving them a sort of negative 'you can't support the empire'-feel. They do exist, although in secret.
Elders in the Red Claw are extremely revered, even more so than in the Dragon Empire. The average lifespan in the Red Claw is a mere seventy years. Raids by the Wyvern tribes, attacks by wildlife, plagues, and accidents stunt a lot of lives short, making the underground look like a safe haven. However, deaths in young hatchlings tend to bring this average down a lot more than it really represents. Those that make it to adulthood tend to live to a hundred or two hundred or more, although it's uncommon. Dragons of this age tend to stop producing clutches, calming down and becoming sources of knowledge and advice for the rest of society. Clutches beforehand are laid every ten to fifteen years, though it's not very rare to see a couple producing every five years. Contact is maintained between families and news of a death travels quickly, sending an entire extended family into mourning for a few days.
Education in the Red Claw, like the Dragon Empire, is free. Teachers teach the young out of debt to society rather than monetary gain, although the Board of Economy offers government payment for anyone who teaches. School stats at around age four and continues until age twelve, at which students are allowed to enter the workforce. Dragons can opt to continue their education in further specializations under masters of certain trades or through more intense schooling offered by different teachers. Dragons learn about history, arithmetic, military tactics and organisation, and how to read and write in the first eight years of school. Further education is too specialized to generalize. All races learn together in the same classroom, causing the youth of society to be less caring about races than the elder Dragons.
The military tactics and organisation the Dragons learn is in response to necessity. The lowest age any Dragon can be called to war is twelve, due to the possibility of the emergency situation in which all Dragons in a certain age bracket must fight. They learn basic fighting skills and spar against classmates assigned for similar size or ability to practice. Usually one day a week is dedicated to the military training before it reverts to normal schooling.
At the end of schooling years - general or specialized - all Dragons are conscripted for a year. See the military section for more information.
Dragon religion is rather doubted in the Red Claw simply because of the nature of the creation story, which says only the underground tunnels of the Empire were created by the white-scaled Creator - the rest was devoid of life. Most in the Red Claw understand and accept that this religion story was most likely a lie fabricated by the Royals to keep curious young dragons in check and hide the reality of the upper world more strongly. Some die-hard believers - usually priests who fled the Dragon Empire to escape persecution - refuse to accept that their religion is nothing but a lie and insist that Dragons simply didn't know that the upper world existed when they recognised their story of creation. Some say that the upper world truly didn't exist at first, but was created after the Dragons lived underground or evolved slowly by itself. Most Dragons still do believe that a Creator and its guardian spirits shaped the world, although they do not have any specific belief or story to go with it. So, Creation Day is still celebrated, albeit much differently than the Empire.
Religion is barely existent in the lives of the Dragons of the Red Claw otherwise, with the most apparent recognition of its existence being the exclamations of "What in the Creator's name" or "Oh, Spirits..." in everyday language. The die-hard believers will still sometimes pray or worship on their own time, but it is not public.
The Red Claw barely has any holidays and the few it does are more events.
- Creation Day: This day is when the Dragons believe their world was created and therefore celebrate it publicly. Dragons sing hymns together that honor and celebrate their beloved Creator.
- Day of the Fallen: This day is dedicated to the original founders of the Red Claw who died defending their beliefs at the paws of the empire. The day is more one of mourning and remembrance. A speech is given by the Board Director of Ethics in honor of those who fell for the creation of the nation. Older generations of dragons are the most affected by this, often falling silent for the entire day in respect. Younger generations who do not know or understand the meaning of the day often do not really care much for it, but try their best to be respectful anyway.