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A reader named Marek clued me into this topic, so thanks, Marek!

The Order of the Dragon was a faux-chivalric order of knighthood active in Eastern Europe during the early 1400s. I say a faux order because the Age of Chivalry was pretty well over by then. Orders of Knighthood had been most active during the Crusades (roughly 1095-1291). Founding a chivalric order in 1408 was akin to modern Americans organizing ourselves according to the legends of the Wild West.

And here I shall refrain from snarky comments about the current political affairs of the United States.

The Order of the Dragon was founded by Sigismund, King of Hungary and Croatia. Like the European political leaders during the Crusades, Sigismund was under threat by the expansion of the Ottoman Turks into Eastern Europe. His reign (1387-1437) was turbulent with both internal and external strife. The Order of the Dragon allowed him to identify a core of supporters who he could count on in his various battles.

Members got the status boost of being in a chivalric order. They earned the rank of baron, if they didn’t already have it. (Many were princes of smaller territories within Hungary and Croatia.) There were twenty-one initial members at its founding. More were admitted in 1418 and again in 1431.

The purpose of the Order, set forth in founding documents, was to “crush the pernicious deeds of the same perfidious Enemy, and of the followers of the ancient Dragon, and of the pagan knights, schismatics, and other nations of the Orthodox faith, and those envious of the Cross of Christ, and of our kingdoms, and of his holy and saving religion of faith…” So, basically, they were out to destroy the Turks, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and anyone else they considered a heretic.

The Order of the Dragon had two main symbols. One was an ouroboros (a dragon eating its own tail) and the other a red equal-armed cross with flames at all four ends. Not surprisingly, St. George was their patron saint. Even after Sigismund’s death, several notable families kept these symbols in their personal arms. Among these were the Dracul family of Wallachia and the Bathory family of Hungary.

It does not appear that the Order of the Dragon took part in any actual battles, either with the Turks or with purely political opponents. Simply having an order stocked with Sigismund’s supporters may have been enough to create a deterrent. However, being so strongly linked to Sigismund, the order faded away once he died. The few relics of the Order of the Dragon are preserved at the University of Budapest.

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News flash! My publisher, Sky Warrior Books, has the pre-order link up on the anthology I edited. Wee Folk and Wise is a collection of fairy tales by twenty authors. I’ll be telling you more about that shortly.

But first… This week my character, Anatar, from Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, visited Entertaining Stories. Here’s her interview on Lisa Burton Radio.

Entertaining Stories

Lucky you, you’ve just landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show out there featuring the characters from the stories you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today we have an interesting fairytale princess with us today. “Welcome to the show, Anatar.”

“Thank you, Lisa of Burton. It’s a pleasure to be here.”

“My bio says you and your sister Eletay were orphans. How does an orphan get to be a princess? Were your parents banished or something?”

“No secret heiresses here, I’m afraid. Our family lived in a small village outside Chantain. I was only seven when our parents died, and Ella was nine, so I don’t remember much about what happened. We spent several months wandering and working for food when we could find anyone kind enough to let us stay.

“If we were able to improve our lot, it was because I saw opportunities…

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Dragon swooping low,

Breathing flame to melt the snow.

Frosty is dismayed.

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A few years ago, my husband went to a sidewalk sale where a sportswear manufacturer was selling excess jerseys and such. He came home with several that had been demonstrator pieces showing the imprinting options. He isn’t into football, but it gave him something to wear when his company proclaimed a Football Friday at the office.

On such an occasion he wore a dark green jersey with yellow lettering that said DRAGONS. A suspicious co-worker asked, “What team is that?”

He said, “It’s a quidditch team!” All the staff who were readers broke out laughing.

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Hello, everyone! I’m off to the Democratic Caucus this morning, but here’s an entertaining piece from one of my favorite blogs, Ducks and Chickens.

Ducks and Chickens

Hagrid has always been one of my favorite Harry Potter characters.  Even though he is clumsy, and a bit goofy, his heart is always in the right place.  Everyone needs a Hagrid in their life.  Since I’ve gotten geese, I’ve been thinking about him a lot.  He loves all these magical creatures, and doesn’t see them the same way as everyone else.  Other people think of them as mean and super dangerous.  Hagrid just wants to understand them, take care of them, and have them as companions.  Everyday I feel more like Hagrid, and it’s not just because I’m clumsy.

Remember when Hagrid wanted a dragon, and won an egg in a bar bet?  He was excited, and doing everything he could for Norbert, while Harry and his friends looked on in horror.  If Malfoy hadn’t seen the illegal baby dragon, I bet Hagrid would have him still.  You know…

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It’s my fourth blogging anniversary, and WordPress has kindly provided their annual report of my year in blogging. I always sit through the whole thing a couple of times, enjoying how those little fireworks soar up and burst.

Here are a few notable factoids from 2015.

Followers: on Dec. 31, 2014, I had 129 followers. Today I have 169. That’s an increase of 40 members — pretty fast growth for my humble blog. Welcome, all of you, and special thanks to those who have stuck around these four years.

Comments: My most talkative followers are Nila White, M. Q. Allen, David Lee Summers, Laura Palmer, and Craig Boyack. Thanks for helping keep Wyrmflight a lively place. And, of course, I’d love to hear from the other 164 of you.

Posts: the most popular post of 2015 in terms of raw visits was a guest post by Craig Boyack in February. Check it out here. This is not to be confused with my personal favorite post of 2015, Just For Fun 35, which was the most popular in terms of reader comments.

Tags: The tags that led the most viewers to Wyrmflight are “Dragons,” “Fantasy Author,” “Fantasy Fiction,” and “Dragon Folklore.” No surprises there.

On this day before the day before New Year’s Day, I have to thank all of you for following, commenting, and otherwise being my friends. My life as a writer would be awfully boring without you!

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Yes, there really are flying dragons! Draco are a family of lizards native to Southeast Asia. All members of this clan can fly, or more properly glide, by extending “wings” of loose skin attached to their ribs. The best known of these is Draco volans, a gliding lizard that’s popular in the pet trade.

These are not large lizards. An average flying dragon is 9 inches from tip to tail. Their “wings” spread about 6 inches. The head is blunt with a short nose, giving them a baby-like look. Most species have brown and gray mottled skin, providing camouflage in their treetop homes. Brighter patches on the throat and underwings may help them identify others of their species and make displays to drive intruders from their territory.

The native habitat of flying dragons is tropical forest, where they glide from tree to tree. Some varieties can glide up to 30 feet at a time. Females descend only to lay eggs and briefly guard their nest. Otherwise, these lizards stick to the treetops and feed on ants or termites. They will not fly if it is raining or windy.

Species are scattered from India to the islands of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia, suggesting they have adapted to local conditions. Fortunately, these little guys have a dragon-like hardiness and have kept up their numbers in modern times. They are neither threatened nor endangered.

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