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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

I’m in the final days of preparing Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore for publication. This is the frustrating part, where every T has to be crossed and every I has to be dotted. It all has to be right, so my book doesn’t look like something a lame amateur spit out.

I had hoped to be done by now. I wanted to be giving you the big, exciting announcement today. But I’m being hung up by some sort of technical bug. The software for formatting the print book keeps inserting blank pages at the end of paragraphs. I’ve corrected this three times and the blank pages reappear in the same places. I wish I could send a flight of flaming dragons!

Hmmm, maybe that wouldn’t be helpful. But if anyone knows what might be causing this, I’d love your suggestions.

Anyhow, here’s a snippet from one of my favorite posts, back in 2014 — Number Five Lucky Dragon.


 

As Hallowe’en approaches, I bring you a true horror story from the cold war. Daigo Fukuryu Maru was a humble Japanese fishing vessel that set out from Yaizu to catch tuna in January of 1954. Its name translates roughly as “Number Five Lucky Dragon,” a cruel irony in light of the ship’s fate. Daigo Fukuryu Maru ran into engine trouble almost immediately. Near Midway Island, it snagged its lines on a coral reef and lost nearly half of them. The young captain, Hisakichi Tsutsui, refused to return to port without something to show for it. He headed south, toward the Marshall Islands.

By the end of February, 1954, Daigo Fukuryu Maru was fishing near Bikini Atoll. Yes, THAT Bikini Atoll. Supplies were running low, and they planned to fish one more day before heading back to port. None of the crew had any idea that the U. S. Government had established an exclusion zone around Bikini Atoll because they were planning a Hydrogen bomb test. The hapless vessel was outside the exclusion zone, but that was little consolation after the fact.

At 6:45 a.m., a tremendous flash drew the crew up to the deck. It looked like the sun was rising in the west. “Bridge, sky and sea burst into view, painted in flaming sunset colors,” recalled crewman Matakichi Oishi. What the stunned crew witnessed was the detonation of Castle Bravo, a new type of nuclear weapon that worked a little too well. The blast had been expected to yield 6 kilotons; the actual yield was closer to 15. It was the greatest human-caused explosion to date, and the consequences were devastating.

Well, I hope this piques your interest for Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore! Which will be coming soon, I swear it!


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The amphiptere (pronounced am-fit-ear) is a sub-type of the European dragon. It may also be called an amphithere or amphitere. This creature has a snakelike body with a long tail and wings, but no other limbs. Thus it is somewhat the opposite of a lindworm, which has two legs and often is shown without wings.

At times, these dragons are referred to as a hybrid of serpents with some other creature. They may be shown with bird-like, feathered wings or with bat-like, leathery ones. It may simply depend on the artist’s inspiration.

There is no mention of any breath weapon, and I haven’t found any stories that specify a legend around an amphiptere. So these dragons may be mainly based in heraldry, where dragons were fairly common. People who wanted to use a dragon in their arms had to look for variations in order to be accepted.


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Back in my days with Pern fandom, we had endless discussions of dragon size. There was a set hierarchy, with green dragons the smallest, blue and brown dragons getting bigger, and bronze and golds being largest of all. With this progression in mind, fans tried to determine how big the dragons actually were so our stories would be consistent.

In the Pern novels, their dragons were genetically created from a smaller species, the fire-lizard. They were engineered to become progressively larger until they stopped at a pre-determined size. However, due to circumstances in the novels, the dragons of Benden Weyr became genetically isolated and grew to significantly greater sizes.

Just what was that optimal size? Sources in the books stated that several Benden dragons, including Ramoth, Mnementh and Canth, were larger than the expected size. At 45 meters, Ramoth was the largest Pernese dragon ever known. Other dragons would have scaled progressively smaller.

The debate among fans arose because 45 meters translates to 147.6 feet — the size of a passenger jet! This size seems extreme, even for a fantasy creature. How much would such a dragon eat? What space would it need for its personal weyr, and what would be the required area for a Weyr of 300 or more dragons? How could even a well-intentioned dragon avoid harming the relatively tiny humans around it?

Oddly enough, this issue may have sprung from an editing mishap. Pernese dragon measurements are sometimes given in meters, as common in Europe, but sometimes given in feet, as common in the U. S. However, the number wasn’t changed during editing. So a 45-foot-long Ramoth suddenly ballooned to 147 feet when converted to metric!

Just for fun, here’s a post from the blog Dragon Calling, which estimated the size of various dragons in video games and movies. The author used media dragons because still images give a good idea of comparative sizes between the human and dragon characters.


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I’m happy to share another dragon tale today. Dragonboy is a short film, recently featured by author J. Keller Ford on her blog, YA Chit Chat. It just might be the cutest thing you’ll see today. Check it out here!

This animated short was made by a group of film students. Like “The Optometrist and the Dragon,” a short story I shared last week, it takes a fresh and engaging look at that age-old triangle between dragon, princess, and knight.


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Rather than just asking what a group of dragons should be called, it might be better to ask if there would ever be a group of dragons. After all, you seldom find dragon groups in traditional stories and myths. Dragons such as Fafnir and Hydra are distinct individuals, so dreaded and powerful that nothing more is needed for them to be an effective monster. Not to mention that these dragons are fiercely jealous. How likely is it that they’d allow another dragon near their territory and/or hoard?

There are a few names, though, that might capture the danger of many dragons coming together. A “plague,” a “swarm,” even an “invasion.” Interesting that these come from insect groups — locusts, bees or ants, and roaches.

If the dragons in question are of the more intelligent and noble variety, perhaps they would be known as a “council.” Intelligent but evil dragons might form a “congress” or “parliament,” especially if they spend a lot of their time in ferocious arguments.

Well, what do you think? Is a group of dragons a “plague” or a “council?”


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What do you call a group of dragons? The question arises because I recently ran across one of those listings where they give the clever, and sometimes bizarre, names for groups of animals. (A “flange” of babboons?)

In names for dragon groups, the two leading contenders are both from modern literature. Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance series gives a “thunder” of dragons from the sound of their wings.

Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books present a more complicated name set. A “weyr” is a group of dragons living in a fixed location (also called a weyr) and mostly related to the queen dragon who lays all the eggs. McCaffrey’s dragonweyrs have a quasi-military structure, with fighting groups known as “wings.” Any other grouping of Pernese dragons is a “flight.”

Also to be noted is Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, where the swamp dragons have a distressing habit of exploding under the wrong conditions. A group of these dragons is an “embarrassment.”


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Long ago, in France, there was a terrible dragon known simply as Drac. She was a sorceress as well as a dragon, and had learned the secret art of invisibility. People around her domain could never know when she was nearby, and never knew where her lair was. They only knew the dread of her evil.

The stories tell that Drac had a clutch of eggs. Being a selfish mother, she abducted a young woman from one of the villages and demanded that she care for the newly hatched dragons. If she refused, her entire village would be laid waste! The hapless girl had no choice but to comply.

For seven long years, she tended the vicious brood. She fed the babies raw meat, cleaned up their waste, and tended their hurts when they squabbled and scratched each other. The captive longed for freedom, but since Drac could make herself and her young invisible, she could never know when she was safe. She had no hope of escaping.

But then one day, the woman was rubbing the young dragons with a special cream Drac provided. She touched her own face and some of the cream got into her eyes. To her amazement, she gained magical sight and could see the dragons even when they were invisible. The woman was clever, and desperate. She pretended to see nothing.

Soon enough, all the dragons flew off. The woman seized her chance and ran back to her village. She hoped to gather a force and march on the dragon’s nest. With her gift of sight, she would tell the soldiers where to strike and destroy Drac’s brood!

Alas, the woman had been missing for seven years. No one recognized her, and they would not listen to her plan. Then Drac returned home and found her captive gone. She flew to the village, invisible, and heard as the people there rejected the woman’s plea. As soon as she had a chance, she snatched up the unfortunate woman and tore out her eyes. Thus ended the threat to Drac’s reign of terror.

Throughout the 13th Century, rumors flew about the location of Drac’s lair. There were numerous attempts to destroy her, including full-scale military campaigns. She survived them all. Centuries have now passed, and Drac hasn’t been seen in many a year. It’s believed that she died of old age. However, her legacy lives on in a town called Draguignan in the French region of Provence.


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