The Hydra (Drakine Tarnihrkráni, "Many Heads"; scientific name Megasaurus Ferox) is a species of Euthoran dragon. They are best known for being multi-headed dragons, unique among the many species of dragon native to Euthora.
They are Heavy Saurians of the Megasaurus genus, descended from Skyqueen Nálnés, and are Earth-Aligned. Hydras evolved during the Radiant Era, are endangered at Standard Canon Time, and are driven to extinction late during the Dissonant Era. A group of Hydras is known as a siege.
Hydras are massive, bulky Heavy Saurians with limbs that are thick and muscular. Because they are so heavily built, with dense bones and multiple skulls, the species is flightless unless hybridized. While their wings are large and powerful, they cannot support the dragon in the air and are used primarily for show and gliding short distances. Hydras are generally sturdily-built, being walls of scale and thick muscle that both hinders their agility and bolsters their raw strength.
Best known for having multiple heads, the spine of a Hydra splits into between two and seven necks, each fully functional with their own heads. This number is determined mostly by genetic randomness, but may draw from trends formed in ancestry (such as the dragon's lineage having a tendency to have between two and four heads, for example). Barring injury, the number of heads will not naturally change throughout the dragon's life. Hydras also typically have a single, thick tail, but very rarely mutations may occur in which the tail splits off into a number equal to the Hydra's heads.
A Hydra's scales are generally dully-colored despite the metallic luster. Common colors include browns, reds (particularly dark or rust reds), grays, and greens. Though they lack distinct markings naturally, the crown and bridge of the snout may be brighter, more vibrant shades of their natural colors. The crown of a Hydra is thick and dense, made primarily of bone with metal plating coating the outside. The crown is usually three-pointed, with two eye ridges with one point each and a central crest, also with only one point. All three points are oriented toward the back of the skull, creating a swept-back appearance. Their horns grow in segments and are usually black or dark gray in color, and often curve backwards and then up, allowing their horns to be used as viable headbutting weapons.
Hydras typically lack decoration beyond their crowns and low, thick spikes running down their spines. Their tails are undecorated and used mostly as blunt, heavy weapons. Their snouts have a slight hook to them in order to allow the dragon to hold prey, but the curve is not as prominent as those in Firedrakes and Pyrespines. The ventral sides of their bodies are layered with wide, leathery scutes that begin at the throat and end halfway down the tail.
Like all Euthoran dragons, Hydras are homeothermic reptiles and synthesize Mythril naturally in their scales, along with metals that they eat and secrete into those scales.
Each head of a Hydra is a separate "branch" or consciousness of the same entity, each containing its own brain and organs. Despite common belief, these heads are not telepathic with one another and must communicate through normal means.
Hydras have incredibly formidable regenerative abilities, detailed in full below, due to rapid cell growth, multiplication, and repair.
Hydras breathe their fire via an expulsion of Hydrogen from their lungs, which is then ignited through an unconscious magical process. The gas only actually ignites once it it passing the dragon's teeth, in order to protect the teeth and throat from fiery backlash.
Famous for their regenerative abilities, Hydras will regrow severed limbs, tails, and even heads quickly (between a few minutes and a day, depending on the dragon and the injury) unless the wound is cauterized, necrotized, or otherwise prevented from undergoing natural healing by the body. Healing magic can be used to bypass this and allow the Hydra to recover on its own. Due to this, cutting and piercing weaponry is mostly ineffective even in a battle of attrition, as the Hydra will usually heal minor wounds almost instantly. This has no effect on physical endurance and stamina.
Hydras are known to be aggressive and are often considered by other dragons to be brutish. While they are perfectly sapient and highly intelligent, they lack the inherent cunning of similar species of different alignments (compared, for example, to the Fire-Aligned Pyrespine). They can be argumentative, stubborn, and headstrong, inflexible and unyielding in the face of both enemies and disagreements. The heads usually have different personalities from each other, but all tend to follow the underlying trend of the species as a whole being difficult to manage. Aside from this natural stubbornness, Hydras have no noteworthy reactions to dracoimpery and its users beyond how most other dragons would react.
Hydras do not mate for life, typically lay one or two eggs in a clutch, and do not tend to their offspring after hatching. When nesting (usually in low-altitude caves or dug-out dens), the female will drive the male away from the nest, and then watch over the clutch before abandoning it as the eggs begin to hatch. If the nest contains multiple eggs, the hatchlings may remain together for up to a week, but will eventually go their separate ways.
Hydras are diurnal and obligate carnivores.
Hydras vastly prefer warm, dry climates such as those found in deserts and warm mountains. They cannot withstand cold temperatures for very long and can weaken or die in freezing conditions; Hydras which live in the desert combat this by creating or entering a "den" of sorts when the sun begins to set. Underground dens can be easily warmed by the Hydra's fire, and the dirt or stone walls prevent heat from escaping.
The territory of a Hydra is large and inhabited by one dragon, or rarely a temporarily mated pair. They dislike other dragons in their area and will often try to drive intruders out, but cannot always force flying dragons away as they can simply fly out of the Hydra's reach. Most commonly, Lesser Wyverns will begin to encroach upon a Hydra's territory, knowing full well the Hydra is unable to truly do anything about it.