The Shadow Drake (scientific name Cocytus Pyrophilis, Drakine Tehariusiv, "New Protector") is a unique species of Euthoran dragon that only exists in the Alter Timeline. The species prominently features in the Cult of Ustream canon as guardians and protectors of the Seals of Ustream.
Only four bloodlines of this species exist, each pertaining to a specific element. While all Shadow Drakes have a weak affinity for the elements of Fire and Darkness, each bloodline has a stronger affinity for Earth, Wind, Water, and Light respectively. There is rarely more than one of each bloodline alive at one time, only happening when one Shadow Drake has a hatchling.
Shadow Drakes are Light Saurians of the Cocytus genus and have no Elemental Alignment, as between themselves, the species as a whole is aligned towards all elements.
Shadow Drakes are almost always dark in color, with their specific hue being dependent on their ancestry. They have luminous red eyes with rounded but narrow pupils, which can become slit-like when the dragon is shocked, angry, or afraid. Aside from their eyes, a Shadow Drake is usually varying shades of the same color all over its body, but they may develop dark, usually black, markings such as wingtips and stripes.
Lean and agile, Shadow Drakes are on the small side for Saurians, but fully-grown adults can still reach up to 35 to 40 feet long, most of this being tail. As Light Saurians, they have large wingspans with sharp, narrow wings, built for aerial maneuverability rather than sheer flying strength and endurance. Their heads are lean aside from their crests,and the species is generally very narrowly-built.
Because of their crests, Shadow Drakes are considered "spiky" in appearance. Atop their heads and tipping their tails are large, immobile, spiked crests of bone, coated in a thin overlay of dyed Mythril to give them color. They are both primarily used for display and intimidation, but the head crest serves as a dense crown to protect the dragon from aerial attacks. Though less prominent, Shadow Drakes also have small, thick spikes on their spines and joints.
Shadow Drakes are tetradactylous, like all other Euthoran Dragons, and have semi-retractable claws. Unlike most other Light Saurians, they are not built to take a bipedal stance and thus keep a quadrupedal gait. Despite this, the dewclaws on their forelegs are opposable and allow them to manipulate objects.
Shadow Drake eggs are always the color of the hatchling inside.
Shadow Drakes are oviparous and lay single-egg nests. The first hatchling of a Shadow Drake will always be another Shadow Drake, and nests thereafter will tend to be the other parent's species.
All Shadow Drakes have a weak affinity with the elements of Fire and Darkness, and thus they express the associated Pyroimpery and Achlympery as subdomain-based Soul Phantasms. These are weaker in potential when compared to the Shadow Drake's primary elemental affinity, dependent on bloodline. The associated Geoimpery, Hydroimpery, Aeroimpery, or Photoimpery is generally derived from a primary Domain or Codomain. In these cases, the Shadow Drake's Domain is usually Awakened early in life, with the Soul Phantasm manifesting shortly thereafter.
Shadow Drakes have an inherent, constant aura about them called Shadow Bond, that resonates with the same auras in other dragons of their species. These auras are invisible to the naked eye and are an extension of the Shadow Drake's Soul. When Shadow Drakes are near each other, their auras "recognize" and strengthen one another, leading to replenishing energy and an increase in the power of their abilities. The range of Shadow Bond is unknown, but generally the ability is effective when the dragons are in the same general area. The effect is increased exponentially when more Shadow Drakes are added, and particularly strong between directly related individuals such as a parent and offspring.
Shadow Drakes uniquely have an inherent sense for danger, growing uneasy when in the presence of someone with ill intent, or when there is conflict nearby. This is made apparent to the observer by them becoming visibly wary or unnerved, and they may stand vigil until the danger goes away or becomes relevant to them. Even young hatchlings develop a sense for when things are amiss, and despite not being able to help, they may stand watch with their parents to try to help defend against the danger.
Shadow Drakes are naturally crepuscular and typically vespertine, but adapt easily to nocturnal or diurnal habits as circumstances warrant.
Unlike most dragon species, Shadow Drakes are highly social with one another and even other species of dragons. This is due to their purpose as guardians and protectors requiring them to work together with others. Shadow Drakes seem not to have as prominent a desire to rule as dragons of other species, though it may still be present and develop as the dragon grows older. They are still natural leaders and typically dislike taking orders, but this is lessened when compared to other dragons.
Shadow Drakes are intelligent and highly protective. Though they are usually very calm and amicable dragons, when they or someone they care for is placed in danger, the dragon will do whatever is necessary to protect the individual in danger.
Because of their loyal and protective nature, Shadow Drakes care for their young and mate for life. They instinctively seek out other species of dragon as mates, rarely if ever mating with each other.
The species is exclusively predatory and hypercarnivorous.
The Shadow Drake evolved from a very similar species called the Runic Drake, which bred with dragons in the Nebula genus of Light Saurians in order to create the Cocytus genus, which includes both Shadow Drakes and Shadowsongs. The two species are thus closely related to one another and even share habits, appearances, behavior, and abilities.
Shadow Drake Bloodlines
Each bloodline of the species, and its known members in order, are as follows.
- Earth: Charos. Members of this bloodline tend to have violet-hued scales, with the exact hue shifting towards blue or red depending on lighting and individual.
- Water: Cassiel. Members of this bloodline are typically red-scaled, though in the case of Cassiel, this red may be so dark that it appears to be black unless under direct light.
- Wind: Deathstorm, Zephyrus, Karria (hypothetical and currently non-canon). Members of this bloodline tend to be a very dark, rich blue in color. It is worth noting that as Karria is half Royale Sky Serpent, she gets her white and gold coloration from her mother rather than the blue scales of her father.
- Light: Vergari. This bloodline was killed at some point in the early Dissonant Era, and was "re-created" at Standard Canon Time in order to protect the seal. Dragons of this bloodline tend to be dark green in color.