They say that, once upon a time, the dragons of Tir were many. They say that, once upon a time, the dragons of Tir lived alongside people. They say that, once upon a time, the dragons of Tir spoke to them. Whatever the legends say, there have been no human living memories of dragons. Until now.
Three times taller than a human, with wingspans over thirty feet wide, dragons are the terrible creatures of stories and more. Able to spit fire that can’t be quenched with water, strong enough to pluck a man from the ground, capable of withstanding a barrage of arrows, a dragon is unstoppable.
Contrary to popular opinion, dragons don’t spend all their life on the wing. You’d be forgiven for thinking so; they do look peculiar on the ground, hobbling on their folded wings like old men on sticks. But dragons fly only to hunt and to mate. They nest on the ground; the males guard the eggs, the females hunt. When the hatchlings are old enough to leave the nest, the father abandons them to their mother’s care; she hasn’t been bringing him any food and he is dangerously weak. He will hunt and feed, building up his reserves before mating again.
It is a point of interest that all the dragons of the West are male. They’re smaller than the females and easier to capture in this weakened state. And any dragons hatched in captivity all wither and die. No-one in the West is sure why.
I had one objective for the dragons of Tir; although they are inherently magical creatures, I wanted them to feel real. That’s why they don’t have four limbs and a set of wings; all winged creatures have their wings on their forelimbs.
It also meant I had to figure out how a creature could breathe fire. That wasn’t easy at all! But after a few aborted ideas, I eventually settled on a gland that spat a chemical that ignites under pressure. I also spent a lot of time reading about pterosaurs; they were flying lizards at the time of dinosaurs, which gave me a good idea about likely sizes and shapes. I also read about tyrannosaurs too, because what’s a dragon but a flying dinosaur?