(On Cynthia's suggestion, I'm just going to paste the entire article)
The Lord of Azure Flame guide to wyverns
Wyverns first appeared ages ago after mortal men began trying to tame the wild and powerful dragons of old. After many generations of “dragon riding”, what came to be known as the wyverns appeared, truly awesome creatures with the bodies of dragons, but the hearts of wolves, able to be domesticated as war mounts. Throughout the centuries wyverns have been on battlefronts across the continent. As their presence has grown, that of dragons has steadily decreased. Though historians believe the dragons have merely become reclusive, most believe that wyverns have replaced the dreaded beasts known as dragons. Unlike dragons, wyverns can be broken. Having them in the place of dragons seemed to be the best of both worlds.
Wyvern prejudice tends to be very common due to the incredibly high frequency of wyvern attacks.
Wyverns are large flying beasts with distinct features, including but not limited to: large incisors, razor sharp claws, tough scaly hides, long serrated tails, and massive wings.
Not including their tails, they are on average around twelve to fifteen feet long. Their colors can range from black to white, and from blue to red, though dark orange, brown, light and dark green, gray, and unsaturated blue are the most common hide colors.
Wyverns need their thick hides because a vital organ or artery is underneath almost every inch of their torso. They have numerous muscles and fewer weak points on their limbs, but their torsos have always been a source of extreme vulnerability, especially to piercing objects such as arrows.
Like birds, wyverns have broadly hollow bones. Contrary to popular opinion, that does not make their bones any weaker than any other large animal. Their bones are in fact nearly twenty times stronger than horse bones. Though not directly related to bone density wyverns have a preposterously low rate of blood production after adolescence, and as a side effect, wyverns often becomes inactive after serious injuries for several weeks or even months. If they lose too much blood, they can slip into a coma and die of starvation.
Wyverns that lose scales due to injury do not grow those scales back when the weapon used to cause the injury go through the flesh and into the muscle tissue. Instead, the scar tissue hardens to near rock like strength to compensate. These areas of wyvern's bodies tend to be just as tough and resistant as the scaled regions.
Also similar to birds, wyverns have lungs especially suited for flight, complete with air sacks. These air sacks gather air that has entered the lungs. When the wyvern exhales, the lungs receive the surplus. In short, like birds, wyverns also gain oxygen from exhaling.
Like many flying predators, wyverns have what is known as binocular vision. They can spot and identify other creatures from as far as a mile away.
Wyverns tend to favor livestock animals such as cows, and pigs. In the wild they prefer the hoofed animal of their home territory. For mountain wyverns that would mean rams, goats or pegasi. Ordinarily a pegasus is too fast to catch, but a sick or injured one is an easy target for a fast diving mountain wyvern. For wyverns living on the plains, horses, sheep, deer, and bulls.
Domesticated wyverns are commonly raised on surplus livestock, such as chickens.
Wyverns can eat nearly any kind of meat, including fish, but for a healthy upbringing, it is better to give them what they would naturally be eating in the wild.
Over time wyvern domestication has slightly weakened the wyvern population’s natural resilience. Wyverns brought up on chickens and the like don’t usually grow as large as those that don’t. The biggest differences in size are about a foot or two in length, and about sixty to a hundred and eighty pounds of weight. Rarely, a difference in as much as two feet in diameter occurs.
Wyverns that go for too long without eating become delusional, and sometimes highly aggressive and even cannibalistic. Domesticated wyverns are hardly an exception though they may sometimes remain sane longer. A starved wyvern will typically lose its sanity after about two weeks and will begin attacking anything and anyone around it in search of food, including their own riders. The crazed demensia usually wears off within a couple of days once the wyvern is being fed regularly again.
It is even more difficult to tame a wyvern than a horse or pegasus. The wyvern is a territorial animal, and a predator in nature, often hunting down nearly human sized prey. It generally takes about a month to break a wyvern of its habits. It can take even longer if the wyvern is older. Breaking a wyvern first starts by capturing the wyvern. Most failures take place during the capture attempt. The wyvern must be subdued with ropes or placed into a steel cage. It is easier to lure them into cages by disguising them and placing an animal inside.
Next, they must be exposed to humans constantly. A total of twenty four hours a week minimum. The wyvern must not be allowed to acquire food on its own. It must be fed directly by the rider who is going to eventually mount it. When wyverns feel that they are powerless to help themselves, they’re natural instincts take a backseat to reliance, and that gives the rider a chance to gain its trust. If the rider fails to instill that trust at this stage, any further attempt to tame the wyvern will fail, and the rider could be killed.
After two to three weeks of hand feeding a wyvern, the rider should expose himself to the wyvern. This stage is critical. If the wyvern hasn’t developed any trust in the rider, it will immediately assault the rider in an attempt to escape. In most cases, by the time a rider realizes his err, it is too late. The rider must now spend the next one to two weeks in direct contact with the wyvern: touching, petting, rubbing, feeding, and cleaning it. Wrestling games are common ways that riders will use to “trick” wyverns into allowing themselves to be mounted. That speeds up the mounting process.
On average, about four in every five attempts to tame a wild wyvern ends in failure. Three in five attempts end in the wyvern’s violent escape back to the wild, and two in five attempts end in the death of the tamer and or rider.
In modern times where wyvern riders are becoming more of a necessity in war, a more popular method is to capture wyverns and breed them. Their children are born in captivity and develop bonds with humans instead of other wyverns. Wyvern breaking is left strictly to the professionals nowadays, and is considered a dangerous and stupid sport suited only to the macho, or suicidal.
Mountain wyvern breaking is considered all but impossible.
Due to the difficulty of capturing wyverns alive, they are extremely valuable, especially to militaries. Breeding wyverns are the most valuable, females remain the most highly valued wyverns.
Wyverns are not romantic animals by nature. They do not come into heat, or mate during a specific season, because wyvern offspring can survive any season in their natural environment. Male wyverns that are raised in the wild will try to mate with as many females as possible when its mating instinct turns on. This generally happens if the presence of other wyverns becomes too low, or the wyvern’s own scent is lacking throughout the environment. Male goals are always to overpopulate the area with its own offspring and drive competitors out. The larger the male, the easier it is for them to have offspring. Female wyverns are generally passive aggressive, relying on males for protection, and only fighting themselves when their own offspring our nearby and in danger. When females fight, they are usually more dangerous than males, partly due to their claws and teeth. Male wyverns wear down their claws and teeth against rocks and other wyverns through their lives, while females’ remain razor sharp due to noncompetitive use.
In the wild, wyvern females lay from three to ten eggs at a time. On average only one or two will survive. Most of the eggs will be destroyed by rival males attempting to get rid of all the eggs and force the female to mate with them. If a wyvern male has been able to find only one or two females, he will defend them and their nests. If he has been more successful he will leave them to fend for themselves which usually means that an entire clutch of eggs will be lost from several successful matings. This leads to the dominate males having around three children for every two females he mates with. Ironically, a wyvern that defends his mate and nest will likely have a complete clutch of children. On the downside, these children will often exhaust the parents’ ability to feed them, and even turn on them for resources when they come of age.
In captivity, wyvern mating habits change only slightly. Breeding males are generally untamed and wildly aggressive. They are often kept on short leashes metaphorically speaking, but they are usually allowed to mate with which ever females they choose.
On average all wyverns born in captivity survive.
Wyvern nestlings are brought up on meat and water, generally chicken, turkey, ham, and beef. Domesticated wyverns usually develop a taste for human food in response to being allowed left overs. It is seemingly harmless. They can also drink milk, though they have to be forced to drink it initially. They must also develop a tolerance for it and any other unnatural food they receive. After developing a love for their riders, wyverns will follow them everywhere. Between the ages of one and five are the optimal time for wyverns to become familiar with human speech. Wyverns will reach adulthood after nine to ten years. They never stop growing however. Their growth slows down dramatically, but they continue to get larger throughout their lives. Even the oldest wyverns are never longer than twenty feet or so, unless they are supplied with enough food to turn them into bull wyverns before they reach adulthood. This is highly discouraged however.
Male wyverns and female wyverns have very different behaviors that are so distinct that they can be used to determine male from female by themselves. Domesticated wyverns show the most extreme cases of these habits.
Male wyverns display the following habits:
Gnawing on random objects, clawing wooden walls, snarling randomly, twitching their wings, swallowing large rocks, tugging on another wyvern’s tail to goad them into playing, head butting, snapping, eating anything edible that they come across including large animals, excessive scratching, and roaring with other wyverns.
Female wyverns display the following habits:
Beating their tails against the ground or objects, digging broad holes and sleeping in them, swallowing small rocks, attacking smaller animals(automatically with no intent to feed on them
), rolling onto their backs, sleeping on their backs, spreading their wings out to appear larger when afraid, and flying away from sudden loud sounds.
Wyverns have astonishing mental capabilities, on par with four to five year old children. They can solve problems and use creative thinking to adapt to new situations, in some cases faster than humans could. Some wyverns can understand what their riders are saying by picking up on specific words in their speech that they associate with commands. In most cases, they appear to understand human speech in its entirety when in fact, they are simply listening for cues.
Wyverns also have frightening physical capabilities, able to tear most things apart in seconds. Their raw strength is enough to overpower any other creature or warrior.
Wyvern life span:
Mountain wyverns can live from ninety to a hundred years. Domesticated ones can live fifteen years longer.
Plain dweller wyverns can live from eighty to ninety years. Domesticated ones can live twenty-five years longer.
Sea wyverns can live from forty to sixty years. Domesticated ones can live fifty years longer.
Bull wyverns can live up to one hundred and forty years. Life span limit records for captive bull wyverns have never been successfully made.
There are different types of wyverns.
These types lack forearms and are long and slender. Their tails are much longer than that of most wyverns. Exactly 130% the length of their head and torso. Their wing spans are anywhere from twenty-six to thirty-two feet. Mountain wyverns are notorious explorer killers, and are considered some of the toughest types to domesticate. They’re environment gives them a supreme advantage making capturing them so difficult that most would dare not try. These types of wyverns tend to have the highest populations. On moon lit nights, hundreds of them can be seen swarming around above the mountain tops.
They are usually dark and dull colored in their appearance, perfect to match the mountainous backdrop that serves as their home.
Unlike most wyverns, mountain wyverns are pack minded until domesticated. They attack in large numbers, another impeding obstacle to capture. The largest attempt to capture mountain wyverns ended with one hundred and thirty of the two hundred soldiers sent dying, along with fifteen mountain wyverns. Five were captured by the end of it for domestication and breeding. When they attack, they flap violently to push their prey to the ground, and then snap persistently. If attacked from behind, they whip their tails around to swat attackers.
The most common type of wyvern, and the most suitable for domestication. They share the same appearance as the dragons of old, possessing thick torsos, two arms, two legs, massive wings, and a long heavily armored serrated tail. Their wingspan is anywhere from twenty-four to twenty-eight feet. In the wild plain dwelling wyverns are commonly seen swooping down onto the livestock of farmers and flying away with cows in their grasp. They can also be seen soaring over the plains searching for any number of things. Plain dwellers tend to live alone or in very small groups of three to four once they come of age, and only seek out other wyverns for mating. Siblings will often stay together for a year or two after coming of age to increase their chances of survival. Once the urge to mate comes, siblings will split up and leave each other for good.
Plain dwellers are spread throughout kilometers of land. If two males encounter each other, that means that their individual territories have connected and a fight will always ensue, with the loser losing nearly ten square miles of his land if he survives.
Nearly all bull wyverns are male. The only time a female bull wyvern springs up is when a regular adolescent female plain dweller or mountain wyvern is nurtured by her mate to the point of doubling in size. A bull wyvern is classified as any wyvern that is twice as large or larger than normal wyverns. Even the domesticated ones tend to be extremely violent creatures. The ones found in the wild attack on sight(unless alone with eggs to guard
), and are the most dangerous animals in the wild. They will doggedly pursue humans until they catch and slaughter them, or until they reach the edge of their territory. They’re strength is more than double that of normal wyverns and they can claw their way through heavy armor easily. Their jaws are strong enough to bite cattle in half, and their tails can swing with enough power to swat men away with bone crushing force.
Bull wyvern wingspans vary from forty to fifty feet. They are moderately resistant to normal magic attacks, and they are considered the most dangerous wild animals anywhere. They are also outlawed in many places due to consistent incidents they cause.
These types of wyverns are long and slender with tiny arms, tiny legs, long necks, thin wings, and spear tipped tails. They are generally blue colored or grey. Sea wyverns always nest on cliffs by the ocean, and dive down into the water to feast on fish. The only types to feed on sea creatures. They are defensive when outnumbered but aggressive otherwise. Surprisingly, they’re scale hides are quite resistant to magic, but weak against blades, spears, and arrows. They appear to be the drake equivalent of pegasi. Despite their weaknesses, they are radically aggressive when on the verge of capture, often impaling men on their tails and flinging them into the water.
Sea Wyverns eat whenever they can, often picking beaches clean if dead fish brought about by red tides show up. If a whale were to wash up onto a beach, a local sea wyvern population would leave behind nothing but bones by nightfall.
Edited by Phoenix, 25 June 2010 - 10:02 PM.