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  • Peter Fane

A note on Small-skulled sun-chasers . . .

SMALL-SKULLED SUN-CHASER (“Katherine’s Folly;” also “Jester Drake,” “Nutjob,” or “Thespian.”)

Despite its rather dubious reputation as a messenger dragon – or perhaps because of it – the small-skulled sun-chaser can be found in courier lodges across Dávanor. From Konordun to Tarntown, from the forests of Fellár to the woods of central Télledor, most noble households boast at least one of these odd wyverns. When used for messenger service, chasers are usually used for “less than critical” courier work, most often being deployed in short-range missions carrying missives of a humorous or lewd nature. During High Carnival, for example, the skies of Dávanor’s cities are rife with chasers carrying practical jokes and gag packages. The Grand Chase of Tarntown – the famous carnival event in Dávanor’s capitol, during which participants dress as sun-chasers and run a series of obstacle courses – is also based on the well-known antics of these food-obsessed, fun-loving dragons.

Chasers do not live in the wild, nor can they be found in traditional natural broods. They are the product of rigorous selective breeding and do poorly out of domestic settings. The mating of a chaser dam and sire is always an elaborate affair conducted with much merriment and celebration; such pairings almost always take place during High Carnival. Chasers do not build nests and do not like them. Rather, owners will often place a nesting female in a convenient nook or cubby filled with old household blankets. Foaling always takes place in early summer. One or two young is the norm. Chasers carry a great deal of weight in their rumps and upper tails, a physiology which give them a rather strange appearance in flight. However, this same feature, combined with their relatively small heads, allows chasers to walk about upright better than any other of Dávanor’s small breeds.

Chasers have no prey drive, nor do they hunt or forage. That said, they are extremely food motivated and shockingly picky. Raw meat – preferably pork, lots of it, and variously seasoned – is a requirement for their attention. They will only fly when sated and must be fed again immediately upon delivery of their message. (To force a chaser away from its destination without food is considered very bad form, indeed.) Despite the small size of their craniums, chasers can and will perform all manner of stunts, tricks, and feats when well-prepared food is involved. These tricks can range from carrying out simple commands, to elaborate, multi-faceted performances lasting half a bell or more. Of course, these strange ballets need not be solo affairs, nor do they require “choreography.” The thousands of improvisational chaser troupes across Dávanor attest to the popularity of these hilarious, bizarre performances.

Typical colors: gold, light brown, copper, and tan. The chest will always be two or three shades lighter than the body proper and of more saturated hue.

Typical wingspan: (f) 12-15 palms [ca. 90-115 cm]; (m) 14-16 palms [ca. 105-102 cm] Typical length: (f) 10-12 palms [ca. 75-90 cm]; (m) 12-14 palms [ca. 90-105 cm] Typical lifespan: (f) 215-235 years; (m) 230-240 years Horned? Yes. Crested? No. Toothed? Yes. Venomous? No.

This text was adapted from my field notes with some references made to Katherine II's "The Smaller Dragons of Davanor. A Preliminary Taxonomy" (F.Y. 190). Illustration is by High Lady Milica Celikovic.

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