A Desert Wyvern
|Coloration:||Sandy Oranges, Browns, & Greys|
|Height Range:||1.07m (3'6") - 1.52m (5')|
|Length Range:||2.68m (8'10") - 3.8m (12'6")|
|Weight Range:||120kg (260lbs) - 200kg (440lbs)|
|Lifespan:||75 - 125 yrs|
Desert Wyverns are a highly aggressive, tribal race of Wyvern that lives in the deep south of the known continent. They live directly south of the Red Claw, and southwest of the Dragon Empire, in the large desert that expands through the southern region. Their biggest point of congregation is Blacksand, a nation that comprises of about forty percent of all Desert Wyverns.
Desert Wyverns are a rough-scaled race of Wyvern nestled far in the south of other sentient life. They generally come in sandy shades of brown, grey, and oranges, with orange being the rarest of the colors. They often have patterns akin to Earth's Diamondback Rattlesnakes and other desert creatures. Intricate stripes and spots are not uncommon and it is unheard of to see an unmarked Desert Wyvern. The underside of a Desert Wyvern's wings usually have large eyespots to intimidate the larger creatures that patrol the deserts looking for easy food. Horns of Desert Wyverns are often medium to dark greys and browns; they are pointed, sharp, and multiple. A rule of thumb is that the more horns a Desert Wyvern has, the oldest it is.
These Wyverns also have rather powerful defenses and offenses. While their belly is nothing but a very thick, leathery hide, their backs are plated with thick cartilage that overlap. These plates prevent the wyverns from curling backwards very well, only managing slight angles before the plates grind too much to continue the motion. Their normal scales are small and round, but thick and heavy. They are unable to fly for very long, especially without the thermals of the desert, mostly due to this. Weapon-wise, these Wyverns have a tail tip full of sharp, strong spikes that they can swing like a flail to impale and kill. Their tails are very muscular due to this heavy and effective weapon, but not hugely maneuverable.
Another weapon is very unique to the Deserts throughout the Wyverns, and this is their venom. It is not as deadly as their Dragon counterparts, Longwings, to bigger enemies, but it can almost instantly paralyze and kill anything their size or smaller. It's very useful for hunting, as the Wyverns are immune to their own venom and can consume it without issue. Against larger enemies, though, multiple bites are needed to kill - for every Desert Wyvern body mass larger that the enemy is, two or three extra injections of venom is needed to bring it down in a timely manner.
Desert Wyverns are pretty terrible fliers in normal conditions. Their heavy scale and armor makes it near impossible for them to take off without a running start or jump from a height, alongside their duo-digit wings' lack of surface area for proper powered flight. The deserts they reside in present assistance to their shortcomings, though; the strong, warm updrafts help them stay aloft for extended periods of time when they otherwise could not, allowing them to use their wings to hunt aerially. Like other Wyverns aside of the Sea Wyverns, they have grasping digits alongside their wing digits, allowing them to hold simple objects loosely. They also use this opposable digit for balance when standing on their wings.
Desert Wyverns live in a harsh society that is based heavily on survival of the fittest. From the moment they hatch, they are expected to fight for their own survival. Oftentimes, males will end up in brawls to the death as chicks, ending up until only one or two males in an entire clutch survive to adulthood, with two only happening if a loser of a fight surrenders. Most clutches average around the size of three to seven, with males and females a rather equal split. However, males, due to the infighting, are very overwhelmed by females in the overall population.
Female Desert Wyverns take care of their own clutch and defend it with their lives, relying on the unmated females to bring food to them to raise the chicks. The sire of the clutch is usually unknown, for when the usual 'mating season' begins, males tend to mate multiple females without much regard for who they are, just trying to spread their genes as far as they can. Usually, a group of ten to twenty Wyverns will gather in a single night, females outnumbering males five to one, to converge into a mess of careless reproduction. Due to these lust and instinct-driven conventions, incestuous breeding isn't uncommon. The chicks will usually die rather young due to birth defects and weaker immune systems, though, so Wyverns try to be conscious of their relatives if at all possible.
Desert Wyverns are considered old enough to survive on their own at around age three and are ousted from the nest to make room for new clutches. At this age, they're still rather vulnerable as their scales aren't fully developed and their spikes are small, but their venom is potent enough to help them fight off predators.
Siblings stick together for a year or so after being ousted, but then separate once they feel strong enough to survive on their own. Males may leave their current family and tribe to fly far off to another tribe for a new start.
These tribes are generally led by the strongest male, who can be challenged at any time by another male who believes he is stronger. These brawls will sometimes end up in death and other times with one party being maimed. The winner makes decisions for all - when to hunt, when to move, when to find new water, etc. He's generally respected and considered a father of all the Wyverns in the tribe, even though that's highly unlikely.
These Wyverns generally don't live very long. Duels and the dangers of the desert claim many lives, cutting them short many years before their natural time. In this time, the Wyverns try their best to instinctively mother or father as many clutches as possible to ensure their species' survival.
Desert Wyverns do not have much brain and therefore not much culture. They speak in shorter, clipped words and don't understand much of the higher thinking processes required for large and structured society. They have no written language and speak the Wyvern tongue badly, often slurring or hissing words. The structures they create are extremely simple and scant, often just made of blown-around sticks, cacti pieces, and palm fronds. There's simply not much to say about them.