Night Wyverns are a mysterious race of Wyvern that live high in the mountains northwest of the Dragon Empire and north of the Red Claw. They're the most intelligent of all the Wyvern races, forming a more complex society than the other's tribal lands. They also are the largest and one of the only two bipedal races. The biggest collection of Night Wyverns is in the nation Shard of the Stars, which contains around eighty percent of the Night Wyvern populace.
Night Wyverns have a primary color of a deep hue of blue or purple, mirroring the color of a night sky right after sunset. Their colors can be light enough to be a notable shade of dark blue/purple, or they can be nearly indistinguishable from black. Their undersides are always a very dark grey or black, coated with very small reflective white scales to mimic the night sky. The underside of their wings and tail frills also continue this pattern, despite being leathery - the reflective white scales still persist in the leathery membrane, tiny enough to fit in with the natural crinkles of the wing.
These Wyverns also have a set of horns around their head, often curved downwards then up or straight and ending in a round point rather than a sharp tip like those of Dragons. These horns are present on both male and female and generally are an indicator of age - the more sets of horns, the older the dragon is. These horns, along with the claws and spikes across the rest of the Wyvern's body, are a muted purple- or blue-grey color, desaturated and rather dark, but still lighter than the main color.
The multiple spines on the Night Wyvern's neck and back cannot be consciously moved, but they sometimes perk up or fold down slightly with the Wyvern's emotions. The amount that the spines move, however, isn't very notable to the eyes of Dragons, especially when compared with how much a Longwing's frills move with their emotions. The spines are also very sharp and strong, not able to be bent without snapping very soon after. They are rather similar to a porcupine's quills in construction, though they cannot be removed or fired off their body. The spines are not bone or cartilage, but rather a sharp spike of keratin - the same substance in hair, fur, scale, and claws. They do not contain blood or nerve endings, so snapping off in the middle is not a painful issue - if they were to be ripped out from the base, however, that'd cause bleeding and pain.
Another characteristic feature of the Night Wyvern is its long tail frill that connects to its wings. This frill gives the Wyvern the extra surface area needed to be an aerial hunter, rather than short-distance flier and glider like its cousin races. Its wings are also much longer and broader than the other races of Wyverns, comparable to that of a Longwing's wing ratio, if a bit smaller. The frills can be moved consciously to adjust for air currents and allow for sharper turns and maneuvers in the air. They are the largest at the Wyvern's tail base, but get smaller as the Wyvern's tail goes on until they end at the very tip of the tail.
Night Wyvern wings have the two characteristic flight digits of its species, but also have an addition of three other digits - two graspers and a thumb-like structure. They can use this partial hand to hold onto things, although it's a bit clumsy with the wing digits being so close by. These extra digits also prevent them from walking forward on their wings, along with the aspect ratio of their legs, giving them a bird- or raptor-like upright posture.
Sexual dimorphism isn't strongly present in Night Wyverns and it can often be hard to tell male from female. The biggest difference is the length of spines - males tend to have very long spines that match or outmatch their horns in length, while females have shorter ones. Females also tend to be slightly larger than males. However, those are the only notable outward differences.
The scales of Night Wyverns are small and circular much like that of a Longwing's - they are somewhat thicker in comparison, however, to try to keep the creature warm at the high altitudes it lives in, but not too thick to disrupt flight. Finally, the eyes of a Night Wyvern are slitted in normal light, but can expand to large pupils at night, as is necessary by their nocturnal hunting habits. They have excellent night vision, even with the moon is not up yet, and they often take advantage of this dark time of night for strikes on prey or enemies, as only their eyes can pick out details in the inky darkness.
Night Wyverns hatch from the egg under the watchful eyes of their mothers, but usually without the presence of their father. The father of clutches does not usually stick around to watchgrow, as they are often out hunting for the rest of the tribe. Night Wyvern males tend to stick to a single female for the growth of the chicks from newly hatched to juveniles. If satisfied with the outcome of the chicks' growth, he may mate with the same female again. If dissatisfied, he may move onto another female he deems more worthy to produce stronger chicks. Normally, rejected single females will look over abandoned or lost chicks or work themselves up to become stronger and better mothers.
Chicks generally playfight from a young age, encouraged by their mother, to train for future survival skills. At age five, they're considered juveniles and are often ousted from the nest to learn on their own. At this age, most juvenile Night Wyverns will leave the main tribe to test their mettle in the wild, surviving on their own until they are old enough to be let back into the tribe as productive members of society. The time most Night Wyverns return is around age twenty or so, although some may return at age thirty or higher, to greater respect of their peers, or fifteen and lower, to disapproval of their peers. If a Night Wyvern returns at too low of an age, they may be chased out of the tribe for a few more years to learn their lesson.
Despite the long parting, families often can recognise each other by their scent and looks. Brothers will sometimes hunt together if they can coordinate well enough to produce a bigger haul than alone, and females will sometimes look over each others' chicks so one or the other can get a break from the constant chirping, playfighting, and biting of the tail. Mothers may sometimes grow a stronger bond with their now-grown offspring, but usually they're left to their own devices. Fathers almost never know their own offspring personally. The only time the father will interact with his offspring is when they are chicks and still need lessons in fighting and survival, or when he and his offspring are put together in a fighting or hunting group and need to coordinate.
Night Wyverns, while having no written language, do record some of their history down in large caves called Recollections. This history is recorded in pictures painted by the most talented of the tribe, often depicting large battles and big events that truly shaped their tribe to be how it is to this day. Some of these Recollection caves, especially those around the primary nation, have pictures of history dating thousands of years back. One particular cave depicts a meeting with what appears to be a latter-generation Sparkwing, blue in color with black stripes down its flanks. The image is scratched and old, however, so it is hard to truly tell whether or not it is just a Sea Wyvern or truly a Dragon. However, due to the age and meaning of Recollections, these sights are considered highly sacred and only the oldest, most battle-scarred Night Wyverns are allowed to guard their entrance, day-in and day-out.
The oldest Wyverns in society are often looked up to with great respect. These elders are often too old and frail to fly anymore, but they are looked to for advice in choosing a mate, battling, or in general diplomacy. The elders are also natural leaders of the tribe's cultural affairs, overseeing festivals and ceremonies. When an elder dies, most of, if not all of, the tribe will mourn their loss. They will also celebrate their life and all that it has brought to them, however, and promise to the heavens that they will forevermore revere the soul of the late elder as one of their beloved ancestors.
In general society, males will take roles of hunters, soldiers, guards, and overall rule enforcers. They are considered the backbone upon which society can be grown and, without males, society would collapse. The females, while playing less of a role in society, are often considered greater than their male counterparts. They are revered for their ability to create and harbor life within them, something that a male cannot do, but also something that is essential to existing. In a way, females are a mother to all as much as they are a mother to their own chicks, and female elders are looked up to more as guiding figures than males. Females often take the roles of organisers, overseers, historians, and like roles when they aren't heavy with eggs. Once a female is mated, they're excused from any duties they had prior and are replaced by another female soon after. This, of course, isn't a shame whatsoever - there's nothing more respected in Night Wyvern society than a gravid female.