Salutations, knowledge-seekers!

     Today’s question comes with an answer that I hope will clear up some frequent misunderstandings about dragons. The number of letters we receive in which the asker is shockingly misinformed about what defines a dragon is far too high! Here’s another one of these draconically-ignorant fellows

     Normally I praise the question-asker for a well thought-out and interesting inquiry, but this? Absolutely not. To even suggest that I let a mere mortal place a saddle on me and travel on my back like some common horse is absurd. It is, however, not the first time this question has been asked of me…

     Some centuries ago, I was flying high above the skies of Zelistann when a trio of wyvern-riders ascended on my position. These mere mortals began calling out to me in some bizarrely brave attempt to hail me. The nerve! When I shot back a threatening roar, they hesitated for only a second. It seemed as though their domination over the poison-tailed creatures gave them the misinformed notion that they would have a similar experience interacting with me as they did handling these trained beasts.

     I believe the severe lack of a common understanding on what actually defines a true dragon is what leads mortals to sometimes treat true dragons with a lack of the respect. A wyvern is NOT a true dragon, as is not any of the many forms of drake, pseudodragon, wyvern, or (especially) a fairy-dragon. Though a number of seemingly natural-occurring dragon-like beasts have always existed, not to mention the countless wizards and scholars the world over who have taken parts of dragons, fusing them with plain beasts to implant within them a mote of draconic power, these countless beasts are simply just that—beasts. Stupid, controllable, and mundane.

     Believing that anything with scales and wings is a dragon is akin to the thought that anything with a bushy enough beard is a dwarf. But is a satyr a dwarf? Of course not. If the flute playing and cloven feet instead of stern mining choruses and dust-caked boots are enough to show the differences between the two, surely anyone with half a brain can see the difference between a two-legged, poison-tailed wyvern and the four-legged (plus our magnificent wings) true dragon!

     This obvious difference was not apparent enough for these riders, though, and ignoring my bellowed warning, they continued their pestering.

     “OI! DRAKE!” one helmeted moron called. “I BEEN THINKIN’ OF GETTIN’ A NEW MOUNT! YOU INTERESTED? I’D PAY YA IN BEEF! GUBBLES HERE LIKES HIS BEEF, DON’T YA GUBBLES?” And at this he gave the wyvern a hearty pat, which caused the wyvern to let out a low, approving growl. You know, like a stupid dog. Not at all like a dragon.

     At this horrible suggestion, I spat back one final warning. “DO NOT CALL UPON MY SPLENDOR IN SUCH A DISRESPECTFUL WAY! YOUR RETREAT OR YOUR LIFE!”

     Annoyingly, the rider let out the most obvious eyeroll and replied, “OOO! LOOKS LIKE WE TOUCHED A NERVE ON THIS BIG OL’ LIZARD, EH BOYS?” which in turn caused the other wyvern-riders to let out their last chuckle.

     Needless to say, a few minutes later, the wyverns and their riders were either a wet, bloody mass in my belly or splattered upon the land a few miles below. It was at this point that I decided should the opportunity ever arise, I would spread the word to the world what it meant to be a true dragon. Maybe it was mortals’ ignorance on this subject that caused too many of them to treat me with anything less than the respect and fear that I merited. Thus, when Geldrin came into my lair with all of his curiosity and idea for a book to be made, I obliged.

     So, dear reader, here are the facts: Many creatures in this wide world of ours have scales. Many have wings. Some of them even breathe elemental breath, and even fewer still gather large hoards of treasure, but none of these things make them a true dragon. For a true dragon has all of these things—two legs, two arms, two wings, scales, and fiery, acidic, icy, or many other kinds of breath that they can exude from their gullet. They, when they reach a certain maturity, can shapeshift at will (though metallics are much better at this, I’ll admit). There are a few other defining traits, including the predisposition to gather hoards of gems, gold, and treasures. When we gather enough, it can sustain us fully, magically, and allow for a years-long slumber if we so desire. However, the greatest difference between a simple drake, wyvern, or draconically-altered beast and a true dragon is our intelligence.

 Yes, I have stated that white dragons especially have a near-bestial level of intellect, and while this is true, they still can speak, plan, and understand basic concepts, the brutes that they are. Yet these whites are by far the most unintelligent of true dragons. The most intellectual of us (and I am included in this list) are nearly omnipotent in the depths of our knowledge! Why even a fraction of the plans, ideas, and concepts that are concocted in my horned head would cause a mortal’s mind to fracture! Be glad that I always tone down my intellectualism for these storytimes!

With that, I hope you all have begun to grasp this concept even better. Since I started answering these questions, the times at which I am accosted by disrespectful mortals has dropped significantly, thus I believe it is working! Though I’m sure there is still much more that you folks would like to know about your favorite dragon! So once again, feel free to ask me any questions about myself that you have. And until next time, continue to season your tiny brains with draconic knowledge!