Scientific studies in the areas of biology and genetics have revealed, among others, two truths which will be important to the discussion within this paper: that there are certain barriers which exist that generally prevent taxonomically dissimilar creatures from breeding with one another; and that, in the majority of cases, an offspring of two parents generally combines the features of those parents. This paper intends to demonstrate how dragon kindred violate both of these rules, then make a point as to why this is important to the future of our sciences.
Of important note is that, when one of the dragons breeds, it takes the form of the creature that it has selected as its target. (A recent study has postulated that the dragons do not, in fact, literally transform into their target species — observations indicate that they may in fact project a sort of avatar, leaving their true body behind. This would solve a great deal of questions regarding the physics of dragon transformation, as their true bodies are magnitudes larger than the forms that they take.) This transformation, and the mechanics thereof, which are not fully understood, is likely the source of indiscrepancies when attempting to apply knowledge gained from the study of other species to the dragons.
At base, when a dragon breeds with another creature, it would seem that the creature then produced is a fusion of the dragon’s appearance and that of the other parent. This can be observed when student a human dragon kindred. On the surface, the kindred will have the general form of the human parent: a bipedal gait, arms ending in hands with opposable thumbs, a skeletal structure highly reminiscent of that of a human, and even internal organs consistent with those of humans in their position, function, and composition. The hybrid kindred will also have scales reminiscent of those of its dragon parent, as well as claws and teeth. In many cases, the kindred’s face is elongated, placing it halfway between human facial structure and that of the dragon that contributed to its birth.
A cursory observation, then, would indicate that dragon kindred follow the rule above: that the offspring is a fusion of its two parents. However, deeper study, as has been performed on cadavers at the King’s University, shows that dragon kindred do not follow this rule precisely. Instead, through measurements and other indicators, such as eye color, it has been demonstrated that human dragon kindred actually incorporate features not only from the obvious parents — the human parent and the dragon parent — but also from the from the form taken by the dragon when deceiving its target into breeding with it.
The question of this first arose when a child of Sophonalia’s kindred was born with a eye color that surprised observers. News of this child reached scholars at the University, who marked the child’s birthday in their ledgers and ensured that they claimed its body when reached the age where the protection of the Dragon Laws failed it. The child’s human father had brown eyes, and disclosed that, while his grandmother had green eyes, to his knowledge, no other members of his family had shared that eye color. As is well-known, Sophonalia herself, in her true form, has eyes of a pale blue.
Yet the form Sophonalia took to deceive this man had eyes of a brilliant green, to which the mad admitted to being attracted. The child that she bore for him also had green eyes, with a shape reminiscent of Sophonalia’s human form. The pupils, however, were vertical slits, in reflection of the pupils of Sophonalia’s draconic form.
This was surely not the first case of such an occurrence, but it was the case that drew the University’s attention and caused them to begin studying the phenomenon. It is unfortunately difficult to perform detailed, practical research in this area, because of the ephemeral nature of the dragon’s deceptive forms, and the fact that the majority of them would never readily submit themselves for study. (It has been theorized that Essalam may take an interest in such a study, and might in fact participate in it, if it could be presented to him in the proper fashion. Discussions are ongoing among university heads as to whether it is wise to send a delegation to Essalam’s library, since his price and the study itself would require the intentional creation of at least one dragon kindred.)
The observations that have been carried out indicate something fascinating, which is that the dragon kindred apparently take contributions from all three contributors to their genesis: the human (or animal) parent, the false form taken by the dragon, and the true form of the dragon. The current postulation is that the genetic makeup of a dragon kindred is in fact taken entirely from the genetic of its human parent and those of the form the dragon took during the act of conception. The draconic influences themselves are given to the creature by some means outside of the realm of mundane genetics — fitting, as the dragons themselves are far from mundane.
Unfortunately, while we have discovered the influence of genetics on beings, and are able to identify traits that are passed down through lineages of plants and animals, we have not yet determined the method by which living things pass on this information. Scholars at the King’s University are hard at working attempting to explain the mechanics behind the transfer of genetic information. Currently, we have only what data we can easily observe. Once we have a more sure methodology, we will be able to confirm or abolish the theory that draconic influence happens outside the realm of genetics.
If this theory is true, it would solve questions that have arisen regarding the subject of inbreeding among dragon kindred. It has been observed that dragon kindred in nature — that is, for example, wild birds that are kindred of Volphyret — will only breed with other wild birds which are also Volphyret’s kindred. As breeding with direct siblings is known to be problematic, the question has arisen as to why this is not a problem for dragon kindred. The idea that draconic influence is not genetic may answer this question for us.
This postulation will also help us with the question of how it is possible for dragons to breed outside of their species at all. Before scholarly interest in genetics arose, this fact was never questioned. Humanity saw the dragons as a threat, and we knew and accepted Vanaprimax’s goals and the dragon’s means without question. Now, while the desires of the Elder Dragon are not in doubt, we seek to question how it is possible for his children to carry out his instructions.
The majority of the dragons are fairly lacertiform, though they vary wildly in appearance and share features with birds and mammals, as well. Still, their similarity to lizards has led to scholarly experiments involving attempts to artificially impregnate other species with genetic material gained from lizards, or to impregnate lizards with the genetic material of other species, particularly mammals. None of these attempts have been successful in producing viable offspring.
It would be easy to say that the answer to most of our questions involving dragons is “magic,” and as studies continue, it becomes increasingly likely that the magic inherent in the dragons is the actual answer for the majority of their mysterious capabilities. Magic and the study thereof is its own discipline, and while the scholars of the King’s University attempt to resist incorporating it into their sciences, it is in fact inseparable from what certain scholars refer to as research of the mundane. There is too much reticence about fusing the research undertaken at the King’s University with that of respectable institutions of magic such as the College at Tyneros.
If we are to reconcile the ways dragons violate the rules followed by more mundane beings, we must begin to incorporate more magical studies into our methodology. We must begin to see magic as a science as reputable as physics, chemistry, and biology.