Cthonic Draconiforms

Be aware that much of the following is hypothetical in nature, and that further study will be necessary to confirm my suspicions. With the recent Reality-Shift, it is possible that some or all of my data thus far has been rendered invalid.

The city of Newcastle is unique in that it is the only city in contemporary history to have been recorded as playing host to a Cthonic Draconiform of the species Draco nobilis, a "Dragon" of which so many ancient legends speak. Prior to my own encounters with this particular beast, it had been my belief that the Draconiforms had become extinct in this world by the early 16th century, when the last few specimens were hunted down and destroyed by an increasingly organised and dangerous mankind. In hindsight, perhaps a few of these undeniably magnificent creatures survived by adopting a "masquerade" of sorts, hiding themselves away from the eyes of humanity and their fellow cryptids with arguably more success than we Kindred have achieved. Accounts dating from the 1500s describe the increasingly rare confrontations between Draconiforms and those humans which took up arms against them, generally in defence of their homes and villages. Legend would seem to be correct in that Dragons have an innate and tremendous sense of pride, bordering on hubris, and that they enjoy positions of dominance over lesser species. Throughout much of humanity's history, Homo sapiens has been ill-equiped to oppose the whims of individual dragons, though almost all of the western legends which speak of the Draconiforms involve the beast's eventual death at the hands of some aspiring hero. The powers attributed to dragons vary between stories almost as much as the mortals' tales of our own kind, and I think it is a fair assumption that Draconiforms have a sizeable array of supernatural capabilities at their disposal.

The Newcastle Dragon was perhaps an unusual specimen in that its physical body was fundamentally human. A southern German folk-tale describes the local breed of black-scaled dragon, and speaks of the notion that a man who slays the beast and bathes in its blood gains a measure of its power. The original incarnation of the Newcastle dragon arrived in my city in the body of a British Army soldier named Peter Jacobs, at the end of WWII. At first I was of the opinion that Peter Jacobs was simply a human with a grudge against the Kindred and a portion of a Draconiform's power at his disposal. Since then I have come to believe that the legends of the dragon whose blood grants power are wrong in one crucial respect: the dragon's blood is a mechanism by which the Draconiform can possess the body of its destroyer, effectively patching itself into the genome of the one who killed it. Although I myself never saw Peter Jacobs transform fully into the shape of a classical mythological dragon, I am assured by several Kindred that he was able to alter his human body to take on the winged, reptilian shape of this entity. I did myself see him sprout reptilian claws from his fingertips, and exhale the legendary gout of flame from his jaws that dragons are so famed for. Upon his physical death, Peter Jacobs' body reverted to a purely human form, although his cellular and mitochondrial DNA showed up as being roughly 50% reptilian in nature when sequenced. What is curious is that at this point, Peter Jacobs was believed to have produced a number of eggs, the existence of one of which has since been confirmed to myself and to Newcastle's Kindred at large. I do not believe that the human body (especially a male one) would possess the necessary faculties to produce a brand new, pure-blooded Draconiform, but I do believe that the memories, goals and personality (effectively the "soul") of the dragon was able to pass into the embryo contained within the egg upon the death of Peter Jacobs. Although I am as yet unsure whether or not the egg has hacthed, the Draconiform embryo is certainly sentient and capable of projecting an Astral self much akin to those Kindred who have mastered the Discipline of Auspex.

Regarding the origins of the Draconiforms, I cannot be certain until I have had the chance to conduct a full anatomical study of a dragon in its native form, but it is my belief that they share an evolutionary ancestor with the Dinosaurs. I propose that the Draconiforms split away from the basal Archosaurs during the very early Triassic Period, and rapidly evolved sentience from that point while their Dinosaurian relatives diversified and flourished. A comparitive morphological analysis of a Draconiform skeleton with that of other Triassic Archosaurs may be sufficient to confirm whether this line of evolution is feasible. As I stated, it is my belief that during the heyday of the Dinosaurs, the Draconiforms had already attained a sapient intellect on a par with the modern human. By the time the non-avian Dinosaurs and many other giant reptiles perished in the K-T extinction 65 million years ago, the Draconiforms had very likely gained a degree of mastery over the reality-warping forces which we refer to as "magic", that are currently manipulated by the mortal spellcasting Mages. This mastery could well have been sufficient to preserve the Draconiforms as their brethren became extinct, but if the dragons were at all populous to begin with, then some time between the K-T event and the rise of humanity, their numbers were heavily depleted…continues

It has recently become apparent that the Reality Shift may have had other effects upon Peter Jacobs' nature, since he recently displayed capabilities beyond any that he showed in "old" Newcastle. On 03/03/2009, his seemingly necrotic and undead form appeared in Elysium and attacked nearby Kindred. During the battle his full Draconic form manifested itself - roughly ten metres long, reptilian in appearence, bearing the semi-putrefied remains of armoured scales, wings, claws and an ability to exhale a cloud of corrosive gas. Unfortunately, body dissolved into protoplasm upon being slain. Perhaps the most important question to consider is whether the apparent reanimation of Peter Jacobs was done under his own power or if an outside force raised him from death.

Excerpt taken from Alexander Gideon's Treatise on Cryptofauna

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