With a new Bitterwood book coming soon, I thought this would be a good time to post a bestiary of the various races you encounter in the novels:
Sun-dragons are the lords of the realm, possessing forty-foot wingspans and long, toothy jaws that can bite a man in half. Sun-dragons are adorned with crimson scales tipped with highlights of orange and yellow that give them a fiery appearance. Wispy feathers around their snouts give the illusion that they breathe smoke. Though gifted with natural weaponry and a tough, scaly hide, sun-dragons are intelligent tool-users who recognize the value of using spears and armor to enhance their already formidable combat skills. Politically, sun-dragons are traditionally organized under an all-powerful king, who, by rights, owns all property within the kingdom. A close network of other sun-dragons, often related to the king, manage individual abodes within the kingdom. The current “king” is Hex, the only surviving son of the old king Albekizan. Hex is a political radical with anarchist leanings, and as a result of his refusal to perform the duties of a king, the sun-dragon political structures are currently in great disarray.
Half the size of sun-dragons, sky-dragons are a race devoted to scholarship. Most male sky-dragons dwell at colleges built around large libraries. Their leaders are known as biologians, a position that is part priest, part librarian, and part scientist. Most male sky-dragons distain combat, but a few are selected to either serve in the king’s elite aerial guard, or if they show a talent for brutality, become part of the ranks of slave-catchers than keep human slaves compliant. Sky-dragons practice strict segregation of the sexes. The females of the species dwell on an island fortress known as the Nest, defended by fierce warriors known as valkyries. The scholars among the females tend to focus on more practical disciplines than their male counterparts, and are particularly well known for their talents as engineers.
Wingless creatures, earth-dragons are humanoids with turtle-beaked faces and broad, muscular bodies. They are much stronger than men, but also much slower. As a race, they have few valuable skills beyond their enthusiasm for hitting things. This makes them excellent soldiers and decent blacksmiths. Except for the rare periods of time when earth-dragons are in heat, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between the two sexes of earth-dragon. They are the only dragon species to lay eggs instead of producing live birth. Very rarely, some earth-dragons are born with a chameleon mutation that allows them to blend into their surroundings. These mutant dragons are also smarter and faster than their brethren and are usually recruited to become assassins for the dragon king, serving in a greatly feared unit known as the Black Silence.
Humans live in the margins of dragon society as slaves, pets, and prey. The sun-dragons tolerate their existence primarily because of mankind’s natural talent for farming; the labor of humans keeps the bellies of dragons full. Humans are generally peaceful and harmless in small, isolated groups, but quick to war with other tribes. Recently, a prophet named Ragnar united many of the men in the kingdom into a rebel army. The rebellion successfully seized the town of Dragon Forge, and a man named Burke is using the town’s foundries to create new weapons that may forever alter the balance of power between man and dragon… assuming the humans can resist their natural urges to go to war with themselves.
Fifty-foot long copper colored serpents with fourteen pairs of legs, long-wyrms are ferocious carnivores, and, fortunately, exceedingly rare.
Often used as beasts of burden, great-lizards are twenty food long reptiles that closely resemble giant iguanas with a more upright stance.
The product of centuries of careful breeding, ox-dogs are the largest canine species ever to exist, standing nearly six feet high at the shoulder. Despite their fearsome build, most are docile in temperament, though earth-dragons often train them for hunting and have taught some to have an appetite for human flesh.