The Scales  

The dragon's body is completely covered with tough, shiny scales. The only exception is the Earth Dragon, or common dragon, who does not have this scaly armor on the neck or stomach, possibly due to his habit of burrowing underground. To protect his Soft abdomen, this species often wears a jeweled breastplate. Using his saliva, which has powerful adhesive properties, and which he secretes on an empty stomach, the common dragon sticks precious stones on to his neck and stomach, for protection as well as adornment.

The scales are pentagonal, and shaped like a teardrop, with two long sides and two shorter ones, and a very short fifth side attached to the skin. The dragon can make them stand on end whenever he likes, to preen them. Remember, the dragon is a very clean creature and takes great care always to keep his skin and scales clean and immaculate.

In their normal position, the scales overlap very neatly and, thanks to a tiny cavity in the surface, they fit into each other to allow perfect freedom of movement.

If we study a scale closely, we observe the following characteristics: the innermost part is composed of a compact hairy formation firmly rooted in the epidermis. On the hair follicle there are some tiny glands which secrete a substance that adheres firmly to the skin.

This substance is rich in minerals, which determine the hardness and the color of the dragon's scales. The external surface has a horny, translucent texture, which gives the scales their habitual luster.

CROSS SECTION

The dragon does not need to slough off his skin like most other reptiles, as the scales grow and are renewed automatically, like human nails and hair. They are not shed from the body, except in cases of illness.

FRONTAL SECTION

The mercenary warrior who hired himself out to towns and sovereigns to slay dragons usually wore a suit of armor made from dragon scales. This garment gave him enormous prestige and proclaimed to all and sundry that he had slain one of these fearsome beasts. Incidentally the scales on his armor are very small, a clear indication that the dragon he killed was a young one who had barely reached puberty, and hence much easier to vanquish than an adult.

 

 Coloring

It is impossible to list the enormous variety of hues that make up the dragon's brilliant coloring, but they can be divided into three broad color groupings:  Blues, ranging from dark blue to silver and mother-of-pearl. Reds, ranging from copper red to dark red and reddish-black. Greens, which include every imaginable shade of green and yellow and even dark brown, emerald green and burnished gold.

Although these three principal color groups are not usually mixed, a dragon's coloring is rarely uniform. In general his scales are several hues from one of the main color categories, with a metallic luster which is hard to define. When the scales have a pale, opaque appearance it is a sure sign of ill health.

Many dragons are known by the predominant color of their scales.



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