Dragon Wolf 

Lupus draconisis, also known as Wolgan, a legendary creature which dates way back to medieval times. It takes the form of a large canine beast with bat wings, horns and coat of both fur and scales.

Origins

The wolgan species began when an ancient sorcerer of the Iron Age mingled the blood of a dragon and a wolf together in a magical pool within a sacred cave. Chanting the words of a spell, the blood from both animals fused and bonded, and from the pool emerged the first ever Dragon wolf. The sorcerer created two of these creatures, one male and one female, so that that may reproduce and populate the mountains and forests of Europe.
Over many hundreds of years, the wolgans thrived. Their range extended from the cold icy regions of the Arctic Circle, the Western Isles, the Baltic region and the Mediterranean. However, the wolgan's golden era soon came to a downfall when Men began to put down any wolgan they came across. Believing them to be conjured from a dark and evil magic, men killed many wolgans, and drove the survivors to the most remote and harshest of regions.
As the Dragon wolf population hung by a thread, it was soon believed that the winged creatures had been eradicated from the face of the Earth, leaving them to be remembered in myths and legends passed down from each generation of Men.
Recent discoveries have proved this to be untrue; very few wolgans still roam wild and are very rarely sighted by humans as they have become elusive and have learned to hide themselves from what could potentially be their end. The wolgan is thus classified as a rare species, but have not yet been issued protection by legislation.

Physiology

From a distance, a wolgan looks like a large wolf with horns and wings. Wolgans are around 5 - 6 ft tall, and have a wing span of approximately 6 metres. The internal structure is very carnivoran in shape, but it also has avian qualities in the fact that the bone structure is honeycomb, making it light yet strong.
A wolgan has a large head with a long rounded muzzle and strong sturdy horns made of bone protruding from the top of the skull. The jaw and neck muscles are strong, as are the teeth, for grappling with prey and breaking up bone and other hard materials. The teeth are typical of all carnivorans, with four long canines, insisors at the front and scissor-like carnissials at the back. The inner surface of the mouth is hard and scaly to prevent the mouth from burning when a wolgan uses fire. The eyes are reptillian with slit pupils that are well adapted for seeing in the dark. The colour of the eyes usually matches the pelt colour of the wolgan.
The spine is straight, horizontal and flexible. The rigcage is deep to accomodate for the amount of air the wolgan inhales and exhales. The legs are long and heavily musculed to aid the wolgan in take-off, as are the wing muscles that need to be strong in order to maintain a steady wingbeat. On the end of each toe, the wolgan has a 3cm long claw. These are blunt and are of little use when fighting, however they are useful in maintaining their grip on the ground when landing. The wing joints are the ball and socket type of joint and operate in rotation to propell the animal through the air.
The tail is long and heavy in order to counterbalance the weight of the wolgan's large head, and also to 'steer' when in flight.

A vivid red male wolgan in flight

Dragon wolves have all the usual vital organs; a heart, lungs, brain, liver ect. but some have become specialised to suit the species' needs. The heart is the size of small dinner plate with strong cardiac muscles to pump as much oxygen rich blood to the muscles as possible. Flight is one of the times when the heart is most active as that is when the most energy is needed and used up. Also within the chest cavity are the huge lungs which extract oxygen from the air breathed in into the bloodstream, and remove carbon dioxide from the bloodstream to be exhaled.

Externally, the wolgan's skin is covered in both fur and scales. The fur covers most of the body, and is double layered. The underfur helps keep Dragon wolf warm while the top guard hairs keep off snow and water. The scales cover the most vulnerable parts of the body including the underbelly, the cranial area, around the eyes, on the knee and elbow joins and the delicate lips and nostrils. The 'fingers' of the wings scaly to help protect them from attacks by other animals, however this leaves them vulnerable to the cold, so the compensate, when the wolgan isn't flying it tucks its wings against its body to keep them warm. The membranes of the wings are elastic so they do not rip whenever a wolgan spreads its wings. The wolgan's colouration can be anything within the spectrum. Most have adapted to take on the colour of their surroundings in order to blend it, but even the brightest coloured of wolgans have been known to exist. Wolgans are sexual dimorphic, which means males and females of the same species look different. Males tend to be more brightly coloured than the females, and they have a bright crest on the tops of their heads that runs down their back which they use to attract females. Males are also larger in overall size.

Behaviour

Wolgans used to be social creatures back when they were at their peak, but nowadays, they are shy and elusive. It is not unusal for a wolgan to be a loner, but some prefer to form small groups of a few individuals as they like the security of having others around them. They are nocturnal, to avoid human contact, and also to avoid daytime heat as their thick fur puts them in danger of overheating in hot temperatures.
Dragon wolf den sites normally consist of a well concealed cave with a water source nearby. Wolgan territories aren't nearly as large as they used to be due to human pressures. Less territory space means less food, which puts the wolgans under threat. Back when wolgans were abundant, their territories could occupy and entire mountain range or forest where they would hunt mostly deer, but also hares, rabbits, goats, foxes and fish. When food became scarce they would pick off livestock such as cattle and sheep and maybe the odd horse. Occassionally, if a wolgan was fit and energetic enough to catch them, they would also pick out a bird from a flock or another predatory flier.
Wolgans will mark their territories by scent marking, leaving visual signals such as scratch or scorch marks, roaring and leaving 'trophies' around. Wolgans have an affinity for things that shine and sparkle, such as precious stones and metals. They horde such objects and use them in warding off enemies and attracting mates. The more precious the object, the more powerful the signal.
Wolgans mate for life. When a pair become bonded they spend the majority of their lives together, sharing the duties of hunting, territory marking and caring for the offspring. Courting between mates involves the male attracting his mate through his bright colouring, and once he was got her attention they spend time together assessing each other's strength and weaknesses and building a bond of trust and friendship. When that stage is successful, the wolgans will perform a display together with flight and fire which reinforces their bond, and only after that will the wolgans mate. The female carries the unborn cubs for 6 months in her womb, until she is ready to give birth. She stays in the den with the male nearby to offer reassurance until the cubs are born.
A litter usually consists of two cubs which are born without horns and with tiny undeveloped wings. Cubs develop rapidly up until they are 2 years old. After that, their maturation rate slows down and they age slowly. They are blind and deaf for the first few days, and suckle from their mother for nourishment. The female has food brought to her by her mate in order to keep her strength up and produce enough milk. The cubs' wings are fully developed by their first year, and until then they are not permitted to leave the den site but may walk around. After their first year, the parents teach them the vital skills they need such as hunting. At their second year, they are mature enough to leave their parents to start families of their own, but not all young wolgans choose to leave; some stay with their parents for a while longer, and some stay up until old age. Wolgan's have excellent memories, and can remember old family members after being gone for years.

A young dark blue cub explores outside the den.

Communication

Wolgans communicate much like wolves and other canids, but these are the unique ways in which wolgans communicate with members of their own species and of other species through scent, visual signals and vocalisations.
They use scent glands to rub or spray their unique scent onto a rock or tree to mark their territory. They also use it recognise each over long distances. Scent also carries information about the individual such as sex, and physical state.
Visual signals include leaving scratch marks and scorch marks which signal the presence of a wolgan and claims ownership. Aggressive and territoral signals include sending jets of flame into the air. This is displayed when a wolgan senses that its territory or mate is threatened and breaths fire in the air to intimitate it's rival. Flaring of the wings is a defensive signal, also intended to intimidate. This demonstrates the wolgan's size and can make it appear larger.
Wolgans can roar, growl, howl, bark, hum, hiss and whimper. Roars, growl and hisses tend to be aggressive, to ward of rivals and show dominance. Barks are alert signals, to warn others of danger or attract attention. Humming is used to communicate with members of the family and can be merged with any of the other sounds. Howling is used over long distances, like wolves, except a wolgans howl is deeper and lower. Whimpers are emitted by cubs that want attention, and by adults as a submissive gesture or distress.

A silver female roars to any who intrude on her territory.

Fire

How wolgans actually produce fire is unknown. No scientific explanation has yet been found. One theory is that because the wolgans, like dragons, are a species born of magic, the magic is infused in their DNA. This could mean that the source of their fire is magic; they do not been a combustable material or a catalyst to spark a flame.

Making a Wolgan

Model: Canine
Dimensions: long muzzle, high nose, medium sized ears and eyes, bulky, between maximum and default size.
Body parts: Thin tail, maneless (female) type of mohawk (male), back ears, elbow rump and back tufts, eyes with slit pupils.
Markings: Half dragon for head and body, anything with horizonal stripes for tail.
Equip: Bat wings, any item that is a precious stone or metal.
Colours: Any colours, not neon, females are dark, males are bright.



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