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PineWings are tall, strong dragons. Their scales are grey and green, sometimes with hints of blue. Their horns spiral slightly. The edges of their wing membranes are unusually ruffled, making them loud fliers. Like SandWings, they have a crest running down their back. They cannot breathe fire, but they have a strange form of frostbreath. Instead of icy mist, they breathe a barrage of shockingly cold hailstones. While these are useless for freezing things, they do a lot of damage in a fight.
The PineWing Kingdom is a fairly large island east of the Sky Kingdom and north of the Sea Kingdom (just barely off the edge of the common Phyrria map). The environment there is a boreal forest/taiga - in winter, the temperatures are almost as cold as the Ice Kingdom, but the summers, though short, are relatively warm. The whole island is covered in conifer trees, except for a single mountain in the center. The palace is on the southern side of this mountain.
The PineWing government is unique in that royal challenges don't end in blood. Whenever a female, royal or not, wants to become queen, a Solar PineWing (see History and Magic section below) is called to decide the best choice. They interview both dragons, then travel to the peak of Shimmering Mountain to consider the options. They return 24 hours later and select the best queen. The other is sent to the far side of the island to live a comfortable life.
History and Magic
Thousands of years ago, a group of IceWings and SandWings migrated to the island and made it their home. There, they interbred freely, until the distinction between the tribes blurred and then vanished entirely. The influence of both of them can be seen on modern PineWings, though IceWing blood is dominant. The only dragons in which SandWing heritage is truly evident are Solar PineWings. Dragons hatched on the summer solstice are imbued with the power of the sun. They have yellow and gold tones in their scales, and a sun rune on their wings. They are extraordinarily wise, even as dragonets, and breathe fire rather than hail. They are the only ones trusted to choose a queen, and there is always at least one in the tribe. In addition, the tribe has seen animus dragons before. They are generally given free rein with their spells. However, if a dragon is both animus and sunborn, they are carefully controlled, as that much power tends to go to their head.
Every summer, the tribe hosts a one-week festival to celebrate the solstice. Hundreds of artists, craftmakers, and food vendors converge on a stone "city" on the west side of the mountain. The buildings remain empty for most of the year, as they are designed to accommodate fire-breathing dragons. The festival is one of the few times that the rather reclusive PineWings welcome the other tribes to their island. The day before the solstice, eggs that are ready to hatch are taken up the mountain to an open-air temple where they are placed in a nest. The mothers of the eggs and the current Solar(s) wait in the temple all night. The next day, all the celebrating PineWings (and other dragons, though few of them understand why everyone wants to watch an egg hatch) climb or fly to the temple to welcome any dragonet that hatches. Oftentimes none do, but a new Solar is born every few years.
PineWings are incredibly spiritual. They honor the sun as the source of all life. Solar dragons are revered as a direct link to the sun. In fact, they are the ones literally keeping the tribe alive - PineWings can withstand extreme cold, but even they would die in the deep winter without fire.
Dragons in the tribe are named after the flora and fauna of the taiga, or natural phenomena that occur there. For example, the most recent animus was Princess Moose, and the current Solar PineWings are Thaw, Lichen, Mink, and Grouse.
Not much emphasis is placed on family bonds in their culture. Instead, dragons are frequently seen sharing living space with their close friends. Even members of the current royal family are allowed to leave if they befriend a commoner. Dragons rarely live with their mates. Instead, the mother of an egg takes it to her home to be cared for by her and her friends.
Their architecture is reminiscent of Norse buildings. They are made mostly of wood (except for the shrine on Shimmering Mountain, the festival city, and the houses of sunborn dragons) with ornate carvings both inside and out.
Princesses: Hemlock, Spruce
Princes: Beaver, Caribou, Bobcat