Skullwings are a terrifying tribe of dragons that other tribes claim are undead. They inhabit dark, gloomy pine forrests near the mountains of their home on the continent far to the east of Pyria, Scoria. They have dark black scales. Not nightwing black, but deep dark comsuming void black. Their most distinguishing feature is their heads. They wear their skulls on the outside, like a natural helmet, White and spooky. This makes it harder to tell their emotion, as they cannot manipulate the bone like muscle. They also have a huge, curved, velociraptor like claw on their front claws. They use this to remove the spine from defeated foes.
While all Skullwings share the ghastly skull head,and breath fear smoke, things like spikes and horns vary greatly depending on the time of year they hatch. Skullwings divide the year into three segments based on constilations visible at these intervals.The sign of the serpent, the sign of the beast, and the sign of the dead. The differences caused by these will be discussed later.
Fear breath: Skullwings breath out a thick, black smoke that has a very dangerous effect. When breathed in, it causes the victim to see a hallucination of their worst fear put an extreme. For example, should fear breath be used against a mudwing, they would most likely see their siblings laying in dismemberd peices. As the amount of smoke inhaled increases, so does the intensity of the fear. A small puff will put a dragon on edge, staying for a few minuets too long in a cloud will most likely leave the dragon cowering on the ground. Fear breath does not affect every dragon in the same intensity, some dragon are better at dealing with fear than others. The smoke MUST BE INHALED to have any effect.
The claw: Skullwings stab their huge claw into the back of a dragon, loop it around the spine and pull. The spine gets pulled out and the skullwing wears it as a trophy.
Differences due to the signs
The different signs affect a dragonet's physical attributes as well as certain abilities.
Sign of the dead: Those born under the sign of the dead have menacing back pointing horns, unsettilng red eyes, and are cold to the touch, like a corpse.And in some cases are born with canine teeth that are large enough to permanently stick out of the mouth, or protruding bones. Those born under the sign of the dead have the strongest fear breath of the tribe, and can summon a thick fog with a flap of the wings.
Sign of the serpent: Those born under the sign of the serpent have multiple, extravigantly curved horns. They have large, luminecent, green eyes. If another dragon is looking in their eyes, they can paralyze them for a short period of time. These dragons are usually low-slung and flexible. For this reason, they make good assasins.
Sign of the beast: The sign of the beast produces so much variation it is impossible to explain with a few features. But to give an idea of how broad of a spectrum it produces, specific dragons can be used.
Minotaur is an immensly strong (albeit stupid) dragon, his head is blocky and primitive,and his horns resemble a bulls. It is said he is twice as strong as a dragon twice his size, and he is the largest dragon in the tribe.
Werewolf has almost non existent horns, and his head resembles the skull of a wolf,a common creature in the skull kingdom. His teeth are sharper than any dragons, he runs incredibly fast and only flies when he has to, his senses are incredibly powerful, able to smell and hear a field mouse on the other side of a mountain.
Hyde is the most bizarre. His head is split down the middle into two distinct halves. The left side of his face is smooth, intelligent looking, and has a back pointing horn. The right side of his face is jagged and spiked with the horn curving forward along side his face. Hyde's fear breath is bazarre as his appearance. Sometimes, it functions normally, other times it is so thick an heavy it "drowns" dragons in it. Similarly, he switches between acting calm, charismatic, and intelligent, to crazy, aggressive and irrational.
The Skullwing culture is steeped death. Bones are worn as armor and trophies. Killing is accepted as part of everyday life. Even some of the queens most prized possesions are the skeletons of powerful queens, and an animus touched set of skeletal set of armor that allows it's wearer to temporarily raise a dragon from the dead as a slave to fight.
Skullwings are named differently based on the sign they were born under. Those born under the sign of the dead are named after ghosts or undead creatures, like Draugr, Zombie, poltergeist, etc. Those born under the sign of the serpent are named after poisonous or deceptive monsters, like Gorgon, Basilisk, or Cocytrice. Dragonets born under the sign of the beast are simply named after various monsters depending on their appearance, Minotaur for instance has bull horns and is incredibly large.
Queens are chosen the same way as most tribes. One of the queens daughters challanges her, and if she kills her she becomes the queen. The bones of past queens are used to make the throne. The current queen, Queen Banshee wears her mother's spine like a necklace.
"I don' like skullwings... Armor don' stop nightmares."- Rockslide, a dragon considred stupid by even boulderwing standards.