"Mélor'uehá" is the elvish name given to the Shadow Drake. As these beasts are as mythical as their masters, they are often referred to by this name as it adds to the mystery surrounding their existence. Mélor'uehá are black drakes, believed to have been created by perverting dragon eggs with the magic of the Dark God Coór. According to legend, these drakes are bonded to a shadow elf for whom they act as a guardian or a spy. As no one has ever seen these drakes, they are believed to be a legend by the general populace. However their name is still used by parents to threaten naughty children.
Since no living being has ever seen one of these
and made it out alive to tell the tale, all that is known about its appearence
is what is told in stories. In many sources you can find mentionings of soft
black scales covering the drake’s triangular
head, and its eyes are believed to be made of the purest obsidian. It is said a
pink forked tongue flicks in and out of the drake’s
mouth periodically to taste its surroundings, its mouth is lined with rows of
sharp teeth. Supposedly a mane of jet black spikes runs down the length of the
drake’s body, starting at the back of its head
and melting into the spikes on the ball at the end of the beast's tail. The
drake’s neck, body, legs and tail are covered
with large, hard black scales, that, according to legend, render these sections
of its body immune from physical attacks. It is agreed upon in all legends that
the drakes are massive. Researchers estimate
that from head to tail, a Shadow Drake is slightly over four
peds and its shoulder
stands at approximately one. Adorning each of the
drake’s feet are four razor sharp claws that, in many stories, the
drake uses to maul its opponents.
Above the Shadow Drakes two front legs are a pair of small leathery wings that are extremely disproportionate to the drake’s body, making it appear awkward and unbalanced. Myths say that this is the easiest location to harm the drake since they are not covered by scales. If one of the large veins that are found in the drake’s wings is punctured, the beast could die. Located at the end of the Shadow Drake's tail is a ball, ringed in spikes. This ball is used to crush large numbers of enemies by swinging it or sending it crashing down on top of them.
Special Abilities. There's a whole plethora of abilities the poets write about when talking about the unbelievable Shadow Drake, the horror of the north. Some researchers who compare myths and regularly observed living dragons even claim to know much more than the storytellers can say, forming a very clear picture of the Shadow Drake, which makes it nearly come alive when reading about its incredible prowess. We try to summarize these findings in a semi-scholarly fashion:
Though the Mélor'uehá's wings are too small to be used for flying, the drakes seem to have found a new way to use them and help them move. While running, the drake can flap its wings to propel itself forward, greatly increasing its speed. This is accomplished by using the wings in the same way it could if it were able to fly. The wings push the air backwards, which in turn propels the drake forward.
This is the term given to the battle strategy applied by the drakes to mask their movements and confuse their foes. Essentially the drake creates the Dust Storm by using its wings to stir up dust, dirt and debris to create an opaque veil around its foe. This is done by beating its wings forward rather than backwards as it does when it wishes to gain speed.
The Mélor'uehá are said to gain this ability once they have bonded with their shadow elf master. Though their black scales would allow them to blend into shadows even without this legendary ability, Shadowmeld allows them to become completely untrackable by hiding their every movement and their scent. The theory that they would be able to remain unseen in the shadows without this ability is unproven because there are said to be no unbonded Mélor'uehá.
This ability gives the Shadow Drakes the power to sense good or evil in a person. It is believed that the Mélor'uehaía have this ability because of a remnant of Coór’s power still remains inside them. Upon seeing a person, the drake is supposed to notice all the evil they have done and their alliance to either the gods of good or the gods of evil.
Scholars suspect that the Mélor'uehá probably has a small organ located above its stomach that produces extremely potent acid. The average drake is supposed to be able to spit this acid about four peds. The organ does not become active until the drake reaches maturity. The acid is extremely potent. It can burn through stone and metal in a few minutes.
At birth each Mélor'uehá is said to be linked with a recently born shadow elf. This link gives the elf complete control over the beast. The drake is given the Shadowmeld ability and its life is prolonged, allowing it to live as long as its master. This ability also allows either the drake or the shadow elf to act as an empath for the other.
The Mélor'uehaía live with their masters in the Water Marshes of
Northern Sarvonia, at least this
is what the legends tell is. It is said, that the
drakes almost never leave their masters' sides and are keeping a constant
vigil. Unlike the shadow elves the
drakes have the ability to leave the Water
Marshes. When they do, it is assumed that they cloak their movements to "prevent
proof of their existance from circulating" as some scholars formulate it. It is
also assumed that these beasts will eventually not be able to leave their
borders, like the shadow elves.
Habitat/Behaviour. Given that the existence of the Shadow Drake is not proven and everything we now of it seems to be of mythical nature, one cannot say precisely how these animals act in the wild. However, legend says that when bonded, the drakes seem to possess behaviour similar to those of sentient races, like humanoids. They seem able to feel the emotions of humanoids and have very distinct personalities. It is speculated that this behaviour has something to do with the bond said over the hatchling drake. Most likely the personalities displayed by the drakes are a reflection of the personalities of their masters. It is also concluded that the drakes' ability to express human emotions derives from this bond as well.
Diet. In all the texts this beast is referred, the Mélor'uehaía is described to feast on meat. It is said these drakes have been known to go great distances, with their master’s permission, to get meat. If their master prevents them from doing this, they will eat marsh grass or other vegetation.
Mating. Legend says that mating is the one thing that Mélor'uehaía will do without their master’s permission. From what we know, the male is the aggressor, though the female is usually the one to decide between suitors. Sparring is not uncommon during mating season and usually the winner of the fight is chosen by the female. After the female lays the eggs, she presents them to her master. The shadow elves hatch the eggs and take care of the baby drakes. Before the war (see Myth/Lore section), the mother would hatch the eggs. The Mélor'uehaía would be forced to give up their strongest child to the shadow elves to act as a guardian (mind linking had not yet been discovered).
Usages. Writers and bards do not restrain their imaginations when it comes to various usages of the Shadow Drake. It is not uncommon for even a mere merchant or an intellegent researcher to attribute unknown substances to various parts of the Shadow Drake. However, the most common are as follows:
They are the only known substance that is resistant to the acid created by the drakes. The scales are also lightweight and extremely hard and could be fashioned into armour. Depictions of shadow elves often show them wearing this kind of special protection, also you can find such pieces e.g. on the Voldarian black market if you know the right persons - whether they are from real Shadow Drakes however is another story.
The shells of the eggs are made of a substance that looks like gold. The shell can easily be sold to an unsuspecting merchant for an extremely high price. While no one has actually found such a shell, it is not uncommon for a supposed Shadow Drake egg shell to appear on the Voldarian black market.
Myth/Lore. According to legend, the Shadow Drakes were created when a devout elf stole two drake eggs and presented them to the god Coór. Using his divine magic, the chaotic god perverted the babies, twisting them into creatures of his own kind. The baby drakes were then presented to the devout elf who set them free in the Water Marshes. For many years, the elves and beasts lived in harmony, however a corrupt elf rallied his people against the majestic beasts, starting a war that would last for well over a century. According to the story, the war ended when a reckless young apprentice found a spell while digging through her master's study. In desperation she used the spell to enslave one of the immense beasts, which led to a turning point in the war and eventually the servitude of the Shadow Drakes.