DRAAK: Behind the Species
Imagine our world today. Cars. Cell phones. Social ladders. Rich and poor. Now imagine if humans weren't the only thing living in that world. Imagine that, 200 years ago, another species crashed into our world and changed everything.
Draak are a species of genetically altered, male creatures created by the Zephyre. (Why they are only male is a mystery, even to the Draak). Zephyre are a highly intelligent race of primarily female beings who, for millennia, have been experimenting with genetics and building and destroying societies across worlds. Their obsession with creation and dominance has been their greatest strength and their most common downfall since the beginning of time.
Draak are the result of the Zephyre altering a race called the Leviathan, wyvern/dragon creatures whose origin is unknown. Their energy is one that can be used to create life, heal, transfer, and kill if used with great control. Seeing the opportunity to wield a great power, the Zephyre focused their inventive efforts on this dangerous race, seeking ways to control them.
In the beginning, the Leviathan could not take on the any other form, but in an effort to create the most genetically superior race in the universes, the Zephyre decided to give the Leviathan the ability to shift, in turn giving them a greater intelligence and an ability to communicate and control their cellular structure to an uncanny extent. Their minds, however, were susceptible to the telepathic influences of their creators, the Zephyre, and therefore they fell under their control.
The Leviathans' ability to shift gave Zephyre the opportunity to mate with them as well and they did so in hopes of creating another superior race. The result was Ash Bringers, but because the telepathic abilities from the Zephyres were passed down to the offspring, Ash Bringers became impossible to control like their Leviathan forefathers. This caused a rebellion a century after breeding began. This rebellion became a destructive war that raged for almost a hundred years. Ultimately, the conflict left the Draak homeworld in ashes. The collision of energies between the highly advanced races also reopened portals, which the Zephyre initially developed in order to get to Draakon in the first place. Many of the Draak disappeared through these portals during the first war. Some ended up on Earth in the "first wave" while others disappeared elsewhere and many were sent to a world called Kumir. Those on Earth entered into another war with humans, which ended in the suspected extinction of dragons. Draak on Earth became nothing more than beasts in paintings and myths revolving around the events. The remaining Draak on Earth who survived the wars integrated into society and remained hidden, for the most part, until the "Second Wave."
DRAAK ON EARTH
The Draak that ended up on Earth after the destruction of Draakon were still in a primitive state. Not yet fully informed about their biology, Draak knew only how to fight and defend, so war naturally followed when they came to Earth. This war was called the "Grey War," which was named for the endless fields of ash following any battle during the time. Eventually, humans came to think of Draak as gods, seeing as they could lay waste to towns with ease and change form. This led to a tense sort of peace in which humans began to worship the Draak.
Years later, the primitive Draak took to their base instincts and attempted to breed with human women only to see their mates turn to ash and give birth to deformed abominations that were later called "Pikes." Thinking this was a part of their demand, humans began sacrificing women, usually virgins. The women would die and more Pikes took their place until views began to change. As the surviving Pikes began attacking villages and burning people alive in fits of emotional imbalance, humans began to hunt them down and kill them for their own protection, calling them "demons." It wasn't long after this that humans started to question what the Draak's intentions really were.
When the first Draak was slain, the idea that they were gods was shattered and more hunts began. Bounties were placed on the Draak and proof of a slaying was known to make men famous and wealthy. Those that survived integrated into the world, hiding, learning, and becoming part of humanity in secret for hundreds of years. For the most part, they went unnoticed.
DRAAK ON KUMIR
A large portion of the Draak from Draakon disappeared to Kumir, a planet made up almost entirely of water. The humanoid race on Kumir was an incredibly empathetic one. The conflict after the Draak arrived was short, as the Kumirians desired peace above fighting and agreed to submit to a just leadership if it meant ending the bloodshed. Draak ruled over Kumir for a short time before they agreed to become a contributing part of their society and share leadership. The two races lived as equals and in exchange for letting them settle on their world, the Draak became protectors over a race that had little to no military power.
Eventually, Draak began breeding with the Kumirians, but like the Draak on Earth, the women were dying during and after pregnancy before the Draak figured out why. Kumirian scientists began to do tests on their Draak population until the two races discovered a solution. Once they began successfully breeding, marriages became a semi-regular event on Kumir between Draak and Kumirians and it was considered an honor to have Draak children.
Draak can mate with females of almost any intelligent race. No matter what, however, the offspring are full Draak, but the physical and personality traits differ. This ability to mate with other species does have its rules, though. Because the genetics of a Draak are so unstable and overpowering, females must be made compatible before being able to carry Draak offspring. Since Zephyre created Draak to have incredible control over their bodies, Draak discovered that this meant they could pass a small number of their physical traits to females in order to slightly alter their genetic structure. Essentially, they can make them part Draak, which grants them immunity to flames as well as rapid healing if their Draak sire is in the vicinity to aid in regeneration.
This compatibility is usually marked by a handprint that resembles a burn somewhere on the female's body and acts as a conduit for Draak energy. Females who are not made compatible before becoming pregnant with a Draak child are unable to withstand the infant's development and the child, in turn, lacks the ability to control their flame. These offspring are called Pikes and are usually born deformed and ill. Most die soon after birth and the mothers are killed in the flames during labor or before.
Successful Draak mates are called Ashlings. Anyone can receive the mark of a Draak, however, and breeding is optional. Many times, Draak have been known to use their mark to save a life or in a homosexual pairing where offspring cannot be made. Most Draak cannot take back a mark once it's placed, making it a dangerous thing to give out as it becomes a two-way connection that can elevate or harm both parties. While an understanding is achieved between a mated pair that often brings them closer than the average couple, a connection to pain and emotion can often drive pairs apart if not addressed properly. This led to many failed pairings early on.
A Draak's dragon form does not stop growing until the Draak dies, therefore, older Draak are known to be much larger in size. A Draak's dragon form is also closer to a Wyvern as they do not have front legs. Only two hind legs and large wings that they use as front support when grounded. Depending on their origins, a Draak's dragon form differs in physical appearance from black to dark red to silvery-blue to white and so on. They also differ in texture from having scales, spikes, flesh, etc. The only Dragons known to have a differing color in flames are the Blue Breaths, who originated on Kumir, and the Leviathan, whose origins are mostly unknown. The Kumir, being a calm and empathetic species, passed on a calming aura to their offspring when they mated with the Ash Bringers. The color of the flame does not alter the heat, but a chemical reaction to the genetics does give it a cerulean hue. This gave them a blue flame and silvery scales. Terrans, offspring of Draak and humans, differ greatly in colors from black to white to brown, usually depending on the race of the mother, but they all have one thing in common. They have very few scales and more of a smooth, leathery texture.
Leviathan: The original Draak. Their predecessors did not have the ability to shift into the forms of men. They range from black to deep purple or blue and their flames tend to match. They're gigantic in size and they predate much of the known universe. They're said to be primal, strong, instinctual, and inquisitive. Their intelligence before the "gift" was based primarily on instinct. After they were given the ability to take the forms of men, they were able to learn things at an accelerated rate, but they remain an unpredictable species.
Ash Bringers (Reds): The result of any Draak and a Zephyre. They range from deep red to vivid red in dragon form and all have different levels of telepathic traits courtesy of their mothers. They're aggressive, strong, easy to anger, passionate, and heated, gaining their name from their confrontational characteristics, which associated them with war and destruction. Ash Bringers are considered the strongest of the Draak species as they are mothered by a race of women who enhanced their genetics near to perfection, both physically and mentally. They are more feared and respected than most.
Blue Breaths (Blues): The result of any Draak and a Kumir female. They're silvery-blue in color in their dragon forms with blue or silvery eyes in which only a small ring of orange can be seen around their pupils, which brightens depending on their emotional state. Their flame is blue but just as hot. Their telepathic abilities are not nearly as strong as their predecessors, but their ability to sense and tap into the emotions of others is almost a formidable trait. This makes them a collected counterpart to their forefathers, the Ash Bringers. This kind of levelheadedness made them ideal for counseling Ash Bringers in times of war and balancing their destructive nature. They're usually serene, observant, understanding, free-spirited, and reserved, but that doesn't mean they are not prone to acting on emotions like anger and hatred from time to time.
Terrans: Draak created from any Draak father and a human mother. These are the most underestimated of the species thus far. Following the large variety of emotions and contradictory characteristics of most humans, Terrans reflect those unusual traits as Draak. They're often spontaneous, free-spirited, unpredictable, passionate, and prone to giving in to their base needs and desires. Terrans often find it hard to settle in one place or in one lifestyle for too long and tend to be nomadic in nature. Their strength is primarily physical.
Archon: Archons are genetic alphas. They're incredibly rare and are often both physically and mentally superior to their Draak brethren. Archons have the ability to rally any of their kind as well as siphon energy from those in proximity or even distribute it if he needs to lend strength to his people. Archons were not created by the Zephyre, but were instead a random result of the genetic research being done by them. Archons, because of their strength and their ability to unify their species, have always been the biggest target for the Zephyre, who sought to weaken the race in war times.
A Draak's ability to shift is brought on by an uncanny capability to control their cellular structure. It also comes from an inner energy they call their "flame," which brings out the personality of the dragon. Most Draak refer to their dragon as a separate entity as it usually takes on its own characteristics.
The dragon form, contrary to many stories, acts more like a cocoon around the form of the man rather than a full alteration of the flesh. Therefore, no breaking of bones and shedding their physical skin is necessary during a shift. This transformation takes an incredible amount of control in order to not lose control and oftentimes a Draak will not be able to shift until they have fully matured. This control of surrounding energies also ties into how a Draak can walk through fire. Rather than get burned, a Draak's skin acts as a barrier, which repels fire if they choose. A Draak can also manipulate fire to an extent, though this art takes centuries to perfect.
In book #1, "Ash Bringer," Everly mentions that a Draak's heart isn't always so easy to find and that's because a Draak typically has 2 hearts up until his body learns how to shift and the two hearts merge into one, which isn't always in the exact place it would be in a human. Draak lungs are also quite a bit larger than those of a human, which is why it's often said that one can hear hollow breathing in the chest when standing near a Draak. This is to accommodate the "flame," which resides at a Draak's core and requires physical strength and stamina to maintain. This is also why Draak are larger in size compared to human males and are often more solidly build with denser muscles and bone and a highly effective cardiovascular system to house massive amounts of unstable energy. Many Draak describe their "flame" as the dragon constantly wanting to break free. They describe their bodies as the strongest prisons in the world, built to keep the dragon at bay until it can be tamed. Although, no Draak alive has ever described their Dragons as being "tamed."
Draak have three very distinguishable physical traits that set them apart from most races. Their size, their eyes, and their sharp eye teeth. Other than that, Draak can look almost completely human to the untrained eye. Smaller differences can also set them apart such as slight differences in skin tone, a much higher body temperature (usually changing with their emotions) and glowing veins that appear when they are angry, stressed or aroused.
LIFE AND DEATH
Draak are said to be immortal as no record has ever been shown to indicate any of them dying of old age. A Draak's regenerative abilities allow them to live until they're killed. A Draak's biological age will cease once they reach their peak physical greatness, making all Draak appear similar in physical maturity. The oldest known Draak are over 1,000 years old.
Draak do not deteriorate over the years. Instead, they will grow stronger until their limit is reached and they remain at their best. This makes older Draak much more threatening to those who are not as developed.
Very old Draak are rumored to be able to regenerate from their own ashes using the energy left behind from their death. As Draak have come to learn that they are primarily made up of energy, which they can control in order to shift, they deduced that death can also be manipulated by recollecting their energy and restoring it to physical form. This rumor became something of a myth over the ages, however, as no living Draak has seen this process succeed and most rumors about it are stemmed from Draakon.
Draak have few weaknesses, making them very difficult to kill or manipulate. However, the weaknesses they do have can have devastating effects.
Phyre Glass is perhaps the most well known and straight forward weapon against Draak. Phyre Glass is a substance that was engineered by the Zephyre on Draakon. It's a black, glass-like material harder than stone. In a solid form it can be made into bullets, knives, and other weaponry able to pierce Draak flesh and inflict considerable, lasting damage. The substance gets into the bloodstream and creates an emphasized allergic reaction that, if not treated, can inhibit a Draak's healing abilities and eventually deteriorate them until they die.
Ashlings are also a weakness, as stated by the Zephyre. Once bonded to another through a mark, the emotional and physical connections become extremely strong. Killing an Ashling can leave a Draak emotionally and mentally unstable and sometimes even weaken them physically for a time. Losing an Ashling has caused many side effects throughout history including massacres, suicide, and isolation. In war, the Zephyre were said to have targetted Ashlings in an attempt to weaken the Draak. The attempt worked and led to the annihilation of Kumir.