A few important stories have been written down, mostly for the purpose of showing to other races, but the vast majority of their literature exists only in oral form.
Due to the nature of their perfect reincarnation, there is little chance of tales being lost with the death of those who know them. Their loremasters hone their memories to incredible heights. It is said that some of them can recite poem after story after legend for multiple lifetimes without ever repeating themselves. Perhaps the most glorious accomplishments of Dragon King culture are their temples. Favoring the form of vast, stepped pyramids, these structures are the focal point of Dragon King art, technology, and life. The Pyramid of the Sun was by far the largest and foremost temple of the Unconquered Sun for age upon age, though the Eternal Temple of the Golden Bull in Meru now competes with it on both fronts.
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These temples are not only religious centers; they are also centers of learning, recreation, military training, government, and more. Queen Merela's throne was located within the Pyramid of the Sun. The religious life of the Dragon Kings is quite complex. Various schools of thought vie for dominance, each espousing different methods of worship.
All hold the Unconquered Sun in the highest veneration, but they argue the relative significance of various holy days, practices, and teachings. They also have different views on the importance of other deities. Almost all agree that Leeayta , the Lizard Queen, Goddess of Rathess and of Dragon King Conquest, though they disagree on just how highly venerated she should be, ranging from placing her on near-equal standing with the Unconquered Sun himself to viewing her as a minor local deity of Rathess.
These religious differences, as well as philosophical and scholarly differences, have been the motivating factors for great civil wars in the Time of Glory, but the tragic loss of so many Dragon Kings during the War and the strong leadership of the Exalted have thus far kept such violence in check. As one of the first attempts to create intelligent fleshly beings, the Dragon Kings are closer in nature to spirits than the younger races are.
This similarity of nature has allowed the Dragon Kings to establish a very close rapport with the gods and elementals , often living and working side-by-side with the spirits of the lands they inhabit. They regard being possessed or "ridden" by spirits to be a natural and heroic practice. The champions of their sports, highest of their priests, and greatest of their performers and artists often attract powerful spirits seeking compatible hosts to assist them in their duties and goals.
Their application of this outlook to the Exalted has caused some confusion and tension, but a stable working relationship has been established. Though Dragon Kings have four very physically distinct breeds, they have some features in common. Their hides are thick and scaly, offering them protection from attack and the elements. They are not truly warm-blooded; they draw much of their vitality from the Daystar. They are not entirely cold-blooded, either; their thick hides and large size allow them to retain heat quite well, so they are not as vulnerable to cold temperatures as lizards, nor are they subject to torpor like snakes.
They reproduce by mating, then laying fertilized eggs, usually one at a time. They are all ferocious and voracious carnivores who require large amounts of food to sustain their large bodies. They tend to wear clothing only for decorative purposes. The Pterok are the smallest of the Dragon King breeds, but they are also the only ones capable of natural flight. They stand four and a half to five and a half feet tall, though their standing and walking posture is slightly bent forward. Scale colors range from green to blue to grey, with their legs and the front of their torsos bearing the lightest colors.
Short, brightly colored feathers cover their neck, back, and upper legs, but not their wings. The membranes of their wings are bright white, and they often paint or tattoo markings on their surfaces to indicate tribal membership, personal honors, and other matters they deem important. Their leathery wings span 16 to 20 feet, with the largest and eldest occasionally reaching a span of 25 feet.
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Their hands are located halfway along the length of each wing. They have two long, nimble fingers and a thumb on each hand; the other two "fingers" of each hand form the skeletal elements of the wing. They fold back their wings in order to manipulate things with their hands. Their toes end in talons, allowing them to grip and carry objects easily while in flight, but these lower digits are not quite deft enough to serve as substitute fingers for fine manipulation.
The Raptok are lithe, graceful, and powerful. Stretched fully upright, they stand seven to eight feet tall, but their standing posture leans forward a bit and extends their long neck forward, putting them closer to six feet in height.
When walking, they lean yet farther forward and extend their tails behind them for balance, lowering their center of gravity and allowing them to run and maneuver very quickly. Their small scales are a wide variety of greens and browns, often displaying mottling, stripes, or other camouflage patterns. A striking, colorful crest of feathers runs from the top of the head, down the spine, and along the length of the tail, with a larger fan of feathers at the tip of the tail and back of the head.
Their heads are bird-like, with curved, powerful beaks full of sharp teeth. Their sinuous necks extend two to three feet, and their tails are about twice as long. Raptok have smaller hands than the other breeds of Dragon Kings, with nimble, clawed fingers. Tools designed for their use are usable by humans without too much trouble, though the difference in shape gives many Raptok weapons and tools handles that are too curved to be comfortable in human hands.
The Anklok are the largest and strongest breed of Dragon Kings, standing seven and a half to nine feet tall and nearly as wide. Their scales are large and thick, ranging in color from dark brown to sandy tan to yellow and gold. They are featherless, and they have one to three horns along their nasal ridge and a bony crest extending from the back of the head that bears anywhere from three to three dozen horns of varying sizes.
The number and arrangement of horns is a clear indicator of lineage and tribal heritage. Bony brow ridges protect their eyes from both glare and attacks. Their muzzles are blunt and toothy, with a small hook protruding from the upper beak. Their hands and fingers are massive and powerful, making them more adept at chiseled sculpture than fine carving or calligraphy. Their backs are covered with heavy, bony plates that protect them in battle.
Their tails extend three to four feet and end in heavy, spiked clubs used as weapons. Mosok are only slightly smaller than the Anklok, standing six and a half to eight feet tall. Though they are quite stout, they are not nearly as wide as Anklok. Their flat, streamlined scales are dark, ranging from deep blue to dark green and purple to black, though their chests and bellies tend to be somewhat lighter in color.
Hard ridges further streamline their thick, protective scales. Their heads are elongated, with short, rounded snouts filled with row upon row of teeth. Their powerful limbs end in hands and feet with short, clawed, webbed fingers and toes useful for maneuvering through the water.
Their long, broad tails provide the majority of their propulsion through the water. They are slow-moving and a bit clumsy on land compared to the other breeds, but they move incredibly quickly and surely in the water.
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All Dragon Kings are savage, unintelligent predators when they first hatch, capable of hunting and living independently as soon as they are free of their shells. Left to their own devices, however, they will never advance beyond animal cunning. With nearly a decade of proper care and training, their spirits begin to awaken and they achieve basic sentience.
However, it takes only five or six years to reach physical maturity. Thus, even in the best cases, they spend several years as as vicious apex predators. These adolescents are usually kept in special pens and parks where the danger they pose to others is limited. In cities with large populations of humans and other less hardy races, the adolescent preserves are located some distance from the city itself. Once a Dragon King reaches awakening, it takes approximately three decades of further instruction before they reach the point of majority and begin to remember fragments of their past lives.
Dragon King souls experience perfect reincarnation, meaning their personalities and even their names are preserved from one incarnation to the next. Their souls are singular, unlike the two-part souls of humans, lintha , and other later races.
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The trauma of dying and being reborn strips away much of their memories, but they regain bits and snatches as they age and refine their Essence, similar to the Celestial Exalted. Their basic likes and dislikes, friends and enemies quickly resurface, and Dragon King society has many resources to ease a new Dragon King back into her old life.
Biological parentage is of little to no importance in Dragon King society. The young are raised communally by special instructors, and associates from past lives are much closer than any biological family ties. After completing their training, a process that takes approximately four decades after hatching, Dragon Kings settle into their former roles and can expect to live to more years.
Due to the completeness with which they reassume their personalities and lives, Dragon Kings tend to view death as a very transitory matter. They have very little fear of it and willingly risk or sacrifice their lives when they deem it appropriate.