Design Your Own Dragon: Winners!
I’m pleased to announce the winners of the Design Your Own Dragon contest!
Choosing the winning entries was much harder than I anticipated. Some of the criteria were straightforward; for example, the concept had to be one which fit into the paradigm of dragons in Isabella’s world, but did not duplicate too closely something already described in the series. (My apologies to those of you whose entries resembled breeds that will be appearing in Voyage of the Basilisk. You had no way of knowing those particular niches were already filled.) After I filtered for that, though, I still had quite a few possibilities. Then it was a matter of considering which ones could be most easily incorporated into the later books, which is easier said than done.
In the end, I narrowed it down to two winners. Without further ado, I give you: Yubin Kim’s honeyseeker, and Kate Parkinson’s Mrtyahaiman mew!
HONEYSEEKERS are nectar-loving arboreal creatures that thrive in eucalyptus forests. Typically 12~14 cm long, Honeyseekers are light-bodied with broad, manoeuvrable wings and a prehensile tail which allow them to cling to thin flowering branches, where they soak up nectar with their brush tipped tongue. During winter when blooms are scarce, Honeyseekers supplement their diet with insects caught with their clever foreclaws.
The species display sexual dimorphism and while the females are a drab muddy green, the males sport glittering black and yellow scales and a sapphire-blue crest. The males build nests and display to attract females, who then mate with those they judge worthy and leave after laying a single egg. When a sufficient number of eggs are gathered, the males incubate and raise the young alone.
When threatened, Honeyseekers breath a noxious spray in the eyes of the predator, a concentrate of toxins gathered from their close association with the eucalyptus. The Honeyseekers are thought to play a large role in the lifecycle of the tree and some blame them for the invasive spread of eucalyptus which are beginning replacing oak woodlands in certain forests.
A small drake measuring no more than thirty centimetres at the shoulder, this species is called the ‘noisy trickster’ by locals, as well as epithets not appropriate to repeat. Although they meet all other criteria, mews do not have any special property to their breath and are thus classified as draconic cousins rather than true drakes. Their name derives from their distinctive call which resembles the mew of a cat.
Mews are typically black with bronze tones to their scales, although brown and even albino specimens have been noted. Flocks of up to thirty individuals have been sighted but they are most often seen in groups of three or four. They are intelligent and resourceful creatures and are often attracted to human settlements, where they pillage shiny objects and scavenge through rubbish pits and middens. This behaviour has sometimes led to them becoming unpopular with humans.
Mews love fatty foods and have been known to land on the back of sheep to pick out pieces of flesh. There are legends of mews stampeding flocks of sheep or goats over cliffs to feast upon the remains, though this has never been reliably documented.
A gathering of mews is called a festival.
My thanks to everyone who participated; it was a lot of fun seeing what you all came up with!