Brooch dragons are the smallest class of dragon in the world, far smaller than the miniature winedog. Brooches are so named for their value as a domesticated piece of living jewelry. Hence, they are sometimes referred to as "jeweled dragons." They can be incredibly expensive.
Wild brooches are not necessarily a good alternative to the expensive domestic brooch, however. They have bad attitudes. Brooches are feisty, mean, and liable to attack anything that even comes close to bothering them. In hordes, these brooches have been known to down hovercraft by clinging to the outside and bogging it with their sheer weight. These creatures have even reportedly used this tactic to force larger dragons to crash.
These little dragons live in a variety of climates. They are able to adapt to life on every continent and a small clutch of brooches can be found on every continent as well. Most often, however, they are migratory, and travel in large numbers. A group of brooches, a brocade, can be composed of thousands of brooch dragons.
Individually, these dragons don't seem to be very intelligent. They communicate with other creatures telepathically, through images or flashes of emotion. Together, they seem much smarter. Scientists theorize that open telepathic connections between the dragons produce a sort of hive mind that is greater than the sum of its parts. There are reports of these dragons using known language when connected with a humanoid and a large group, but there are no scientifically documented cases.
Another curious thing about the brooch dragons is this: they seem to die sometimes for no reason. A particularly strong incident happened in Xidwin when, out of nowhere, thousands of brooch dragons rained down from the sky, apparently having died of heart attacks mid-flight.
Diet and Care
Brooches do not, technically, have to eat. All of their necessary energy is supplied by their connection with the spirit dimension. Brooches can eat, however, and they often do. They often eat a lot. Brooches favor meat when not frozen, but they can digest greens, fruits, and seeds. They can also hunt insects. In areas with overpopulation of harmful bugs, a passing brocade can be a godsend. However, a brocade can decimate an entire crop.
Owners of domestic brooches are advised not to overfeed their dragon. A brooch will keep consuming long after it is full. When it does this, the brooch catches the food in the back of its throat, coats it with mucus, and spits it back out. These "mucus balls" are hard like the scales of the dragon and brooches are known to get territorial over them, so they are difficult to dispose of.
Brooch owners are also advised not to have more than one brooch. The dragons form mini-brocades and become smarter and more aggressive.
The defining characteristic of a brooch dragon is its size–usually finger-length, with variations to either end. They do very much seem to be miniaturized dragons, as they are quadrupedal, have scales and a set of wings. However, there is much about the brooch dragon that makes it unique, apart from its size.
Brooch dragon scales are not made of keratin; they are made of hardened mucus. This mucus is colored with bright pigments, giving the brooch dragon the appearance of being jeweled. Some dragons have a mosaic of colors, while others have scales that grow in patterns. Brooch dragons can shed their mucus scales and grow new ones, often in different colors. Whether these colorful dragons developed to attract mates or to ward off predators, it is unclear.
Scales are not the only thing that the brooch dragons produce with their abundant mucus. Two sacs sitting in the back of the throat allow the dragons to spit hardened mucus needles. These are little more than annoyances to most big predators, though they can hurt when they impact deep enough.
The truly remarkable quality of the brooch species is its ability to "freeze" itself; that is, the dragon has the ability to slow metabolic processes very near a halt, freezing its muscles into the shape it was in. Their ability to freeze itself is probably at least partially magic, as they can be in this state for weeks on end. Some brooches are bred to stay frozen for months.
Brooch dragons, due to their size, beauty, and ability to freeze themselves, are considered incredible art pieces and often sell as jewelry, hence the name brooch. The domesticated variety is far less intelligent than the wild kind, and they can be considerably bigger, large enough to lay across someone's shoulders or sit on someone's head as a scarf or hat. The larger variety can cost a pretty penny–upwards of 100,000 oolms. Smaller kinds are pretty expensive as well, as brooches are notoriously difficult to train.
Brooch dragons are thought to be magic, due to their capacity for telepathy, but they don't seem to have any sort of elemental or natural magic. Many scientists are baffled by much of brooch dragon anatomy, magic, and behavior.
In reality, brooches use interdimensional magic to reshape reality. This comes in the form of "luck manipulation" usually, though they can also bend space ever so slightly to make trips less taxing. They are very small and have very little effect on the world around them, but in large hordes they can cause truly mind bending shifts in reality.
The energy supplied by the spirit dimension allows the brooch dragons to remain alive even after months in a frozen state.
The legality of sale for brooch dragons has been a matter of debate in many circles. The industry began fifty years before the landmark Westminton v. Cliarbertratz case in Alluum which legalized the breeding and sale of these small dragons on the grounds that they were not obviously sapient. There are still some groups today that protest their use as jewelry and their sale, either as accessories or pets.