Chereps are a species of feathered dragon native to Seville. When the bombs dropped and their home destroyed, much of the population was moved from the ruined country to Alluum, where many of the dragons happily live in the highest parts of Xidwin or Altshof, though some dragons have made their homes in the Evercrest Mountains. There is still a very small population of chereps who still live in Seville, high in the mountains and in groups of two or three in large caves. They are naturally a solitary species, but those in Seville are forced into close quarters due to the destruction of their country. In Alluum, they often make their home far from other dragons, as is their typical behavior.
Chereps are large dragons with long, down-like protofeathers. They are not completely feathered: Their heads, chests and underbellies are the only places unfeathered on their bodies, showing off their coarse, bone-like exoskeleton that grows out of their skin in these vulnerable areas. Their heads are encapsulated in this exoskeleton to their horns; the only vulnerable are is their giant, black eyes and uncovered bottom jaw. A long ridge grows over the bottom jaw like a helmet, but the mandible is not covered, allowing chereps to open and close their mouths without issues. The rest of their bodies are covered in the down-like feathers that are almost always white, gray or light blues, but some are known to come in much flashier and more interesting colors thanks to recessive genes. Their wings and legs are covered in large scales with protofeathers growing out from under the scales and covering them to give the outward appearance that they are scaleless. Chereps' scales are very light and appear to be made out thin, porous bone, but they are very strong and are known to be completely ice-resistant. Chereps' wings are very large for their body size and are very thin, but they allow the dragon to fly silently. Their legs are very thin and bird-like starting at the elbow where the scales begin, but they fatten out at the ankle to allow for disproportionately-large feet that are webbed to maximize surface area and allow the dragon to walk on deep snow without falling through. Chereps have short-ish, rigid tails that are completely covered in feathers.
Chereps are built more for gliding, with hollow bones and their large, thin wings, and they rarely have need for powered flight so long as they stay high enough in the air. As such, they do have larger lungs compared to other dragons, and are able to fly at much higher altitudes than many other species. This is believed to be a defense mechanism, since chereps are often regarded as the "most fragile" dragon species. Those unlucky enough to call or hatch a chereps as their andzkin have to have specially-made saddles to accommodate for their dragon's extremely sensitive skin and regularly trim their dragon's feathers short around the saddle. This hypersensitivity evolved in chereps to sense barometric pressure, allowing them to sense coming storms and weather irregularities.
While they are known to be very fragile, they are formidable opponents. Chereps' natural defense is their magic, which they are very good at. When a threat opposes them, they are usually able to combat it with their elemental magic or use their inter-dimensional abilities to flee through the spirit realm. Chereps are generally able to wield all of the elements by the time they reach maturity, although this focus on their elemental magic makes them very poor at using their inter-dimensional magic. They know how to enter and exit the realm, but often do not use it out of ignorance or fear -- there are many superstitions passed down through chereps from mothers to children about the dangers and horrors of the spirit realm, making most of them too fearful to use it unless it is absolutely necessary.
The dragons' large eyes are known to see beyond reality. Despite chereps' fears of the other realm, they do see through the line of reality and the realm, seeing both at once. They are able to see spirits as they were in life rather than the shadows humanoid mages see them as, and they are able to speak to them to an extent. When they enter the realm, reality disappears and they turn into beacons of light in the other realm. Other beings turn into shadow, so why chereps effectively become small suns is something completely baffling to everyone, even the dragons themselves.
Chereps generally mate once every five years. Since the dragons are such a solitary species, chereps rarely take the same mate. When a female chooses a male, she often does so only after flying with him and making sure he is stronger than her in flight (and, of course, talking to him as well). Generally, males don't stick around for the mother to lay her eggs, but some do stay to help take care of her and the hatchlings. Females lay up to ten eggs at a time, and they often build their nests inside of caves. Chereps eggs have the outward appearance of bone, much like the chereps' exoskeletons, and are quite small. Mothers breathe fire onto the eggs to keep them warm in the cold, although generally less than half of the clutch will survive the freezing conditions chereps live in.
Hatchlings are covered in scales for the first few months of life. During this time, mothers care for their children and teach them magic. When they reach adolescence, their feathers would have grown in and the scales fall off -- to chereps, this is much like losing teeth and can be a little painful. After a dragonling's scales have fallen, it is time for them to leave, and the mother will often escort her children into the sky to say her goodbyes before returning to her own home.
Chereps have a language largely composed of clicks and whistles. They are capable of speaking humanoid languages like any other dragon, but they have difficulty in doing so since they don't have words in their language. Called chereps, especially those who grew up out of Alluum, find speaking very difficult and will often need to have a rune to allow them to speak with their riders. Hatched chereps are generally able to speak out of the egg, but some will still find speaking in humanoid language incredibly difficult. Since Alluumnian is a language that is sang, it is usually an easy language for chereps to learn to understand, but they are certainly not as musical as archangels and find getting the correct pitches of sounds difficult when vocalizing.
- feathery, huge eyes, bony head
- closely related to amphipteres and native to seville
- larger than their cousins, around the size of a two story house
- bird like legs and feet
- extremely sensitive skin, thus require a special cloth for their saddles to avoid feather loss
- very soft
- silent fliers, tend to reside on mountains
- nature and rune magic
- extremely good mage dragons, because that is their natural defense. they're mostly elemental in their magic but can spit fireballs if they have to