I was hoping you could comment on the ability that dragons now seem to have to appear as humans. They didn’t have that ability in either The Story of Raiya or The Orphans of Haven. I find it intriguing, but kind of a dues ex machina. Can you provide a little more detail about how it works? Do dragons see themselves as human when in human form or is it just an illusion for humanity? Also, why couldn’t dragons do it in the other books? That would have been a good infiltration tactic.
Loved the book, though!
Thanks, glad you enjoyed the book. UGH, I tried to keep the dragon shroud ability from becoming a deus ex machina, now it seems I’ve failed. Truth be told, I was planning on delving into a little more detail with another book I’m working on… however as there’s still a question on whether or not I’ll ever finish that book, I suppose it makes sense to try to give some detail about what the shroud ability is.
So let’s try to take this in chronological order. I actually did tackle the issue as to why this ability wasn’t used during the war in the book. It was mostly considered a lost art, dating back thousands of generations. Secondly, a massive dragon cannot appear as a human. They have to be roughly the same size. The G1 and G2 dragons could not accomplish this. Aside from the fact that they were too big, their bodies had not fully adapted to our Sun’s radiation or our planet’s atmosphere, thus many of their abilities were drastically hindered.
As the generations continued, dragons adapted more and more to our atmosphere until they barely resembled their foreign counterparts. In addition to the physical changes that occurred as the result of the Terran sun, their mental abilities were also greatly enhanced, reasserting such abilities that were thought to be long lost. So while this new generation was not as strong or impervious to attack as their older brethren, they have enhanced cognitive and empathic abilities.
The ability is basically triggered at-will by a dragon. It works similar to the way we change our hand from a hand to a fist. I know it’s a crude example, but that’s basically how easy it is for their advanced minds. The ability triggers an autonomic function that coats the dragon’s body in a type of telekinetic field that tricks not only external sensors, but internal ones as well. So to answer your question, dragons see themselves as whatever they’ve decided to transform into. Once the ability is trigger, it becomes autonomic, so even if a dragon loses consciousness, their mind maintains the field. The only way they shift back without doing consciously is if their brain experiences some kind of shock or trauma.
If we want to get a little bit more into this, dragons do have some limited ability to alter how they look. I say limited because their basic features cannot change. They can only change minor things. Simply put, a dragon cannot copy a human’s exact appearance. The strain on doing so vs. simply appearing as whatever their mind decides is a generic human, would be too immense. They’re stuck with whatever form appears. However, they can alter small things such as eye color, ear shape, hair color, etc. Qira alluded to this when it was mentioned that she didn’t look entirely human. She explained that the form she appeared in was the form she appeared in when her mind merged with Radley’s before he died. It wasn’t a perfect human because her mind hadn’t quite figured out a perfect human form. However, it was pleasing to her as a memory of her love, so she decided not to change it. I kind of tried to hint that she was among the first of her kind to relearn the ability.
As the threat of the Eastern Empire loomed, dragons quickly taught one another how to do it in order to protect themselves. Unfortunately, the ability wouldn’t protect them for long. Eventually humanity finds ways to combat it so that they can tell who is and is not a dragon. These are in the form of scanners and a serum that disrupts brain activity, forcing a dragon to change back.
Though I didn’t specifically say it in the book, I did hint that as dragons evolve, their minds are able to resist the serum, to a point, but the scanners still read them as dragons. In other words, the serum may work on an early terran dragon like Qira, but it wouldn’t work on one that was the product of hundreds of years of breeding on Earth.
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