I’m back with another question regarding the Drakin series.
Specifically, Empire of Ashes and dragon-human bonding and intimacy.
Specifically, I’m a bit surprised by how high sex drive Nayeli has even
towards a human partner. Fact is, it leads to several good lines in the
book (Nayeli’s “we won’t be having any fun on this ship” comes to my
mind, as well as the taunts from both Nayeli and Kaori towards Alexei at
the end) but it feels a bit strange when I realized that long-lived
creatures usually have lower “instincts” in this matter (for logical
reasons, I’d say, to preserve some balance when it comes to reproduction
speed and avoid uncontrollable population explosion). Since the book
reveals that she has imprinted on him some time ago, I wonder if it’s
direct effect of the bond, or if it’s something Earth-bound drakeas have
in common regardless of bonding.
Now that I think about it, there were a couple of lines that reminded me
of specific movies: Joaquim’s “these belong in a museum” as well as
“she’s old, not obsolete” used in Terminator Genisys. So, this may
actually be a second, this time public question: is there anything that
authors should know about using famous movie/book/game/song quotes in
their writing and what’s your opinion on doing so?
First, let me just put this in place…
SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE DRAKIN SERIES YET, PLEASE SKIP!!
Okay, with that out of the way…
I decided to keep this one wide open, as I’m sure there are others with similar questions. Honestly, I never really delved that deep into dragon/drakeas physiology, biology, and sexuality. Though I don’t really go into great detail about the ‘how’s’, the initial dragon horde consisted of the elder council, which was a handful of dragons, only one of which was a female. Given that the elder council is at least a few thousand years old, including the female, Amzer’ial, it’s reasonable to assume that they would be able to procreate quickly.
Now, given that the dragon horde reproduces at an accelerated rate, with a relatively low gestation time, it get’s to the point where, three decades later, we have a horde that rivals the human race (which is numbered at 1.7 billion people at that point). It can and should be deduced that dragons reach maturity at a relatively young age and are able to reproduce over an extremely long period of time with a short gestation in between. Dragons can reproduce from a fairly young age, into the quadruple digits. However, that wasn’t destined to last long.
Initially, dragons would give birth to litters, not unlike puppies, but as the years passed and the dragons absorbed more radiation from our yellow sun, those numbers dropped to 1 to 3 per birthing, and only one being viable, typically. This began to cause ripples among the dragon ranks, which made many of them, including Auirn, question whether or not dragons could actually survive on Earth. Keeping in mind, the Drakeas home world isn’t 100% identical to Earth. Eutherys mentions it’s similar, but that the sun is quite different (Red Dwarf).
I should also mention that, as intelligent as the dragons were, there was no way that they could have anticipated the rapid evolution that manifested, starting with Qira’s generation. When the first dragons of her kind appeared, the older dragons saw what was happening as abnormality and deformity, and the majority of them opted to leave Earth either to return and retake their home world or find a more suitable planet. The rest opted to brave whatever Earth’s environment would bring as they found fighting another war on their home world after a lifetime of violence on Earth, less appealing.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s explore your question a little more. Nayeli is 22 during the events of An Empire of Ashes. Sexually, she’s mature, by her species standard, but I can’t honestly say whether or not she’s considered young. Qira mentions that no one knows how long Terran-born dragons live. Qira herself was one of the first dragons to exhibit the traits of rapid evolution, and she was roughly 225 years old in AEA. No Terran-born dragon has yet died of old age. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how the evolution of the dragon species would affect their lifespan and I just couldn’t decide, so I left it ambiguous.
In terms of her ‘drive’, I don’t think it’s any higher than a human’s. (Seriously, Fei is quite a bit older than Nayeli, and look at her!) Qira lived a life of celibacy after Radley was killed and she lived with a great deal of pain, not that it would have made much of a difference if she hadn’t chosen that path.
You are correct to think that her imprinting on Joachim played a part in this. When dragons imprint on one another, both partners go through some biological changes in order to better suit their partner. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that their physical appearance changes, but in terms of internal mechanics, such as reproduction, some changes do take place so that dragons are more fertile and in tune with their mate’s physical and emotional state.
When a dragon imprints on a human, things are a bit more chaotic. Humans don’t imprint, we don’t have that biological trigger. So then it falls to the dragon’s biology to make more… drastic changes. Now, that doesn’t mean that a dragon and a human could ever reproduce, but it does mean that the dragon partner would be far more in tune with their counterpart’s wants and needs.
All that being said, we can’t overlook Nayeli’s mental state to understand her promiscuous nature following her rescue. She was extremely distressed by the treatment of her race, the man she imprinted on, Joachim, didn’t know she was a dragon, she narrowly escaped death after weeks of torture and torment, and she thought Joachim was dead. After being emancipated, feeling both biological and emotional relief that they both survived, and that the revelation of her true nature didn’t drive Joachim away would have been intense. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. You add all that up, her relief, acceptance by the man she loved, the physical and emotional scars she then carried, and a desire for some kind of release from the chaos, could easily explain her drive to be with Joachim.
Remember the line from the book, “I’ve been feeling nothing but pain and sadness for weeks. I want to feel something else… something happy. I need to feel alive again.”
Now, you could argue that this is an unhealthy coping mechanism and initially, that may be true. Remember what happens immediately after. She loses control of her emotions and everything floods out. All that intimacy really did was provide her with some momentary pleasure and act as a catalyst to let everything else out.
Let’s remember that she also marries him. Her life quickly becomes a whirlwind as she almost loses him a second time. She actually get’s a taste of what Qira experienced for 200 years.
I tried to go into a little more detail about what the imprinting bond does to a dragon’s psyche. Remember, the death or rejection of an imprinted mate early on can be fatal. The imprint is both emotional and physical, thus if a dragon is separated from their mate either by boundaries, death, or rejection, if they survive, they will suffer as a result for a long time if not the rest of their lives. This makes Qira’s advice that Nayeli cherish Joachim for however long they have even more important. Nayeli is going to outlive Joachim by quite a long time. That’s just the reality of it. Thus, Joachim really is her everything. She chose him as a mate, accepting what would come. The only hope of averting what Qira went through was to treat every moment with him like it was their last.
Now, as to your point about overpopulation, I did allude to something like that being the reason that dragons were exterminated on their home world in the first book. However, sex doesn’t always equate to pregnancy. That actually may be a good point to bring up in my next book as to why the UPW encourages dragon/human relationships; no children.
Now, your second question… this may come as a surprise, but I never intended any reference or quote at all. “These belong in a museum” is a phrase which I often speak as a military antique collector.
Old, not obsolete, I only caught that one after I published the book. Honestly, when it comes to quoting dialogue that other people have written, I would tread with caution, especially if you’re using something that is blatantly someone else’s work. If we’re talking like a short sentence of only a few words, there’s nothing really to worry about. Copyright doesn’t defend short sentences. Doing so would stifle creativity, create way too many roadblocks, and pretty much beat the purpose of copyright in the first place. Think about it for a second, do you think that you could write a sentence that literally no one before you has ever written? Though I don’t think anyone has ever counted, there are a finite amount of words in each language, thus there’s a finite amount of combinations for those words. If people could copyright small sayings and sentences, we’d all be guilty of plagiarism. The only time I’d be worried is if such a quote directly mentions a person, place, or thing that could link said quote directly to someone else’s work. Then you’re in some gray area.
Copyrights aren’t as airtight as some may think and they can be harder to enforce. (Please note, I’m not a lawyer. Contact a lawyer if you think you’re in the gray area.)
I mean consider this for a second. Disney recently released a movie about Dragons with the title character being a girl named Raya… DOES THAT SOUND FAMILIAR TO ANYONE!?!?!? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
But yeah, put it simply, common phrases and simple sentences can’t be copyrighted as enforcement would be next to impossible and honestly foolish.
Hope this clears everything up. LMK in the comments! 🙂
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Thanks for the answers, I have almost forgotten that I’ve asked this some time ago. Hope to see those characters in another book sooner or later.