Quetzalcoatl are feared throughout the realms. They are dragons that can appear as large, feathered wyrms or as feathered humanoids. They possess a Chronocompass, just like any other dragon. They live in a huge community that could almost be called a metropolis. As they all have a Chronocompass, navigating throughout their ‘city’ never gives them a problem. They absolutely despise dragons and Riders, considering Riders to be brainwashers of some sort and dragons to be unwitting victims. Although they form mental bonds, they do so with their soul mates rather than a companion.
In their dragon form, they have four bird-like legs, a feathered crest of some kind, large feathered wings, a long tail covered in feathers…you get the idea. While in flight, they tuck their legs into their feathers, giving the illusion of a feathered serpent proper. They each maintain special speculum feathers that store the ingredients they need for magic. These speculum feathers are green, gold, red, or a mix of those (reflecting that Quetzalcoatl’s magic specialty). Outside of their speculum feathers, they can have any color feathers or skin. They will have natural-looking markings, though it’s not unusual for beauticians or magical prodigies to dye their feathers in weird patterns. They molt periodically by shedding and regrowing their feathers. They will live forever as long as they can consume other sentient creatures. Without a proper diet, their lifespan is greatly reduced and they can starve.
They will only take their largest form after a particularly good meal. Even in their most ‘humanoid,’ appearance, they will retain their wings and tail, and stand 6′ at shortest. When walking on two legs, they generally slouch to keep balanced. The level of dragon or human appearance in between these forms depends on the individual’s whims. No matter the form, they will always weigh the same. The air pockets of their bones expand and allow them to shrink or stretch without creating much new mass. They are physically weak in all forms and not suited to carrying things while in flight. Females are typically larger than males.
They possess fangs in all forms hooked into a venom gland. These are not visual in casual conversation, since they are tucked away when not in use. When they bite, they pull the fangs forward and unsheathe them. They are hollow and only able to channel venom when extended. Their venom has an enormous variety. Green-feathered Quetzalcoatl even have a biological ‘codex’ of sorts where they store information of all the poisons and medicines they tasted over the years. They can paralyze their victims or they can give a bit of relief to someone suffering from illness. Yes, they can even make aphrodisiacs. They will only have one type of venom at a time and it takes a few days to swap venom. The more complex a venom is, the more skill and time are needed. The serpent will also need the raw materials on hand–particularly ‘magical’ venoms will require a magical diet.
They do not put a lot of thought into eating beyond the sustenance and nutrients they get from it. Because their fangs are fragile, they most commonly swallow everything whole and raw. Those magically inclined may supplement their normal diet with herbs and even metals.
In addition to seeing the same spectrum of light as humans, Quetzalcoatl are able to sense infrared or heat signatures. Their ability to sense heat is much more complex and red-feathered Quetzalcoatl can even see fine details like veins. They are able to smell both with their tongue and their nostrils.
All Quetzalcoatl are born with some amount of magic. For most, it’s as simple as prolonging their life by eating people and switching between dragon and humanoid form. About a third of Quetzalcoatl show magical aptitude and are brought into the center of the capital to hone their skills. Only ten percent are able to master all three kinds.
Each magic is referred to by the color of its ‘materials.’ Quetzalcoatl store magic materials in their speculum feathers and draw from them when they use magic. Thus, a green-feathered Quetzalcoatl is someone good at green magic. Referring to a Quetzalcoatl by the color of their feathers is almost always referring to their speculum feathers. A ‘gold-feathered’ Quetzalcoatl could have blue feathers everywhere other than their speculum.
- Green Magic – Concentrated biomass appears green in their speculum feathers. This greatly assists in the production of venom. They are able to passively store poisons that they taste and break it down into its components. Talented green-feathered serpents can then reconstruct it or improve upon that formula to use whenever they want.
- Red Magic – Red represents a high iron content in their feathers. Red-feathered Quetzalcoatl specialize in the manipulation of blood, so having a simple store of normal blood helps a lot. These serpents are good in battle, as they are able to hinder their opponents without resorting to venoms or foresight.
- Gold Magic – This is the main type of magic that impresses other species. Using precious metals and a bit of their latent magic, Quetzalcoatl can see into the future. While most serpents are able to trust in their ‘intuition’ or ‘gut feeling’ with confidence, gold-feathered Quetzalcoatl can see specific visions of the future and even interact with their visions. Visions of the future are considered a blessing from their goddess, whom they consider to be the mother of all dragons. The goddess despises humanity and those who would subject dragons to their will, and encourages their suffering. Singing hymns is a way to enhance and focus this magic. Every minute spent looking into the future is a minute taken from someone’s life. As such, gold-feathered serpents are the most ravenous.
Many magics are intertwined. Red magic is best for extracting the life force crucial to gold magic. Green magic might be required to change the bad fates spotted by gold magic. The list goes on. That’s why, despite specializations, Quetzalcoatl rely on each other as a community to use their magic to the best of its ability.
Home and Community
Their home is best described as a metropolis. They have buildings as large as skyscrapers throughout. However, instead of walled boxes, these structures have many open arch ways, floors, and bridges between them. Foul weather and predators are so unlikely that only personal quarters need walls. The architecture and clothing have a decidedly Mesoamerican aesthetic.
All Quetzalcoatl lay their eggs in the center of the city. Clutches are kept together and cared for by anyone broody in the vicinity. Gold-feathered dragons are tasked with raising the hatchlings. Children have a poor concept of danger–especially since adults seem to see everything–so they have a habit of getting into trouble. Once they grow out of that, they are sent to the outskirts of the city to be raised by caretakers. They do not go with siblings and they do not go to the care of their parents (unless by sheer coincidence). Because friends nip at each other to check their health, it’s very easy to tell if they are related, which makes lineage tracking for romantic reasons is a non-issue.
It’s important that hatchlings learn how to live without magic, along with how to respect those without magic, so caretakers are never magically inclined. When a child comes of age and shows magical talent, they are sent back into the city to hone their skills. Quetzalcoatl with magical abilities are expected to serve and support those without. Because they are very community-oriented, crimes against others are unthinkable and severely punished. In order to pull something off without alerting gold-feathered Quetzalcoatl, a criminal needs incredible premeditation.
Interactions with Outsiders
The Quetzalcoatl will negotiate with visitors or even require passersby to give sacrifices for safe passage. The sacrifices must be sentient, and the longer their lifespan, the better. The Quetzalcoatl do more than consume the sacrifices. They also use ancient magicks to perceive what their prey could not—a glimpse of a future that would never be. Their ability to learn the future, manipulate blood to their whims, and create venoms of all types instills fear and awe in all who learn of them. It’s not uncommon for powerful leaders to provide a surplus of sacrifices and luxuries in exchange for a glimpse into the future or a morsel of forbidden knowledge.