Dragonis Malignans (black dragon)
|steppe (fens), taiga (bog)
|30 ft. long
|talon/talon, fangs and tail
|2–12/2–12, 3–36, 4–24
|breath weapon, buffeting, raking
Also known as the "black dragon," generally perceived to be a vile-tempered flesh-eating creature prone to dwelling in remote swamps, bogs and extensive muskeg covered regions, particularly in northern temperate and sub-polar lands extending from Eastern Europe to Xachta. There are four known species of dragonis malignans, distinguished by the amount of grey, the pattern of horns crowning their skulls and their intelligence.
In the Pripyat marshes, where the dark grey variety (called wretched malignans among scholars) has been hunted almost to extinction, centuries of persecution have created a blood hatred between these dark grey dragons and most humanoids. The war against this species has created most legends about black dragons, that they are cruel, vicious and ruthless, with insatiable appetites and a special taste for children.
By comparison, the midnight-black variety that dwells throughout Magloshkagok, ostakis malignans, a close relative of the wretched variety, is virtually its opposite in nature and temperament. The ostakis is celebrated by the tribal goblins of the region, given ritual feasts during good seasons, treated well when encountered and are often sought out for counsel by elders. Ostakis dragons are also found in Bjarmaland, Samoyadia and to a lesser extent along the fringes of Nissi An.
Plavatis malignans are very dark greenish-grey in colour and dwell in the river systems of the Ob, Irtysh, Yenisey and Lena, most likely to be found where the water is deepest. They have abandoned the use of their wings (which now consist of boneless membranes that drag along the river surface as they swim) and remain in water throughout the year, hibernating beneath ice in estuaries or deep lakes during the winter. The plavitis are generally unfriendly and rarely speak without outsiders, unless compelled.
Finally, the lesista malignans are forest dwellers, most often sheltering in rocky outcrops and caves in muskeg-sodden areas, or in forested hill country surrounded by large swampy areas such as the Vasyugan or Nimdobayek swamps. They are few in number but likely the most friendly of black dragons. They will generally give birth in mid-spring, then migrate once their hatchlings have grown into yeuldings.
On the whole, black dragons are territorial and will only bring an attack against unrecognized creatures moving into their domain. Ostakis and Lesista species will often take a wait and see attitude. When attacking, however, dragonis malignans spew a black bile that acts as an magical-based acid. This quickly breaks down once it leaves the dragon's body, making it impossible to preserve without magical means. Black dragons like to reserve this fluidic "breath" weapon for attacks from the air, flying above the tree tops and using the foliage for cover. They like to target boats on the water, to break a group's will to move deeper into their marsh.
In combat, they will prefer to fight immersed in water, as it decreases the size of their apparent body and forces enemies to move into the water to engage in hand-to-hand. Black dragons are excellent swimmers.