The Oriental or Chinese dragon is a much more benevolent and curious creature having dealings with humans in many ways. Though wingless, the oriental dragons fly and are a species of Air dragons. The golden dragons are especially powerful and their scales highly prized for their strong solar energies. Golden dragon scales shine with a brilliant golden yellow light that embodies the immortal strength, grace, and benevolence of these rain dragons. Their energies are especially good for wands intended for weather working of all kinds, whether to conjure rain or the sunshine. They will always bring good fortune. The scales of the golden dragon are also devoid of that caustic, dissolving quality of the firedrake’s scales and have quite a different energy altogether — noble, proud, quick to anger but not prone to tricks and low cunning as some Western dragons are.
“In the mythology of various Oriental countries, the dragon is the supreme spiritual power, the most ancient emblem and the most ubiquitous motif in Oriental art. These Dragons represent celestial and terrestrial power, wisdom and strength. They reside in water, bring wealth and good luck and, in Chinese belief, rainfall for their precious crops. The dragon in traditional Chinese New Year’s Day parades is believed to repel evil spirits that would inevitably spoil the new year. The five-clawed dragon became the Chinese Imperial emblem (the four-clawed being the common dragon). The three-clawed dragon is the Japanese dragon. In Hindu mythology, Indra, god of the sky and giver of rain, slays Vitra, Dragon of the Waters, to release rainfall. …
“There are many differences between the classical dragon and the Chinese dragon, these include the ability to fly even without wings, shape-shifting abilities, and of course the general benevolent behavior to the populace.
“The Chinese dragon (Lung) was a divine bringer of rain, necessary for the good of the people. Throughout Chinese history the dragon has been equated with weather. It is said that some of the worst floodings were caused when a mortal has upset a dragon. The dragon was also a symbol of the emperor whose wisdom and divine power assured the well-being of his subjects. Many legends draw connections between the dragon and the emperor. Some emperors claimed to have descended from the dragon. Chinese dragons of myth could make themselves as large as the universe or as small as a silkworm.”
DRAGONS OF THE WEST
The Occidental dragon comes in four varieties named according to the four elements. The dragons of Earth and Water are wingless and are sometimes called worms to distinguish them from the winged dragons. Winged dragons may be further divided into two geniuses, the quadruped dragons, and the bipedal wyverns. The wyverns are considered to be Air drakes while the winged quadruped species are Firedrakes. Wyverns rarely breathe fire except as a warning, while the firedrakes employ their breath as a weapon and have a much greater capacity.
The name Dragon comes from the Greek Drakon, which seems primarily to have referred to the wingless Earth dragons. There are, naturally, also Water Dragons which have from time to time been encountered as sea serpents. The Loch Ness Monster is one example of the freshwater aquatic dragon; Skylla, of Greek legend, is an example of the saltwater variety. The Water Dragons do not have the ability to breathe fire. They do, however, often have multiple heads, such as the famous nine-headed Hydra. The Greeks recorded tales about many drakones — the Ketea, a race of sea dragons, Ladon the hundred-headed dragon which guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides, Python, the drakon that guarded the oracle of Delphi until slain by Apollo.
Dragons were and still are, employed to guard treasures. Sometimes they continue in this role long after the original owners of the treasures have passed into oblivion. This is not to suggest that dragons can be domesticated, but rather than they seem to possess an instinct to guard treasures. Typically only deities can command dragons even in a limited degree, summoning them to do their bidding. It is, however, the extreme indestructibility of dragons that has lent them such a monstrous reputation, and the fact that they will not scruple to eat humans.
“The dragon’s mysterious ability to produce bursts of flame is one of the most potent weapons in its arsenal. Dragon observers claim to have recorded emissions up to 200 meters (656 feet) long, attaining temperatures of over 1000 Degrees Celsius (1832 Degrees Fahrenheit), and many people have sought to explain how this remarkable feat is achieved. Professor Heinz Diebtrich, of the Gotlingen Institute for Cryptozoology in Germany, has proposed that dragon ingest phosphor-laden rocks which break down in a special stomach (termed the phosphorocatabolic stomach by Professor Diebtrich), to release a volatile gas, which is flammable on contact with the air. Attempts to investigate the phenomenon – and to reproduce it in a laboratory – have proved difficult, and frequently fatal.”
The use of dragon scales in wand making is an ancient art which is thought to have originated in India where dragons were once plentiful. The practice is hazardous for two reasons. First, the caustic nature of dragon’s blood resides also in the scales so that they must be handled carefully with heavy gloves and tongs. When sawn into shards and quenched, the scale takes on the lustrous quality of its astral light. Enchanted into a wand it appears as a dark fire, primarily in the violet and ultraviolet frequencies. The scales of black dragons are particularly acidic and dark, which is not to say they are evil, but merely powerful in magical energies well-suited to dissolving, banishing, protecting, and opening what is closed. The red dragon, so closely associated with Wales, is most often found in the mountains of that country. Its character is nobler than the black dragons and its red magic particularly suited for healing and protection of one’s land and people. Similarly, Green dragons lend themselves to the magic of growth and fecundity. Dragonscale imparts to a wand the quality of implacable indomitability and tenacity.