Erithi Teadragon

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Erithi Teadragon is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.

Unique Fauna of Atan Irith: Erithi Teadragons

Throughout Atan Irith wherever tea is grown, teadragons are sure to be found. These tiny lizards are drawn to the tea plant like a lotus to water. Known also as raidanlu in Erithi, the teadragon is a much beloved member of the reptile family.

Etymology

The name itself "raidanlu" is roughly translated by most erithi as "teadragon." It is assumed that "rai" comes from "raiyatha" (soul), a shortening frequently used with tea-related items given the erithi affinity to the drink. However, "danlu" is a bit trickier. Many believe it is ancient Erithi originating in Agan Irith, and the generally accepted translation is "little fake dragon." This means the full translation of raidanlu is "little fake dragon of the tea's soul," also sometimes modified to "little fake teadragon of my soul."

Characteristics of a Teadragon

A full grown teadragon is about as long as an average erithi's hand from fingertip to wrist excluding the tail, which is typically at least as long as the body. Coming in a variety of colors, a teadragon's hide glistens unless ill (in which case it becomes dull and lackluster), and they have tiny vestigial wings and a prehensile tail, hence the 'dragon' in its name.

They most closely resemble chameleons except for their pseudo-wings and adoration for all things tea. Indeed, tea shops near growing fields are often overwhelmed with the lizards. They are personable and make good pets, and they do not appear to hurt the crops, so they are a pampered and protected creature.

Teadragons love to make tiny sounds that erithi generously call roars in keeping with the mythical dragon theme, but in actuality are more like a cat's meow or a small dog's yip than the mighty roar of a dragon. The "roar" of a teadragon is often accompanied by a fluttering of its vestigial wings, and the more artistically prone like to imagine it is because it knows it should be flying about and causing terror with a loud roar. Those more prosaic explain the science behind it—the roar itself causes a physiological response that inadvertently leads to tiny, ineffectual wing flapping.

Also like a cat, teadragons will purr, especially when content or twisted about a bowl of warm tea. There is a distinct "lizard-y" feel to the purr, however, and it is often accompanied by a lazy flick of the tongue or a curling of the tail.

While they do like to flap their vestigial wings, it's important to note these do not function at all, not even to assist in a glide. Indeed it's a matter of scientific debate as to whether or not these are actually vestigial wings or a product of a different evolutionary path.

Omnivores that subsist mostly on insects, these little bundles of fun will stalk their prey before whipping out a long tongue to snap up the meal. Teadragons enjoy hanging out in small puddles, scurrying along tree branches, and of course, on or around tea plants. They will also drink prepared tea or snack on some dried tea leaves (making them handy for cleaning up spills in a tea shop), and they have a bit of a soft spot for crystallized lotus blossoms. It's recommended those be stored securely whenever teadragons are around!

Variations on a Teadragon

Teadragons come in a variety of colors and patterns, with a black-stippled, forest green version being most common. Tails and wings may also vary in hue from the main body, but are usually in the same general color scheme, and their eyes are most commonly brown but can also be found in shades of green, yellow, orange, and violet.

Albino: Very rare and only found in the uppermost mountain crops, an albino teadragon's glistening white skin has an iridescence when caught in light, and its pale pink eyes are flecked with glittering bits of gold.

Crested: The crested teadragon has a small, ruffled crest on its head. These are quite common, and the crest is often in startling contrast to the teadragon's primary coloration.

Jade: Jade teadragons are so named because of their resemblance to the four primary types of dyed white jade: lavender, crimson, black, blue—if a jade teadragon's skin is pressed lightly, the coloration goes to glittering white, much like scratching just beneath the surface of dyed jade, one finds the true white jade. No one knows why this happens with only a small subset of teadragons, but it does; most will simply have the color fade slightly with pressure.

Polychromatic: While teadragons can have all variety of colors, a true polychrome has all the colors of the rainbow. These are very rare.

Qakoni: Named after the Erithi word for mask, qakoni teadragons actually change colors to camouflage themselves. They are extremely rare and hard to find.

Shidaran: Deriving its name from the shi'hadara, shidaran teadragons are pure black, including their eyes and tongue. They are extremely rare and hard to find.

Summer: An unusual and sought after color pattern especially among the Yachan, this little teadragon resembles the summer agate—bright yellow with thin bands of sky blue and cloud white. While somewhat rare, these are much easier to find than some of the other variations.

Teadragons in Erithi Culture

A popular children’s tale is The Library Mouse and the Teadragon, a whimsical tale of a young girl who liked to sneak her teadragon into the local library and always got in trouble. It is a charming tale of library derring-do!

A former leader of the Nathala Dai was known for never making a decision without retreating to his personal tea house and doing a rai'kan with George, his pet teadragon. A museum in Nathal-Ra has a painting of George twined about a dream agate teabowl: he was a deep ianthine hue dotted with leaf green spots, and according to historical texts, his companion often dressed in corresponding colors.

An eccentric sculptor about a hundred years ago, while mostly known for their series of erotic garden statuary, also spent the better part of three decades sculpting hundreds of teadragons. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately to some), these two wildly different series never crossed into one another.

Where Can You Get One?

Atan Irith. They've not been seen elsewhere in Elanthia, so either they are unique to Atan Irith or perhaps they came with the erithi from Agan Irith. There are some talks of opening availability up for trade, provided they are going to a good home; they are certainly not in short supply.

It's also been hypothesized that this is a sort of failed (or successful?) experiment of a mage lost to our history. Indeed, there are dozens if not hundreds of origin tales for the beasties. Erithi libraries are packed with them.

OOC Player Notes

  • Any alterations referencing these adorable critters must use either "teadragon" or "raidanlu" (not dragon or tea dragon)
  • These are absolutely and unequivocally lizards, NOT dragons or confirmation of dragons or a relative of dragons or anything like that
  • No altering other pets into teadragons
  • Release post link: http://forums.play.net/forums/GemStone%20IV/Elanthian%20Lore/Races/view/119

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