Philosopher King Nidhoggr Picture

Had enough dragons? TOO BAD.

But seriously, there's just five more, including this one.

So in addition to thinking about dragon biology, as I talked about EXTENSIVELY here: [link], I've also thought about the culture of my personal made up dragon clans. My dragons are intelligent creatures, with most of them being able to speak and, y'know, use abstract thought. So they'd probably have some form of culture, being capable of speech and creativity as they are.

Asian dragons are their own thing that I honestly need to research a lot more before I even begin to hash out their cultural business, but I've been able to develop a workable culture for my Western dragons using their source myths. Here's the facts:

1. Western dragons can speak (in some myths)
2. Western dragons gather gold and other sources of wealth
3. Western dragons are mostly solitary creatures - they like to be alone
4. At the same time, myths have shown that Western dragons occasionally nest together, and that their young need a parent to survive, so they have to be social some of the time
5. Western dragons have nasty tempers
6. Yet again, Western dragons can also be grateful and sometimes even reasonable or caring
7. Western dragons like milk, which means they are able to figure out that cows can produce food beyond just being meat - which real reptiles can not comprehend
8. Some folklore claims dragons are fond of riddles, which means they enjoy mental stimulation when they're intelligent

As such, my personal take on Western dragon culture boils down to this:

Western dragons live mostly solitary existences, being a race of hermits for the most part. However, from time to time they seek out company, if only for a short while. Generally this company comes from other dragons, though they will occasionally settle for other intelligent species. Dragons base their respect less on physical power and more on cunning and cleverness - mental prowess is the key to a higher place in the loosely defined dragon society.

There are five legendary figures amongst the Western dragons, which are known as the Philosopher Kings. These dragons are renowned not only for their strength and deeds, but for their great mental faculties. They also developed the five philosophies that most civilized dragons follow when it comes to interacting with non-dragon species.

The first Philosopher King is Nidhoggr, the Root Chewer. Nidhoggr is a lesser drake, the oldest breed of dragon. While large and mighty, his philosophy relied less on brute force and more on subtle scheming. Nidhoggr believes that dragons must have a light touch if they are to survive, working mostly from the shadows to manipulate and influence the other species of the world. This philosophy is called "root chewing" by dragons, referring to the myth of the World Tree - a dragon that hides beneath and chews the roots will be far more successful in bringing the tree to its knees than the one that attacks it out right. His followers even made a cutesy poem about it:

Ydraig Goch fights for peace
Zmey Gorynch wages war
Their battles are in vain
For Death knocks on their door
To Fafnir goes the gold
To Jormangand, the sea
Tis he who chews upon the roots
That wins eternity

Nidhoggr's name and title comes from the Norse mythology.
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