Kushala Daora Ecology
The land of Minegarde is stuck with gales and storms not produced by nature, but from a dragon. Blizzards strike its cold hands across the frozen mountain while the tempests howl through the jungle. Great ice crystals left by the gaze scatter the snowy plain. A metallic glaze flashes through the lands delivering with it devastating gales. The cold-hearted beast freezes its quarry with the breath of winter and blows away its enemies with a wind stronger than any storm. Leaving behind its age, it leaves a memory of the wonder and mystery it carries with it. The legendary Dragon of the Wind, Kushala Daora.
Basic information: The Kushala Daora is the Elder Dragon of the Wind. They inhabit the snowy mountain near Pokke and the jungle, where there is a lot of moisture. They hunt using the special mechanism of their bodies they can expel bursts or air, or in some case ice. If they live a normal life, they can live for up to 50 years.
Where: Since the Kushala needs a lot of moisture to attack and hunt, they are restricted to areas where there are a lot of humidity, like the snowy mountain and the jungle. They also like places of high altitude and areas that are cooler than other places. They mostly spend the night on mountain peaks and deep inside of caves. They have also been sighted on top of the ancient tower, but they never hunt or stay for long in that area, due to the lack of moisture.
Behaviors: Kushalas are one of the most proud creatures in Minegarde. If their pride is somehow damaged, even slightly, they will kill without a second thought, even if it is their own kind. It is due to their proud nature that they like to be in high places. However, if the damage done to them to too great, they will retreat. But as they retreat they will mentally draw the creature or person who damaged them so and hold an undying grudge against that person or creature.
The Kushalas diet mostly consists of bugs, a few types of fruits, mosswines, velociprey, popos, giaprey, blangos, kelbis, antekas, felynes, melynxes, and various types of ores, including Iron, Dragonite, Machalite, Union, Carbalite, Novacrystals, lightcrystals, Icecrystals, Goldstones, and coal. Since they use the ores to make their coatings, they must shed their skin every month when they are young and every 6 months for adults. They eat ores in order to strengthen their shiny metal coat, and they eat ice crystals to make their breath colder.
The Kushala Daoras often hunt in the air rather than on ground, so they have the element of surprise. They often dive down at prey from a cliff, if they can find one, or glide up from behind and snatch the prey from the ground with their jaws or claws. They can also use their breath attack while flying.
The thickness and the strength of the exoskeleton are also depended on the type of ore it eats. The better the ore, the stronger the plating. But once the plating has completely formed, it becomes unmovable, unable to grow with the Kushalas body, so every once in a while it has to shed its skin. You can tell when a Kushala is about to shed when the Kushala looks a rusty, brown color.
When it has to molt, it goes to a secluded area and separates the exoskeleton from the body and then arches its back in order to crack the shell. Then it slowly leaves its old skin. However, the scales on their wings can be taken off just by flapping them. Though a Kushalas main color is metallic, underneath the exoskeleton is actually white. But instants later, the soft, white skin quickly metalacizes over and the Kushala is able to move again. The whole process only lasts about 5 min. so it has almost no danger of being attacked while it is molting. Some Kushalas actually, eat their own coat that has been molted off.
The Kushalas can also surround themselves with a fierce wind. They use this wind as a defense mechanism as well as a way to hunt. The wind is strong enough to most predators that might try to attack it. But when it attacks, it can use the wind to knock the prey off their feet, giving the Kushalas an advantage in hunting.
During mating season, which it normally during the coldest time of the year, the male and female Kushala Daoras come together in the snowy mountain to have a competition, which explains the constant blizzards that occur in Pokke during the winter. During this time, the male Kushalas only have their minds on passing their genes on. They wont hunt or do anything not mating-related until the mating session is over. This is probably the only time they put their pride aside.
When the session starts, each male searches around the mountain for a secluded place, mainly caves. Once they have found it, they decorate the entrance with ice crystal, produced by their breathes, in the most bizarre fashions. Once they are finished, they go inside, or stand next to it (in the case that the place isnt a cave), and wait for the mate.
Once the males are done, the females then fly around the mountain looking for decorated entrances. When a female finds one to her liking, she breaks the ice crystals made by the male, as a sign that this one is taken, she goes inside and mates with the male. But the female do not get easily impressed, if a female isnt satisfied with what is given, she will leave and wait for the next mating season, which occurs every 5 years.
Right after the intercourse, the male leaves to leave the female alone. After about an hour, the female will leave the mating area and start looking for various ores to eat in order to strengthen the egg. After a year of carrying and strengthening the egg, she digs a hole in the ground using her claws and lays the egg in the hole and covers it up so that the very top of the egg is about 5 inches away from the surface. Once underground, the eggshell absorbs nearly all the nutrients and mineral around a 3 feet radius of the egg, which can be 15 inches long and 10 inches wide. The egg depends on the frequent rainfalls in the jungle to bring more nutrients and minerals. If the egg is found and unearthed, it will eventually die of malnutrition, and must there for stay in a mineral rich environment, namely underground. But due to the long time it takes for the egg to hatch, most eggs become unearthed, naturally or unnaturally, and die.
Birth and Growth After about 5 years, The egg starts to hatch. The young Kushala Daora instinctively starts to push upward against gravity. From the beginning of birth, the young Kushalas are put to the test. If they cant break the surface, they will eventually suffocate and die. So, only the strongest of the litter can live.
Once a Kuda, as a young Kushala is called, breaks the surface, it begins its life in the world above. Being about the size of a mosswine, the first thing most kudas will do is to look for food. During while it is young, they are almost completely herbivores. Their diet consists of nuts, fruits, berries, honey, bugs, and again different types of ores. They nearly eat no meat during their infancy.
While they are young, the young dragons cant fly well, and their scale are relatively weak compared to what they can be, so they are potential meals for khezus, rathians, and plesloiths. But against smaller predators such as the velociprey, they can fend for themselves pretty well, using their breath to freeze or blow their predators away.
But as they reach adolescence, after about 2 years from birth, they will start to hunt for meat using their ore enforced claws and fangs, as well as their flying ability. As they start to grow about a size to a velociprey, they will start to hunt mosswines and other small herbivores, while their craving for fruits and nuts starts to slowly decrease, while their craving for meat increases.
Once a Kuda has reached adulthood, after 5 years after birth, they are now completely carnivores, hunting all types of herbivores available in the jungle and in the snowy mountain, grown to the size of a big aptonoth (not including wingspan). But until a Kuda has reached adolescence, it will not leave the jungle. Then once they reach adulthood, they spend most of their time strengthening their plating.
Body Form and Function: The thing that interest the Guild the most is not the behavior of the Kushala, but how its body works. This Elder Dragons body dynamics is one of the most mysterious in Minegarde. The one thing that baffled the Guild and I was that the Kushalas body has a very uncanny ability to absorb things that it eats and the things around it. Starting from when it is an egg, it gains its nutrients from absorbing, and then strengthens it plating by absorbing the ores that it eats. In fact, the sizes of the Kushalas sizes depends on what ore it eats the most.
Iron ores are the most useful to the Kushalas and therefore will grow bigger the more he eats. Union ores are also very useful in making the exoskeleton stronger. The phrase You are what you eat, really brings to mind. Kushalas that eat more iron, machalite, and union ore appear the biggest, while the one that are the average size has a more of a balanced diet of ores, and the ones that eat more carbalite, dragonite, or rainbow ores appear the smallest. But simply this cannot determine the size of these creatures. Genes can also alter the sizes of the dragon no matter what they eat.
How the Kushala produces its cold blast of wind is what perplexes me, along with many other people, the most. What I have found is that as they eat organic compounds, it absorbs the nitrogen and stores it inside its body in a sac that is located between its lungs. When the Kushala is about to blast cold air, it brings out the nitrogen and turns it into liquid form. Then with a huge breathe from its lung, it expels the liquid nitrogen from its mouth and whatever it hits, freezes.
However, in a place that has a high humidity, the liquid nitrogen is quickly diluted back into the air, leaving only the strong wind produced from its lungs. But even after the liquid nitrogen freezes the special properties of the water in Minegarde can instantly melt the frozen ice crystals.
The wind that the Kushala produces is caused by its respiration system, one that is similar to the ones that birds have. They have a dual one-way respiration system that allows them to constantly inhale and exhale consecutively. But instead of exhaling through their mouths they exhale through the pores that line up along the sides of the Kushalas body. This also helps the Kushala to stay afloat and hover for a long period of time.
This system of respiration is controlled by the horn. The reason that it is so is because the horn of a Kushala is actually a part of the Kushalas brain. The skull extended into horns and the part that controls the one-way respiration moved into the space provided by the horn. But when the horn is broken, the Kushalas lose their ability to use the one-way circulatory system and have to resort to the regular breathing that we are used to. This strains the Kushalas because they dont have a constant flow of oxygen.
However, while the Kushala is using the breath attack it is exhaling through the mouth so during that time, there isnt a great wind surrounding its body. So hunters can use that advantage to attack.
The wings of the Kushalas are very uniquely formed, unlike most other dragons. Instead of stopping a few inches in front the hind leg, the wings of a Kushala extend all the way to its tail. The wings are positioned this way to allow expert mobility in the air. The muscles along the wings are ecspecailly strong because when it is not flying, if it wasnt for the strong muscles, they would drag on the ground.
The claws of the beast are very sharp, perfect for slashing and grabbing onto prey. They are often used to scratch rock formations to release the ores that are contained inside. They are also very aerodynamically formed that it doesnt hinder the flight of the dragon.
The Kushalas tail doesnt seem to have a very significant role except to attack with it while hovering in the air. But again the tails are also aerodynamically formed. As mentioned before, the wings extend all the way to the tail, there for most of the steering is dependant on the tail portion.
Human Uses: Kushala Daora material is very popular amongst the hunters because of its ability to cancel out extreme heat. The scales along with the shell can be used for armors so that they are very resistant to heat, even lava. The webbings of the beast are not very malleable but can work very well with other types of metal. It is surprisingly lightweight. The webbings can be made as cloaks against the heat, used in armor, or can be a living room carpet thats almost guaranteed to make the room a lot cooler. The horns that you get from the Kushala are mostly used for research, but for hunters, it can be used in armor or be made into a necklace or just for decoration. The tail again is used in armor, or can be used as a trophy, or ornamental uses. The quality of the claws are dependant on the ores that it eats. They are often used in necklaces or can be melded to make knives, but the claws itself are very hard to work with. So they cant be taken into a regular crafter.
Culinary Uses: Since the Kushala Daoras mostly eat ores, their bodies are really stiff and hard to eat, but with these recipes they will melt in your mouth.
Dish #1: Kushala Steak: Have a slab of meat cut from a Kushala. Boil it in a pot of water along with a few small goldenfish. The goldenfishes will absorb the minerals from the meat and soften them, but dont do it for too long, because you dont want to cook it in the water. After about 10 min. you take it out, and then start to grill it. Keep it cooking for about 10 min. or however long you want to let it cook (10 minutes minimum). Add salt, and pepper, and according taste you might want to add a sprinkle of fire herb, hot pepper, Dobiscus, sunset herb, or (in Falcons case) felvine, or just whatever that wont kill you. Flip it, and do that same. Grill the steak to your liking. Once you finish, you can just eat as it is or pour some (A is for anteka) A1 steak sauce. Enjoy!
Dish #2: Crystal Chiller Thriller: For this dish you are going to need the sac that contains the nitrogen from a Kushala. Removing the sac without breaking it will require a lot of dexterity. Anyways. Combine Kelbi or Anteka or Popo milk along with sugar, and a sweet something of your choice, say an armor seed or a dobiscus, in a mixing bowl. You dont necessarily need to make it sweet, it can be sour, bitter, or even spicy. It is truly up to you. Mix the ingredients until it is like a frappe. Taste the frappe that it is the taste you want. Then carefully take the sac and make a small incision in the sac, but after you do so, pinch it closed. Dip the cut end of the sac all the way down into the frappe. Let go and quickly take your hand out, but keep your hand on the sac. In a few seconds, the frappe will grow into great crystals. Slowly pull the sac out as the crystals grow. Once the sac empties, dispose of it, and take out your ice shredder. Shred the ice and then enjoy! Makes enough for about 4 or 5 people. You never ate shaved ice until youve had it like this. The ice itself has its own taste., along with whatever else you mixed in it.
Dish #3: Sponge Liver Juice: This drink doesnt taste all that extraordinary, but it is meant for people with bad livers. Boil a pot water and add the liver of a Kushala, the liver of a Kelbi, 2 kelbi horns, grounded, grounded popo tusk, a stalk of Hot pepper, two stalks of Dobiscus, and 3 diced armor seed. Stir well for about 15 min. and when the water boils, add some salt and a hint of sleep herb. Stir again for 3 min. and then let it sit for about an hour. Then pour the pot through a strainer to leave out the chunky parts. Makes about a gallon of Juice. You can drink it either chilled or heated, doesnt matter.
This concludes the Ecology of the Wind Dragon Kushala Daora, nya. For those who have question about the beast or cooking, you might just find me dozing off in the gathering hall, meow. Until next time, long exist Minegarde, purr!