The most abundant and the most diverse of the Drace, Drakes come in all shapes and sizes, but most can be loosely categorized as follows.
I was most alarmed when first I encountered a Savannah Drake, but I soon learned that, despite their impressive size, they present little threat to humans.
They are plant-eating drakes, wandering the wide grasslands of the West in herds of up to a hundred. Some species of Savannah Drake are docile enough to be tamed by humans, and they have become the primary form of transport for the Uthlari Empire, as they were for the Thireans, hauling wagons and carriages.
Their immense size and strength can also be employed to operate heavy machinery, such as the cranes that load and offload goods on the docks of Caldarus.
Savannah Drakes cannot be used for cavalry as they refuse to be ridden, but they can become deadly when stampeding. If you see a herd of Savannah Drakes in the wild, keep your distance and avoid discharging any firearms. The sound is likely to startle them and may cause them to stampede, as learned by my first assistant at the cost of his life.
When I first landed in Thirea, I wondered why the natives kept no horses or cattle to speak of. My answer came when I saw a Hunting Drake tear the throat out of one of our pack horses and drag it away to eat. Within a week, our entire supply of livestock had been all but destroyed by these ferocious creatures, and we lost no small number of soldiers trying to defend them, not to mention my second favorite assistant.
Hunting Drakes normally keep to forests where they will hide among the trees, perfectly camouflaged, waiting for unwary prey to wander by. They strike suddenly, and the first blow is almost always lethal. Used to preying on Savannah Drakes, they find our horses and cattle much safer and easier to catch, and will actively seek them out whenever possible. However, they are not above devouring the occasional human too. It was on the edge of a dense forest that one of my assistants disappeared with nary a cry.
To avoid Hunting Drakes, you are strongly advised to never travel between settlements without armed escort. Pikes and muskets are generally effective against these monsters, but it takes a keen eye to spot the threat before it’s too late.
If you encounter a Hunting Drake, shoot to kill. If you are unarmed, make peace with the Three.
These meat-eaters are relatively small, and might seem of little threat as a result, but do not be deceived. They are wolf-like in their behavior, working in packs to harass and bring down larger drakes.
Some Sprinting Drakes dwell in forests, but most hunt in open fields, using long grass to cover their approach. They move silently and pounce without warning. I observed up to a dozen of these creatures climb onto a hulking Savannah Drake and bring it down.
Sprinting Drakes are generally wary of humans, but there have been isolated cases of individuals being stalked and killed while on their own. To avoid such a fate, do not wander the wilds of Thirea alone, and do not fall behind. A particularly lazy assistant of mine stopped to recover his breath and was never seen again.
In desperate times, the discharge of a firearm is normally enough to scatter a pack.
The smallest drakes are opportunistic omnivores, feeding on whatever they can find. In the wild this mainly consists of fruit, berries, insects and carrion. In settlements, they are often seen scavenging from garbage piles, where their behavior is most consistent with rats and other vermin.
Some Thireans have have been observed feeding Ground Drakes, as we might feed stray cats and dogs. This should be discouraged, as it has yet to be determined whether Ground Drakes might spread disease in settlements.
Otherwise, Ground Drakes present no serious threat to humans. They might jump or bight if they feel threatened, but only to cover a quick escape. If bitten by a Ground Drake, it is advised to wash the wound thoroughly, as their mouths might carry foulness from rotting meats. The most curious of my assistants lost a finger to gangrene, and now curses and spits every time he sees a Ground Drake.