Sparks Fly


How to Tell a Dragon's Gender

Gender in Cordillera, the world of Sparks Fly, is treated very differently from in our own world. For that reason, I've written a short guide for readers to consult if they're ever confused on how to refer to a particular character.

Dragons in this world are not sexually dimorphic, meaning there aren't obvious physical differences between sexes (there's nothing like a lion's mane or a rooster's comb, for instance). A dragon's sex is either layer or pater, but this is only really relevant when it comes to family planning.

Gender identity and gender presentation are entirely separate issues from sex, and can be determined at a glance by the jewelry a dragon wears. A dragon who wears horn bands uses she/her pronouns, one who wears a neck cuff uses he/him, one who wears wrist bands uses they/them, and one who uses a different set of pronouns will have a chestpiece engraved with them. These can be worn in any combination or taken off as the wearer wishes. Other jewelry, such as earrings, rings, or tail bands, have no such meanings, although a tail band may be worn to signal the wearer is married.

Young dragons (typically under the age of seven) who have not yet decided which pronouns to use are called wyrmlets, and are referred to with wyr/wyrm pronouns. As dragons also choose their own names when selecting their pronouns, a wyrmlet will typically be called by a nickname based on their appearance--for example, if a wyrmlet has red scales wyr may be referred to as Ruby.

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Dragons get their power from nine magical sources--Darkness, Light, Water, Earth, Fire, Air, Lightning, Time, and Life. Most have a specific affinity for one source, although in some rare cases they may be able to tap into multiple, or they may have no connection to any. While these affinities can be passed from parent to offspring, where in the world a dragon hatches and grows up has much more to do with what their affinity ends up being, and may even affect what they can do with it: for example, a Water dragon who grows up in tropical Cochinea will have a much easier time controlling liquid water, while a Water dragon from arctic Frostfield will have greater control over solid ice.

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Although it's not an exact science, it's generally fairly easy to guess what source a dragon has affinity for based on their appearance. General rules of thumb are as follows:
  • Dark dragons are most often grey or black.
  • Light dragons are usually light or bright colors, often with a luminance or iridesence to their scales.
  • Tropical Water dragons are usually bright blues or greens, and may have finned crests or ears, while arctic Water dragons are usually paler, cooler colors.
  • Earth dragons are usually shades of brown or green.
  • Fire dragons are usually warm colors, such as reds or oranges.
  • Air dragons have the most variety in their colors, and are much more likely to have feathered crests or ears (although feathered wings are exclusive to certain Air dragons).
  • Lighting dragons are often bright blues or yellows, or darker colors accented with those.
  • Time dragons are usually dark colors like purples or blues, and almost always have silver markings.
  • Life dragons are usually lush greens, accented with flower colors such as lavender or red.
No matter a dragon's source of power, one thing always holds true--their horns, wing-claws, and talons are always one color, though extra spines or spikes may be different colors.

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