A Day With Dr. Killian Fitch

The Travels of Dr. Killian Fitch, Dracologist

This journal is the recorded travels of Dr. Killian Fitch, Dracologist and Dragon Management Official.

To the Committee of Dracologist Studies and Publication:

February 14

My studies begin in Dirkwood, where the Council of Dragon Observation and Preservation (otherwise known as the CODOP) is stationed. The council is, of course, the committee that grants a license to those few brave enough to undertake the noble study and management of dragons. I am one of these rare few, as you may now, my dear reader. On that 14th of February, I did, of course, receive my license for the study of the great beasts, and embarked on my first voyage to observe the habits of the central European Knuckler; the wyrm has never received much more notice in the legends than the marvelous Lindworm and to me that is a very good reason to study the creatures.

As you may know, dragons come in three forms: Wyvern, Wyrm, and Lung. One of my dearest friends is an expert on the Lung form, the rarest and oddest of the three species. Some dracologists have argued that they do not even belong to the same species, being without wings and pyroglands (pyroglands, for those who do not know, are the glands unique to the dragon species that allow them to, in a sense, breathe fire). Despite their efforts to create a new species, however, the CODOP has never moved in their favor and thus the Lung are still considered, in the official sense at least, dragons.

Very little is known about the Lung, which is found mainly in Asia and Eastern Europe. The Chinese Traditional, Draco Yangtze, is found, as its name suggests, near the Yangtze River in China. My good friend, Dr. Sung Fau, lives along this great river among a clan of fishermen. The Lung are known to have a liking for fish, unlike other dragons who are known to prefer livestock. Because of her ties to the fishermen of the clan, that odd trait of the Lung has worked much to her benefit.

I naturally have a preference to the study of Wyverns. No creature has created for itself such a large reputation and yet managed to evade capture for so long. Ever since the days of the cruel Sir George (not to be confused with St. George, as he often is) and his brutish Dragon Slayers, the Wyverns have become marvelously adept at remaining out of sight. Only highly trained dracologists, such as myself, can find them and survive the encounter.

Wyrms, for their part, are the most common of the great creatures. Some Dracologist geneticists have theorized that the Wyrm was the result of a Wyvern and a Lung, but such propositions are preposterous. Wyrms share characteristics of both Wyverns and Lung, such as the fact that they have wings like the former and four legs, rather than two, like the latter. However, they have characteristics that are all their own as well. A prime example of this would be their tails. The structure of a Wyrm’s tail is shaped like an arrowhead, starting off like the tail of a typical dragon and then flaring outwards rather than tapering to a point like that of both the Wyvern and the Lung. If the Wyrm were the result of the union of their relatives, how could it be that such a trait came about?

But excuse my ramblings and allow me to return to the topic at hand. I believe I was preparing to fly to Denmark, where a European Knuckler has been rumored to be frolicking about the countryside near the backwater town of Jarlsfjord. The CODOP wishes to see the creature removed from the scene to prevent it from snatching up more dogs and livestock than it already has. A few animals may go missing, after all, without much consequence. But once the disappearances become more frequent and numerous, people will begin to become suspicious. Such suspicions are exactly what the CODOP fears. After spending centuries convincing people of the non-existence of dragons they are not prepared to sacrifice their work to the missteps of a rogue wyrm.

At this point I should mention, perhaps, that flying in today’s airports as a Dracologist is…tricky. What, with the tools necessary for the trade, no baggage check officer in their right mind would allow us to carry such things onto a plane. Razors to collect scale and talon samples, priceless gemstones that are not in any sense registered in the legal system for enticing the beasts, flame repellent sunscreen (which I doubt requires explanation), and gamma-ray resistant containers to carry dung samples would most likely raise a few eyebrows. To avoid any ugly encounters with the security guards we Dracologists often take a different approach than usual.

For years Dracologists have used salamander salve to mask their tools. Salamander salve, taken from rock salamanders, not wood salamanders, can cover up the true nature of many objects. Its use was discovered by Gregory McFinnigan in 1963, and since it has been used universally to transport the tools of the trade.

Thanks to Mr. Finnigan, I managed to fly from Dirkwood to Copenhagen without incident. However, upon arrival it was already well past 9 o’clock in the evening and thus it was a bit to dark for me to continue my journey with much purpose. I found a hotel in the southern part of the city, and that, unfortunately is where I must end my tale today. Tomorrow is a big day, as it marks the beginning of the practical search for the Knuckler of Jarlsfjord.

So until next time, my dear friends. I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,

Dr. Killian Fitch, Dracologist

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