In ancient times, there was a ritual that was said to bond those who practised it to the dragon spirit. While the ritual has been lost to the ages, the descendants of those who bonded with the dragon spirit still survive in small communities throughout the world. The community in Britain hides away in Scotland, their nest tucked away in the Inner Hebrides, in an Unplottable home where they are safe from persecution. The Wyrms are a heritable ability, and the gene itself is dominant due to the powerful, ancient magic bonded to each descendant.|
Hebridean Wyrms are the only Wyrms allowed on The Next Incantation.
Though they appear to be human at first glance, on closer inspection one can identify a Wyrm from several small differences. Their skin is hardened and rougher, with gentle bumps that mimic scales, while their teeth are sharper, with sharper, more resilient incisors and slightly bigger than average canine teeth. Purple eyes are a common attribute for Hebridean Wyrms, due to the ritual involving Hebridean Black dragons.
Their sharp nails are the most obvious clue as to their true nature, as they grow thicker and curved like dragon claws. Wyrms venturing into the Outlands must regularly trim their nails or find a way to conceal them, though in the community they choose not to. Longer, curved nails look almost feral, and those who do not take care of cutting them tend to be Wyrms who see no need of hiding themselves.
Wyrms have increased fertility, though child mortality is high due to difficult survival conditions and more damaging accidental magic. Twins are common for Wyrms, and triplets are not especially rare, though the latter often leads to maternal death, whether or not the babies survive. Pregnancy lasts for little more than seven months, making newborns particularly dependent on their caregivers, and women are able to get pregnant again only weeks later. It is not too uncommon for wyrms to mate with wix, but the children are just as much wyrm as their parents - there is no such thing as a half-wyrm or a part-wyrm, and it is impossible for wyrm children to possess wizard magic. The wyrm genes cancel out any potential magic the offspring might have inherited. There are a rare few wyrms born human, however. These squib wyrms are known as Nathair and are cast out of the community as infants. All die unless someone takes pity on them, but it is unheard of for a wyrm to show that compassion and all but impossible for anyone outside the wyrm community to find the child.
Wyrms have several abilities they can use, but have lost a general sense of magic over the years. While they cannot perform with wands at all due to the unpredictably of their magic, and mostly rely on potions and amulets for enchantments, Wyrms have a particular affinity for fire. By channelling their magic, they can generate fire from their lungs and fingers, breathing and manipulating it without being harmed. This fire is more destructive in children, who cannot consciously wield it, and so are prone to accidentally unleashing incredible amounts of quick, intense fire. While this drains energy rapidly from the child, the fire can still spread if it catches something on fire. Adults who have learned to consciously wield their fire rarely use this stronger kind of fire, unless they truly focus on it.
While most Wyrms cannot channel any magic not affiliated with fire, potions are important to the community, especially for healing purposes. With their draconic attributes, they can use their own bones, blood, and flesh in many of their potions, as the familiarity of using Wyrm tissue as ingredients in potions creates more potent healing potions.
Because of their toughened skin, adult Wyrms are quite fireproof. Those under the age of seventeen are still building up layers of resistance from fire, and this is the reason for such high child mortality rates. Due to the accidental magic children perform, many youngsters end up burning themselves, and the intensity of magic cannot be defended against or healed well. The same is observed when Wyrms live over the age of fifty, as the skin becomes more frail and thinner, while their magic continues to grow until it is as unstable as that of a child. Wyrms rarely reach the age of seventy because of their own magic burning up inside of them, though frequently expelling their energy reserves can help to relieve this magical tension.
Because of the ritual magic still in their blood, they are able to communicate with the Hebridean Blacks they are bonded to and though other dragons can be understood with a grasp of the basic language, the dialects are very different. Wyrms are naturally very empathic with dragons, as they can sense through body language and pheromones the emotions a dragon feels without even communicating with them, though they can communicate. Dragons and Wyrms speak through growling and various changes in body language, such as changing stance to indicate emotion. The language is rather primitive when restricted to body language, and while the growling is more learned than inherited, body language appears to be instinctive to all Wyrms, though refined through learning. There is also an element of tactile communication found to be instinctive, such as in soft touches and gestures to comfort. Many Wyrms who leave the community end up searching to free dragons from cruelty, or to otherwise help them survive side-by-side.
Due to the ancient ritual, Wyrms cannot stray far from the region in which their dragons are present. While dragons may travel across territories, Wyrms who travel outside of their region are struck by a terrible homesickness that can advance into intense nausea before their fire becomes unstable, resulting in their death if they remain outside of the region for too long (usually, around a month). The Hebridean Wyrms feel homesick when in southern England or western Ireland but this will not result in death - crossing to Europe or attempting flight to Iceland or across the North Atlantic Ocean would.
Only Hebridean Black Wyrms are available on-site, as the Welsh Green Wyrms were wiped out. The Welsh Wyrms cannot be recreated due to the ancient ritual being lost, and also because some unique ingredients have become extinct - including a flower called ìneblàth ('hooked claw flower') which was harvested until no more remained. Similarly, a character cannot become a Hebridean Wyrm through a ritual because both the ìneblàth and the particular breed of Hebridean sheep used in it are extinct.
Wyrm culture is based on inclusion, survival of the fittest, and coexisting with Hebridean Black dragons. While they are bonded to their draconic counterparts, the few humans who come to live with them are made well aware that this bond does not make the dragons their friends, and certainly not their pets. The closest thing humans have that the dragons can be compared to is gods. The wyrms fear and respect the dragons they live around, providing them sacrifices of sheep and keeping their distance to ensure their safety. Wyrms can communicate, roughly, with the Hebridean Blacks, but a wyrm has never been known to touch a dragon and live to tell the tale.
Each Wyrm is given a nickname by their parents at birth, usually something of Scottish Gaelic origin due to the closed culture of the community, but all eventually find their own name by the time they reach adulthood. These names are often something to do with nature, such as names of creatures they see, or of plants. However, Wyrms who go into the wild and find civilisation will often pick a name that suits the culture they enter, to fit in. Names are very personal to Wyrms, as they are intimate and are not seen as static as in European culture. Their names can change should the individual think their current name no longer fits them. After large life events (such as choosing a life partner, having children, or leaving the community) a change of name is common.
Surnames are a way to bond one to their family and their tribe. As history is very important to Wyrms, surnames are used to tie back to a Wyrms most recent ancestor that has greatly helped the community. They work differently from conventional surnames, as names are written as [forename], Blood of [Ancestors forename]. Occasionally, multiple lines may use the same ancestor as a surname, despite having no immediate relation to one another.
The life stages of a Wyrm are as follows: an infant is any person beneath the age of one, a child or Wyrmling is someone between the age of one and thirteen, a juvenile is a person between thirteen and seventeen, and an adult reaches maturity at seventeen. After the age of seventeen, there is only one more life stage recognised by the community, as more of a title: Elder. These Elders are Wyrms who have surpassed the age of fifty years old.
A Wyrms diet is primarily carnivorous, due to their draconic instincts, though they often complement meals with vegetables and fruit around their territory. Meals are basic and primitive in the community, usually consisting of hunting and foraging the ingredients, cooking in a pot, and serving it in a metal bowl. They have a limited amount of recipes, but many young cooks spruce up mealtimes with creative placements, or bake when the farms produce enough ingredients for treats.
It is very important that Wyrms feel included and at home, though their desire for inclusion has faded since the main community was founded. Every Wyrm pitches in to do what needs to be done, with jobs given based on an individuals skill and what they enjoy. It is core of their society that everyone is good at something, and, for the furtherment of their community, everyone is expected to do what they are best at. The one thing that everyone participates in is the raising of children, as everyone helps in any way they can. While there are core family units, Wyrms are much more open than humans, and the entire community acts as an extended family. This is partially due to the commonality of having more than one set of parents.
Reproduction is an important part of community life, due to the struggling population and efforts to strengthen the Wyrm bloodlines. While it is up to the individual to choose when and with whom they have children, it is most common to choose a mate with good genes and an immune system that will complement their own. Often, romantic partnerships are separate from reproductive partnerships, though this is not always the case. This separation means that a childs biological parents may be romantically involved with other people, extending the nuclear family ideal that humans have, and ensures that each generation is stronger than the last. Sexual relationships are often temporary, whereas romantic relationships are usually for life. Alternative relationships are not looked down upon due to this separation, and having multiple romantic relationships - or life partners - at any one time is acceptable. There are elements of a polygynandrous lifestyle, where relationships have multiple partners involved at any one time for the sake of reproduction. Wyrms recognise that love is a complex thing, and there are no societal limitations to choosing partners. Best friends are often seen as life partners, whether romance is involved or not.
Gender and sexuality are seen as being quite fluent in the community, and are accepted by the majority of Wyrms. Those who do not identify as their biological gender are encouraged but not forced to partake in reproductive relationships, though this decision may be seen as odd considering the importance of reproduction in the community.
Thousands of years ago, an ancient ritual that bonded humans to dragons was created. Though long since lost, the ritual was performed by several communities across the globe. Depending on the regional dragon, there were several differences between Wyrm communities, usually in their physical appearances. The Hebridean Wyrms were among the first to be created, beginning in a town within what would be known as the Inner Hebrides.
Their cousins in Wales, whose ritual involved the smaller Welsh Green dragons, were created some years later. When the Hebrideans first heard of them, they scoffed at the idea of bridging paths between humans and dragon-people. The Welsh were less intimidating and surrounded by humans, leading them to extend relations to the people, while the Hebrideans were less trusting and closed. They saw no benefits in befriending the humans, as they believed they had everything to survive and could provide it themselves.
The Hebrideans continued to struggle to coexist with their human neighbours, and spread out to claim the land around them. Some humans thought of them as demons, and coined certain terms for them - wyrm, meaning snake, was the most insulting of names for these outsiders, and gained popularity during the 11th Century.
In the 15th Century, the Welsh Green communities were attacked after rising tensions between its members and nearby humans. The war went on for some years and, despite some assistance given by the Hebridean communities, the Welsh communities were completely wiped out. It was this event, known by the Hebrideans as the Welsh Slaying, that convinced the Hebridean Wyrms to go into hiding together, merging their smaller communities into one.
At first, the mixed community was in turmoil, pushing in so many different personalities under frightening conditions. Their first leader was elected from the smaller families days in, a woman by the name of Aileas, who assured her people that they would remain safe in the Hebrides alongside their dragon companions. It was she who took the insult Wyrm for their own use, using it to empower the masses - they were snakes, cunning and smart, lurking in the grass, unseen. Using a collection of amulets and ancient enchantments, Aileas and the community created powerful wards to hide their community from all others, which still last in the present.
The outside world was termed the Outlands, as it was a land few ever saw. Scouts were introduced in the 17th Century, as elected Wyrms who would find their way into the Outlands to find stray Wyrms that had been left behind. Occasionally, scouts would bring humans back to the community, those they had connected with and had sworn to secrecy. These humans helped to expand the gene pool of the community, and did their best to deal with the Wyrms hostilities towards humans. This hostility soon died out, as individuals settled well into the society. Humans that did not settle and wanted to leave were executed to ensure the secrecy of the Wyrms.
For the most part, the community ignored the Outlands, what they came to call everything outside of their community, though they were always aware of ongoing wars and developments within the British Isles. During the First Wizarding War, there was a sense of unease within the Wyrms, as rising tensions in the wizarding community was reported on by scouts. However, the Second Wizarding War was more polarising, causing dissension to grow as many Wyrms considered helping Lord Voldemort in order to get their own back on those responsible for the Welsh Slaying. The leader at the time, Muir, spoke to the entire community on the night known as the Night of Calm, convincing all to leave the wizards to their own devices, reminding them that the Welsh communities would not want any more blood to be shed.
Since news of the Second Wizarding Wars ending, the Wyrms have lived in relative harmony. The new generations are more curious about the Outlands compared to their bitter elders, and more Wyrms than ever before have left the safety of the community to travel the Outlands, in search of adventure, knowledge, and more.
AILEAS, the first recognised leader of the Hebridean Wyrms in the 15th Century.
CALUM, a 15th Century healer who created many of the healing potions the community still uses.
MORVEN, a 17th Century warrior who defended the secret of the wyrms home when it was nearly discovered.
CINÁED, an 18th Century inventor who found a way to ensure that new structures would be near-fireproof.
SEORAS, an 18th Century storyteller who drew many tales to be shared after his death.
CIORSTAIDH, a 19th Century scout who saved a dragon from wizards hunting it.
EÒIN, a 19th Century leader who proposed to send scouts into the Outlands.
FEARCHAR, a 20th Century leader who calmed the masses after news of the first Wizarding War.
FLÓRAIDH, a 20th Century scout who braved the Outlands and returned wounded with news.
MUIR, a 20th Century leader who stopped the Wyrms from helping Voldemort during the Second Wizarding World, terminating any involvement whatsoever.
RHONA, the current leader (Foirfeach) of the Wyrms.
Please note: You are welcome to suggest more notable wyrms for the purpose of naming characters, but they are subject to staff approval and will be included here for anyone to use for naming purposes.
- Fire magic & resistance
- Large support system & tribal community
- Increased fertility
- High mortality rate in pregnancy & children
- Primal/feral culture
- Cannot possess wizard magic
- Shorter life span - rarely live past 70