Cockfighting. With ''dragons''.

The Pit Dragon Chronicles are a [[strike:trilogy]] [[TrilogyCreep series]] of books by Creator/JaneYolen, consisting of ''Dragon's Blood'' (1982), ''Heart's Blood'' (1984), ''A Sending Of Dragons'' (1987), and ''[[TrilogyCreep Dragon's Heart]]'' (2009).

The story takes place ALongTimeAgoInAGalaxyFarFarAway, on the harsh desert planet of Austar IV. Once used to dispose of criminals, Austar IV has now flourished, under a system of masters and 'bonders', a lower class that has to pay a bond price to rise up in the world. The books mainly revolves around Jakkin Stewart, a worker at a dragon farm run by the mysterious Master Sarkkhan. He steals a dragon hatchling, which he names Heart's Blood, and manages to raise it into one of the greatest Pit fighters the world has ever seen.

Of course, things aren't quite as simple. In the later books, Jakkin quickly learns of TheFederation's attempts to control Austar IV, a rebel uprising, and the cruelty society inflicts upon dragons. And thus does the SpaceOpera unfold...
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'''Tropes present in this series include:'''

* AuthorAppeal: Yolen talks about how "wonderful" it would be to be a pregnant dragon. And then there's the end of the second book, which is pretty much draconic unbirthing with a more brutal means of entry.
* [[AlwaysIdenticalTwins Always Identical Triplets]]: Tri-sss, Tri-sssha, and Tri-ssskkette are collectively known as Tri. In ''A Sending of Dragons'' they're explicitly said to come from different eggs from different parts of the brood, but unlike the two siblings who hatched at the same time they are basically identical.
* AnimatedAdaptation: The first book was given a kid-friendly adaptation for CBS Storybreak in 1985.
* BeastlyBloodsports
* BloodyMurder: Dragons have acidic blood, though they don't actually use it as a weapon.
* CallingYourAttacks: This is Sssargon's favorite method of speaking. Doubles as a CrowningMomentOfFunny.
* ChekhovsGun: The dragon's blood as a restorative power returns in full force at the end of book two, where dragon's blood helps Jakkin and Akki survive in the Austorian outback.
* DeathByIrony: For once, it's not karmic. [[spoiler:Defeated dragons are given two slashes to the throat by the victor. Heart's Blood dies from two darts shot into her neck.]]
* DesertPunk
* DragonRider: Outright mocked.
* EatTheDog: Dragons go for three uses: "Pit, pet, or stew." It gets more and more disturbing as the dragons become more obviously intelligent.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: Literally. Servants need to earn enough to buy their way out of bond.
* TheEmpath: [[spoiler:A human can become this by sheltering in the womb of a dead mother dragon.]]
* EncyclopediaExposita: ''The Encyclopedia Galaxia'', which provides background on the planet and its economy and inhabitants. It also serves as the epilogue in the last book.
* FantasticDrug: Blisterweed. It's normally a food source for dragons, but some humans roll it up and smoke it, causing them to be extremely aggressive.
* GetItOverWith: "Fool's Pride," which occurs sometimes during pit fights. The defeated dragon will try to drive the victor to kill it with a specific type of roar. Any dragon who kills like this is considered unfit to fight and will usually be killed itself.
* GroinAttack: Part of the Dragon Rider mocking. Dragons have scales with extremely sharp edges along their backs. Guess what happened to the people who tried to ride one?
* HappinessInSlavery: Errikkin, much to Jakkin's frustration.
* TheHeart: In ''A Sending of Dragons'', while helping Jakkin with a plan Sssargon proudly declares that he is Jakkin's eyes. The Tri say that they are his ears. Sssasha, always more deliberate and patient but often somewhat wiser, tells him "I am thy heart."
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Heart's Blood's death.]] Also a TearJerker for some readers.
* ImaginaryLoveTriangle: In the first book. Jakkin develops feelings for Akki, but becomes convinced that [[spoiler:Akki is Sarkkhan's lover. She's not.]] [[spoiler: She's his daughter.]]
* JerkAss: Likkarn, especially at the beginning of ''Dragon's Blood'', when he's really hitting the blisterweed. He becomes less so after he quits smoking.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Likkarn later on.
* LateToThePunchline: The "baggeries" are implied to be houses of prostitution. Most young readers won't get this implication until they're older.
* LawOfChromaticSuperiority: Dark red dragons are greatly desired as fighters due to their exceptional ferocity. However, it is noted that a successful pit fighter requires more than just a good color.
* LetterMotif: The double K is found in almost all names. It appears to be a nod to Austar's original designation when it was a penal colony, KK 29.
** A few higher-class characters are observed to lack the double K. It's later confirmed that these are the descendants of the guards.
** It's stated in the first book that people who were born as Bonders have a double-k in their name. Jakkin is an exception: he was born free, but was named after his grandfather, who ''was'' a Bonder. His mother started off without a double-k name, but when she went into bond she had to change that.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Up to the size of an elephant but not rideable, burning blood, vegetarian though far from peaceful, a range of colors from yellow to red which suggest their temperament, and telepathic (but "sending" only [[StarfishLanguage distinctive patterns of color]] [[spoiler:unless you've undergone a certain process.]])
* PenalColony: Austar IV used to be penal colony KK 29.
* RebelliousPrincess: Akki is the daughter of [[spoiler: Sarkkin]], but she remains a bonder because she intends to buy her own freedom.
* TheReveal: [[spoiler: ''Dragon's Heart'' reveals how Likkarn and Jakkin are connected - Likkarn is Jakkin's uncle, and has been treating him roughly in an attempt to make him not like his father was, who was Likkarn's half-brother.]]
* SameSexTriplets: The three hatchlings Tri-sss, Tri-sssha, and Tri-ssskkette are, unlike their siblings who hatched at the same time, basically identical and all girls.
* SequelGap: ''Dragon's Heart''.
* SeriesContinuityError: With twenty two years passing between the writing of the third and fourth book, these abound. Suddenly, there is no difference between picking up on sendings that are color patterns and sendings that are words. Very few humans can pick up on the sendings of dragons, to the point where it's commonly assumed that this is impossible. [[spoiler: The cave people are now all called 'trogs' without so much as being named that.]] Insects are able to send, if weakly. Being able to psychically tell a dragon what to do is an unheard-of and disturbing thing. The triplets all came from one egg. All water blocks sendings. Jakkin has totally forgiven Erikkin for selling him out. Dragons are no longer mentally {{Starfish Alien}}s, but are clearly less intelligent and capable than humans and do not have senses of humor beyond slapstick.
* ShoutOut: The Federation seems ostensibly derived from Franchise/StarTrek.
** Heart's Blood's hatchling, a boy, names himself Ssargon, after the legendary king of Mesopotamia.
* SlapSlapKiss: Jakkin and Akki's burgeoning relationship in the first two books could be interpreted as this.
* TheSpeechless: "Mute" dragons, who [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin cannot roar]]. [[spoiler: Jakkin is devastated when he learns that Heart's Blood is a mute, though Sarkkhan reveals to him soon after that he sees muteness as a potential advantage and has been trying to breed a mute fighter.]] Sssargon and Sssasha are also mute, though they're far from silent telepathically.
* StarfishLanguage: The patterns of colors that dragons send. Until ''Dragon's Heart'', where this aspect is suddenly nonexistent, dragons communicate with trainers/tenders this way, and said humans must learn what the colors mean and recognize different dragons in part by their sendings. At the end of ''Heart's Blood'' something happens to Jakkin and Akki which lets them interpret these as words and create sendings themselves, though color is still a big part of the whole thing.
* ThemeNaming: All of Sarkkhan's named dragons come from a "Heart" or a "Blood" lineage. Females are "Heart"s, males are "Blood"s. Heart's Blood is the product of a mating between the two lines. And the aforementioned LetterMotif in human names also counts as ThemeNaming.
* [[ThirdPersonPerson Third Person Dragon]]: Sssargon combines CallingYourAttacks with this.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: The timeline for the stories take place in 2400 A.D., and a fictional encyclopedia entry prefaces each book as a way to enter in with the futuristic theories/ideas.
* TricksterTriplets: Admittedly, Tri are influenced by their other two siblings, but the 'prank' at the end of ''A Sending of Dragons'' is something they take special delight in.
* TrilogyCreep
* {{Tsundere}}: Akki towards Jakkin - a lot.
* UnderdogsNeverLose: Again, outright mocked, and Jakkin is praised for choosing the biggest and toughest-looking dragon to raise, instead of taking a weak or sickly one out of misguided sympathy... and selling it for food later.
* YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe: Dragon masters customarily talk this way to their dragons. Lampshaded a little when Jakkin muses that he has no idea if he's doing it right.
* YourTomcatIsPregnant: [[spoiler:Heart's Blood is a girl.]]