Book 3, Chapter 33
Buffalord: Mystery-class dragon
Overview: Metaturnal infrastructural dragon, medical. One of the primary dragons on the International Model List of Essential Dragon Breeds, the Buffalords form the backbone for much of the worldwide health systems in the treatment of acute infection and disease, thanks to their medicinal saliva and venom. Militarily useless, the deliberate killing of a Buffalord has been classified for centuries as a war crime by multiple international treaties, since the only purpose in such an act would be to promote disease. Docile in temperament unless deliberately provoked, they are easily kept in a positive mood by providing them their preferred food: human-produced refuse.
Breath Type: Aerosolized Kerosene; due to some of the Buffalord's adaptations, they have difficulty controlling their fire and prefer not to use it.
Identification: Medium-to-Large size. Brown, bronze, green, yellow, purple or blue hide and scales, with lighter underbellies and darker dorsal surfaces. Bronze, green or brown eyes. Four pillar-like legs with basic digging claws, large single wing pair. Large egg-shaped central body studded with rows of launchable spikes. Blunt head with one horn spike growing atop the skull and two forward-curved horns growing from the cheeks. Can inflate its central body to twice its usual size as an intimidation tactic. Proportionately small tail, with vestigial thagomizer.
Strategic Role: Strictly rear-echelon medical supply, and disposal of hazardous waste and spoiled foodstuffs. Buffalords are too valuable as medical support and too fragile to be allowed anywhere near active combat.
Known Weaknesses: Slow airspeed. Large target size. Hide comparatively unarmored to allow for stretching of signature skin-inflation. Poorly controlled fire-breath. Extreme docility.
Phenotype Cluster: B8!F6+S ØSØS2+M7TØT2+
Populations: Significant and widespread, and found in nearly all human settlements of sufficient size. As carrion and detritus eaters, Buffalords are also used as organic waste disposal, which further aids in priming their symbiotic bacteria to the antibiotic, antitoxin, antifungal, and antiviral needs of the communities which they serve.
North Sea Empire, Office of Draconic Intelligence, Dragon Breed Profiles (Declassified), 1822 Edition
Tropes that appear in this chapter:
- Adaptational Superpower Change: In canon Buffalord saliva only has curative properties after they eat a special kind of grass, here it's curative properties come from eating garbage and carrion.
- Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: Fishlegs invents the greenhouse in 1043, three hundred and ninety-five years before they were invented in real life.
- Amazon Chaser: Heidrun observes that Sigurd only shows interest in women capable of fighting him.Heidrun: You just like people who can kick your ass. You were interested in Sophia at first as a pretty face but then she broke that chair on that guy's face and then you were in looove.
- Content Warnings:Chapter Trigger Warnings: Mention of Threat of Torture, Implied Act of Murder
- Kingmaker Scenario: Discussed, Sophia explains to Sigurd he is now a kingmaker. Because of the dragons, Sigurd is now in charge of the most powerful military unit the Byzantines have. They will never accept him as their emperor because he's not Greek, but his backing will play a major role in deciding the new ruler should he still be around by the time Theodora dies without a clear successor. This factor is why Sophia's family wanted to tie him to them. They know they can't get the throne, but by tying Sigurd to them, they become kingmakers-by-proxy, greatly increasing their own influence.
- To Serve Man: Inverted. Not knowing or not caring that Dragons are thinking creatures, Mildew tells Eret his family can eat the Buffalord they just captured, calling it their rewarded rations as he doesn't consider them useful.