For although the bardic tales are littered with stories of fire-breathing wyrmkin, they but scratch the surface of these creatures’ fascinating natural history–with their long-ago extinction, now all but lost to us moderns.

To be sure, many breathed fire, but they were only a lucky few. Most of the great serpents did lack the specific combination of forebears and kismet to ignite their breath, relying instead on foul stenches, acids, billowing steam clouds, or–the the most part–strong jaws and an agile neck.

Flight was similarly a trait only the most fortunate of the great wyrms posessed, and many lacked the power even with wings. Far more chose to take to rivers and lakes, rocky crags, or mountain passes to buffet on ill-starred passersby.

Consider the case of Smallmaw. He could only expel a blast of air from his mouth, which was too constrained to rend and tear a grown man, and whose stunted wings could not support flight. Yet this wyrmkin rose to be among the most feared in the British Isles before the Roman invasions purely on the strength of the one aspect our legends accurately describe: a deep and cunning intellect.