Chapter I: The Adroit Dragon Dad
Your relationship flourished, and a beautiful egg awaits. You’ve watched friends cope with fatherhood and wondered: Could I? Would I?
Of course you will. There are very few deadbeat dragon dads. Evolution has also ensured that the pregnant dragon is irresistibly attractive. The beautifully increasing curve of her abdomen and the compellingly sweet pheromones she emits make leaving unthinkable.
The female has undergone a long pregnancy, prepared the birthing sand and delivered a large egg. But when the egg begins to crack, she will disappear, and you will imprint the hatchling.
But you won’t mind. Imprinting works in both directions.
Chapter II: The Hatchling
The newly-hatched dragon is not as helpless as many new-hatched birds or some newborn mammals. Neonatal dragonettes can walk, albeit unsteadily, and they can feed themselves, if suitable food is provided.
However, they cannot yet control their excretory muscles. It will be two to three weeks before they can leave the cave for a suitable place*, and months before they can fly. During this period, it is best to keep them on the hatching sand, which of course must be kept clean.
The parents’ best friends during this time are patience and a broad scoop.
*See Gov.Bul. 386, Building a Sanitary Latrine
Chapter III: Feeding The Young Dragon
Alexy was sunk into a corner armchair at Dark Streets Books, nose deep in a paperback. As he’d never read much, I was intrigued.
“Whatchoo got there?” I asked.
“BBD,” he muttered.
“Bram’s Bloodly Deadiquette?” I smarted.
“Very funny,” he scowled. “Bagged Blood Diet.” He looked embarrassed.
“Like blood banks?” I said.
“Exactamente,” Alexy said. “Healthier blood. Banks don’t take from druggies or diabetics. No more Fat Alexy.”
“So, you gonna open an account?” I said.
“Wish I could! I’m so tired of the hunting, the mesmerizing … I’d rather just slap a bag on my fangs and be done.”
Chapter IV: Learning To Hunt
Soon the young dragon will be able to leave the cave, although flying skill is several years away. Youngsters will try hunting, pursuing such small prey as can be found nearby.
Even this early, it is essential to teach the time-honored hunting rules.
First and most important: Humans are off limits. While they may look slow and vulnerable, they can be dangerous. Since the Treaty of 716, our two species have been at peace, and this must continue for our mutual benefit. And although dogs and cats are not mentioned in the treaty, attacks on them frequently provoke human ire.