The origins of the Winged Cobras are shrouded in mystery: some magicians and historians claim they are as old as Dragons, or even that they were once Dragons themselves, but went through chances as time went, as their legs underwent atrophy, they were stuck at the level of Green Dragons, meaning that they became completely incapable of both breathing fire and spitting acid - instead, poison glands developed under the gums between their two enlonged eyeteeth. Their venom is deadly, and entering any type of organ will cause the local cells to begin dying, and if that poison is left untreated for an hour at most, the victim usually ends up dying a horrible and painful death. Off course, this is only true if the victim is the same size or bigger than a Winged Cobra - the poison finishes off smaller targets within mere moments. In addition to that, they also have inborn magical abilities: telepathy, shapeshifting and mind-control, among others. These magical feats assist them in hunting and hiding. No one knows whether this was developed by the first Winged Cobras, and their offsprings inherited it, or if these magical powers are found in all specimen. These magical abilities count as Dark Magic within Arcane Magic. As they are reptilians, they are completely immune to both Vampirism and Lycantrophy, as well as there are several poisons, diseases and plagues they are either immune to, or strongly resistant to.
These giant beasts may be as tall as twenty metres upon maturity, and their body's diameter is around four metres, their wings may span up to fourty metres! Their wings are similar to that of Wywern and Dragons - with their scale-covered leather wings, they are capable to remain in air for hours. Regarding their outwards appearance, other than their wings and other bodily mutations, they look like king cobras. Their method of breeding is also similar to that of the aforementioned reptile, except that before the birth of the offsprings, the mother Winged Cobra places the soft-shelled eggs within a creature she killed, and begins guarding the eggs until the one-and-a-half metre tall infants start hatching out from the eggs hidden within the carcass, which they eat shortly after they have hatched. At one time, usually ten or fifteen Winged Cobras come to the world to breathe its air, without wings at first, but with their inborn abilities that include but are not limited to poison, telepathy and hypnosis, these creatures come well-equipped for survival. It takes fifteen years for their bodies to reach adult proportions (the length of twenty metres and diameter of four metres), and another ten years for their wings to fully develop.
Although they prefer to kill using their poisons, their choke can be just as deadly if they manage to they manage to twist themselves around something or someone. Their appetite is said to be insatiable, as legends often say that they eat whole villages. This however is untrue, partially because Winged Cobras are rarer than - and therefore can be seen less frequently than - dragons, and also because when they eat, they do it discreetly, and they seldom make forays into territories occupied by civilized races. One of the reasons is the advanced intelligence of Winged Cobras, which they already have at birth, and the other is - something they are rather ashamed of - is the small number of specimen. By nature, Winged Cobras don't usually seek the company of each other, but when they do... the outcome of such encounters depends on the gender of the other party: when two Winged Cobras of the opposite sex meet, they usually breed. When two Winged Cobras of the same sex meet, the result is usually a battle after which the victor eats the defeated foe.
Few know that in reality, the Winged Cobras have a relaxed hierarchy: during the Ancestral Era, which is the time when this race most likely amde an appearance, a young, but ambitious Winged Cobra went on to find his fellow cobras, defeating them and forcing them to serve him, or else suffer a terrible death. There may have been resistant cobras who defied him, but most agreed to serve the one they named Black Elder. His original name was most likely simply Black, and his full name was earned later on. Winged Cobras live long lives (several individuals are over five hundred years old).
Winged Cobras can sport various different colours, although the most frequent one is a green-ish black colour. Winged Cobras usually receive their names based off their traits and body's colours - they do not get into more complicated names, which is why sometimes multiple Winged Cobras share the same - with the exception of the Black Elder, as only the one is allowed to bear that name. Winged Cobras all have the power of hypnosis and shapeshifting. The earlier is rather simple: they infiltrate the thoughts of certain individuals, and force their own will upon them, which can result in fainting, brain control, or feeding off false thoughts and memories. Naturally, the more skilled the given Winged Cobra at magic is, the stronger effect the spell has, but it is only effective against those who have lower intelligence than the caster, or have a smaller ammount of magical power. Their other power is shapeshifting, which has its limits: for example, for a perfect shifting, they must know the target race, and have to know it to the most insignificant details, regarding both their physical and mental attributes. They can only shapeshift into races and species smaller than them, as they can only afford to decrease their body mass, not increase it, converting the spare mass into pure energy, which they use to form their new bodies. This is a long and time-consuming procedure - for an average Winged Cobra it takes a week until they can assume their new body perfect, while a Winged Cobra Magician may only take one day. Truly experienced spellcasting Winged Cobras may transform into anything they want within mere moments. However, transforming back happens very fast, as a Winged Cobra needs to spend energy to sustain the spell, and once it is broken, the energy is freed, and the Winged Cobra starts sporting its original shape and form again. Since the Winged Cobra is using his or her own body mass, he/she won't get too tired from using the spell and sustaining it - they can use other spells too, but they get much more tired from doing that in a shape-shifted from.
Winged Cobras practice the same religion as of the Dragons, except that they see more in the stars than their relatives do: they believe that not everything is predestined, in fact, they believe that among all the stars in the sky, there is a floating Winged Cobra they call the Ancestral Elder, who invites those he likes next to himself, but devours the souls of those Winged Cobras whom he deems perjurers. The Winged Cobras very rarely show up in their true form, and they never dare to fly above densely populated areas. That is why they always come in the form of another species whose shape they took, and while they do not speak any common languages natively (their native language is a more archaic form of the Lizardman language), but with learning and practice, they will master the language of the species whose shape they assume.
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