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Chapt 22 of Wrath of the Warchief

Journal Entry: Mon Feb 10, 2014, 8:17 AM
I am happy to say that we are getting close to the end of Wrath of the Warchief...

And I've got this chapter for all to read.


It gets a little tear-jerky at last bit of the chapter.

Calia is coming next chapter.



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:iconjcbq:
Jcbq Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
Poor squishy... hey, does anyone have a large enough security blanket we can give him?

Nel is trying hard to at the very least create a lasting peace between the races. Although it doesn't seem like it's going to go as fast as nel wants it to. But finally having nel and kalec start To understand each other.
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:iconghostwalker2061:
Ghostwalker2061 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
But yes, do feel free to give that guy a decent talking to.
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:iconghostwalker2061:
Ghostwalker2061 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Professional Digital Artist

No, poor Squishy.

 

It's so sad!  He needs a little comfy bed and a blanket to wrap up in and someone there to just pet his head and say everything's gonna be alright, poor Squishy poo.

 

 

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:icondarasmera:
Darasmera Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
Mmm...what a dismal chapter this is. Echoes of Theramore's destruction, reminders that the Dragonmaw Clan still holds some of the Black Dragon Flight under their thrall, many of those who are free are sent into what is effectively exile, and Neltharion's reaction to the chamber is a little haunting...

And things are not looking to get any better any time soon...
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:iconghostwalker2061:
Ghostwalker2061 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
There is a theme among my sequels.  

And this is something people really noticed about the Halo stories.  It's a little noticeable in the Kiryuu stories, more so in the Halo stories, and BIG TIME now in the Warcraft ones.

Is that they grow darker and darker and darker.  And even with endings that are endings, they are often bittersweet, and...at times a bit dark as well.

I have a habit of pretty much destroying characters psyche.  Though Kiryuu and Telek are the ones who can seem to get above it, Neltharion, well...god damn it, I feel so fucking sorry for him!

Neltharion has to send his flight into exile in Deepholm so they can remain safe.  There's like 20 of them left on Azeroth.
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:iconrenndor:
renndor Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014

Only 20?!


Wow, that's much worse than I was fearing. And all of the ones we've met so far are direct decedents of Nel (Serinar, Dannathion, Siderion, Nameria, Ruthian).


It's probably even worse than this: the Red Dragonflight waged a genocidal war against the black dragonflight, specifically targeting all potential broodmothers. Wrathion also participated. So even assuming the remaining individuals are fully unrelated (unlikely) there are probably only a couple females tops in the remaining 15.


With 2 females there are only 26 potential reproductive pairings between unrelated dragons. Throwing in Nel only raises this to 28. There are also only 92 potential non-reproductive pairings that could improve social stability among these (hopefully) unrelated dragons.



Even with the help of genetic recombination and chromosomal crossover, this is a rather bleak picture in terms of genetic diversity.

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:iconghostwalker2061:
Ghostwalker2061 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
No, you see why the homosexual bit can't play out at this time until Neltharion feels the flight has reached a stability where such a thing is called for.  Meaning, no-homo for now.
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:iconrenndor:
renndor Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014

I'm confused. The population model in the other journal showed how even in a species with binary gender, same-sex attraction isn't necessarily an issue even in fairly dire circumstances.


However, the binary gender model doesn't appear to apply to the Warcraft dragons at all, so even that isn't an issue. Since dragons appears to be culturally, instinctively, and biologically capable of handling multiple mates & consorts, a non-reproductive relationship doesn't come at the expense of a reproductive relationship. There no need to wait for "stability", as there's no cost to these interactions, only benefits in terms of stronger bonds within the flight and stronger offspring in general.


Ultimately, Nel's problem is even bigger than just the fact that his species is on the brink of extinction. A dragonflight was more than a species— it was a community, a culture, a civilization.  He needs whelps badly, but he ultimately need more than whelps. He needs broodmothers and broodfathers, teachers, healers, historians, fighters, warders of the earth, etc. He needs a strong interconnected flight that trusts and can rely on each other, which can confront the enormous challenges they face as a unified force.


Having offspring is necessary, but not sufficient: the offspring must survive, they must learn to be true black dragons, to avoid the corruption, regain their culture and fight for their place in the world. This requires a strong flight. This requires strong bonds between the remaining dragons, in addition to the need for more offspring. So anything that starts to repair the mate / consort bonds, engender trust, and strengthen the relationships is a step in the right direction.


Of course, this is all pretty much a moot point for Neltharion and the Black Dragons we've seen so far. All of the ones we've seen are closely related to Neltharion and to each-other, so they're all probably culturally, biologically, and instinctively ineligible to be mates or consorts to each-other regardless of gender, for rather obvious reasons.

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:iconghostwalker2061:
Ghostwalker2061 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
20 black dragons, man.  About 5 of those are old enough to mate.

Until the population is stable, no homo.
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:iconrenndor:
renndor Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014
The black dragons we've seen are all closely related to each-other, so i wouldn't expect there to be any mating of any kind, regardless of gender. They need to find some unrelated dragons, stat. 

As discussed, it doesn't seem like the whole gay/straight divide applies to the dragons at all. So I'm kinda unclear as to what your concern is from a social or population dynamics perspective.
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:iconghostwalker2061:
Ghostwalker2061 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
....

Male + female = Baby.  The population cannot be entirely have an affront to getting with the opposite sex.  Someone on youtube proposed this.  If everyone was homosexual in this world, and there were no humans to mate with the opposite sex, our species would be dead in 50 years.

Bisexual relationships is fine.  But strictly homosexual isn't gonna help Neltharion build up the population.  And at this time, Neltharion's pretty much instigated a no sex law anyways among his remaining dragons because they are all related to each other.

I don't have sex with my cousins, Neltharion's gonna make sure anyone who is a cousin doesn't have sex with each other either.

 I'm sorry, but you gotta make the babies for them to be adopted by homosexuals.  Those babies have to come from somewhere.

Yes, I will give you that sociologically, homosexuality has a purpose, but biologically, it does not.  Especially when there's only 20 black dragons left.

It's the same thing for why Meelen is a rather poorly shot film from West Africa.  Though it is a very nicely written film, but the current infrastructure cannot support a film industry.  So, they have to rely on very cheap props and even bad actors.

Same thing why you have an issue with me bringing 1940s tech into Warcraft.  It cannot be supported.

Well, right now, guess what else can't be supported?  And until Neltharion can in fact build up his flight to where their population is in fact stable, homosexuality cannot be supported.  It would be more damaging than helpful to him.

You have to understand how I actually view homosexuality.  I view it as a pastime, as something fun, as something engaging and is a sign of a healthy society.  And something harmless within a healthy society.  On our own planet, we can in fact support homosexuality and not be bothered by it because there are 6 billion humans at this time.  We are at the point where homosexuality is fine.  However, Neltharion's society is not healthy right now, so it cannot be supported.  Much like hardlight screens and jeeps cannot be supported by the society of Azeroth as you state.  

If the infrastructure of Azeroth cannot support 1930s technology, then you know what?  Neltharion's flight cannot support homosexual relationships until they've build up the numbers to where that's no longer an issue.  Sex will only be regulated to do one thing, babies.  That's it.

But since Neltharion does know that inbreeding is also damaging.  No sex for anyone.  Not even him. At least with Calia, he was having sex to at least wear off the frustration of blue balls.  But now she's gonna be gone, yeah, I guess Nel will have to stick with a sock and some scented lotion.  

But if you are so insisting on it, then let me have my hardlight screens and cars.
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:icondarasmera:
Darasmera Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
Ooh...that is not good. That's far too few individuals for a healthy, sustainable population in the long run...at least, if they follow Earth-like genetics. If not, then there's no telling how it will turn out...
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:iconghostwalker2061:
Ghostwalker2061 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
That is the darkest of the problems with the current Black Dragonflight.

Recall what Serinar said?

“I hate to rain on the party, Gramps,” said Serinar. “But black dragons who aren’t related to you are still quite nuts.  They don’t have your genes to cure themselves with."

This has a very dark meaning.  You see, the only ones that have officially been cured are the ones related by blood to Neltharion.  Which means if Nefarian and Onyxia had survived, they too would have been cured of the evil.

And also it is a fan speculation, though it is often treated as fact more than fiction, that Nefarian and Onyxia did in fact have sex with each other despite being brother and sister.  That also means that many of the black dragons born from their union have some genetic problems.  

The other issue is that the black dragons who are not directly related to Neltharion, as in they were from black dragon ancestors who existed prior to the creation of the Aspects, when they were corrupted, it's very hard for them to become uncorrupted by Neltharion himself.  Though Nel has some connection to them through his own attunement as the flight's leader, it's just harder for those who aren't related to him to be cured of the madness.  Whereas the ones who are related kinda act like fragments of Neltharion himself.  When Neltharion is cured and is good, it means they are cured and good.  

But again, some of these dragons can't mate with Neltharion.  Now, maybe some who are like grandchildren times 30 might be able to because there's enough genetic diversity in them to allow such a mating, but still have some genes from Neltharion to allow them to be cured when he was.  But given the state of the Black Dragonflight right now, and the fact that they are close to being functionally extinct, yeah...this is going to be a huge problem.

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:icondarasmera:
Darasmera Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
Even with bringing in outside blood, a population that small could run into severe problems with nasty recessive traits. Within generations, anything of that sort could become wide spread throughout the population.

And if that isn't a problem, a cursory examination of the topic suggests that genetic drift and random mutations will be quite a problem, especially since dragons are traditionally slow breeders. (WoW dragons may be different, so feel free to correct this assumption.)

From the looks of things, the best option would be to breed outside the flight, but the consequences of that are something I'm not in a position to judge...
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:iconjcbq:
Jcbq Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
I will actually field this discussion. Yes if the draw is bad then it could over take the race for example a simple punnett square (I.E one parent gene is DD and the other parent is dd 4 possible outcomes) but to have the recessive trait be dominant (in this case % 25 chance) is low. True if their carriers the odds go up (new example Dd and DD: they have again %50 of becoming carriers. Dd and Dd has a %75 of becoming a dominant gene)

It depends on the genetic roll of the coin.

see looking outside of the black flight can get hairy; with that having a lot of other variables to consider: are there equal amounts of chromosomes between the two parents? If not then the offspring would be sterile due to an unequal division of chromosomes. (Ex. Mules)
What would the offspring be? Dragon? Other race? Or somewhere in between. The latter is what nature tends to create and as such is why Calia and nel are so worried what their new child is going to be.

LOGICALLY it would make sense if the black flight bred with members of the other flight as it handles the species issues and chromosome issues. But again, even here the black flight would be taking a risk they may not be the dominant genes in the offspring or even a strange Hybrid would be created. (Let's for example use... ... A bronze dragon. It would be both bronze and black, a cross between the two of them if nature allows the development to occur.)

No matter which way you look at this the outcome of the black dragon flight is extremely bleak.
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:iconrenndor:
renndor Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014

Well, the high level situation is even worse than the situation at the allele level.


Ultimately, the black dragonflight is going through an extremely serious Population Bottleneck, so there'd be a pronounced founder effect, along with a significant increase in genetic drift and inbreeding. Their small population size also leads to inbreeding depression and insufficient genetic diversity to adapt and evolve to handle changing environments.


Aside from the initial loss of genetic diversity, this situation can setup a positive feedback loop due to the way inbreeding increases expression of damaging recessive or homozygous traits. This increases susceptibility to disease and the incidence of genetic disorders, and also decreases birth & growth rates while increasing the mortality rate and susceptibility to disease. This reduces the population further.


Even if this doesn't result in extinction, it could easily result in the black dragonflight diverging very far from the original black dragon genotype and phenotype. This may result in them ultimately becoming something other than black dragons after multiple generations, with unknown consequences for their duties and attunement to earth and Azeroth.


Their choices seem equally bleak: avoid inbreeding and go extinct immediately, or inbreed and probably go extinct anyway. The latter path may only extend the pain, and probably violates their moral & cultural sensitivities. 


Of course, the latter wouldn't be possible if closely related individuals do not produce viable offspring. It's conceivable that the Titans put in such a safeguard against inbreeding, given the dangers. If so, such offspring either can't be produced in the first place, or are sterile. 


Outbreeding with a different flight might help, but that assumes the other dragons are the same species and are genetically compatible. This is possible, but it's unknown if this is true in-universe. Even if so, there may be some cultural inhibitions against it. Beyond that, the dragons of other flights are unlikely to want to mate with Black dragons, given their reputations and brokenness.


In addition, the other flights have much larger populations, so their traits may swamp out the traits of the black dragonflight. This would essentially lead to the extinction of the black dragonflight at a practical level, if their culture, attunement, and traits are overwhelmed by the influx of new genetic material. 



Probably the saddest aspect of this is that Neltharion actually had what he needed to save his flights: a large population of unrelated adult dragons.


Per Hammer, the 2000-strong army of Twilight Dragons was almost entirely composed of dragons stolen from the other flights. Even assuming a quarter of these were originally blacks or stolen from the same clutches, this yields at least 1500 unrelated dragons.


Assuming sex balance, this was at least 562,500 potential breeding pairs between unrelated dragons, not including the black or Netherwing flights. This would have been more than enough genetic diversity to maintain the species indefinitely.


It's implied in Hammer that black & twilight dragons can interbreed, which would have provided a straightforward way to increase genetic diversity in the black flight.


Of course, the possibility of breeding in the corruption the Twilight Dragons carry would have been a serious problem. However, it's been stated that converting a black dragons to twilight dragons is the easiest of the possible conversions. And the knowledge of how to do so was known to Deathwing, and as such should be buried somewhere in Netharion's mind. If this process could have been reversed, it would have provided a direct way for Nel to grow his flight without compromising their integrity as black dragons.


In Hammer the other flights are described as only having a few hundred adults. So the Twilight army probably represented the single greatest concentration of draconic genetic diversity on Azeroth.


This would have brought Nel into conflict with the other Aspects & flights: they'd want their dragons back, but the black dragonflight would need them as black dragons for their own survival.



Unfortunately, Nel obliterated them all. So the potential salvation of the black (and possibly other) dragonflights now lies at rest in the black dragonshrine, along with the rest of the wreckage that follows in Nel's wake. 

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:icondarasmera:
Darasmera Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014
Bleak indeed, and this still doesn't cover the full range of issues. Even if there are no negative traits in the flight right now, the possibility of a spontaneous, deleterious mutation becoming widespread in the population is very real. Though, I'd mostly be worried about a lethal *dominant* trait that doesn't become apparent until late in life, like Huntington's disease in humans...

As for breeding outside the flight, the main concern that I can see is that, in time, the traits of the black dragon flight would be subsumed by the others. Even if the black dragon traits are dominant, if they breed outside of the flight enough to get a viable population, a large part of their offspring will take after, say, bronze dragons. Not in the first generation, perhaps, but certainly in second and later generations. The consequences of that...well, here I've reached my limit to speculate. I don't know enough of the culture of WoW's dragons to guess what their reaction to that would be.

And, on a pedantic point, there's a mistake in your first cross. A DDxdd dross, where D is a simply dominant trait and d is a recessive trait, all offspring will show the dominant phenotype, but be carriers for the recessive trait. There's a possibility that some offspring will show the recessive phenotype, but that's because inheritance in real organisms isn't entirely Mendelevian. Mutations, chromosome count abnormalities all have effects on the results, but it's a small effect.

And not all genes have a simple dominant-recessive relationship. Codominance, incomplete dominance, and interactions between different genes all complicate the picture.

Still, none of that changes the fact that this is a very, very bleak situation for the blacks.
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:iconjcbq:
Jcbq Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014
I am aware of the situation of completely random and unforseen genetic mutations and my miscalculation on the first square. When it comes to the 'elder' Diseases it would believable as the black flight has shown itself to be... mentally questionable.

But yes depending on how Open the breeding is to the other flights and how big of a Pool were looking at. The smaller the greater the chance of genetic 'purity' of course we're still back to the limited birth rate problem that nel is still trying to solve.

But if the genes cleanly blend as normal (following nature's laws, and generational Birth rates) it would mean that eventually the power base of time and earth would merge together. Creating a true hybrid flight. Culturally wise it wouldn't be morally accepted, as it would be considered a cultural shock to how everything was ran at that time. While I do accept that inter species relations exist however this goes back to the breeding Possibility. this is why you don't see any half races running around Azeroth. Half breeds are frowned apon.

But yes even with all of Nels vast remaining knowledge even he nor Nozdormu could see the best way to restore the black flight.
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:iconghostwalker2061:
Ghostwalker2061 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
The only reply I can come up with that one is...

Well, when two parents are brown eyed, but have the combo of Bb and Bb...then at times there's a chance that the first born would be bb, or blue eyed.

And that's what happened with me.

Meaning, yeah, if Nel's dragons mated with bronze, maybe the first gen would be still black, or one or two bronze, but you could get two bronzes with the carrier black gene to create a black dragon.  
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:iconghostwalker2061:
Ghostwalker2061 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Professional Digital Artist

My god, the Poor Squishy even more!

 

And it's getting to the point where a lot of us are wondering if Neltharion is going to turn into a loner.  As in, he knows he's the only one who can take this job.

 

We feel he'll at least know he's going to be forever alone, though.

 

He does need someone special. 

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:iconjcbq:
Jcbq Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
The question that i have about this is this: will this be a self inflicting Solitary punishment or if he's pushed there.

But what I think he needs is an anchor to someone. A trusted friend, an ally, someone who understands just what he went through
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:iconghostwalker2061:
Ghostwalker2061 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, you better have Rendorr explain that one.
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:icondarasmera:
Darasmera Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014
Thank you. While I learned the basics of evolution and the effects of small population sizes, it was back in high school, and my focus since then has been medical biology, not evolutionary biology.

Not the latter isn't relevant to the former! See MRSA for an excellent example of that. It just hasn't been something I've studied in detail.
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:iconghostwalker2061:
Ghostwalker2061 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
You should read what JCB said too.

He's got a good idea as to why as well.  And he would be right.  The flights are considered separate species of the same genus, so that is why such a thing would be an issue.

Yeah, from his statement, the outlook of Neltharion's flight looks very beak.

Neltharion may be the only one who will remain alive, consider what he is and all.
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