This is our first outdoor interview, mostly due to the subject’s size but also because even if we were able to find an indoor space large enough to accommodate Fao we’re pretty sure it isn’t wise for us snack-sized people to shack up in a tiny enclosure with the world’s largest living predator. Not that the ability to run in any given direction would make a difference but I’d personally like to stretch my legs before being devoured.
It’s not surprising then that few of the staff are eager to leave their studio sanctuary in order to stand just feet away from a ginormous potential killing machine, even with the vague assurance that Amber will be present. To be fair Servs are the biggest known breed of dragon on the planet and they are feared for good reason. Those of us stupid enough to sign the liability disclaimer are not disappointed. Fao is certainly a colossal and powerful beast whose image fulfils all our childhood fantasies of meeting a legendary lizard.
Fao is a male Serv and currently the largest of his kind. Physics dictate that Servs probably shouldn’t be able to fly and yet they can. Amber explains that despite his bulk Fao is relatively light; with hollow bones and an impressive wingspan he has no trouble getting airborne.
A great deal of any Servs magnitude is comprised of their wings, lengthy neck and long whip-like tail. These beasts are powerhouses of muscle and sinew wrapped in an impenetrable foil of fluted scales. The species boast lean limbs, dexterous clawed toes, rugged beaks and mouths dripping with curved sabre teeth that are as sharp as scimitars. The two yellowed and elongated canines that protrude from Fao’s ridged lips are also standard issue although we are informed that the size and frequency of these vary from one individual to the next.
Contrary to their size and decorative death scythes they are not the most ferocious of dragons and as Amber proves they can make good companions if you have a large enough personality, oh and a sizeable canyon in your back yard.
Whilst widely known as carnivores Servs are actually omnivorous and will eat pretty much anything including bones. They are also quite adept at swimming and like to fish. The population is however a dwindling one as Servs don’t breed often and when they do they only produce a singular offspring.
We are assured that unless directed otherwise Fao has a calm temperament. Still it’s hard not to be intimidated by his sheer vastness, let alone his jagged beak and ferocious looking teeth. We are told that his outer canines, ear flaps and patterning are more for display than hunting. The biggest threat Fao is likely to face after all is either a challenge for territory or the charms of a female.
It’s hard to grasp Fao’s true size on paper so we decided to create another Amber portrait to give you a point of reference and sense of scale. Remember Amber is only 5ft 2in tall and (if you will excuse the expletive) holy shit his tooth is longer than her head!
We only managed to fit his beak in her portrait and in case you were wondering, yes that does mean Amber is able to sit atop his crown like some lofty queen of the dragons.
Amber’s presence is greatly appreciated during the interview, as we would not like to meet such a monstrosity in the wild or without a trained handler present. It strikes us that one would need Amber’s stubbornness and bolshie tenacity to gain control over such a magnificent creature. It wasn’t until after the session we discovered that she has in fact had no training whatsoever.
Amber and Fao have lived alongside one another since childhood. Growing together brought a bond of loyalty between them, a dependable unison not unlike family wherein they defend each other to the hilt. Fao is capable of this due to possessing a more acute level of awareness and understanding than other dragons. Amber considers him sentient, or as she puts it, ‘he’s as sentient as Draygun citizens only with slightly better language skills and manners.’
Whilst Fao was never trained per say he does respond to the pitch of Amber’s whistle. The pattern the whistle is swung in acts as a signal that allows the two to communicate over greater distances. This whistle is fine tuned to Fao’s hearing and often out of earshot for those of us with regular hearing. Amber explains she has commands such as ‘follow’ and ‘stay’ alongside more informative swings of ‘friend’ or ‘foe’ and most importantly, ‘food.’ We hope she never directs Fao to look at us with that last one in mind.
As her companion she insists he has always had his own free will and jokes that he eats anyone who treats him like a pet. Her jokes make us nervous. Yet the creature himself seems to be easy going, he is not bothered in the slightest by us and seems to enjoy beak rubs from those brave enough to pat him.
Dawww we must admit that Fao is like a big loveable Doberman, you know if said Doberman were scaled and prone to eating all the smaller dogs in the park.