Drakes are uncommon, but certainly everyone knows about them. They tend to live in isolated areas with few people, like mountains and islands. A great many of them also live on the sea, where they periodically eat dolphins, sharks, small whales, or swarms of krill. They spend the rest of their time sleeping at a high altitude, using powerful sorceries to keep themselves aloft without flapping their wings.
They're about as intelligent as humans, but they lack thumbs, and they aren't really social creatures. They can learn and pronounce human speech, and they have a language of their own that no other race (except Zells) can actually pronounce properly. Drakes grow larger with age, and many speculate that they are immortal, but most reach a point where they require more food than they can feasibly acquire given their size, and end up coming into conflict with humans or Din, at which point they are inevitably destroyed.
Drakes are (supposedly) aspects of High Dragons made manifest. As such, they vary greatly in appearance and shape depending on their lineage. Each Drake is unique, an evolutionary interpretation of its sire.
Most are four-legged with two wings, though some have wings for forelimbs, sort of like bats. They tend to be scaly (though many are feathered or furred, and a few are fleshy, sort of like hairless cats) and usually have between two and forty-two eyes.
Very rare is the Drake that can fly of its own power. Their size and weight are simply too great for their wings to actually keep them aloft naturally, except perhaps in places with significant updrafts, or in the case of a few specimens with enormous wings. Rather, most of them use a sort of innate sorcery to move the air around them, creating lift that keeps them aloft.
Drakes are known to sing, constantly, in a strange language of gibberish that is, for whatever reason, intelligible to whoever hears it. Their recitations are strange, arcane, and at times disturbing. They are obsessed with colors and energies, and their verses often take the form of prayers to abstract concepts, or even to the colors themselves.
Actually communicating with and reasoning with Drakes is very difficult. They are not rational creatures, and their motives are almost incomprehensible. They do not fear death, and they do not terribly crave life. They despise any sort of offering or exchange, and are horribly, horribly insulted by the act of supplication.
Drakes exist to steal. To take. To pillage. They crave valuable things (each one seems to have its own preference) and they have a pathological need to take them by force. If simply offered its fare, the Drake flies into a rage, and kills everything it can catch – sometimes for weeks on end before cooling down.
Violence is something they do understand, though.
The stereotype that they breathe fire is misleading. Fire is what it looks like, usually, but rarely what it actually is.
A few of them do breathe fire, of course, but it isn't normal fire. Drakefire only burns things that want to live, and it burns very slowly, and very painfully. Stones, dirt, wood, even paper are immune to Drakefire, but (most) people perish in agony when set aflame by it.
Others breathe ennui. A sort of phantasmal energy that saps the will to live from anything it contacts. Its victims sit down and wait to die, sometimes for weeks, until hunger, thirst, or the elements kill them.
Some breathe life. Plants grow where their "fire" touches ground, trees explode into color, and men and animals erupt into cancerous masses of teeth, hair and tumors, quickly losing all semblance of their original forms.
And a couple breathe acid or jets of freezing liquid – but there is always some gimmick. It's magic, not a biological function. There is also always a cure, or a "way out," so to speak, of a Drake's breath. A suicidal man might be immune to Drakefire. A man who already has nothing to live for might be immune to ennui. Someone with a terminal illness might be immune to the life-breath.
The immunity is usually something horrible. Thus, the greatest drake-hunters are always broken men.