I have been working on a world which has a very limited type of magic. This magic almost necessitates a bird likes creature that I think I might be able to convert into a non-traditional dragon. Currently, it is easy and convenient for the dragon to:
- have magically durable rock-like scales (thin)
- produce very large amounts of heat at will (by magic so without using food calories)
Because of it's niche and evolution it would currently need to:
- frequently cover very large distances by flight
- be rare
- look like a wyvern
- invoke no other types of magic
- be quite small due to the square cube law
To make is more traditional, I had an idea to be make it bigger. If the dragon can heat up scales at will (by a built in magic/biological mechanism) can it use this ability to facilitate flight (and therefore be larger)? As both heat and scales are magic, allow the scales to be comfortably be heated and maintained upto 1500C. If needed, older dragons could have thicker scales so hotter max temp.
Realistic physics and biology allow it to be similar in size, wingspan, and flying ability to a shoebill without using magic. How big can I make it if it relies on your heating mechanism to fly?
I included the following clarification in the comments: "I do not want an organic jet engine that has air passing though internal organs or an oversized air bladder"