Mesmerake are dragons, serpentine with two arms and no legs, but endowed with plenty of fins-four fins come off of their back, resembling butterfly wings but more frilly, sort of like betta fins, a sail down their back, a pair of pelvic fins in place of legs that serve to propel the dragon, the sail-like fins along the backs of their arms, the fins extending from the back of their heads like a headdress, and the three caudal fins running along and extending from the end of the tail.
Their bodies are shiny, chitinous and incredibly colorful, a sort of iridescent blue, with segmented tails and plated underbellies, with sleek armor (segmented only at the joints) everywhere else. Now, this is where it gets complicated. Mesmerake are the sirens of dragonkind. They're known for their 'calls' and 'songs,' which they use to draw attention, and their hypnotic abilities.
You see, once someone catches sight of a Mesmerake, the Mesmerake's fins will fan out and undulate, the colors on their fins and body shifting and pulsating, transfixing the target, who somehow becomes susceptible to the Mesmerake's will. Adventurers, for example, have found themselves fighting their way free from a Mesmerake's jaws or even stomach because they lost all sense of reason 'in trance' and not only approached it unarmed, but stood there as its jaws came down on them, only to 'snap out of it' and react....well, naturally, quite viscerally.
The question is, how do they do it? How does a Mesmerake not only entrance viewers but influence them like this?
The research mages have some ideas, but nothing concrete, even after reviewing this article on Enchantments and the notes below. Perhaps you can figure out what they cannot.
Notes On Mesmerake Hypnosis:
Mesmerake, when entrancing and exerting control over others, will shift colors, extend and flutter their fins, vocalize, and perhaps even do a sort of 'dance'. It is thus apparent that this ability is predominantly visual by nature, yet from reports given by those who survived facing or encountering a Mesmerake while being blinded in some way, it is apparent that Mesmerake vocalizations can do just fine on their own, with little to no decrease in hypnotic effectiveness overall.
The colors presented appear to influence the overall effect; but more study is needed. Blue, for example, appears to soothe and relax or viewers, but can also depress and detach viewers, while red, depending on the shade, can either energize and excite viewers or somehow grant Mesmerake an edge in battle, either by making the Mesmerake seem more powerful to viewers or by making the Mesmerake itself feel more powerful. Likewise, the tone and rhythm of Mesmerake vocalizations affect the mood of hearers.
Mesmerake hypnosis does not affect all people equally. Stubborn, self-possessed, or strong-willed individuals resist Mesmerake hypnosis, most zoning out until it becomes apparent something is wrong, while the most strong-willed or self-possessed people may feel detached, "off," or dreamy but will be capable of acting and reacting appropriately to the situation, albeit a bit slower than usual.
Up to 25% of individuals, most of them being adventurers who have faced dragons before, may experience little effect from Mesmerake hypnosis, functioning more or less perfectly fine, while 10-65% may be especially susceptible to Mesmerake hypnosis.
- Mesmerake hypnosis is not just used to aid in catching and eating prey. This is a common misconception, one experienced adventurers are familiar with. Mesmerake can use their hypnosis to unnerve opponents, making them hesitant and less accurate in battle, as well as more likely to flee. They can also use their hypnosis to induce feelings of awe, making one hesitant to attack, to make them seem friendlier and less dangerous, or to make them seem weak and scared.
In fact, Mesmerake have been established to use their hypnosis to make people in isolated riverside towns or villages worship them, or be more compliant than people normally would be with a dragon.
Theories on How It Works:
Besides auditory and visual cues, something else must be involved, as Mesmerake victims report feeling an urge or impression, or else hearing a very attractive and compelling voice, to act the way they did. Somehow, Mesmerake are communicating with those they hypnotize....but how?
They could be using electromagnetic pulses to stimulate certain parts of the brain, but....magic has a logical if not biological basis, and that would be an extremely unlikely adaptation. Plus, different creatures have differently structured brains, and Mesmerake can affect a wide range of monsters, dragons, and sapient races, so this....likely isn't the way.
Pheromones are chemical signals, those take time to reach you, and they take time to work, and using pheromones to influence such a wide range of creatures seems unlikely, but there are some diehards who insist it's possible, so......
Some state that since magic is symbolic, Mesmerake are using their hypnosis to form a connection, and magic takes that connection and forges a spiritual bond, which Mesmerake use to influence others. It certainly sounds possible, but....can one really forge such a connection, even if the other is in a state of focus and susceptibility to suggestion? Some argue yes, that hypnosis is used to make one bring down subconscious barriers against magical influence, and claim that such barriers are what make it impossible to directly influence one with magic (such as using fire magic to light someone on fire).
Others argue that hypnosis cannot open barriers so effectively, that it cannot enable the creation of such a powerful bond in such a short time, and that Mesmerake victims are not influenced through a spiritual connection but rather through a suppression of reason and subtle influences, as even if one feels a connection to someone, chances are they won't allow said someone to eat them. So.....
Specifications for Best Answer:
Magic is generally symbolic, but it has a logical basis. This magical ability is an expansion and/or enhancement of natural functions that naturally influence other lifeforms. The natural and magical functions are related, and the best answer will take that into account.
Magic may be real here, but so is natural selection and development. This ability had to come from somewhere, and part of its origin lies in natural law, so please take those into account.
Don't be afraid to check out some of my other questions about enchantments, or to take leaps of logic based off of what I've put here. I appreciate creative answers, and if you make a wrong assumption, I do appreciate effort and I will give constructive criticism so your answer becomes that much better. Finally, please let me know if the question needs improvement, I'm open to and appreciate feedback!