An Introduction To Immature Taxidermy

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Taxidermy, by my definition, is to hold the temporality of a creature and breathe into it a false life. Artistically upholstering a skin into a full-fledged illusion that seems to slow time itself. It's only enemy abandonment and eventual decay. To achieve this stasis there are only four main steps:

(1) Skinning the creature,
(2) Treating the pelt,
(3) Stuffing the skin
and finally,
(4) Mounting the finished display.

However, past the veil, this love of mine I have come to see can be taken much further.

The surprising lack of knowledge on preserving creatures of myth has pained me, having searched extensively in my most recent endeavor for any details and or handbooks only to come up with theoretical practices and thirdhand accounts. This is because, as I have learned, not due to any artist's inability, lack of interest, or the absence of practitioners, but instead the fatality rate. One wrong cut can be the end of a skillful taxidermist if they do not know where to rightfully place the blade. Because of this, I have decided to compile a makeshift and nowhere-near-perfect guide for others to use as a basis for future work. This will serve as an account of my experience in preserving and mounting a famed creature that still bites after death.


Pg. 1

March 3rd,

Sirius came to me with something interesting today. Tapping me on the shoulder as I looked through a section that caught my eye only for him to silently stare at me with that strange and blank look of his. Honestly, I half expected him to lecture me on something I did wrong but instead, he offered me a job.

It’s not like I haven’t helped him with small things before or little projects around the library but he said this might take a few weeks of work at the least. To say this caught my full attention was an understatement as if I wasn't technically dead already id have passed from boredom by now. We have to leave soon, as the Way he plans to take me to is a day's walk from where we are now in my hideaway to wherever he is taking me. I currently have all the things I need packed and spare equipment in my bag in case anything crosses my path during the project, but knowing him he may get a little squeamish if I decide to do some on-the-spot work.

He still won't tell me what it is, only that it's something "right up my alley" whatever that means. He's starting to playfully get on my nerves.

If I have to guess I'd say it's another piece of commission work that needs another set of hands. Maybe mechs or some sort of another overly complex electronic thing straight from a sci-fi comic I can barely understand. Hell, it still baffles me that he managed to fix my busted radio a few weeks back, both through both my silence and erratic gestures. Even if he says It was an easy fix I don't owe him a thing for it I will take this as payback for that kindness. It's the least I can do, whatever it is.



Before looking for a body, I will always advise you to research the topic and prepare yourself for any creature you wish to mount. Paranormal or otherwise. Any books on anatomy or behavior, theoretical or not, may help despite the scarcity of the text. Though be skeptical of information in that vein, as always.


If you ever have the chance to go on an expedition to slay one of these creatures, I’d highly advise against it. There is a reason not much is known about dragons besides myths and fairytales: Any taxidermist that has tried has ended up in a fiery demise. But if you are foolish enough to try your hand at hunting these beasts a few preparations and precautions are necessary.

  • If you wish to go for a hard mount keep in mind how it was positioned prior to the killing if possible. This will be useful information when you stuff it but it is not entirely necessary.1
  • Wipe the plumage, fur, and or scales roughly after the body is retrieved. Unlike mundane creatures, dragons can take a real beating after death. Do not feel that force is unnecessary as the blood will be difficult to remove later when congealed and will only cause more harm than good in the finished specimen. staining and or difficulties in removal will only cause a worse outcome.
  • As soon as it is killed, immediately take note or picture of the color and number of eyes, as they only retain their splendor half an hour after death.2 Finding someone to commission artificial eyes should not be difficult for freelance glassworkers willing to take the job.
  • Never aim for the neck. The general rule of thumb for taxidermy is to never aim for the head but dragons luckily have thick skulls and the most effective way to fall one is through the eyes. But there is always a common misconception of other "soft spots" around the neck. Yes, this will kill the dragon and the underside of the neck is a less protected area but the risk of rupturing the flame sacks that reside there is too extreme. Not only can this damage the hide and luxury feeling of the scales around the area but can spew and land on any unsuspecting party nearby, burning them or you to a crisp.


Preferably finding the body of a drake that has perished due to natural causes is the right way to go. But then again it only raises the question of where to find them. Depending on where you are visiting or inhabiting the rarity of these creatures may vary, but most worlds hold them in a very scarce population. As such it is difficult to find an alive specimen let alone the corpse of one naturally, but not impossible.

Dragons usually seek places that are desolate and untouched by humanoids in nature to lay to rest, such as fields, mountain tops, ruins, or bottoms of large bodies of water. To find these gravesites, the main places to search are those with a recent and unexpected rise in flora growth. When a drake lays itself to rest flowers of undocumented species and bloom unique to each drake seem to rise in mere minutes, as if in a sped-up spring. This is increasingly noticeable if it passes during winter or in a snowy climate, as the snow will melt and leave a patch of sudden and suspended summer for miles.

Pg. 5

March 4th,

When we finally made it to the other side of the Way (A long overarching ceiling panel in a section on anatomy) I was met with the sight of an extensive flower field drenched in night. Wisps of pink, purple, and yellow under my hooves. It confused me as in the entry before I had speculated we would be dealing with a machine but upon looking closer I soon realized it would be nothing like that. We didn't cross at night at all, but instead simply stood in the resting shade of multiple overlapped wingspans arching well over us. The draping feathers coated the sky in silklike glory.

It is… an utterly beautiful thing. Opal-like scales and pure white plumage that shimmered in the morning sun with iridescent rainbows of light. It didn't look real, contorting in biological design as if it had been sculpted by an artist's hands. Its long snake-like body looped around the valley in abstract coils as flowers began to crawl around its base. Its armor is in the shape of diamonds, clouded kaleidoscope eyes across its body, and its teeth swirling tusks of enamel. If I could cry I would have.
Who would have thought now was the time for me to finally be able to work on a rare drake such as this?

It took a while for us to walk from the Way towards the body and I couldn't help but ask Sirius every single question that came to mind. spouting things in the nature of—

"How did you find it?", "I thought dragons didn't exist… what do you think it tastes like?!," "I thought you didn't care for this sort of thing?" “Think I could stick my head in its mouth?”

–Constantly without room for him to respond. He knows me well enough by now to know I get lost in my rambling, I just hope he doesn't mind. The last question I asked once we reached one of the creature's talons was why we were here in the first place. He only looked at me with a small hint of a smile and told me he had been tasked with finding someone with the skills to taxidermy a creature of this size, as a client of his wished for it to be documented in a collection. When pressed with the job he could only think of ME when considering such things.

Sirius, as squeamish around blood as you can get asked for my help in skinning a beast a football field and a quarter in length. I'm more than just surprised, but absolutely exhilarated!

As he started to pull out tools and supplies I began to draw up plans, swarmed with possibilities on how to tackle such a project. before he offhandedly told me the name of it, the Asterian Black. This caused me to stop sketching as it didn't make sense to me at that moment, as it could have been easily mistaken for an angel by the untrained eye. Upon noticing this he continued:
“From what I know it's because when it was at its height of activity it got its name from the destruction and takeover of the city of Asteria not too far from here, not from its appearance. No one here had ever seen it behind the cover of night and the ash clouds so they only had its ashen silhouette to go off of. hence the name Asterian black, the ash that choked the stars.”

It’s hard to imagine something so luminescent it was the bane of this world not too long ago.



Dragons are complex creatures to manage, especially if you do not have a team of like-minded people working with you to pull the project off. Luckily, they do not rot3 and most of the blood stays in place, leaving the body without the need to be frozen and free to be worked on for months on end without any negative side effects4.

Besides the varied size of this expansive but elusive genus, the true difficulty is that of the scales.5 For most species, their hardness exceeds that of diamonds. As such, normal steel tools will do absolutely little to puncture the armor. Instead, the use of enchanted or enhanced means to saw through the enhanced keratin is favorable. As it is hard to get a hold of these tools, I do not encourage the urge to make them yourself, as accidents can be more than just fatal. Instead, commission any skilled magician to modify the blade of your choice and the rest shall go as smoothly as cutting butter.

As such the tools and or preparations I highly recommend before starting:

  • Hammer & nails
  • Welding helmet
  • Various enchanted blades; Scalpels, No.3 handle, No.10 blade, Boning knife, Caping knives, Worx WG384 40V 14”, and the STIHL MS 881 41” chainsaws.
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Flame-resistant clothing and gloves.
  • An excessive and ungodly amount of water, borax, and salt
  • Enchanted thread and needles
  • List of restaurants and businesses ready to receive excessive donations or purchases of meat.6
  • An assortment of galvanized wires.
  • Stuffing and or hay.
  • Multiple retractable steel staffs or rods.
  • A length of rope over 200ft or more that can handle major stress.
  • Mountain climbing boots with spiked soles.
  • The finishing of a last will and testament.
  • Assorted artificial eyes.
  • Clay.
  • Climbing harness and ropes.
  • The buddy system.
  • Paint and paintbrushes.
  • Dish soap.

pg. 13

March 6th-12

Sirius gave me a strange device, a sword-like thing that spun with no apparent power source I could see and growled like it was alive. It frightened me at first, the vibrations shooting into my bones and causing me to drop the thing. But as soon as I began to separate the feathers as tall as I and kiss the skin with the blade, I didn't mind that it had decided to sever me in half so much. It took days of non-stop cutting to get to the tip of the tail but if I had been using anything else to get through, we would have surely been there for months– Not that I would have bothered me too much as this project has given me more than enough to keep my mind and hands occupied.

He had stated that he modified it himself, testing it on fallen scales the dragon had left behind when it fell before he had come to get me. I didn't know he worked on things as small as this in his free time or genuinely cared so much. I almost hugged him before remembering I was drenched in blood. That reminds me! the blood is gold. GOLD! Not actually gold but a shimmering metallic yellow of sorts. Who would have thought that?! I wonder if I can get convince him to try some with me before the project is over. I feel as if it would make a wonderful steak.

Anyways, we spent the rest of the next few days separating the skin of the abdomen from the muscle. An exhausting process that thankfully ended only in my minor injury, nothing some twine couldn't fix of course. He colorfully and sickly described it as holding up a heavy wet mattress and hacking at the loose strands underneath only to have it fold over on itself over and over again and honestly, I'd have to agree. At least he's getting used to the whole process, he only threw up around three times.

We soon got to the bottom of the spine and managed to separate the pieces for easy washing and assembly in the coming weeks as night began to fall. Sirius soon returned to the tent he had set up yesterday and motioned for me to join him, However, I stayed to continue working on the corpse till morning. The sun currently hangs overhead at the time of writing now before I wake him.

I don't want him to over-exert himself.


March 22nd

Sirius talks a lot in his sleep, something I've never had the experience of dealing with before let alone become used to in our company with each other. As I am familiar with the occasional snore, or growl from others I have traveled with he instead whispers secrets, groans the names of those I do not know, and has conversations with people in his dreams he calls doctors. The near-constant sound of him muttering has become a reassurance to me as only then do I know he is in the tent with me. However, tonight was different.

I awoke to the sound of nothing. The melodies of crickets and grass the only thing to greet my ears, before in only the span of a minute did the vocalization of strange whimpers become one with the night. I stood, fumbling around for my jacket in the dark before wrapping it around myself, pushing silently past the flaps of the tent and into the valley.

He stood ahead of me, slumped to his knees and staring wildly at the sky as he cried. Cautiously I moved up to my friend and placed a hand on his shoulder, he did not react. Only then when the crying ceased did I realize he was still asleep, staring blankly at Orion's belt as the corpse of the dragon continued to loom over us.

For a while we remained there, staring at the sky as I did the only thing I knew how to do in a situation like this. Offer the barest sense of comfort and hope for the best. Eventually, he closed his eyes and fell to the valley floor, the long grass engulfing him in ferns and dew. I carried him back to the tent and tucked him in, taking note to wake him until midday tomorrow.

He didn't make another sound that night…



First, you must have the dragon preferably positioned on its back. This is usually a very hard position to find naturally let alone move a specimen of great size into, as such magic and or machinery can achieve this with time and effort. Once the limbs are out-stretched and the sternum poised to the sky you may begin with the first incision.

(1) following the diagram of a flat incision method separate the fur and or feathers from the top of the sternum down to the tip of the tail. if this is done correctly you should be able to walk from end to end of the creature with little to no resistance, as if walking a forest path. then make the incision with the blade of your choosing, preferably a chainsaw. keep in mind to be delicate with the cuts as puncturing anything besides the skin is a mess not as easily cleaned up on a mass scale as mundane specimens are. You do not want to try and clean up an intestine spill or ruptured gas sack, as this will hold the project off until it is cleaned or force you to abandon the corpse entirely.

(2) now take the skin on the right and left side and begin to separate the soft tissue, swinging back and forth in a gentle motion with the blade of your choice. For stronger tendons do not feel it unnecessary to bring out a strong amount of force, as this will dispatch the issue quickly and not damage the skin.

(3) now with your skin peeled back it is time to cut it into segments for easy removal and tanning. Cut another incision horizontally on the length of the beast into any amount of segments you deem appropriate. Later these will be set out in the field to await salting, rainfall, and tanning.


At some point cutting ladder-like divots into the various ribs is a great strategy to further mobility on the project. as there is nothing worse than climbing up slick flesh only to fall down and become trapped and injured between the folds of peeled skin. Make sure you have someone you trust to watch your back.

pg. 20

The sun beat down on the golem as the music in its chest blared. The soft tunes caused the man to sway slightly from side to side as it raised the modified saw to hack at the underside of a folded piece of skin. The stretched tissue tensed under the force of his hand before it fell once more at the whirr of the blade. It soon came to decreasing pitch however as Teeth's eyes focused on an unexpected shimmer. Raising his hand, it smiled as he stopped to watch a shining bead of golden blood roll from his claws down to its wrist like rays of liquid sun. He froze, letting it drop unto the pectoral below his hooves, once again fighting the urge to stick it into his mouth.

Maybe a break was in order.

Standing upright, he hummed soft static along to the song on his radio as a cacophony of cracks rolled up his spine, the stuffing shifting inside him as his old skin stretched with every eccentric movement. Moving around so much was starting to wear down the stitching, causing it to dig even deeper into the old tanned flesh more than he wanted it to. It saddened him that he'd eventually have to replace it.

Turning, he flung the blade over his back before digging his hands into the sawed divots of the rib next to him, making his accent. Soon it stood atop the sternum and stared down at Sirius below, the lean boy adjusting his gloves before picking up his bloodied blade once more. He couldn't help but frown as he watched the other work, covered head to toe in protective hydrophobic gear as he swung the sword he called a ‘chainsaw’ back and forth. it was exactly like that one saying a friend of his had said: If you wanted the job done right you had to get dirty. That was the entire reason he wore only shorts for this! Much to the other's dismay.

Do you think it would be, I dunno, POSSIBLE TO WORK on one of those mantis thingies?


Turning around the black-haired magician flipped up his welding helmet, revealing an expression of slight shock and the heavy set of bags below his eyes. His floating tools lay silent in the air as he continued, saws and blades lazily orbiting. Teeth punched his chest a few times where the old radio lay, trying to beat out as much of the static as he possibly could.

You know, the mantis thingies, with the lanterns 'N' STUFF-”

“No. No, I got what you meant. I can hear you clearly— don't worry— but, the docents you mean? why? You realize that those are people right? Paying off their debts to the library?”

Oh! So THATS WHAT THEY ARE! I thought they were just kinda overgrown bugs that moved books around like NERDY termites. Im just saying I think it would be kinda neat if I ever got the chance to–





Taking his saw, he shoved it between the ribs and leaned against it, ignoring the slight bounce in reaction to the action and dramatically waving his clawed hand in the air as he continued.

"Well anyways, do YOU maybe wanna—"

Before the thin membrane he stood on began to rip, and quickly took Teeth's saw under. The patchwork man's hands desperately clawed at the sides as it weighed him down, screaming for Sirius’s help before he too faded into the dark below the ribcage. All that Sirius could hear was the wet thud before silence. Concerned the man raced to the tare in the chest, looking down for his companion only for the echoing sound of a laugh track came from Teeth’s radio.

The magician couldn't help but join him.


The skin and scales around the head are much thinner than the rest of the dragon, around the thickness of a quarter of an inch. because of this take note of the following.

  1. work as close as possible to the skull and follow diagram 2
  2. Take extreme care around the nose, mouth, and eyelids, as a wrong cut around this delicate area can make the final mount appear unsavory.
  3. Never cut the eyelashes (if the drake has any)
  4. do not prod or poke the eyeballs, as the fluid would drench you and stain the pelt.
  5. Cut the neck at the base of the skull and down the spine. Continuing down the neck till you reach where the tip of the sternum would be from the other side, then connect the new cut to the original incision and begin to peel. this will help you avoid putting a single blade near the flame sacks.
  6. lift up the skin as far as the tip of the nose and detach it completely.

with the skin finally detached from the body it is time to treat the skull.

pg. 27

March 28th

We talked a lot, both Sirius and I as we removed the brain matter from the skull, scrapers set and wheelbarrows full of the electric tissue. It was maybe a day or two job, I can't quite remember. Just another small thing to do before the long wait for rain. As with the incident a week or so earlier, I've been keeping an eye on him as of late, the sleepwalking and talking coming to an immediate cease after. I am very much aware now that it came from a place of pain as when I offhandedly mentioned it during lunch he remained silent throughout the day, refusing to knowledge the fact I even said anything about it. Maybe it is best to let it go as everyone has things in their past they wish not to express.
I'm glad he forgot about my earlier inquiries however as when I asked what projects he currently had besides this one to break the silence he ranted to me excitedly about some technobabble I didn’t understand, But I nodded along with a smile to show I was at least trying to wrap my head around it. Something to do with armor and wild electricity.

The best part of the night however was once we had finished, both of us were tired but still very much awake. I don’t remember what started it, maybe a friendly banter, joking, or a slip, but the roughhousing led to us dancing in the cavity. Laughing and tripping over each other as the beats of my radio echoed off the bone and kept us semi-in-line with the beat to our feet.

It’s weird to say I had one of the best nights of my life in there, laughing, fighting, and dancing surrounded by soap and gore as we hollowed out the head of a mighty beast. This project has made me realize I missed talking to him only twice a month. Maybe now I’ll be the one to hunt him down with things to do.

Even if that means I get electrocuted in the process.



Stuffing can be a difficult process, as this not only requires the structure of the mount to be sound but also able to support the rest of the drake. Despite the obvious size this process will not differ as much as with mundane creatures, as the construction of a form7 will remain the same save for on a much more labor intensive scale. This will require an obscene amount of hay, stuffing, rope, and nets at your disposal as with most other things of this project,


Do not make the form too small as it will not fill out the drake like you wish it to, causing the scales to sag unto the form and leave it looking like a husk. As such, measure the body carefully, taking note of the exact length, diameter, and volume of the beast before you begin. Then only when you have a plan of action start with the construction of the base and wind around the artificial spine until you have the shape you wish. Remember that it should never be bigger or smaller than the body, add and remove as needed.

With this completed you now you may begin to close up the original and supporting incisions and bring your creature to life!

pg. 30

April 27th

With the last of it sewn, strung, stuffed, and painted the Asterian Black is finally finished after months of non-stop work. I can't help but be filled with absolute pride when gazing upon it, its coat just as if not more of a shining luxury as when I first saw it. As if pearl could be woven into hair as fine as silk.

With the body laid in the valley, all that remained was to transfer a soul anchor into the creature for the client. As I have now been informed wanted the mount to be enchanted with the hopes of not only spotlighting but also guarding their collection. I let Sirius pick that out as I finished the last few details on the mount and his choice didn't disappoint me. As I transferred the heart of one beast into the body of another the creature came to life at my hands. First, it twitched, the jolts of new and old life racing into the seems of the mount. A full-fledged illusion that cheated death itself.

The beast soon bounded, its talons sending shocks through the valley as it pranced around the field sending flower petals into a flurry. I laughed as Sirius tried to call the thing over, anxiety was practically woven into his whole being as it only continued to run in circles to dispute his call. The thing looked so happy, flaring its many wings, and twisting its body into corkscrew formations as it rolled across the valley. though I was happy the fear it would stain its coat after all the months of our hard work struck a nerve in me.

Near the end of its spree, I gave it simple commands that it should abide by for the rest of its near-immortal life. Sirius watched as I talked to the drake with an expression that will forever be humorous to me. It baffles me that he can be so expressive and not at the same time.
It should be delivered tomorrow, the beast fitted with a name and the money Sirius needs for his projects collected and put to use. As always he offered me more than I ever could need and I proceeded to turn him down, only taking enough to fund my craft for the next year. He needs it much more than I do anyways and money just does nothing but confuse me.

We've since gone our separate ways and soon I hope to meet up again with him under another project, but now it serves as a good period of rest.

Maybe I should take this time to document the process.


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