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 false life. Artistically upholstering a skin into a full-fledged illusion that slows 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.

There is a surprising lack of knowledge on preserving creatures of myth. Having searched extensively in my most recent endeavors, any guides or handbooks have only come up with theoretical practices and third-hand accounts from wannabe knights. This is a result of, as I have learned, not due to any artist's inability, lack of interest, or absence of practitioners, but instead the fatality rate. One wrong cut can be the end of a skilled taxidermist if they do not know where to rightfully place the blade.

In light of this, I have decided to compile a makeshift and nowhere-near-perfect guide for others to use as a base for future work. The very one you hold right now. It 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. Pulling the sleeve of my coat, the man caught my attention, as he always does, only for him to stare at me for a few seconds with that strange blank look of his. Honestly, I half expected him to lecture me on something I did wrong, but instead, he offered me a job.

Small projects here and there were the most he had ever asked of me. But to my surprise, this endeavor he had planned to entangle me in would take a few weeks of work, at the least. To say I’m relieved is an understatement, as if I weren't dead already, I'd have passed from boredom by now. We have to leave soon, as the Way he plans to traverse is a day's walk from where I am now in my hideaway between the shelves. 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 of my own.

He still won't tell me what it is, only that it's something "right up my alley." Whatever that means.

If I have to guess, I'd say it's another piece of commission work that needs another set of hands—or six, like the last time. Maybe mechs or some other overly complex sci-fi thing I can barely understand. Hell, it still baffles me that he could fix my radio a few weeks ago, both through both my silence and erratic gestures. Even if he said it was just stiff dials and that 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, after all.




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 trophy hunter or aspiring taxidermist that has tried has ended up in ash. But if you are foolish enough to try your hand at hunting these beasts and somehow lucky enough to still be left standing, a few preparations and precautions are necessary when handling the body.

  • If you wish to go for a hard mount, keep in mind how it was positioned prior to the killing if possible. This could be useful information when you begin your work to achieve a more natural look.1
  • Wipe the plumage, fur, and/or scales roughly after the body is retrieved. Unlike mundane creatures, a dragon's hide can take a real beating after death, so do not feel that force is unnecessary. I should also note that negligence to clean in a quick manner will cause the blood to congeal and stain the hide, as it is an extremely potent dye.2

Failing to remove such things will only produce a lackluster specimen.

  • As soon as possible, immediately take a picture of the eyes, as they only retain their splendor half an hour after death.3 Finding someone to commission artificial eyes shouldn’t be difficult for freelance glassworkers willing to take the job.
  • Never aim for the neck. The general rule of thumb for hunting with taxidermy in mind 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 twin flame sacs that reside there is far too extreme. Not only can this damage the hide and luxury feeling of the scales around the area, but it can also spew and land on any unsuspecting party nearby, burning them or you to a crisp.


Preferably, finding the body of a Dragon 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, the rarity of these creatures may vary, but most worlds hold them in a very scarce population. As such, it is difficult to find a flourishing specimen, let alone the corpse of one, but not impossible.

Dragons usually seek places that are desolate and untouched by humans in nature to lay to rest, such as fields, mountain tops, ruins, or the 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 Dragon lays itself to rest, flowers of undocumented species and blooms unique to each Dragon seem to rise in mere minutes, as if in a sped-up spring. This is increasingly noticeable if it passes during the 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 we were met with the sight of an extensive flower field drenched in night. Wisps of pink, purple, and yellow waving in the wind just under my very hooves. It confused me as in the entry before; I had speculated we would deal with a machine of some sort, as that much more Suiris's speed. But upon taking a closer look, I soon realized it was nothing like that in the slightest. We didn't cross at night at all, but instead simply stood in the resting shade of multiple overlaping wingspans arching well over us. The draping feathers coated the sky in silklike glory.

It is… an utterly beautiful thing. Rhombus scales mimicked an opal’s luminosity; they shimmered in the morning sun with iridescent rainbows of light. Its long, snake-like body looped around the valley in abstract coils as flowers slowly began to crawl around its base. The closer I got, the more unreal the sight became. The gargantuan creature contorting in biological design as if it had been sculpted by an artist's hands, not nature’s. I placed my patchwork hand on its body, the coolness numb to my skin. Its armor is in diamonds, its eyes kaleidoscopic, 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 have the privilege to work on a creature such as this?

It took a while for us to set up the equipment, which was graciously laid out for us before our arrival. Hands moved diligently, setting firm beams into the sides of the beast and tools into place atop large waterproof mats. Even with our hands full, however, it didn’t stop me from asking Sirius every single question under the sun that came to mind. spouting things in the nature of—

"How did you find it?" , "I thought dragons didn't die… 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. I think 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 set firm the third beam 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 apparently been tasked with finding someone with the skills to taxidermy a creature of this size, as a client of his usual affairs wished to branch out his collection into the more strange. 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 was touched.

I quickly began to draw up plans after that, 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. If anything, it could have been easily mistaken for an angel by the untrained eye. Upon noticing my expression, he continued:
“From what information I was given, it's because it got its name from the destruction and takeover of the city of Asteria not too far from here during the height of its activity. No one here had ever seen it behind the cover of night and smoke, so they only had its ashen silhouette to go off of. hence the name Asterian Black, along with its title, the ash that choked the stars. Pretty neat, huh?”

I looked over at the beast; it’s glazed over eyes staring up in an almost dream-like haze.

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



Dragons are complex creatures to manage. They are large, hazardous, and difficult to maneuver. Luckily, they do not rot.4 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 effects.5.

Besides the size of this expansive but elusive genus, the true difficulty is that of the scales.6 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 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.7
  • An assortment of galvanized wires
  • Communication systems such as Walkie-Talkies
  • Stuffing or hay
  • Multiple retractable steel staffs or rods
  • A length of rope over 200 feet 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.


March 6th-12

Sirius gave me a strange device to use on the creature, a sword-like thing that spun with steel teeth 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 before he came to 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! It’s blood is gold. GOLD! Not actually gold but a shimmering metallic yellow of sorts. Who would have thought that?! I wonder if I can 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 with my minor injury—nothing some twine couldn't fix, of course. He colorfully and sickly described it as holding up a heavy wet mattress only to have it fold over on itself over and over again as he worked, and honestly, I'd have to agree. At least he's getting used to the whole process; he only threw up three times.

We soon got to the bottom of the spine and managed to separate the pieces for easy washing, and assembly night began to fall. Sirius soon returned to the tent he had set up days ago 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, before I wake him.

I don't want him to overexert himself; unlike me, he needs all the sleep he can get.


March 22nd

Sirius talks a lot in his sleep.

It’s something I've never had the experience of dealing with before, let alone become used to in our company with each other. I am familiar with the occasional snore or growl from others I have traveled with, but 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 his muttering has slowly become a familiar 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 absent, as was my partner's breathing. As soon as I decided to call out of bed, the vocalization of strange whimpers became 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 stared 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 outstretched 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, 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 and 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 sides 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 that your skin is peeled back, it is time to cut it into segments for easy removal and tanning. Cut another incision horizontally along the length of the beast into any number 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.


The golem swayed slightly from side to side as it raised the saw to hack at the underside of a folded piece of skin. The stretched tissue tensed under the force of it's hand before it fell once more at the mighty whirr of the blade. A decreasing pitch, a shift in stance, and an attention waTeeth's eyes focused on an unexpected shimmer. Raising It's hand, it smiled softly as a shining bead of golden blood rolled from it's claws down to it's wrist like rays of liquid sun. It froze, letting it drop unto the pectoral below it's hooves, once again fighting the urge to stick it into it's mouth.

Maybe a break was in order.

Standing upright, the patchwork man hummed soft static along to the song on the radio. A cacophony of cracks rolled up its dry spine, the stuffing shifting inside as the 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 it wanted it to. It was saddening to think that it'd eventually have to replace it sometime soon.

Turning, it flung the blade over it's back before digging its hands into the sawed divots of the rib next to him. 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. The husk couldn't help but frown as it 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 a long while back: If you wanted the job done right you had to get dirty. That was the entire reason it had only wore 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 twin bags below his eyes. His floating tools lay silent in the air as he continued, saws and blades lazily orbiting. Teeth punched it's chest a few times where the old radio lay, trying to beat out as much of the static as it 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 kind of 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 it's blade, it shoved it between the ribs and leaned up against it. Ignoring the slight bounce the flesh under it gave and dramatically waving it's clawed hand in the air as it continued.

"Well anyways, do YOU maybe wanna—"

Before the thin membrane it 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 it down, screaming for Sirius’s help before it 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 coming 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 Dragon 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. Continue 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.


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 of work; 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 acknowledge that 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 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. We laughed and tripped over each other as the beats of my radio echoed off the bone and kept us semi-in-line with the sways to our feet.

It’s weird to say I had one of the best times 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 once 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 Dragon. Despite the obvious size, this process will not differ as much as with mundane creatures, as the construction of a form8 will remain the same except 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 in this project.


Do not make the form too small, as it will not fill out the Dragon like you wish it to, causing the scales to sag 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 can you 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 may now begin to close up the original and supporting incisions and bring your creature to life.


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 is 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. I offered the idea to Surius, though he was hesitant to bring something alive back to our employer. I reassured him it would be nothing as such, just a moving, show-stopping center piece. I let Sirius pick out the anchor 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 will 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 despite 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 glad, 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 Dragon with an expression that will forever be humorous to me. Its so weird that he can be so expressive and not at the exact same time.
It will 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 could ever 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 anyway, and money just does nothing but confuse me.

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

it was oddly fulfilling to teach him the ropes of my work. Maybe I should take this time to document the process.


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