|Date of Birth:||1767-1777?|
|Appearance:||Middleweight coloured yellow with white tiger-striping|
Messoria was a more experienced dragon who was assigned to Lily's formation along with Dulcia, Nitidus and Immortalis to balance out the inexperienced Lily, Temeraire and Maximus. Temeraire admired her many battle scars. She shared cigars with Sutton, her captain, and once commented to Temeraire - who was quite young at the time - that the breeding grounds were "all much alike, and not very interesting, except for the breeding part." Although as a Yellow Reaper Messoria was only a middleweight, she and Sutton were wily fighters. However, like Immortalis, the other Yellow Reaper of the formation, Messoria displayed an instinctive tendency to drop when another dragon dived on her from above.
Like many of the British dragons, Messoria contracted the Dragon Plague in 1806. Along with the rest of Lily's formation, she was sent to Cape Town aboard the HMS Allegiance to find a cure. William Laurence, spending an evening reading to Temeraire from a book on mathematics, was surprised when Messoria found the topic of "great circles" so boringly obvious that she told Laurence to skip the proof. Laurence himself had found great circles difficult to understand when he was studying for his naval exams. He quickly learned that all the dragons had a natural understanding of geometry, although they argued with Euclid's postulate on parallel lines and started developing their own non-Euclidean geometry instead.
Messoria is initially described in 1805 (His Majesty's Dragon) as "an experienced older dragon of thirty years", with the later statement that "thirty years of experience had made her and Sutton wily". This seems to establish Sutton as Messoria's first captain.
However, in the summer of 1807 (Empire of Ivory), it was stated that "Messoria was forty" to emphasize her probable low priority for a cure for the Dragon Plague, if the availability should be limited. Laurence thought that under those circumstances, "common Yellow Reapers" and "older dragons likely to be difficult when their captains died" would likely be "[left] to die in neglect and misery", and Messoria was implied as both.
Sutton is described in the same timeframe as "senior to Laurence by ten years"; as Laurence was then ~33 years old, this would make Sutton less than five years older than Messoria. In this case, Sutton seems highly improbable as Messoria's first captain. The Aerial Corps usually accepted cadets at the age of 7; even the smallest courier-weight dragons were usually assigned captains no younger than 10, and more experienced aviators were preferred for middleweights such as Messoria.
This discrepancy can be dismissed as a simple continuity error by discarding at least one set of dates.
Alternately, it can be finessed by assuming that all time references have been loosely rounded by decade: e.g., if Messoria hatched in 1771, then she would have been 34 (rounded down to 30) in 1805 and 36 (rounded up to 40) in 1807; if Sutton's birthdate were simultaneously estimated as 1760 (14 years older than Laurence but casually rounded down to 10), then he would have been 11 years old when he harnessed Messoria-- still unusually young for a middleweight captain, but not entirely inconceivable.