Monthly Archives: November 2011

Muramasa the Chaotic One

Muramasa is a recent character to the All World mythos. He’s the younger twin son to a pair of kirins named Mai and Oda. His older twin is Murasame. He’s a red-and-carmine kirin with navy blue hair and orange eyes.

Muramasa has had terrible luck ever since he was born. Every kirin has some sort of power and Muramasa was unlucky enough to be born with chaotic evil power. He’s insane as a result and his birth nearly killed his mother, Mai. A kirin’s power manifests when they turn ten. Muramasa’s, however,  manifested just moments before his birth. The twins’ father, Oda, had it in for him from that day on but he didn’t make a move until a few days before the twins turned ten. Oda instead invited Sovereign Quetzalcoatl to inspect the foals due to manifest and tried to startle Quetzalcoatl into killing the boy for him when the time came.

Quetzalcoatl threw a wrench in that plan by bringing along his apprentice, Prince Masamune, son of the Viceroy. Masamune was born 200 years prior and manifested harmonious good. Muramasa’s power had been under seal for ten years, a final favor to Mai from Oda before he broke their Bond. The seal had weakened all those years and broke the moment Muramasa and Masamune made eye contact. Oda’s plot fell apart when Masamune revealed that he was born and given his harmonious power for the sole purpose of subduing Muramasa’s chaotic evil. Quetzalcoatl rebuked Oda for not coming to him as soon as the twins were born and letting him know. He then told Mai in secret that if she felt her sons were in danger, to bring them to Temple about sixteen miles away.

A few days later, Oda moved against his sons. Mai rushed them from their forest while he and a gang of kirin stallions pursued them. Mai, Murasame, and Muramasa were about a mile from Temple Forest when she pulled back to fight off their pursuers. She ordered her sons to keep running. Oda and two others broke from the fight Mai engaged and went after them. The boys ran straight to Temple’s door and started pounding the door with their hooves. Muramasa looked back to see Oda and the other two gaining on them and the colt panicked. For the pure reason of wanting to protect his twin brother, the Chaotic One unleashed a huge wave of his power. The trio of would-be killers were caught in the wave. Oda was blown off his hooves and was impaled on a low lying branch. He was killed instantly. The two with him escaped with various injuries.

Quetzalcoatl and Masamune, who heard the twins’ cries for help and felt Muramasa’s burst of power, came out to see the colts on the ground and Oda dead. Realizing what was happening, Quetzalcoatl flew off in a rage to see to Mai, leaving the Prince to watch the boys. Mai paid the ultimate price to protect her sons. She survived long enough to beg Quetzalcoatl to protect her sons and then she died. The loss of their mother and the utter confusion of why their father tried to kill them made the twins human enough to cry, long before they were able to take a human form.

Muramasa is a quiet sort of insane being. One could say he’s a high-functioning psychopath. His Meaningful Name comes from the infamous Japanese swordsmith of the same name. Muramasa blades had a reputation of being bloodthirsty blades while the master himself was said to be a little off his rocker. It’s said that Ieyatsu Tokugawa, founder of the Tokugawa regime, forbade his samurai from owning Muramasa blades. The kirin Muramsa is quite insane, due to his power, but his imposed isolation has kept him from acting on impulses to kill, barring a particular incident.

Muramasa also invokes the trope Even Evil Has Standards. He does has some morals, even though they tend to get twisted around depending on stimuli. For one, he will never intentionally harm his brother, Murasame. He possess a green thumb unheard of in such a being as he. He keeps a large garden for his own use and, in his own words, says that the flowers make him feel at peace. He has grown and cared for them almost as soon as his parents died. It came to the Sovereign’s attention when he returned with Mai’s body to see Muramasa mechanically trying to keep alive a single tawny day-lily that was starting to wither in an unused courtyard.

Since then, Quetzalcoatl provided the troubled youth with flowers to care for as well as the use of the courtyard for his garden. Muramasa does have a sense of joy and pleasure in growing things almost as if to prove he’s not dangerous, even though he knows full well that he is. His desire to protect his garden has had disastrous results in the distant past. A gang of bandits broke into Temple to ransack it and their entry point was the garden. Muramasa had been away at the main building of the Temple complex and he returned to see a majority of his garden destroyed. The bandits were still there destroying more and the stallion went berserk. He slaughtered the gang without mercy. It took Masamune’s power to knock the crazed Muramasa out. Quetzalcoatl is still plagued by nightmares from time to time of the carnage, worse than any battle he’s fought in his long lifetime. No Kill Like Overkill is the trope.

Muramasa is capable of love but it’s often overshadowed by his insanity. He did have feelings for a kirin mare who came to Temple with Murasame after a mission. The mare, named Katana, had a silent crush on Masamune but she eventually grew to love Murasame. The red-and-carmine stallion was left with a broken heart on having lost Katana to his brother. He has since been introduced to a blind mare named Kaya who’s unique power allows her to “see” the life force or power of another magical being. I’m stuck on that story so I don’t know how to bring them closer.

Muramasa is a character I pity as much as my near-immortals. He has minimal control over his power and generally has a rotten lot in life. But he’s one of my favorites and I hoe to finish the stories with him in them.

Axis Powers Hetalia

Axis Powers Hetalia is a neat anime I’m into. It’s a comedy series based on a webcomic by Hidakaz Himaruya and stars the nations of the world personified as people. At first, the series takes place in World War II and follows the Axis characters, Germany, North Italy (South Italy is a whole other character), and Japan. It also follows the Allies, America, Britain, France, Russia, and China. Since then, the series has expanded into other historical events and introduced a plethora of characters, all countries of the world. As opposed to most mainstream anime, the episodes are five minutes long, likely because it was based on a webcomic. Also, it’s not for kids. Funimation gave the series overall a mature rating for the stereotypical jokes and overall weirdness when they dubbed it. There is some cussing in there from time to time but nothing totally horrendous. Nothing you haven’t heard at least once in a movie.

This series is a double-edged sword because it’s rife with national stereotypes and a lot of (fan-perceived) Ho Yay. I say fan-perceived because, hey, they’re nation-tans. Not real people. I may be a huge fangirl of Germany and America but I abhor Ho Yay and I only ship two couples in the whole series (both hetero). I would suggest you keep an open mind on the stereotypes and remember that it’s not meant to be taken seriously. For instance, America’s a loudmouth braggart who really wants to be the Hero. He likes to eat a lot of junk food and he thinks he’s better than everyone else. Surprisingly, I find that to be accurate. Other Americans may find the portrayal insulting. We as a nation are young compared to many other nations and we’re always poking our noses into other people’s business. America’s portrayed as a young upstart who wants to boss others around. Hilarity Ensues when you remember this is a light-hearted comedy. It’s okay to laugh at your nation.

The English dub was very well-done by the talent over at Funimation. They took another step and gave the characters their own accents (presumably stereotyped accents as perceived by Americans). Hetalia is the only anime I’ve seen in both English and the original Japanese. From the start, my favorite characters have been America, Canada, Germany, Austria, and Romano (South Italy). Let me tell you a bit about them.

I’ll do another spot on America later so let’s start off with Canada. Canada is a quiet guy…too quiet, really. He’s practically invisible but he’s a sweetie. He’s constantly getting knocked around by other nations who mistake him for America (which is a lot). Cuba is apparently a good friend of his but even he mistakes Canada for America most of the time. He talks quiet and yells quiet. I honestly don’t think he knows how to yell properly. He’s overshadowed a great deal by his brother, America, and other nations tend to forget who he is. As a matter of fact, so does his talking pet polar bear, Kumajiro. It’s a Running Gag.   In both the Japanese and English versions, the actor doing America does Canada as well. Eric Vale voices them in English and it’s so much fun when he invokes the trope Talking To Himself whenever Canada and America are interacting.

Germany is one of the tougher nations. His appearance brings to mind the kind of “race” his crazy WW2 boss was hoping to bring about, i.e. blond hair and blue eyes. I personally don’t think Germany agreed with his boss (indeed, most Germans didn’t like the Reich either) but he was just following orders and the series avoids the Holocaust like the plague. Germany is often very frustrated by Italy, a total ditz, but came to appreciate the fact that Italy was his first friend. He gets along well with Japan, who’s a well mannered Engrish speaking nation. He loves his beer. Germany’s one of the taller nations. I think he’s as tall as Russia. It’s pretty much agreed on in the fandom that he was the Holy Roman Empire in his childhood (if true, then he’s amnesiac) and he looks up to Italy’s grandpa, the Roman Empire.

Romano is also known as South Italy (named for Rome) and having two Italies references the years the two halves were divided. North Italy is known as Veneciano (named for Venice). Unlike his brother, Romano’s not really a ditz. He’s got something of a bad mouth in English but if you can laugh at that, he’s pretty hilarious. He hates Germany for being close friends with Veneciano. Thanks to the fact that he lived in Mr. Spain’s house when he was younger, Romano has a fondness for tomatos. He’s utterly terrified of France. Romano is thought to have an inferiority complex because he feels Roman Empire paid more attention to Veneciano and because Romano doesn’t have his artistic talents. But the things the Italy brothers have in common is that they’re weak and they both love pasta and women.

Austria (whom I affectionately call Mr. Austria) is a refined, piano-playing man. Like America and Canada, he wears glasses. He was once married to Hungary (a rare female personification) and they both serve as one of two couples I ship (the other being Switzerland x Liechtenstein). Mr. Austria is a beast on the piano, a well earned stereotype since many of the greatest composers of all time were Austrian. He lived in Germany’s house for a time and his marriage to Hungary was representative of an old alliance the real nations made and later dissolved. He used to be friends with Switzerland but things between them are passively hostile at best. In-series, he’s a bit of a cheapskate like Switzerland as both are a bit over the top in frugal-ness. His English voice I had to take time get used to because Chuck Huber didn’t do an Austrian accent that I’m used to (my basis being Arnold Schwarzenegger). But eventually, it grew on me.

America is my all time favorite. I loved my nation before this series but Hetalia made me love it even more. America is everything I stated above. As state in Austria’s spot, America wears glasses. They apparently represent Texas, which makes sense. During the Revolutionary War strips/episodes and other spots where he was a newly-discovered child, he didn’t have glasses.  Since the series started in WW2, it’s pretty much truth that America started wearing glasses after Texas became a state. Being represented by his glasses may even be a nod to the fact that Texas, being the largest state in the continental US, has it’s own power grid. If the power went down everywhere else, Texas would still shine. America also has what is called an idiot hair (it sticks up) that represents Nantucket, since it’s a hot spot for tourists. He hates ghosts but his best friend is an alien named Tony who crashed in Roswell. He’s pushy and egotistical but he has his periods of weakness and insight, like when he was considering Britain after the latter lost the Revolution.

All in all, I love this series. I can laugh at my own nation and generally, it’s a fun way to learn some history. It may not always be accurate but it’s well researched. The anime is currently at four seasons (Axis Powers and World Series) Funimation has done the two Axis Powers seasons already and will be releasing season 3 (which kicks off World Series) January of next year.

Tempest

Tempest is another character who crossed over from the world that came before. He was re-purposed for All World. His first incarnation was the Big Bad of the earlier stories before I moved on to new characters. He was a Shadow Unicorn so evil was his purpose. In both incarnations, Tempest has ties to Allianna and Phoenix. His first incarnation was Phoenix’s father through deceit. In that mythos, beings from two of the eight different Realms couldn’t procreate. The result of such things was a chimera. Allianna used to be a Forest Unicorn. While forests create shadows, it’s the powers of each Realm that can’t mix. When Allianna was re-purposed as the unicorn Queen and Phoenix’s backstory gained an overhaul, Tempest was taken out of the picture. All World’s Phoenix was alchemically created. She has no father. Allianna’s penchant for misfortune was realigned to Thanatos.

When I did a story on Phoenix finding out her origins, I decided to resurrect Tempest from the grave and re-purposed him as Allianna’s closest adviser. Both incarnations are solid black with red garnet eyes. While the first series made that combination indicative of his Big Bad status, it’s a bit different in All World. Solid black unicorns are extremely rare and it’s a unicorn superstition that solid black is a sign of evil. Tempest has the double misfortune of having red garnet eyes. Solid black with red garnet is a sign of the Deceiver. Black unicorns are often ostracized from their herds to live as involuntary Loners. Tempest was no exception. He was thrown from his herd and lived as a Loner before straying too close to the Glade where Allianna rules. He was brought before her and she welcomed him into her herd after hearing his story. It took him many years to gain the trust of the rest. In that time, he became close to Allianna as a friend and adviser.

There’s only two things that differentiate the two incarnations of Tempest. All World’s version has a majority of the left side of his face is terribly scarred. It’s unknown how he came by such a serious injury but it appears as though he was stripped of his fur, leaving a bare patch of scarred skin behind. His left eye is untouched. His personality is also a bit different. While his first form was pure evil and somewhat based on Naraku from Inu-Yasha, his new form is more critical than anything else, a result of his alienation from his birth herd. He doesn’t like chimeras, seeing them as abominations (a view which Phoenix herself agrees with). He’s distrustful of most outsiders and even members of the herd that took him in. He eventually warmed up to Phoenix after the Spider-East War, even going as far as to walk her down the aisle for her marriage to Seiryu.

Tempest trusts Allianna and would do anything to protect her because she was one of the few unicorns to show him kindness. It’s unknown if he feels anything remotely romantic towards her. If he does, he wouldn’t say so. He doesn’t have interest in ruling the Unicorn Nation as King, feeling that no one would recognize a solid black unicorn as a ruler. He’s simply content with his position as Allianna’s confidante and is continuously working to make sure he has the herd’s trust. There were a few members in the past who felt his rise to such a lofty position was done through trickery. They sadly thought Allianna naive, which she is anything but. Tempest doesn’t care if they badmouth him to his face or behind his back. He gains pleasure in proving his worth to silence his detractors.

All in all, I love what I’ve done for Tempest. He’s certainly better as a misunderstood unicorn wanting to prove his worth than he was as the Big Bad of the first series. Given that his first incarnation was every black unicorn cliche under the sun, it makes sense that I re-purposed him for something better.

Tobias, Ziz Lord of the Air

Tobias is the middle of the three Lords in terms of age. He was hatched just as the Age of Ice was wrapping up. He is the successor to Lord Anan.The Ziz were what the ancient Hebrews called pteranodons and other flying reptiles like them. Since they aren’t dinosaurs, I was able to get away with calling them by their Hebrew name. Tobias’s wing span is pretty large for his kind. He’s the smallest of the three Lords and can land comfortably on Azariah’s back or Nimbus’s head.

Like Azariah, Tobias is also endowed with a strange eye. His right eye looks like the sun, burning glow and everything. It also “sinks” in conjunction to the actual sun so it’s dark at night. When the Ziz went into hiding after the death of Anan, they broke up into communities that hid out in the remote regions of the world. Tobias’s strange eye led to his exile from his community and he flew off to hide in Verboden Waair. He remained there until he received the call to head northwest, to the shoreline where the Sea Lord’s Keep sank into the ocean. There he met members of the other two Great Races, Azariah and Nimbus. Naturally wary of each other given the bad blood between their kinds, the three hid together until the Kings appeared and told them their destinies: to take the Lordships that been vacant for over 4,000 years.

Tobias answered his call, noting that three unlikely members of their races were called. Tobias was an exile, Azariah was a bandit, and Nimbus was just all-around jaded. Through their shared destiny, the three became friends and worked to patch things between their kinds, made easy when they learned the truth behind their predecessors’ deaths. Tobias reopened the Air Lord’s Keep, located far in the southern reaches of Verboden Waair. The Keep was built into the the top of a mountain and can only be reached by flying. The Watchers remade themselves in Tobias’s image to prove he holds authority.

Apparently, the reason Verboden Waair was forbidden to all outsiders was because Anan was pretty territorial. He controlled a vast portion of the Range while Roter Stier, the red bull, controlled the portion near Ganpon. Both the Ziz Lord and the demon fought for complete control of the Forbidden Range and when the Ziz disappeared, Roter Stier was able to take control of the whole Range. Even after the existence of the Ziz was forgotten, it was pretty engrained in the collective human consciousness that Verbodden Waair was off limits (especially with Roter Stier still around) and the Range gained a reputation of being evil. Tobias has since driven Roter Stier back to his old territory.

Azariah, Behemoth Lord of the Earth

Azariah is a Behemoth who’s lived the longest out of the new Lords. He was before after the Landless Time and before the Age of Ice. Behemoths in my story don’t follow the description in the Bible, which describes a sauropod dinosaur, because of sauropods existing on Island Reptilia. All World Behemoths are best described as rhino shaped with two tusks jutting out from just behind where their jaw bone connect to their skull. The tusks are long and give the appearance of ant mandibles. Their mouths are like a Triceratops and since they feed on ferns and other plants of the like, the tusks don’t hinder them in their feeding. They are three times the size of an elephant.

Azariah was born long after the death of Lord Renshu, his predecessor. The Behemoth race had taken to hiding in plain sight, either disguised as humans or going into suspended animation and appearing as small hills. Azariah lived with his family until they had the misfortune of coming across bounty hunters and poachers who, while surprised to see members of the Great Race still alive, nonetheless killed Azariah’s parents and younger sister. Azariah was able to escape and hide in a human form and he was soon found by other members of his kind, a gang of bandits. Azariah hated himself for allowing the poachers to kill his family so he abandoned his name and became known as Abednego. His closest friends in the gang were the leader, Meshach, and Shadrach. His alias to those outside the gang was Oblivion.

Azariah, like Nimbus, was endowed with a sign that he was the chosen one to take over for Renshu. His left eye has the exact appearance of the moon, craters and all, and follows the moon’s phases in tandem. At night, it even glowed like the moon, going dark every month at the new moon. In a human form, he hid it under an eye patch. Despite its appearance, the moon eye is fully functional. It had been foretold that the new Lord of Earth would have such an eye. I was inspired by an Orc in Peter Jackson’s Return of the King.

When Azariah became the new Earth Lord, he was able to unseal the Earth Lord’s Keep. It is a fortress in the middle of a vast lake in Genbu’s North. When Renshu died, the lake went up in flames, thanks to a vast oil reserve underneath it that was magically brought to the surface and burned for millennia. Azariah’s claim to the Lordship put the fires out and the Watchers remade themselves in his image. The Keep has a sad history and a dark secret that the Kings told Azariah before he reopened it. When Renshu died, the fire that sprung up to guard the Keep trapped many Behemoths inside with no way to escape. Suzaku was the only one able to see it for himself since he could fly over the lake of fire and his authority overrules the Watchers’ right to bar entrance. Skeletons of Behemoths who died of starvation littered the Keep.

The dark secret the Keep is hiding was in the form of Thanatos, the kelpie who raped Queen Allianna and the last of his kind. He had been incarcerated in the Keep for many years, having only escaped once to commit his crime against Allianna. After he was captured again by Seiryu, he was bound by chains of Byakko’s making that kept him secured for another hundred years before Krieg, a nightmare stallion and one of Thanatos’s allies, found him and busted him out.

After taking his place as Lord, Azariah went back to using his real name and worked hard to start bringing his kind out of hiding. Meshach and Shadrach became his advisers for being among the first Behemoths to recognize him as Lord.

Nimbus, Leviathan Lord of the Sea

Nimbus is another character who passed over to All World from the world that came before. I overhauled and re-purposed him for his new incarnation. He went from a blue-green sea serpent to a blind Leviathan (still the same creature by any other name) whose color scheme is that of an orca/killer whale. He’s roughly 4,500 years old and was born after the Age of Ice. His long life made Nimbus extremely jaded and he had it in for the human race for many, many years. He was born blind for a reason.

The Almighty had to choose three new Lords (of the Air, Sea, and Earth) after the forerunners of the Ziz, Behemoth, and Leviathan races went to war with each other for an unknown reason and were slain by a Heavenly Unseen sent with that mission. It was foretold to the Kings that the new Lord of the Sea would be born after the Age of Ice. The Almighty reached into time and took Nimbus’s sight away while he was growing in his egg. Nimbus soon hatched and was thrust into a battle for survival. As predicted, the Leviathan became genocidal towards humanity for the state of All World, having fallen over 2,000 years before he hatched. Nimbus’s life-long wish was to have seen the world in its perfect state, an All World before the Descent. The only thing stopping Nimbus was his blindness. He was unable to leave the sea and wage his war against humans. His blindness didn’t stop him from sinking ships entering his territory, the Grey Sea off the coast of Suzaku’s South.

Despite his handicap, Nimbus is still a formidable and dangerous fighter. He utilizes echolocation to see where he’s going and having survived as long as he has is a feat few others could match, never mind his destiny for Lordship. Over the millennia, Nimbus’s genocidal tendencies and overall attitude waned to grudgingly accepting he didn’t have the power to change the past. He was born into a fallen world and he knew he was going to die in a fallen world. He still picks off ships when his ugly mood rears his head but nowadays, ships can sail through the Grey Sea without being harassed by a Leviathan with a huge chip on his shoulder.

Nimbus was very antisocial, even to his own kind. Leviathans raise their pups to adulthood but once they’re able to survive on their own, family ties break down and they become competitors for prey. While as sentient and sapient as the other powerful races, Leviathans are less likely to form groups. The only other Leviathan they are willing to share their territory with is their mates and they mate for life. Nimbus’s blindness made him a prime target among his kind but having defeated his enemies and protected his territory, he’s become a well-respected being.

One theory to the Leviathan race’s overall hostility to their own kind most likely came from the fact that the first Sea Lord, Hiamovi, had been killed. He united the Leviathan Nation under his rule, despite natural competition. His death drove his kind into hiding and their overall natures as fierce, territorial beings came to the forefront. In the intervening years between Hiamovi and his successor, Nimbus, the Leviathans nearly drove themselves to extinction.

Nimbus came into contact with Isis, the half-dragon daughter of Judge Krakatau when she and her future husband, Kemet, came to aid Suzaku when the alchemist Nomad was after the Firestone, a powerful stone which helped Suzaku unite his kind under his rule. He had a well-known hatred for hybrids such as Isis, thinking that beings should keep their own races. He sees chimeras in the same light. Isis, however, softened his heart and taught that love knows no race. In spite of himself, Nimbus fell in love with her but he was wise enough to know that Kemet was destined to be her husband. He has since met and fallen in love with a female Leviathan named Cirrus.

Nimbus’s blindness probably makes him the most unbiased being on the face of All World in terms of things like beauty. Using his sonar and his hands (in a human form), he can form a picture in his mind of what he’s “seeing”. However, beauty and color are foreign concepts to him, thanks to the fact there was never a time he could see with his eyes.  He’s a judge of character so if he finds you likable, you’ve been paid a high compliment.

Nimbus came into his destiny as the new Sea Lord along with his new allies, Azariah the Behemoth and Tobias the Ziz. They were destined to be the new Lords of the Earth and Sky, respectively. The three races had a long history of hatred against each other because of the previous Lords’ deaths. They didn’t know it was Heavenly Unseen who killed them. It was destiny of the chosen ones to bridge the gap between the races and put the past to rest. Nimbus rules the world’s oceans from the Sea Lord’s Keep, a fortress off the coast of Genbu’s North. Upon Hiamovi’s death, the Keep sank into the sea to await the new Lord and the stone Watchers (in Hiamovi’s image) prevented trespassers from entering the Keep. When Nimbus made Lord, he proved it to his kind by raising the Keep. The Watchers remade themselves in Nimbus’s image. The new Lord then had Cirrus become his Lady.

Under Nimbus’s leadership, the Leviathan race has slowly come out of hiding and is slowly rebuilding. They’ll likely never reach the numbers they had many millennia ago but it’s a start. With the extinction of the Giant Sharks, aka C. megalodon, and millennia of in-fighting, the great race lost not only their top threat (which was mutual for the sharks) but also a great deal of their gene pool. The three Great Races are experiencing a drastic genetic bottleneck they may never recover from. But with time, things may balance out again. I hope to explore more with them in future stories.

Dinosaurs and All World

Let’s face it. Humanity loves dinosaurs. I’m no exception. What saddens me most, aside from the animals no longer being around, is what humanity has corrupted them into: giant chickens we can no longer take seriously. Yep, people had to go and stick feathers on them when so-called evidence for such feathers was found on the raptors and other small theropods (which implies that beloved predators like Velociraptor weren’t actually dinosaurs at all but toothy birds through and through). Ignoring the teeth, would you take T. rex seriously if it had feathers ? I seriously can’t. It’s hard to be scared of a sixteen foot high chicken with teeth than the more aesthetically pleasing scaly animal we’ve known years before idiots start putting feathers on them, trying to find a nonexistent link between dinosaurs and birds. Feathers make some of the greatest animals that ever lived look lame.

Given the lame looks of dinosaurs in today’s depictions, it was inevitable that I would bring dinosaurs into All World and restore them to the way they were:  scaly animals. All World calls them Old Reptiles and to avoid using the scientific names in a world where Latin doesn’t exist, I gave them new names in layman’s words. Take my favorite dinosaur, the Spinosaurus, for instance. In All World, they are called Sailbacks for their distinctive sails. I made my dinosaurs sentient and sapient as well as putting some of the big time predators into herds in the care of human Keepers. You could even ride them if they let you. Played for the Rule of Cool because seriously, who wouldn’t want to walk down the street on the shoulders of a dinosaur? Who says large carnivores have to be mindless monsters all the time as well? The Old Reptiles are the reason Island Reptilia exists.

Going on my idealistic view that perhaps dinosaurs still exist somewhere in our world, Island Reptilia was made to be a sanctuary to prevent them from going extinct in All World. The only reason that I believe dinosaurs may still be alive somewhere is the fact that we haven’t explored every inch of this planet. There are still plenty of places we haven’t seen that may be hiding dinosaurs of some kind. Given the discovery of soft tissue in a T. rex bone , it’s not a long shot to assume the animal had lived recently and depending on the climate and environment, soft tissue could last for a while but millions of years doesn’t allow for that tissue to still exist as it was found.

Another thing I don’t like what humanity’s done to dinosaurs is assuming they lived so long ago that people never seen one alive. I think different. People in many cultures have described and showed what could only be dinosaurs through the ages. Those dragon myths we know so well? How do we know they weren’t embellished stories about interaction of some kind with dinosaurs? I truly believe that “dragon” is the ancestral name for “dinosaur” since the word dinosaur itself wasn’t coined until the 1800s. I believe dinosaurs were not only killed off by nature but also by humans. They have found cave drawings of humans killing dinosaurs. Not that secular science wants you to know that because it’s so corrupted. Science, believe it or not, is easy to reconcile with a Biblical worldview and it makes the most sense when looked at with such a view

The Old Reptiles of All World’s story dates back to the Genesis Flood and before. Like on Earth, a few juvenile specimens were saved on the Ark and spread over the world after the Flood was over. The Old Reptiles found themselves in competition with humans and other beats that required that some be transplanted to Island Reptile, a federal secret on the Continent, while the unlucky ones were left to die and caused them to go extinct on the mainland. Some dinosaurs bonded with the humans who swore to help rebuild the species, forming farms and bringing in herd mentalities for the large carnivores. Island Reptilia also hosts animals from the single Ice Age both Earth and All World went through post-Flood, like mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and the like.

Dire wolves’ pack mentalities were emulated by farms specializing in Small Arms (T. rex and other large theropods) and Sailbacks, and allowed herds with up to ten members to be possible. Even the alpha rank one finds in wolves is found in a herd of large theropods. In  my first Island Reptilia story, it follows the story of a girl who stumbled across the secret of living Old Reptiles when a smuggler was showing off a baby Sailback named Ember in her village located in Seiryu’s East. She helped return him to his farm on the Island and she became close with the alpha male and female of Ember’s herd, Inferno and Pyra, as well as the keeper’s son, Daniel. Inferno and Pyra are also Ember’s parents. Since we don’t know what coloration dinosaurs were, I went with the Rule of Cool for Inferno, Pyra, and Ember by them look like what their names suggest. Inferno’s probably my favorite Sailback for that reason. His coloration is reds and blacks with some orange.

I have to thank Jurassic Park III for the idea of a battle between a Sailback and Small Arm (T. Rex type). To be honest, before JP3, I wasn’t aware this sailed animal even existed. However, studies on a surviving fossil of a Spinosaurus skull suggest that this apex predator was primarily a fisher and so its bite power wasn’t as strong as a T. Rex. JP3 again just applied the Rules of Cool and Drama to show off Spiny. Spinosaurus could possibly take out a juvenile, weak, or very old T. Rex but certainly not the one he fought in the movie which I’m sure was a full-grown healthy adult.  The fight between Inferno and a rouge Small Arm almost ended in Inferno’s death but his herd finally rose against the attacker after making sure their young were safe and saved his life. Before inspiration dried up, the story halted at Inferno coming down with an infection from getting bitten on the neck by his adversary.

Dinosaurs will always hold a place in my heart but sadly, today’s “science” is kind of making me wish they never existed. After all, for one who disagrees with everything taught in school biology, it’s better for dinosaurs to never have existed at all than to be mere puppets to a theory that has no weight in reality. I will never come to accept the worldview of dinosaurs living long before humans when their bones have been found in the same layers as humans or that the ultimate predators like T. rex were just huge hulking chickens with teeth. Dragons are almost universally reptilian in our stories. So, too, were the animals they were based on…dinosaurs. Dinosaurs and birds are two distinct races. They have nothing in common. Genetics don’t allow for one animal to turn into another. It just doesn’t happen in the real world.

The Difference Between Genbu and the Snakes

This continues from what was started in the last blog.

The difference between the snakes and Genbu is quite simple. It’s worth noting that even though Genbu has two minds capable of independent thought but think as one, Orochi and Kusanagi’s brains give a straighter example of a Hive Mind. All heads think as one and are incapable of acting alone, justified in the fact they are all the same entity, whereas Genbu is a fusion being.They usually choose the central head as the main communicator. The head that wears the fire helm is the main communicator for Orochi and is the most central of his even number of heads. Kusanagi having an odd number makes him appear as though he was once a normal snake who sprouted six more heads. Each head can speak but the central head handles all communication for simplicity’s sake. If the main head is tied up somehow, then another head will speak. This is evident from when Orochi stopped Araneae from attacking Phoenix. He had several sets of fangs in the giant spider, including his main head, so the head with the mountain helm did the talking before he proceeded to savagely rip the spider apart.

Having the number of minds that the snakes do, I wondered how to handle the intake of information each snake gets. With that many eyes, one would think they’d get migraines taking in their surroundings. That’s another reason a Hive Mind is so useful. The seven or eight brains in the snakes act like parts of a larger brain, allowing them to process their surroundings as a panoramic image to prevent a large scale overload of information. This eliminates any and all blind spots. Each head is treated like a limb on any other being so they are capable of independent movement. It would be nigh impossible to sneak up on them, even at night. Each snake sleeps with one head watching their surroundings. It narrows their field of vision but constant vigilance prevents anyone from slitting their throats.

Again, very few beings are considered threats by the two snakes because they are very old. They know a thing or two about the many ways one could assassinate someone. The fact both of them are venomous discourages would-be killers. Though, if the would-be killer is a human, they’d be swallowed whole because Orochi and Kusanagi are massive. Orochi’s roughly the size and length of six city buses from noses to tail. Kusangi’s a close contender at the size and length of four. One simply doesn’t trifle with giants like that and live to tell about it. A major fluke could save an assassin from them but the sheer number of heads, along with their speed and strength, makes it unlikely. I’m not even about to entertain the idea of seeing what would happen if I were to cut off one of their heads in-story. The worst that could happen would be them losing  one-eighth or one-seventh of their overall brain functions.

Orochi and Kusanagi also hold the distinction of being the only snakes that can transform and capable of actual hearing. Real snakes, even the ones Orochi lords over, are deaf. Orochi communicates with his subjects somehow in ways I haven’t explored yet. I can just chalk it up to his magical prowess and overall snake-ishness.

Yamata no Orochi and Kusanagi

Yamata no Orochi is the giant eight-headed snake from Japanese legends and the look of my Orochi was inspired by his Okami incarnation where his heads were reminiscent of a dragon, thus freeing me from trying to decide what poisonous snake he should be. The Shogun was first introduced in the story that ended with Phoenix entering the Great Desert and subsequently losing her soul. She met him just before then and he warned her against entering the Desert. His backstory is pretty interesting and (I hope) well developed for someone who’s something of a minor player in my mythos.

Orochi is described as a self-serving soul who is also as old as the world. He was created to be Genbu’s second so all snakedom would be under the High King’s rule, as Genbu’s jurisdiction over snakes only extended to the relatively harmless ones, like constrictors. Orochi’s position would put him on the level of Royeren (Suzaku’s second), Kuro (Seiryu’s former second), and Kala (Byakko’s second). He, in turn, has a second; Kusanagi. However, after the Descent, Orochi turned his back on the Almighty in the interest of ruling the shogunate he founded to be a separate entity from Genbu’s kingdom. His power to see the intangible was given to him from the start since the Almighty knew about everything that would happen. A Forgone Conclusion since He’s the All World equivalent of the Christian God. It was only awakened after the fact but Orochi, in his self-serving ways, had no intention of using it.

It took a mild implication from the Almighty to make Orochi think that his life was in jeopardy and have him fulfill his purpose. He grudgingly did so but swore no oath to the Almighty or Genbu. It was all according to plan, anyway. The Almighty knew where his future was going to go. Orochi found beings who willingly enter the Great Desert and come into contact with the Sword to be unfailingly stupid and not worth saving. It was probably more that mindset than his self-serving attitude that almost made him abandon his calling before it even started. He didn’t think that perhaps the unlucky soul’s family or friends would even mourn the loss of a loved one.  It took the cursing of the East by Seiryu, driven mad by Phoenix’s fate, that opened Orochi’s eyes (all sixteen of them) to the reality that people get hurt if something happens to someone they care about. Seiryu’s madness turned everything in the East to stone, sans Orochi whose vast age alone allowed him to counteract what he calls child’s play.

Orochi alone is immune to the Sacred Sword’s power, thanks to his soul-binding power. But he’s not immune to failure. He’s lost thirty of the Sword’s victims over the ages because he failed to find the soul in time to keep the body from dying. That was before he gained life support systems from King Byakko which could keep the body alive indefinitely, allowing him to hunt down the soul with more time. After working hard to avert a long term disaster in the East (being well within Seiryu’s power to destroy it himself), Orochi came to appreciate that there was still good in the world and works harder to prevent others from entering the Desert. He’s the guardian, so to speak.

Orochi showed signs of the Lima Syndrome trope when he was working hard to reunite Phoenix with her soul. Indeed, he grew more compassionate for the Sword’s victims thanks to her and he even gained some feelings for the chimera, even saying outright to her face that he wished Seiryu didn’t hold her heart. He’s a graceful loser and stepped aside after it was all said and done. He’s still protective of her, as seen in the Spider-East War when he took a blow from Araneae, Queen of the giant spiders.

Orochi has elemental powers alongside his mission-specific ability to see souls. All his powers were also inspired by Okami’s first Big Bad of the same name. Those powers, however, have their catalyst in the eight helms he wears so they aren’t inherent powers like most magic. As he rarely gets into battles where such power is needed, he’s more of a straight example of a Lightning Bruiser, due to his speed and sheer strength thanks to his size. His elemental powers come in handy in wars and large scale battles.

Orochi was also given the gift of a holy sword in the event that he learned compassion and discipline. Fridge Brilliance comes into play when it’s revealed who the sword’s former master was: the Deceiver himself. The Shogun is pretty much everything the Deceiver isn’t, as “humanly” possible as it is for one who isn’t a true immortal. Irony comes into play in terms of Orochi gaining possession a holy sword: he has a demonic state that is only unlocked in extreme circumstance, as seen in the battle he had with the Deceiver. However, Our Demons Are Different. There are two forms of demons in All World. True demons are the Fallen Unseen (fallen angels). Then you have a wholly different and separate class that apply to beings like Orochi and Roter Stier, a demon who haunts Verboden Waair and whose appearance is Exactly What It Says On The Tin; a red fire bull.

Orochi’s second is a giant seven-headed water moccasin named Kusanagi. Until recently, he was an unseen character, barring his petrified form when the East was cursed. Kusanagi is driven by one thing and that is to overthrow Orochi, his master. He feels as though he was wronged by the Almighty who chose Orochi for Shogun on the mere fact that Orochi has eight heads. Kusanagi feels he’s more worthy of his because he has the holy number in head, seven. He makes it a habit to attack and battle Orochi every half-century but he’s stepping up his game and attacking more frequently. The Shogun’s attitude to his second’s actions may bring to mind the trope Why Don’t You Just Shoot Him? That answer is found is in the blog dealing with my near-immortals and their view on their long life.

Kusanagi made his first real appearance in Genbu’s spotlight story and it’s further explained why he’s not Shogun. The water moccasin is somewhat bloodthirsty but he restrains himself very well, thanks to his age.  Coming to contact with anything with a pulse (females in particular), makes Kusanagi go off on whimsical daydreams of putting his victim’s life out. Heartbeats excite him and he physically has to will himself away before he sinks his fangs into what he calls “a lovely jugular that longs to be stopped”.  It was shown with his interaction with Katrina, Genbu’s human love interest. He was in her village while Genbu was raising a mountain for Orochi’s new headquarters along with Master Fenrir of the wolves and he was.

Kusanagi is someone who sees death as an art and it’s possible that when he first killed someone in self-defense (water moccasin: bad news for people), he Jumped Off The Slippery Slope and wanted nothing more than to kill for the heck of it. Orochi keeps him in line, though he feels that if Kusanagi can be trained to only kill when necessary, the moccasin may gain the thing he covets most: the entire shogunate with the title to match.  That’s probably the reason Orochi doesn’t just kill Kusanagi for his trouble.

The Mystery of High King Genbu

Genbu, the High King of the North, is a mysterious character, even to me. Out of the Four Kings, he and Byakko of the West are the Kings I deal with the least since I write more on Seiryu of the East and Suzaku of the South. Genbu now has a story dedicated to him so I decided to share what he is and what makes him greater than his own kind/kinds.

Genbu is a fusion being, the only one in the world. What makes him different than a chimera is that he was two creatures in the beginning (a black tortoise and a brown snake), while a chimera is an entirely artificial lifeform grown from the test tube and whose DNA was spliced through alchemy. Genbu’s two halves were fused together at some point in the third century A.D. (After Descent). He had already been King for that long and decided that two heads were better than one. His true form relies on his tortoise half for locomotion. The snake (a reticulated python) is embedded in his shell on the right side. The head and a majority of the tail are free moving. The rest of the body vanishes into the shell, as if the shell grew over it. His human form keeps the snake half, leading to an need to disguise what he is. Genbu, if moonlighting as a human, merely acts as if the snake was his pet, instead of a part of him. Because of the python’s length, he usually has that half wrapped around his waist and the head comes up over his shoulder. He’s of the opinion that the people wouldn’t accept him anymore than they do chimeras if they were to learn the truth.

Because of his unique body, he has two of every organ except his lungs (he has four).  Each head is capable of independent thought but they think as one, so the snake doesn’t act on its own if it ever does. Each half has to feed on the same diets they had when they were two. Currently, it’s not clear on if killing either side would qualify as full out regicide and trigger the cataclysm that would destroy the North should Genbu be killed somehow. It’s likely that both of Genbu’s hearts have to cease functioning in order for it to be considered a true death, thus triggering Domain-wide destruction.

Both then and now, Genbu rules over two animal kingdoms in conjunction to being one of the kings of the world. He rules reptiles, except Old Reptiles (dinosaurs) and venomous snakes (Orochi’s shogunate).  Because his dominion doesn’t extend to adders, the Almighty had intended for Orochi, the Shogun, to be Genbu’s second and bring all snakes under the rule of Genbu. The High King had to wait over 6,000 years before Orochi awoke to his destiny and submit to the King as a vassal. The shogunate still survives as a separate entity and Orochi’s authority is still law but now he is accountable to the King for any actions he takes.

Genbu is a being of several quirks. The most noticeable quirk is his usage of the Royal We. A sample of his dialog goes something like this: “We are King Genbu.” Being two separate creatures in the beginning and the snake losing his voice after the fusion, the main body speaks for both halves. There was a long stretch of time where Genbu used singular words like “I” for himself like normal beings but he has since regressed back into the Royal We. A bit of Fridge Brilliance comes into play when one remembers that snakes are deaf. In-story, Orochi and Kusanagi are the only snakes capable of hearing anything. It has to be because they are capable of transformation into a human form. As Genbu’s snake half lost his power to speak and transform when the two bodies fused together, it makes sense that he lost his ability to hear.

Another oddity about him is the North itself. Genbu’s Castle is in the Far North, nestled safely in the Northern Range. The Far North is a permafrost area, contrary for the suitable habitat for reptiles. The Mid-North is a more temperate zone but still has winter for a season. The region near the center of the Continent is a bit warmer as the equator splits the East and West in half, and runs across the Central Crossgates that connects all four Domains. More on the Crossgates later. Genbu’s power allows him to have central heating all over his castle and he has a greenhouse where his vassals live and grow food for the main body. When he lives the Far North to travel around, he travels in a human form because of the convenience of faster mobility, the disguise of his fusion, and having warm blood. The heat from his human body also travels to his snake half and allows it to stay warm. His circulatory system is more expansive than a regular human, thanks to his fusion.

The King of the North is regarded as the wisest of the four and he has a love affair with astronomy. He loves documenting the heavens, making him the All World equivalent of Galileo and other ancient astronomers.  It’s not a long shot to assume he’s discovered other planets circling the star All World revolves around. Genbu is highly analytical and not prone to emotional outbursts even as a human, kind of the Vulcans of Star Trek fame. But when he gets mad, you know it. I look forward to finishing his story.