Category Archives: All World
Blog posts on All World.
I’ve written on Fenrir before but I decided to give a bit more info on the ancient Grandmaster, his Order, and an old conspiracy theory surrounding him. The bits detailing more on Fenrir and the Order were originally going to be two separate posts but I might as well consolidate them all into one.
As written before, Fenrir is the ancient Grandmaster of the Assassin Order of Wolves (AOW). He’s the only dire wolf assassin left in the world (since the dires of Island Reptilia are normal, non-transforming dires). All his subordinates are extant species (arctic, grey, etc.). His mortal enemy is Altair, himself the Grandmaster of the Roc Assassin Order (RAO) and is part of a one-sided rivalry with Gilgamesh the werewolf.
The Fenrir Conspiracy is an old theory that’s as old as Fenrir himself. The theory is that the Fenrir name is merely a smokescreen and that Fenrir isn’t really as old as he is, or even a dire assassin. Hardcore believers think that the Grandmaster isn’t the same wolf through all of history. The first mention of Fenrir dates back 4,500 years ago and has been noted in historical events ever since. They discredit that a being that isn’t a High King or the Shogun could have lived for so long. They think that the original Fenrir was so good at what he did, his name became a useful tool and has been used by successors to the Grandmaster title.
A major hole in the theory is that whenever Fenrir moves on a target or gets publicly involved in anything, his methods never change. If he was just one of many successors to the Grandmaster title, historical records would reflect that. Each assassin under him have their own style. Fenrir is different because his style never changes. Part of the hole is that assassins find a style that suits them and they stick with it. They become so ingrained in their way of doing things that they are adverse to learning someone else’s style, even to keep up a ruse. Because history blatantly states that the style of Grandmaster Fenrir is always the same, it further proves that Fenrir truly is an ancient wolf.
Despite the evidence, there are still hardcore believers in the Fenrir Conspiracy. Neither Fenrir nor the Order attempts to quash the theory because it’s actually a very useful tool. If Fenrir needs a decoy, he’ll ask a trusted assassin in his branch to take his name and place. He’s not without his fun side and relishes revealing himself as the true Grandmaster to his enemies. It’s often the last mistake they make. While he enjoys using the conspiracy theory for his own ends, he can’t abide anyone who abuses his name. Aside from his intended targets, Fenrir has also made unsanctioned kills on imposters. Despite a rather negative profession, Fenrir has a good reputation, honor, and sense of justice. Imposters are usually criminals who use his name to commit crimes and to control towns and villages through fear. The Grandmaster regularly sends out warnings, reminding the entire Continent of the price imposters pay if they’re caught by the Order.
Thought not without his merciful side, sparing an imposter found guilty of using his name depends on Fenrir’s mood at the time. It also depends on the severity of the crimes committed in his name. Extreme cases where he kills imposters with no mercy are those who oppress towns and villages and a number of immoral crimes, like rape. Other cases result in him letting the fakes off the hook up to three times or imprisonment. Very few imposters caught by the Order are actually used as informants. These informants understand Fenrir’s desire to keep his name clean and they requested that in order to make up for their wrongdoing, that they be allowed to live and to keep the Order informed of things they may not be aware of. A number of things in remote towns and villages were brought to the Order’s attention through informants. An example would be a case from 200 years ago where an imposter was using Fenrir’s name in order to rape women without consequence. Fenrir personally had that man held in the branch house nearest the victimized town until he could arrive from Ganpon and deliver the death sentence himself.
Fenrir runs a tight Order. While he is the Grandmaster of the entire Order, he has a council of eight Master Assassins under him to run the branches around the Continent. Each Domain has two branches, covering north and south of each Domain. The Masters must send word to Ganpon if they feel a decision is beyond their power. Certain imposters, for instance, did such heinous crimes using Fenrir’s name, that the Masters who had them imprisoned didn’t know if their authority was enough to warrant extreme punishment. They would send a case file to Ganpon for Fenrir to look over and he would tell them what they could or could not do to the prisoner. In a few cases, like what was written before, a few special cases warranted Fenrir to appear in person and deliver the punishment.
Any and all major missions, usually the assassination of regional government officials, also must be sent to and approved by Fenrir before the mission is a go. He’ll report it to the Emperor or Empress and ask for their opinion of the matter. Though the Order is an autonomous entity with their own laws and lies outside the laws of the Human Empire and other Nations, Fenrir makes it a point to discuss high end assassinations with whoever is in charge of the perpetrator’s race. He allows them to make the final call and he gives the order. If he feels that an assassination is the only way, he’ll circumvent requests for his wolves not to kill a perpetrator.When a previous Empress was revealed to be a very corrupt woman who abused her power to the point that the Empire nearly fell apart, Fenrir disregarded the human council’s pleas for her to be spared on the grounds that she was pregnant with the next heir. He personally planted the dagger that ended her life as well as the life of her child and forced her husband to abdicate the throne, allowing her younger brother to succeed the throne. That mission made him infamous for quite some time because he didn’t show mercy to an unborn child.
The High Kings themselves usually don’t discipline Fenrir, because they trust his judgement. His judgement has rarely ever been wrong and they have faith in his ability to do the right thing. The case of the corrupt Empress shook their faith in him however. He was subjected to his first and only inquiry in his long life by the High Kings and the Council of Myth. He defended his decision on the grounds that if the Empress were allowed to live, she would’ve destroyed the Empire. When asked why he didn’t spare her until her child was born, Fenrir gave no answer aside from saying that he had to serve the greater good. If the Empress were allowed to live long enough to give birth to her child, it would’ve been too late to save the Empire. Her brother was a better man for the job and was hard at work at repairing the damage. Though conflicted at his lack of mercy for a unborn child, the High Kings let Fenrir go with a severe promise that they would personally take his head if this happened again.
The Order mostly deals with the Human Empire but has been called in by the animal Nations if needed. They are considered the Empire’s elite guard. Internal corruption and ineffectual leadership in the Order is kept quiet from the outside world. Fenrir makes an annual round trip to all the branches of the Order, making sure the Masters follow the code. If he suspects a Master of either corruption or ineffective leadership when he’s not around, he’ll ask his most trusted assassins from his own branch in Ganpon to infiltrate the offending branch and keep an eye on the Master. If the Master is found to be ineffectual or corrupt, they are removed from their post (by force if necessary) and a list of nominees is sent by that branch’s rank and file for Fenrir to look over. He’ll choose a new Master based on performance, leadership skills, and qualifications. Ineffectual Masters are merely demoted while corrupt Masters are brought before Fenrir and the other Masters for an inquiry. Punishments vary from demotion, banishment, and in extreme cases, death. It’s the general attitude of the Order that it’s better to be demoted and lose a little honor than it is to be found guilty of corruption and lose everything.
Next post will detail Fenrir’s relationship with Altair and the Roc Assassin Order.
I was rereading something and was inspired to give a little blurb on one of All World’s defining geological features. It’s known as the Great Desert. It’s a gigantic expanse of sand that covers a good portion of Seiryu’s East along the border to Genbu’s North. It has a bad reputation though well-earned. I’ll tell you how it came into existence as well as why it has been reputed as a dangerous place.
Back in the beginning, the Great Desert was called Sanctuary. It was where the Almighty breathed life into the world and where all creatures and plants of the earth had their beginning. Sanctuary is the birthplace of the Kings, the Shogun, and the Sovereign as well as the forerunners of all creatures, including humans. In the garden that it was, there two special trees. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. When the Descent occurred and the human forerunners were banished, Sanctuary was guarded by the Almighty’s flaming Sacred Sword. It guarded the Tree of Life and Sanctuary became a forbidden place. When the Landless Time buried the Continent and Island Reptilia underwater, Sanctuary was destroyed and reverted to a desert after the waters receded. Legends tell that the Sword of the Almighty still stands guard where it was placed. Legends also say that the dead remains of both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil still stand. The flood waters had uprooted and drowned many, many tree but those two in particular were two of the very few whose roots prevented that from happening.
The Great Desert, as it came to be called, became associated with evil because those who wandered into it seeking the Trees never came out again, even if they went in fully prepared with food and water. It’s also the only place in All World that is truly dead. Nothing grows or lives in it. Shogun Yamata no Orochi claimed the desert as his territory because his duty is to prevent others from entering it and to find those struck down by the Sacred Sword and reunite them with their souls. That is the Sword’s ability. It cuts down any and all who manage to find it and the remains of the Trees. The souls cut free from their flesh are stuck in sort of limbo until Orochi is able to use his God-given ability to reunite them with theirs bodies.
Over the course of the six thousand year history All World has seen since its formation, the numbers of wanderers into the Great Desert number only in the low one-hundreds, a vast majority being humans. Orochi himself is successful 95% of the time at turning the curious away from the desert. The other 5% were those who either disregarded his warning or never met up with the gigantic eight-headed serpent. Orochi is not permitted to violently prevent anyone from entering his territory. He can do little more than to warn the curious of the dangers but the choice is ultimately up to them. Out of all those who went in and met their fate from the Sword, Orochi was successful in saving all of them except thirty. Those thirty souls weren’t found in time. Their bodies expired and the souls were taken into Paradise. The Shogun, as written in his bio, originally had no intention of policing the border to the Great Desert but was compelled into service.
Though Orochi has immunity from the Sword’s soul-rending power, even he dares not enter the Desert unless needed. The Sword acts of its own accord and has attacked him every time he came to retrieve a body rent of its soul. The Almighty had granted the Shogun special armor that he wears at all times to make the serpent well-protected from the duty-bound Sword. Orochi is always uneasy in its holy presence because he is evil by virtue of All World’s fallen state and the Sword strikes down all evil that comes across it. Innocent or vile, it makes no difference. All who live in a fallen world are judged the same by the Sword.
The Almighty has told the Kings that when All World’s clock ticks down to zero, He would remove the Sword from its place in the Great Desert and that would be the sign that the end was at hand. As the Desert is in Seiryu’s Domain, the dragon King has made it his unending duty to keep a close watch on the sword from his Castle, via the Seer’s Ball. Even ancients like himself fear the Desert and the Sword within but they haven’t forgotten Sanctuary, their birthplace. Their hope is to see it again in Paradise when things finally tick down to zero and are reset.
Suzaku is the phoenix High King of the South. His appearance was inspired by the film version of Fawkes, the phoenix of Professor Dumbledore from Harry Potter. Even then, I always saw phoenixes are more hawk-like than other versions. Suzaku is said to be the most beautiful of his kind. His second, Royeren, joked in the pilot story that looking on the King could render someone blind. Suzaku is closest to Seiryu out of the Four. They all refer to each other as Brother but Seiryu and Suzaku are definitely the best of friends. Suzaku’s also known as the kindest out of the Four.
Suzaku is the strangest of the High Kings because of what he is. Being a phoenix means he goes through the life/death/rebirth cycle, making him eternally younger than his counterparts yet just as old as them. For most of history, Suzaku’s death and rebirth was fixed annually, mostly as a tool for humans to create a calender. His cycle was fixed by the Almighty after the Descent. After he was freed from that duty, he could choose his own time to die. His chosen time now is every twenty years. Towards the end of his life, Suzaku, like all phoenixes, looks utterly dreadful. After he goes up in flames, it can take anywhere from sixty seconds to five minutes for him to be reborn, depending on how well he died previously. The only time it took longer than five minutes for Suzaku to return was when he died a particularly violent death.
Suzaku’s only known violent death was during the Siege of Ganpon in the pilot story. He was fighting in that battle when he noticed that the anti-villain was aiming to kill Judge Krakatau and Anna with an arrow. Suzaku was compelled to fly in the arrow’s path and took it to the heart. His death resulted in his body glowing, followed by an immense explosion. To get a good scope of the intensity, think of Sauron’s death in the first few moments of the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring film. It took fifteen minutes for him to come back from that death. Since then, even though his fatal wound was healed by his rebirth, Suzaku often claims to still feel the wound in his heart. Likely because he had never been shot before. He had died in other ways aside from the natural cycle but nothing at that scale.
Unlike most storybook phoenixes, there is a way to permanently kill one of my own. It’s called the Eternal Death, a spell the Deceiver developed and later caused to float around for humans to use. It negates a phoenix’s ability to return from the dead. Signs of its use are obvious. Aside from the obvious fact that the victim doesn’t come back to life, a victim’s plumage goes from scarlet red to an ashy grey, symbolic of their eternal fire going out forever. Allow me to delve into Suzaku’s history so we can get an idea of what this spell is.
In the beginning, unlike all other animals, the Almighty created just one phoenix, Ho-oh (more commonly called Fenghuang). Many legends say that phoenixes embody both male and female. I used that idea for my own mythos as well. However, after the Descent, the Almighty split Ho-oh in two. Ho became Suzaku while Oh remained known by that name. They became as siblings. Oh was supernaturally implanted with eggs to jump start the Phoenix Nation. Five hundred years later, Suzaku came to his sister side. He found Oh dead on the ground below her tree home. Her plumage was ashy grey and her wings were spread out, indicating she had been killed while on the ground, likely in her human form. Her death reverted her back.
Her death confused Suzaku who didn’t understand why she didn’t come back to life. Death as we know it is a foreign concept to a phoenix. They can’t wrap their minds around it. Since their cycle is all they ever knew, that’s understandable. Even after six thousand years of watching his mortal friends age and die, Suzaku still can’t imagine what it’s like to die and not come back. Since Oh’s death, several other phoenixes have been permanently been killed by the Eternal Death. The last known casualty was a phoenix servant named Cara who took the spell for the King when he was threatened with it. Unlike other victims, her death was a bit slower, likely because it was an alchemist (a human) who used it and alchemists aren’t likely practitioners of magic. All the same, Cara died and didn’t come back.
Like all phoenixes, Suzaku has to spend a few months in a burning furnace every time he comes back to life after going through his cycle. Phoenixes naturally retain their memories from their “past lives” so Suzaku is still able to rule the South effectively, even as a chick. The mark of his kingship is visible on his forehead when he first comes back because his fluffy down takes a while to grow after he comes back. Like all baby animals, Suzaku has been the subject of adoration from the female population every time he comes back and grows his down.
Back when he was helping humans create a calender, Suzaku would be taken to the Imperial Palace in Ganpon and placed on a pedestal for all to see. At the stroke of midnight, he would go up in flames and come back the next minute to signal the New Year. He would then be taken to a furnace to stay until he was big enough to be transferred back to his Castle. Now that that duty is over, Suzaku can now burn in the comforts of his home.
Suzaku’s main enemies are the Harpy Nation, even though he has a non-aggression pact with their Queen, Celaeno. I’ll delve into that at a later time.
Here’s part two of my kirin trio’s parents. This is about their mothers: Yuri, mother of Masamune, and Mai, mother of Murasame and Muramasa. Let’s begin with Yuri since facts about her are few and scattered.
Lady Yuri was the wife of Viceroy Hideyoshi and Quetzalcoatl was her immediate superior in the Island’s hierarchy. As such, she was the most powerful kirin on the Island, as the Sovereign’s second ranks above the Viceroy. She was a green-and-emerald mare with gold hair and blue eyes, making her similar in appearance to Quetzalcoatl himself. Yuri and Hideyoshi had been bonded for about fifty years before she was appointed the second to Quetzalcoatl. She gave birth to Masamune when she was over a century old. The exact age she was is unknown. Her power is also unknown at this time.
Yuri acted as the mediator between her husband and her son. Whenever the two came to blows verbally, she was always there to step in. More often than not, she would take Masamune’s side, knowing it was unfair for Hideyoshi to expect him to take on two roles he didn’t want. It was her unshakable stance on many issues that attracted Quetzalcoatl to her potential as his second. She was kind, serene, but strong and not easily cowed. Her best friend outside Hideyoshi was her superior.
Yuri’s life came to a tragic end when she was 400 years old. She was down by the river when she was attacked by a 17 ft. long saltwater crocodile (which can live in fresh water). The crocodile dragged her into the river but Yuri, in true kirin fashion, used her powers instinctively to save herself. Her cries of pain and fear alerted the herd nearby and brought Hideyoshi, Masamune, and some others to her rescue. While they managed to drive the crocodile off, it was too late. Yuri was grievously wounded. The damage was such that the healers couldn’t heal her fast enough. But even as she was losing blood, she remained serene, telling her devastated son to remain strong and to keep moving forward and telling her husband that she always loved him and to stop pressuring their son. She passed away ten minutes after being rescued. When Quetzalcoatl got the news, he was just as devastated as the herd and didn’t take another second until Masamune revealed his intention to take her place.
Mai is the twins’ mother and I will be the first to admit I originally intended her to be the one to reject Muramasa, instead of Oda. However, I ran into a block about what other mare would take the twins in so I relegated Mai’s original characterization to Oda, instead. I think it’s because I find it hard to believe a maternal creature would reject her own offspring, particularly creatures who think like a human. It also fits in with Oda better, too. He was named after Oda Nobunaga who history says was quite brutal during the Sengoku Era of Japan while acting idiotic to throw off his enemies. He was also rather bizarre in his youth as well.
Mai was a yellow-and-brass mare with orange eyes and straw blond hair. She was the one who named her sons after their birth and Oda walked out on them. She kept Muramasa safe from the rest of the herd and would pay the ultimate price to save both twins from their deranged father. After she spirited her sons from their forest and noticed they were being pursued, Mai turned back to face them head on when Temple Forest came into view. The battle went mostly unseen by her sons and most of the pursuing kirins had been run off by Mai, who had killed several others, by the time Quetzalcoatl and Hideyoshi arrived. Her power was fire and one of the images the twins have of that day so long ago was of their mother surrounded by a corona of flames. The mare herself was lacerated and broken from the battle. She died begging Quetzalcoatl to protect her sons and not knowing that Muramasa had killed his father. There is no doubt that she still loved Oda even after he abandoned her and their sons, because she understood him better than anyone else.
Mai was buried in a corner of Muramasa’s garden, tucked away among many flowers her son grew over the decades. The twins remember her fondly and never forgot the lengths she went to keep them both safe.
I decided to do something different when I got down to discussing the parents of my main kirin trio from the Island Reptilia stories. I’m dedicating this post to their fathers, Oda and Hideyoshi. As was written in the posts dedicated to two of the kirins individually, Oda is the father of the twins Murasame and Muramasa while Hideyoshi is the father of Masamune. Looking back, these two stallions are similar but radically different in how they saw their sons. Let me get this started by talking about Oda.
Oda is an orange-and-carmine stallion with diamond eyes and black hair. He held an unknown position in his herd and was bonded to Mai. Oda was a well-respected kirin whose flaws led him to his demise. I see him as an Anti-Villain because his fear of Muramasa and drive to kill him are justifiable. A power like Muramasa hasn’t been seen in All World since the original kelpies, horses that housed that power, and were killed for it, only for it to backfire. Oda, however, didn’t know that killing a creature with chaotic evil would bring them back as a kelpie-like creature. He was genuinely happy when his wife told them she was expecting his child and was doubly so when it was discovered she was carrying twins. It all changed when the twins were born.
Oda wasn’t present for the birth (as it’s custom among equines that mares birth in solitude) but when Muramasa’s power manifested two minutes from birth, he could sense and came to investigate. He came into the birthing thicket to see Mai trying to recover from the pain of delivering a colt with chaotic evil powers. The boy’s strength was flowing unchecked from him because he was A) too young to manifest and B) unable to control it. Oda, understandably, saw his younger son as a threat to both himself, Mai, and Murasame. He tried to kill him there but was stopped by Mai who threw herself between them, citing she would die first. Oda, feeling betrayed, yielded to her desire. He sealed Muramasa’s power away until he had grown old enough to control it. He broke off his Bond with their mother (equivalent to humans getting a divorce) and didn’t involve himself with his family (including Murasame, the “safe” son).
It’s speculated that Oda had planned to somehow circumvent Mai’s wish for him not to kill their son himself because he arranged for Muramasa’s death twice. The first time was when the twins turned ten and they were at the right age for power manifestation. Oda sent for Sovereign Quetzalcoatl to be present, hoping to startle/scare the amphithere into killing the boy for him. Quetzalcoatl unknowingly thwarted that plot by bringing his apprentice, Prince Masamune, with him. Oda had rumors of Masamune’s harmonious good power but initially thought that it was simply Hideyoshi being a braggart in his pride of his son. When it turned out that Masamune had such a unique power simply because of Muramasa’s existence, Oda knew that his attempt failed. Quetzalcoatl encouraged the Prince to subdue the power that flowed unchecked from the ten year old colt.
Oda received another embarrassing blow when the Sovereign rebuked him for keeping Muramasa a secret from him. It’s generally believed that the Sovereign was made aware of the original kelpies and how they came to be. By keeping Muramasa a secret from him, Oda had unknowingly put the Island in danger had he succeeded in snuffing his life out. After that spectacle, Oda decided to just do it himself. He gathered like-minded stallions in the herd and went after Mai, who caught wind of the plot and spirited both her sons from the forest. It’s unclear if Oda would’ve killed Murasame or not but it’s safe to assume that he would’ve gone through the boy if he protected Muramasa. Their father was so dead set on his goal, he underestimated Muramasa’s desire to protect his twin. He was killed when the colt unleashed a large amount of power out of fear. He was throw back into a tree and impaled through the neck on a low branch. He died instantly in a rearing position. He was 255 years old and his power is unknown.
Hideyoshi is a grey-and-black kirin with ruby eyes and Curtains That Match The Window. He was Masamune’s predecessor as Viceroy, explaining his earlier title as Prince. He’s nearly the opposite of Oda when it came to his own son, Masamune. The Prince manifested his power at the correct age but it came as a surprise to the Temple Herd when it was comprised entirely of pure light-based magic, known as harmonious good. The bigger surprise came from the revelation that Masamune was the only practitioner of such power that could use his light for a weapon. Other light-based powers come with a secondary power for offense. Hideyoshi had always wanted his son to take the titles his parents held so things between them were already strained by the time Masamune manifested his power.
Hideyoshi’s main flaws are the fact that he has trouble accepting differing opinions but he’s also a good negotiator when it comes to diplomatic affairs. He also has high expectations of his son that Masamune resents as much as he does his father. Even to this day with him older, wiser, and more accepting of his destiny, Masamune’s resentment of his father has led him to refer to Hidesyoshi by name instead of Father out of spite the whole time. Another redeeming quality of the former Viceroy is that he truly loves his son. He just has trouble expressing it correctly. They both mended some fences in the wake of Yuri’s death but it also meant that other things would strained between them without her to keep the peace.
Hideyoshi and Oda are considered rivals, especially when one thinks that Oda was just as qualified for the Viceroy position as Hideyoshi (as kirins are handpicked by Quetzalcoatl to serve as Viceroy). They were also childhood enemies. When Hideyoshi got the position, things between the two were more antagonistic than ever. The Viceroy openly stated to Quetzalcoatl’s face that he thought Oda was a fool after his death, even going so far as to spit on his corpse. He aided in the failed attempted to save Mai’s life when she peeled off from her sons to face their pursuers. He shares the fear of Muramasa with Oda, but wasn’t so foolish as to attempt what he did. Whether or not he knew of the kelpies on the Continent is something he doesn’t discuss.
Hideyoshi has a power that hasn’t been seen before in a kirin. He holds the power to permanently copy another kirin’s power (dead or alive), able to copy a limitless number. The only two powers he cannot copy are the unique powers held by his son and Muramasa. He tried on both but failed. He demonstrated his power to copy a dead kirin’s power on the stallions who chased Mai and her sons. He only copy a newly dead kirin because as the body deteriorates, the magic leaves. When he manifested his power, it was decided within the Nation that it was ethical for him to copy the deceased. Quetzalcoatl is slightly wary of that but lets Hideyoshi do as it please. It’s likely he didn’t copy Oda’s power given the rivalry/emnity between the two.
Next post will talk about the mothers, Yuri and Mai.
Masamune is one of my more important kirin characters and another personal favorite. He’s a white-and-silver stallion with gold eyes and Curtains That Match The Windows. As noted in the title, his personal power is that of harmonious good (pretty much means it’s purely light-based). However, his power is a bit funky. Other kirins in the past and present have light based powers but only Masamune can weaponize his. Other kirins with light-based powers can’t do that. Their powers are strictly healing. They often have a secondary power they can use offensively.
Masamune was born 700 years ago to Viceroy Hideyoshi, the ruler of the Kirin Nation, and Yuri, second to Sovereign Quetzalcoatl. His father had always wanted his son to take on the roles of both Viceroy and the second to Quetzalcoatl. Both are prestigious titles, with Viceroy ranking below Quetzalcoatl’s second. Masamune grew to resent that within his fifth year. The manifestation of his unique power at the age of ten made things between him and his father deteriorate even farther. The Prince felt that both Hideyoshi and the herd was against him. The only one who seemed to care about Masamune’s choices was his mother, Yuri. She encouraged him to follow his own path.
Masamune’s past is something he doesn’t care to discuss much. Quetzalcoatl had come to his herd (which is based in Temple forest where Temple itself stands) when he was seventeen. Yuri had asked him to come meet her son and the Sovereign was observant of how he and his father were so antagonistic to each other. Quetzalcoatl asked the Prince to come to Temple for training. The amphithere sensed that Masamune was fighting his destiny at that point because at that point, no one knew why Masamune had such a power of harmonious good. The Prince agreed, dying to get out from under Hideyoshi’s thumb.
Several years later, tragedy struck. Yuri, Masamune’s mother and strongest supporter, was killed by a saltwater crocodile in the river that ran through Temple Forest at the age of 400 years old. The death devastated Masamune to the point where he almost lost the will to live. The tragedy also deeply affected Hideyoshi and it brought him and his son to understanding. Things are better between them now but their relationship is still slightly strained due to Hideyoshi butting into Masamune’s affairs.
Masamune took his parents’ titles not long after Muramasa’s power manifestation, bringing to fruition Hideyoshi’s ambitions. By that time, Masamune and Quetzalcoatl had already been told of the impending birth, the reason harmonious good resides in the new Viceroy. The two kirins met face-to-face for the first time when Muramasa and his twin brother turned ten. The connection the two made with their eyes was what broke the seal on the chaotically evil power inside the colt. Quetzalcoatl and Masamune inadvertently thwarted Oda’s plan for the Sovereign to kill the boy when Masamune used his power to subdue the chaotic evil flowing unchallenged from the red-and-carmine colt.
The Viceroy has never been known to have many friends or court any mares in his long life. When he was a teenager, he strongly suspected the only reasons females, outside his mother, came to his defense against those who would tease him relentlessly because of his power and his father’s high expectations was because they wanted to get close enough to him and be named his Lady. Same went for males who stood up for him. They just wanted a lofty position of power, like a general or some sort. Because of that notion, true or not, Masamune came off as antisocial.
Under Quetzalcoatl’s tutelage, he has reined in his antisocial tendencies and has opened up to others more. He sees the Sovereign as a father figure and Big Brother Mentor. Quetzalcoatl, in turn, came to see the kirin as his own son. His relationship with the twins is different for both. He’s on brotherly terms with Murasame and he’s patient with Muramasa, who likes to pick fights with him in a bid to overpower him. He’s not as hotheaded as he was in his youth and he exudes an air befitting his reputation as the Harmonious One. He’s grown kinder and more compassionate than he used to be in his youth but he still holds others at a distance until he judges their intentions of befriending him. Next post will talk about the parents of Murasame and Muramasa, with the one after that discussing Masamune’s parents.
Jackalopes have always interested me, mainly because they’re not mythological. It believed that jackalope legends arose when people saw rabbits with the Shope papilloma virus, which causes horn and antler-like growths on the rabbit’s head and body. My jackalopes take on some characteristics from local tales around the US. They’re able to imitate human voices and they’re often hunted for their antler racks. My jackalopes have one thing in common with caribou as both males and females have antlers. The antlers themselves looked the antlers of a whitetail deer. It’s not known if they lose their antlers during the winter or not. Jackalopes are so rarely seen, study on them is limited.
My jackalopes are an evasive race and given their small size, their power to transform is hardly used as the antlers and ears remain in the human form. In their true forms, their ears stand straight up but in a human form, the ears take on the flopped position seen in lop-eared rabbits. The antlers are difficult if not impossible to hide in a human form so jackalopes hardly take the form of a human for that reason. They live in communities around the entire Continent, one of the more prominent ones being Jackalope Hollow in Suzaku’s South and located in the Crête Isolée region. The communities are governed by a chief. Their culture is derived from Native Americans. The size of a jackalope’s antlers is proportional to their size so they aren’t overly big or heavy. They’re often decorated with various things. Jackalopes are preyed on by the foxes but both sides know that its part of the cycle.
Jackalope Hollow is one of the larger tribes. The Hollow is surrounded by large redwoods and the roots themselves interweave to create a barrier that’s hard to break through, making the Hollow a very safe place. The former Chief was Swift Antler but his position as both Chief of Jackalope Hollow and as a Council of Myth member were handed down to Fleet Foot. Swift Antler had grown too old and retired from his post. Chiefs can either be voted into power or it can be handed down through a family. It varies from tribe to tribe. Jackalope Hollow is one of the few tribes where the chief can select his own successor without the tribe voting on it. Swift Antler’s family had been killed years before by a fox hunting party so he had no heirs. Fleet Foot was one of Swift Antler’s students and the best he thought for the job.
As a jackalope hardly uses his magic to take a human form, their area of expertise is using their magic in their voice mimicry. They’re not known for fighting but it’s no uncommon for them to be used in wars as messengers given their speed and evasiveness. They generally make themselves scarce during times of war so messenger jackalopes are the bravest of their kind, not afraid to take messages in the thick of battle.
I may do a post on foxes but the story was centered around them has been canceled. I may yet bring them back.
The Council of Myth is a group of transformers that convene whenever there’s an issue that could affect the whole Continent. I’ve used it at least once, in the pilot story. The Council had to convene because a human named Jen was plotting to overthrow the Imperial Family, for understandable reasons. There’s more info in the post on Judge Krakatau.
The members are different most of the time because they don’t convene a whole lot. The Kings are the exception. They have to be at every meeting if possible. Since they age but never die, it’s best for them to be in attendance to guide the other members. The last Gathering had the Kings, Eupe Obawa the pterripus, Vertigo the pegasus, Pureza the unicorn, Judge Krakatau, Kitsune the fox, Fleet Foot the jackalope, and Tartarus the griffin adviser to the Emperor. They were also joined by a Death’s Head horse named Reaper who wasn’t a member of that Council. He was more of a device to say that Death follows you everywhere but Reaper isn’t evil. He’s my way of saying that Death knows no good or evil and Death never messes around on the job. Reaper appears to be living but if he touches you, you can see his true form. Since the pilot, the Death’s Heads’ use has been discontinued.
The Coucil convenes in Vale des Lebens, the last pocket of an area unchanged from the Old World. The Vale is located deep in Verboden Waaier and is impossible to find except by those who know where it is. The Vale managed to survive the Landless Time unscathed due to one being. Orochi, the Shogun I’ve written of before, wasn’t on the Ark when the waters came. No one knows for sure how he survived. Not even he knows. The Kings hypothesized that the reason he did survive and the reason the Vale was undamaged from being underwater were linked. They theorized that Orochi probably didn’t get to the Ark on time before the door closed or he was being bullheaded as always and didn’t want to show up.
The theory goes that the Almighty knew what Orochi was up to and somehow trapped him in the Vale, putting him in suspended animation. The Vale was then protected by a shield from the flood waters which covered every square inch of land. Orochi was held in the Vale for the forty days and nights that the rains fell and for however long it took for the water to recede. All that is known that after the water cleared off, the Kings were told by the Almighty about Orochi and where to find him. They headed to the Vale to see the giant eight-headed snake just as he was coming out of statis. They asked what happened to him but his memory was fuzzy. All he remembered was hanging around the Vale before everything went black. He had a bit of a shock to learn he had survived a global flood untouched.
Since the Landless Time left the Vale untouched, it was decided that it would be the meeting place for the Council of Myth. Suzaku described it as “their very own Garden of Eden”. Truthfully the Vale is a small slice of what Sanctuary used to be before the Flood destroyed it and turned it into the Great Desert. It’s well protected from the outside world through a combination of Verboden Waaier’s reputation and the difficulty is to find it. Only one known human has known to see the Veil and that was Anna, Krakatau’s human love interest. The Council did a follow-up meeting after Jen was stopped to decide what to do with him. It was decided that Anna attend that meeting to make it seem less biased. A human should be able to help decide the fate of a human under scrutiny from a council of transforming animals.
Other times the Council convened in the past was during some of the major wars. The War of Lords, in which the Lords of Air, Sea, and Earth were slain, was one such war. They sometimes convene if the Imperial Royal Family has issues with succession. They also serve as watchdogs for the Family so that all Emperors/Empresses follow the law and weed out corruption.
My next blog will talk about another less used animal idea: jackalopes and Jackalope Hollow.
Gilgamesh and Fenrir are possibly two of my favorite canines in my stories and neither have been written much. Fenrir’s been around since the pilot story while Gilgamesh is relatively new. They both hold positions of power; Fenrir being the Grandmaster of the Assassins while Gilgamesh is the alpha of the Ganpon Forest Pack.
Gilgamesh is a white werewolf with gold eyes and is rather prideful, always picking fights with Assassins whenever he can. He’s possibly 160 years old, roughly the equivalent of a 30-year-old human. He has a years-old hatred for Fenrir that the Grandmaster either disregards or doesn’t know about. He’s boastful of whenever he gets the one-up on an Assassin and his dream is to best Fenrir in battle someday. Despite his faults, Gilgamesh is a good leader to his pack and he is strong. He stands at seven feet tall and is well-known throughout the Nations as the werewolf who took down a man-eater singlehandedly. Werewolves, in general, are misunderstood due to their size and rarely seen ferociousness but they are generally the ones who clean up threats that man-eating beasts pose and they do it to protect themselves. When dealing with a man-eater, they work in teams of two. Gilgamesh took one out by himself, as if to prove a point. Aside from Fenrir, his greatest enemy was an unstable werewolf named Beowulf, one of the rare werewolves capable of magic.
Fenrir, as stated before, is the ancient Grandmaster of the Assassins and whose true form is massive. It’s speculated that he’s actually not a grey wolf but an abnormally large dire wolf left over from ancient times and discounting the dires’ continued existence as a protected species on Island Reptilia. He’s a strict but fair master to his kind and is willing to parlay with the werewolves if possible. He’s on good terms with Vashti, a she-werewolf who is the new messenger from Gilgamesh’s pack. His most trusted Assassins are Rome, Syracuse, and Damascus. He was also the one who tracked down and killed Hebron, an Assassin traitor who was running with a human gang with a dragon named Blade. Fenrir doesn’t handle betrayal well at all and rarely lets traitors walk away alive. He’s still fair to them during a trial, if given, but as seen with Hebron, traitors who compromise the Guilds are dealt with in death. Hebron was also a thief who stole weapons from his Guild home with the intention of selling them to humans. Other than that, he’s a good example of a Reasonable Authority Figure and he’s a father figure to his Assassins as well as outsiders who get to know him.
The reason behind Gilgamesh’s hatred for Fenrir stems from a time before he was born. Back then, one of the campaigns and purposes of the Assassin-Werewolf War (aka the Wolf-Werewolf War) was to clear the forest near Verboden Waaier so the humans could build their capital city. That forest was the werewolf pack’s territory so the two came to blows when the werewolves refused to hand the territory over. Fenrir gained his prominence during the battle, and that helped him gain the position of Grandmaster later on. The pack was driven from that part of the forest, which was subsequently chopped down and cleared for Ganpon. There was still plenty of forest territory left so the werewolves weren’t completely without a home. Fenrir’s master eventually opened up the Guild in the City after construction was done and it became HQ. Fenrir was soon made Grandmaster and he lived there ever since. To him, Gilgamesh is just another werewolf he has to deal with from time to time. He either doesn’t know or care about the fact that the white werewolf hates his guts.
Gilgamesh was born centuries after the war and was brought up on the stories of Fenrir’s exploits. He felt wronged by the theft of werewolf lands for the humans to build their city but he rarely spent his hate on the humans themselves, focusing it on Fenrir. The most likely reason is because the humans involved in Ganpon’s settlement and founding are long gone while Fenrir had endured the ages far past his kind’s lifespan. He’s the only Assassin left from that time. Gilgamesh’s less-than-savory habits of picking fights with the Assassins and rather excessive werewolf pride stem from his hate for Assassins in general and Fenrir in particular. However, since meeting Vashti and making her his second, Gilgamesh has been more willing to talk business with the Grandmaster but he has gotten into trouble for entering the city. Not only is it Fenrir’s territory but since werewolves can’t transform, it causes a panic whenever one enters. It’s suspected he has feelings for Vashti, since she was the only one who helped him take down the dangerous Beowulf, who also was suspected to have feelings for her.
This post is for me to describe my werewolves and the Assassins, shape-shifting wolves. While I refuse to introduce vampires into my mythos, werewolves are better in keeping to my world’s rules. It’s also to free me from the obligation that most stories dealing with one or the other seem to follow: if you have vampires, you must have werewolves and vice versa. I find the whole vampire-werewolf conflict to be incredibly cliched so my werewolves are the main frenemies to the Assassins, they themselves wolves. There are various differences between my werewolves and the classic werewolf and those differences also set them apart from the Assassins.
Let’s start off with the All Worldian werewolf. What makes them different from the classic usage is that they are not humans with lycanthropy. They are merely anthropomorphic wolves that go by the name werewolf and it serves as the main difference between a werewolf and an Assassin, which transforms into a human (albeit with the ears and tail remaining). Had my werewolves followed the classic example, it would invoke the Not So Different trope in their relationship with the Assassins and that would cause more problems than I’d want to deal with.
Werewolves cover the entire spectrum of fur colors seen in real world wolves. They are taller than humans, with males at seven feet and females reaching at most six feet, six inches. Their legs are digitagrade like a wolf and they have opposable thumbs like humans. They generally run on all fours but are capable of running like humans. Werewolf females have the same attributes as a human female but as their bodies are covered in fur, werewolves don’t wear any sort of clothing. The fur in both sexes provides the same amount of modesty as human clothes do. Werewolves aren’t bothered by it that way humans and transforming entities are. Like humans, a she-werewolf usually has one pup at a time and werewolves mate for life, like a human should. Werewolves live in packs scattered around the Continent and each pack has an alpha.
Werewolves do have the ability to speak in the human tongue but when it’s among their own kind, they generally use the same body language seen in real wolves. They speak human when dealing with non-werewolf outsiders and when they have to use words to communicate what body language can’t. They are one of the few intelligent races with no magic, as such they cannot transform.
Assassins, on the other hand, are transforming wolves. Their true forms are the same size as wolves found in the world, with the exception of Grandmaster Fenrir, who is about the size of a tiger. Fenrir is ancient as well but he wasn’t the first Grandmaster of the Assassin Guilds. He has predecessors whose names are lost to history but it’s accepted truth that Fenrir was the greatest of all. He rose to prominence during the Wolf-Werewolf War, a silent war not found in human history and he was the one who drove the Ganpon Forest Pack from where human city, Ganpon, would be built. This has earned him the emnity of a white werewolf named Gilgamesh who was born centuries after the fact. More on that in my next post.
My wolf Assassins are inspired by the assassins from the Assassin’s Creed games by Ubisoft. Rather idealistic, I know, since murder is still murder no matter the reason. They are under the control of Fenrir but they are also willing tools of the Emperor. The Guild based in Ganpon act as supplement protection for the city and its people, as well as the Emperor. Despite this, Ganpon’s human citizens are usually unaware of the Guild’s existence and the Assassins themselves are looked down on due to their profession. As the Assassins are mere wolves able to take a human form, they are as territorial as the real thing. The Ganpon Guild is fiercely protective of their territory and, given the bad blood between them, won’t hesitate to chase off a werewolf. However, since they are both sapient races, they can and will parlay with each other if the need arises.
Assassins generally dress in clothes that match their true form’s colors. They wear hooded cloaks to hide both their tails and ears, the only traits that remain when they transform. Fenrir, for instance, is a grey wolf so his clothing reflects that. The Guilds around the Continent aren’t separate packs but are mere extensions of the Ganpon Guild as that’s where Fenrir directs his kind from. All the Guilds can be seen as one large pack, just separated into various regions, while Fenrir is the alpha. The named Assassins in my stories are male but there are females as well. The named Assassins had names of ancient cities with the exception of two. They are Rome, Syracuse, Damascus, and the traitor Hebron. The two exceptions are Tiberius (who went under the alias of Emmaus for 13 years) and Fenrir himself. There may be a couple I’ve forgotten.
Next up is Gilgamesh and Fenrir.