As many High Fantasy fan knows, there are few greater draws that identify and represent a fantasy work more than the subject of magic and dragons. Sure, there are works that are written without any one or both of these iconic staples of High Fantasy, but many people from the more well learned cosmopolitan fantasy fan to the general public expect both magic and dragons in such worlds in one form or another.
MagikosFirst, let's talk about the subject of magic on Erde, or Magikos as it's locally known. Magikos is, at its core, a paranormal energy field generated by the arcane interaction between celestial bodies in the sky above, the earth and supernatural forces below the zodiac and the gestation of life. The trinities of Magikos as it were, though the description is kind of familar with The Force of Star Wars fame, though in theory anyone can use it and not just those sensitive to its presence. It can be harnessed, but under certain circumstances and the execution varies under particular schools of mystical arts: Sortiarius (Sorcery) and Manteia (Mancy).
Sortiarius is effectively the art to which a Mage conjures forth the paranormal energy field that is Magikos from within one's self and simply cast it into the surrounding environment. Sortiarius is also a rather instinctive method of spell casting upon Erde and doesn't require much preparation other than familiarity with the spell in hand, though it doesn't hurt to have a particular effect in mind at the time of the cast. If the Mage is distracted enough at the moment of casting, the Magikos field collapses and literally explodes in the Mage's face. The amount of damage the explosion causes depends upon the strength of the spell the Mage was trying to conjure at the time though it has not been known to cause any deaths or mortal injuries, just crippling ones. A particular gesture can also increase the odds of the Mage to cast a spell for an intended outcome, though it would have to be something that requires little thought or practiced well enough to be performed automatically. Thankfully for the Mage the exact position of the gesture isn't required, though it would have to be in the general form.
Manteia is ritual magic that a few Fantasy fans are familiar with over the years. The Manteia school of magic is somewhat more complex, laborious, and time consuming than the typical High Fantasy ritual magic. Why this is so is because Manteia Mages must tap into the cosmic Magikos field that exists all around them and such a task is not exactly easy accomplished by the work of a single Mage and their own internal Mana energy. Rather, it requires items known to have magical properties if used correctly and are typically consumed at the moment of casting, the runes correctly written and aligned so that the spell can conduct correctly for the desired outcome, the mage or group of mages must focus their internal Mana energy to close the spell circuitry, and as if that wasn't bad enough, it must be performed during a particular zodiac alignment unique to that part of the spell and may the powers that be help you if you just don't have your hand in the exact gesture or performed in the exact sequence. Any one of those factors could fail, though unlike the Sortiarius Mages a failed spell cast does not result in an explosion. Rather it just makes a pretty light show and then....nothing. Manteia may be more time consuming and the complete opposite of user friendly compared to Sortiarius, but the mage would come out of a failure unscathed.
An example of Manteia Magikos would be Alchemy-
For the love of - GET BACK HERE! That's not the kind of Alchemy I was talking about!
Erde Alchemy, like all Manteia, is labor intensive, time consuming, and until before the arrival of Kamiko Samson was more of a matter of luck. What I mean is that though the celestial alignment with the zodiac and the stars around have been well documented under the schools of Manteia Magikos, the successful transmutation of an object into another shape or completely different matter altogether. What was missing was the elemental number of the matter both the original and what is to be transmutated into upon completion of the spell.
Once the Periodic Table of Elements was discovered and shared amongst the Alchemist Manteia Mages of Erde, the mystical art of Alchemy was a step closer to science than guesstimation and probabilities. Yet it still did not make Alchemy Manteia any less labor and time intensive. First the exact mass and chemical composition of both the original item and the desired transmuted item is to be calculated, then the item(s) to be placed within a geometric array which is usually a series of circles commonly called a Magikos Circuit. The inner circle is transcribed with the Alchemical Symbol of not only the material's state of matter, but also its Atomic number and exact weight and/or mass of the materiel(s) in question. Did I forget to mention that this process is repeated for each item? In the next circle is the zodiac symbols associated with that element and planetary alignment with its positions calculated beforehand and written and in the final circle is the symbols of the desired transmutated object, in which the transmutation spell must also be performed within that timeframe. Once the Magikos Circuit is written, the Mage(s) must then focus their internal Mana Energy into an external spark, usually done via chanting though the exact language or even wording isn't required but does help with the concentration. That spark is then used to close the conduit of paranomal energy of the greater Magikos Field to have it flow around the Magikos Circuit and complete the spell.
Now there are those who are questioning as to why there are two schools of thought when it comes to casting spells when one has an immediate advantage on the battlefield over the other. Well there's a simple explanation for such a division. Sortiarius spells can only be conjured by the mage to whom all life flows for they are the bearers of life.
In short, Sortiari Mages are women, or the female equivalent to the mortal sapient species of Erde. I know that many Fantasy fans would cry fowl in that the term is suppose to be Fantacy "Races" but the term doesn't exactly match up to the fact that what we're dealing with typically are sapient species rather than members of the same species.
Anyway, the Sortiarius School of Magikos is the exclusive domain of women while the Manteia line of thinking is for men to overcome the limitations of their own internal Mana Energy compared to the female. Men may be superior in physical strength to women, but when it comes to arcane arts the femme fatale have the guys beat by a long shot.
How different you may ask? Well let's go with this little example. Let's take two Mages, a boy and a girl, and set their Mage apprenticeship at about..oh.. the age of 12.
The boy must learn not only to draw out his internal Mana Energy into an insignificant spark (which is by all means no easy task) through concentration alone, but also memorize and log into memory astrophysical alignments of the stars and in particular the planets and the Zodiac, the runes and language needed to properly write out the Magikos Circuit, and learn all the mystical properties of items found within the environment and how to assemble it based upon the spell recipe. A task that takes years, decades even, to perform the most elementary of spells and would only be considered a master once he learned all the peculiars and characteristic volatile nature of all learned spells by at least the ripe old age of 50.
The girl, on the other hand, mostly learns how to focus her minds eye on the desired effect of the spell through learning techniques and gestures to help her conjure the desired effect and her ability to draw out her Magikos Energy is almost instinctual; it only needs refinement in the casting rather than the crude and unsophisticated projection of a Mana Projectile or Mana Wall. The amount of Magikos Energy that she has available increase exponentially the moment she is with child as an extension of the maternal instinct to protect their offspring. The girl will soon learn and compensate the various quirks that is Magikos and be considered a master mage at the mature age of 18.
Unfair isn't it? But of course it's because of this quirk of nature that in the field armies of Erde both men and women fight: with the men donned in armor and wielding swords, axes and the like in the front lines while the women support the men from behind in the form of healing magikos and defensive spells and rarely are they engaged in direct combat, though it isn't unheard off for a Sortiarius Mage to act as a kind of mobile support weapon unlike a machine gun, even up to the level of mobile siege artillery in some cases. Granted, that level of power for the latter can exhaust the woman and might even put her out cold. It is also not unheard off for the Sortiarius Mage to conjure spells that are a bit close and personal, just not that common given the nature. A rather pissed off barmaid on the other hand....
However, there are two ways around the Sortiarius Mage's monopoly on battlefield Magikos. One is to offer eternal servitude with a supernatural being such as a god. The exact terms of the mystical exchange varies from supernatural being to supernatural being, but typically it's an unfair exchange.
The other is a Mortal Curse. Now it's not the kind of magical curse many are familiar with such as the Curse of Bad Luck. Rather it's its the kind of "I'm Taking You With Me" kind of final act when one is on the verge of death and their enemies are conveniently close for the Mortal Curse to take effect. From pure rage and the instinctive need for vengeance the individual converts his entire body into a kind of Mana Bomb that takes out their enemies and then some. As many of you already know by now E=MC^2 so when such a thing does happen, there are only two things a person can do when stuck in such a conundrum: Kiss your *censored* goodby or run, run really fast.
DrakonsLastly, let's delve into the subject of dragons of Erde, or more widely known as Drakons amongst the mortal population of Erde and how they differ from the normal, traditional dragon. For one thing, the Drakons are not the intelligent, speaking creatures widely known in several works of Fantasy fiction, but are rather pre-sapient predators. Second, they're not just all reptilian scales, but rather they are feathered creatures.
I know, I know. Several of you are going "bull*censored*!" on this, while a few enlightened and more cosmopolitan of you would go "Dinofeathers!" on me, but there is a particular scientific basis for such a thought. After all, these Drakons have had evolutionary ancestors that walked, and flew, amongst arguably the most iconic fauna of the fossil record: Dinosaurs.
There are various species of dinosaurs, mostly the theropods as far as I can tell, who have feathers along with scales. Feathers that could potentially be beautiful, something that I would also use on the Erde Drakons as well. Naturally, Drakon feathers would cost more over the peafowl if only for these two reasons: Peafowl are smaller than humans and they don't excrete fire. Though now that I think of it, it does raises the question on Drakon wings: If they have feathers, would they need chiropteran style wings?
Anyway, physiologically, Drakons are mostly hexapodal animals or rather creatures with six limbs: The fore limbs, hind legs, and wings. Naturally they excrete fire like their fictional cousins of yore though it'll probably involve the excretion of methane or hydrogen generated/stored in either the stomach or gizzard of the Drakon and ignited electrically or catalytic reaction. The "how exactly" is something I'm juggling on, though perhaps each type and even each species of Drakon would have a different fuel and ignition system based upon environment.
And speaking of species, roughly there are about six genuses (or is it geni) in the order of Drakontos: Cohuātl, Drakein, Linnormr, Lung, Wyrmm, and Wyvern.
The Cohuātl are the quintessential Drakon of the Thule continents and are best known for their brilliantly beautiful feathers and their serpentine-like bodies, especially with their vestigial forelimbs and hind legs that make them almost snake-like in appearance. These limbs are mostly used to climb and hook onto jungle trees to help it glide, though it is not unheard of for Cohuātls to use their powerful tails as springs to launch them into the air. Though have a formidable, yet short ranged, fire breath, their most formidable weapon is their venom which has been known to take down a Thule Mammut in under ten seconds. Though the Cohuātl mostly avoid human contact, there are a few species that have made the cities of both the Inka and Maya their home, provided that the humanic cohabitant do not disturb them too greatly.
The Drakein, or Drake as many of your would be more familiar, is the all familiar dragon of High Fantasy Lore. Complete with fore limbs and hind legs, wings, horns, fire breath, the works. Well, that and feathers. The natural range of the Drakein stretches throughout much of Eurorien, particularly in the more temperate climates zones such as the central regions of mainland Europa. The Drakein are mostly known to call the mountains their home, especially with the encroachment of humanic expansion.
The Linnormr, or Lindworm in our language, are the serpentine version of the Drakein and mostly inhabit the temperate climate old growth forests of Eurorien. However, as a consequence the Linnormr can only glide and use its vestigial limbs to climb the tallest of trees to get the needed altitude to glide. Additionally, its fire breath is noticeably short ranged and small in supply compared to their Drakein cousins. However, it is of note that the Linnormr have also migrated over the millennia towards the Islamic World and Subsaharan Aprica.
The Lung, also more famously known as the Chinese Dragon in our world, are quite similar to their Europan Linnomr in that they can only glide and have noticeably short limbs compared to its body. The only true difference, other than the cosmetic, is that the Lung are more comfortable around mortal sapients than most other Drakon Genuses. The Lung have also been known to be amphibious in that they are easily at home in the water as they are in the bamboo forests of Mainland Han and the periphery dominions. The Lung also has a formidable reach with its fire breath and is typically on par or exceed that of many Drakein species.
The Wyrmms, or Worms, are the aquatic version of Drakons and possibly have a similar lineage to Linnormr and Lung Drakons that returned to the land from the sea millions of years ago. Wyrmms are also the only known genus of Drakons that cannot fly, but they do make a fantastic leap into the air and capture prey over five times their total body length into the air thanks to its refurbished wings and limbs as fins. Wyrmms also have a limited amount of fuel needed to power their fire due to the mostly aquatic environment and lack of need to use such an ability. There have been cases of freshwater Wyrmms though these lake Drakons are few and far in between.
The Wyverns are mostly an arctic species of Drakon whose plumage is not unlike that of a penguin, though male Wyverns are beautifully decorated to attract a mate. Though called Wyverns, they are still hexapodal in morphology in that their forelimbs are similar to theropod dinosaurs. It's not unheard off for Wyverns to venture from the frozen wastelands of the north and glaciers, it is also not that common due to the Wyvern's physiological adaptation to the cold. It has also been documented that the Wyverns, above all else, have the most powerful and spectacular fire breaths. Another feature common to Wyverns and rare amongst other Drakons is that they are brood parasites and will more often than not lay their eggs in the nests of other animals, even non-drakon species if environmental pressures are severe enough.
As a whole, Drakons are a solitary species and that very few are social enough to form packs and flocks. As a fault, many Drakon species are fiercely territorial of their hunting and brooding grounds, though exemptions due exist though rare.
Since Drakons are pre-sapient in intelligence, the megafauna exhibit curious developments to better cope with their limited resources and abilities. One such skill is that of raising livestock for fresh meat. As a result these Drakons are noticeably larger and well fed over their predator cousins which also makes them even more territorial for best grazing fields for their animals. Specific societies of mortal sapients such as the Prydein tribes of Lloegr have learned to keep a "polite" distance from such livestock Drakons or else risk their inferno fury.
However, like all living creatures, Drakons do weaken with age when they reach a certain point in their life. These elder drakons are unable to hunt and compete against younger drakons, even to the point that holding territory for livestock is just impossible. Such circumstances will force a drakon to harass the livestock of mortal sapients and even to hunt down mortal sapients for food. It is at such a time are Drakonslayers are called forth to end the threat. It is a sad thought that such a magnificent, long-lived creature must be killed for other to live and thrive. Then again, it has been said that the meat of an elder drakon is divinely succulent. Not to mention less of a risk to hunt an aged drakon rather than one in its prime.
That would be it for now, though I may come up with a few more ideas pertaining to Magikos and Drakons in later entries. It all depends upon what goes through my mind between then and now.
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