June 24, 2016
The Legend of the Dragon God
Ryujin slumbers. This was probably best because the Dragon God, creator of the world of Tsutano, was mad. The eldest dragon held enough power that he had fashioned himself a god and created Tsutano and the inhabitants as his servants and worshippers. Decades turned to centuries turned to millennia slowly decayed the sanity of Ryujin who began to abuse his power and his creation. His wrath was terrible, swift, and capricious as it fell at the seemingly random whims of the Dragon God. Whole continents burned when his anger flared, and entire species were eradicated on the basis of a late tribute. The Ryuhito, or people of Tsutano, suffered.
To soothe the savage beast, a plan was concocted to provide for him a wife. Without the powers of the All-Creator, the Ryuhito gathered their best practitioners of the four elemental magiks and secretly grew a living dragon from a single scale of Ryujin. The process took thousands of years while the great dragon became increasingly mad.
In the final hatching ceremony, seven archmagi of fire heated the pulsating dragon egg while seven archmagi of stone imbued the being inside with the strength of the very world itself. Seven archmagi of water imparted the value of life to the great beast while seven archmagi of wind stitched fantastic wings created from the strong southern winds that brought rain and life to the crops each year. In a last act of selflessness, all the archmagi gave their very life essence into the dragon egg.
A crack formed in the egg. With a sound of thunder and a concussive blast of force, the shards of the eggs flew to the four corners of the world and Inari, the World Mother, stood regal and powerful. The Dragon God knew immediately that something had changed in his realm and flew to investigate only to find Inari weeping for the people of Tsutano knowing the trials they had been subject to under the rule of Ryujin.
Struck by her beauty and power, Ryujin instantly loved and coveted Inari. He showered her with praise and promises to fulfill her every desire would she but submit to being his wife. Inari for her part knew why she had been created. She knew she was now the champion of the helpless people before a nearly almighty being. Doubt and fear coursed through her as she could feel the raw power of the Dragon God and knew she was but a pale copy. However, her duty compelled her to truly love Ryujin and attempt to mitigate the damage he had done to his own world.
For millennia more, Tsutano knew relative peace as the dragons grew in their love for one another, and the Ryuhito prospered. Inari was wise, humble, and patient with her husband, and their union produced many children who spread across the realm. However, her lifespan could not match Ryujin’s. Inari eventually knew that she was dying.
Through her own mastery of the world, she grew the World Tree whose roots would allow her body to slumber for a thousand years in perfect stasis after which should would awake for one year before sleeping for another thousand years. In this way, she hoped to stretch out her life and still keep the Dragon God in check. For several cycles this worked, but still Ryujin’s grip on reality slipped further towards madness.
In the last year that Inari lived, she knew her body would not survive another thousand year slumber. With her deep subconscious connection to the land through the World Tree and direct instruction to her followers, she hoped to pass on enough of her essence to keep her husband from raving lunacy. But she needed to subdue the great Dragon God somehow.
Inari concocted a plan to put Ryujin to sleep on the same thousand year cycle that she had been bound to hoping that the years of peace and prosperity would be enough for the Ryuhito to build strength for survival of the one year of the Dragon God’s wakefulness. She asked her husband to take the tree root serum so that he might slumber with her during her thousand year sleep. She told him that with him sleeping by her side it would extend her life all the while hating herself for lying to her true love. While his rage would be violent and consuming during his year of wakefulness, he would sleep again afterwards for another thousand years for the rest of time.
The children of the World Mother, the rest of dragonkind, agreed to help deceive their father. Some thought they could achieve power for themselves in the absence of their parents, and others desired to help the Ryuhito above all. Through the influence of his whole family, the Dragon God took the root serum and slept.
With her dying breath, Inari established the Sedai Hogosha to protect the world from the wrath of Ryujin when he awakened. She took a branch from the World Tree, imbued it with her connection to Tsutano, and gave it to the Guardian of the Grove whose job it was to serve and maintain the Tree whose essence was necessary to keep the Dragon God in his cycle of slumber. With the Sedai Hogosha training for war with Ryujin and the Guardian of the Grove protecting the World Tree, Inari passed away with hope.
The people mourned her passing but vowed to fulfill her plan to the best of her abilities. The Sedai Hogosha became a respected peace-keeping force throughout all the realm. They hunted and destroyed the evil children of Ryujin and Inari while revering and protecting the good children who provided them guidance.
The Guardian of the Grove became the most coveted position in all the land. It meant a lifetime of commitment to the land and forsaking all else, but all knew the powerful role the World Tree would play upon Ryujin’s return.
That was all nearly a thousand years ago. Facts became history. History became legend. Legend became myth. The Sedai Hogosha have since fallen from grace. Most of the organization is corrupt, and they are now seen as pariahs. A few faithful still serve in Inari’s memory and vision but lack true leadership and guidance. The Guardian of the Grove is gone, and no one knows where the World Tree is if it even exists.
Meanwhile, Ryujin sleeps.