It was the second dawn. The blazing light of the instant of creation was fading into eternal darkness – but against that failing, crimson, glow, the first and greatest suns had begun to shine, and to seed the cosmos with the stuff of life.
We are all born of starstuff. Elements forged in the hearts of suns make up our bodies, their shining drives the cycles of our worlds. The raw force of life derives from the fires of exploding suns. Such were the womb of the Celestial Dragons – of the stars, Firstborn.
There were those to whom the light was anathema, the glorious song of creation a grating dissonance. To whom the silent, abyssal, void of a cosmos unborn had been a peaceful refuge. Aberrant exiles from older realms. The Great Old Ones, the lords of the infinite night.
Even in the depths of the abyss, the massed light of the young galaxies shone at last – and the great old ones stirred. A billion years had passed while light made it’s way into the void, but the powers of darkness rose at last to claim and corrupt, or destroy, the new cosmos.
There could be no peace. No sharing or compromise. The Dragons had no choice. In defence of themselves and the forming worlds, they fought and learned the arts of war. They drove the dark ones back, banished some, and slew others. They held – but the golden age was over.
The price of life was eternal vigilance. There could be no final victory against the infinite depths. The joyous, carefree, children of the celestial dawn are no more; billions of years of war changes even a race of near-immortals. Life grows and evolves, without end.
Fierce and predatory, arrogant – and more then a bit ruthless – few Celestial Dragons are nursed between the stars in the ancient way; the “gentler” environments of planets allow children to thrive without constant care. Adolescent competition – and the efforts of the corrupted servants of the great old ones – weeds out the seriously weak and foolish. Honor, pride, greed, and the “military virtues”, have taken precedence over kindness, mercy, and affection. The ancient duties of guardianship admit no less.
“Seeded” on a world, young dragons learn and grow. As adolescents, they are left on their own. It is their rite of passage. They may battle and dominate each other, ally, or even fall to the minions of the old ones, with little interference from their elders amid the stars. The vast majority survive. As a side benefit, worlds get guardians who’re attuned to them – and familiar with their ways and powers – when the great old ones move against them.
The elder war has left few illusions . War is awful. Losing is worse. There is only one rule in all-out war; the winner(s) do what they want with whatever’s left of the losers and their property. That’s why all-out feuds and duels between dragons are discouraged. Space is far too vast to truly forbid them, but they are frowned on.
-Translated and summarized from the hereditary archives of the Arith Vaya.
In the interests of a balanced presentation:
In a way it’s difficult to blame the Great Old Ones. There they were; refugees, outcasts, and survivors of far older realms, their universes senescent in entropic decay. Adrift with a few small worlds in a near-infinite void. Suddenly there was light, heat, mass and energy in profusion, spilling into the darkness. They reached out to claim this abundance of new resources as their own – and found that it was infested with strange and unexpected creatures that didn’t want to let them have any.
From their point of view, I’m sure that the Celestial Dragons would have been more then willing to play host for a few elder guests, but this bunch wanted to move in, rearrange space and time, and remodel the local laws of nature to suit themselves.
It didn’t help much that both sides found each other fairly incomprehensible.
Still, even at this late date, there may be room for understanding. While meaningful translation of the thoughts and desires of beings which exist under such alien natural laws is extremely difficult, I believe that my current system should suffice. Provided that the final tests show no malfunctions in the system, I will attempt the contact invocation tomorrow.
-From the personal journals of Igan*ith$ Vrol#^kun of Nygoth, shortly before the corruption of the empire took hold. Circa -2.1 Billion Years AD.
Celestial Dragon Physiology is – by earthly standards – a bizarre mix of the fantastic and the familiar.
Their “flesh” is made up of ionized plasma, a wild flux of exotic high-energy subatomic particles, and high-energy photons, bonded and restrained by fields of energy and animated by a supernatural life force. Their “metabolism” is a bizarre mixture of nuclear fusion and magic with an occasional bit of high-energy chemistry thrown in at the surface layers – to add more muted colors and a sense of taste. While they may look and feel solid – outside of their faint stellar luminescence and low-level neutrino flux – it’s even more of an illusion then the jelly-like solidity of protoplasm. If injured, they “bleed” ionized plasma and high-energy radiation – giving the impression of a neon bonfire trying to digest an aurora. They’re immune to most extremes of temperature (at least if they’re given a few moments to adjust their surface structure). Finally, while they’re inherently immune to chemical drugs, intoxicants, and poisons there are magical effects, and exotic isotopes which wouldn’t have much effect on a human, which do work just fine. Killing one is not generally a good idea. As the energy fields which restrain their internal plasmas, radiation, and multi-million degree temperatures collapse they tend to detonate like a small hydrogen bomb.
With effort, they can even learn to compact and rearrange their mass to imitate other lifeforms. In fact, young dragons raised among another species will learn to imitate that species instinctively.
Adult Celestial Dragons have little need to “eat”. Absorbing the ambient magical and radiant energies of space and the hydrogen of the interstellar medium suffices for most of their needs – and drawing a few hundred pounds of hydrogen from a handy gas giant, brown dwarf, or nearby sun. If a project, or attack, arises that personal energies are not sufficient to handle – well, that’s why the power-stations most species call galactic black holes were constructed.
Children are another matter. In addition to raw mass and energy they need complex nuclei, focused magical power, a fair amount of life energy, and protection from current (post VMO-era) space conditions, to survive and grow. While their parents can nurture them for the first few millennia, unprotected exposure to space can kill them in minutes. Given the danger of distractions (such as the great old ones, weapons from prior conflicts, random space travelers, and other oddities) in space, it’s a lot easier and safer to park them in an environment where they can survive on their own – such as in a planetary biosphere.
Children tend to enjoy eating, and usually eat a lot more than the (relatively modest) amount that they actually have to have. Without their parents to feed them extra life force, they will occasionally need to eat large amounts of low-energy life forms (plants), modest amounts of mid-energy lifeforms (insects, small fish, kryll), or the occasional higher-energy lifeform (cows, large birds, etc). Despite occasional tales, they normally do not eat sentient creatures – although there have been incidents when they’re severely provoked.
Children can be safely “parked” for a few years in almost any planetary biosphere. Things get a bit more complicated when they’re actually born in one. When that happens they bond with its energy fields, just as they normally do with their parents energy fields. This is useful: they can sense major disruptions of those fields, they can readily learn to shapeshift to creatures – especially the local sentient creatures, if any – native to the planet in question, and they can exert their full powers without having to be nearly as careful about it to avoid causing major disruptions as their elders do. If there are native sentients, the kids will pick up their culture, tactics, viewpoints, and strategies quickly and easily – which goes a long ways towards keeping them from becoming overly predictable – and thus quickly dead – in adult life.
On the downside, until they fully differentiate themselves from those fields (usually at about 3000 years when they reach early adulthood) their moods and behavior are influenced by those same biological and magical energy fields, severe disruptions in them can cause them considerable pain, hindrance, and weakness, and the destruction of those fields can severely harm, or sometimes even kill, them. If a nursery-world is destroyed, most of the children will die with it even if every effort is made to rescue them. The effort is virtually always made – their parents and elders do care about them – but it rarely succeeds.
Their overall anatomy is relatively familiar, apparently because they – as firstborn – arcanely set the morphogenic field for many of the higher lifeforms native to this universe. Others, of course, are “patterned” after the Great Old Ones” – but they’re usually aberrant. Humans would say that their anatomy resembles a gargoyle’s. They are bisexual, reaching adolescence/first-stage sexual maturity (acute interest and the ability to enjoy themselves) around 600 years, but cannot actually produce offspring until full sexual adulthood/second-stage sexual maturity, at about 60,000-120,000 years. Pregnancy lasts about 200 years., and – while unplanned pregnancies are (very remotely) possible – is usually the result of several centuries or millennia of careful energy matching and lots of trying. Once pregnant, a dragoness will usually put the developmental process magically “on hold” until a suitable nursery-planet is located, certified reasonably secure, and a sufficiently large group of other prospective parents – usually 20-60 pairs – have gathered. They nursery-planet chosen will have native sentients (to supply servants, company, resources, and playmates/ things) who haven’t yet achieved star travel – or learned to reliably recognize the celestial dragons – but who are building a higher civilization. While there are various reasons, the simplest is the most important; a couple of billion years of experience has shown that worlds fitting those parameters are best for the children. Similarly, they are left more or less on their own when the group hits adolescence at about age 600. They’d only rebel against their parents otherwise anyway and, once again, letting them sort themselves out gives the best long-term results.
Secondarily, when a species is building a higher-level civilization it is at its most vulnerable point. It is experimenting with new technologies, magics, and psychic powers, and it is broadcasting clues to its presence. It is an ideal conquest for the great old ones; young enough to have many untapped potentials, plastic enough to be easily twisted, still instinct-driven enough to be quickly-breeding, expansionistic, and to have not yet mastered its own psychology, still reliant on easily-disrupted technologies, with enough powerful madmen to “invite them in”, and still relatively unaware of the danger. Such an era in a races history is dangerous for the children – but it also offers them far greater opportunities for growth, more choices, and more resources and powerful allies as adults if they survive that long. It is statistically a good, if frightening, exchange for them, buying a far greater chance of a long life as adults in exchange for a slightly greater chance of dying very young – and it is the time when a race most needs dedicated local guardians and advice from elders who understand them well.
It is both their best chance and their duty. Attempts are made to keep the nursery-planets safe from major menaces, to conceal them as long as possible, and to make sure that they’re located in relatively safe zones – but things will happen. The children will defend their adopted home and race, recruit individuals with impressive personal psychic, mystic, or “mutant” powers to help them, and disapprove of – and normally oppose – organizations such as Genocide. “That sort of thing” is one way that worlds fall to the Lords Of Darkness.
This doesn’t necessarily make them “good guys”. They tend to be arrogant and greedy, feel that being the first and oldest line of defense gives them seniority and entitles them to all kinds of special privileges – and virtually always want to dominate and give the orders. The kids can be a substantial pain in the ass – but they’re still an incalculable gift. The Celestial Dragons have very few children. They are difficult to conceive and – sadly – their parents are all too likely to see them die. Even if the kids survive to adulthood, experience counts – and between one new immortal and one experienced immortal in a war zone, which is likely to go first?
Small Celestial Dragon Children are carefully protected, but adolescents are allowed to find their own way. Due to their innate toughness – and to the not-unexpected fact that their parents usually give them excellent training and plenty of resources – when a cadre’ is “seeded” on a planet and left for their rite of passage casualties are rare (unless the locals destroy themselves and their biosphere), although they may (very rarely) kill each other or (far more commonly) enslave each other for a time. As a rule, however, 90% or more eventually “graduate” – which is at least as well as Sparta did.
Socially, a young Celestial Dragon usually absorbs most of it’s standards, ideas, and behavior patterns from the species it grew up among. The dragons tend to be spread fairly thin; although they do have excellent communications there are distinct limits on virtual communities. One thing they almost all share is a disinterest in, and mild contempt for, technology. It may be powerful, but it’s so easy for the “enemy” to tamper with. They tend to use nice, reliable, magic and personal powers instead. They do all respect formal challenges and contracts as well: once they’re entered into the Dragonseye Network, they’re binding.
Psychologically, they’re young. Most of them are a bit thoughtless, more than a little bit sex-obsessed, arrogant and demanding. They usually feel somewhat sorry for, superior to, and a bit patronizing towards, the host species. Most are pretty helpful, although weird obsessions and hobbies are all too common. They tend to sort themselves out into a pack dominance hierarchy.
The males tend to compete madly for the females – in part because such relationships often last into full adulthood, and thus offer a chance to pass on their genes (or the magical tendencies which pass for them) early, before they start getting discouraged about being parents. They also tend to compete for the Flight Leader position – a sort of a cross between “alpha male” and “battle coordinator”. While competing by demonstrating your skills, foresight, and effectiveness in the position is good, competing by simply beating up everyone else is also acceptable: power and tactical skill are also important. Being Flight Leader offers a good deal of respect, as well as tending to attract the girls, but its risky as well: Flight Leaders are primary targets. Battle casualties, and idiocies attempted to impress, are almost invariably far higher among males than females.
Males enslaved by other males are generally forced into long-term submission, mystically marked as property (leaving them socially out of luck among other dragons), and usually emasculated. Fortunately, that’s all easily undone when they’re released later on. Females enslaved by males become concubines almost automatically.
Females tend to compete somewhat more subtly and with less of an attempt to eliminate each other. With them, they’re after the social and support positions – safely behind the lines and with the free time to look after their own interests and (eventually) children. Being a good planner and manager is one of their ambitions. They tend to have slightly conflicting ideas about the adolescent boys: they find many of their antics, and their eagerness to blatantly dominate each other, pretty silly. On the other hand, being claimed by a really powerful, protective, male – and thus being kept safe in his harem – is a pretty standard fantasy.
Females enslaved by females tend to get used as assistants and bargaining chips. Males enslaved by Females are unusual; they may be traded away, used as assistants, or kept as paramours, although that’s usually considered beneath the dignity of the female involved. Most are emasculated simply because it keeps the other males from getting jealous.
Of course, given a few millennia more to grow up in, both sexes tend to wind up as pretty stable people.
We are the First, the children of creation’s dawn. When the choice came to us, we chose to stand guardian over the life that was, that is, and which is yet to be. For thirteen billion years we have fought the long defense. We have watched races rise from their beginnings, seen the first questions stirring in nascent minds, helped them rise to stand beside us – and have seen them Transcend, and pass beyond, while we remain. We shall not follow them until the need for guardianship has passed, the last stars have grown cold, and the final night has fallen, Last, as we were First.
You are our younger cousins, the children of the planets as we were children of the stars – and while we endure, the darkness will not have you.
Sample Draconic History: Chi’an of Earth’s Dragon Circle:
Chi’an’s personal timeline starts off in the early 1200’s – when the Genghis Khan and his mongol horde began making a mess of China, Asia, and most of what small portion of Europe wasn’t sunk in the dark ages. While none of this was a real threat to a pair of adult celestial dragons, it wasn’t the most congenial – or serene – of atmospheres in which to raise a child.
They relocated to “North America” (as it would later be known). The locals were friendly, scattered, and could readily supplement the oriental servants they’d brought along in “exchange” for trivial exercises of their more helpful powers.
Chi’an was born around 1250. His earliest years were spent in the great forests of North America – spiced up with an occasional visit to the great indian empires of South and Central America… He sometimes felt a little sorry for the things that so often happened to helpless human children – but “events” that involved adults were often good sport.
Around 1340, Chi’an was almost “eight”. With China – still one of the best combinations of sophistication, comfort, and acceptance of dragons, on earth – once again fairly stable, and his shapeshifting abilities reasonably well stabilized, his parents took Chi’an on a leisurely “tour” of Europe, the early renaissance, and the fading glories of Constantinople. Mixing with the human kids, Chi’an had some quite – interesting – little adventures along the way. Quite a few of the more obnoxious humans of the time didn’t find them quite as much fun…
By 1420 the family was once again firmly established in China. Chi’an’s “look” didn’t quite fit in – it was a compromise between Amerindian and Chinese ethnicities – but it was close enough for a supernatural being.
In 1450 Chi’an was nearly “ten”, and was working out an enthusiasm for the magical arts with the help of some of China’s taoist occultists and whatever else he could find to teach him. Unlike most childhood enthusiasms, Chi’an’s interest in magic has yet to wane.
Around 1490 Chian decided to drop in on his old home in North America… Along the way he got entangled with the spanish inquisition (Which was actually having some success exterminating the cultist-servants of the Great Old Ones and even got a few of their stronger creatures). He rescued a few innocents – but saw nothing wrong with punishing – and disposing of – the guilty.
When he finally got around to heading for “America”, he came over with Columbus – just for the fun of riding the boat. A little later, Chi’an was greatly annoyed to discover that Malasin (Another young dragon) was firmly ensconced with the Aztecs, and was unwilling to share any of the goodies. The resulting squabble led to Chi’an quietly assisting Cortez’s takeover of the Aztec empire – and began an ongoing rivalry which was not to be resolved for centuries. Besides – the Aztec priests had some elemental lore, artifacts, and “writings” he wanted to examine.
By 1550 the fun had palled. Chi’an collected his new toys and headed back towards China. He was just “eleven”. along the way, he visited several other dragons (and some interesting creatures) in the Slavic wilderness. He had quite a quarrel with Vasilko – an adolescent dragon who was assisting Ivan the Terrible – along the way…
At least he got along fine with most of the others.
Back in China, the Jesuit priest-magi were disposing of various elder terrors, the pesky mongols were making inroads again, and piracy was rampant. It was a lot of fun for awhile – but by 1650 the family decided to move back to North America. It would be practical to set up a decent estate and to buy servants who – as property – could be readily magically bound not to reveal anything about their masters now that the place was getting well organized. Chi’an was now almost “twelve”.
By 1700 “home” was well organized and Chi’an was doing a lot of hunting, trapping, and general “poking around” in the wilderness… Given that he didn’t want to upset things around home, he only got involved in the “French and Indian Wars” when his looks made it inevitable.
He was roughly equivalent to thirteen in 1775, and so was old enough to enlist in the revolutionary war. He’d been wanting to get some “real” experience with tactics in any case, and most of the weaponry was little threat to a celestial dragon – so his parents had no objection to the idea. Chi’an continued to gain experience during the Napoleonic wars. In 1837 he attended the coronation of Queen Victoria – and studied a bit of Celtic magic.
Meanwhile, Malasin was taking advantage of the fact that the Celestial Dragons had seen just how industrial revolutions went before to quietly acquire a great deal of money. He again came into contact – and conflict – with Chi’an again when he supported the Opium Wars in China where Chi’an still had some personal friends.
In 1860 Chi’an was “almost fourteen” – and it was time for his – and most of the other “youngsters” – rites of passage. That was why their parents had come to earth.
Failure is fairly rare – but the parents worry a bit anyway. They’d never interfere – but they’d done their best to get them ready.
It was just in time for the Civil War. Chi’an didn’t get involved in that one very much. He was far too busy acquiring magical resources, and trying to keep Malasin’s meddling from interfering with his home. He had to push through the purchase of Alaska to make sure that no one would interfere with his access.
In 1874 Chi’an helped some werewolves get settled in the new Yellowstone National Park.
The ongoing argument with Malasin came to a head in 1883; Chi’an would’ve settled for a “simple” dominance- struggle, but Malasin, believing that his investment in military gear would easily overpower Chi’an – and still holding a grudge over the incident with Cortez – wanted an all-out formal duel. In a direct battle, his gear proved no match for Chi’an’s magic, although something in their struggle apparently provoked an eruption that destroyed their battleground; the island of Krakatoa. Reduced to slavery, Malasin remains Chi’an’s property, servant, and financial manager, today. Presumably he regrets making it an all-out duel; Chi’an’s never bothered to ask.
The “Boxer Rebellion” in 1900 heralded the beginning of the first major upwelling of magical and psychic power into public consciousness since the Enlightenment.
World War One was appalling. War was understandable, but so much pointless slaughter? So many people knowing they were being thrown away and going anyway? It simply wasn’t sane.
What Chi’an thought of “trench warfare” simply isn’t printable.
1922 was interesting. While it never became publicly known, the tomb of Tutankhamen – like the tomb of every pharaoh – contained a small horde of magical artifacts. Lesser items made to assist the pharaoh’s ritual duties when they were made, millennia worth of accumulated mana made them something far more.
The Second World War was something of a crisis point for earth’s dragon-children. For many, the first world war had been the start of social conscience; they would prevent the pointless slaughter if they could. There wasn’t time for this anyway. Earth was broadcasting on too many frequencies to hide.
Sadly, their efforts had relatively little effect on the war. While they had a great deal of power, wealth, and influence for individual people, there simply weren’t enough of them to actually have much “direct” influence on global events.
After WWII the dragons discovered that Vasilko (See; 1550, above) was working with Stalin to rule the Soviet Union… More importantly, they discovered around 1948 that he’d been so busy indulging himself, and gathering power, that he’d neglected to keep minions of the Great Old Ones out of power.
Actually, they could have excused a bit of “careless neglect” – but most of them thought Vasilko was a shithead anyway.
Taking out the minions – cultists and lesser mages – proved fairly straightforward… Vasilko elected to put up a fight, and actually beat two other dragons (Chi’an released them later), before Chi’an defeated him, early in 1950. Without supernatural aid, Stalin died a little later on. Vasilko joined Malasin as Chi’an’s personal property.
Since then, Chi’an’s been gathering up mystic relics and tomes, studying magic, trying to lure one (or more) of the available female dragons into his “bed” – and trying to position himself as flight leader… As of 1980 or so, he’s roughly equivalent to 15.
Can you survive in space? Good! You’re coming with me… LOOK. THIS is what remains of a fallen world: a ball of scorched and radioactive stone, a lifeless memorial to a dead race! This is what will happen to the Earth if it falls to the darkness and the elders are forced to intervene. You are broadcasting. You are probing into space. Your presence and activities can no longer be hidden!
The Earth is my home as well, and you are my friends, the people I have grown up among – but if I must send your civilization back to the stone age, or sacrifice millions to save the remainder from THIS, then that is what I will do!
The Dragon Circle
There are 47 young dragons on Earth (23 boys and 24 girls), all of them adolescent. Most are currently built on about 60 points plus disadvantages. They began their Rite of Passage in 1860, and have mostly sorted out their dominance-order: Chi’an is currently acknowledged (somewhat grudgingly in some cases) as Flight Leader and (barring any recent changes in status) 12 (mostly ex-) males and 8 females have been enslaved as a result of battle- or other high-stakes challenges. More subtle personal relationships are still being worked out.
If a new dragon-character wants to own one or more of the unaccounted-for slaves, simply buy 50-80 point followers and note how they were acquired. While most slaves are released (and males get their sexual functions unblocked) after their masters reach adulthood and settle down, that usually takes several thousand years. There are still 14 females (10 free, 4 slaves) and 10 males (6 free and 4 slaves) unaccounted for.
Yes, an awful lot of the relationships here revolve around Chi’an and the enslavement rate is way over average for a crop of kids. That’s really because Chi’an was the only one who was actually a player character and because serious conflicts make for exciting play. In-game it simply means that Chi’an is (at least currently) dominant and that this batch of kids are on the more combative end of the usual bell curve distribution.
Chi’an Lung, Male, Alaska: magician, runic artificer, coordinator, and enhancement. Generally accepted as flight leader, mostly because he’s good at it, secondarily due to raw power. Has arranged it so that anyone who currently acknowledges him as flight leader gets the use of two overall levels and an emergency pullout system as long as they do so. Tends to be obsessed with magical knowledge and power. Owns quite a few of the current dragon-slaves on Earth since he draws on them to bolster his personal magical power – and because most of the competition was for the flight leader position. Fairly well known as a powerful mage and occasional hero, generally not known as a dragon.
Darvian, Male, Northern Canada: power-bestowal and technological enhancement, agents and bases. Runs Near Space Defense – a fairly substantial military air force using extraterrestrial technologies – from a set of bases in Antarctica, the Canadian northwest and on the Moon. Generally seen as second-in-command when problems come up. A kind of dragon-geek.
Ilarion Drake, Male, New York New York: enhanced strength and toughness, uses dragonfire melee weaponry, runs Jevex Inc, a mining and natural-resource exploitation company. Likes to collect precious metals and stones and has very poor taste by current standards; he always did like Versailles.
Kanmari, A.K.A “Rainbow Serpent”, Australia: dimensional manipulation, astral travel, and teleportation. One of the few really public “superheroes” among the circle, and more team-minded than most of the other youngsters.
“Serpentine”, Male, Africa: transmutation-construction, shapeshifting, and remote linking. Runs Viper (a sizable franchise-based criminal organization) and sells secret underground bases to support his art collection hobby. After all, so many great works are held by people who don’t want to sell them, what can be done but steal them?
Ar’Rong, Female, India: skillmaster, “dragon’s eye” computer and instrumentation expert, tactician. Employs a small group of superhuman agents, apparently worked for the last Archmage and helped organize the Tournament of the Dragon this time around. “Leaked” the contents of Asura’s personal diary to Chi’an (and thus got her out of the way) when Asura disrupted some of her plans.
Ezhdeha, Female, Indonesia: relatively subtle, but broad-area, mental powers, can coordinate and mildly enhance sizable groups as well as grant minor powers. Likes to work with animals and sells enhanced/modified pets and familiars, but occasionally takes on human students who want to develop psychic talents (and occasional annoyances who join the pets). Has mildly enhanced her shapeshifting so as to take on the “old hag” form which so many of her students and customers seem to expect.
Jamethial Dreamweaver, Female, United States: electromagnetic manipulation, hypnotic lights, telekinesis, and sonics (often combined to create virtual environments). Jamethial craves wealth, parties, and attention, and has been taking some risks to get them: while she’s been able to switch entertainer-identities for the last century, her current rock-star role will make future changes exponentially more difficult.
Lohikaarme, Female, Finland: clairvoyance, minor precognition, and illusion. Tends to stay out of trouble and to make herself difficult to find, but occasionally passes out tidbits of information designed to help shape events.
Zheng Yi Sao, Female, China: weather control, minor summonings, the Mandates of Heaven. Has been playing the role of demigoddess, and running her coastal fiefdom as a minor subkingdom, for several centuries – getting involved with larger matters only enough to make sure that things stay that way. Notable for her ownership of Kadath, an apparently still-functional male. She apparently feels that adolescent males (and many of the females) are pretty silly, and that the males are much better behaved when leashed.
Known Female Slaves:
Asura Windwalker, Female, property of Chi’an: spirit-summoning, channeling, and shamanistic magic. Asura liked “bodice-ripper” romance novels and had fantasies of being imperiously claimed by a powerful, protective, male*. When Chi’an got lucky and got the details of her fantasies he was quite enthusiastic about following the script.
* This isn’t too uncommon (20% or so) in female dragons: it’s a sound evolutionary strategy in a multi-billion-year war, especially for the young. Just like the males tendency to fight for dominance, most of them grow out of it.
Chizura, Female, property of Chi’an: presence-enhancement, communication, and social talents. Chizura lost a duel with Asura Windwalker, and became her property. When Chi’an claimed Asura, Chizura was a bonus prize.
Luchair, Female, property of Chi’an: underwater abilities and water manipulation. Luchair felt pestered by the boys once they hit adolescence and tried a “beat me in a series of underwater tasks and I’m yours; get beaten and you’re mine” gambit. She easily defeated Herensuge (who thought “catch me and I’m yours” was a come-on) and Kaarme (who thought he could win) before being casually beaten and taken as his first concubine by a well-prepared Chi’an. Ownership of Herensuge and Kaarme was lagniappe.
Naga, Female, property of Chi’an: mystical martial artist, with greatly enhanced speed and dexterity. Freely offered herself to Chi’an (and was happily accepted) after the Darkstorm War, whether due to his rescue of her, to liking Asura’s descriptions, to feeling a need for protection, or to simply wanting to belong to the now-accepted Flight Leader.
Known Male Slaves:
Baen, Male, property of Ch’ian: speedster, desolidification, and enhanced senses. Baen attempted to simply seize the Flight Leader position, Chi’an, and Chi’an’s properties, by brute force after he felt that his other rivals had settled down or accepted the situation. He’d already beaten up one other boy who’d controlled some useful resources, but Chi’an turned him loose after he managed to beat Baen; he felt that Baen was a horse’s ass – and that losing to him (he’d turned out to be pretty dangerous) wasn’t much of a disgrace.
Herensuge, Male, property of Ch’ian: minor hunting talents, P’an Kung telekinetic martial art. A cheery and persistent optimist, who thought that Luchair was just teasing and really wanted to be caught by him.
Kaarme, Male, property of Ch’ian: athletics, various minor general enhancements. Somewhat impulsive and inclined to over-estimate his abilities, Kaarme thought that he could easily beat a slightly-younger girl in a physical contest. Given that Luchair’s talents were far more specialized than his, he was wrong.
Kadath, Male, property of Zheng Li Sao: better -than-average mastery of dragonfire and tulpa master. Originally defeated by Leontius and traded away in exchange for various goods. Kadath tends to try and keep other males away from his mistress; since, if she finds an acceptable free boyfriend, he thinks he’ll be emasculated almost automatically.
Leontius, Male, property of Ch’ian: biomagical manipulation, organic transmutation. A few centuries older than most of the others, Leontius developed a minor set of powers allowing him to have satisfactory sex with humans* and to father half-dragon children on them. The others found this grossly perverse when they found out about it, and not giving the kids immunity to aging (even if they weren’t full-blooded dragons) was even worse. He actually got beaten up, enslaved, and desexed by committee, but has been turned over to Chi’an since Chi’an’s general acknowledgment as Flight Leader.
* Most young dragons do experiment at some point: after all, they’re raised with humans, they’re shapeshifters, and they rarely see any other dragons – but the problems inherent in having “flesh” harder than steel, being 500 times as strong as a human, and in being a plasma-entity tend to make it awkward if not fatal for the human involved.
Malasin, Male, property of Ch’ian: industrialization, personal technologies. Business manager for Chi’an. Malasin spent some time with the Aztecs, founded British Ironworks to exploit his foreknowledge of how industrial revolutions went, and challenged Chi’an to a formal duel over a long-running feud that started with the Spanish Conquest. After he lost, Chi’an made him his business manager and had him put some relatively enlightened labor policies into effect.
Sarkan, Male, property of Ch’ian: very long-range dragonfire attacks and missile deflection. Viewing Darvian and his long-range defense force as a direct competitor, Sarkan challenged him to a formal duel – unaware that Darvian had anticipated him and had gotten some magical equipment from Chi’an. Darvian sent him to Chi’an as a thank-you gift – thus implying that Sarkan wasn’t even worth keeping.
Vasilko, Male, property of Ch’ian: political manipulation and mental powers. A backer of Ivan the Terrible and Lenin, Vasilko ran much of Russia behind the scenes for centuries. Sadly for him, he focused too much on political power and failed to note the operations of several darkness cults DESPITE being a fairly powerful telepath. When the rest of the dragons found out, they pretty much declared open season on him. He defeated a couple of other boys before Chian took him out, but Chian let them go afterwards.
Yoshima Masamori, Male, property of Ch’ian: martial artist and master of samurai-style dragonfire weapons. Raised “samurai”, and nostalgic for that period of history, Yoshi picked the losing side of almost every conflict he got involved in since 1600. Apparently interested in both Naga and in being Flight Leader (and frustrated in both interests), he insisted on formally challenging Chi’an – and lost badly. Chi’an feels that he’s a complete loser, and keeps him as a pet.