Freebie Mondays: Meet the Dragon Lord of Magic

Freebie Mondays: Meet the Dragon Lord of Magic

Not all of the gods were born to the innermost circle…

The Festival of Creation is a celebration held by the gods once every century in the depths of the celestial havens. Ostensibly, the purpose is to celebrate the anniversary of the Celestial Mother’s creation, which allowed life to flourish and bloom within the galaxy. But the festival has many other purposes for which it tends to be better known.

Chief among them is the display of the lesser gods’ talents.

The most well known gods in the universe are those that dwell within the Celestial Mother’s court. Elevated by her esteem, their prowess is displayed to mortals far and wide that we might know them and admire their talents. While the lesser gods are not known to us, their followers are few and their feats less remarkable.

Now that we have learned the true might of the core pantheon, they are set forever within our hearts. But in the early days of the universe, when the divine forces remained in flux, the true scope of each god’s power had yet to be determined. Therefore, the lesser gods competed among themselves for the Celestial Mother’s attention in hopes of gaining access to her court and opportunities to extend their influence and demonstrate their true talents.

Of the many hundreds of powers among the celestials that gathered to celebrate the wonder of the Great Mother’s creation, only ten were chosen to demonstrate the strength of their skills before the divine court.

Winning their way into the competition did not guarantee the attention of their grand peers, however, as the first round of the competition was always performed in tandem, with each of the lesser gods attempting to draw the eyes of the divine in their direction in order to be elevated to the next round – which allowed for singular performance.

Great Queach, not yet lord of all magic, did not fear when he stepped onto the platform, however, for he had spent several centuries perfecting his craft. When the signal was given, he called forth the magical energy which surrounded him and formed from it a myriad of shapes in bright colors. These designs he set dancing all about him in tight circles, whipping and whirling like great fireworks.

When the Celestial Mother and her peers approached, drawn by the spectacle created from Queach’s hands, he made his shapes more intricate, displaying the stars from the night sky whirling in one circle around the spheres which mortals inhabit to which he devoted another. The inner circles took on the shapes of trees and creatures, so that it seemed the whole of creation danced within the web the dragon lord created.

Pleased by this performance, the Celestial Mother stopped and leaned close, watching for several minutes the display so that she might trace the intricate details of every portion of the magical tapestry.

When the time came to advance those who had won the first level of the competition, Queach was first to feel the tap upon his shoulder. His name even flowed from the Celestial Mother’s lips, and he knew he had won her favor.

But that did not mean he could grow lax. Arrogance has ever been the downfall of many who came close to greatness but tripped upon the very last of the stairs.

Quietly, but with great anticipation, Queach waited in the shadows for his chance to take the stage and perform without distractions. Long had he planned his performance, though never had he been certain he would actually get to put it on display.

Great butterflies heaved in the dragonborn’s stomach when the time came for him to step onto the stage, but he did not allow nerves to hold him back. He strode with confidence into the center of the celestial platform and bowed his head low in difference to those for whom he had crafted his performance.

Determined to win the divine competition, Queach poured every ounce of magical ability he possessed into the display he wove. Some say the magic he set in motion still dances among the void to this day, forever illuminated by the strength of his skill.

Music this time flowed from the air around him, ghostly instruments forming a symphony as Queach wove his illusions. He started with an image of the Celestial Mother, alone in the void, until she pricked her finger to produce the most brilliant light ever beheld.

As the music swelled to great crescendo, Queach depicted the awakening of the universe and the birth of his many siblings into the celestial realm. Carefully he measured his power so that he could compress the many centuries into only the few minutes allowed to him, but so brilliant and intricate were the numerous images he summoned, they would have to be repeated many times in order for the viewers to catch all of the myriad of details.

Sweat dripped from the dragon’s scales by the time he completed his display and the music faded to great silence. When the sound of his heart hammering in his chest was the only one to greet the ending of his display, he despaired of having accomplished his goal. But then a mighty roar and cheer arose from the crowd and washed over him like waves on a beach.

“I have seen all that I need to see,” the Great Mother declared as she swept from the throng to stand on the stage next to Queach and drape one arm across his shoulder. “One among our younger brethren has clearly outdone himself. To tap so deeply into the fabric of the universe and produce such great images speaks to the grand feats that will be accomplished in the future by this master of skill.”

Then the Celestial Mother turned to Queach, and all else seemed to fade into the background as he looked fully upon her illuminated features. “Come to my court on the morrow,” the Celestial Mother breathed, “and we shall see the full extent of what your magic can do.”

It took many centuries more for Queach to discover the full potential of his prowess. And it was only after he called a great meteor swarm upon an entire system of planets that he truly earned the title Lord of Magic. But never from the first moment he stepped into the court did his confidence or skill waver. And still does the Celestial Mother’s eye turn often in her direction with fondness, for she was the first to look upon his countenance and see the full measure of his greatness.

Meet the Dragon Lord of Magic

Like all the other gods in the Cryptonian pantheon, Queach is depicted in many ways. Most often, he takes the form of a dragon, or dragonborn. Nearly every draconic color has been associated with Queach at some point in time, but he most often takes the form of a red dragon to represent his most prominent aspect – fire. In his fully dragon form, Queach usually has an elongated, serpentine body, a pair of bat-like leathery wings and two pairs of legs. (He can walk upright on the back set of legs and use his front legs as hands.)

Sometimes, Queach is depicted as a phoenix that burns planets to ash then revives from the remnants. On other occasions, he is depicted as a thunderbird or sometimes merely as a serpent. This is why he is also known as the lord of beasts. As such, hunters tend to invoke Queach’s name and offer part of their kill to him in sacrifice.

Queach’s primary domain is arcane magic. He is said to be the keeper of the ultimate arcane secrets. Many believe he has recorded them in a spellbook which never leaves his person. He took pages from this book and seeded them among mortals in order to share the gift of magic with his chosen few.

He is invoked by elemental figures and mages who make use of all magical forms, but he is most heavily associated with the elements of fire and lightning. This has given him a reputation as a fearsome creature, and he is best known for his feats of mass destruction. Stories of Queach indicate that he should always be treated with the utmost respect as it is easy for him to destroy any who upset him with little effort. Surprisingly, however, Queach is not known for having a short temper. Myths involving his wrath tend to be cautionary tales and his vengeance, when exacted, is usually well-deserved.

Much like the Reaper to the Celestial Mother, Queach is a balancing force for Tauldar, the Seed Matron, and he considers her to be his most worthy opponent. The two are said to be locked in eternal combat, as Queach understands the need to loose the destructive forces of his domain and Tauldar staunchly disapproves of his penchant for mass destruction. What Tauldar builds, Queach often destroys. But from the ashes of Queach’s ruins, Tauldar regularly builds new life.

Many believe that Queach and Agos were battle brothers and often fought side by side prior to the Reaper’s death. In fact, many of Queach’s followers are adamant that he took Agos’s side in the resulting conflict whether or not they believe Tauldar took the same side. Only a select few suggest that Queach saw the value of the Reaper as a balancing force and thus, against all odds, took the side ofthe Celestial Mother while the Seed Matron took Agos’s side to thwart him.

Any beast could potentially serve as a messenger of Queach, so his followers suggest treating all creatures – great and small – with equal respect.

But like Agos, Queach’s followers tell a different tale…

From the moment the celestial winds breathed life into Queach, great dragon lord of the stars, he knew he was destined to hold the balance of magic’s power within his claws. The first beats of his heart pulsed in time with the magic flowing beneath the fabric of the universe, and he embraced that connection rather than rejecting it.

The ultimate secret of arcane power for those that would wield it to its full potential has nothing to do with the weaving of spells or the gathering of power. It is simply understanding that even the most destructive forces in the universe must be embraced and valued. For old could not give way to new if there was nothing to break construction back to its component parts, and innovation would quickly stagnate without challenges to oppose its considerations.

But as with all practitioners of the arcane arts, Queach did not start with the greatest of his feats. His magical talent began as a mere spark lying dormant within his chest. It awakened and achieved its ultimate flare only after years of careful fostering and study. With eons of practice and patience, Queach discovered intricacies even the court of the Celestial Mother could not fathom.

Biding his time, he waited until no force could possibly challenge his prowess to approach the court which often sneered down their noses at him and his lesser kin.

“Who approaches the sanctuary of the Celestial Mother?” Aleonath demanded with obvious disdain as Queach approached to make his appeal.

The lord of beasts was used to this derision from his greater kin, however, and gave no indication that words or tone affected his mood. “I have come to challenge the greatest of the galaxy’s mages,” he declared calmly. “For I believe that none can approach my skill.”

Instantly, the Celestial Mother’s eyes flashed with anger and she rose from her ornate throne to tower over the would-be lord of magic. “I am the greatest sorcerer that ever this universe has known,” she declared primly. “For did I not draw forth all life and creation from the vast cold of the void with merely my thought?”

“Indeed,” Queach replied, “and no other could ever hope to match such a feat while the forces of life still occupy this realm. But that, Great Mother, was an act of creation, not of magic. And if you believe that you hold greater sway over the magical forces flowing through this plane than I do, I am afraid I must disabuse you of such a notion, for have spent long and long mastering the forces which bend reality to the whim of a mage.”

“Impertinent upstart,” the Celestial Mother growled with outrage. “You shall pay for uttering such an insult.” And with the snap of her fingers did she summon the celestial court to their great meeting place to repeat the challenge issued within the hallowed halls of her sanctum.

Many of her followers looked upon Queach with disdain, for they had grown used to singing the praises of the Celestial Mother in order to remain within her circle. But Queach believed that the guidance of the galaxy should belong to those with the skill and knowledge to apply themselves to the process rather than those who were best at foot-kissing. So he held his head high and repeated his challenge saying, “No one can best me when it comes to manipulating the forces of magic that flow through this plane, and I intend to prove it.”

Thus did Queach extend his arms in front of him and summon the most intricate of illusions from the depths of the void. Light and shadow danced together as immaculate figures swirled within the breadth of his tapestry.

As one, the gods of the court gasped as they looked upon the splendor of his creation.

All save one. The Celestial Mother scoffed and called her power to her. From the void she crafted a flower garden and, surrounding the roots, the earth of a brand new planet to foster their growth that they might flourish forever after.

Smug and satisfied, the Celestial Mother preened to the praise of her peers, for she had summoned something out of nothing and it was not merely a trick of the light.

Amused, Queach allowed the illusions he summoned to fade. But he was not deterred. Reaching deep into the depths of the earth, he called forth the magic of growth, causing massive trees to tower over the Celestial Mother’s garden. Their roots reached deep into the soil and split it open, allowing rivers to flow and hills to form.

As one, the celestial court stepped backward, for they could see that this would not be a simple competition, and they did not wish to be caught between two such grand forces.

Outraged, the Celestial Mother once again clenched her hands into fists at her sides. As her magic answered her call, the trees bent their branches and trunks while wind raked the newly decorated landscape. Rain pelted the ground as the wind continued to howl, carrying several of the flower petals from their mooring to vanish into the growing gloom.

Undaunted, Queach caught the thread of the Celestial Mother’s weaving and twisted it so that the rain turned to ice pellets and great masses of hail assailed the ground. The clouds he whipped into such a frenzy that thunder split the air and jagged electrical fingers struck the ground to leave massive scorch marks in their path.

Awakened by this display of destruction, the Celestial Mother took to the air, her eyes glowing with the full force of her magical might. The celestial court watched in dismay as the storm grew ever larger, scouring the new planet’s surface and choking the light from the sun as the rivers and oceans began to spill from their banks.

Before the great storm could completely consume the land, however, Queach reached deep into the depths to awaken the heat which resided in the planet’s core. Upward it surged through the water-choked surface, forming great cones that spewed ash and flame into the growing frenzy.

Within minutes, the dusky fingers of smoke closed about the sky, and the flame flowing from the planet’s depths caught the remains of the sphere’s vegetation, setting it all alight despite the recent soaking.

The flames of this great pyre grew until they consumed the whole of the planet.

With a snarl, the Celestial Mother drew her followers back into the vast void. Then she extended her hand and tilted the great sphere on its axis until it was dragged free of its celestial mooring. Beyond the reach of the sphere that gave it life, ice coated the remnants of the blighted surface, rendering the whole of it a lifeless, frozen ball.

“See now that there is nothing you can do which I cannot counter,” the Celestial Mother declared smugly, evidently considering their competition at end.

“Is that so?” Queach replied, calmly and coolly. For he had not yet exercised the fullest extent of his capability.

Reaching at last into the heart of magic, the dragonlord twisted reality on the largest possible scale, sending the small fragments of rock that occupied this new system into such a great frenzy they tore free of the orbit which kept them in thrall around the sun.

Those great chunks of celestial rock slammed into the ball of ice, relentlessly pelting its surface. But Queach didn’t stop there. He sent the meteors into every sphere that occupied the same system, gouging deep chunks from the surface and setting other landscapes aflame.

And as dust and smoke choked each of the once living entities and heavy rock fall pelted the dead moons to dust, he sent the last of the stones hurtling into the great ball of flame that represented the system’s sun.

After the first several blows were endured, the swirling ball of gas and flame at last gave up its shape and exploded outward, consuming what little remained of the planetary system.

Queach turned back to the Celestial Mother with cold fire burning in his eyes and a smile of accomplishment on his lips.

The celestial court held their breath as the Celestial Mother stared with dismay at the mass of destruction wrought upon her newest creation. Then she fell to her knees and bowed her head with humility, saying, “Truly, I have been defeated by a master of the craft.”

Thus did Lord Queach assume his position as the undisputed master of magecraft and join the Celestial Mother’s court forever after.

. . .
This is part of a new series developing lore for my Tales of Cryptonia homebrew D&D campaign. (Which you can learn more about here.)

Incidentally, I streamed the creation of this post in case you want to watch it come together!

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