The Ancients & the Serpents & Phoenixes

All throughout recorded human history there have been stories and legends of Dragons and Serpents and Enormous birds. We are so enamoured by stories of gigantic creatures – from the Spiders of HP & LOTR to the numerous web documentaries about the search for giant snakes, lizards, fish, squid – well, we are just fascinated  by all these lifeforms and what they look like, how they behave – and we seem addicted to the thrill of possible adventure and discovery.

That got me thinking. Perhaps stories that have been passed down from so many different cultures aren’t as isolated and baseless as some might believe. Perhaps among the common threads and story elements there is truth. Perhaps it is that the truth of the one-time existence of such creatures are interpreted through different lenses.

The story is set on a great island, consisting of several countries/kingdoms of varying sizes – what we have dubbed “Pangea” in the Geological world, perhaps remnants of the once-great Atlantis. All of these creatures were a daily reality to the people of this land, and in their world, it was completely logical to talk about Mountain Lions and Reptilian beasts in the same breath, because they were part of the same ecosystem. In my mind, it was a perfectly workable reality.

Warning: I am on ramble mode so – be warned!! 😀

Some of the more “fantastical” creatures in Blue Scorpion really came from this thought. Here are some examples:

Dragons & Great Reptilian Lizards:

In my book, Dragons and Lizards just aren’t the same thing. No way. The majestic winged dragons of the greatest stories can’t be related to the monitors and komodo dragons that we moderns are used to. And there seem to be more than one type of dragon. Some aren’t really dragons, they’re “serpents” – and personally I classify them separately.

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, the worldview I adopted was one that was created perfect, and yet was ruined by a single act of betrayal. Things that were once pure were starting to decay and as the generations go on, the genetics started also to degrade.

And so it was with the Dragons. I imagined that there was once a great race of Dragons – perfect, faithful to the Most High and majestic beyond belief. Over time, they started to weaken. These are the creatures I have dubbed “The Ancients”.

These “Ancients” were the last of their kind – other dragons also existed (as dragonlore persisted way beyond the Flood) but these were cross-bred, less beautiful, less pure specimens. The Ancients were the fair dinkum Dragons – the originals. They were creatures of beauty, strength and they were known to be quite fierce and unapproachable, and they earned their reputation amongst the old world civilisations as terrifying creatures. They were also elusive, living in the highest mountains and in the most hidden places on the island, coming out only to hunt or stretch their wings. They were creatures of incredible intelligence, but they would commune with humans on their own terms. And by the time the story began, they were really struggling for numbers. These creatures had a powerful instinct: when they were about to pass from Life, they woukld fly from the great Island to find smaller islands to make their own final resting place.

There are also Great Reptilian beasts (aka Dinosaurs) in the story – but they are completely unrelated to these Dragons. These creatures occupied lower lands, preferring to be in grazing herds or hunting those that grazed in herds.

The Serpents of Old

There is an ancient legend from the ruins of the Mexican pyramids that a rainbow/feathered serpent came down to teach the people wisdom and culture and gave them much of the technology that they learnt at the time. There are creation stories with large rainbow snakes and serpentine dragons that imparted knowledge and teachings in many cultures across the globe. There are tales of the Loch Ness Monster and depictions all over the world of colourful, long, lithe creatures that floated in the sky. In the Bible the Serpent is a symbol of the Oldest Evil – the Deceiver and the destroyer of Eden.

And so I based my Serpents on such creatures – the Serpent in the story doesn’t do very much but much of what it did was implied in backstory. It was beautiful, cunning, and imparted secret knowledge and wisdom to a man who hungered for power. I won’t say much more lest I spoil the story for all! Suffice it to say that the serpentine characters in the story were up to not a lot of good!

The Phoenix & the Roc:

The first time I heard of a giant bird story was back in junior school – I bought this book from our junior book club called “True Monster Stories”. All I recalled was that I loved to scare the living daylights out of myself reading the werewolf stories – the rest of the stories were somewhat stereotypical, and they did not much interest me.

But among the stories that did catch my attention was this story that in Africa, a boy in the fields was carried away by a gigantic eagle which swooped down from nowhere to snatch him from his friends. The boy was never seen or heard from again. Many efforts were made to find this alleged eagle but no one could find it. There was also a story in my school English Text book which we never got to study – which was an Indian folk story about how a Princess Sita was carried away by a giant crow.

Ahh, giant birds – again, I decided that they could exist in that ecosystem – Giant Reptiles, Giant Snakes… why not Giant birds?

In the story, the Roc was a symbol of the Country of Simas – its national emblem.

Oh, and Phoenixes – need I explain them? They’re just awesome. End of story muahaha. Well, they are the national emblem of Itticca.

These two creatures in the story have a largely symbolic role – they really are just the markers for certain people groups and territories within the story.

There are many more…

Oh dear, how I do ramble…. It’s a lot of fun just playing with all the possibilities in a story. But imagine a world where such possibilities are real. Now that would be an adventure in itself 🙂

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~ by alta6060212 on February 19, 2012.

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