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Author Topic: Drakes, Blue Spirits, and Aadelea  (Read 773 times)

Reshy

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Drakes, Blue Spirits, and Aadelea
« on: (18:24:18/12-04-16) »
Way back quite a long time ago Drakes were first introduced in Earthdawn.  They were more fully fleshed out in the Book of Dragons which was released in 1999, and updated in 2004. Drakes were first described as being magical constructs invoked through the Dance of the Blue Spirits, a blood magic ritual designed by Ghost Walker (Back then Icewing) and Yuichotol.  They were used to replace the Dragonkin, who werenít viable servants (Some went on to become the Immortal Elves weíve seen in Shadowrun, though the other metavariants of Dragonkin seemed to be conspicuously absent).  The process to create a drake was highly involved, and required a sacrifice from the dragon creating it such that it was only common for Great Dragons to possess Drakes.  Sometimes a normal dragon might possess a single Drake, but even that was exceedingly rare.  Generally speaking these Drakes would live for centuries before eventually falling apart as the magical enchantments that held them together unraveled.

In essence Drakes were more or less permanently manifested blue spirits that were formed by the dragon essence of the dragon that invoked them.   They appeared to be totally subservient to the dragon that created them, making them reliable servants; they were also able to be endowed with a metahuman shape that was difficult to assense the true nature of.  However the process was so difficult that few were ever made, the most were owned by Ghostwalker and numbered about 30 in total (Funnily enough despite creating the original drakes, he never treated or understood them well).


The entire game changed in the Earthdawn adventure module Infected when a young human girl by the name of Aardelea found the Book of Blue Spirits, an archival tome explaining how the Dance of Blue Spirits operates.  The book, however, had a Drake Spirit bound within it in an attempt to make the item persist beyond the Scourge (The Horror Invasion).  Even with this spirit, the book wasnít able to withstand the elements and as the spirit was bound within it was slowly rotting away with the book itself.  When Aardelea found the book, it latched onto her in a desperate bid to preserve itself and the knowledge it possessed.  This manifested in strange, but fairly minor waysÖ at first.  Besides some minor talents the only thing different about her was that her pattern had developed an innate masking, but when assensed well enough appeared to be that of a magical creature, not a mere awakened mage or adept.

When we next see Aardelea again in Barsaive At War, she acts vastly different than before.  She appears to have aged to her late teens, despite there being only a short amount of time having actually passed leaving her emotionally still a young child.  Her personality, however, has shifted greatly from before with her having become highly temperamental and paranoid, as sheís been kidnapped, smuggled, examined, abused, rescued, and nearly killed several times by the ample factions trying to acquire her.  She also speaks of dreams that are Ďas vivid as waking lifeí in where she transforms into a scaled beast with wings, and soars into the night to hunt, rend, and devour live prey. 

Eventually these strange powers are made far more apparent after an assailant attempts to subdue her to take her away.  The assailant is not only unable to fall this young girl, but she pivots around and slams her hand into his chest.  When she draws her hand out of his chest, itís transformed into a giant reptilian claw, having apparently disemboweled her assailant.  After this Aardelea appears to go into a frenzy, killing any of the assailants within sight, even ones that are running away or cowering on the ground.  Once all the assailants are dead, Aardelea appears to regain her senses, looks around, and starts to sob.  She curls up into the fetal position and rocks back and forth while cradling her head in her gore-splattered hands.  When she recovers she says how sheís afraid that sheís slowly being overcome by bloodlust.  The ultimate result, between the nightmarish dreams of feasting on living flesh, and the inexplicable transformations, she believes that sheís becoming a monster. 

Eventually Aardelea is brought to Ghostwalker, and the dragons begin to study her and her situation of being Ďbondedí with one of Ghostwalkerís blue spirits.  A dragon called Vasdenjas (decreased now) attempted to replicate the process of merging a blue spirit with a human vessel, but the results were only Ďtwisted mockeriesí of true drakes, rather than his intent of a Ďhuman-drake hybrid.í  They also speak of the possibility of using her for breeding purposes in order to create self-propagating race of drakes.


Okay, now that the history lesson is out of the way, what does everyone make of this?  Because it sounds a whole like the blue drake spirit had inhabited Aardelea, which of course has a whole lot of implications for Bred Drakes in general if their ďmotherĒ was created through a spirit inhabiting a human vessel, a blood spirit of dragon essence specifically. 

Furthermore, even in Shadowrun similar things happened to Drakes shortly before or after they underwent dracomorphosis in which some would go Berserk (Such as what happens in Year of the Comet), most appear to be in incredibly pain (Year of the Comet and Threats 2), and in Threats 2 the Drake that undergoes dracomorphosis starts having nightmares of turning into a drake, and then waking up to find it all actually happened.  In all demonstrated cases the drakes often show fear and reprehension at whatís happening to them, not unlike Aardelea.  Furthermore, knowing the origin of Drakes are the blue spirits, it makes indoctrination make much more sense as to why itíd work.  Itís essentially binding the blue spirit thatís part of every drake to a great dragon and forcing subservience as well as allowing the dragon to mold the Drake in the process. 

Spoiler: Year of the Comet (hover to show)

Spoiler: Threats 2 (hover to show)

lokii

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Re: Drakes, Blue Spirits, and Aadelea
« Reply #1 on: (09:02:44/12-05-16) »
The goal associated with studying Aardelea was to turn drakes into a para-natural species capable of procreation. At the very least that's what the drakes hoped for. Prelude to War, p. 70:

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The drakes of Barsaive have their own reasons for wanting Aardelea safely delivered from her Theran captors. They want to be Name-givers in every way, capable of having children and experiencing the joy of family relationships.

I think the great dragons shared this goal in order to increase the usefulness and availability of drakes but with the important caveat of not repeating the mistake of creating servants that could turn against them.

Assuming they succeeded at least with the first part, I don't think it would be necessary for the parents of awakened drakes to still be changed, the drake nature would simply be transferred down the generations. I think the drake hunt after the Comet mana spike itself implies that dragons didn't "seed" drakes by merging spirits to metahumans. If they did so they would kept track of those born and not have to hunt them. Of course Ryan Mercury would be something of a counter-example as Dunkelzahn seems to have found him long before his drake nature showed itself. On the other hand Beyond the Pale meant for Mercury to be unique, his "goblinisation" said to occur too early in the mana cycle and the result of an enormous amount of mana channelled through his body. A bit of Comet mojo could do the same thing for lots of other people just three years later, so clearly that was changed (or not coordinated with Jake Koke in the first place).

Marzhin

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Re: Drakes, Blue Spirits, and Aadelea
« Reply #2 on: (11:49:44/12-05-16) »
Also it's worth remembering that Barsaive at War was part of Living Room Games' run of Earthdawn, which strayed away (sometimes pretty far) from what the original authors had planned post-Prelude to War.
So anything found in that book should be taken with a grain of salt (Earthdawn 4th Edition actually chose to retcon the story back to how Lou Prosperi and co had envisioned it, although there hasn't been any mention of Aardelea's exact fate yet -- it might be similar, or not).
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Mirikon

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Re: Drakes, Blue Spirits, and Aadelea
« Reply #3 on: (01:00:06/12-10-16) »
They were used to replace the Dragonkin, who werenít viable servants (Some went on to become the Immortal Elves weíve seen in Shadowrun, though the other metavariants of Dragonkin seemed to be conspicuously absent).
As far as I'm aware, there are only two metatypes that have had any significant numbers of Dragonkin born to them. The first would be elves. The Immortal Elves all either are the children of dragons, or are within the first couple generations from a dragon parent. Something about the dragon's magic and elves naturally being the longest-lived 'mortal' metatype made those Dragonkin immortal. It is unclear whether Dragonkin of other metatypes are immortal, but signs point to no.

One should note, however, that the Dragonkin we most know about (the Immortal Elves) are mostly from the Second World, and are survivors of a war between the Dragonkin and their dragon overlords. Given that it is unknown whether other metatypes had Dragonkin in significant numbers, or whether they would be Immortal, it is quite possible to say that, perhaps, they died out in the intervening millenia. In the Third World, without magic, and without a tech level like we saw in the Fifth World, there are plenty of ways to find oneself getting dead. If there are any nonelf Dragonkin from this time, then they would have been only a handful of individuals, if that, by the time of the Fourth World.

The only other metatype we KNOW to have Dragonkin born to them would be Humans. The majority (read: all but MAYBE one or two, ever) of the known Human Dragonkin comes from the Denairastas clan of Iopos. The Denairastas clan is named after their patriarch, the exiled Great Dragon Denairastas (called the Outcast by other dragons). These human Dragonkin are longlived, and have extra abilities, but do not appear to be immortal, and the traits fade without a fresh infusion of dragon to the bloodline now and then. Since the Dragonkin revolt back in the Second World, this is one of the MAJOR taboos of dragon culture, and is the reason why Denairastas got exiled, and Mountainshadow (Dunkelzhan) and Icewing (Ghostwalker) busied themselves with making sure the Outcast didn't cause too much trouble.
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lokii

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Re: Drakes, Blue Spirits, and Aadelea
« Reply #4 on: (17:52:29/12-10-16) »
As far as I'm aware, there are only two metatypes that have had any significant numbers of Dragonkin born to them. The first would be elves. The Immortal Elves all either are the children of dragons, or are within the first couple generations from a dragon parent. Something about the dragon's magic and elves naturally being the longest-lived 'mortal' metatype made those Dragonkin immortal. It is unclear whether Dragonkin of other metatypes are immortal, but signs point to no.

Well at least it is said to be possible. Dragons PDF p.140:

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Any Name-giver race can produce dragon-kin, with the exceptions of the obsidimen, who do not reproduce as other Name-givers do.

Also there seems to be no indication, that Immortal Elves have the physical deformities associated with dragon-kin, that's why I always assumed their immortality is explained by something beyond being (descendants of) dragon-kin and that dragon-kin in general are not immortal and might not even be particularly long-living.

The only other metatype we KNOW to have Dragonkin born to them would be Humans.

Again Dragons PDF p.140, there was a suggestion that there could be a line of t'skrang:

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Legends among the t'skrang insist that members of House Syrtis are descended from a dragon, but the truth of these tales is not known.

But it's not surprising since the creation of dragon-kin had been forbidden at the beginning of the Age of Legends (likely after the discovery of dragons killed during downcyle hunting). So maybe the Denairastas clan are the only ones newly created and I concur dragon-kin from previous ages (with the one exception) likely died out.
« Last Edit: (07:55:10/12-11-16) by lokii »

Mirikon

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Re: Drakes, Blue Spirits, and Aadelea
« Reply #5 on: (21:51:51/12-17-16) »
Good points.

As far as the Sixth World goes, the Immortal Elves are the only surviving dragonkin that we KNOW of. My personal suspicion is that the Denairastas clan are behind both the various Dragonslayer orders (Order of St. George, etc.) as well as the Black Lodge. Especially the Black Lodge. The highest ranking member of the Lodge is the 'Penultimate Master', which basically says there is an Ultimate Master above them. Like with the Denairastas and their sire.

Of course, that is shaky as hell on its own. But there's more. From everything we've seen, the Black Lodge has a few key points that stand out about it:

1) Secrecy. They love to keep out of sight. It is only recently that they've even been confirmed to exist by shadowrunners, and they're still invisible to the public.
2) High-power magic. The Black Lodge likely has some of the strongest individual casters (and ritual groups) outside of megacorporations, national militaries, and IEs (to say nothing of Dragons).
3) Long Game. They may be powerful magically, but they appear to be playing a generational long game consolidating power.
4) They HATE elves. You would think a high-level magic society like this would have at least one or two elves, but they're all human.
5) They HATE dragons. They've worked against dragons for years, even going so far as to attempt to kill Lofwyr during his fight with Alamais.

Now, while it is certainly possible for a group to have a generational plan, and work to carry it out, it is hard for such a group to go more than a few generations from the founders without some scatter. Either the group starts expanding as 'legacies' show up, or politics come into play and people start using all that power for their own ends. Without some kind of overriding authority, it is hard to get that kind of focus over generations.

This, in turn, would normally suggest either the Dragons or Immortal Elves, especially when you consider their penchant for secrecy and their extremely high magic talent pool. But since they are vehemently opposed to the IEs and Dragons, and seem to know more and deeper magics than the rest of the world at large, that suggests that there is a controlling influence that is also magically powerful and capable of teaching them. This influence would also have to be outside the general magical community, but especially outside the IE and Dragon societies. Further, it suggests an influence that carried over from the 4th world. The two main influences opposed to the dragons in the 4th world were Thera and the Outcast. Thera, however, was not xenophobic (they had all Namegivers in their ranks) while the Outcast's clan in Iopos was all human.

Naturally, this is all circumstantial, but that's why I believe the Black Lodge may be the place to find Dragonkin other than the IEs. The presence of the Outcast or dragonkin would further explain their secrecy and xenophobia because they know the danger of the dragons or IEs discovering the truth about their order.
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Crimsondude

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Re: Drakes, Blue Spirits, and Aadelea
« Reply #6 on: (23:15:05/12-17-16) »
The Black Lodge isn't that anti-elven. It just prohibits them above a certain level (I'll check when I can look at Threats) and it's only for the same reason Freemasons don't let in members of the International Zionist Conspiracyóthe elves have their own conspiracy, no need to let them in on the Lodge's. Some of their highest ranking members are metas like former UCAS Speaker of the House Joseph Ellis, a dwarf.


One of the people referenced as being behind the DIVE dragon hunters' name translates to "Oak Forest" in Loose Alliances, which just reinforces the point that the IEs were behind plenty of downcycle hunting all on their own.


It's worth asking, though, what happened to those greats if they weren't entirely "whole" when they were killed like how Ghostwalker's astral body was off in the metaplanes looking for Zebulon (We really need to give her proper name at some point) while his body was beneath the Rockies.
« Last Edit: (23:20:51/12-17-16) by Crimsondude »

lokii

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Re: Drakes, Blue Spirits, and Aadelea
« Reply #7 on: (13:15:57/12-18-16) »
According to Threats the Black Lodge doesn't recruit elves (it's adepts that cannot advance higher). Also the destruction of the elven nations is a primary objective.

You mean "Van de Eiken"? The wood part is missing, nonetheless interesting, especially since I can't find a reference to a historic Teutonic Order grand master, so the name should be invented.

I always wondered whether the Denairastas Clan/Black Lodge theory is really based on so little evidence. The connections from Threats mentioned are interesting but I wouldn't call them strongly suggestive. Anyway there is another piece of more recent apocryphal Shadowrun text that works with theory. A Loose Alliances outtake posted by Peter Taylor: http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?showtopic=15332&st=150&p=472150&#entry472150

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[...] the Lodge's founders were once the caretakers of one of the original Aquinae Vaults. Some time during the Middle Ages, a brief mana spike released something caged within one of the relics under the Vault's care. An ancient spirit was unleashed and insane from millennia of captivity went on a vengeful rampage, [...] the entity was forced to take refuge in one of the survivors by possessing him and merging their minds as the spike began to ebb.

During convalescence the man became privy to flashes of insight, memories of a secret history of the world. Visions of an Age when the remnant spirit had been a rebel, a Prometheus who had challenged the immortal powers that had then ruled the world and had been brought low and chained for eternity.

Denairastas rebelled against the ban on creating dragon-kin imposed by his peers, he also seemed to have a vision of uplifting them which might be called promethian. It would suggest that there isn't a direct line from the Denairastas Clan to the Black Lodge but that they inherited their role.

Crimsondude

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Re: Drakes, Blue Spirits, and Aadelea
« Reply #8 on: (16:12:02/12-18-16) »
According to Threats the Black Lodge doesn't recruit elves (it's adepts that cannot advance higher). Also the destruction of the elven nations is a primary objective.
Ah, right. Regardless, it's not like they hate elves for being elves. They just don't want spies or competition. It never struck me as being malicious for the sake of holding some eternal grudge.

Quote
I always wondered whether the Denairastas Clan/Black Lodge theory is really based on so little evidence. The connections from Threats mentioned are interesting but I wouldn't call them strongly suggestive. Anyway there is another piece of more recent apocryphal Shadowrun text that works with theory. A Loose Alliances outtake posted by Peter Taylor: http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?showtopic=15332&st=150&p=472150&#entry472150

Probably because the Black Lodge is controlled (so far as we know) by humans, and the Penultimate Master being human. Alongside that, the idea that the head of the Black Lodge is still called the Penultimate Master implies someone above him, which if you suppose it's the Denairastas Clan would mean Denairastas himself. The other explanation would be that the Master would be God given the original Knights Templar connection. The Denairastas Clan is a neat idea and it makes sense that of all the groups that would survive and continue through the Fifth World, the immortal humans would be at the top of that list, but if they are still around, who and what are they? Given the hierarchical structure of the Black Lodge, it also seems like a likely successor.

That all being said, as far as I know all of the conjecture that the Denairastas Clan became the Black Lodge is still just conjecture because there's not much if any actual references that link them. I know about the material Synner posted that didn't make it into Loose Alliances, but I can't say how much if any of that has become canon since then (It's not like he wasn't around to carry that forward in subsequent material, at least for a while).
« Last Edit: (16:23:18/12-18-16) by Crimsondude »

Dwagonzhan

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Re: Drakes, Blue Spirits, and Aadelea
« Reply #9 on: (06:34:37/02-17-17) »
-Necro necro knock on wood.-

Biggest issue I have with drakes and their lore, is their genesis.
The problem stems mainly from the fact that drakes were introduced right around the time FASA was collapsing financially in the late 90s.

Aardelea was barely introduced to Earthdawn before FASA dropped the game entirely.

So in addition to the problems already brought up with the change of authorship, there's also the problem that Aardelea's story didn't actually conclude definitively.
It's just kind of assumed that at some point, Ghostwalker and Dunklezahn got ahold of her, and eventually succeeded in recreating her condition in such a way that it was useful.
These new drakes became hereditary and genetically viable. (both with other drakes, and with non-drake metahumans)

It really makes me wonder what exactly is the true nature of a Bred Drake.
True Drakes are known: They are a combination of conjuring and blood magic.

If Bred Drakes are just like Aardelea, but more stable and viable, then they also the product of Spiritual inhabitation,
Thing about spirits is that they ALL have to be called into being. Either by a conjurer creating a spiritual formula (thus creating a new matching spirit on the associated metaplane), or by calling an existing spirit from its native metaplane.

Does a newborn drake do this innately? Or is the pre-awakened drake simply a regular metahuman until the right combination of mana and conditions allows the proper Blue Spirit to reach its intended host?
Is the condition purely genetic and how dominant are these genetics? Can drake genetics be tracked and/or coded since it is hereditary, and if so, how has a society that uses DNA encoding for SINs (held by the majority of people born in the Sixth World) NOT pinned down who is or isn't a bred drake already?

Magic and genetics is so inconsistent for metahumanity that there likely isn't any "mage gene" or combination thereof... but magic is perfectly consistent for dragonkind (all of dragonkind is awakened), and all drakes clearly are dragonkind at least to some extent (if not purely, post-dracomorphosis).

I realize that there is a lot of "It's magic, it doesn't have to make sense" at play here, but the magic in Shadowrun (and Earthdawn) does follow some rules.
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