No discussion of the Chakrabarthi Divine Era can be complete without also mentioning the preceding 2,500 years in which Planet Cray was covered in darkness.
In history books, they call it the “Deity-less Era”. The faithful call it the “Age of Absent Prayers”. And others talk of an endless period when blessings and hope were gone, the world in turmoil and chaos. In other words… The “Undawning Night.”
Rinolily stood alone on the snowy peak of a mountain, her silks fluttering in the wind.
The peak rose far above the world of man. The air was thin and bone-chillingly cold, yet Rinolily didn’t move a muscle, her gaze remaining dull.
That is what the earthly inhibitors came to call this point, the highest peak of the Neo Dragobone Mountains in the western reaches of the Dragon Empire.
Old stories told of a time when an enormous explosion that created the bay to the east (Gyze End Bay) also expanded this mountain range. The annihilation of the Dragon Deity of Destruction wrinkled the earth and the ground itself like paper.
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.
The sound of wings beating surrounded Rinolily from all sides. Four dragons made an impressive sight as they landed.
“My Lady, it is time to get ready,” the Sealed Blaze Dragon Halibadra said as it gazed at Rinolily.
“Shirunga is approaching the target,” added the Sealed Blaze Dragon Namorkahr as it moved to protect Rinolily from the wind.
“(Ulsalra is here too.)” interjected the Sealed Blaze Dragon Ulsalra using its telepathy, its large body guarding the party’s back.
“…!” The Sealed Blaze Dragon Arhinsa gave praise to the maiden with a howl. It was the loyal servant that lent her its wings whenever she took on Rinolily’s form.
Rinolily placed a headdress resembling black wings onto her head. As she did…
The wind stopped.
A dark energy enveloped the top of the mountain.
And within that darkness… the frail and lightly dressed Rinolily disappeared.
In her place stood a human form with four wings sprouting from her back. She was wrapped in a heavy dark blue cloak befitting an acolyte of the Sealed Blaze. To the dragons, this small girl appeared as imposing as the mountain itself. This was the effect of the Sealed Blaze, an unimaginably powerful energy that burned deeply within the maiden.
“My Lady Bavsargra.”
The dragons bowed down to the girl.
“As you must already know, five villages and one town in the foothills have been destroyed,” Halibadra began.
“Bandits, driven by despair, have attacked and burned the fields just before the summer harvest. They may not last throughout the next winter,” added Namorkahr.
“(And yet the bandits kill each other over their loot. Only death awaits both assailants and victims. Despair is a terrible, terrible thing.)” Ulsara’s voice, full of sorrow, rang clear in the minds of all present.
“Such is their fate; the work of humans is the cause of sorrow. Let us work to create a world in which none shall suffer such hardships.”
Bavsargra’s voice remained solid and calm, and yet behind it the dragons could sense a steely coldness that made them shiver, alongside a sense of unease that shook their hearts… It was an ominous sound, like that of a volcanic crater on the verge of erupting.
“Despair can come in two forms. It occurs when those who have nothing realize that their suffering will not end. But it can also occur when you lose what you have earned and know that you cannot get it back.”
Bavsargra had been observing both dragons and humans alike suffer through their despair since the Deity-less Era.
In other words, there were none who understood despair better than the Sealed Blaze Maiden, Bavsargra.
To her, despair was like a pernicious disease.
It can infect even the bravest and reduce them to nothing. Few can resist it, fewer still can fight it.
Those who fall into despair know it within themselves. Those who lose a loved one will seek revenge. The mild farmer who loses their crops before winter will rob their neighbors. Merchants are not immune either. Despair is an endless cycle of hatred and loss. And just like this, the walls around villages grow higher, and the frayed hearts of people close.
Such are the thoughts that went through Bavsargra’s mind.
Even in the Chakrabarthi Divine Era, despair covered Planet Cray and could be found in every corner of the world. The hopes some people believed in were as feeble and fleeting as candlelight in the face of a storm.
The power of the Sealed Blaze Dragons, shared from the Blaze Maiden, was to liberate the world from despair. If despair could not be truly eliminated, then did Bavsargra and the Sealed Blaze Dragons truly deserve to be worshiped?
Was there any chance of true salvation?
The more despair there was in the world, the more they were forced to use their growing power.
One answer, one conclusion solidified in Bavsargra’s head—
Just then, a faint cry echoed from the west. It was a voice only the Sealed Blaze Maiden, Bavsargra could hear.
Immediately, a sword appeared in her right hand and a large shield in her left.
It happened so suddenly. The dragons had no time to react.
As Bavsargra called its name, she thrust out the Sealed Blaze Shield, Swayanbuh. There may have been no opponent beyond the shield, but it was the skillful motion of a steadfast warrior knocking back her enemy in the heat of battle.
She followed it up with a brandish of the sword in her right hand, as if commanding an army.
The Sealed Blaze Sword, Prithivih slashed through the air. This, too, seemed to strike a foe that was unseen to the dragons’ eyes.
“Get back, Shirunga!”
As Bavsargra shouted, the Sealed Blaze Dragon Shirunga appeared as if it had been grabbed out of thin air. The dragon was thrown, along with what it held in its talons, to a small plateau below the summit.
“…My apologies for the trouble, Lady Bavsargra.”
The one-eyed Sealed Blaze Dragon Shirunga, once a well-known bandit, looked terrified as it bowed down to the maiden.
The dragon placed the object it had brought with it before the others. It was… a large egg.
“You have done well.”
Bavsargra landed on the plateau with a single beat of her wings, and her sword and shield disappeared. As she picked up the egg, the cracks on its surface turned into a face. It appeared to be sleeping.
“The Chakrabarthi Divine Dragon egg is finally mine. Now I will be able to save the world from despair.”
Bavsargra suddenly looked thoughtful, seemingly considering the dragons around her.
“They will catch up with us soon. We should leave.”
“But Lady Bavsargra… They must surely be thousands of leagues away…” Halibadra began.
“Our pursuers are Blaze Maidens who worship this egg above everything. They will stop at nothing to find it. Do not underestimate that ‘fool’ either. We must depart soon—toward the south.
“Cross the border, and make for the Dark Sea.”
The Sealed Blaze Dragons were all taken aback by this revelation.
Namorkahr broke the silence first. “Ah, so we are finally going to expand south into Neo Dragobone.”
“(Even a land of demons must be filled with despair. There ought to be many who will pray for our aid.)” added Ulsalra.
Certainly, the Dark States, wreathed in miasma as they were, would be a fitting place for the Sealed Blaze Dragons—whose duty was to rid the world of despair—to take residence. All the Blaze Maiden needed to do was to say the word and the dragons would follow her to the ends of the world.
“Sealed Blaze Dragons, my brethren.”
The dragons once again bowed their heads.
“We have an opportunity to land the first strike on the ‘false hope’ that has taken its hold in the north.”
“There are portents of chaos in the west. A glimmer of light flickers in the east. In the south, war brews.
“And beyond the seas, a great power is awakening.”
Beyond the seas… Perhaps she was referring to Stoicheia.
It seemed that Bavsargra could sense the shifts in power from around the world.
“It is time we rise up. Our journey to rid the world of pain and suffering begins now.”
Bavsargra lifted the egg up towards the feeble light of the veiled sun. It was an instinctual gesture, almost like an echo of an ancient rite long forgotten, filled with majesty and awe that overwhelmed the surroundings.
The dragons then raised their heads and howled into the rising darkness. The mountains shook, and the millennium snow and ice shattered in an avalanche. The villagers, who were staring at their burnt fields in dismay, were struck by the war cry of the Sealed Blaze Dragons and fell over with fear.
“This darkness will not lift. Behold, Red Dawn Manor, temple of false tradition and lies.”
Bavsargra stared off into the north towards the Dragonia Mountains.
Her eyes alone had the ability to pierce through the clouds and darkness to see the place that she loathed the most—Red Dawn Manor.
“The Chakrabarthi Divine Egg is mine.”
The so-called Sunrise Egg lay still with its eyes closed. It was nestled in the arms of the Sealed Blaze Maiden, Bavsargra—also known in her human form as Rinolily.
At last, the faint light of the sun battled its way through the darkness and reached the continent of Dragonia.
In the skies above the Despair Peaks, a shadow looked down upon the Maiden and the dragons.
The floating figure was small, but it hung over them like a black cloud, a sign of their struggles to come.
<<Notes about Terminology>>
The Void and a World in Crisis
The Void existed in space long before Planet Cray ever came into being. It contained an infinite amount of energy and endless possibilities.
As Gyze, the deity of destruction, is known as the incarnation of the Void, they are often thought of as the one who brought the World Crisis onto Planet Cray (historically, they were on the side of the destroyers). However, the Void is simply a force that will always try to resolve into a state of endless possibilities, whereas harmony is in which only one possibility exists. The Void is not in and of itself evil.
What’s more, the people of Planet Cray are not helpless against the threat of the Void and its followers.
As the world entered the Chakrabarthi Divine Era, the nations of Stoicheia, Brandt Gate, and Keter Sanctuary worked together to create an international network tasked with looking at past disasters and preparing for any crises that may occur in the future.
If those nations knew of Bavsargra’s ability to sense the shifts in power around the world (even though, or perhaps because, it was supernatural), it would surely have become a golden goose that militaries, governments, and researchers from every nation would have fought over.
→See “Planet Cray, a History” for more information on the Void and Gyze, the Deity of Destruction.
World View: 中村聡