New Nebulas #2: Myths & Legends

New Nebulas

Legend tells of a mighty 8 headed dragon who was cast out of the heavens by the God of Thunder for deceiving his sister, the Goddess of the Sun. But the dragon did not perish in his exile as the Gods had hoped. He survived and brought unspeakable terrors to the land. The only means of appeasing him was the sacrifice of the Lesser Gods daughters once a year. This continued for seven years straight…But on the eighth year, the Lesser Gods encountered the God of Thunder Susanoo and shared their plight. Fearlessly and perhaps foolishly as well, he disguised himself as one of the maidens to be sacrificed to the dreaded dragon.

As was tradition, a group of 8 beautiful young woman clad in the finest of kimono made the journey through an ominous valley. But this time, one of the women came accompanied by several farmers who carried eight massive containers that stood 5 feet tall each. Inside the valley was a crimson lake and sitting within the lake was a massive 8 headed dragon with eight tails. Its body barely able to be contained by the valley walls. Its heads long enough to extend to the opposite end of the castle sized chasm with ease. Its crimson eyes piercing the veil of mist that permeated the air.

“Oh mighty Yamato-no Orochi.” One of the Maidens pleads, instantly drawing the attention of the center head.

“You are to be seen, not heard.” he squints his gargantuan eyes. His massive fangs barred at the defenseless woman and her followers. Never the wiser it was Susanoo using magic to disguise himself. “You dare come accompanied?!”

“Please my lord, they come with a gift I’d be unable to bring on my own. The finest wine we could make. I hope it pleases you.” They bow and await whatever came their way.

“An appeasement? Very well, I shall drink your wine then consume you as is my right.”

And the great dragon did. Each head took a container into its cavernous maw and swallowed it whole. Drinking the wine in a single gulp. It pleased Orochi but he felt an odd sensation. A sudden wave of tired washed over him and he fell into a deep slumber. As was the plan of Susanoo who revealed himself. He had long flowing black hair connected to a full beard and wore a pristine white kimono with ornate cloud designs. He drew his double bladed sword and approached his mortal enemy. Taking his sword high into the air, the storms raged above them. He tore open the heavens and drew the very storms into his blade and struck Orochi’s throat. The slumber was great and one by one each head fell until only the center head remained. Legend says that this night the dragon was slain and three sacred treasures was made from his remains. But before Susanoo could do what was decided by destiny, a golden light pierced the heavens. A peculiar star shaped gemstone flew from stars towards Susanoo. Yet it does not stop and embeds itself into Orochi’s forehead. His eyes opening in an instant to see his enemy before him.

“Susanoo?!” he shouts in a fury. Raising his head skyward he unleashes an unholy wail. The agony of his missing heads hitting him as his body glows with a golden aura. Consumed in rage and pain, he roars at Susanoo. To his surprise, his roar exhales a golden beam of cosmic energy. Blowing away the God of Thunder in an instant along with all present. A massive cavern that extended for miles left at the point of impact. “What? Is this truly my power?” Orochi thought as his body glowed with cosmic energy.  His eyes focus on Susanoo who barely survived the attack. Without hesitation, Orochi devoured him whole and basked in his victory and vengeance.

The mixing of Susanoo and Orochi’s divine blood caused a reaction within the Star Core. It’s power glowing as it coursed through Orochi’s body. Changing it into a new form. His once massive draconic frame shifting into a human form almost identical to Susanoo’s. The Star Core remaining firmly in his forehead as he continues to change. The Star Cores energy flowing around him and summoning an ornate ebony kimono with golden trim. The gold appearing to ripple with galaxies. A crown forming around his head with the Star Core as its base to replicate his once mighty scaled brow.

“Interesting…” Orochi thought as he admired his new form. It was far more compact than his original form yet he felt not only his old powers but this new power and something else…Something familiar. Orochi raises his right hand skyward as the sky begins to thunder. When he consumed Susanoo not only did he kill his enemy but he gained his divine abilities as well. “Hehehe…HAHAHAHAHA!” his laugh echoed through the valley as he ascended into the sky. “I was a god before but now…Now even Kami can’t stop me! But first…I must test this power.” Orochi clenches his fist and contemplates his potential.

Far to the west of Orochi’s Valley was Minori Castle, home to Daimyo Mugen. A man both renowned and feared for ruling with an iron fist. Any who even thought to oppose him had a habit of disappearing mysteriously. But for those who remained loyal and subservient it was a safe haven from the Yokai that plagued the region in the wake of Orochi’s banishment. As was his daily routine, Daimyo Mugen returned from hunting wild deer. After leaving it with his cooks, he returned to his throne room to see his adoring wives. But when he arrives he sees another on his throne. His wives sitting fearfully around the would-be usurper.

“Greetings Lord Mugen.” Orochi says with a condescending emphasis on the word ‘lord’.

“You dare sit upon my throne?” he draws his Katana and begins his approach. “I’ll have your head for this.”

“Is that anyway to talk to your better?” Orochi smiles mockingly.

Blinded by his rage, Mugen swings his sword at Orochi’s neck. Though his aim was true, his steel Katana was nothing before a Star Forgers Cosmic Barrier. Shattering instantly upon making contact with it. It’s shards scattering around the room, one cutting Mugen across his brow, but the others that would’ve cut his wives fade from existence before they reach them. “GAH!” Mugen cries in pain as he stumbles back. Grabbing his cut to try and stop the bleeding. “G-Guards! Yokai! A Yokai breached the barrier!” he cries for assistance as he tries to crawl away. His eyes never averting from Orochi.

“Barrier? Is that what you called that flimsy thing?” Orochi stands and hovers towards Mugen with arms crossed. “You lived all this time because I allowed it.”

“W-who are you?”

“I suppose my face is quite different then what you’re used to.” he stops hovering in front of Mugen. “Once a year, the Lesser Gods would pay me tribute. In exchange, I spared them and you pitiful mortals.” Orochi can see the life vanish from Mugen’s eyes as he realizes just who he’s speaking to. “Susanoo tried to slay me this night…” he uncrosses his arms and looks down at his right arm as he clenches his fists. “He failed…” his eyes shift to Mugen. “The gods banished me, the lesser gods tried to deceive me, and you mortals praise both so easily. So tell me, now that I have your precious Suanoo’s body…what will you do? Will you praise me?”

“I’ll praise you till my last breath my lord.” Mugen quickly bows his head in subservience.

“Rise Mugen.” he waits for Mugen to stand. “You truly wish to gain my favor?”

“Yes my lord.” Mugen responds feigning courage. His body trembling all the while.

Orochi puts his hands on both Mugens shoulders and calms the man. “Good, your faith shall be rewarded. You shall become one with something far greater than yourself. All you must do is one simple thing.” Orochi smiles with fangs barred. His face morphing to his original draconic form. “Let me feed.”

Tonight was a night the former wives of Daimyo Mugen would never forget. The night they watched their new Dark Lord Orochi devour their former husband alive before their eyes. No matter the screams he made, Orochi didn’t stop. No matter how much Mugen fought, Orochi didn’t stop. Only when there was nothing left did Orochi finally stop. Returning to his throne by their side with blood still fresh on mouth and clothes. His face returned once more to the handsome one he stole from the similarly deceased God of Thunder. With his old magic combined with the Star Core, the barrier that once protected Minori Castle was no more. The skies darkening as thunder rained from the heavens. Tonight was the beginning of the end. The birth of Orochi’s Yokai Empire and the fall of the gods…

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