Iron Author

Login Create Account Read All Entries

The Origin Of a Species

by MasterThiefEsq

What if the glpyhs were not concepts? What if they were sounds? No, that wasn’t how dragonscript worked, but…

She bolted upright in her bed, and ran over to her desk, nearly toppling the lamp as she lit it with her horn. With a puff of fire, she cleared away whatever dust had fallen on the ancient stone tablet, bringing out the sharp, claw-cut lines, made by a dragon millenia ago. The glyphs were oddly repetitive – this a mountain, this a tree, this a river, this the verb for motion, this the modifier rapidly – but, perhaps, the young linguist wondered.

She formed her lips into sounds, trying here a hard ch, then a [k], then vowels stuck on the end.

It can’t be… Equin?

The linguist went to her shelf of dictionaries and treatises and scrolls. She pulled the massive Principiae Linguae Equinae from the bottom shelf, with her cloven hooves so as not to damage it with careless magic or accidental fire. At her desk, she turned to the primer, alternating between sounding out consonant-vowel combinations and furious dragon-clawed scribbles, gradually perfecting about 30.

And then she looked back upon the tablet. And she beheld the story, and began to read.


The story of the beginning of the Kirin, our children.

Since we have nothing written to preserve the story of how you, our children, came to be, I have decided, with the aid of the few left who remember, to write it down for you to know and to share, so that you, our living works, may realize who you are and who you are destined to be.

In the four hundred and forty first year of the Dragon Lord Dorok the Cruel, a great war arose. After arising from sleep one afternoon, Dorok decreed that the Dragons should conquer the land to the South, which was great and green, and that we should kill and feast upon any of the fragile creatures there who resisted us, and enslave the rest so that the Dragons may live in leisure.

But that was not the war. For Dragons are a proud race, and from olden times took pride in living for themselves. What Dorok had proposed was abhorrent to them, as Dragons hunted for themselves and their mates and their children, and did not keep or hold others in bondage, lest the Race grow fat and idle by the work of others.

Dorok decreed that all who opposed him were enemies. And thus war between Dragons came. Most of the Dragons served king Dorok, but a few kept to the old and honorable ways. Thus while Dorok sought to fight with strength, inflicting terrible cruelties upon any Dragon he caught that would not serve, those who opposed him fought with speed, surprise, and guile. Where Dorok was, they were not, and where Dorok was weak, they appeared and ripped and teared and destroyed, flying back to shadow when their task was done. In his anger Dorok said that the non-loyal were little warriors fighting a little war. And thus the name of the Loyal Claws of the Honorable Dragons (already too long) became that of Guerilla, a word adopted, some said, from the Griffons, to disguise their intent.

In the four hundred and fifty ninth year of his reign, Dorok the Cruel took a hunting flight, and did not return. The guerillas sent back one of his claws. And Dorok’s son, Krak, ascended to Dragonlord upon the trials (from which the Loyal had been excluded). Krak decreed that the eggs of any Guerillas would be burned to ash in their shell and their mates taken for meat. For this he was known as Krak the Mad. But the Dragons obeyed, and there was much weeping among the Dragon Lands, the Dragon Maidens weeping for children that were no more, and many Dragon warriors of the Guerillas hurling themselves from cliffs so that they could join their eggs in death.

Of the hundreds of Guerillas who remained Loyal to the Dragon Ways, all but twelve Dragon Warriors, had bent claws before Krak, become meat, or died of grief. They had been decreed as outcasts and no Dragon Maiden able to carry on their line without facing the Madness of Krak. These twelve resolved to flee the Dragon lands so that the Way of Loyalty might endure. Of these, I was the youngest.

In the second year of Krak the Mad, we the Twelve found a good and fertile valley. We settled there, and reckoned it the First Year. There was no leader among us, every warrior simply did what we thought the community needed. We dragons could live for thousands of years, and we knew how to survive alone, but survive better in groups. Meat was plentiful, but the mountains had jewels, which we feasted upon with great relish, and occasionally, strange bulbs which we later learned were called onions.

And yet in the darkest hours before dawn each of us mourned the lives we left behind.

In the Fifty Fifth Year, one of our number spied a small herd entering the valley. These were unicorns, strange magical beings that none of us had ever seen, but whose otherworldly powers were legendary. After much debate, it was decided that both we and they were likely equally matched, that the valley was big enough that we could keep to the mountains and the skies, while they inhabited the plains below to grow crops and establish a village. They had nothing we needed or wanted.

Kai, one of the Eldest of the Twelve, had been silent during our speakings. He kept watch upon the unicorns, and noticed that they were not building a village, only living in a river cave that they had fortified. He argued that this was not normal, that equines were herd creatures who lived in villages, and that something was amiss.

Against the will of the others, Kai began spending his days watching the unicorns. Every day, he would land an acre closer. And every day, he would sit there, silent and stone, watching and waiting. When asked why he did that, he said, so that they would not be afraid of us, nor us of them.

In the Fifty Seventh Year, one of the unicorns finally approached Kai. What was said between them was not recorded, and Kai told not a soul. But they began spending more and more time together, and one day Kai told us their tale.

The twelve unicorns were all females. They had been exiled from a far kingdom to the South, by a ruler who had claimed their magic was impure and would pollute their kind. Their male consorts had abandoned them, and being short-lived, they were doomed, so they said, to die alone, and every night they mourned what they had lost.

It was between the words of Kai the Dragon, and Lin the Unicorn, that an understanding was reached. We would build them a village and protect them from any of their hostile kind, or from any Fallen dragons, that came into the valley. They in turn would feed us from their magic-given bounty and heal our wounds should we be injured.

In the Fifty Eighth Year, the village was built. It was set against the wall of the valley, we the dragons living above and the unicorns living below. From the hollows of trees our claws carved the unicorns dwelling and storehouses for food. With piles of stone and flame we made a wall of rock-glass around the village. And from their bounty we received grains and vegetables (which we tolerated), fish (which we acquired a taste for raw, though the unicorns cooked theirs over fire), and a healing touch for our wounds, or words of comfort or encouragement when we needed them.

In the Fifty Ninth Year, Kai and Lin disappeared for a time. We searched throughout the valley but they were hidden to Dragon Warrior and Unicorn Mage alike.

In the Sixtieth Year, Kai and Lin returned. And Lin had borne an offspring, one which had the hooves and body of an equine, but the scales and tail of a dragon, with a mane of fur, and a brilliant horn as if carved from red stone.

Kai and Lin recounted how they had come to know one another, and then to court, and then to vow to each other as mates. In the seventh moon of their speakings, Kai had said, in a forgetful moment I love you to Lin. When he realized what he had said, he told Lin that he had been tired from the previous day’s hunt and was sorry if he had offended her with his gaffe.

And Lin replied, among my people, it is said that a gaffe is when someone accidentally told the truth.

By what means they had a child was not known to us, they said it had been simply the Divine Will. And so it was. As another proverb we had heard from the Griffons said, one does not look a gift horse in the mouth.

We began to call their offspring Kilin, a name which she squealed with delight when any of us called her name. And though she could glow into fiery rage when angered, Kilin grew in strength and wisdom and steadiness of spirit and purity of heart.


In the Seventieth Year, other offspring had been borne to the Dragon Warriors and the Unicorn Mages, each of Kilin’s kind. And she, the oldest, took to raising them, teaching them letters and numbers and telling them stories and letting them know that they were of their parents and yet unique and always very, very loved.

In the Seventy Second Year, Krak the Mad found our valley. He decreed that the Dragon Warriors would be meat for his Horde, and the unicorns and all of Kilin’s kind their slaves. And they said that if we did not submit, the valley would be immolated with lava from the mountains.

I saw Kai and Lin embracing their daughter for the last time. Then I saw Lin, riding on the back of her Dragon Warrior husband, ascending into the sky. With otherworldly power, she loudly proclaimed that Kai was her mate and these were her people and children and that Krak had no vassals here and no meat to be found.

I heard Krak laughed a terrible insane laugh and ordered his army to charge.

Then I saw Kai and Lin descend together, with the speed of fire from the heavens, and plunge into the heart of Krak’s army. There was light and heat, and then a long silence. After an hour, a small number of us with Kilin approached, and found Krak and his army burned to pillars of ash.

And Kilin said that a being of fire consumed by fire.

Then she pointed to what remained of her parents. And yet, she said, they are still there and protecting us.

And we beheld a great crystal, in the form of a dragon with a unicorn riding on its back, in an eternal embrace.

And Kilin sang a song of victory:

Proclaim to the Heavens, Ye Unicorn Maidens
Sing to the skies, Ye Dragon Warriors
For stronger than death is love
Mightier than the mightiest army the bond of two become one
And their children and their children’s children.
And all of us down to the thousandth generation
Shall see this sign and know,
That the fire that gave us birth is a powerful and terrible thing
And that all who hate us shall burn.
But the one with love in their heart shall be spared from the flames,
Though the fire surround them, by the purity of their hearts they shall not be consumed.
And you, my parents, shall live on in eternal memory,
As a sign for us down the generations
Of a terrible and unconquerable power.

Thus did Kilin become the Guru of the kind that would bear her name, she who would remember the origins of her people, she who would teach them to honor the ancestors and use their fiery spirit for good and noble things. And every Guru bore a golden crown of horn upon their head, and have to this day.

It is now the One Hundred and Eleventh Year. My mate Rubri is old, and barely speaks. Yet she knows me, and knows all of our children and grandchildren. We shall sleep in the embrace of immortal stone soon, as Kai and Lin did all those years before.

This testimony is written for you, our descendants, our Kilin, the two natures become one, so that you may know where you come from, and that through the love that created you, you may have long and happy lives.


The linguist finished the transcription, tears welling within her eyes.

Her mother and father had been right all along. What the kirin knew about themselves, deep down, had been right all along.

She – all of her kind - kind had not been born from a mistake, or violence, or cruelty. The origin of the kirin had been love. Self-giving, enduring, perduring, charitable, generous-beyond all measure love.

That was what she embodied, her two younger brothers too, all of the kirin species that had come before, and all that would come after. She was first kirin borne from a dragon and a unicorn in living memory.

She looked up at the picture above her desk. Her father, violet and jade scaled, strong jawed, two strong clawed arms wrapped around his wife. Anow-white unicorn with a grey-streaked purple mane, lines around her face but eyes undimmed. They had gone to the reward of all the First Parents years ago, her father enfolding her mother in a final embrace so that death would not sever them, instead transformed into beautiful, immortal stone. In the years they had together, they fell in love, raised three kirin children, made a life. She designed beautiful clothes and art and making a fortune that she’d given to anyone in need. He was roving ambassador for his adopted homeland, setting conflicts old and new. And she and her brothers had been there for all these adventures.

The linguist traced the jade-green cloves in her hooves, then her own white coat, then her own purple mane. She had been the first of the new kirin, born in love. And she would not be the last.

From some distance place, Jade felt dragons and unicorns looking down upon her, and smiling, as a soft rain began to fall from the heavens.