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Mage.png Mage: Dragons and the Unicorn

I will now unfold to you the meaning of this mystery.
The pool is the emblem of this world, and the tent that of your kingdom:
The red serpent is your dragon,
But the white serpent is the dragon of the people who occupy us almost sea to sea;
And the time shall come, however,
Our people shall rise and drive away the oppressors from beyond the sea.
-- Attributed to Merlin, Historia Brittonum

The Dragons of Britannia

Britain is a land of dragons. Long before a Welsh monk wrote of wyrms shaking the whole country with their titanic struggles, legends ran the length of the country. Saints battled white beasts with holy fire, crimson serpents flew defiant above the Welsh Marches and red-eyed monsters clutched the towers of London itself. An isle littered in such symbolism has never failed to attract Awakened interest; the Wise can do no less when their most honoured customs and Orders' formal names preserve draconic connections. Prophecies, folk songs, and Arthurian romances share a kernel of truth.

As above, so below. The dragons of Britannia are no mere story. By Caledonian tradition, three guardians slumber under a great enchantment woven by the first Exiles to reach the island, awaiting their hour of need. The Court of Dragons is among the many titles the Royal Society lays claim to, as the mystical centre of the country. Such a conventional name diminishes a legendary connection to the spellbound serpents -- the Triad -- that has fueled speculation and protected Britain's shores for five hundred years.

Caledonia's Sentinels are believed to hold a mystical bond with the Triad, although none ever divulges the secrets bestowed during the course of their initiation ceremonies. Their formal ranks allude to dragonkind in plain language; they are known as the Lord or Lady of the Eyes, Wings, Voice, and Talons respectively. It is said their leader, the Lord or Lady of the Spire, binds the Sentinel under the Atlantean oath at his investiture, a vow which allows him to rouse the Triad in defense of Caledonia, as long as he is within Lothian, at the cost of his life. No Hierarch cares to disabuse the Awakened of the notion.

The Red and the White

In the United Kingdom, dragons are culturally synonymous with the Welsh red and the English white locked in continuous conflict. Sleeper folktales place the red and the white at odds, but not so among the Awakened. The Mabinogion and Myrddin's celebrated prophecy for the fate of Britain read very differently indeed. Instead, the dragons become emblems of enlightenment and protection, a battle to reclaim first the country, and then the world. Fangs tear at the Lie, talons shred the Abyss. The red dragon symbolizes independence among the Fallen World, but among the Awakened of Anglesey and the Royal Society, the pair represent no less than Ascension.


The Black

Tradition holds that the black dragon coils around the heart of the City of London where the Lord Mayor conducts his business. Draconic statues cast in iron mark the boundaries of the ancient London Wall, and their silhouettes decorate signs to the Underground, streets, and lampposts. Rearing dragons on coats of arms guard city gates as oblivious judges and tourists stream past. None among the Wise know whether the winged serpents of Londinium are simply a symbol. If the Londinium Consilium reflects the essence of the symbol, then they have very good reason indeed to wish long and peaceful slumber upon their dread guardian.

The Unicorn of Alba

Medieval folklore assigns a dual role to the unicorn: a ferocious, unconquerable creature on one hand, and on the other, a being of civilized grace and purity strong enough to overcome death. On the Scottish coat of arms, chains bind the rearing unicorn to temper its raw passions. Long has the evocative image stirred the romantic Scottish soul, Sleeper and Awakened alike. Perhaps none understand the delicate balance between primal forces and intellect so well as the Acanthus and the Obrimos. Aether's fires dance in the hearts and souls of the Thearchs, guided by firm purpose and iron-clad Wisdom. For the Enchanters, their independence of mere law or mundane limitations bring boundless opportunities. Unicorns appear frequently among objects and tales associated with these paths, whether in the delicately stylized border of a grimoire or a personal signet.

Omens and Dreams

Traditionally, the unicorn is associated with lunar aspects rather than the dragon's solar affiliations. Dusty codices contained in certain Caledonian libraries index its abilities to heal all wounds of the spirit and mind, and unweave foul compulsions. Its purifying presence banishes the taint of the Abyss, perhaps even mend the scars of blight which manifest as dead zones where magic fails.

While all of this falls within the realm of cryptid legend, the Wise know better than to scoff at visions of a horned equine. Its appearances occur almost entirely in prophetic dreams where a mage encounters the creature in a moonlit landscape or the depths of the primeval forest that shrouded Britannia centuries ago. Always a messenger, the unicorn never speaks; it delivers messages instead by invoking intense emotion in the witness. She will never forget the vivid feelings, even if the dream erodes to watercolour impressions and broken images when she wakes. For this reason more than any, the unicorn is considered an omen of substance. Privately mages conjecture the physical manifestation of the Unicorn of Alba would herald a dire situation.

The Pure

In the annals of Caledonia, only one unicorn ever appears to foretell events or deliver missives. Any Silver Ladder mage worth his salt or studied Columbine from Anglesey or Scotland can describe the noble creature. Equine in appearance, its flesh appears carved from an almost luminous white marble and its mane is a sheet of liquid moonlight. Its leonine tail curls down into a sparkling tuft of hairs or woven metal like adamantine. Sharp hooves spark eldritch symbols on the earth where it moves, indecipherable sigils resisting all translation. The unicorn's eyes are the shade of the mists that gather off Skye and the Hebrides, forever changing, and its spiral horn extends more than a meter above its brow.

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