The Dragon-Kami Reborn

Posted in Feature on January 17, 2022

By Emily Teng

Emily Teng is a worldbuilding game designer for Magic: The Gathering.

The dragons of Kamigawa are some of the most powerful and enduring kami around. However, not even they are free from pain and death.

The Dragon-Kami Reborn
The Dragon-Kami Reborn | Art by: Alix Branwyn

Many of the dragons that got involved in The Kami War were horribly injured or killed: Yosei died guarding the city of Eiganjo, Jugan fell while aiding the monks of Jukai, and Keiga was killed defending Minamo Academy. Centuries later, Kokusho was killed guarding the denizens of Takenuma swamp against an oni attack. Of the dragons, only Ryusei survived the years unscathed.

The dragons had been some of the mortal realm's strongest protectors, and with most of them gone, other malevolent forces soon began to wreak havoc. During the Shattered States Era, a wave of oni attacks swept across the land, culminating in a devastating event known as the Night of Withering that threatened the entire plane.

In an effort to fight back, the orochi enacted a powerful ritual to resurrect Jugan, their original protector. The ritual was successful, and together Jugan and Ryusei defeated the oni incursion.

However, Jugan could tell something was wrong. While she had lain dead, the plane had changed. While she was still powerful, she was no longer connected with Kamigawa as she had once been. For the dragons to return and assume their rightful places on the plane once more, it would have to be in new incarnations.

Jugan embarked on a journey to collect the remaining essences of the other three dragons, then placed them all inside an egg. She and Ryusei willingly placed themselves in the egg as well and fell into a deep sleep. The egg was sealed into the heart of Boseiju, where it was nurtured for fifty years. When it finally hatched open, the five dragons emerged, reborn in their new forms.

This painted silkscreen depicts the birthing of the new generation of dragon-kami. In the art, Jugan takes on the most prominent role, highlighting her role in nurturing the dragons and bringing about their rebirth. The dragons' rebirth ushered in a new wave of hope and peace on the plane, and as the years went by, various organizations took inspiration from these new dragons' appearances to develop their own visual motifs.

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