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Waking the Dragon III: Secrets of Odo Island
Chapter III: Secrets of Odo Island
By Gwynplaine de Orme
We were not prepared for everything Odo Island was to show us. The island lent itself to the image of an idyllic tropical paradise complete with small but energetic fishing villages, vibrant, sweet-smelling flowers, a plethora of colorful animals -- the whole package. The weirdest thing, however were the islanders themselves. All of them, including the women, were six-foot or more. It was indescribably strange to see people who are largely of Japanese descent be not just taller than the home-islanders but taller than most Americans and Europeans. At six-three, I was used to being the tallest person in a room, but I saw more than one of these islanders a head or more taller than myself.
As we tried not to stare too obviously at them, a thickly-built elderly bronze man with hair that spiked out in awkward ways, dressed in a white and green robe came up to me roughly half an hour after we’d been on the island. He smiled weakly
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Literature
Waking the Dragon Chapter II: Behemoth
Waking the Dragon;
Chapter II: Behemoth
The Dragon of Tokyo, Dawn of the Monster Age (Gwynplaine de Orme)
I do not recall, precisely why I was in Osaka that day, but I remember hearing the sirens. I remember the utter dread that gripped me. I helped design these sirens. They were an imitation, of sorts, of Wani’s own blood-curdling shriek and roar. They did the job: they terrified everyone and everything that heard it.
With Wani trapped in her ice prison, the world sighed a relief. So why was the siren blaring? Because in the tail end of 1958 or the earliest parts of 1959, we received another shock: another beast had reared its ugly head.. We do not know exactly where this particular one came from. It was four legged, and looked like some kind of super-massive Ankylosaur, mixed with a porcupine and Triceratops. Interest in dinosaurs had grown since the Wani attack, and I remember it being reported as ‘Angilas’ or ‘Anguirus’, after some mangled pronunciatio
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Literature
Waking the Dragon
Waking the Dragon
Excerpt from Ernst Pile’s 1961 “The last days of the Pacific War”.
In 1945, the Pacific War looked as if though it would only take one final push before the Americans would deal the death-blow to the Japanese Empire. Pushed back from one end of the Pacific to the Home Islands themselves, the Americans had landed in areas once though impregnable. Holy territory, Japan itself. Iwo Jima fell, though with terrible casualties. Okinawa was even worse. The Americans paid for each foot of ground with gallons of blood. The Empire was never going to surrender. Admiral Halsey famously quipped “When we’re done, the Japanese language will only be spoken in Hell”. The Japanese would oblige him.
The Americans had been getting reports of a secret weapon, something so terrible that only now, in the Japanese Empire’s own Alamo would it be used. They weren’t worried. Their own ace in the hole, the nuclear hellfire, was almost complete. Jap
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Chapter III: Secrets of Odo Island

By Gwynplaine de Orme

We were not prepared for everything Odo Island was to show us. The island lent itself to the image of an idyllic tropical paradise complete with small but energetic fishing villages, vibrant, sweet-smelling flowers, a plethora of colorful animals -- the whole package. The weirdest thing, however were the islanders themselves. All of them, including the women, were six-foot or more. It was indescribably strange to see people who are largely of Japanese descent be not just taller than the home-islanders but taller than most Americans and Europeans. At six-three, I was used to being the tallest person in a room, but I saw more than one of these islanders a head or more taller than myself.

As we tried not to stare too obviously at them, a thickly-built elderly bronze man with hair that spiked out in awkward ways, dressed in a white and green robe came up to me roughly half an hour after we’d been on the island. He smiled weakly at me, and motioned for me to follow. I grabbed a pad and pen and followed. I was led to a cave that had been turned into some manner of monastery, bedecked with tapestries and scrolls. I followed further and further in, until the cave opened into a gargantuan room, so large that I couldn’t see the ceiling.

There was a stillness in the air, and as we walked to the shrine at the center of the room I started to get goosebumps. It felt as if there were more than just the two of us in there. The shrine was five small pedestals in an x-shape, the center pedestal slightly higher than the other four, each with a small bowl. Three of the outside bowls contained earth, fire and water, with the last containing a bonsai tree that seemed sway with a breeze that was not there. The center bowl contained nothing I could see.

The man who got my attention now turned to look at me and started to change, especially in the face, with the nose becoming more flat, the eyes becoming more pronounced while changing from a dark brown to sea-blue, and the mouth bowing out slightly. He also began to grow quite a bit of hair over his body though the face remaining largely free of it, with his head-hair lengthening significantly. Strangely monkey-like I think might be the best way to sum it up. Curiously, his lips seemed to be malformed or scarred. I think they had always been so, but I don’t recall noticing. He then began to speak, in a voice that while not human was far more pleasant and natural-seeming than Moll’s, and far more friendly. It didn’t sound like something trying to be human. I’m not sure why, but their ‘actual’ voices seem less strange than when they try to emulate us. He also truly ‘spoke’. No telepathy.

“I apologize for the deception, but there is a rhythm and tradition I and my siblings are bound too. You’ve met my Sister. I ask you to forgive her manner, her nor my other Sister are comfortable around man, they do not quite grasp the art of conversation. You may call me Huoxiu. You will find in this monastery all that your society knows of Wani, Gojira, of my Siblings and I, and of some of the beasts that are making themselves known to you now. I can feel your irritation, and I am sorry, but despite wishing to simply tell you everything I am not at liberty to do so. I think you and those you worked with may understand this, however: nothing, once told, is ever truly forgotten, and some things are best left unknown.”

I found myself remembering the words of Oppenheimer and Einstein. We can free all the genies we like, but once removed we can never seem to find the cap again.

“But you will not be alone. Aid will come from all corners of the globe, and we will ourselves help as much as we can, but we must measure our actions with the utmost care. This is not the first time we’ve been called to arms.”

Huoxiu then became quiet, his face grim and gaining the ‘thousand-yard stare’ you find all too often among soldiers who might return home, but whose minds remain forever on the battlefield. He seemed to try and hide it, and looked back at me with another weak smile. He spoke again, trying to hide the regret in his voice.

“We know better now. It won’t end that way again.”

Huoxiu’s bronze glow seemed to dim, his hair subtlety graying and what looked to be age wrinkles appearing on his face. His posture also changed, becoming more resigned and grim.

“Now for the reason I sent for you: Ryujin’s power is failing. I fear he may not be long for this world. Wani’s continued resistance is sapping his power, and it is growing more difficult by the hour for him to keep the prison functional. In eight years time Ryujin will fail.”

On that ominous note Huoxiu simply disappeared, as Moll had done. We knew it wouldn’t hold forever, but we also thought we’d have more time. However, there was more immediate work to be done. Just like he said, the monastery contained a treasure trove of scrolls, codices, woodcuts, tapestries, even a few statues and, most intriguingly, three beautiful puzzle-boxes. There exist volumes dedicated to reproducing what was found there, so in the interests of brevity I will only touch on the most pertinent information beginning with Wani, whose myths are largely what you might expect.

Wani is said to be a sea-monster in the shape of a dragon. This is important,  because just as most other Asian myths or folklore, the Dragon is a largely benevolent or at least non-malicious creature, rather than the European conception of a cold-blooded destroyer. In nigh-all stories she is depicted as arriving at night, red eyes glowing, and laying waste to whatever could be found, sometimes until an offer of some kind is made. One instance involved a human sacrifice. Interestingly, there are countless titles attributed to her, some of them being purely descriptive, such as the ‘Tyrant-Queen’, ‘Black Queen’ or ‘Crowned in Fie’‘. A few however, seemed to be genuine attestations such as ‘Queen of the Lost World’, ’Shogun of the Old Realm’ and the most peculiar ‘Vanquisher of the Destroyer’. The name Wani itself shares the literal meaning of the mainland Wani legend, best described as “Crocodile-shark”, which may not seem very appropriate initially, but if you consider how you’re most likely to see her in the water, swimming with only her dorsal spines clearing the surface of the water, it becomes obvious. As an aside, the drawings of Wani all show a creature whose eyes are normal. Strangely colored, tending towards orange or red, but with pupils and the like.This seems to indicate her apparent blindness is a new development.

Gojira is depicted and referred to in each tale with his presence as a benevolent, if sometimes inconsiderate or perhaps merely overly-enthusiastic, dragon who works for the good of humanity. He had a whole list of titles as well, with my particular favorites being ‘Prince of the Beasts’ and ‘Friend of the Seafarers’. The last comes from several stories where in Godzilla carries crippled boats and their crews back to the island after a week of heavy storms. Of other interest is his name, ‘Gojira’. The Japanese were initially confused as it seemed to be a combination of ‘Gorilla’ and the Japanese word for whale, ‘Kujira’. Instead, it is a word endemic to the Ogasawara Islands. A proper translation into English is somewhat difficult (the word Godzilla is the mere result of someone mishearing Gojira over the radio and writing it out phonetically) but the ones I’ve been told are best are “Sea-Fire” or “Ocean-Sun”. I would hope it is self-evident as to why they are descriptive.

Amongst the other beasts the only one we were aware of in 55’ was the ‘Horned One’ who we’d dubbed Angilas. A few that would emerge in later years, in no particular order;

‘Fujin’(the Kong)
‘Raijin’(somehow picked up the name ‘Gabara’ on the home-islands)
‘Thunder Bird’(Rodan or Radon, not sure how the placement of the a became confused)
‘Fire Eater’(This may be the petrol-consuming dinosaur or dragon that attacked Keijo)
‘Storm Beetle’(the Mu’s weapon, obviously)
‘Plague/Blight Dragon’(bears striking resemblance to the Rhedosaurus creature that found its way to NYC)
‘Last Pretender’(Not sure entirely as to what this might be, the image looks like some kind of theropod with massive, powerful legs)
‘Great Water-Lizard’

There are plenty others, but I will leave it here for the time-being.
______________________

The next interesting thing comes around 1959, December 22nd. Leave it to fate, I suppose, to bring a…revelation of sorts, at the end of the old world. This decade truly began with Wani and her transformation of Tokyo into a hellscape of twisted steel and blackened glass spires, populated mostly by the burned shadows of its former inhabitants. After the fires died down, we tried to bring in dogs to look for those that might be alive beneath the rubble. They refused to even enter the city, and would bolt as soon as possible, fighting if they had to. Most other animals refused to go anywhere near it, though some would come: ravens and vultures and other carrion eaters, seeking out the stench of death. It lingers in Tokyo. Despite the years, it still smells like a pit of warm bodies, some burnt, some desiccated, there are even a few kids still asking for help and then the ring of gunshots…I try not to visit.

However, a few hundred, maybe two thousand at the most, people populate an area meant for tens of millions. The one thing that is unchanged is the Imperial Palace, which is maintained while the Imperial and Chrysanthemum Banners fly in defiance from its highest point. Other areas in Tokyo that are kept up are the larger shrines, such as the Yasukuni Shrine and those like it. Those holy men are dedicated to their craft, no matter the horrors they must suffer, and for that I have undying respect for them.

As April of 1963 approached, when we were told to expect Wani freeing herself from her frozen prison, the Joint-Pacific Fleet was formed. It was made of obsolete portions of the Imperial Japanese, American and Bering Republic navies; mostly battleships and other heavy-gun platforms that had been rendered less-effective in traditional combat roles by the development of aircraft. However, if you need only to rain steel hell down on a relatively slow-moving target, they were perfect. Cheaper and more reliably accurate than missile technology of the time as well.

The Fleet was made up of fifty-five assorted Battleships and Battlecruisers, a flotilla of submarines, and three aircraft carriers for recon and as a way for me to return to the Home Islands as soon as possible.. In terms of pure firepower that it could lay on a target it was the most powerful conventional force on the planet. Main armament scaled from 12-inch guns on the USS Wyoming to the 24-inch of the IJN Kii-class. We didn’t exactly have the highest hopes for it to actually kill or stop her, we were pretty certain we couldn’t,but at least, we might be able to weaken her enough so that something more her size could force her back.

The fleet set out for Wani on March 31st of ‘63. We arrived April 23rd at a spot in the North Pacific or Bering Sea, I’m not sure; maritime borders can be finicky. To the west was formerly Russian Kamchatka(now Japanese) as well as the Siberian coast of the Bering Republic, the Aleutians(also Bering Republic) were to the north-east and much further away, dead-east, was British Columbia. This time I would be observing from a specially-built helicopter. It was ludicrously heavy, requiring far stronger engines and much more fuel to get the same range as a conventional craft. This weight came from the laminated lead shielding as well as the lead glass. Extremely heavy, extremely expensive, but almost impermeable to the more dangerous forms of radiation so long as a certain distance was kept.

The wait wouldn’t be long. Sometime around dawn on the 26th we got signs of increased movement from Wani and Manda, the latter seeming to be moving frantically, trying to repair the ice as it broke and melt in places. Then, in a brilliant flash accompanied by a scream of rage, the makeshift Tartarus was simply gone. The ice had sublimated, leaving Wani visible. She looked worse for wear, her radiation burns now complemented by both frostbite and what looked like freezer burn.

The Fleet opened fired now. It wasn’t just high-explosive or armour-piercing shells though. New munitions were developed for this task, in particular two that I had a hand in. The first isn’t really a shell in the traditional sense of the word, rather it was a container for twelve flechettes, a solid ‘dart’ of sorts. These were made of cadmium, boron and silver, more or less a weaponized control-rod, the idea being to try and take the wind out of Wani’s fission capabilities by trapping neutrons. Obviously there would be no way to get enough of them in her to completely stop the process, but I hoped it would bring her down a little.

The other was a biological weapon of sorts, a strain of bacteria that could feed off fissile materials and radiation. It was developed by Dr. Genshiro Shiragami initially in 59’ or so, with its technical name being H54-15R08, and the strain used against Wani being H54-15R18. The initial was, to put it bluntly, simply inadequate for the task. It wasn’t remotely aggressive enough. This one however showed immense promise, consuming radiation and nuclear material at an inspiring rate. It still was not going to kill her, but we’d take what we could get.

Through the smoke we could make out Manda-Ryujin unleash the rage of ice, lightning and fire, or Wani attempting to vomit the dragon‘s breath, illuminating their silhouettes and sometimes seeming to simply burn through the soot and vapour. Every so often the steam and smoke would clear enough to see the two titans clearly, mostly by the gale-force winds Manda would conjure to try and topple the nuclear tyrant. But as we watched we all began to commit the cardinal sin of hope.

The torrent of lightning, rain and fire that Manda unleashed...nothing natural could’ve taken that, and for a moment it seemed like the tide had turned in our favor. We thought that the alliance of nature’s raw power and human ingenuity was going to topple Wani. I refuse to believe it was coincidental that the moment our hopes seemed to be highest was when the battle turned irrevocably against us, punctuated by what I can only call hellish laughter. I knew something was wrong when the world began to brighten. I had the helicopter turn, and screamed through the radio that everyone should drop or duck.

This wasn’t the fire, Wani’s Dragon Breath. It has been dubbed a ‘pulse’, though I feel that’s not accurate, or at least not evocative. Instead it seemed to be a very small nuclear detonation, though still managing to be so bright that the sun seemed dim in comparison. All the ships were too far away to be harmed, and while my helicopter was rocked pretty heavily it took it in stride. But the Water Serpent didn’t fare as well. The mass of steam obscured our vision, though we could make out both Manda and Wani’s form through it. A pitiful struggle carried on, Manda’s form seeming to lose and regain cohesion at random, going from ice to flesh to water haphazardly in different places. Finally Wani began to light up again, though she seemed to be ‘inhaling’. I think she was trying to absorb or devour Manda.

That would be the last we saw of the Water Serpent, though he wasn’t eaten. Rather, a barrage of lightning allowed him to disperse into the clouds, though instead of a crash of thunder there was a high-pitched chirp echoing around us. Wani disappeared beneath the water after that. The submarines with us began tracking her, and reported her heading as south-west. She was heading for Japan again.

More submarines, spread out around the Home Islands, were put on alert to look for a radar signature a little smaller than a Destroyer. After my helicopter landed on one of the escort carriers we were given news that froze the blood in our veins. I’d expected Wani to be faster than us, but no one expected her to be capable of sixty-five knots. about seventy-five miles an hour. That may not sound all that fast, but in the water? It’s insane, over double the speed of the fastest ship in the fleet.

However, Japan wasn’t exactly helpless. While she would reach Japan quite a bit before us, over the past decade Japan and the United States had been fortifying the Home Islands. One particularly novel idea was a series of massive power-lines placed around the nine largest coastal cities in a manner reminiscent of the walls of medieval European castles, though these did not completely surround each of the cities, only the general areas facing the sea, with between three and five rows. Providing the technical details regarding amps and volts would likely be utterly meaningless, and I am not an electrical engineer, so I myself don’t understand the figures proper, being  I’ll instead use the example said to me by one of the engineers, a ‘Herr Langley’ who’d emigrated from Krim as the Germans are calling it, in ’47. He said that the lines themselves would only last a few hundredths of a second under the power forced through them, and that to ensure maximum effect each line would come on only as Wani touched it. The power going through the line would be more than the combined total power output of both Japan and the United States. How much exactly that was he didn’t say, and I didn’t think to ask.

These power-lines were fed by the only thing capable of supplying that kind of energy as well as the one thing we knew that Wani liked; nuclear fission. There wasn’t anything else you could feasibly build to power such a device, and, knowing that, we took appropriate precautions.. With her ability to hone in on the reactor well-known, I suggested using two different types of shielding. We didn’t know exactly how she sensed radiation, so we went with a scattershot approach. Lead is well-known for its shielding properties, but it isn’t the best material. The best material is known as Osmium, a metal that is prohibitively expensive, but in this situation it was agreed that the alternative was simply unacceptable. So the first layer of shielding was a lead-osmium alloy, coated with a lead-gold paint. The second was to simply have the reactors cooled with lead.

I was flown back to Japan ahead of the fleet, to organize radiation relief efforts. I still have nightmares about the children I had to euthanize, and if I could help it no one was going to have to be in a situation where they would have to make that decision again. I know how naive that sounds, but that wasn’t something I wished on anyone. Something in my gut told me that Nagoya was going to be Wani’s target, so I made arrangements to stay near the city. There was a fierce debate on whether or not to evacuate the city, and eventually it was decided not too. Instead, the coastal areas of Japan were given instructions that any sightings of Wani, or anything that could be her, regardless of the degree of certainty, was to be reported immediately, regardless of time, to the nearest authority figure. It was further stated that officials who failed to pass such reports further up would be investigated and potentially tried for treason and dereliction of duty, with the death sentence effectively a given if convicted.

On May 8th, night fell on Nagoya. The moon was full and beautiful, one of the brightest I’ve ever seen. The skies were stunningly clear and the weather was just right, without a single cloud in the sky. It was one of those nights when all the little worries in your life seemed to take a vacation for a bit and you could live in the moment. It didn’t last long.

As it approached ten or ten-thirty, the wind picked up considerably, and from the roof of the Nagoya University Hospital I saw the gales roll in massive clouds, and soon the whole of the sky was covered, some of the clouds being almost black. Then there was that eerie calm that seemed to come about before a disaster, be it a tornado, tsunami or in my experience, a nuclear detonation. Lightning flashed through the sky and with it came the chirping I’d heard out at sea, echoing across the landscape. An orderly tapped me on the shoulder and told me that my helicopter was picking me up; there was something they wanted me to see. He wouldn’t say what it was, I don’t think they told him.

What they wanted me to see was some kind of gargantuan ape. The thing was a good hundred and fifty feet tall at the shoulder and, despite its immense size, it was the perfect representation of what the mind conjures when you think of a gorilla. His face told stories of many battles, though with what I do not know. Most interesting was what appeared to be clothing of some kind, or at least a head-dress not altogether different from Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. The wind seemed to rustle the trees and bushes around us, and we all heard gentle whispers of ‘Kong’ and ‘Fujin‘.

He made no threatening gestures and, in fact, seemed to be at ease around us, also demonstrating a remarkable gentleness when he attempted to pick up one of the many soldiers staring at him in awe. The man was understandably terrified and when Kong saw this he pulled back and put his palms up, to show he meant no harm. He then placed his massive hand on the ground and motioned, and, swallowing his fear, the soldier walked into his palm.

He was raised to eye-level and observed with a clear and benign curiosity, before Kong lifted him gently between his thumb and forefinger and placed him back with his squad. Some time later, a high-ranking American officer made his way to the gorilla, a Major Driscoll. His demeanor changed immediately, going to a standing post and using his right arm to beat his chest three or four times. Kong apparently grasped our confusion after a few moments, and shooed the men back. He snapped a thick branch from a tree and pointed towards the city. He made many small(for him anyway) dots on the ground and circled it. Then he pointed at us, and made dots outside the circle. Then he pointed out over the sea and snarled, making a large dot a ways away from the ‘city’ and us. He then smeared ‘us’ and the ‘city’ while leaving the large dot. Things started to click then. Kong quickly redrew the city and ourselves, and then pointed at himself and draw another large dot, between ‘us’ and the ‘sea dot’, and then brought his hand down like a shield.

Simply put, Kong told us that he both knew of Wani and more importantly that he had come to help us. Major Driscoll then handed me a portable phone, to report to his superiors what I thought. Whatever Moll did to me seemed to still be working, and I explained the situation as best I could. Major Driscoll ordered his men to formation and gave a courtesy salute to Kong, which Kong returned with a warrior’s grin and a thump of his chest. We had made our first genuine ally. Kong was certainly strange, but in a way that was comfortable to us, a way we can understand. If anyone doubted his allegiance or motives, those fears would be dispelled that night. However, these thoughts also brought me back to something that troubled me: where was Gojira-Godzilla? Other than a handful of sightings near the coast or out at sea he hadn’t been spotted since ‘55. He had seemed weary after the battle, but eleven years was quite a long while.

I felt the inevitable conflict was drawing near, and boarded my helicopter again. As we were in the air, I saw Kong start to act strangely. He had closed his eyes and seemed to be straining to hear or smell something. Then lightning split the clear sky, striking a craggy outcrop not far from Kong. He tilted his head, and then ran towards it like a creature possessed. When he reached it, he roared in triumph and struck his chest, each time his eyes would start to glow blue or white. His fur began to stick up on end, and when he opened his mouth to roar once more I could see bolts of electricity arcing between his teeth. Finally he took his great right fist and struck the crag, as if he’d grabbed thunder out of the sky and cracked the earth with it.

I would say I was surprised, when within the rocks was an ogre-like figure, covered in sea-green scales but with shoots of orange hair on his head and covering the tops of his arms, but by this point I was becoming adjusted to such things. In the shaggy mess of orange two small, black horns seemed to come from the back of his head, but curved forwards. As far as shape, they shared the same ape-like stance, though in terms of girth Kong was far and away more massive, Kong being built like a gorilla while Gabara favouring something more like a bonobo, lanky arms with a sinewy strength and a noticeable potbelly, rather than the massive bulging muscles found on Kong. This creature, with its brutish-looking face and strange assortment of colours reminded me of the famous Oni legends, specifically of Fujin’s brother and friend, Raijin. I would later learn that Nagoya had a couple of local variation on Raijin’s name, being “Gabara’ and “Gaba-Hara’. For simplicity, I will refer to him as Gabara.

Their skins, too, were radically different. While Kong, as I described, was merely an up-scaled gorilla, Gabara had scales that looked like they belonged on a carp. The face was also strange, like someone managed to breed an incredibly ugly cat and give it the rough warty patches of a toad or gila-monster.

His chest and neck also seemed to have an armour of sorts in the form of rougher, thicker-looking warts that tapered off towards the shoulders and Gabara’s pot-belly. His legs were short, and ended curiously with only three toes, despite having four fingers and a thumb on his hands. Much like a pitbull, he was so unabashedly ugly that it seemed to whip right around and become strangely endearing.

Kong back-flipped in joy and beat the ground at the vision of his friend, making all manner of racket, culminating in a hard but brotherly punch to Gabara‘s shoulder and a playful jab at Gabara‘s potbelly, causing  a strange, chuckling sort of frog-like warble mixed with a cat-hiss to emanate from him. A sly grin found itself on Gabara’s face as he gave Kong a shoulder-punch of his own followed by a punch to Kong’s face, knocking him off balance and onto the ground. Kong gave an ape-like hoot of excitement as Gabara chuckled, before offering his other hand to help Kong back up. Then, spitting a little blood, Kong grinned and stood up to embrace Gabara.


As the embrace ended Gabara looked out to the sea, and his features went taught. He hissed into the sky and threw up his arms, beat his chest and threw them up again before he was enveloped in a storm of silent lightning. The world was silent then and I lost all sense of time. I don’t know how long it was before I was shaken from it, before waking up on a stretcher in some kind of tent, only to start dry heaving. I pulled rank on an attending physician and told them to release me, taking my cane as I finished signing the clipboard.

It was around 11, I think. I could just now see the tide receding back out to sea. She was getting closer.

About twenty minutes after one in the morning, Wani’s dorsal fins became visible in the distance. The sirens began to wail and the military mobilized to aid evacuation of the city’s near three-million civilians. It wasn‘t long until the water receded from the beach, the sand strewn with fish flopping helplessly on the exposed bed. Inland, heavy artillery was set in place with flechette or bioweapons rounds, while bombers scrambled with their own air-deployable variants of the same weapons, sharing space with high-powered searchlights.

Given the difference in caliber, there was a change in how the flechette rounds would be used. Land-based guns tend to be smaller than what are found battleships and a bomber has a serious weight-limit as to how much it can carry. This is a serious complication when dealing with Wani’s tough hide, so it was decided that the biological and conventional shells would be used to target and hopefully pierce her armour in specific places to allow for the rods to have full effect by also targeting those weakened areas. Wani was freakishly tough, but not invincible, and with the aid of Kong and Gabara, we were beginning to feel we had a chance to drive her back.

Six minutes after the beach was laid bare, a massive wall of water nearly a hundred and ten feet barreled in, bringing with it a disgusting irradiated sludge of dead fish, whales and other sea-animals similar to the one I’d saw at Tokyo. I looked back out to the sea and saw her approaching, the movement of her jagged plates back and forth glinting in the light had a strangely mesmerizing,hypnotic effect.Kong and Gabara leapt from the cliff onto the beach, preparing themselves for combat. Soon Wani could no longer swim, the water having become too shallow to allow it, and so pushed herself up to walk the rest of the way. The journey had not been kind to her. She managed to look even worse than when she’d freed herself from the glacial prison. I could just make out that she was bleeding from various wounds. Her blood was an extremely dark green, containing more uranium and plutonium than iron. When uranium rusts, it’s black, and while plutonium does not itself rust, when exposed to oxygen it turns anywhere from yellow to green.

By now Wani’s sheer contempt for the world around her was palpable. Kong and Gabara had taken spots on the shore, waiting for Wani to close the distance rather than risk running straight into her hellfire. It felt like it took ages, but as Wani came to the last few thousand yards the two brawlers rushed her amidst the military’s shelling, the two of them being too quick for anything other than a lone round to impact them. With an uncomfortable grunt her back began to light up, but something seemed wrong; the noise wasn’t the normal (or usual) piercing, steadily rising whir but an uncoordinated cacophony of high and low pitched noises. Then she opened her mouth and whined in frustration. There was no beam, just a mostly-liquid and glowing metallic sludge that slopped out of her unhinged jaw. It was hot, but that’s all it was.

Kong and Gabara did not lose stride, however, and made contact while Wani seemed to be trying to swallow the material. They hit her, and hard, but it did little more than cause a distinct ‘ripple’ through her bulky form. She tried to lock jaws on Kong’s shoulder, but her blindness and sluggishness made her just miss him. Gabara threw his arms around her throat, trying to topple her over, but was flung nearly into Kong for his trouble.

Gathering his senses, a strange smirk came over Kong’s face. Gabara grinned as well, and the two barreled forwards, right at Wani. Before they struck, Gabara hunkered down and lead with his right shoulder, while Kong leaped over him with his arms stretched out ahead. Gabara’s blow knocked the wind out of Wani, her mouth gaping just long enough for Kong to firmly her upper jaw mid-jump, Gabara’s own hand darting quickly to grab the lower.

Despite the sickening mix of a wet crunch and a stomach churning ‘pop’ with Wani’s gurgling screams, Kong did not rip her head off. Instead, her jaw was broken in numerous places and the flesh of her cheeks ripped open to her ears, giving her a permanent ‘grin’. Even after healing this could be plainly seen, even her jaw resetting lopsided and wrong. Despite the incredible pain that must have consumed her, Wani’s rage burned even hotter. With renewed vigor she thrashed violently, Kong only barely able to avoid the dervish of claws and spines as he leapt a hair’s breadth out of their reach, a look of surprise on his face at the speed of the attack with which Wani retaliated. As he landed he glanced at Gabara and a dark look passed between them; they both knew how well the battle was so far. Their grit impressed me, though, reminding me of the storied soldiers in the war, and despite the ever-fading hope of victory, they hesitated for no more than a second before immediately returning to the melee with a renewed zeal.

The two kept up their onslaught, growing more and more desperate as she drew nearer the city. What began as a coordinated, tactics-driven combat devolved into a brutal and savage melee as time, as well as their options, began to run out. Kong would throw his entire body into his punches, Gabara would follow up with strikes from his elbows and knees, but this barrage served only to frustrate and slow her. Finally, Gabara and Kong then put some distance between them and her, and looked at one another grimly. With a subtle nod, Kong writhed to loosen his joints, Gabara rolled his head to pop his neck, and they both planted their feet firmly into the ground.

The world darkened, the clouds seemed to crash and roll above us. The sky seemed to roar and scream at Wani, with Gabara and Kong’s hair lifted by some phantom updraft, electricity arcing over their bodies and between them. Wani halted and snarled. The world went deadly quiet then, even the sound of distant artillery seeming to vanish into the ether, before a volley of lightning was sent down from the heavens, the crack of thunder reverberating across the land. Kong and Gabara were both struck, and both screamed at the sky. They looked different, somehow, like their skin had grown tighter or their muscles had grown.

Kong barreled towards Wani like a rabid dog, leaping with his hands clasped above his head. Wani had trouble discerning where Kong was, and seemed almost lost, until Kong’s blow came down on her head like the hammer of the gods. She screamed and flailed her tail, knocking Kong to the side as he tried to land behind her, but he rolled and recovered. Blood was now seeping from her eyes, dulling their ghostly glow.

Gabara then gave a warbling battle-cry, gaining Wani’s attention. She threw caution to the wind and moved as quickly as her titanic body could take her in his direction. He leaped, Wani charging beneath him, throwing down his arms at her, like he was trying to command heaven to strike her down. It obliged.

The world lit up, and the peel of thunder mixed with Wani’s screams of hate and rage, shaking the earth as she was pummeled with the sky’s own arsenal. Wani’s momentum carried her further forward, into the city, halted by a skyscraper that toppled over onto her. The lightning did not cease, and was joined by the blows of Kong and Gabara. She could hardly be seen, an inferno having started and quickly becoming a sea of fire and smoke. This went on for twelve or more straight minutes, Wani sometimes trying to rise only to be beaten back down, and as her attempts to rise ceased Gabara and Kong let up, their hands beaten bloody and raw. For a moment, I thought they might actually do it; I thought this might actually kill her The men, myself, Kong, Gabara and the world seemed to hold its breath. Minutes passed, she did not stir.

I started to hear quiet clapping, some people crying, Kong and Gabara giving one another a weak embrace. Then she snarled. Kong and Gabara took some steps back, Wani slowly rising out of the flames. She glared at the two warriors, and then at the sky. The area around her seemed to dim. The fires were going out. Her eyes were shining brighter, and colder, than ever before. Shadows seemed to creep out from her, as if she were bleeding darkness. A strange sort of fog seemed to envelop her and her surroundings. The cries of countless people started, but were abruptly silenced.

In that fog I thought I saw human shapes, being dragged to Wani and then dissipating. In spite of her blindness Wani was able to lock eyes with Gabara. . I think this rudimentary ’sight’ became possible when she figured out how to consume power from life itself, or at least able to discern roughly where a living being was. He was met with the whir as she prepared to burn him alive, though now quite different: higher, less consistent, as if it were a chorus For the merest instance, shock crept onto Gabara’s exhausted face, but was then replaced with a look of the most sublime and beautiful acceptance I’ve ever seen, the old warrior fully prepared for the end of his time. Then hellfire literally screamed from Wani’s maw as a look of vengeance fulfilled crept onto her face.

Kong let out scream of anguish to the sky that I felt in the pit of my stomach, aware he was about to watch his comrade at arms be turned to ash. But as before, when Gabara had called down the lightning, the heavens answered his call. Bolting down from the sky came a specter composed of all the colours of the heavens: brilliant golds, fiery reds, tranquil blues, foreboding blacks and pristine whites in the shape of a gargantuan moth placed itself between Gabara and Wani’s death breath as the clouds and wind rang out with calls of “Mosura” and “Shinatobe”. Mothra is how she would be known to the rest of the world, and as she was struck we heard the same chirping cries we’d been hearing since Wani escaped.

The blast was dissipated up, seeming to carve a wound in the sky as it burned its way through the clouds. As soon as she had appeared, Mothra dissipated, Gabara having quickly moved after being shielded. Wani’s roar, the sound of twisting steel and screams of the damned, swept the landscape. She lit up again, far faster than I’d seen before, and swept her head from left to right blanketed Nagoya in nuclear fire. She turned to face Kong and gave a roar of challenge, her gargantuan form crushing everything between the two.

Gabara then displayed one of his more interesting traits, specifically that he had far more courage than brains. He rushed and tried to tackle Wani from the side to stop her. It failed. She managed to grab onto his body, the light beginning on her back and visible from her mouth. Kong intervened, and as if he were wrestling a crocodile he forced her jaws shut and forced her head away from Gabara. The heat set Kong’s hands on fire, covering them with molten metal, some of which dripped onto Gabara’s chest as he wrestled to get free. Once Gabara was clear, Kong released his grip but Wani smashed into his ribcage with her skull before he could get far enough away to avoid reprisal.

Regaining her posture, she abruptly turned her head and lumbered back towards the city, almost as if she’d forgotten Gabara and Kong were even there, and as she walked she looked to be scanning the area, her head panning left and right. The glow, the crescendo as she readied the hellfire, and released it howling across the cityscape quickly after, drowning Nagoya in fire.. Frustrated by their impotence despite their courage, Kong and Gabara looked on darkly, their rage almost palatable.

Wani stood like a conqueror, the intensity of the flickering fire making her look like a figure made of shadow. Wani then seemed to ‘breathe’ in and again the screams and inferno were snuffed out, the same unnatural darkness and silence spreading out around her, the glow in her eyes surging brighter, cold and manic. More nuclear fire erupted from her maw, now just scorching the countryside randomly. Her movements were no longer deliberate, she seemed almost drunk, screaming challenge to the earth, the sky, to fire and water. Then she was quiet. Kong and Gabara stepped back, fear overtaking their rage.

Wani was searching frantically around her now. She was hearing something we couldn’t. She started shrieking, screaming, as if at something only she was aware of. Our protectors parted timidly, deliberately leaving open a route to the sea. She took it. As quickly as her bulk allowed, she ran, or the closest thing something that massive can approximate to running, for the ocean. She did not slow upon reaching the water, and once the depth allowed, she disappeared entirely into the deep.

The world stopped again as Wanit vanished beneath the waves. I was met with a figure I’d not seen. Similar to Moll, but rather than a holy, if strange, light it was an all-encompassing and peaceful darkness. It, or I suppose she, tried to appear human, I think, but her form would flicker revealing at different points things that reminded me of red crocodile hide, black and yellow insectoid chitin, green copper skin and crusted magma. There were no eyes, just holes from which the darkness could seep out. There was no conversation, just a message that felt like a silk nail driven into my mind.

“To kill The King in Gold, the Black Queen crowned in fire made. Dead thing, birthed in desperation by dying powers, in the shape of the Dead. Unclean vine to bear clean fruit whether it will or no.”
Waking the Dragon III: Secrets of Odo Island
Originally this was part of II, but due to DA's strange restrictions on size, it's now III. Extra special thanks(again) to LordNidhogg, especially here due to a portion he wrote himself which finally made me think it good enough to post. Criticism welcome, I hope you enjoy.
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Waking the Dragon;


Chapter II: Behemoth


The Dragon of Tokyo, Dawn of the Monster Age (Gwynplaine de Orme)



I do not recall, precisely why I was in Osaka that day, but I remember hearing the sirens. I remember the utter dread that gripped me. I helped design these sirens. They were an imitation, of sorts, of Wani’s own blood-curdling shriek and roar. They did the job: they terrified everyone and everything that heard it.

With Wani trapped in her ice prison, the world sighed a relief. So why was the siren blaring? Because in the tail end of 1958 or the earliest parts of 1959, we received another shock: another beast had reared its ugly head.. We do not know exactly where this particular one came from. It was four legged, and looked like some kind of super-massive Ankylosaur, mixed with a porcupine and Triceratops. Interest in dinosaurs had grown since the Wani attack, and I remember it being reported as ‘Angilas’ or ‘Anguirus’, after some mangled pronunciation of the Japanese for Ankylosaur.

This would not be the biggest shock that day, but it was the first. This is when I knew things had changed, forever. I do not know where this creature came from, but I could tell one thing that I was thankful for: he was…not docile, curious perhaps, but he did not seem to be aggressive. He reminded me somewhat of a pitbull who’s trying to be playful, but is a little confused as to what’s allowed. They made the mistake of firing on him, but can you blame them? The last time something massive and reptilian crawled out of the bowels of the earth it destroyed one of the most populous cities on the planet.

Rockets and bombs impacted the head, which was crested in horns, something I mistook for a frill at the time. He was unflinching. Bony armour, much more natural-looking than Wani’s protrusions, shielded the majority of his face and his body at large. I don’t think he even noticed unlike something managed to strike him in the eye. He gave a roar, something shrill but still natural. It had a similar metallic sound as Wani’s, but not as pronounced.

Angilas then switched positions. He hunkered down, and then I saw the massive tail. It was covered haphazardly with spikes, and ended with a massive club, itself flanked by a few spikes and protrusions. It didn’t charge into Osaka, by some miracle. But he held. The world was erupting in fire around him, but he neither moved nor flinched. There was intelligence behind those weathered eyes, not a genius intellect by any means, but the mind of a survivor.

The earth was shaking now, and I was evacedevacced out. I now had a personal helicopter, and I must admit it was quite nice. I spent the first few minutes throwing up in the washroom, however. I then washed down my fear with some Saki they had on board. Booze and drugs were becoming the only things keeping me going. Christ the stress. I don’t endorse such a life, but I am a mortal man, and I was diagnosed with a severe case of shell shock or whatever they’re calling it now. I went to two or three meetings, and I just couldn’t keep going. Whatever I saw in Hiroshima, in Nagasaki, I just didn’t feel right being there with men who were lucky had lost arms and legs, and those that weren’t lost their minds.

I had some burns, one side of my face was permanently grinning, but I just didn’t feel like I deserved to be in the same room with people who saw friends die in their arms. All the corpses of children I had to pile and burn, the times I tried to pick up a corpse and it fell apart in my arms because of how thoroughly cooked it had been, it just didn’t seem like it was the same. I didn’t know those people. I could stand back, in a way. It was horrible, but I didn’t know them. I hadn’t yet tried to hold a friends’ guts into her torso only to trip over a dying man and see those organs come falling out of her belly. But that was later. Not then, and not now.

I asked to be kept close. He didn’t seem to have any sort of ranged weapon, and he was keeping his distance. The military, after they realized this, did stop firing. They set up a perimeter and gave the thing some room, pulling back. I remember talking to one of the men on the ground afterwards. He was a commander, Major Katsguragi. He was the one who pushed through the order to pull back. He swore to me that the beast made eye contact with him, and that something just…clicked.

He said there was some fear in the monster, but it wasn’t mindless. It was not going to back down, but it wasn’t going to start anything either. It seemed to also understand that we, these small things in metal shells, were also just afraid. He said he felt that Angilas took his licks because he felt that we were owed that.

And then He happened. If Wani could have been said to have been the First Seal, and the Voice of Thunder said ‘Come and see’, this was the Second.

I heard what I thought was the sirens again, and then I realized they were not. It sounded like Wani‘s scream of hate and death. I felt the hands of Death, like some terrible reptile cloaked in gold and with eyes of fire, grasping my heart with his cold and clammy hands. But it was not Wani. The roar was terrible to hear, but it was tempered with some kind of mercy I can’t describe.

My pilots told me they were drawn to a location, like they ‘woke up’ after realizing where they were. And I saw what was happening. The ground had been shaking earlier, and now I saw what was doing it. It was not the thundering steps of Angilas, it was a new beast. It broke through the ground in a halo of fire, dripping magma and rock.

We’d come to find out his proper, or at least his oldest known name was Gojira, later Americanized phonetically into Godzilla, and then to the mash up of ‘Godjira’, the one I prefer. I shall however endeavour to interchange the three to break up monotony. Said name, Gojira, is from, we would discover from some tribe on Odo Island where we‘d also learn the name of Wani, but I’ll get to that when it comes. As he shook the dust and the molten rock from his body, and the heat dissipated from his form, I could more clearly discern his visage.

Godzilla was similar, from a distance, to Wani. But there was a difference in his face, in how he carried himself, and in bulk. Wani was both taller and broader than Gojira. She must outweigh him by a significant margin. He had an aura of youth to him and his eyes seemed normal, with pupils surrounding by gold irises. They too glowed similar to Wani’s, but it was a warm and comforting glow. His dorsal plates too were different. They were smoother, more rounded, more natural looking. And while his body bore the signs of combat, they looked as though they healed far better than the grotesque scarring found on Wani.

He was by no means a pretty thing, but there was a majesty in him. He roared again, though honestly that sounded more like a growl of curiosity. He looked at me, I think. When Wani looked, she pierced your very soul, a ravenous beast wanting to consume your very being. But Godzilla was…gentle, curious, merely taking in what was around him. His face was more mammalian looking, with larger eyes and more rounded features. His body was leaner somehow younger, sleeker. If Wani were a wrestler or linebacker, Godjira was a taut and wiry martial artist.

Thundering steps were heard again and Gojira’s head snapped to the creature heading towards him. Angilas was approaching this new beast, his body low and teeth bared. He was sizing up Godzilla. Eventually he stopped, and reared up on his hind legs, roaring challenge. His front half hit the ground again, splaying his legs so his carapace was directed towards Godzilla, and his tail flailed and smashed the ground. Godzilla seemed puzzled, but quickly turned to his side to make himself appear as large as possible, the tip of his own tail in the air and whipping around.

Angilas struck first, charging forward like a bull or hound at a speed that gave me pause. As he barreled down towards his target, Godzilla turned to face him and planted his tail and legs. In defense of the bipedal titan, he seemed to withstand the force of the blow for a few fractions of a second before being bowled over by the momentum. Angilas was atop Godzilla, his jaws trying for his throat. He was stopped by Godzilla’s arms, though I could see that the effort was immense.

I then heard another noise, one that almost brought me to my knees. The whirr that heralded Dragon’s Fire. Angilas acted quickly, slamming his massive tail into Godzilla’s knee and hopping backwards. The fire still poured from Godzilla’s maw, though I noticed how different it seemed. It was clearly blue, with some white towards the center, but it did not warp and distort the air as greatly as Wani’s. It also lacked much of the ’vaporous’ effect of Wani’s fire, and while not appearing solid it just seemed to have more weight to it. But when it grazed Angilas, hitting the bullish creature on the side of the face, there was still a burn, but it was not nearly as severe as what I would’ve expected from Wani’s own. Instead it appeared more forceful, almost like a punch, pushing & bruising more than burning.

Angilas did not cry out in pain, but in anger, and I saw his spines bristle. His hunkered down even more, snarling but waiting. Godjira got up, wobbly and shaking the molten and cooled glass and such from his dorsal ridges. I should perhaps clarify, soil is made up of a large percentage of silica. When we were testing the nuclear weapons, the test sites were literally glassed. That’s where the term comes from. It is radioactive, but safe to handle. This is only the glass itself, the earth below or around it is not. The glass, or Trinitite(after Trinity, the name of the test) as we called it, does not contain much in the way of decaying isotopes.

Godzilla stared down his opponent, and narrowed his eyes. I was expecting another blast of fire, but instead the Behemoth rushed his foe. Godzilla was impressively quick, lurching forwards and trying to tackle the over-sized Ankylosaur-looking beast. I could see some of the larger spikes begin to puncture portions of Godzilla’s flesh, though largely his hide held. I was confused initially, because this honestly seemed rather foolish a thing for him to do, and then I saw the plan.

Godzilla wasn’t going for the beast itself, he wanted his tail. Grasping for the natural weapon, Godzilla flipped himself over Angilas and took the flail in his hands. Angilas gave a howl of surprise, suddenly unable to do much  against his foe. Keeping the tail firmly in his hands, there was a struggle-. Angilas tried to jerk away, and almost succeeded once or twice, but Behemoth’s iron grip was unbroken. Angilas then tried to turn, to get his head within biting distance, but the living tank’s own armour prevented such flexibility.

In a last -ditch move, Angilas pushed off the ground, flinging himself back-first straight at Godzilla. This bloodied Godzilla’s nose, but he remained both standing and with Angilas’s tail in his vice grip. Godzilla’s back began to light up again, lightning and fire swirling around the dorsal ridges. Angilas wouldn’t get away this time. The fire left his mouth and impacted Angilas’s skull causing it to shriek and jerk away, succeeding in freeing himself.

Smoke swirled around the head of the Ankylosaur but he still turned to face his opponent. Godzilla seemed to be studying his foe now. I think he started to grasp something that many a King of Men knew. That sometimes even those we wish to be our friends and brothers in arms require a ‘whiff of grapeshot’ to focus their minds. And so what happened next would be just that. An action of decisive, brutal but necessary force.

With newfound purpose and determination to rival even that great stubbornness of Angilas, Godzilla strode forward. Angilas continued snarling and banging his tail, and to his credit never once betraying a sign of fear. As the distance shortened Godzilla’s dorsal plates lit up for a handful of seconds, coursing from blue to purple to white-hot, and from his maw he vomited up a fireball of sorts. His jaw unhinged, not unlike Wani’s, and from them came a second sun. I later recovered splatter from it, and some friends of mine discovered it was primarily molten rock, iron and trace amounts of tungsten.

It impacted Angilas with great force, though it was the burn that caused the shriek of pain. Shaking wildly, it cleared its left side and crown of the liquid rock and metal, though the damage had been done. The left eye was puffy and swollen, and his vision in that eye would not be what it was. But the point had been proven. Godzilla, by whatever name he is given, is the superior force. Though Angilas was mighty and could bring the cities and nations of men to heel, Godjira could make the Monster-Kin kneel and pay homage.

Angilas then knelt to his superior, and let out a low groan of fealty, facing towards the ground and his tail slung low. Godzilla faced the sky and his spines began to glow, this time a slow process, purposeful.. Red to blue to purple and finally white, lightning arcing  off from him. His eyes, too, began to glow and the air warped around his head and mouth. He began to roar, and fire leapt from his maw, the intensity of it parting the clouds in a small patch, like the eye of a hurricane, and bringing one of the clearest, bluest skies I’ve ever seen.

Despite the violence of the event, a strange peace settled over the area. I saw flocks of birds, and a herd of Sika-deer tentatively make their way to the glowing Behemoth. As he finished and the glow dissipated, I could hear the birds chirp and the growing number of other animals start to grunt and bleat almost in a sort of unison.

Wearily, Gojira plodded towards the sea, taking care to stay away from buildings and the armed forces. Angilas disappeared into a gargantuan cave system, one that stretched for miles, connected by tunnels that we assumed he himself had made. Not all of them were his, however. Something that was reported to me a week or so after the incident -- despite having to replace the rad-sensors due to them having been fried by the amounts discharged immediately after the ‘fight’, if you could call it that -- readings of the area with fresh equipment showed that there was very little residual radiation. Somehow, one of them had acted like a heat-sink of sorts, drawing in the majority of the energy expelled and leaving it honestly no worse for wear.

The day after the monsters had gone, what looked to be a monk of some kind showed up outside my apartment. He was carrying with him a scroll. He would not allow me to touch it, but held it so I could read it. It was from a priest of some kind who went only by the name Shinobu, no family name of any kind. The scroll, or I suppose technically a letter written on a scroll, was done in an extremely old and archaic form of Kanji that took me a few minutes to read.

It was a summons of sorts, asking me to make a trip as soon as possible to Odo Island, a relatively obscure place in the Ogasawara Island chain, itself part of Nanpo Islands, all traditionally administered as a portion of Metropolitan Tokyo as the Ogasawara Subprefecture. For Americans and others, it should be mentioned that Iwo Jima is one of the many islands making up this area. This was the first time I saw the names ‘Wani’ and ‘Gojira’. There was not much else, and I would’ve likely had ignored it had I not seen the black and white drawings placed around the text of the note.

On the bottom were two sets of shapes that I didn’t recognize at first, but as I blinked a few times it hit me. To the right were the smooth dorsal plates of Gojira, and to the left were the craggy, slate protrusions of Wani. There were also what appeared to be two sets of moth or some other kind of insect wings in the upper left and right corners. On the right it was a white wing, with dark circles. The left was black with light circles, although the outline of the wing was different in subtle ways. Between them was something like a lizard or European Dragon’s head with a thin frill, and a single row of small spikes atop it.

I felt something stir inside me, and went to dial a special number that‘d been set up since the ‘Tokyo Incident‘. I gave a quick explanation as to what I had just gotten, and had set up an escort to the island. Myself, the monk, some experts in ancient Japanese(along with Ainu, Jomon, Okhotsk and other)  culture and myths, and a handful of soldiers departed that night.
______________________

The mighty river Nile twists and turns its way through Africa, starting in the Albertine portion of the East African Rift, a mountainous shield for the lakes Taganyika, Victoria, Albert and others that feed the river which gave rise to the Pharaohs and laid the bedrock for one of mankind’s oldest and greatest civilizations. But hidden also in those mountains, cloaked and shielded from the eyes of the world outside through a gift of the Earth itself are those who came before the Pharaohs, before the time of Man.

Materializing in the hidden realm is Moll, though her form is radically altered from the one which Gwynplaine witnessed: here she was not wholly human. Upon her head were horns like those of a cow, her legs digitigrade and ending in hooves. Her upper body was covered with fine scales as those of a moth’s wings dull white and yellow in colour, constantly flaking and giving the appearance of a mist surrounding her. Her size too was changed, now at least six times the size of a man.

But she, too, was now invisible to the outside world. Before her a great wooden gate stood, with black men at least eight feet tall with crossed spears before it. However upon the sight of Moll they dropped to one knee, one hand holding their spear, the ends of which now dug into the ground. A stomp of her hooves and they rose, and the gates began to creak open.

As she entered the massive village behind the gate, she was approached by an old man nearly her own size with some kind of walking ‘stick‘, more like a small tree, aiding his journey to her. His features were wizened, with flowing gray hair and beard giving him the appearance of an elderly lion still the head of his pride. As he drew near, he paused and blinked a few times, clearing his aged eyes, and when he finally recognized the figure before him he gave a humble smile and a small bow.

“Light-Bringer and Morning-Star, Sky-Queen Nut and Mother of Osiris, for what do we owe you to grace us with your visit?”

Her reply was spoken directly into his mind.

“An audience with the Pharaoh”

The words felt heavy in his mind. He nodded and beckoned her to follow him. The further they got from the gate, the more opulent and splendid the village became. Soon the simple dirt path, lined with simple but well-made huts became a road of cobblestone and houses of wood. When they reached the final gate, they were walking upon roads of marble and houses of stone and mortar. The Gate itself was marble, but decorated with hieroglyphs of diamond, jade and obsidian.

This gate was guarded by men of staggering size, larger even than Moll and the wizened figure leading her, in armour that shined like gold. They gave a small bow, first to Moll and then to the Chieftain, and the doors opened soundlessly.

Moll turned to face the Chieftain, he taking her hand and kissing it, walking back alone to the village. She then entered the Royal House, and the gates shut behind her. It was a land of rich vegetation and massive stone structures, more splendid than even the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. She walked, and the plants would wilt and witherwhither as she moved, though as she passed they would return to their previous vibrancy.

She soon found what she sought. A gargantuan palace, with a sandstone pyramid as the base, and a massive set of steps that led to a dome, held by mighty Roman pillars of marble and ivory. Flanking the path to it were obelisks of varying size and material, some of granite, some of obsidian and one of jade. She reached the top of the steps, and found before her the Pharaoh.

Within the palace was a single room, and at the center a massive throne. Upon the throne was what looked to be a gorilla, but of immense size. Twelve or perhaps fifteen stories high, the beast appeared more aged even than the Chieftain. His body clothed in gray-black hair showed numerous scars, especially on the chest where the hair thinsned. His hands wereare gnarled, missing a few pieces of some of his fingers. On his face are many small scratches, but the most prominent being a long, continuous scar coming down from his forehead, over his milky right eye and endingends only at his jaw.

Resting upon his head is a crown, the lower half a massive laurel wreath and above it a tall hedjet decorated with great curly red feathers. Set in the hedjet are three eyes. The gold and ruby Eye of Ra, the gold and sapphire eye of Horus and above and between them the gold and silver eye of Thoth.

Around the massive gorilla are men and women of enormous size along with other smaller gorillas, the youngest ones appearing to play with the humans and one another. The Pharaoh gave his throne a hard knock, to gather their attention and then giving several grunts. The humans quickly lead the smaller ones away, while in the distance a pounding noise draws near. From out of the foliage came a gorilla the size of the Pharaoh, and then sat upon the floor of the palace on the right side of him.

Moll spoke then to the Pharaoh’s mind;

“Kong-Pharaoh, Seventh of the line of Hedjwer, Keeper of the Thunder of Zeus, Favoured of Osiris, Lord of the Nile and Blood-Brother of Shisa. We have come to ask you to make good on the debt your line owes unto the Earth. The Black Queen has woken. While our power is immense, for Us to defeat She would bring untold calamity, draining the Earth of its very blood. We must call for aid. Wani wields great power, and We will not promise you will survive the struggle, but you shall fight not alone.”

“The Black Turtle of Atlantis and the Stag-Beetle of Mu, as well as any more who have survived into this age, shall be rallied to join arms with you. We ask naught of your family or people, only for their Pharaoh to lead our host into battle. Your work is nigh-done, you have reigned largely in peace for many ages, you have sired many a noble son and daughter, and you have witnessed your grandchildren. You have grown old. We will not force you to fight, but We cannot continue to guarantee protection either. The energy expended is too great. Your father, and his father, and his father before that, the line of your people back to the beginning smile upon you Pharaoh. They await the return of their prodigal son”

And with that, she vanished. Kong sat, deep in thought, until he was roused by his son placing his hand upon his and looked up into his eyes. He placed his other hand upon his son’s shoulder, and rose to embrace him. They both then left the palace, and looked into the sky. The sun was high, either noon or close to it. Kong looked into his son’s eyes again. He had made up his mind. He would fight, to protect the legacy left to him by his father, who had inherited it from his father before that, to make his ancestors proud, and to ensure his grandchildren would have all that he did and more. But not now. A final day to spend with his family, playing with his grandchildren and a feast with his subjects would hinder nothing, and he would be able to witness the one thing he would take nothing for: to crown his son and see him ascend to the throne and claim his birthright.
______________________

The sun and warmth of Africa fell away from Moll, replaced with the black cold of the ocean floor, her form now resembled something not unlike a mermaid. Beneath her the ruins of an ancient road, and if a mortal man were able to see in the cold reaches of the sea-floor it would stretch out in front of them for many miles.

As she made her way to her prize, she paused. Around her the water felt disturbed. The pressure changed radically, and in her mind she could hear a warbling noise. What little light that could be seen from the bioluminescence of some of the fish died around her. Surrounding her was the fury of the ocean itself, its power starting to coalesce, and she spoke to it “Return to sleep Storm-Titan, it is not you I seek.”. With that, the sea began to calm and the presence dissipated.

She picked up her pace now. This was not her domain, and the longer she was there the more and more likely the Storm-Bringer would wake completely. Manda-Ryujinn reigned over the surface of the sea, the shallows, rivers and lakes, but the crushing deep was the Kingdom of the Titan. Thankfully her destination drew near.

Forgotten by the world above, a dead city of basalt and wrought iron, radiating out from a gargantuan step-pyramid, stretched out before her. It looked Mayan or Aztec, though it had met its ruin long before humans had even developed the most base culture. Moll felt, for the first time in eons, a tinge of sadness. Her mind flashed with memories of this city from an age long, long gone, before it was consumed by the sea.

She remembered the air, so thick with oxygen and the crystal-clear skies. She remembered a happy people. Not perfect, with plenty of faults and failures, but happy none the less, humble but rightly proud of their accomplishments in their own way. They were roughly human in shape, but amphibian, reptilian and fishlike rather than mammalian. They shared features with all manner of reptile, fish and in one regard even birds. Heads reminiscent of turtles, delicate, nimble and webbed three-clawed hands similar to iguanas with two thumbs on either side, while their heads were crested with magnificent feathers. They themselves were as vibrant and varied as their culture, and amongst them one could find every colour of the rainbow from watery blues, blazing reds, regal purples, pristine whites and more, ranging to shades humans simply are not equipped to see.

This would change in the blink of an eye. The first sign was the sun itself ceasing to move about the sky. Day would still turn to night, but it seemed as though it was because the sun would slowly change into the moon, never moving. Nine days, nine hours and nine minutes after the sun and moon were locked in the sky everything changed. At the brightest point of the day a total solar eclipse occurred, without warning, turning the sun into an ominous, shining black disc.

The wind had long since gone, and the earth itself was rendered completely silent. That silence was then pierced from above, a high ringing that was soon accompanied by mocking, cackling laughter. Descending as if from the eclipse itself came a gargantuan figure wreathed in lightning and shadow. The eclipse then itself seemed to instantly cease, though the light from the sun seemed now to have been rendered cold and harsh. The rays pierced the shadow-cloak of the beast, revealing to the earth the visage of its Destroyer.

It was then that the earth, and all who called it home, learned that the Wings of Death were not blood-red, pitch black or bone-white. They were a brilliant gold, and to stare into them was as if countless tiny slivers of steel fell into your eyes.

But this was long ago, before mammals took their place as the rulers of earth. And now she was at what was once the crown jewel of that long-dead culture, a city made into a sunken necropolis. Atop the pyramid, she found it. A wave of her hands and a source-less light lit the plateau of the structure. A massive turtle shell rested before her, bearing the same signs of long ages unmoved on the seafloor.

A groan came from the shell, and its appendages came out of their caverns, tearing through algae and sediment that had collected over them. Its head was like an alligator snapping-turtle, though with the unusual addition of two large tusks protruding from the lower beak. It blinked and shook its head, emitting another low groan, moving its jaw and limbs.

“The Earth requests your aid, Black-Turtle. We are prepared to-” Moll was quickly interrupted by a sharp though positive snap of its beak. He had agreed, needing no offer or concession. Moll grinned faintly, and continued “We thank you, Gamera”. As with her audience with Pharaoh-Kong she faded into the ether, for there remained one more to beckon.
______________________

While the Pharaoh ruled over a dominion hidden from the world, and Gamera was the guardian and high-priest of a dead city, the Stag-Beetle and Mu were very much alive and only unknown to humanity due to their spheres of interest rarely overlapping. An ocean located beneath the surface of coastal East-Asia and beneath the bed of the Philippine, East and South China seas housed Mu and its people.

Moll’s form shifted again as she came into being within the Mu Ocean. This would be the one most alien to human eyes, shaped like a praying mantis, the lower half ending in a lobster-like tail but moved by six crab-like legs rather than four. The torso lent itself to be human-like, or at least primate, though plated in with a blue and yellow exoskeleton. The arms were like those of a lobster, and when closed the hands or claws too looked very much like a lobster. But when open, the upper portion split into five separate ’fingers’ with four joints and the lower becoming two ‘thumbs’ with three joints. This form, like the one she took to speak to Gwynplaine, was chosen as it resembled one of their kind.

Around her was a bustling metropolis, built of coral, silver and gold. Those metals were not used for their opulence, but their ease of use. They did not require the intense heat of a forge to be made into useful material. She scurried along towards what could be described as a citadel in the shape of an eight-armed starfish, paying no mind to the glimmering structures that towered over it or the seemingly apathetic populace going about their day around her. The entrance had no guards, and needed none. A round opening contained a portal that looked to be made of shimmering silver, and grew transparent as she came closer.

She passed through, the material letting her pass, and found herself now in a location a ways beneath where she had been. It resembled an office of sorts, though made of chitin, coral and a plethora of shells both great and small. Seated behind something like a desk was a black and gold variation of the inhabitants, the Lord-Protector of Mu. Unlike humans, the Pharaoh and his subjects, and the majority of life on Earth, Muans spoke only telepathically. And in this instance, the conversation was started by the one whom she had come to meet.

“I am aware of what you seek, and why. The mammals have made a mess, and you expect us to lend our last Gaiba to save them? No. Without Megalon, we would be defenseless. What good is it to save the Overworld if our home is under siege. Be gone, you are not welcome here-”

The Lord-Protector was then silenced, forever. The water in the ‘office’ flash-boiled, killing the Lord-Protector and containing enough residual heat to set the rest of it on fire. She was mentally holding back the torrent of water trying to rush in and fill the gap, her exoskeleton fell away to reveal the human form she’d taken. Diplomacy, negotiation and offer of reward were courtesies to the creatures and civilizations the Emissary was visiting. They were done out of respect and gratitude for services previously rendered, as with the Pharaoh-Kong, not because They simply couldn’t take what they sought. And when such gratitude was thrown in their face by those who assumed such kindness to be a sign of weakness, it would be quickly demonstrated who held the superior power.

Despite the frustrations caused by the Lord-Protector, Mu as a whole not be punished for his actions. Instead, she sought and gained audience with the Mu cabinet as they nominated and elected a new Lord-Protector. He was more understanding, or at least compliant, and managed to gain some small but much-needed concessions. The most important amongst them was aid in expanding the Living Space to house formerly destitute Muans and to act as farm-land to feed the civilization as a whole.

Megalon itself however, would need time to become fully operational, six or so months at the least. He had been mothballed eons ago and while not in disrepair, the armed forces of Mu would need to run a diagnostic. The tech involved, while far and away superior to anything found in the hands of men, was still ancient. Moll was aware that he would not be the most effective soldier in the army They were raising, but having him was still preferable to not.
Waking the Dragon Chapter II: Behemoth
Took me long enough. As always, thanks to my friend & Watson LordNidhogg for his aid in every facet of this work. Criticism is always welcome, andI hope it was worth the wait
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Shin-Ben Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't mean to bother but, I see you keep dropping by for a visit. Is there anything I can help you with?
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Happy (2 hours late) Birthday!
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Aw. Thank you.
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Sure. No Problemo.
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thanks for the watch!:jumpingla: with plz account 
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Thanks for the watch!
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Happy Birthday! Have your cake and eat it too 
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