Dragons of Yumihari #3 – Kagi Dragons

There are four dragon species present in the Yokai Calling series, and we’ve already talked about shishajya and Shiraian dragons in previous blog posts, so next in line is the Kagi dragons.

“Kagi” is the term for this species used by the Ishoki people, those who lived in Seiryuu before the warlocks came and claimed the land as theirs. Colloquially, Kagi dragons are also called Sky Whales for their whale-like shape that differs quite a bit from traditional dragons but marks their capacity for flight, unlike true whales. This species is all but unknown to the Seiryan people as they dwell in areas where spirit energies are extremely powerful, which tends not to be in Yumihari at all. The Channel of Stars and other places in the cosmic sea—the Nightmare—are such examples.

Because of their connection to the spirit world, Kagi dragons are one of several types of Ishoki spirit companions. While these creatures are integral to Ishoki way of life, they are revered—not owned—by the Ishoki people. Kagi dragons are their own individuals, free to roam the seas, but also live amongst Ishoki who are their companions as much as their dragon-kin.

Appearance

Kagi dragons are more stocky and less serpent-like, hence their nickname of Sky Whales. They have enormous mouths big enough to fit several humans inside, but their mouths are structured to contain both baleen filters for feeding and vicious teeth for battle. Their heads are triangular with skulls thick enough to smash ice, and Kagi dragons living alongside Ishoki will often be equipped with safety netting along their backs to carry multiple passengers. Meanwhile Kagi dragons better suited for battle wear plates of bone and metal armour that match their natural skin and scale colours. They are usually found in less vibrant colours such as shades of grey and darker or lighter tones of blue, typically to help them blend in with the dangerous waters of the Channel of Stars.

Inspiration

Have you ever seen a map with the phrase “Here be dragons” written on it?

Or maybe one of those old European maps with dragons, sea serpents, and other mythical creatures hiding in the unknown waters?

There are many theories as to why mythical creatures were drawn on maps, but one of my favourites is that up until the 18th century or so, it was a common belief that these mythical beings existed all over the world. Cartographers would illustrate the dangerous creatures that adventurers would find in unknown lands and waters.

First, I’ll clear up a common misconception. In actuality, Here be Dragons wasn’t typically the phrase used on real medieval maps. The phrase first used by the Romans was “HIC SVNT LEONES” which translates to “Here be lions” which is one cat you don’t want to be facing in the wild without a way to defend yourself.

While the dragons version is much more fun, it unfortunately wasn’t widely adapted in history, and you’ll actually see it on more fantasy maps than real historical ones.

Anyway, before I go off on a tangent about unrelated dragons, let’s get back to the Kagi dragons.

One of my favourite theories about the origins of ocean dragons and sea serpents is really simple and makes a lot of sense when you consider how, hundreds of years ago, the average person didn’t have access to the kind of knowledge we have today. So when they went out to sea, searching for new lands, or got lost, and ran into enormous creatures out at sea… can you blame them for thinking they’ve spotted a dragon?

What they probably saw were actually whales, of which the largest species, Antarctic Blue Whale, reaches almost 100 feet in length. Without knowing what a whale was, they were probably pretty terrifying back then!

Although whales aren’t a perfect 1:1 comparison to dragons, there are enough similarities that really get your thoughts turning in a certain direction…

One of the most prominent myths in mythological traditions around the world is the idea of the cosmic sea. You’ll find it in the oldest tales of the origins of the world, including the birth of the Japanese islands, the Babylonian/Sumerian story of Abzu and Tiamat, and even in the Book of Genesis!

Since Yumihari is heavily inspired by many myths from around the world (not just Japanese and Chinese), it always made sense for Yumihari to have its own version of the cosmic sea. However, the Kagi whales came when I asked myself the question of “well, what will live in that brand new wild, wild ocean you’ve created?”

A lot of things, actually. But of course, also dragons, hehe.

Kagi dragons only appear in book 4 of the Yokai Calling series—Blood of Dragons. After that, you also find them in The Spirit Sorcerer and of course the upcoming Wyvern Wars Saga.

I’ll be back soon with the fourth type of dragon in the Yumihari world!

—Erynn

Elements in The ATLA Universe

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a beloved cartoon to an entire generation of animated film and TV lovers, myself included. I often say that the Yumihari World is, in part, inspired by the ATLA world, in addition to Japanese mythology. ATLA, however, mostly takes inspiration from Chinese history, mythology, and philosophies. Although the show is more like a Westernized version of these concepts, there are a lot of key similarities between the cultures represented in the show and real life. There is one major difference, however!

Excerpt From Spirit of the Dragon

I set Spirit of the Dragon off into the wild on March 25th earlier this year, and in my excitement to start on the next installment, I neglected to provide an excerpt of the book on my own blog! Today, I’ll be correcting that, and you can read the first chapter of this exciting adventure right here, without downloading anything.

The Mythical Anxiety Dragon

There are many preconceived notions about dragons no matter where you are in the world, but in the West, we tend to picture dragons as fire-breathing monsters that want to eat our families and have to be slain by heroes.

In reality, they’re the worst, but they get points for being badass.

Excerpt From The Mists of Arathia

Back in 2021, I entered a publishing competition hosted by Inkfort Press: the Publishing Derby.

The idea was that up to 100 writers could enter the competition, get a free book cover under an assigned alias, and start over from scratch without anyone knowing who they are. New name, new book, new platform. The writing had to be done by a certain date, and then the winners would come in different categories such as the most sales, the most reviews, the highest rated, and so on. I loved the idea and had to enter, especially because the cover for The Mists of Arathia was downright incredible.

5 Young Adult Asian Fantasy For Your Bookshelf

You know me, I adore Fantasy that takes place in or is inspired by all the different and beautiful cultures in the diverse Asian region. While Asian Fantasy is becoming more common these days, that definitely wasn't always the case. Now you can find Asian Fantasy in...

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