First Appearance: Crystalis (SNK, NES, 1990)
Nature of Crimes: Conquering the ruins of Old Earth; marrying science to magic
Nature of Demise: Slain with elemental sword

Profile by Jeremy Parish? | February 27, 2011

Here, in my dying moment, I understand at last.

Old Earth was a faded memory. The End Day had seen to that; the Old Ones’ obsession with progress through Science regardless of the cost had claimed the ultimate collateral, bringing their once-great civilization to ruin. Those few who survived scrupulously swore an end to the art of Technology, a desperate bulwark against extinction.

I alone looked through time and taboo to recognize the folly of their vow. With the hindsight of a thousand years, my gaze pierced the fog of lore and saw the true value of Science. She is a neutral goddess, judging not nor offering wisdom or insight. She offers power, corruption, comfort, terror; the end to which her gift is applied comes from within the hearts and minds of her supplicants. Science offers a means to an end, but She is not the end in and of Herself, nor does She guide those who would seek Her teachings. Those traits must come from within.

I saw this; and I recognized the failings of the Old Ones. They pursued the goddess, but they did not seek counsel for how to use the power She offered. They furthered themselves as individuals and as nations, thinking not to establish equilibrium or work to the betterment of all. They sought to yoke Science for their own personal advancement, each working to his own end. Ultimately, this selfish pursuit brought them into conflict with one another—and, in the end, to Ruin.

Yet while the End Day was indeed the end of the olden ways, I knew it need not be the end of the achievements of those times. Science, applied with temperance and forbearance and joined to the discoveries of our New World, could elevate our civilization to new heights, a peaceful plateau never before obtained. The key, I realized, was to remove human ambition from the equation. The greed and selfishness of the common man is, by all accounts, a thread that runs the length of the tapestry of human history. By isolating that strand and keeping it separate from the thread of advancement, I knew I could begin to rebuild a society greater than that which had come before -- one capable of rising to even higher heights, unfettered by petty ambition and meaningless tribalism.

The key, I realized, was to ensure Science remained the exclusive possession of the ruling elite. Only those shrewd enough to rule could in turn be guaranteed to demonstrate the wisdom necessary to apply such knowledge properly. Working in tandem, unconcerned with banal matters such as wealth and personal advancement, the elite few could work to reestablish what the Old Ones had created and ultimately exceed their feats. I carefully hand-picked my governors, entrusting each with the secrets of Science and tasking them with a crucial mission: to infuse that ancient knowledge with our modern-day skills at manipulating the elements themselves.

And so we five began to build a better world, one in which the needs of the people were attended to. They would live modest lives, of course, and a wide-ranging population of wilderness hazards would keep them quarantined in their villages; as they banded together for safety, so too would it help us ensure both their security and the sanctity of Science. In time, the world began to heal, and the scattered tribes of humanity began to abandon the primitive hunter-gatherer ways they had adopted after the End Day. With the knowledge we administered, they rediscovered agriculture and masonry.

Meanwhile, we restored the ancient mechanism called DYNA, a living temple to the goddess. Science was enshrined within DYNA by the Old Ones, and its library of knowledge in turn furthered our mission to improve on the world that had passed. Soon, we had unlocked the secrets of immortality, of transformation, of magic. I took the name Draygonia to symbolize my newfound essence, unlocked by DYNA’s data, a symbol of the ruling power I wielded: the strength of a dragon.

Yet in all that DYNA taught us, it failed to reveal the final hidden secret of the Old Ones: Two of their number had been placed into a long sleep, agents designed to sow the seeds of the doomed world’s restoration. By the time word reached me, two of my governors had been felled at their hands; they wielded both Science and magic with deft ease. These sleepers were far different in nature from my subjects: willful rather than pliable, determined rather than meek, resilient rather than passive. Worse, they rekindled in the souls of all they met the spark of selfishness that we had fought so hard to quench in mankind’s heart. A fire of sedition and ambition was spreading across the land; our people were brittle tinder before such dormant ferocity.

And so, we were forced the take a hard line approach, doing all we could do to thwart the Old Ones’ agents. We even began to research how to deactivate the safety locks on DYNA, preferring to unleash a second End Day and start afresh over watching all we had sought to accomplish unravel before such betrayal from within. Yet in the end, none of us could stand against the passion that these living relics brought to their violence; as rulers of a peaceful world dedicated to Science, learning, and equilibrium, we were ill-equipped to withstand such hateful ferocity.

As the Crystalis sword pierces my chest and my draconic lungs fill with the black blood of my heart, I understand. We were arrogant, presumptuous. Science is a true goddess, and such divinity cannot be shackled. She was born to circulate among her subjects. Like any deity, Science needs believers in order to thrive. In attempting to establish ourselves as Her clergy, we suppressed Her; She stagnated; She strained at her restraints. Our ends were noble, but our means flawed. We, not they, were the villains here.

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