|The Feathered Serpent|
Lore[edit | edit source]
"In the early days of the Pact, the jungle kingdom of Nuanta'al was little more than myth and legend to most. The distant jungle continent of Egirah had yet to be "discovered" and its native inhabitants were mostly unaware of the larger world that awaited them.
Nuanta'al was content to be the center of its universe at that time, even if that universe was a dark and unkind one. For you see, Nuanta'al was under the sway of the Featherdoom cult, worshippers of the great Quetzalcoatl and its many young.
The Beast-God of the Mountain protected Nuanta'al, keeping the other dragon-gods of the jungle continent at bay, but it demanded a terrible price: Every year, when it came time for her young to hatch, Quetzalcoatl would fly above her mountain home and bellow to signal the time of sacrifice. The people of Nuanta'al would have three days. Just three days to choose thirty among them who would travel the path up the stony mountain to its crown and enter the lair of the Feathered Death, never to be seen again.
If they did not make their sacrifice in time, Quetzalcoatl would come and eat her fill, before carrying away more for her young. Twice in the village's great history, the people of Nuanta'al had attempted to resist and twice their village was leveled by the Beast-God's withering breath of steam. The few survivors remembered the grim visage of the skull-spirits that accompanied great Quetzalcoatl on her rampage. They were the wrathful spirits of those that had been sacrificed before, come back to lay waste to those who would dare make their sacrifice meaningless. And so, the cycle continued, seemingly without end, for generations.
This was how life in Nuanta'al was for Kuxo. When he was born, his path was laid out in front of him. Never mind that he was clever, or that he was faster than most. He was to be a simple farmer, as had his father, and his father. With luck, he would come of age before the Beast-God's hunger meant he would be chosen, but if not, then his path would lead up the mountain.
Is it any wonder then, Kuxo would grow up thinking of the God-Beast and the problems she posed? Again, Kuxo was clever. Smarter than his fellows. He watched the mountain and he considered his plight. Truly, Quetzalcoatl was a powerful being, but for all that, the thing was just a beast. It did not speak. It did not reason. That is what made the fate of the lower-castes so certain and inescapable: There can be no mercy from a beast that has no understanding of the concept.
And yet, a young Kuxo thought, what if that unthinking power could be turned to his use? If the God-Beast truly was simply a beast, however powerful, could it not be tamed like any other? Already the Nuanta'ali had tamed the Jungle Cat and the Water Cow, why not the God-Beast?
Quietly, over the years, Kuxo became a master of reptiles and birds. He started with small tree lizards, examining their behavior and learning their ways until he could, with but a simple of his hand and a bobbing of his head, coax any of the little reptiles into his hands. He moved up to ever larger and more complex animals, always comparing them to the feathered serpents that he could sometimes see, sunning themselves on the mountain, or flying off to hunt other dragons at the edge of their territory.
Her offspring were smaller than the great Quetzalcoatl herself, but each was deadly enough to be unassailable by even the mightiest of the Nuanta'ali warriors. Still, Kuxo had noticed that they hunted much like the treetop raptors found in the high trees, along the river. They would sometimes completely miss obvious prey standing at the water's edge. To Kuxo, the prey seemed to stand in full light, but he had noticed that when animals on the shore stood in the shadow of the canopy, they became covered in patches of shadow and light that constantly shifted and moved. To the cross-shaped eyes of the feathered serpents and the treetop raptors, this mix of light, dark and motion was somehow confusing.
Kuxo wondered if the great God-Beast herself saw the world in this way and the inkling of a plan began to form in his mind. He then turned his attention to the River Jaws, the great lizards that floated lazily in the river current. These beasts would burst out of the water and snap unsuspecting prey between their toothy jaws, to drag them back beneath the water to their doom. His goal was to tame one of these, to turn it to his use and though he often came away cut or bruised, he slowly learned this craft until the last details of his plan came into focus. He had only to wait now, until great Quetzalcoatl called for her sacrifice, once more.
He did not wait long. That spring, the call came. As always, the priest-lord called the village to gather and demanded that thirty farmers come forth. The crowd jostled and pushed as the pre-chosen sacrifices were brought forth, but Kuxo strode forth, unbidden. He cut the bindings tying the hands of a young farmer, a younger son being thrown out by parents desperate to keep their eldest, and to the astonished gasps of the crowd, he stood instead in the boy's place.
Never before had anyone volunteered for the sacrifice. It was unprecedented, but even stranger was Kuxo's costume. It was as if he had created a ritual of his own and the clothing to accompany it, but no one there understood the significance. They didn't know what sort of power the strange patterns of black and white body paint might contain. Kuxo didn't care if they thought he looked a clown. If he was right, if this gamble paid off. He would not only break the cycle of sacrifice, but Nuanta'al would keep its protection from the other god-beasts of the jungle continent. He would leave a clown and return a hero.
The priest-lord did not appreciate the spectacle, but there was nothing in the tradition that said a sacrifice could not volunteer himself. Besides, he was happy to be rid of the irksome troublemaker and so, he bid Kuxo join the rest in their precession to the lair of Quetzalcoatl. He assumed (wrongly) that that would the last he ever saw of the strange, clever farmer as he watched Kuxo's progress by tracking his ridiculous body paint against the gray mountain.
Kuxo was nervous as they entered the cave mouth. The cavern was narrow, much smaller than he imagined. As they marched in the relative darkness, he began to worry that they might simply be walking straight into the waiting maw of the great God-Beast! It was a passing terror however, and soon the sound of rushing water heralded a widening in the tunnel, up ahead.
They came to the bowl of a massive natural grotto, where a pool of water nearly a mile across hissed and seethed with steam, A great shaft of sunlight lit the pool and brought their eyes skyward to the large circular opening in the grotto roost. As they walked along the ledge at the shore of this warm hidden lagoon, cries of alarm began to sound. Above them, at the opening in the roof, the brood of Quetzalcoatl had gathered. Over two dozen of the feathered dragons ringed the opened and trumpeted the return of their mother, the great God-Beast of the Mountain, Quetzalcoatl.
Many tried to flee, rushing over each other, sending still others falling into the water below. Their splashes and screams summoned a flurry of activity above as the feathered serpents leapt after their prey. Only Kuxo held his ground, pushing against the panic to stand as close as he could to the rays of the sun. Like the prey animals at the river shore, he counted on the patterns of light dark he painted upon his skin to save him and so far, his lore proved true.
Already, most of his brethren were gone, food for the God-Beast's many children. Kuxo realized she had twenty nine children and that each had taken a sacrifice. Only Quetzalcoatl herself had not yet eaten and as Kuxo watched, she began to cast about for her prey, growing agitated.
She really can't see me! Kuxo was elated, but of course, his early success also meant that the worst was yet to come. Slowly, he carefully unwound the rope covering his torso, revealing the steel bit at its center. He had fashioned the contraption of metal and rope for this purpose, but in order to place the bit and take his place astride the God-Beast, he would need her to be close.
He waited as she began to sniff at the shore, inching ever closer but so maddeningly slow...
When telling the story, the Nuanta'ali would say that the very ground itself quaked with the dragon's indignant roar. They remember the flash of iridescent light as great Quetzalcoatl took to the skies, thrashing and twisting to throw Kuxo off her back. They remember the rumble in the skies as the God-Beast pierced the heart of the clouds and they remember the hot rain that followed. But, most of all, they remember the triumphant return of Kuxo to the village square and the altar of Quetzalcoatl.
He rode the back of the great Beast-God and a steel bit, as simple as the bit that would harness any work horse, sat within the creature's mouth.
"I am Kuxo, the master of Quetzalcoatl. The Serpent Warrior," he said, "Do any doubt my place?"
There was only terrified silence in the crowd. There was no joy, no celebration. Kuxo knew then that he had gone too far. He was clever, but not wise.
"Then know this. I will protect Nuanta'al. I will ensure the God-Beast does her duty."
He yanked hard on his make-shift reins, causing the dragon to chuff in discomfort.
"And when we are ready, I will teach others. Never again will we sacrifice ourselves to beasts."
And with that, Kuxo, the Serpent Warrior, took once more to the skies, returning to the dragon's lair.
Kuxo was not wise, but he was clever.
He would learn."
Tips[edit | edit source]
Bide Your Time - Quetzalcoatl are dangerous dragons, but they begin each battle relatively fragile. Invest points into both of your attacks before mixing it up on the front lines and instead try to lean more towards support and second tier offense or defense while you build up.
Use Range to Your Advantage - Both of the Quetzalcoatl's abilities allow you to attack enemies from further away than most dragons, giving the ability to attack from outside the effective range of most targets.
Your Warrior Spirits Are Your True Advantage - Investing points into the Warrior Spirits ability early on will give you an edge in both flexibility, by allowing to you attack from multiple directions at once, and DPS, thanks to the warrior spirits' devastating attack. This also means you can use your Warrior Spirits to distract an elemental tower while you take it down with your jungle mist.
Skins[edit | edit source]
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