Dracoimpery (Drakine Vendeía Akor, Common Comfort of Mind's Strength) is a Soul Phantasm that refers to the manipulation or control of, or the dominion over dragons. A user of this power is known as a dracoimperist (Drakine dráki-tiir, Common Dragon King). Familiars or willingly bonded dragons may also refer to their master as Thuri (lit. Who I Serve) out of respect.
This ability is chiefly Euthoran, having been born of a spiritual connection between dragons and humans that began with the bond forged between Skyking Shyr and Isden Aliira. It has since evolved/developed [...]. Dracoimpery is psionic in nature.
Dracoimpery is usually associated with the ability to control dragons. It is only by imposing one's will upon the target that a dracoimperist can truly "control" a dragon. The most famous function of the Soul Phantasm pertains to the dracoimperist, or master, telling the dragon to perform a task. The dragon's brain subsequently forces it to comply. The dragon may resist, and may succeed depending on its willpower compared to its master's, but more often the master is the stronger.
On Euthora, dracoimpery is more commonly referred to as dracomancy. In actuality, what Euthorans refer to as dracomancy is a distinctive subset of dracoimpery, born of the first Euthoran manifestation of the Soul Phantasm: spiritual and mental communication. Rather than exhibiting control over dragons, the original purpose of dracomancy was to create a psychic affinity with and establish an ability to telepathically communicate with dragons. As it was primarily the human dracoimperist who would benefit by seeing through the eyes of the dragon, the ability was termed "dracomancy", roughly meaning "divination of dragons," although the actual mechanics are more similar to telepathy or a low-level of hypnosis.
Dracomancy allows one party the ability to see perfectly from their mentally-linked partner's perspective, and thus allows one party to see things from a perspective that they would otherwise be unable to see from their perspective. For example, a dracoimperist would be able to view the vast distances and aerial viewpoint that a dragon is accustomed to seeing. Otherwise, it is primarily utilized for communication, allowing thoughts to be exchanged non-verbally between the master and his/her dragon.
Through prolonged exposure to a dragon's consciousness, a dracoimperist practicing dracomancy will begin to increasingly find their thought processes changing to work as a dragon's mind does.
- Main Article: Familiar
- Main Article: Familiar
With sufficient skill and discipline, an experienced dracoimperist may have the capacity to forge a particularly powerful bond with a dragon known as a Familiar link. A dragon bound this way is referred to as a Familiar, while the dracoimperist in question retains the title of 'master.' In most cases, the dragon in question must give its consent to being bound as a Familiar. This is not always the case, as shown by Jason Shaver and Mimring Thunderscale, the latter of whom was simply not in a state of mind to offer resistance when Jason tried to influence him.
While more similar to "classical" Euthoran dracoimpery than most links, there are still crucial differences. However, one thing that remains the same is a powerful bond of friendship and loyalty forming between the two parties, and a tendency for pairs with longstanding bonds to begin to lose the ability to distinguish between their independent thoughts. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it allows for quicker communication on the battlefield and other stressful situations.
It is possible for long-term partnerships to result in one party developing the other's Soul Phantasms. This can frequently result in the Familiar developing dracoimpery itself, thus introducing the associated subdomain into its own bloodline and resulting in its descendants developing dracoimpery on their own.
Being so tightly bound spiritually, when either the master or Familiar dies without severing the link, the other will die soon after. However, with pairs linked for a long amount of time, it is possible for the deceased's soul to unintentionally snap back into the body of the still-living party, prolonging the latter's life slightly and resulting in two souls inhabiting the same body and communicating with each other. Due to the nature of a Familiar link, when one dies the Familiar is more likely to become a Phasma. This is caused by the two souls attempting to remain connected, often dragging the dragon's soul into the layers of reality close to the spiritual realm.
Familiar links stay almost completely true to the original function of the power, though the two parties were not linked in mortality and the bond was not so easily broken. Familiar links keep the spiritual component, but still emphasizes mental, and it was quite literally unheard of for a human to bond with multiple dragons via the original dracoimpery mechanics.
When fighting another dracoimperist for control, a Familiar can lend its mental support to its master and increase the odds of them winning out over the other dracoimperist.
Interactions with Dragons and Psychics
A user of dracoimpery develops certain ways of dealing with both other dracoimperists and other users of psychic ability, as well as with non-affected dragons. Dracoimperists of sufficient experience can hide their "presence" in an affected dragon's mind from other psychics, allowing the dragon to act as a spy or scout in an area with users of this or similar abilities.
It is also possible for a dracoimperist to affect less experienced dracoimperists directly. This most often manifests as one dracoimperist taking the other as if the latter was a dragon, thereby gaining access to the latter's own dragons indirectly. Whether or not the less experienced dracoimperist is under the other's control, the more experienced of the two can use their own influence to sever links between the dragons of the less experienced, thereby releasing the dragons entirely.
Dragons themselves may be passively affected by nearby dracoimperists if one or both parties are inexperienced in regard to dracoimpery. This can manifest as a young dragon forming a very weak, subtle link with the dracoimperist in question- they would be innately able to make themselves understood to each other with neither aware of the connection. Dragons are also naturally drawn to dracoimperists, even if unbound or unwilling.
An injured dracoimperist or Familiar can send out a subconscious "cry for help" when stressed, injured, or dying. Dragons connected to the user of this defense mechanism will instinctively respond mentally and spiritually, sending a sort of confirmation across the link and, if the user is in dire need, their souls will send their own life energy across the link to keep their master alive. It is this mechanic of the link that also links master and Familiar in their mortality, as the dead individual acts as a "Prana sink", and will eventually drain the other party's life completely. The more dragons giving their life force, however, the less any one of them needs to give, and the longer they can sustain the effect without suffering ill effects.
Dracoimpery also includes a "failsafe" mechanic triggered by orders phrased in certain ways, that can be used to free a dragon from control. For example, a dracoimperist telling their dragon to "obey nobody but itself" will act as a way to sever all dracoimpery- or even other weak psychic- links the dragon has with a master. This was used by Jason Shaver in the Alter Timeline to free Deathstorm from Lord X-Giga-X, as Deathstorm was connected to both dracoimperists in question, and Jason wished to free him from Giga.
This is by no means the only phrasing that can be used, but it is the most well-known.
A sufficiently experienced dracoimperist can inflict physical pain on a connected dragon via telepathy, usually as punishment or warning. It can manifest as several different types of pain depending on the user's will, and can range from feeling like a claw's slash across the eyes to taking a blunt weapon to the back of the head. This ability can also be used on any psychic connected or connecting with one of the user's dragons, and can thus serve as defending the dragon in question from psychic attack.
Related to this, a dragon recently freed from or has stopped resisting a dracoimperist's influence may suffer acute headaches for a few hours to several days afterwards, due to either the shock of being disconnected or the mental strain of fighting.
A dracoimperist can use the ability to inflict pain on its dragons to the advantage of "training" a dragon to obey without question. This is more akin to the brainwashing tactics applied by cults than to actually training an animal- through repetition, distraction by pain, and even occasionally preventing the dragon from sleeping or eating, the dragon can be manipulated or confused into believing that it indeed wishes to serve its master. Most morally-inclined dracoimperists avoid this method due to the ethics involved, but crueler or more totalitarian dracoimperists have no issue with it.
Also generally avoided is the practice of completely overpowering the dragon's mind and cutting off its awareness of its surroundings, turning it into a mindless creature whose only purpose is to serve its master. This can permanently damage the dragon's mind and mental well-being even when freed, resulting in post-traumatic stress and anxiety in the dragon.
A dracoimperist is able to sift through the memories of linked dragons, though they must make a conscious effort to do so.
At first, a dracoimperist must at least be within speaking range of a target dragon to attempt control. This range increases as the user grows more experienced, to the point where an experienced user can affect multiple unseen targets within several miles. Dracoimperists can naturally channel their influence through Familiars, but must hone their willpower and skill in order to channel it through non-Familiar dragons.
Any dragon under the influence of a dracoimperist which is under the control of another dracoimperist is automatically considered under the control of the lattermost.
Dracoimpery was born on Euthora with the bonding of Skyking Shyr and Isden Aliira. This capability was passed down to their descendants- because Shyr is the ancestor of all Euthoran dragons, likewise all Euthoran dragons were granted the ability to forge the bond. Fewer humans were given the ability from Isden, but within a few generations it had spread to much of the human population, with some help from Shapeshifters despite the wilder race being unable to natively obtain the ability.
While dragons largely kept their half of the ability intact, the inevitable mutation of the trait within humans (in part due to breeding with Shapeshifters; this mutation from Shapeshifter DNA is also part of what caused dragons to diversify and later become weaker) caused a corruption of the power; the ability became extremely rare in humans, rather than a trait inherent in all of them, and became a variation of mind control via telepathy. In most cases, the spiritual component of the link was lost entirely, instead becoming purely mental and dependent on willpower.
Familiar bonds still remain the truest to original dracoimpery, as it keeps the spiritual component, although original dracoimpery did not force one party to follow the other in death, and could not be broken so easily. Shyr himself keeps a rather low opinion of humans starting from the late Radiant Era, considering them to be primarily at fault for the corruption of a "sacred bond".
Modern vs. Original Dracoimpery
While 'classical' Euthoran dracoimpery (what is now referred to as dracomancy) was a far more subtle [in what way?] mental link than links exhibited by modern dracoimpery, a bonded pair could still acutely sense each others' thoughts and emotions, shared pain, and oftentimes felt as if they were one single consciousness. As Isden once told Shyr, she could "feel his wings beat as if [she] were the one flying." [direct quotation?] Likewise, Shyr would often comment how pleasant it felt when Isden would run in pursuit of a prey animal, an action that he quickly grew too large to efficiently conduct.
The modern school of dracoimpery concentrates on the master overpowering the dragon's willpower with their own sheer mental force. In most cases, the dragon is absolutely forced to obey the commands of its master, leading to situations such as Koth Grimseeker nearly taking over Euthora by exercising an extreme amount of authority over its dragons. Conversely, the 'classical' school of Euthoran dracoimpery was much more communication-based in nature. Rather than exhibiting a degree of dominance over the dragon, a dracoimperist would mentally communicate an idea to their dragon's subconscious. It would then be up to the dragon whether or not to obey the "order."
Euthoran humans and dragons remain the only creatures that are natively able to make use of the power, however Shapeshifters may obtain it provided a human in their lineage has it, or a dragon obtained it via a master bound through a Familiar link. An example of this would be Jason Shaver, who is both half Darkwing Firedrake and the son of Mordicai, the Familiar of Cresius Tasque. It is also possible for an offworlder of Euthoran descent to inherit dracoimpery, as was the case with Lord X-Giga-X.
Impact on Sulsian Culture
- Dracoimpery has a long history of out-of-character debate over its nomenclature.