An electric faërie tale
Written in the spirit of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene and Francis Bacon's New Atlantis,
fully-illustrated, with dragons
Want the deep backstory? Go BEHIND THE SCENES.
With planets in his eyes, he turned his head
and sang to her of Empires filled with joy and dread:
“Come near, my dove, and taste the hidden love.
Into a dream I’ll ease you, ne’er to wake.
One tear to taste, like star-milk from above,
shows lights unseen unless you dare partake.
Sharp on your tongue, a pyramid of snakes
uncloaks a dark star burning in my breast.
You’ll see the world as clearly as the drakes,
and capture seas from East to furthest West.
For Dragon sight, I’ll trade the crystal in your chest.”
The temptation of infinite knowledge saw mankind "bite the apple" and till the land by the sweat of his brow. Man has since been busy baking bricks and building utopias, as most infamously constructed in the story of the Tower of Babel. Draco Alchemicus is a story about building another city: the great electric City of Light.
This City never sleeps. It is a world of ecstatic visions, apparitions, and alchemy; its citizens drown in the intoxicating spells of the tyrant Dragon, who rules with the promise of utopia and unfettered freedom.
Every citizen has succumbed to draconian poison, potions and spells. Inside the walls of the metropolis, a strange traveller arrives to taste the vapours of the Dragon’s spices for the first time. When everybody needs spices just to survive civilization, is civilization itself merely one big rave?
Draco Alchemicus is a journey to the boundaries of mankind’s utopias. The Drakes are currently tripping the light fantastic through the City of Men. The Lord willing, they are working to publish the first Act of their five-act adventure in AD 2023.
A band of crystal lit with heaven’s fire
burst o’er the earth and flashed across the plain,
reverberating through the raining pyre
of stories sung in cities built by Cain.
A pinioned cloud danced rings around the flame,
its cooing harmonized with chords of grace.
A deep base note encoded love reclaimed
from kingdom’s fall of mankind’s ancient race.
The resonating wings revealed a clouded face.
The pigeon ether undulated free,
an orchestra of feathers white as frost.
The wingéd loom descended on the sea;
from light it spun a subatomic cross.
Bright feathers knit atomic Helios,
while oscillating sparks set fire to quills.
Reverberating wings turned light to dust.
The looming man from loom that seemed to trill
emerged in flesh from cloud of sapphire-blue beryl.
The chorus swelled; the man stepped onto land,
from clouds delivered to the darkened shore.
He stood there naked, looking at the sand;
his face shone bright like heated iron ore.
White strands of hair presaged the coming war,
while from his lips came songs in ancient tongue
not heard since towers fell to angels’ lore.
He took a breath like snakes soak up the sun;
his voice like thunder rolling o’r the waves, he sung:
“I loved you from the first glance of your eye;
your garden was a paradise of doves.
I came into my kingdom from the sky
because you left me languishing with love.
I called you to my wrist, my falcon’s glove,
and promised I would warm you at my breast
with aromatic spices from above.
The winter now has gone, the rain has passed;
arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my one most blessed.”
“This is what real poetry is supposed to be. A timeless examination of Truth, and words used to render the beautiful into this world.”
—The Dark Herald, “The Need for Poetry like Draco Alchemicus”
THE DRAGON: An ancient beast that has captured the City and the waves, the Dragon controls its citizens with vice, guarding its hoard of treasure with cruel jealousy. Every precious thing on earth is in its dominion, and its power is intoxicating: no one can resist the magnetism of the Dragon’s gaze. The Dragon is elusive in Act I, appearing only in suggestive form through its servants (Eliza Drake and the Mage). It manifests fully in Act II.
DAMIAN STONE: The Dragon slayer who has come to liberate his bride from captivity to the Dragon, Damian Stone arrives on the shores of the City from another realm. His journey through the City to find and claim his love plunges him in into the darkest trip of civilization, to come face to face with the elusive tyrant who rules it.
Damian Stone literally walks into the Dragon’s realm from a cloud of pigeons. His naked entrance into the City marks the beginning of his quest to find his beloved, and his experience in the Casino sees him acquainted with Eliza Drake, who mistakes him for another mark from the high roller’s room. His penchant for being in the wrong place at the wrong time gets him tangled up in Eliza’s mischief, and he steps closer towards the Dragon’s orbit during the Mage’s show, revealing himself to be no stranger to his magic. Rather, Damian is mysteriously familiar with it.
ELIZA DRAKE: Eliza is a gold-digger like no other. Proud, vain, and cunning, her preferred currency is power. She is the most ruthless servant of the Dragon and its most loyal slave. Despite knowing its cruelty, her mystique is the Dragon’s own. Her various enchantments change the fortunes of those in the City, for better or worse.
As the mistress of the Alchemical Dragon, Eliza delights in causing panic and seducing the citizens into cult service of the Dragon via potions, bitter and sweet, revealing her envy for the affection of the Newlyweds and a desire to prove that all it takes for anybody in the City to succumb to the Dragon is a little bit of bad luck.
THE NEWLYWEDS: This man and wife are the prototypes of the Dragon’s subjects. Hoping for some good luck and charmed by the glamour of the Casino and the promises of striking it rich in derby races, they succumb to the offer of alchemical assistance to win the horse race betting. After having their eyes opened to Dragon Vision by Eliza Drake, the Newlyweds see their fortune and their love transformed on the Casino floor.
THE MAGE: A wizard with the aura of a rockstar, the Mage is a stage magician and occultist who serves as an entertainer by night and the personal conduit to the Dragon by moonlight. Part of the Dragon’s inner circle called Solomonars, the Mage selects and elects new blood for the Dragon’s court and priest class from the Casino, demonstrating the draconic powers that he wields in service to the City’s alchemical captor. His prized magical possession is a dove. Rather than pulling her from a hat for thrills, the Mage kills and reanimates her on command. What he does to command the crowds is just as terrifying.
THE STARS: A group of mesmerized audience members at the Mage Show find themselves elected by him to enter the bright lights of the Electric City and into the Court of the Dragon. What happens next is anybody’s bet.
THE DOG: Wandering throughout the story searching for his master, the stray Canaan Dog trails behind Damian Stone as a companion on his journey towards the standoff with the Dragon.
THE GUARDIAN: This mysterious character stands watch at the threshold of each Act, guarding the entries to the City and its secrets. But in the realm of the great Alchemical Dragon, can you tell if he is human, angel or demon?
Act I: The Casino
Act I opens with Damian entering the City from a cloud of pigeons to make his way inside the Casino. Here our dragon slayer becomes acquainted with the gold digger Eliza Drake, and they join a table of Newlyweds celebrating their nuptials and betting on horses.
The loving couple are quickly tempted and transformed by Eliza’s craftiness, and she delights in destroying their newlywedded bliss through alchemical sabotage, causing chaos on the casino floor.
Damian and Eliza Drake then move into the Casino’s theatre, where a rock star stage magician and occultist (The Mage) performs his sorcery to an audience wishing to participate in his Square the Circle trick and to be selected to visit the Dragon’s Court and enter the Inner Circle.
ACT II: THE COURT
The scene is the Dragon’s court during a High Tea Party. The Mage’s contestants enter the Court from the surrounding Garden of Monsters, where the Mage’s candidates meet with the alchemical priest class (the Solomonars) and fight each other for the favour of becoming fully initiated into the Inner Circle. Act II reveals the lore of Draco Alchemicus; the full mythology of the fall of the City to the Dragon; the origin of the power that he grants his servants; the enslavement of Damian Stone’s beloved; and the way that the Dragon’s court controls the global sea power and the spice trade of the empire from the City of Light.
ACT III: THE MARKET
The bazaar and bizarre collide, as Damian Stone leaves the Court with the other rivals to enter the market and prove himself worthy of the honour of Solomonar initiation, and to win access to the Dragon’s hoard, the key to liberating Columbine from slavery. In this installment, the corporate piracy of the Dragon’s vast empire is revealed, and the trial is set up. Damian must camouflage himself amongst merchants to avoid being detected by the Dragon’s mercenary guard, who are now searching for him. Eliza continues her subterfuge and espionage; both herself and the Mage operate in the market causing chaos and sabotage of the draconic rivals, who are all looking for the key to the Dragon’s hoard. The scene ends when Damian finds it, and must accept the eating of the Dragon’s prized spice: dracosmos.
ACT IV: THE CARNIVAL
This is the act where reality and fiction blend together in the fullness of myth-history. Damian eats the Dragon's ultimate technodrug, dracosmos, and the Carnival begins as he succumbs to the effect of the forbidden spice. The whole City of Light transforms around Damian into a carnival of life and death, where the other rivals pursue him through the streets of the City under the mesmerism of the Mage. Damian stumbles through this electric trip to the place where his love Columbine is held in captivity, and he must approach the Dragon to slay the captor of his bride by finding its only weakness. Can he get there in time before he is overcome completely by the spice?
ACT V: THE WEDDING
Damian Stone has conquered the Dragon and claims his love Columbine from her captivity, and the City of Light is liberated as the great wedding feast of the Draco Alchemicus begins.
Is there something inherently Christian about fantasy? What does it mean to write Christian fantasy? Professor Fulton Brown offers lessons in fighting the dragons of fantasy through poetry, comics, and myth. A sneak peak into our writing process in the Dragon Common Room.
—Streamed at BasedCon II, September 10, 2022 (UATV; YouTube)