The Four Pillars of Ryuujin

The Four Symbols of Vinyata

 
Ryuujin's four children and the spirit pillars of The Republic of Vinyata form a group that symbolize the heart of the land.



 

Spirit Pillars

The Four Pillars of Ryuu'jin consist of four deities, each one a Spirit Pillar and descendant of the Great Dragon Ryuu'jin. While The Dracon are also considered the children of the famous dragon, the Pillars are something different. In a sense, Ryuu'jin gave birth to the Dracon, a combination of dragon and Etherforce , while the Pillars are copies of himself. Or rather a copy of himself split into four pieces, with each piece representing the truest form of that part of himself. Creating the ultimate leaders and guardians for his children.

If you can't drink with family, then well, drink anyway! But sadder. And more.
— Byakko the White Tiger
 

 

Dragon Father

Ryuu'jin was born from the second sun, Adume, along with the rest of The Wretched Ones. However, Xavian didn't account for the depth of the bond between Tikor and its first earth elemental. The moment Ryuujin touched the ground something happened. His connection to the earth called out to him again and he ultimately sided with the land, betraying his brothers. After the War for Tikor was over, the Great Dragon looked for a place to call his own. In the desolate south, underneath the heat of his former womb, the ex-elemental declared home. His sacrifice having saved Tikor and yet dooming himself. The origins of his rebirth would never be overlooked, and neither would his children by proxy. The hatred that much of Tikor has for dragons is rarely spared for Ryuu'jin and his ilk. While the Dracon were molded more after the creations of Garuda and others, the Four Pillars were crafted to be more godly like himself.

 

Birth and Exit

When he crafted the Four Pillars, he thought about which elements of character were important for the world. Not just for his future children, The Dracon , but for Tikor as a whole. Ryuu'jin's love of the world was something passed down to the Pillars. He crafted a blade for his sharp sense of justice and honor and a small blue dragon was born. He seeded a book with the knowledge and wisdom he had gained and a black baby tortoise appeared from it. Ryuu'jin had just crafted a wooden shield to protect his land and people when a tiger kitten exploded from it. Lastly, he lovingly sculpted a painting of the land to encapture the majesticness of what he fought to protect. From the painting, a beautiful crane stepped out, plumage in full. With the guardians of his land complete, Ryuu'jin would go on to build Vinyata and the The Republic of Vinyata .

 

Promise to Lead

For many years the Pillars worked with the Great Dragon to build a nation that would insulate his children from the callous whispers of outsiders. The four guardians would grow in size and strength of character over the eons and close eye of their father. However, over time the drudgery and often sadness of being the last of his kind was too much for the former elemental. He decided to go into a deep sleep, the nation safe in the hands of his children. Before the great dragon left for his long sleep, he established to his four creations, what he envisioned for his people and his world. The Pillars subsequently ever since have taken this charge with the utmost seriousness.

 
Four Pillars Mid Banner
Dragon by Ravensburger

 

The Azure Dragon

Seiryu the Azure Dragon was the very first Pillar created by Ryuujin . He is the incarnation of the Great Dragon's Honor and Justice, the very caliber upon which the former elemental rejected his reincarnation. The Pillar of Justice also has the dubious title of being the only known dragon roaming Tikor, a title he doesn't enjoy. However, the public idolizes the symbol of a dragon as the de facto leader of Vinyata. While Seiryu, The Azure Dragon is not actually the leader, nor tries to be, his ability to hold a crowd with his firm tenor and resolve is largely at fault. While often reluctant to be called leader, the Azure Dragon has no problem stepped forward when the need presents itself.

 

The Black Tortoise

Genbu, The Black Tortoise is considered the old and wise general of the Pillars. While all of Ryuu'jins creations are actually the same age, Genbu inherited Ryuu'jins Wisdom, aging him beyond his years. On top of the millennia of wisdom born from living and fighting on Tikor , he also gained the wisdom of a Great Dragon, Elemental, and parts of the Etherforce itself. Young Dracon often loving and teasingly calling him "Old Gen", in reference to his use of long arbitrary words and incessant need to correct. With knowledge beyond compare locked behind the veneer of a steer tortoise, Genbu, The Black Tortoise has a saying for every situation and a solution to every problem. While he often doesn't look like it, the old soul is a master war tactician and a large part as to Vinyata's military strength despite its low numbers.

 

The White Tiger

Byakko, The White Tiger is the Pillar of the People. He invokes Ryuu'jins Bravery and sense of Sacrifice. The fearless tiger has been known throughout the centuries for throwing himself forth long into battle, saving countless people no matter the situation. While apt to jump into the fray, this doesn't make Byakko, The White Tiger reckless or aggressive. The white tiger is truly actually the opposite. Prone to be found perched in a random spot, gazing somewhere off into the distance. Some, though not out loud, may even say the Pillar is a bit lazy. However, when something smells wrong, Byakko is quick to the scene. His keen sense of danger and a fearless sense of bravado, allows him to intercept danger with almost physic like timing.

 

The Vermillion Bird

Suzaku, The Vermillion Bird is the most in tune with the land and its needs. She embodies the Harmony and Grace of Ryuu'jin. The Pillar is the heart of the land, often showered with gifts and adoration wherever she goes. Suzaku, The Vermilion Bird is often underestimated by foreigners, her quiet and graceful demeanor often gets mistaken for weakness. Harmony encompasses many disciplines in Vinyata. Some of them involve a swift kick to the jaw, a technique she occasionally employs to bring the aggressor back in balance. While Byakko is often considered the Pillar of the People, the Vermillion Bird pulls at the heart in a way no else in Vinyata can. When she does choose to speak it's with a flow and determination of such beauty that no one in earshot, friend or foe, is able to ignore.


Well, I'll tell you my favorite Lord Byakko story if that helps? Yea? Alright so I use to live up on the east side of Forefront, it was different back then. We were always on the edge of war with Garuda and it didn't sit well on the town. The spirits were low so people turned to drinking. That's what you did back then. That's another thing though. Anyway, so I'm on the east side in this little tavern. Real nobody type bar, you know? The kind where the only customers are regulars? Like, the creepy kind of regulars?

Me? No, no I'm not a regular. I just happened to stop by in need of some refreshment. If you know what I mean! No, not that kind, not the drinkable kind. How old are you again now youngin? Good, then I shouldn't have to explain to ya how grown folk get! HahahahHA! Oh boy. Anywho I'm sitting there drinking a pint and in struts The White Tiger. Now I don't know what its like where you're from, but up here on the 'Front we don't often see the Pillars. So needless to say, his entry caused quite the ruckus. There's no way you can't notice him, he's just fucking huge I tell you! 7 foot tall, fluffy and just white like snow. What you never expect though, is his voice. Its so light and jovial, the second he starts talking you almost forget his size. Everyone just crowds around him and is saying his name, oh Lord Byakko! oh, Great Tiger bless us! Oh, Ivory Joker lift our spirits! It was all a little sad, to say the least.

Me? Oh, I don't grovel like that, haha. Oh no. Too old for all that. He then just bellows out, "Drinks on the Republic!", and boy, that place stopped being a dive real quick. I'm pretty sure half the place left to tell the rest of the town. Poor Berna, I'm not sure he's ever had to work that hard. Who's Berna? That's the bartender, he's been there forever, I mentioned that already. Well, at least that's what I heard because ya know. First time there and all. You're getting me off track now boy, let me finish before I lose my train of thought. So the whole bar is packed full of people, and everyone is drinking and laughing and having a good time. Then some drunken 'whisperer blurts out that HE drank more beers so far than Lord Byakko.

Have you ever seen a tiger smirk? It's the scariest damn thing you'll ever see. It's sly but toothy and a little menacing. Poor fool was one card too short of a deck to see. Well my Lord smirks, reaches into his pocket and pulls out a piece of gold, a good-sized chunk mind you. A good 4 months pay, easy. The room quieted down as everyone was eyeing this hunk of money the Pillar had. Then he goes, "This to the victor of any who may outdrink me this night! Bartender, bring us the GOOD stuff."

So, of course, immediately the dumbass one sits down next to Lord Byakko and takes up the challenge. He made the rules simple, shot for shot with our Lord until the first one pukes, passes out or quits. The foolish 'whisperer only made it 7 shots in before he spewed. Boy, I tell ya, it was almost as funny as it was gross. After that, another lined up. And another and another. We were quite the drinkers back then at Forefront. I swear there had to be a line clear around the block to win the challenge.

Ol me just sat in the corner laughing. Oh, that was a good night. Especially because toward the end of it I met this cute Wanderer from-what? Oh, I'm sorry, haha, you know how old age is! You get lost in the good memories if you know what I mean! HAHAHA! So I fell asleep sometime during the night, but I woke up a little bit after dawn to see my Lord still sitting there drinking. And it seemed like the last poor sap was trying to finish. Boy, did it just smell awful in there, like the insides of a hundred vomit burps. I look up right as this guy just sort of crumble slumps to the floor. Byakko just bounces up and starts to walk out, calmly stepping over all the passed out idiots.

As he gets to the door he sees me and says, "Sometimes you have to get sick of something before you're ready for change." Then just sort of winks and leaves. The next day the town was basically closed. Oh yea, that many tried the challenge and failed. It was single-handedly the lowest productive day the city had ever seen. The Image had to call it a city-wide day off. All because everyone had hangovers! Even Chief! HAHAHAHA.

The Gut Buster closed after that. Berna said he couldn't get the smell out. Its a bit of a shame, I loved going there. Also, I don't think anyone really had a taste for the stuff anymore. So yea, we've celebrated Hazeyday ever since. We toast with juice though these days, haha!  
— -Ernard Hidalgo, interview excerpt from
"Behind the Holiday: Vinyata Edition"

Structure

Each of The Four Pillars are alike in stature and power. While each may have their own specialties and goals, they are all uniquely of the same caliber. While Seiryu, The Azure Dragon is the so-called leader, not even the dragon will agree, instead insisting that he just the one who often carries the final message. None of the other Pillars ever interject on his behalf, most likely not envious of the spotlight.

However that is not to say that they don't get things done, the Four Pillars of Ryuu'jin are all brethren created under one great being. They have a sense of unity that in man ways humans don't understand. This allows them to often eschew the standard shuffle of organization and management. The four work independently, but when they need each other its only a moment before the rest show up. Additionally, they have a level of trust with each that's uncanny, often trusting into situations that humans would think impossible.

Public Agenda

The goal of the Four Pillars is simple, to stand up to their namesake and keep The Republic of Vinyata afloat no matter what. They are the eternal guardians of Vinyata, and despite each of their own agendas, they only wish prosperity for the desert nation. Each Pillar approaches it in their own way.

Seiryu, The Azure Dragon is the most direct, often showing up at The Council of Syujin meetings as an ear and voice for the nation. He prefers to be at the forefront of Dracon affairs, guiding the ship in a sense. Genbu, The Black Tortoise , always the teacher, is often found at the universities around The Web or at the education department itself. He drives the understanding for science and understanding in the nation, fighting against the nasty slurs of them being savages.

Suzaku, The Vermilion Bird often reminds The Dracon what it means to be a community by driving forward changes that improve people's day to day life. Her earnest need to make the life of Dracon's better is something that drives so many forward. Byakko, The White Tiger takes his lazy spirit and heaps it on society. Though his lazy way is one of mindless fun and laughter. He sparks the fun back into life in the desert, letting the Dracon smile and ease their worries.

Assets

Each of the Pillars owns their own city outside of The Web . Their strongholds away from the hustle and bustle of city life, as well as a place they shed their human forms and be free. Over the years as threats have come and gone, the Pillars began to hoard and lock away some of the most dangerous in a remote part of Vinyata. An underground vault approximately equal distance from each Pillar's stronghold, the Fifth Cellar.

Additionally, each Pillar has their own independent stash pile in their fortitudes. Not much is known about them, with only a handful of people even being in positions to know exactly.


Cover image: Pillars by Tomas Honz

Comments

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8 Aug, 2018 16:41

How old are they all by now? Are there any religions, cults or superstitions that have sprung up around them?

8 Aug, 2018 16:58

They, like most gods, predate humans. So there considered ageless in a sense. The Republic of Vinyata is their religion.   There's not much in the way of cults to known gods in my world. More like fanclubs. Fans hoping to meet someone they idolize. The gods are accessible enough to where they are more of a part of life than anything else. Especially the Four Pillars. They are in essence the best parts of their creator and work to exemplify that. Cults end up following smaller, more ill inclined creatures.   As I get into each of the Pillars, you'll see that they each do have various organizations that sprung from them and their beliefs.

8 Aug, 2018 17:08

Looking forward to it. :)

9 Aug, 2018 01:42

There was a brief moment where I was SURE I'd somehow managed to accidentally open an official Dungeon Master's guide to something. The formatting here is just gorgeous. Amazing use of space, the side bar, transitioning from two columns to the single, wide-form story, a hilarious quote, a really fantastic color scheme... It's just a beautiful page all around. The contents are wonderful as well, though I'll admit to being slowed up from time to time by the names and terminology, pushing me back up to remind myself of who is what, where, and why. Still, 'dense with lore' is only a problem if you're short on time!

9 Aug, 2018 07:47

I found the formatting wonderful. It was an easy read, and I did enjoy the contents. My favorite part was the excerpt from an interview. It was a really refreshing point of view change.

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