The goddess Iaga— Mother of all the Earth, of all Tarhemirfa, stands tall with her iridescent, amphibious, bioluminescent body writhing like some giant amoeba ready to consume smaller organisms whole. On her right arm she bears a flat circular shield with a pattern resembling the continents of the world, and on her left arm she holds a spear or scepter of sorts, ending in a bird’s talon holding some spiky amber egg infused with Thauma— the life-energy of the planet that both creates and destroys.
On her head— from which massive arboreal elk antlers protrude from with awe-inspiring majesty, she wears a crown of thorns and nettles, and over her body she charges to battle with an exoskeletal cellulose or chitin-like armored suit, breast plate and all. From her back sprout numerous tentacled pseudopods and vines mingling to give off the appearance of a coral reef, interspersed with golden amber growths oozing forth like scales.
Her hair, which is draped over the antlers on head, droops down like the leaves of a willow tree, hiding the occasional teal filaments of a sea anemone intertwining into braids that can sting opponents with the poison of a jellyfish. Her eyes, shining a pale aqua green, are cyclonic storms about as powerful as the gelatinous hurricanes formed by the slimy pseudopodial mass that is her lower body, spinning like some eternal whirlpool with the ferocity of the Thauma-saturated ocean, and the fury of the heavens.
Her voice is a loud peal of thunder, which cuts as deep into the hearts of her opponents as the razor sharp fins protruding from her wrists and arms, and is as overwhelming as the hordes of barnacles and tardigrades she releases from her gaping vortex in her lower body— hordes that swarm her foes, eating through their armaments and tearing through their bodies like paper. Those who dare challenge Iaga will face only ruin and merciless obliteration, for she is Nature incarnate, and she will not tolerate the actions of humanity and their machines. Not now, and not ever again.
Iaga died and was reborn three times prior to her current angry form. She was once gentler and more forgiving of the pitfalls of humanity when they plunged the First World and the Second World into ruin, despair, war, terror, and decadence. By the time humanity screwed over the Third World she had begun growing impatient and resentful towards humanity, who betrayed and harmed her over and over and over again, never learning from their mistakes and always seeking power. This time around, in the Fourth World, her power was weakened from the three other times she barely escaped into space with the seeds of humans who protected her and loved her inside of her body, using the Thauma from Cellenus, the solar creator, as sustenance for her journey across the stars.
This time around, the descendants of the survivors of the previous catastrophe of the Third World had dared to draw Thauma once more from the world and from Cellenus (who had swelled to a humongous size to give sustenance to Iaga) knowing full well his days were numbered, and death would soon claim him. And all for what? To power their infernal machines that aided their vampiric armies, who, as magicians of evil, cannibalized the environment and its creatures, and even each other for more Thauma to increase their lifespans in a vain attempt to reach immortality with a limited source of power.
This time around, Iaga had had enough. Fighting against the machines of humanity, and the island-dragon known as Enerva, who was controlled by a young girl who she considered her own daughter, and who she took under her wing after her home village was destroyed by the machines, and her parents were killed in front of her own eyes, she felt betrayed and taken advantage of. She had tried to teach the young Abigail Magori the way of Nature and of the Proteans— her amoeba-children who rose from the seas and could shapeshift into the thoughts and feelings of a magician who summoned it by sacrificing part of his or her Thauma. But she wouldn’t listen, and defied her mother’s wisdom, choosing instead the path of revenge upon the country which destroyed her childhood, and thus causing thousands of Proteans to shapeshift into a beast of pure hatred and disease.
Enerva was originally an island chain of thousands of Proteans whose magicians made them unite into entire landmasses. They had all escaped as the last remaining “Wayward Ones” after the cruel government of Myrcuria decided they should all be purged and hunted down for the reputation they accrued and the damage they caused 1000 years ago, when another beast of destruction— Maladios, was summoned by the Queen of old Myrcaea, nearly infecting the world with a deadly plague that would have consumed Mother Iaga had she not made the earth open below the capital of Malesalem, where the Queen maniacally relished in her accumulation of Thauma within her body, swallowing the accursed city in a sinkhole.
Iaga knew that today, on the day of the final battle between her, her own daughter, the machines of humanity, and the magical nations that existed outside of Myrcuria (who declared war on the country after its greedy expansionism, and intolerance towards Wayward Ones), she would probably die, and the world would surely end for the last time— with no hope for any kind of life following humanity’s greatest mistake. Iaga readied herself as the machines and Enerva approached, knowing that in this valley of death and destruction upon which Malesalem once stood, and which now a new capital, Armillyon, had been forged from the ashes, proud and seemingly indomitable, there would be no heroes as in the legends of old.
This battle was one of pure bloodshed, one which would get very ugly very fast once the Goddess herself fell dead on the ground, decomposing into the war-torn sediment, since the machines and Enerva would no doubt drag this war even long than necessary and end up killing each other in the end, not even being able to live to see their deepest desires fulfilled. As soon as she raised her continental shield, and pointed her scepter towards her two opponents, who approached each other and her, forming a triangle of mayhem, one of the machines fired a projectile over-saturated with explosive Thauma, which, in small amounts would actually help her heal, but when released all at once would injure her greatly. Her shield cracked as the projectile burst onto its surface, and its metallic pieces were deflected and staked into the earth. Two of the continents opposite to Myrcuria on the shield, Magistan and Nhein-Kai, drifted apart from one another, the former (Magistan), lurching and rushing forward straight towards the doomed southern continent of Panslavia.
Simultaneously, the world, being Iaga’s Protean, began to shake, and a loud crashing noise was heard alongside powerful earthquakes and tsunamis, coming from the ocean to the West of Myrcaea. The machines struck the shield again with another missile, and Enerva swung its rocky tail towards Iaga, causing the ground to shake even further as Myrcuria on the shield fragmented into pieces, and Afraguay to the south of Myrcuria to split into two, into a Western and Eastern half. Whatever damage the shield suffered would also be felt by the world, meaning that the longer the final battle dragged on, the more the world would be destroyed.
The ultimate final battle, the apocalyptic Second Thaumaturge War, ended in utter annihilation upon both the “losers” and the “victors”, if human notions of “good” and “evil” are to be applied. All sides suffered near death in the savage frenzy that was the free-for-all between the armies and Protean hordes that came from the North, South, East, and West of Myrcuria.
From the West, Enerva, Abigail Magori, and armies of angry soldiers from the Nhein-Kai, and the nations comprising the continent Golframyr sweeped the land and cast it in blighted darkness, corrupting Wayward Ones and peoples from all over to rebel against their machine overlords, before finally arriving at Armillyon. From the North and the East, the armies from the cold remote landmass of Nordia, insurgent Wayward terrorists, and the rough-skinned warriors from the deserts of Zathalaam, plowed through Myrcurian fortress after Myrcurian fortress, allied and bonded through their shared hatred for the country’s xenophobia and deportation (or execution!) of their Wayward Ones. From the South, fleets from Afraguay, furious over the mass deportations of their Wayward Ones from Myrcuria, and hell-bent on reclaiming their glory and their territories from the days before Myrcaea, and in Nordia, beat back the machines, bearing witness to the reduction of Armillyon to ruins.
On its last legs, the surviving members of Myrcurian Council tried to flee from the scene of war and terror, but finally surrendered seeing their machines destroyed by an overflow of Proteans, and ended up getting arrested by their belligerent foes. Abigail Magori, having realized what she did and how much destruction she caused across the world by daring to strike against Mother Iaga, broke down in sorrow and agony, and killed herself despite Iaga’s mercy by telling her corrupted Protean to stab her with her two assassin blades— one through her head, and one through her heart. Being inextricably linked to her, the Protean evaporated and melted away as soon Abigail fell dead on the ground, as did the island-dragon Enerva— no longer controlled by her, freeing the armies of Golfraymyr and Nhein-Kai from her grasp, tens of thousands of whom died fighting against their will.
As for Iaga, her shield was fragmented and her scepter broken in two, and almost all of her Thauma was drained by the machines now piles of debris from her attacks. Her formidable chimeric body, laced with regenerating scars and missile impacts, and enervated with plague and poison, began slowly decomposing back into the ground as she approached the brink of death. The survivors of the final battle on all sides, recognizing mutually and with heartfelt regret the bittersweet spiraling of Tarhemirfa into oblivion, begged their Mother Goddess for forgiveness, and for the wisdom to rebuild their fallen world. Iaga replied to humanity that the world was beyond repair, but that she would do all in her power to recreate a new world out of the old one by adding new land masses for all to explore. Humanity had to promise, however, that it would sacrifice the Thauma from its fallen machines and armies to heal her, and unite in harmony in preparation for its ultimate destiny that would follow the death of Cellenus.
The above storyboard was an assignment for my Core Seminar 4D class in which I had to create a narrative following the structure of the Chinese, Japanese, or Korean kishotenketsu. Inspired by a recent idea for a fantasy novel of mine, I based my narrative around a full realization of this fantasy idea. The drawing above was a requirement of the assignment, in which I had to draw the main character of the narrative– in this case a syncretic Celtic-like goddess of the earth and life known as Iaga, whose role in the “Iaga Mythos” is vital to the survival of the human race in this narrative, and to the world as a whole.