The Lizard Kings were the greatest of the reptiles, according to Mokolé lore. They ruled over a period known as the Age of Kings, when dinosaurs walked the earth, but vanished during the Age of Sleep, after the Wonder-Work.
When dinosaurs walked the Earth in great numbers, the greatest among the reptiles were the Lizard Kings. They were the emperors of lands that time forgot. The first great saurian kings. Shapeshifters blessed by the Earth Mother.
No one Mokolé remembers this era perfectly. Their collective memories of the Age of Kings are reflections of a thousand things that thrived, things that died, and things that became something more. Dreaming as dragons do, Those-Who-Remember recall creatures that walked on two legs, or four, or six. Beings that fashioned objects with dexterous claws, feathered paws, prehensile tails, and scaled appendages. Sun-worshipers who reverently raised towers of mud and stone — or meat and bone — to the golden sky. Monsters in the night, enacting strange, shamanistic rites round unlit menhirs, to appease an inconstant moon.
Like the Mokolé’s true forms, these memories are patchwork abominations, blending things that were, things that could not be, and things that never should have been. What truly was is uncertain, and each Mokolé believes differently about where the lines of Dream-memory and Dream-illusion lie. Still, some Dreams occur so often that they have become accepted more than others as possible — if not probable — truth. These Dreams make up the legendary tales of past Ages.
According to these legends, Gaia created each of the first Mokolé with Her own hands, fashioning them from the Dreams of her lover, Helios, and the soft, wet, earthy flesh of her own body. She gave them each three forms, mirroring those of the Triat: the Suchid Devisor shape, the Archid Dissolver shape, and the Drachid shape of the Designer. They did not have a Homid form — humans did not yet exist. But in her infinite creativity, She created a thousand thousand different shapes: some with no legs, some with many, some with wings or tails or articulate talons. Great and small, lumbering and lightning-quick, as Gaia created them, so they grew until they covered the world with their diversity and their splendor.
For millennia, Gaia’s first and favored children ruled the earth, the seas, the air, and all of existence. Following in their Creator’s footsteps, the Mokolé took the clay of the earth and the heat of the sun, and from it they fashioned the first tools, the first weapons, the first villages, the first civilizations — and the first war. Kingdoms grew up and went to battle to prove their superiority. Each faction struggled to destroy all of its evolutionary rivals, until the Lizard Kings arose from the wastelands of carrion that was all that was left of their enemies. They ruled the earth mercilessly, with wit and wrath, with spear and razor-sharp tooth. It was the time of the Mokolé, the Age of Kings, and none dared challenge their superiority. But nothing lasts forever, and with the changing of ages, even the greatest empires can crumble.
No one knows exactly why the Mokolé’s civilization fell. Perhaps the tyrannical Lizard Kings grew too proud, and were cut down for their hubris. Possibly, as is happening in current days, the Dissolver grew strong enough to strike low those who opposed it. Maybe Gaia’s attention (and protection) was drawn away by more warm-blooded worshipers. It’s even possible (albeit unlikely, in a reality full of near-omnipotent spirits and supernatural beings) that the end of this era was nothing more than a twist of fate — the unforeseen and unavoidable collision of a celestial body and a piece of space effluvia. But whether the why was ill fortune or the hand of fate, the how is clear. The end came in the form of a global-level disaster, and it struck down the Lizard Kings in all their terrible glory.
A few young Mokolé have dreamed Mnesis-visions of a time before the Wonder-Work. Late in the Lizard Kings’ reign, however, early man evolved from his ape-progenitors and gained enough sentience to serve and worship the Lizard Kings as his lords and masters. Early humans were used as slave labor, as servants — and as breeding stock. By integrating human genetics with their own, Mokolé eventually developed a human form to complement their three original ones. But, Homid was viewed as less useful (and attractive) than Drachid, and their human Kinfolk were never seen as equals. Half-breed offspring from both humans and reptiles did serve as their Kinfolk, however, and when the End came, these Kin preserved the legacy of the Mokolé — somehow escaping the destruction that befell the Lizard Kings themselves. The vast majority of Mokolé know that man appeared millions of years after the Wonder-Work. They wonder what force has tainted the Mnesis of their young — whether it is the Dissolver, or one too many fantasy novels.
Generations after the Wonder-Work destroyed their civilization, new Mokolé began to be born (and hatched). The Lizard Kings’ fall had cost the Breed, however. None of the new generation could take the Drachid form that had allowed their ancestors to build their empire and dominate the pre-Event earth. Limited to three forms (Homid, Suchid, and Archid) these new Mokolé had to forge a different path than their progenitors had used — and they faced a challenge the Lizard Kings never had to contend with.
- Changing Breeds (book), p. 138