Excerpts from the Book of Nine Dragons, first among the sacred texts of the Yong.
This is the count of the Dragons, who were begotten from the Chaos-mother Tia’mat and the Order-father Tiao’he in the time before Time.
The Dragon-King (Yongwang)
The Dragon of Water (Shuiyong)
The Dragon of Fire (Weiyong )
The Dragon of Earth (Kunyong)
The Dragon of Air (Qiyong)
The Dragon of Ice (Lingyong)
The Dragon of Wood (Chunyong)
The Dragon of Metal (Jinyong)
The Dragon of Lightning (Shanyong)
The Black Dragon (Xuanyong)
If you speak of All Dragons, they are twelve in number; if you speak of the Great Dragons, they are nine in number; if you speak of the children of the First Two, they are ten in number.
The Begetting of Man
Said the Dragon-King, “O my brothers, too often am I away from my lands. I descend from Ti’ansh’anjie, the Heavenly Kingdom, but seldom; and so the lands suffer for lack of their rightful ruler. Therefore I shall bear me an heir, to whom I shall bequeath dominion over all I rule. Thus wilt I be free to live forever in heaven.”
Said the lesser Dragons, “O my lord, thou speaketh wisdom.”
And they too decided to beget heirs. Thus was the race of man brought into being.
The Lower Races
Said the Dragon-King, “It is not fit for our heirs, kings and the children of kings, to soil themselves with impure things. Therefore shall the beasts beget heirs, to serve our get as their fathers served us.”
As the Dragon-King ordained, so it was: this is the origin of the children of the rat, and the children of the ox; the children of the horse and the dog and the rooster, and all other lower races.
The Children of the Dragons
Each of the dragons laid an egg, larger than forest-trees and more beautiful than the moon and stars. For a hundred days and a hundred nights they watched them; and on the hundred and first day they hatched.
The shells shattered into many thousands of pieces, and flew all over the earth from the force of the birthing; men still find these pieces, and we call them gemstones.
Each egg yielded a pair of twins, male and female, matched set, balance and measure. This is proof of the life-strength of the dragons, and of their divine harmony with the universe.
But the tenth dragon, Xuanyong the Black Dragon, harbored hatred in his heart towards the other dragons, who were stronger than he; and most of all he hated the Dragon-King, who had been put in dominion over all the others. So his soul was full of turmoil, and the children who hatched from his egg were both male, instead of properly male and female like the others; they began to quarrel immediately.
The First Blood
The elder of the children of the Black Dragon smote the younger a mighty blow; and the younger fell down and died. His blood poisoned the waters and the land, and fouled the air; nothing grows where he died.
Then did the children of the dragons stand round the elder, and passed judgment on him. “Thou art first in all the world to spill the blood of a man, and he your brother,” spake the son of the Dragon-King. “Therefore art thou outcast from our circle, and no longer one of the children of dragons.”
Thus was the son of the Black Dragon exiled, and left with curses most horrible; and he was forced to mate with the children of beasts, for the daughters of dragons would not touch him, and the sons of dragons would guard against him.
Xuanyong howled his rage, not for love of his son, but for that it was the son of the Dragon-King who passed sentence. Then did Shanyong, most impatient of dragons, say to his children: “Here are steeds, and here are weapons; do thou drive Xuanyong from these lands, for we see now that his heart is filled with evil.”
The children of the Lightning Dragon leapt to obey him, and hunted Xuanyong to the westernmost edge of the land, where the Nine Dragons slew him; this is why the children of lightning live in the uttermost west.