A steampunk Redglare for my darling Ursula inspired by our team’s fic Prometheus and Eurydice!
(Don’t even get me started on Victorian fashion okay)
To begin with: Prometheus and Eurydice was our Round Two entry, and I did the bulk of the writing with a much-needed assist from our Captain towards the end. Megan’s original art for the fic is gorgeous and inspiring so you should all go and look at the fic for that at least.
It’s not too much of a spoiler to say that P&E's Terezi, or “Pyralspite” as she's called in the fic, is a superhuman with the power to transform herself into a dragon. Nor is it a spoiler to say that in this 'verse, a super's powers are unique to them, like a fingerprint. Even identical twins would have subtly different powers. If Terezi is in any fashion related to this 'verse's Redglare, she would not have inherited her powers in any exact form. By the same token, Redglare does not possess Terezi's power of transformation by virtue of being her “ancestor”.
She does not become a dragon.
She makes dragons.
Look closely at the detail on her cane. The vertebrae just below the dragon’s head are a clue to her powers. Her dragons are remnants of the dead, raised in the service of justice: she draws them out of shale and limestone fossil beds, vast stone skeletons that obey without thought or question. They’re almost like simple AIs; they can provide feedback and make decisions based on input, but they do not, as such, think. They are constructs, not creatures. Unliving, undying, they only possess as much mercy as their creator chooses to give them.
(Which is to say, for the guilty, none.)
Raising dragons in this manner requires sacrifice. White limestone dragons require two pyralspite garnets for eyes, grey shale dragons require two pieces of good quality turquoise. On top of that, each dragon requires a large amount of blood: having no life of their own, they must be given life in order to move and process information. Anyone whose blood is used in the creation of a dragon can sense its presence and command it. She can, therefore, make dragons for people - but given the quantity of blood needed to do so, most normal people would not survive the creation of anything larger than a Shetland pony. In order to raise a very large dragon, several people - often a dozen or more - must die. Her usual method is to exsanguinate a number of captured criminals at the site, then add a few drops of her own blood before raising the dragon. The largest dragon in her arsenal, a white dragon over fifty feet long, required the deaths of more than a hundred people, and was raised in a single night from the limestone cliffs of a deserted island off the coast of her homeland. The hole in the rock where the dragon once lay - and the picked bones of its victims - are still visible today.
We do not call Redglare “the mother of dragons” when she is listening. Anyone accusing her of possessing maternal instincts would likely have their liver eaten in short order. (Possibly literally; if she were ever human at all she hasn’t been since her powers came in, and her diet is a disturbing question mark.) The only reason to call her Mother would be as a sort of verbal shorthand for Badass Motherfucker - and again, you’d best not do it when she’s listening.
Now with additional fantastic commentary from the woman herself.