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The Dragon Emperor (Dragon Lord in the original Japanese) is a recurring villain in the Seiken Densetsu video game series; who appears in Seiken Densetsu 3 as one the three available final bosses and in Legend of Mana as a major antagonist. He is an incredibly powerful demonic dragon who wants to overthrow the Mana Goddess.

In Seiken Densetsu 3, he attempts to release the God Beasts, but ends up destroyed. In Legend of Mana, his name is revealed to be Drakonis (Tiamat in the original Japanese version). He took over the Underworld of Mavolia (the Mana counterpart of Hell) and attempts to return to the world of Fa'Diel to take it over.

Characteristics

The Dragon Emperor is one of the last remaining great dragons, while the regular dragons (or wyrms) are much smaller and little more than feral beasts. Although great dragons are wise and noble servants of the Mana Goddess (though they can be terrifyingly dangerous, as in the Mana Beast's case), he has considerable Dark Powers and influence over evil, more befitting of a demon from Mavolia, and is in direct conflict with the Archdemon. Yet, the reason behind his demonic nature is never explained, perhaps excessive greed or evil influence.

The Dragon Emperor is arguably the most malevolent of the three final bosses in Seiken Densetsu 3, as he lacks the tragic past of the other two and his main agents are brainwashed souls instead of loyal followers.

He is extremely greedy and power-hungry, trying to make everything his own, including people's power and skills by making them his servants willingly or not. He is also cruel, ruthless, relentless, hateful, violent and vindictive, but a very good manipulator, skilled in offering Faustian bargains to people in distress and to make people do what he wants without them knowing. While he most often appears collected, regal and slightly sarcastic, he flies in violent rages when things do not go the way he wants to. And while he praises his foes' accomplishments, he is far too arrogant to regard them as a threat until too late, even after having been defeated before.

Background

The Dragon Emperor plays a minor role in Heroes of Mana, set nineteen years before the events of Seiken Densetsu 3. He never appeared in person but he sided with the warmongering Ancient Kingdom of Pedda, lending them his mighty dragon units. The Dragon Emperor likely used Pedda to further his own goals of world domination, should he betray them after they outlived their usefulness. It appears that Inath, the boy king of Pedda, was corrupted by Anise: the avatar of the former Archdemon Medusa, who was using him to resurrect and return to power. The protagonist stated at the end that they would have to deal with him after Anise is destroyed for good, unfortunately taking Pedda along with her.

Around four years later, the Dragon Emperor's dragon tribe waged war against the nations who fought Pedda, intending to take over Fa'Diel. The Mana Goddess deemed him enough of a threat to send her fairies assist his enemies. Prince Richard, heir to the grassland kingdom of Valsena (Forcena in the unofficial translation), alongside his best friend and right-hand-man Loki, the country's mightiest Knight of Gold, who fought against Pedda, led the war against the Dragon Emperor.

It is stated that the Dragon Emperor destroyed what was left of Pedda during the war. Loki eventually fought the evil dragon and they both fell to their death in a bottomless pit. However, if Loki died, the Dragon Emperor's spirit survived, along with all his incredible magical powers. He then went into hiding, planning to recreate his body and raise another army, this one composed of monsters from Mavolia.

The Dragon Emperor did not lost time after his defeat. Having experienced Loki's considerable fighting skills, he captured his dead soul and enslaved it, sealing it in a dark armour and making his former enemy into one of his most dangerous and most devoted followers, the Darkshine Knight. Some time later, he met Koren, a young citizen of the magical kingdom of Altena, who was shunned for not being able to use magic and ran away from home.

The Dragon Emperor, who perhaps sensed an immense power lying dormant in Koren, stroke a bargain with the distraught wizard wannabe and granted him incredible magical abilities in exchange for a part of his soul. By doing so, he gained a mighty and blindly devoted right-hand-man, and his plan began to take form.

The Dragon Emperor and the other two Great Evils: the Dark Prince and the Masked Mage, planned to seize the eight Mana Stones and unseal them to release the mighty God Beasts, in order to become the new god of Fa'Diel. They were in open conflict against one another and all tried to fulfill this sinister scheme first; and to get rid of their rivals when the occasion would present itself.

Seiken Densetsu 3

Fools! Go ahead, run to your deaths, not unlike the last that challenged me. Prince Richard and the Knight of Gold. I believe they had a faerie with them as well. That Knight dealt me painful, crippling injuries, but I have recovered, and grown stronger.
~ the Dragon Emperor
Dragon Emperor (human sketch)

a sketch of the Dragon Emperor's human disguise

In the game, Koren manipulates the country of Altena on the Dragon Emperor's behalf, and wages war against the country of Valsena, while the Darkshine Knight remains by his lord's side. Koren himself leads several attacks on the castle of Valsena and plans to sacrifice Angela the Altenian princess to unseal the Mana Stone of Water. Meanwhile, the Dragon Emperor remains in his lair the Dragon Hole, located in the Glass Desert, probably feeding on the depleting power of Mana to regain his physical body.

When the game's protagonists reach the Mana Holyland, where the Mana Tree (the earthly avatar of the Mana Goddess) is located, the Dragon Emperor and his servants attack and kill the other villains. (Or get killed by the final boss' faction if he is not the main villain.)

Then, the Dragon Emperor sends Koren and the Darkshine Knight to the Holyland, where they abduct the protagonists' Fairy guide, coercing them to relinquish the legendary Sword of Mana, which the protagonists just gained from the Mana Goddess. Koren uses the sword to release the God Beasts and the Dragon Emperor's armies of monsters begin to swarm the world.


Dragon Emperor (human)

the Dragon Emperor as seen in the game

The protagonists track down and defeat the eight God Beasts and go to the Glass Desert, where they fight and defeat the Darkshine Knight after a difficult battle, freeing Loki's soul in the Process. They later enter the Dragon Hole and overcome all the obstacles, before confronting Koren and his evil lord on a terrace.

The Dragon Emperor, who has regained a physical body, is very pleased to have witnesses for "the moment he is reborn". He explains to the protagonists that the God Beasts' evil power now rests in the Sword of Mana, which he absorbs before their very eyes, gaining enough power to surpass the Goddess herself. Hopefully, the exhausted deity manages to restrain this increase in power. Irked, the evil dragon teleports to the Mana Holyland to destroy the Mana Tree while Koren stays back to get rid of the protagonists once and for all.

The protagonists manage to defeat the fearsome wizard of the Crimson Lotus, who is freed from the Dragon Emperor's corruption and who commits suicide out of shame. They then head to the Holyland but they are too late, the Mana Tree is destroyed, the Goddess herself his dead the Dragon Emperor is now free to become the new god of Fa'Diel, which he plans to turn into a world of chaos and destruction. The villain kills the Fairy and reverts to his true form (a dragon so big that he does not entirely fit onscreen).

After a long and grueling battle, the Dragon Emperor is destroyed physically and psychically, and the Fairy's spirit merges with the remnants of the Mana Tree to become the new Goddess. However, the power of Mana and the magic it provides will need a thousand years to bloom again, leading to a new and completely different era.

Boss Battle

HOPE? I'LL SHOW YOU JUST HOW POWERLESS YOUR HOPE REALLY IS!
~ the Dragon Emperor (very angry)
Dragon Emperor (boss battle)

the boss battle against the Dragon Emperor

The Dragon Emperor is the medium hardest of the three final bosses. At level 50 and with no less than 55551 life-points, he is very powerful and resistant to magic, so be prepared for a tough battle. The mightier the party is and the more they can heal the better.

The Dragon Emperor bites his foes or casts many spells and special attacks of the Wind/Thunder, Earth, Water/Ice,Fire, Light and Moon elements, as well as the dreadful Ancient (the most devastating spell available). He can cast his spells on all targets and his special attacks deal high damage so be careful. Worse, his attacks turn the protagonists into stone, snowmen, or harmless Moogles, shrink their size (which need to be cured), or can reduce their defences and maximum life-points.

The element he uses and in turn his weakness are determined by his body colour. When he is reddish orange he uses Fire and is weak to Water; when he is blue he uses Water and is weak to Fire; when he is light gold he uses Light and is weak to Shadow; when he is green he uses Earth and is weak to Wind; when he is light green he uses Moon and is weak to Wood. Use the corresponding spells and infuse your weapons with the corresponding magic.You can only harm him by striking his head so be careful. Do not attack him with his current element or you will heal him. But beware, for he also uses the spells Power Up and Protect Up on himself so do not hesitateto decrease his stats.

Danger from behind

the battle change sides

When the battle reaches its half, he starts flying around and changing his position, use this lapse to heal or resurrect your characters. Be very careful for he uses bothersome physical attacks and Flare: his most devastating attack which deals crippling damages to the entire party. Make sure that your life points are high enough to endure it when he appears on one side of the screen and heal immediately after. Do not hesitate to power your characters up to the max and unleash your biggest attacks. If well prepared, you should be able to get rid of him without major trouble.

Legend of Mana

The game developers have stated that most games are unrelated. While the villainous Drakonis and the Dragon Emperor have been confirmed to be one of the same, whether this game is a sequel or an alternate continuity is left to the appreciation of the player. The story takes place 900 years after a war that destroyed the Mana Tree (either the events of Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3 or something specific to the game). The different species populating the world waged centuries of gruesome wars for the control of the artifacts holding what remained of the Mana Power.

Drakonis is the primary antagonist of the game's second possible story arc, Crimson Dragon. Despite being dead, he became the new ruler of Mavolia and now works through Larc, a beastman whom he resurrected and enslaved, to gain the Mana Crystals; planning to use them to open Mavolia upon the world to take it over.

Larc uses blackmail and manipulations to force the protagonists to kill Akravator the Sky Dragon, Jajara the Bone Dragon and Vanadise the White Dragon (guardians of the Mana Crystals). Using the power of the Mana Crystals and the souls of his many victims, he raises his castle from Mavolia to the outside world. Later, he transforms Larc into a centaur-like monster and forces him to battle the protagonists. Fortunately, Larc's sister Sierra, who is a servant of Vanadise, helps the protagonists to storm Drakonis's castle and to defeat him once and for all.

With Drakonis destroyed and his soul sealed in Mavolia forever, the three Dragon Lords are resurrected and his evil is undone. Alas, Larc's is condemned to spend a thousand year in Mavolia to keep him sealed. Later, the protagonists eventually purge the regrown Mana Tree from Evil and restore the world anew.

Boss Battle

Drakonis

Drakonis' human aspect and the boss battle against him

Drakonis is huge and immensely powerful, but not that hard to defeat if the player is well prepared. He can bite the protagonists, swallow them, breathe fire streams, release a circular wave of green energy rings, jump to crush them, conjure lava from the ground and fly away to land with enough force to shatter the ground. The protagonists must retaliate by pummelling without end with both weapon and magic. Avoid attack him with Fire, and go for Water and Earth instead.

In Brutal Mario

The Dragon Emperor serves as a boss in the unofficial, hack computer game Super Kitiku Mario, also known as Brutal Mario, which makes Mario fight against many bosses from other video games.

Mario and Yoshi versus the Dragon Emperor

using a dragon to fight a bigger one

The battle against the Dragon Emperor is long. The boss stands on a terrace and repeatedly tries to smash Mario in a head-butt. Mario must uses either the Floating Cloak or if he is with Yoshi, to jump on Yoshi's back to hurl himself higher, in order to jump on the Dragon Emperor's head. As in the real game, the dragon's body colour defines the element he uses to attack.

When he is reddish orange, he summons several flames that rains down from above and last on the ground. When he is blue, he causes a rain of blocks of ice. When he is yellowish green he makes a bolt of lightning fall from the sky before separating in two bolts that glide along the ground in opposite directions. When he is light green, he "breathes" a continuous rainbow colored beam.

All these attacks are rather easy to dodge, yet the Dragon Emperor can also fly out of the screen and reappear on one side to use his most powerful attack: a gigantic fiery beam. Mario must crouch continuously at the very bottom of the screen for as long as the attack lasts or else he is doomed.

Trivia

  • The Dragon Emperor is the only one among the three final bosses whose name/title does not change upon revealing his true form for the final battle.
  • In Legend of Mana, Larc being resurrected and enslaved by the Dragon Emperor and manipulating the heroes to do the dirty work is reminiscent of the villain's agents in Seiken Densetsu 3. The Darkshine Knight for the former and Koren for the latter.
  • The Dragon Emperor's original Japanese name, Tiamat, comes from the primal Goddess of Ocean and Mother of All Things of Mesopotamian mythology, who waged war against creation and was defeated by the Warrior God Marduk. Tiamat also inspired the recurring boss/summon of the Final Fantasy series and a major villain of Dungeons & Dragons.