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PetroBeherha's avatar

Cang Yu, the Azure Phoenix

Name/Alias: Cang Yu; 苍羽 (Chinese for "Sky Wing"). True name unknown.
Species: Alar (plural is "Alari")
Gender: Female
Age: 585
Date of Birth: 1432 AD
Birthplace: Southern China (exact location unknown)
Abilities: Fire manipulation; shape-shifting into human and different animals forms; flight; telepathy; telekinesis.
Background: The Alari are powerful beings from another universe who manifest in our universe as avian beings. Since humans have invented agriculture and cities, several races, including the Alari, have joined in a collaborative project to guide and teach humans in wisdom. At first it was more direct, as several agents used their shape-shifting abilities to pose as advisors, sages, ordinary people, and in a few cases even gods. Then, as technology advanced, it was much more covert and sporadic. The Alari in particular resemble the many depictions of phoenixes and similar creatures throughout Earth's history and cultures, and are in fact largely responsible for the many myths surrounding phoenixes and magical birds, even down to their famous self-resurrection method.
Every five-hundred years an Alar must build a nest of the surrounding plant materials (traditionally aromatic spices such as frankincense and myrrh). Once there, it waits until it bursts into flames and becomes a pile of "ash," which is actually not ash but a fine crystalline powder that contains its consciousness - its "soul" if you will. The flames light the nest on fire, activating the ash and bringing forth a newer, more powerful incarnation of the Alar, sporting more complex and elaborate patterns. It can repeat this process up to seven times in its entire lifetime, or in this case series of lifetimes. After reaching its seventh resurrection, an Alar ascends back into its home dimension, never returning to the material world.
Cang Yu, as is her alias, is a 2nd incarnation Alar female stationed in China. She was named so for her peacock-like coloration, especially her blue-colored wings. She is one of several agents responsible for monitoring the moral and cultural development of a particular culture or region, although agents such as her can observe other parts of the world. When she was born the country was ruled by the Ming dynasty, one of the most stable and prosperous periods in Chinese history. In spite her young age and modest power, she has witnessed many interesting moments, such as the arrival of Europeans and trade with other nations, as well as some terrible ones like the Chinese Civil War and the Sino-Japanese Wars to name a few. To avoid these terrors, she hid herself in the eastern foothills of the Tibetan plateau near the Yangzhe river. However, every now and then she comes out to ease the pain of the Chinese denizens, such as giving food to the poor and even pulling humiliating pranks on criminals.

Created with Adobe Photoshop CC 2018

Cang Yu created and owned by :iconpetrobeherha:
Based on this adopted character created by :iconflamerat-yehlon::
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FlameRat-YehLon's avatar
Awesome. Glad that you draw this out.
PetroBeherha's avatar
Thank you very much. It was about time I drew her, so I took the opportunity.
So how did I do in terms of that Chinese media thing we discussed earlier?
FlameRat-YehLon's avatar
I think I need some recap because I forgot what we were talking about. Sorry.
PetroBeherha's avatar
We were basically talking about what to name her and her background. I remember you telling me about how to avoid political controversy when talking about Chinese media. For example, I mentioned Mao Zedong in her description, but we decided to change that.
Maybe this will help too. Look at the comments section in particular: Maybe A Monster Bird by FlameRat-YehLon
FlameRat-YehLon's avatar
Well, I guess the description is okay. To be honest I am also not 100% sure about what to be considered "too sensitive" and what not. Your description sounds to imply that Ming Dynasty is a bit better than PRC era, but at least that's not that sensitive if I remembered correctly. (It's considered in ancient era so... )

Also, in terms of shape-morphing creatures, one funny thing is, in China the ministry of culture stated before that, in film (and probably also literature) works, no animal should be ascended after the foundation of PRC. It's a code that I doubt anyone would actually follow (or even be able to), but since Cang Yu is born before the foundation is PRC, this code won't apply? Well, anyway, it seems that only MOC cares about such thing, ordinary people usually don't care if a story in modern era contains magical creatures or not (even though you are unlikely to see any because show production would avoid it to cut down paperwork), as long as political things are not sensitive (for example, involving Taiwan's political stand, unless you are super good at telling the story in a neutral way).
PetroBeherha's avatar
Yeah, I chose the Ming Dynasty because it's the most stable in Imperial China to give it that antique feel. Also, I've heard about a restriction against the use of talking animals because they think it'll make children believe animals can talk. Another funny thing is that the Alari, Cang Yu's species, are explicitly based on phoenixes, which are mythological creatures. You'd think they'd give them a pass too. Whatever the case, I'm glad both to hear most people in the PRC don't care about that sort of thing, and that I'm not stepping on any political landmines.
FlameRat-YehLon's avatar
Actually that restriction is kinda too blurry to actually apply. But it's more about ascended animals in a realistic setting I think. Otherwise shows like Pegga Pig would also be banned. 

Also, even though no ordinary people cares, show production would still prefer ancient settings more, because they are lazy. I personally though, have a comic series that involves talking animals in modern era (it feels like post apocalypse but it's not). Well, it's not like my comic would get animated in near future so... I don't think I should worry XD
PetroBeherha's avatar
Right. In fact, I think this is something people in China would like since Cang Yu in particular is derived from their mythology. However, I'll need a very extensive and deep knowledge of Chinese mythology to get it right.
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