Sacred herald of a golden age.
There was once an emperor of China who legitimized his reign by presenting two giraffes from Somalia to his people. Legend told of a sacred beast with a gentle demeanour that would only appear during the reign of a wise and enlightened ruler, and so the emperor claimed the giraffes were "magical creatures" leaving his subjects to make the connection for themselves. Of course, the god-like beast of legend was not a giraffe but, in fact, a qilin. Eventually the legend made its way to Japan where the beast was sighted on a few occasions and called "kirin". It is interesting to note that the Japanese also call a common giraffe "kirin".
The Kirin is the most powerful and sacred beast in Japan. It is considered god-like in its abilities and impact on those who observe it. Its appearance is similar to a chimera in that it seems composed of several types of other beasts. It mostly resembles a deer, with antlers on its head, but its skin is covered in scales like a dragon (almost like the spots on a giraffe). It has the tail of an ox and a massive, golden mane flowing around its head and neck. The whole beast is wreathed in transparent holy fire, and it walks so delicately that it would not disturb even a single blade of grass.
Encountering a kirin in the wild would be intimidating. The sheer power and grace it emanates would stop anyone in their tracks. There would be no question of its strength. Despite that, you should celebrate if you ever encounter one. A kirin is extremely gentle in nature and its presence heralds the dawning of an age of peace and prosperity. Those who manage to provoke a kirin - only through direct physical threats or by attacking something pure in their presence - will meet a swift end as holy fire erupts from the kirin's mouth.
We must wait and hope for the Kirin to appear.
Written by Giles Ravensong.