Though he was once an ally of the Geo Archon Morax, erosion and conflict with humanity led him to be sealed away in the Chasm and under the Dragon-Queller in Nantianmen. Since then, he has sought to break free of his imprisonment, absorb the energy of all the ley lines of the world, and destroy everything.
An enormous dragon as ancient as the mountains themselves. In an age that has all but faded from memory, he stood shoulder to shoulder with one who ruled over a harbor of stone. But in the end, the two came into conflict, and the dragon was banished to a dark place deep underground.
Over the long years of his imprisonment, his power has slowly dissipated. He has also become disfigured from the various kinds of erosion he has been subjected to.
The faint rattling of this dragon lord's shackles and his deep, angry growl echo through the bowels of the mountains like memories of a bygone era.
Azhdaha is the oldest of the Geovishaps and holds command over the Ley Lines. For untold years, he had slumbered in Nantianmen, deep within the earth. But when he awakened, the slightest movement would cause earthquakes which led to Morax seeking him out to stop it. He was a blind Geo lifeform that dwelled underground but wished to see surface life, so Morax unearthed him and granted him the ability to see. As part of his subsequent contract with Morax, Morax warned him that if Azhdaha ever endangered the order of Liyue, he would not hesitate to seal him back underground. Azhdaha became a friend of both Morax and humanity itself, taking a particular liking to blacksmiths.
As time passed, Azhdaha began to suffer from erosion — he forgot Morax's face and contract over time, and when humans began venturing into the Chasm to mine, overexploitation of its resources damaged the Ley Lines within, causing Azhdaha much suffering. Despite Morax's attempt to halt Azhdaha's erosion by sharing his powers, Azhdaha began attacking the very humans he swore to protect, forcing the Geo Archon to intervene. Given Azhdaha's formidable strength as an ancient elemental being, Morax and the adepti had difficulty subduing the crazed Azhdaha, in a battle that began in the Chasm and wrought a path of destruction north all the way to Nantianmen. However, with Azhdaha's remaining conscience willingly accepting his fate, they were eventually able to seal his eroded self in the Dragon-Queller at Nantianmen. The clashes of elemental energy during this battle also resulted in the creation of Dragonfall.
Azhdaha would never forgive Morax for his supposed "betrayal", and was eventually able to manifest a portion of his power into a vessel called Jiu. Jiu would share her creator's hatred of Morax, but because the vessel took the form of a young child, those she met waved her anger off. Azhdaha then decided to break free from his prison by having Jiu manipulate a group of miners from The Chasm to travel to the Dragon-Queller to unearth the seal, upon which their pickaxes and his attacks would destroy it and allow him to roam Liyue once more to enact revenge. Unbeknownst to him, this attempt also allowed the remaining benevolent side of his consciousness to escape, who possessed a human — Kun Jun — to warn Morax of the plot. This would prove to be Azhdaha's undoing, as he was eventually fought and defeated by the Traveler, Zhongli (Morax's current form), and his own benevolent consciousness. The crazed Azhdaha appeared to regain a part of his sanity after exhausting his strength before being resealed, while the benevolent consciousness peacefully bid farewell to Morax.
Little is known about Azhdaha's true personality before his will manifested as Jiu and Kun Jun. From descriptions, Azhdaha was friendly to Morax and had struck a contract with him, pledging that he would never harm Liyue and assisted him in the Archon War. When Morax gave him eyes to see the light and the world above, he was eternally grateful to Morax for this gift and regarded him higher than any other. From then on, Azhdaha became an ally to both Morax and the people of Liyue, even taking a liking to blacksmiths. Although erosion had taken hold of him, he still valued Liyue and life above ground in his heart and willingly let himself be sealed under the Dragon-Queller in Nantianmen multiple times.
From Jiu and Kun Jun's dialogue, Azhdaha was proud of who he was and took great pride in himself. He reminisces himself as the most ancient, most awe-inspiring individual in Liyue's history, affirming himself as a being far older than the mountains, oceans, and mankind itself. However, this didn't halt him from acknowledging those around him as he highly respected Morax and valued humanity despite his erosion. He was also sentimental about his eternal friendship with Morax, how they worked together in the past and tells Zhongli that he will always be Morax to him.
Following the effects of erosion, Azhdaha became crazed, violent and vengeful. Without his benevolent consciousness supporting him, he blamed Morax and humanity for his own misdoings, believing that the Geo Archon had forsaken and betrayed him.
Azhdaha has a colossal, rotund, and heavy build with the resemblance of a crocodile, and is as large as mountains, making him one of the largest beings on Teyvat. His entire body is colored in shades of brown and black with numerous large spikes and golden gilded scales on his back. His head is layered in numerous large frills of spikes and is adorned with four long golden curved horns. He also has a large stone chin that covers his entire mouth.
His tail forms the giant tree in Nantianmen with bone branches and golden leaves, and curves upwards. He possesses thick limbs with a thickset of bark like armor. Azhdaha has Geo Crystals and entangled plants on his body as well as a pattern derived from the Liyue Geo elements across his entire body.
Depending on the element he absorbs from the ley lines, the base of his body alights and his tail is ignited with the color of that element, along with the Geo patterns.
Quests and Events
- Historia Antiqua Chapter (Zhongli's Story Quest)
For thousands of years, Azhdaha slumbered underground. When he awakened, every move he made, no matter how small, caused the earth to tremble and shake. Morax then came before Azhdaha to stop the earthquakes. The god brought the dragon above ground and granted him a pair of eyes to see the world. Eternally grateful for this gift, Azhdaha signed a contract with Morax that he would never harm humanity and Liyue, and that if he did, he would be sealed underground once more. Azhdaha accompanied Morax in the Archon War and fought alongside him to protect his people.
At some point, Azhdaha began suffering from erosion, making him forget Morax and his love for humanity. Though Morax shared his power with Azhdaha in an attempt to halt the erosion, it was futile. When miners unintentionally damaged the Ley Lines in the Chasm, it caused Azhdaha much suffering and he lashed out at the very humans he swore to protect, forcing the Geo Archon to intervene alongside Mountain Shaper, Moon Carver, and a third unknown adeptus. Given Azhdaha's formidable strength as an ancient elemental being, Morax and the adepti had difficulty subduing the crazed Azhdaha, in a battle that began in the Chasm and wrought a path of destruction north all the way to Nantianmen. However, with Azhdaha's remaining conscience willingly accepting his fate, they were eventually able to seal his eroded self in the Dragon-Queller at Nantianmen.
Over centuries, Azhdaha's seals start to weaken, allowing him to first manifest a portion of his power into a girl named Jiu to announce his resurrection. However, this had very little effect due to Jiu's small stature and the fact that everyone appeared to have forgotten about him. It then dawned on his mind that he could escape his confinement and roam Liyue once more by attacking the seal on both sides to destroy it and free him.
Sometime after Osial's defeat, Azhdaha had Jiu travel to the Chasm and manipulate a group of miners to head to Nantianmen to excavate and break the seal with their pickaxes from the outside. Unbeknownst to him, this attempt also allowed the remaining benevolent side of his consciousness to escape, who possessed a human — Kun Jun — to warn Morax of the plot.
Azhdaha eventually fought and was defeated by the Traveler, Zhongli (Morax's current form), and his own benevolent consciousness. The crazed Azhdaha regained a part of his sanity after exhausting his strength before being resealed, while the benevolent consciousness peacefully bid farewell to Morax.
- Azhdaha is the first Trounce Domain boss to acknowledge the party's composition, starting with unique intro dialogue and ending with unique outro dialogue if Zhongli is in the party.
- Zhongli's gift of eyes to Azhdaha possibly refers to a popular Chinese idiom 画龙点睛 huàlóng diǎnjīng, "to draw a dragon and dot the eyes," which is derived from an ancient legendary folktale. It tells the tale of a young boy who had a talent of drawing dragons. His dragons would come to life once he would finish drawing the eyes by painting black dots for the pupils, but would otherwise stay merely as paintings.
- This idiom is used to describe how a small finishing touch is often added to a work-piece to make it complete or perfect. Thus, a logical translation in English could be "adding the final touch."
- Based on Jiu's dialogue and the lore for The Unforged, the dragon sealed under Dragon-Queller is Azhdaha. In fact, the Dragon-Queller is Azhdaha's tail.
- Azhdaha is possibly one of the Seven Sovereigns, with evidence pointing towards him being one of the original seven. Some of the catches, particularly from translation liberties, is expanded on in Notes:
- The Seven Sovereigns are described to be elemental dragons of the Vishap Realm that embody the primitive elements, and Azhdaha is referred to as an Earth Dragon and an elemental being.
- Azhdaha is old enough that Zhongli — who has the oldest known numerical age at over 6,000 years old — claims, "I do not pretend to match your rhetoric when it comes to the subject of a life long-lived. I fear that the life of an elemental being is longer than any in this world."
- Dragon Lord's Crown and Bloodjade Branch, as well as Azhdaha's Chinese name, refer to him as the Dragon Lord (or Dragon King) (Chinese: 龙王), a title also shared with the Seven Sovereigns.[Note 3]
- In the description of Beneath the Dragon-Queller, Azhdaha is referred to as the Lord of Vishaps, a description reused in the English localization of In the Light, Beneath the Shadow to refer to the Dragon of Water.[Note 4]
- Azhdaha's dialogue in Amidst Chaos, the Rock Is Unmoved potentially coincides with the beginning of Before Sun and Moon, which depicts the defeat of the Seven Sovereigns at the hands of the Primordial One and afterwards, its recreation of the world and creation of humanity:
- Jiu: So here lies the wisdom of the gods? Destroy all deemed redundant, enlist tyrants to ravage the wilderness!
- Jiu: "Humans... They care only about history since the dawn of the age of mankind..."[Note 5]
- Kun Jun: All powers under heaven, rise and fall of land and sea...
Jiu: ...A star appears within the wild... a sun ascends as bright as... jade...
It is believed that the Primordial One was the "eternal throne of the heavens" who came from another world, and that it created the mountains and seas when it remade the world to pave the way for humanity's creation.
- Jiu: "No, no! It is I, Azhdaha, forged of elemental crystal, bearer of the weight and memories of the earth, older than the mountains and the oceans that decides! I will not swear allegiance to this insect!"[Note 6]
- In Iranian mythology, Azhdaha is a mythical creature roughly equivalent to a dragon, though it is still considered a snake. A recurring theme with the azhdahas of myth is that they grew too large and terrorized people on land, so God cast them down into the sea, where they continued to grow and even grew fin-like wings.
- Much of what sparked Azhdaha's concept was based on the Genshin Impact's design teams' understanding of the real life mythological Azhdaha as "something sinister that is hidden for a long time but will one day emerge." The model itself was based on ancient Chinese depictions of a quadruped toad-like dragon, rather than the traditional Western and Eastern designs which inspired Dvalin and the Exuvia's designs, respectively.
- There is a Persian hero named Rostam who slays an azhdaha as one of his feats. While there is a historical character named Rostam in Genshin Impact, there is no known link between Rostam, who lived most (if not all) of his life in Mondstadt, and Azhdaha.
- The Chinese name 若陀 Rětuó uses the unique pronunciation of the character 若 rě which is used almost exclusively for transliterations of Sanskrit into Chinese, instead of the common pronunciation 若 ruò. Existing Sanskrit transliterations using these two characters include prajñā (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञा; Chinese: 般若 bōrě) and amitābha (Sanskrit: अमिताभ; Chinese: 阿弥陀佛 Ēmítuófó). This means that one possible derivation of 若陀 Rětuó is the word jñatā (Sanskrit: ज्ञता "knowledge").
- The Korean name also uses the unique Sanskrit reading 야 ya, instead of the typical 약 yak.
- The Japanese name uses the common reading 若 jaku, instead of the expected 若 nya.
- The Persian inspirations in English and Sanskrit inspirations in Chinese and Korean may imply a connection to Sumeru.
- Azhdaha is known to some in Liyue as Adakka (Chinese: 肉坨 Ròutuó), which is a corruption of his proper name. Amusingly, 肉坨 translates along the lines of "lump of meat."
- In Azhdaha's design notes and the Chinese version of Amidst Chaos, the Rock Is Unmoved, Azhdaha is called an Earth Dragon (Chinese: 地龙) rather than a Geo Dragon, which would be 岩龙, although he is still affiliated with the Geo element.
- Azhdaha claims that he was "forged of elemental crystal" (Chinese: 元素结晶创生之物 "born from elemental crystallization"), while his design notes mention that he is of the same species as Geovishaps.
- The title of "Dragon Lord" is not exclusively used for Sovereigns or even powerful dragons; Beidou's epithet in the original Chinese version is also 龙王 "Dragon Lord," but she has no known link to any dragon besides her slaying of the sea monster Haishan.
- There is no equivalent phrase to "ancient lord of vishaps" in the original Chinese text. However, the Dragon of Water is typically referred to as the 水之元素龙王 "Hydro Dragon Lord" or simply 龙王 "Dragon Lord".
- Later on, Azhdaha talks about "A secret beyond all comprehension, of youthful humanity and ancient dragon-kind." However, this story is about how he met Morax and became a defender of Liyue Harbor, with no indication that Azhdaha is referring to the earlier unified human civilization that existed in Before Sun and Moon.
- In the Chinese version, 与山海同寿 is more along the lines of "as old as the mountains and oceans," rather than older than.
- Twitter: EN VA Self Announcement
- Bilibili: (Timestamp: 10:20)
- Twitter: JP VA Announcement
- YouTube: Cast Interview of Kouhei Kiyasu
- Liyue Hidden Exploration Objective, Unordered: Hidden in Nameless Treasures
- World Quest: Trails in Tianqiu
- Archive, Living Beings, Enemies and Monsters, Mystical Beasts: Primo Geovishap
- NPC Dialogue: Jiu
- Design Notes: The Birth of a Dragon: A Behind the Scenes Look At the Creation of Azhdaha
- Story Quest, Historia Antiqua Chapter, Act II, Part 4: Amidst Chaos, the Rock Is Unmoved
- Weapon Lore: The Unforged
- YouTube: The Birth of a Dragon: A Behind the Scenes Look At the Creation of Azhdaha (Timestamp: 08m44s)
- Event Three Realms Gateway Offering Quest, Aphotic Diffusal: Three Realms Gateway Offering: The Eve
- Book: The Byakuyakoku Collection, Vol. 6 - In the Light, Beneath the Shadow