I'm finally back from my hiatus as it's been a busy few months, with WCQ Detroit and everything that came with it. Commemorating the release of the newest Yu-Gi-Oh! set Duelist Alliance, I want to take the next few articles to touch on some of the symbolism and mythology secreted away in this set. I'd like to begin my first article back focusing on the Satellarknights the fascinating relatives of the Constellars. Thanks to our resident deckologist Doug Zeeff, who got me interested in this theme, you're all in for a treat of astronomical proportions. It's hard for me to tell which archetypes I love more now as this one is fantastically cool!

The Satellarknights are based on the constellations of the North Sky. The selected Satellarknights that were released in Duelist Alliance were actually picked from a very specific patch in the night sky, with each constellation adjacent to one another forming a continuous field of stars! Each 'tellarknight monster features its respective constellation in the background of its art, and each of their individual names is actually the name of the brightest star found within their constellation of origin (which are known as Alpha Stars).

For example; Satellarknight Unukalhai is named after the brightest star found in the constellation of Serpens Caput. Satellarknight Vega is named for the brightest star found in the constellation Lyra. This continues for the rest of the Satellarknight monster suite.

Sittin' In Your Milky Way
Of all the Satellarknights released in Duelist Alliance, three of the monsters are important to an old asiatic legend dating back 2600 years. The story has been cemented in society as a festival celebrated on the 7th day of July in China and Japan. These festivals are called the Qi Xi festival and Tanabata respectively. The characters in the story, which I've written below, are connected to the constellations that these monsters are based upon as well as some of the spell and trap cards you use in a Satellarknight deck. As you read the story I'll point out to you what the Yu-Gi-Oh! card is, in reference to its place in the tale. Let's begin!

Our story begins with the two main characters: Zhinu, the weaver girl and granddaughter of the Heavenly Empress (Satellarknight Vega), and Niulang, the lowly cowherd (Satellarknight Altair). It's love at first sight and the pair fall madly in love with one another. However Zhinu's grandmother, the Heavenly Empress of the sky, quashed their love swiftly. It was against the rules for the weaver and the cowherd to be lovers and the Empress disapproved of the pairing. The Heavenly Empress decreed that the cowherd, Niulang (Satellarknight Altair), would be sent to earth where he'd be reborn as a mortal. Only one figure in the heavens spoke up to defend the lovers, the Golden Ox Star, but he too was punished for his insolence. Zhinu (Satellarknight Vega) was cursed to weave forever in the skies, where she weaves the clouds out of magical silk, in different colors depending on the season and time of day.

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Niulang, now reborn on earth as a mortal cowherd, was left in the care of his brother and his wife after his parents passed away. They treated him terribly and eventually chased him from the house. All he had time to take with whim as he fled was his broken cart and his ox. The two worked hard plowing fields and eventually came to build a home, just barely getting by.

All was not lost though, as one day a group of faeries beseeched the Heavenly Empress for permission to travel to the mortal realm and visit Bi Lian Lake. The lake was said to have the power to whiten and beautify the skin. Luckily for them, they caught her Majesty on a good day and she allowed them to take leave from the sky. The faeries took pity on Zhinu and requested that they bring her along after all the hard work she'd done. After much deliberation, the Heavenly Empress agreed and the group set off with Zhinu in tow.

One day, while Niulang and the ox were plowing in the fields, the ox spoke to Niulang and told him to make haste to Bi Lian Lake. There he would find the most beautiful dresses by the rocks. He was instructed that if he took the red dress from amongst them, the owner would become his wife. Niulang was startled by the talking ox but excited to meet the owner of the red dress.

Niulang went to the lake and there he saw the faeries placing their garments on the rocks just as the ox had said. Niulang quickly snatched up the red dress to the surprise of the faeries, who grabbed their garments and ascended back into the heavens leaving behind Zhinu, naked in the lake. Niulang approached Zhinu with the dress and stated that he'd give back the dress ONLY if she'd become his wife in return. At that very moment Zhinu recognized Niulang as the cowherd from the heavens and her heart poured over with love. She gladly accepted his offer, still being madly in love with him for all those years. They enjoyed their life on earth and had two children, a boy and a daughter.

However, things weren't meant to last. The Heavenly Empress eventually discovered what happened in the mortal realm and she raged in the heavens. She deployed her heavenly soldiers to bring Zhinu back for punishment.

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One day, Niulang was working in the fields and his faithful ox stopped and spoke to him. The ox told him to keep his hide and preserve it as he'd be able to use it one day to fly into the sky when necessary. The ox died right there on the spot and Niulang rushed home with the unfortunate news that the talking ox had passed away. When Niulang repeated the story to Zhinu, she knew immediately that the ox was in fact the Golden Ox Star who was also banished to the mortal realm when he spoke up for Niulang in the heavenly court. So they did as the ox said; they skinned the ox and gave it a proper burial.

Just as they completed their task the heavenly guards arrived on earth, grabbed Zhinu in a flash and flew away just as quickly as they'd arrived. Niulang quickly grabbed the ox hide and pursued the guards, with a basket in each hand containing the two children he and Zhinu had sired.

The guards were fast but Niulang was catching up close behind, and just as the two lovers were about to be reunited, the Heavenly Empress arrived! With a quick wave of her hairpin, she created the Milky Way to divide Zhinu and Niulang and made an impenetrable barrier (Stellarnova Wave). The children and the two lovers wept so loudly that all the gods and all the faeries of the heavens could hear them. They felt great pity that such a family was separated. Eventually eve the Heavenly Empress' heart began to grow heavy and so she decreed that the family could stay in the sky and remain as stars. But because she's infallible, they'd have to remain separated by the Milky Way. She also decreed that they'd be permitted to meet ONCE every year on the seventh day of the seventh month. On this day, numerous magpies (Satellarknight Deneb) would form a bridge (Satellarknight Bridge) to reunite Niulang, Zhinu and their children in the sky. This festival is forever known as the Qi Xi Festival in China, or Tanabata in Japan.

So that's the story behind the stars called Vega and Altair, and the Yu-Gi-Oh! cards Satellarknight Vega and Satellarknight Altair. Just like their love, none of the three 'lovers' cards (Altair, Deneb and Vega) can miss timing, proving that their devotion will always be strong.

Shake Your Asterism
When it comes to the Satellarknights as separate entities there's more to them than meets the eye. They make use of a highly underused trope in card art, in which a bigger picture's revealed when you place two cards side by side. Whilst this isn't normally used in Yu-Gi-Oh! we do see it more frequently in other card games. In the case of Satellarknight Vega and Satellarknight Altair, if you were to place the cards facing each other you'll instead see that the two cards stretch their arms out to one another, vying for the other's hand. Do it, grab those cards if you have them! It's actually really cool to see. When you Summon these two monsters with Satellarknight Deneb, they literally create the three stars needed for the story above to come true!

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Take a look at Satellarknight Vega. Her bodice features strings, and her helmet's lined with indentations that look like the strings of a stringed instruments – in this case the harp. Atop her helmet is a pick used for playing said harp. Her bodice in fact looks more akin to a floor harp than any standing harp you're likely to see. This visual is directly related to the constellation in which she's found within: Lyra, the Harp.

Like her husband, Vega's right hand is positioned as if grasping out towards something, in this case the hand of Satellarknight Altair. Her effect coincides with the ability of Satellarknight Altair in that they both allow for the Summon of the other, letting the lovers meet together on the field of battle. She can also call upon Deneb who acts as a 'bridge' to gather the lovers to the field.

Just like in the story, I'll be separating the lovers in the sequence of this discussion with Satellarknight Deneb. Deneb also plays an important role as the marker of the magpie bridge across the Milky Way between the two lovers. In some versions of the story, he acts as a chaperone. Like I stated above, Satellarknight Deneb literally acts as a bridging card allowing you to grab any Satellarknight, in this case Satellarknight Vega or Satellarknight Altair, adding either to your hand.

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The mask covering Deneb's mouth is shaped like a small bird beak and it has a set of golden wings attached to its body as well as a tassel that looks like tail feathers. Deneb's sword should look scarily familiar as well: it has a bird emblazoned on the hilt, BUT more interestingly is that its sword is a reversed image of Evilswarm Kerykeion's Caduceus staff. Its sword features a helix, symbolizing the entwining of the lovers it ferries to and fro once a year. The placement of the color on Deneb's body and its dancing appearance looks similar to that of a flying bird, with the dark patches and an off-white color scheme. In the art of Satellarknight Bridge, you can actually see a dissipating red hologram of Satellarknight Deneb within the 'bridge'.

When you Xyz Summon, combining the lovers and Satellarknight Deneb together, you take charge with Stellarknight Delteros! You can see that it borrows various elements of armor design as well as color from the three monsters that would normally make up this star pattern (asterism) in the night sky. The undergarments Delteros wears, which are pink, as well as its greaves are borrowed from Satellarknight Vega. Its breastplate, plackart and cuisse come from Satellerknight Altair and finally its helmet, sword, wings and other armor pieces come from Satellarknight Deneb.

Its name, 'delta' which is symbolized as a triangle, and 'theros' meaning 'summer,' make up this monster's star pattern in the sky, which is known as the Summer Triangle. The vertices of the Summer Triangle extend between the brightest stars of the constellations Aquila, Lyra and Cygnus, which are Altair, Vega and Deneb respectively. This monster coincidentally has three effects to represent the possible triplicity it's tied too. If you look in the background of the card art you can make out the asterism that these three bright stars create together. In the upcoming Next Challengers set, we know that we'll be receiving most of the pieces necessary to assemble the Winter Triangle and there's speculation that the Spring Triangle may also be making an appearance in The Secret of Evolution, which will be released later this year in the OCG.

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In regards to Satellarknight Altair' artwork, it's positioned rushing forward grabbing at something with its hand just about to clutch something. its effect, whenever its's Summoned, allows for you to grab one of your other Satellarknight monsters from the graveyard and Summon it to the field, referencing it grasping for Satellarknight Vega. It wears a pair of wings, which in the story it used to fly up and into the heavens to grasp the hand of its lover, and also because it's a representation of Aquila, the Eagle constellation. In Greek mythology, Sagitta is an important constellation linked to this one.

Satellarknight Alsahm draws its bow back to strike an opponent for a quick 1000 Life Points of damage when you Summon it. This arrow is important because in the Greek myth of Hercules, the constellation that Al Sahm belongs to is known as (Alpha) Sagitta, and was the arrow used by Hercules to shoot Aquila from the sky. The word Al Sahm is Arabic for 'arrow.' Interesting fact: if you were to spread the wings of this monster and have its head lie straight between its shoulders, you'd see that the wings are in fact a bow with its head having an elongated and sharp arrowhead tip, and its body acting as the shaft of the arrow complete with fletching for a waist cover, and its boots acting as the nock. Truly fascinating.

Can You Hold Your Snake With Two Hands?
Finally we come to Saterllarknight Unukalhai, which originates from the constellation Serpens, the snake being held in the hands of the constellation Ophiuchus. It's unique amongst the other 88 constellations in the sky in that it's separated into two constellations consisting of Serpens Cauda (Serpents Tail) and Serpens Caput (Serpents Head).

In the background art of Satellarknight Unukalhai we only see the constellation of Serpens Caput and not Serpens Cauda, similar to how Constellar Pollux and Evilswarm Castor were separated. These two pieces are in fact split into two constellations that don't actually touch one another and travel through the constellation of Ophiuchus. Now here's where things get tricky, so pay attention. The monster, Constellar Rasalhague, was the Yu-Gi-Oh! interpretation of the constellation Ophiuchus and was speculated to have transformed into Evilswarm Kerykeion. Much like Evilswarm Kerykeion, Satellarknight Unukalhai is also enlisted into 'darkness' and becomes Shaddoll Squamata.

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Now go look at a card premiering in Challengers. We see that Jiaotu, Darkness of the Yang Zing is wearing both the armor and the Satellarknight Binary Ring (in its mouth) of Satellarknight Unukalhai, and stuck in its left shoulder is the hook that makes up the head of the Caduceus staff owned by Evilswarm Kerykeion and Constellar Rasalhague which is seen in the artwork of Curse of the Shadow Prison in where we see Satellarknight Unukalhai is being pulled into a shadow. What could be the link between these two monsters? Simply put, the Satellarknight Binary Ring in Jiaotu, Darkness of the Yang Zing represents the constellation of Serpens Caput. This ring is actually placed in the mouth on actual Feng Shui statues of Jiaotu in real life, complete with the constellation of Serpens Cauda! What this has to do with the Yang Zing and the so called 'Dark' yang Zing I shall reveal to you in the distant future though, so keep this all in mind 'til then.

Stellarnova Alpha literally acts as close to the real life phenomena (a nova) as the card's effect would have us believe. Essentially a nova is the intensifying brightness of a star, as well as Latin for 'new.' It was thought that novas were the creation of new stars. Alpha stars are the brightest in their constellations, hence the naming of this card. Taking what we've learned here, think of the card Stellarnova Alpha as amplifying a Satellarknight you control to negate a card effect or activation, and then the monster is destroyed and you replace it with a new Satellarknight from your deck. Pretty clever design and naming, I'd say.

There you have it! Satellarknights and their story of long-devoted love! If you're running this deck you're officially helping these two star-crossed lovers unite, and I'm sure they're thanking you from the skies above. I hope you enjoyed today's article. Come back next time when we come back down to the earth and look up into the sky for guidance on mapping out our lives, with the influential and inspiring masters of Feng Shui, the Yang Zing!

-Franco Ferrara