Endless Blue – Week 135 – Faces of Elqua: Who’s Who of the Endless Blue   Leave a comment


Faces of Elqua: Who’s Who of the Endless Blue

The Fluid Nations have a population that reaches into the millions. Most live lives of obscurity, but a few have earned levels of renown that their names are spoken across the seas.

Cardinal Epoch

Atropos – One of the earliest sea hag transformations, this chelon is believed to have grown so large she could no longer bear the weight of her own shell, and sank to the bottom of the Chelon Sea. Since then the massive coral reefs of the Chelon Empire have grown from her beached body.

Bronze Epoch

Barnard – A famous packbreeder only remembered today due his or her breeding of a large fauna called Barnard’s Swallower.

Curin – Mer leader responsible for the Exodus of the Mer through the Maw. Ultimate met his fate at the hands of the First Khan at the Undertow in the Sea of Chelon.

Grendel – Grendel was the sea hag that refused to swear fealty to the First Khan. The Khan retaliated with force, sending a noyan and his forces to subdue the hag. Grendel slaughtered her attackers, and upon ripping the noyan apart, used his entrails to auger the fall of the First Khan by the Leviathan of Coinchenn.

The First Khan – Narwahl warlord that united the Cetacean Hordes under the Eight Banners and led them into a campaign of invasion across what would become known as the Known World. Was killed battle by the Leviathan of Coinchenn.

I’tlan’zu of X’hamel’af – The historical I’tlan’zu was a femal lumulus that belonged to the X’hamel’af forgeclan. Stories of her quest for knowledge were so widespread she became of folk hero, her tales eventually collected into the Anemoi.

Golden Epoch

Cailleach – Sea hag from the Locanth Gulf revered as somewhere between sea-mother to a master of the hunt. She is said to have taught the cycle of life to Misu Atswadi and the Locanth currents.

Ekaidu – Orcan monk that cemented his race’s identity as “poet-warriors”, by teaching patience and self-improvement. His lectures earned him a place as an Anemoi.

Kenilicus Octavius – A Chelon Tribune whose military skill is said to rival even the First Khan’s. Also known for taming the reef-back Arhkelone.

Misu Atswadi – Cycle of Life philospher that brought the teachings of Cailleacch to the Locanthic currents.

Certus Vitruvius – Vitruvius’ name has gone down in history due to his Vitruvian Codex, a prototype anatomical textbook. As a chelon, he had the political influence to avoid the negative ramification of being a Resurrectionist. With his research protected, Vitruvius practically created modern medicine, pushing it forward to eventually became the foremost noted Founder of the College of Doctors

Veridian/Virdigris Epoch

Black Annis – M’horst’ki Lumulus sea hag recognizeable for the jagged black chitin that has grown over her already dark carapace, giving her the look of a gargantuan coconut crab to rival any of the aberrations in the Vastness.

Crone Gorgon – Kouton sea hag that is responsible for the creation of the Wasting when she was quartered by the Kraken Occupation.

Endira Mundi – One of the founding members of the Godless, this mer female chanced death by breaking the surface of the oceans in order to chart the Vastness.

Heigira of the Tangle – This ceph earned her place among the folklore of the Fluid Nations with her unwaving devotion to peace in the face of racial discrimination.

Seamus Lorwynn – Devolper of the theory of evolution and grandfather of the Godless Movement, this male mer became a symbol of rational thought.

Cerulean Epoch

Araki Imari – She is the current vexillifer for Kobalt Company in the Orcan Naval Force.

Araki Kisho – As a Repentant in the Church of Suminarea, she was a travelling Kouton healer that did not believe in the traditional use of veils.

Benigna Nereida – Benigna is Locanth painter with color-taste synesthesia. Her Cruor abilities take the form in controlling all forms of algae — not just red tide algae — to “paint” the visions her eyeless head sees. Each strain algae has a different taste, and by floating in the colorful blooms Benigna manipulates their growth into three dimensional works of art.

Blood Wrack – Blood Wrack are a variant kelpygmy tribe notable for their dark reddish-brown coloration reminiscent of blood wrack sea weed and the ability to use cruor. No piscean settlement has lasted long near Blood Wrack waters.

The Carnivore – Nightmare given form, the Carnivore is a brutish Orcan outcast known to be a Cruor druid. His name derives from his practice of being a cannibal.

Emigdio Estar – Leader of the Estar Tribe, he decided to turn his back on traditional Locanth beliefs and adopt the apparently lucrative practices of the rest of the Fluid Nations, such as strip mining and over hunting.

Edot Artois — Mer restauranteer and husband of Renet Artois, he has been accused of being an Elqua Calidus member. He has steadfastly denied any such allegation and fighting the rumor has made him bitter.

Fossa Gull – Also know as the Fool Drowner, she is the eponymous “hag” in the Valley of the Hag in the Gulf of Locanth, she is known for her cruelty to those that foolishly enter her valley as well as an affinity with the kelpygmy creatures that dwell there.

Harridan – The Harridan is a sea hag in the Sahaguin Lagoons best known for her animosity towards the Fry of the Black Mangroves.

Herald – A civil rights activist for his species, Herald touts pacifistic practices to urge other ceph to spurn integration into Known World cultures. Instead he talks of forming an independent ceph nation.

Iku-Tsuro – Mentor of Tameryh Kinslayer, she is a sea hag cruor druid that seeks to control the Rending of the Gorgon.

Jared Rydelek – Kouton culinist whose cultivars are renown across the Endless Blue, he is also a contortionist of some repute for the Greatest Order of Performance.

Nikolaos Palamarelis – Disgraced Chelon Legate of dubious military record that has been outspoken over the fall of Chelon glory.

Renet Artois – Wife of Edot Artois, she uses her husband’s restaurant The Taste Unique as a front for Elqua Calidus activitiy in the Mer Currents.

Shras the Aimless – Sahaguani nomad that has taken the identity of the Anemoi, Shras. He has lived up to the folklore of his namesake, perhaps even surpassed it.

Sorl Vement – A cardinal in the Olyhydran Church stationed in the city of Fort Vement, so named generations ago for Sorl’s family line. He has slowly been constructing a naval force in secrecy, to be unveiled pending the looming Olyhydran Secession.

Shriveled Crone – Once a beautiful versesinger, the Orcan withdrew from the public after humiliating rejection by the Prime Chorus. She eventually ended up in the Sahaguin Lagoons and the splinter Narwahl sect of the Elqua Calidus that marred her looks as part of her initiation. Though she fosters the image of being a sea hag, she has not actually experienced the transformation.

Tameryh Kinslayer, the Unintended. Most famous of all cruor druids, charged with the devastation of the Yaun-Teel city of Edonmul.

Teepoc Kopra – Considered more of a harmful quack than public threat, this mer homeopath practitioner is a secret cruor druid who believes he can heal all that ails with judicious application of the red tide.

Telstis Naso – Telstis Naso is a chelon curor druid and member of the Order of Anthozoa, that blames the Chelon Empire for most of the world’s pain.

Terras Addas – Once a Chelon in the aristocracy, she was stripped of her title as the result of a scandal with an Ahotan clergy. Now she has become a radical voice in among Godless, ambushing those she sees as hypocritically pious and scalds their faces.

Tl’eoge’le – Instantly recognizable by his bright orange chitin, Tl’eoge’le is a notable Calidus agent residing in the Lumulus Basin. He claims no forgeclan affiliation, though some have mistakenly linked him to the G’dlu’mauex due to his denatured carapace coloration.

X’aukai’le – He is a renegade lumulus that spurned the Forgeclan caste system and uses the corrosive algae at his command to destroy any lumulated metals he comes across.

Talent is Pantheon given: so be humble.
Fame is piscean given: so be grateful.
Conceit is self-given: so be careful.
Three warnings freely given: so be mindful.
— Excerpt from “Threat to Bias”

Endless Blue – Week 134 – The Magics that Permeate the World   Leave a comment


The Magics that Permeate the World

The world-spanning oceans of the Endless Blue teem with puissance. It is a world where the primal avatars of the Pantheon swim the same waters as mortal pisceans, and alchemical wonders are performed with a mix of exotic materials and scalding heat. But these miracles are created whenever the caster happens to will it. The more potent, primordial magics of Elqua require the caster to be in the right place to reap their boon. Informally called the Mind, the Heart, and the Soul of Elqua, these magic systems are as intrinsic to the existence of life in the Endless Blue as the waters the world is named after.

Ley and the Lines of Élan

The Pantheon creation myth tells of how Ahto the Sophist wove the tapestry world into being with threads of water and coral, forming into the piscean belief in the vital nature of xanthellae. The threads of coral form lines across the ocean floors, lines that can actually be seen by those in tune with the coral. These are ley lines, and represented on maps as a series of lines intersecting with circles.

Ley lines criss-cross the waterworld in a geometric pattern of arcs and circles.  Xanthellaettes seek these out, for it makes their summoning work so much easier.  In and of themselves, ley lines possess no true magical power. They are merely conduits to a source of power, be it a small cluster of coral polyps or extensive barrier reefs. A ley line can be thought of as a link to a growth of coral. When a sorcerer uses their power, they draw puissance from a source of coral, along the vast distance of the ley line, and into a predetermine point at the other end of the line.

The endpoints of these lines are called nodes. They occur naturally in the wilds of Elqua’s oceans, but can also be purposely created by Xantellaettes through a ritual. These created nodes can bisect an already existing ley line or can create a completely new line to an already existing node. It is this direct, geometric patterning that gives ley lines the reputation for being the “nerves of the world”, or more colliqually, the Mind of Elqua.

Pulling the life essence of coral from elsewhere on the leylines to a node, a Xanthellaettes can bend it to his will.  However, it drains the reef being drawn from. Take too mush, demand more than the coral can spare, and the reef begins to die. Because of the distances involved between the coral and the end node, it becomes easy to overlook how much of a drain a xanthellaette can be. Negligent coral benders can easily sap all the life from a reef before they know it, and once dead, the ley line also dies.

Over time, natural and created ley lines accumulated, and now criss-cross the sea floor, intersecting with each other. Regardless if the crossing occurs along the ley line or two nodes overlap, these intersections are called nexuses, and they are highly sought after. The puissance pulled to these nexuses is particularly potent and thus capable of some truly amazing magics, but they still pull vitality from the coral growths down the ley line. The saving grace of nexuses are two-fold: First, the more sources a nexus pulls from, the lesser the drain on any one particular reef, and Second, a dying coral can be kept alive through drain on more robust reefs.

Ley Line Visualization

The Order of Anthozoa have dedicated themselves to the protection of Elqua’s coral reefs. They seek out abusers of the xanthellae to punish them, then sever their ley line connections to endangered coral reefs.

Cruor and the Web of Veins

Cruor is the potential for algae to bloom in the seas of Elqua. It is spread throughout the oceans, rising to the surface and submerge below the silt, in a branching, chaotic manner not unlike a living creature’s circulatory system. From this viewpoint, Cruor is referred to as a “web of veins” or the Heart of Elqua.

Cruor develops along the Shore and much of the Shoals — everywhere that natural sunlight can reach through the depths. It ebbs and flows with the tide, like the breathing of a gargantuan beast. As the potential for cruor algae flourishes, the web fades into focus; as the bloom dies, the web blanches from sight. This ebbing and flowing of potential growth blankets all of the Endless Blue, but because of the cyclic nature of biomes, is never constant. Just as crops grow with the seasons, as fish migrate to greener sea grass, so to does the cruor web flare up and disperse.

Cruor Druids, sometime called Bloom Druids, specialize in tapping into what they describe as “the flow of red”. To them, everywhere they look has a subtle overlay of varying intensities of red. By willing the red to intensify, a Cruor Druid can make the naturally occurring red algae in the water explode with growth. This algae is under the bloom druid’s mental control, and will react to the druid’s thoughts.

Cruor algae is dangerous to the surroundings. This is the origin of red tide, a harmful algae bloom that pour toxins into the water that can potentially exterminate both flora and fauna alike. Tameryh Kinslayer earned his name when his burgeoning cruor tapping powers caused a bloom so severe it wiped out the city of Edonmul in the Yaun-Teel Bights overnight.

Visualization of Cruor

Brio and the Fonts of Life

The Briofont are pinpoint punctures in the fabric of existence were animus vitae leaks, burbles, and even spurts into the waters of the world. All living things possess some measure of animus vitae, defined as “the force that differentiates living thing from inanimate matter”. It is that immaterial principle that gives thing life. In this way, animus vitae can be viewed as the “soul of Elqua”.

Brio cannot be “summoned” at will — it is only found at points where the threads that make up the physical world  have slightly parted, leaving a minuscule gap where brio can leak into reality. What causes these gaps is unknown, but given that briofonts seem to be found in remote areas of the Shelf under extreme levels of oceanic pressure, it is theorized that there just certain points in the world where the weaving of the world is weaker.

Briofont are not eternal — their very nature of being animus vitae means they heal themselves eventually. Animus vitae is the stuff of life, after all, the very definition of what it is entails that it must heal and mend. So potent is this brio that Resurrectionists use it to animate their homunculi that have become so in fashion in the Mer Currents.

Briofont Visualization

Being immobile, impermanent, and incredibly rare, briofonts are guarded places, kept secret for fear of being depleted by others. An artifact called a cannula can be created and inserted into a briofont that will keep the natural healing tendencies from sealing up completely. In many ways, this acts like a water pump for animus vitae, letting the Resurrectionist control the amount of brio required for their re-animations.

The Dark of the Brio

Using a briofont doesn’t seem to have any dire drawback, just requiring massive, intimate knowledge of biology, but truth is that every life “re-lit” with brio allows the soul of that dead creature to slip back into the world. It cannot re-inhabit their old cadaver — the body is now being animated by the brio. Thus these poor unfortunates are drawn to centers of wild growth, most notably kelp forests, where they take the form of a new kelpygmy. Perhaps the denial of their original body is why kelpygmies hate pisceans so fiercely?

Confluence of Means

Since these magical sources cover all of Elqua, it becomes obvious there will be places where two or more of these magical ecosystems overlap. These confluences vary in strength and accessibility. The most common type of confluence is between cruor and ley lines. Since ley lines exist on the sea bed, these confluences are mostly found in areas along the Shore. Sometimes these overlaps are symbiotic, with the cruor blooms helping to feed the coral polyps, while the coral exoskeleton protects pools of cruor from predation. Other times, the balance falls out of whack, with the cruor killing off the coral polyps like it does any other creature, leaving behind vast bleached reefs that resemble the skeleton of a whale carcass. It then travels along any other existing ley lines, leaving a trail of dead coral as it cascades across the globe.

The second kind of confluence is between ley lines and briofonts. These convergences are a godsend to the coral reefs at the other end of the ley lines, as the brio’s effect travels down the distance and restores the vitality of the original reef. Perhaps this is a natural balance, nature’s way keeping the Cruor from excoriating every ley line of its integral coral growths. Ley line/briofont convergences are exceedingly rare, again due to the tendency of brio to heal the fabric of Elqua’s tapestry.

The Dark of Brio Coral

There are stories where the brio floods backwards through ley lines, back into reefs already dead, There, exposed to the elements, pooling and seeping into the silt, the resultant bleached coral becomes tinted blackish-purple in hue and grows colder than any ice imaginable, capable of sapping the life from anything it touches. Xanthellaettes that have tapped into these brio-infused nodes tell tales of “sensing an awakening mind”, “slow in thought but vast in reach”, and “eclipsed in shadow”. It’s garnered the name “The Shadow Amongst the Coral”, an while little to anything is actually known about it, it seems unanimous that it is above all else malevolent. Is this the source of the akashic record that all kelpymy seem to share, or perhaps they have stumbled into the combined genetically inherited memory of all aboleth-kind?

It is theoretically possible for a confluence of all three origins — ley line, briofont, and cruor web — to exist, and while some claims have been made of discovery such a site, no investigation has proven it to be true. One such confluence occurs in the adventure “Ewer on the Confluence“, but at the resolution of the story the entire site slides off the edge of a trench and disappeared into the dark.

The Ewer on the Confluence was unique not just for having the three sources of magic mingle, but for also converging on the location of a Spur. Spurs are mysterious pylons of crystal found dotted long the borders of the Spine of the World mountain archipelago. Their purpose and creation are unknown, but some claim they are remnants of a long forgotten species called the Icht.

Understanding magic is the most precarious assumption.
There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension,
flaws in practice, and bias in judgement
than all of philosophy and theology combined…
— a Godless rebuke.

Endless Blue – Week 133 – Arkwall University and the “Library of Stolen Books”   Leave a comment


Arkwall University and the “Library of Stolen Books”

Arkwall University is a military service academy that prepares students for service in the officer corps of the Chelonite Empire. Established almost immediately after the fall of the Kraken Empire, the school quickly garnered fame for its collection of written language. Perhaps infamy is a better word, for the reputation that grew gave the library the epithet of “The Library of Stolen Books“.

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Endless Blue – Week 132 – Fashion Regardless of Form   Leave a comment


Fashion Regardless of Form

For some reason, there is a persistent notion that an aquatic race would not wear clothing, that fabric adorning the body would impede their ability to function in their natural surroundings. This is a mistaken assumption.

Just because a species evolves in a specific environment does not automatically make them immune to the effects of that climate. We see this seeming contradiction to be true in nature. When the sun goes down for the night, many animals cluster together for warmth. Others build shelter to protect them from the elements, despite having adapted to their biome through evolution.

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Endless Blue – Week 131 – Alcohol and Drinking Like a Fish   Leave a comment


Alcohol and Drinking Like a Fish

Water is fundamental to life. Without water, life could not maintain itself. We instantly understand that both flora and fauna require water, but is the same true when the atmosphere around us is comprised of ocean saltwater instead? On a water world such as Elqua, do pisceans even need to drink?

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Endless Blue – Week 130 – Fossa Gull, the Fool Drowner   1 comment


Fossa Gull, the Fool Drowner

All sea hags are unique. When the echoes of the First Verse change an individual, the alterations are seldom the same, even when the species of piscean is in common. But the Fool Drowner is a league beyond that. Fossa Gull is perhaps the most singular of hags, as she appears to be a transformed kelpygmy dragged through the most horrifying metamorphosis.

What was once her tail now drift, splayed out, a tangle of vines like the threads unraveling on a broken loom. Wickedly jagged thorns protrude from her fingertips, and her teeth sit loose in their sockets. In her eye sockets flat, wide leaves wither. Her hair lays plastered to her scalp, wilted algea that hangs lifeless despite the surround currents. Upon her stooped head rests her treasure, her crown.

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Endless Blue – Week 129 – Coveted Trinkets and Cursed Treasures   1 comment


Coveted Trinkets and Cursed Treasures

The races of the Endless Blue have accomplished so much in history. By their very will and ingenuity, the created architectural marvels and innovative philosophies that have made Elqua the world it is today. But not everything has been the result of inspiration and perspiration. Magic has left its mark indelibly in the chronicles of Elqua. Wondrous magical items can be found among the waves of the water world.

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Endless Blue – Week 128 – Myths Among the Waves   Leave a comment


Myths Among the Waves

Folklore is way to explain that which is beyond simple education. Through parable, what it means to be piscean, to be part of a particular culture, can be shared with succeeding generations. The following three stories are examples of how folklore shapes the minds in the Endless Blue.

The Pearl that Broke Its Shell

Perhaps the most ubiquitous parable in the Endless Blue is the tale of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell. While variations are found in most all cultures, it is unique in that any number of morals can be drawn from its narrative.

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Endless Blue – Week 127 – Lingual Ticks – Impediments of the Elquan Tongues   Leave a comment


Lingual Ticks — Impediments of the Elquan Tongues

Communication is the foundation for everything in the Endless Blue. Without the ability to communicate, culture and technology cannot blossom. You must be able to teach concepts, convey intention, in order to pass knowledge from one individual to the next, from one generation to that which follows. This is the purpose of speech.

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Endless Blue – Week 126 – The Price of Progress   3 comments


The Price of Progress

Tired of subsisting while others prosper, a native Locanth tribe called the Estar Current abandoned their ancient tradition of harmony with nature to begin strip-mining for precious stones. The local sea hag, aghast at the destruction to the environment near her home, threatens to destroy them if they do not stop. Stuck in the middle, the adventurers must resolve the conflict before it is too late: Make them stop or you all will die…

Nestled between two steep hills lies a valley, itself bisected down its length by a deep trench. The trench is full of incredibly tall reeds and other soft-stemmed plants that form almost a blanket over the trench bed, but are not strong enough to support the weight of an individual. The flora is wildly overgrown and may hide any manner of stealthy predatory creatures.

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