Elqua Calidus — the World Scalders
Little else instills such terror in pisceans as the thought of being boiled alive. The searing pain as the vital water needed to survive cooks you from within, the blistering of flesh and scale as the animus vitae is leached from your body, all the while helpless to do anything to stop the enervation of your body. It is the stuff of nightmares for fry and adult alike. This is the dread of boil magic, and it banned across the oceans of Elqua. Yet there are a few who embrace the boiling and wield it willingly. These are the Elqua Calidus — the World Scalders.
The use of boil magic is deemed abhorrent by nearly all the Fluid Nations, thus the Calidus are branded as terrorists by most of Elqua’s governments. There are a few safe havens, however. The Lumulus Basin is one such place, where the fear of boiling is mitigated by the society’s harnessing of thermal vents to power their ore-smithing. The alien-minded Lumulus utilize boil magic as stoking tool, to finely manipulate the temperature of chemical seeps used in the smithing process of lumulated metal.
The other neutral water is in the Mer Currents, where any idea or principle can find a place to dwell. The Taste Unique is a restaurant in the Mer Currents that specializes in hauteur cuisine unlike any other eatery in the Known World. The establishment eschews the traditional method of alchemical gastronomy, and instead serves “scalded” meals. Built over a crack in the sea bed where super-heated water bubbles up from deep inside the planet’s crust, the boiling water is sealed off from the restaurant proper by a network of valved pipes that deliver the scalding water to the kitchens under extremely controlled circumstances. There the restaurant’s culinists, trained by owner Edot Artois himself, use heat instead of kelaguen to break down food into a digestible state. The exhaust water is caught in a flue above the building and expels the scalding liquid a safe distance upward, to float up harmlessly to the Vastness. This plume of heated water attracts sea life, and the spectacle has become a noted attraction for the business. With such a close working relationship with boiling water, the owner is suspected of being a Elqua Calidus sympathizer — a charge he has consistently and vehemently denied.
The Church of Olyhydra has controversially given sanctuary to many boil mages pursued by government agencies. A hidden faction of the church has been grooming boil mages for some upcoming operation. These refuges are being given protection, and in return will teach their traitorous skill the Olyhydra’s faithful, and spearhead the Churches amassed forces when the time comes.
Size: Small, but growing steadily in secret. Members hide in the greater populace of settlements, bringing little attention to their organization’s activities until it is too late.
Infrastructure: Tightly organized cells, with interaction between cells being commonplace and unmonitored.
Philosophical Conviction: The Calidus share a common belief that most religious and moral ideals are false, and used by those in power as a means of control over the masses. They subscribe to a philosophy of nihilism, wherein the individual should not be made to endure any dogma that limits them. Those that seek to force their will over others will be bathed in boiling waters, steam filling their lungs and scalding their gills. They will be cooked like the flesh all life truly is — meat to be consumed. This expansive belief in the futility of existence leads the Elqua Calidus to appear disjointed in their efforts, with no real focus or final objective. Instead the will focus on institutions and individuals they feel deserve to be scalded until a new, even unrelated objective comes along.
Important Locations: The Taste Unique restaurant in the Mer Currents, Fort Vement, thermal vents found outside the Lumulus Basin (especially in the No Mer’s Seas between the Fluid Nations), and the more militant colonies of Ceph.
Symbol: Bubbling water, in a shape specific to the cell.
Motto: “Scald the world; boil the lies!”
Badge of Membership: Unlike bloom magic, where the user is immune to the effect of the red tide’s toxins, there is nothing protecting a boil mage from be scalded by his own actions. As such, it is rare to find a boil mage that has not scarred himself accidentally some time in the past. These scars are seen as badges of honor among the Calidus.
Membership Benefits: Besides access to a type of magic few others possess, there is little protection against boil magic. However, there are a few side effect of scalding water that are of benefit. Most notably is the boiling of food. In fact, the initiation ritual for joining the Elqua Calidus involves the consumption of “boiled foods”. The Calidus himself must boil his own meal and overcome the social taboo of eating the scalded food. Rumor has it that the taste of boiled meat and plants is “purer” than that of food denatured by way of kelaguen, the normal method of cooking underwater.
Membership Drawbacks: With such revulsion to boil magic among the populace, should it become known a piscean willingly wields scalding spell they will be ostracized at best, and hunted down at worst.
Edot Artois has been nothing but truthful in the face of the accusations of harboring terrorists. In actuality, he has no knowledge of the Elqua Calidus’ activities sheltered by his business, as it is his wife who has given them refuge. Renet Artois, wife of the Mer restaurateur, uses the Taste Unique as a waylay point for Elqua Calidus activities. It is the perfect place to hide a Calidus, among the culinists, food workers, and other employees preparing the day’s meal.
Cardinal Sorl Vement, Olyhydran priest descended from the original Marshal of Fort Vement, has been tasked with secretly building a navy of Calidus for the Olyhydran Church to use during the Secession project. The Church has been working some time now at putting sympathetic Mer into positions of power, with the intent of one day seceding from the Mer Currents and creating their own religious nation. Sensate diviners of the Church do not foresee the culmination of this plan going smoothly, so in preparation the Church has begun amassing a navy of loyal fanatics armed with objectively the most attention grabbing magic known to the world.
There are stories of a renegade Lumulan that has resurrected the J’warh’abvo forgeclan. Ceph have been reported wielding weapons with telltale signs of lumulated metal with a unique tinge. Since each forgeclan produces metal items with a specific coloration endemic to the forging process, this new process impinges into the ultraviolet range. Previously, the J’warh’abvo forgeclan produced metal with an ultraviolet tinge, but they were wiped out by Kraken retribution for the forgeclans efforts during the Occupation. Where has this new source of ultraviolet lumulated metal come from? The Lumulan government regulates thermal and chemical seeps strictly, so how could this phantom forgeclan produce the intense heat needed to smith ore except by employing boil magic?
Terras Addas is a radicalized Godless that has taken to confronting the pious about their hypocritical beliefs. A truly vile villainess, Terras resorts to hit-and-flee tactics of quickly pouncing on a victim, disfiguring them with scalding magic, then swimming off. Her intent is to leave the victim alive, so their faith can slowly erode away as they wonder why their deity would allow such cruelty to their faithful.
Tl’eoge’le is a Lumulus with concrete ties to Calidus activity. As with most Calidus, Tl’eoge’le has a telltale malformation due to his exposure to scalding magic. Not scar or singe, the evidence of Tl’eoge’le’s dabbling with boiling magic can be seen all over him — his carapace is a bright orange. Just as how the pigments in crustacean shells transform when boiled, so too has Tl’eoge’le’s carapace. The effect is so thorough that, despite having molted more than once since the time of scarring, the carapace continues to regenerate in the bright orange pigment. It does not hinder the transformation that with each molting, Tl’eoge’le recycles the nutrients from his cast off shell into his new one. This discoloration is not that rare among the Lumulus, especially with ore-smiths that spend great amounts of time facing a fuming hydro-thermal vent during metal work. However, Tl’eoge’le’s discoloration covers his entire carapce, as if he has bathed in the blazing stem of a vent.
The Shriveled Crone was once a beautiful Orcan versesinger. It is said her voice was so pure and clear that the water it traveled through was purified by the mere virtue of her song. She was adored by all so often that she began to believe the fairy tale stories told about her. It was when she sought entrance into the Prime Chorus, only to be rejected, that her vanity turned to wrath. Told that her obsession with her own glory would interfere with the quest for Khantusk, she turned her back on the Orcans and the Cetacean Oceans. She left for the Sahaguin Lagoons, where the cousins of the Orcans, the Narwahl dwelled. There, she fell in with the dissident zeitgeist there, feeling the Orcans had lost their way. Her initiation into the Elqua Calidus was nearly as thorough as Tl’eoge’le’s. She bathed her entire body in the volcanic spew of a thermal vent, the blubber of her shapely body melting and bubbling away, leaving behind a wrinkled, emaciated husk. She has taken on the mantle of the Shriveled Crone, though she is no true sea hag, and works with her cousins at undermining the Prime Chorus whenever possible.
“When the waters start boiling
the foolish remain to find the cause.”
— word of wisdom about the Elqua Calidus.
There are numerous concepts in the Endless Blue setting that do not have normal sounding names. Some names come from inside the setting (the name of the world Elqua for example), while others utilize phonemes that may be a bit unfamiliar to English speaking readers. Collected here are some of those “difficult to grasp quickly” concepts that are employed as means and motivation in the setting.
acari noun – 1. a plant that produces a fruit noted for its acidic properties, used in the denaturing of food.
Administrative Trinity noun – 1. the highest ranked council in the Church of Merrshaulk.
aegis noun – 1. a shield
aerostat noun – 1. a form of phytoplankton/rhodoarchaea that floats in the Vastness due to internal gasses like methane and uses a tiny, flexible chamber for propulsion.
ajna noun – 1. one of the eight nadis in chakra medicine. The Third Eye chakra, it is represented by tanzanite and located in the brow.
anah noun – 1. one of the eight nadis in chakra medicine. The Heart chakra, it is represented by emerald and located in the chest.
anatomist noun – 1. one who learns about the piscean body through dissection, a taboo practice in the Known World.
animus vitae noun – 1. the force of life.
2. the animating energy that makes matter move.
argei noun – 1. the intermediate denomination of lucrum. (pl. argeium)
Assembly of Cosigners noun – 1. the lowest ranked council in the Church of Merrshaulk, whose main purpose is to oversee the activities of all Sidars and Tyros.
aurei noun – 1. the highest denomination of lucrum. (pl. aureium)
Auxesis noun – 1. the first week of an Elquan month.
Avarita of the Greed noun – 1. the Idolatrastic form of Merrshaulk.
ayurveda noun – 1. the medicinal belief that health is achieved through the balance of bodily humours.
bloodtrace noun – 1. a form of currentsense that can sense even the tiniest traces of blood in the water and follow it to its source.
bluelight noun – 1. a source of light that uses bioluminescent amoebae.
Bubble Below noun – 1. a massive, empty cavern below the Undertow that prevents those trapped in the catacombs underneath from escaping the whirlpool.
Charybdis noun – 1. a floating island that slowly crosses the oceans of Elqua.
chakra noun – 1. the medicinal belief that health is achieved by the harmonious vibrations in the eight body locations called nadis.
chirurgery noun – 1. a medicinal belief that concentrates on cutting away infections and injury.
coiltech noun – 1. technology of the Lumulus that utilizes spiraled metal rod to store kinetic energy.
College of Doctors noun – 1. an organization where anatomists can practice what they have learned about the piscean body, with the intention of healing and saving lives.
Core noun – 1. the area of the Known World occupied by the Crèche of Civilization and the Maw of the Kraken.
Cosigner noun – 1. a member of the Merrshaulkite Assembly of Cosigners.
Crèche of Civilization noun – 1. the area of the Eastern hemisphere where civilization is believed to have been born.
Crisis noun – 1. the third week of the Elquan month.
crown noun – 1. the highest denomination of coinage used by the Mer for inter-current (read, “inter-tribe”) trade.
Culinist noun – 1. a profession notable for the denaturing and storage of food.
cuprei noun – 1. the lowest denomination of lucrum. (pl. cupreium)
current noun – 1. any aggregate of pisceans united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders, etc., equivalent to “tribe”.
currentsense noun – 1. the ability to sense the surroundings by the movement and/or trace elements in the water.
Cyesis noun – 1. the second week of the Elquan month.
dearthsteel noun – 1. a metal produced by the Lumulus that possesses the ability to be enchanted with xanthellaette magic.
delphiz noun – 1. a domesticated species of dolphin with neotoninous features.
denatured adj – 1. the state of being chemically broken down to achieve the same result than as if they were cooked.
dirhem noun – 1. the unit of currency used by the Orcan government.
dram noun – 1. the lower end coinage used by the Chelon.
Eadro noun – 1. the Pantheonic god of envy.
Eadro’s Ardent noun – 1. Worshipers of the Pantheonic god, Eadro.
echolocation noun – 1. a type of senses that uses reflected sound to comprehend the surroundings.
Elder Brokers noun – 1. one of three members of the top-most council of the Church of Merrshaulk, called the Administrative Trinity.
elqua noun – 1. the Aquelan word for “water”.
essence noun – 1. the medicinal belief that healing can be willed into existence through the body’s vitae.
Elqua noun – 1. the world of the Endless Blue campaign setting, equivalent to “Earth”.
Endless Blue noun – 1. the usually temporary loss of orientation caused by the featureless expanse of deep waters, equivalent to “snow blindness”.
Everglow noun – 1. the ceremonial light source of the Free Olypiad (read, “eternal flame”).
Fluid Nations noun – The eight nations of Elqua, namely the Cetacean Ocean, the Chelon Sea, the Lumulan Basin, the Bay of Kouton, the Gulf of Locanth, the Sahaguin Lagoons, the Yaun-Teel Bights, and the Mer Currents.
frothlight noun – 1. a source of light that requires periodic jostling of chemical to produce a fluorescent reaction.
gelding noun – 1. the intermediate range of coinage used by the Chelon.
Gnosis noun – 1. the fourth/last week of the Elquan month.
Godless noun – 1. the philosophical movement that disbelieves in the divinity of gods.
hoarder bandit noun – 1. an outlaw that preys on those in a weaker position than themselves, using their superior ability as justification for the robbery.
Hinterseas noun – 1. the portion of the Fluid Nations populated by the primitive races, namely the Gulf of Locanth, the Bay of Kouton, the Sahaguin Lagoons, and the Yaun-Teel Bights.
homeopathy noun – 1. the medical belief that “like cures like”, utilizing diluted tinctures to cure illnesses.
homesea noun – 1. one’s native waters, equivalent of “homeland”.
Icht noun – 1. a species of prehistoric sapient pisceans that mysteriously disappeared prior to the rise of the Cetacean Hordes.
Icht Dominion noun – 1. the area populated by the extinct Icht civilization.
Icthara noun – 1. the Pantheonic goddess of gluttony.
Ictharan noun – 1. a worshiper of Icthara.
adj 1. of or pertaining to the worship Icthara.
idolatrastic adj – 1. of or pertaining to the religion of Idolatry, as opposed to the act of idolatry.
Idolatry noun – 1. the reformed worship of the Pantheon under the Yaun-Tish tenets of Principle of Service.
indigo noun – 1. a thick, oily liquid rumored to be spreading out along the outer fringes of the Known World.
Invidia of the Envy noun – 1. the Idolatrastic form of Eadro, god of envy.
kapha noun – 1. one of the bodily humours in ayurvedic medicine, related to phlegm.
kelaguen noun – 1. a yeast like extract used by Culinists to embue their denatured fruit with magical effects.
kelpygmy noun – 1. a species of ambulatory plant that posses a shape reminiscent of the piscean form. (pl. kelpygmies)
Known World noun – 1. the explored area of Elqua east of the Spine of the World, containing the Hinterseas, the Periphery, and the Core.
kraken noun – 1. a monstrous race of now extinct ancient squid that once led an empire that occupied the Known World.
Kraken Occupation noun – 1. the period of time when the Kraken race invaded and conquered the Fluid Nations.
2. the event that caused the renaming of the Verdant Epoch into the Verdigris Epoch.
langeneli noun – 1. a tartan-like weave of strips and knots used to denote debt in the Locanth culture.
lucrum noun – 1. a form of currency used by the Mer for international trade.
lumulated metal noun – 1. a special process of the Lumulus that makes metal resistant to corrosion from being submerged in water.
mani noun – 1. one of the eight nadis in chakra medicine. The Plexus chakra, it is represented by topaz and located in the stomach.
Maw noun – 1. a massive crater that forms a ring of islands, where the Kraken began their Occupation of the Known World. Also known as the Maw of the Kraken.
Merrshaulk noun – 1. the Pantheonic god of greed.
merrshaulkite noun – 1. a worshiper of Merrshaulk
adj – 1. of or pertaining to the dogma of Merrshaulk
mula noun – 1. one of the eight nadis in chakra medicine. The Root chakra, it is represented by ruby and located in the pelvis.
nadis noun – 1. one of eight locations that run down the center of the body that chakra practitioners believe need to be in harmony for good health.
naturopathy noun – 1. the medical belief that illness can be cured through herbs and plants.
nautilus noun – 1. armor and/or helmet.
No Mer’s Seas noun – 1. the territory between Fluid Nations that have been declared off limits to habitation or predation, usually the shallowest waters near land where abominations are common.
noble noun – 1. the lowest denomination of coinage used by the Mer for inter-current (read, “inter-tribe”) trade.
2. the highest rank in the Church of Merrshaulk.
Noble Collector noun – 1. honorific for the Elder Brother of the Church of Merrshaulk responsible for the Church’s income.
Noble Debtor noun – 1. honorific for the Elder Brother of the Church of Merrshaulk responsible for the Church’s obligations.
Noble Lender noun – 1. honorific for the Elder Brother of the Church of Merrshaulk responsible for the Church’s financial risk.
Oberus noun – 1. the pale, outer most moon of Elqua.
pa’Anga’tha noun – 1. the lowest denomination of currency used by the Lumulus.
Packbreeder noun – 1. a profession notable for the raising and training of animals.
paragon cynosure noun – 1. the Ressurectionist goal of bringing an extinct species back to viability.
Periphery noun – 1. The portion of the Fluid Nations populated by the civilized races, namely the Cetacean Ocean, the Chelon Sea, the Lumulus Basin, and the Mer Currents.
pigmit noun – 1. the language of the kelpygmies.
piscean adj – 1. any individual of the species sapien, equivalent of the term “human”.
piscean form noun – 1. the intellectual concept of the “mermaid” morphology, possessing the torso of a humanoid and the tail of an aquatic creature.
pitta noun – 1. one of the bodily humours in ayurvedic medicine, related to bile.
piscean form noun – 1. the “mermaid” shape, with the torso of a humanoid and the tail of a fish.
preycatcher noun – 1. a form of polearm with a wide set of jaws at the end, used to catch and subdue creatures instead of killing them.
Prime Meridian noun – 1. line of latitude that crosses over the deepest point in Elqua’s water, in the Cetacean Ocean. It delineates the Western and Eastern hemispheres.
Principles of Service noun – 1. the formalized philosophical belief predicated on the concept that everyone serves someone else, forming the basis of Yaun-Teel culture.
Protean monks noun – 1. reclusive Eadro’s Ardent that posses the ability to change their appearance into other piscean races.
Pull noun – 1. decompression sickness, where diffused gasses from the depth pressure form in the bloodstream.
qigong noun – 1. the medicinal belief that physical stimulation like acupressure or acupuncture can heal illness.
rand noun – 1. the highest range of coinage used by the Chelon.
Resurrectionist noun – 1. a philosophical movement that seeks to understand the piscean body through medical and scientific research. See, anatomist.
rhodoarchaea noun – 1. a form of phytoplankton that uses retinal instead of chlorophyll to transform sunlight into food through photosynthesis.
ricelqua noun – 1. a grain-like plant known for it’s unique chemical properties.
Saragasso Ring noun – 1. the greenish shadow cast by Elqua’s planetary ring, the Sargasso.
Sargasso noun – 1. the green planetary ring of Elqua, located between Urowes and Ymaris. It’s full name is “Sargasso in the Sky”.
sashra noun – 1. one of the eight nadis in chakra medicine. The Crown chakra, it is represented by amethyst and located on the top of the head.
scientific medicine noun – 1. the medicinal belief that treatments require evidence of their efficacy.
shagreen noun – 1. textile made from shark skin.
Shelf noun – 1. the waters starting below the Shoals and extending to the bottom of the ocean, where nearly all light waves are absorbed by the surrounding water.
Shoals noun – 1. the deeper waters where red, orange, and yellow wavelengths of light are absorbed by the surround water. It is bordered by the Shore and the Shelf.
Shore noun – 1. the shallow waters near the shore, typified by little to no absorption of light wavelengths, and before the Shoals.
Sidar noun – 1. honorific form of address for vetted clergy of Merrshaulk.
Signatory noun – 1. honorific form of address for a member of the Merrshaulkite Signatory Council.
Signatory Council noun – 1. the intermediate ranked council in the Church of Merrshaulk, whose main purpose is to oversee the long-term goals of the Church.
sovereign noun – 1. the intermediate denomination of coinage used by the Mer for inter-current (read, “inter-tribe”) trade.
Spine of the World noun – 1. a chain of mountains that circles the globe, splitting the planet in half and preventing exploration of the western hemisphere.
spur noun – 1. large, immobile slabs of nearly transparent crystal randomly found in the wild of the oceans.
swadi noun – 1. one of the eight nadis in chakra medicine. The Sacral chakra, it is represented by amber and located in the coccyx.
tlo’Onga’tha noun – 1. the intermediate denomination of currency used by the Lumulus.
talent noun – 1. similarly cut gemstone used by the Kouton as currency.
torc noun – 1. the locked collar used by the Yaun-Teel to denote slaves.
tracescent noun – 1. a form of currentsense that can detect trace elements in the water beside blood, such as bodily waste or food remnants.
Tropic of Cetacean noun – 1. the imaginary circle around the globe at 64° λ, the northern-most point where the sun is still directly overhead at noon. Counterpart to the Tropic of Kraken.
Tropic of Kraken noun – 1. the imaginary circle around the globe at 64° λ, the southern-most point where the sun is still directly overhead at noon. Counterpart to the Tropic of Cetacean.
trove noun – 1. a church building dedicated to the worship of Merrshaulk.
Tyro noun – 1. honorific form of address for unvetted clergy of Merrshaulk.
tze’Enga’tha noun – 1. the highest denomination of currency used by the Lumulus.
ultravision noun – 1. vision in the ultraviolet wavelength range, sometimes requiring a source of localized ultraviolet light to work.
unguis noun – 1. a weapon
Undertow noun – 1. a submerged whirlpool in the Chelon Sea.
Urowes noun – 1. the dark, inner most moon of Elqua. It orbits Elqua in the opposite direction of the other two moons.
Vastness noun – 1. the land and sky above the surface of the water.
vata noun – 1. one of the bodily humours in ayurvedic medicine, related to gas.
vishu noun – 1. one of the eight nadis in chakra medicine. The Throat chakra, it is represented by sapphire and located in the neck.
vitae noun – 1. the force that differentiates inanimate matter from living things.
2. the soul.
Verdigris Epoch noun – 1. the later part of the Verdant Epoch, characterized by the rise of the Kraken Empire and their occupation of the Fluid Nations.
Verse noun – 1. the words used to create Elqua
2. the language used in the creation of the universe.
xanthellae noun – 1. the coral shaping magic of the Chelon that taps into ley lines for its power.
2. coral shaped through the magic of the Chelon.
Xanthellaette noun – 1. a Chelon capable of taping into ley lines and casting coral shaping magic.
Ymaris noun – 1. the reddish, second moon of Elqua.
Cruor Druids: Wielders of the Red Tides
There is seldom ever been a culture that did not produce some disenfranchised soul. Elqua’s Fluid Nations are no different, except perhaps in the form those radical elements coalesced. They call themselves Cruor Druids, wielders of the red tide, and they have no love for society. What drove them to despising the modern world is inconsequential. In all cases it is basically the same intrinsic idea: society is ruining the world.
The common trait shared by all Cruor Druids is the dismay at society’s disregard for the natural order. Each sees some fatal flaw in their culture’s belief system that, left unchecked, can only result in the ruin of their species. That same society has turned a deaf ear the druid’s pleas for a return to a more conducive time.
Their warnings unheeded, Cruor Druids inevitably feel pressured into leaving the civilization that created them and instead live in the wild. Preferring to remain in the seclusion of nature, the unyeilding expansion of Fluid Nation cities into wilderness brings them back into contact, and conflict, with the Cruor Druids.
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by Dustin Douglas
The Debt Repaid
“Call to us! Unleash us! Destroy their petty world built upon petty lies. Who do they serve? Just themselves. Who do you serve? You serve the truth!”
Tameryh’s eyes opened, but he still felt pain across his entire body. He strained to lift his head up, and saw a plain empty room. He tried to speak, but coughed instead. He saw specks of blood float away from his mouth. He looked down and saw bandages wrapped around his chest.
“Don’t trouble yourself,” came a voice from the other room.
Tameryh looked up and saw the leather-bound mer woman standing in the doorway.
“Who are you?” asked Tameryh.
“A servant of the truth. You hear it don’t you? The voices of the currents bring us together. I couldn’t be sure until I witnessed your baptism myself. Clearly, the currents have chosen you. As for me, the currents spoke to me long ago. Telling me to find you, and help you see the truth. I am Ashani, servant of truth, Druid of the Bloom,” said Ashani.
“Bloom? You mean the red mist?” asked Tameryh.
“Yes. Those scholars think they have it figured out. A natural occurrence, a mere reaction of the environment. Pah. It’s nature’s revolt,” she said clenching her fists.
Ashani continued, “It’s nature’s very immune system. We’ve run rampant. Ruining, destroying, infecting, and killing our own world. Why? Progress, power, or perhaps wealth? What will any of that do for you when the tides stop flowing, and your heart stops beating?” said Ashani.
“What do you mean?” asked Tameryh.
“I mean the bloom is nature itself turning against the greatest enemy. You, me, all of the Piscean’s. Our civilizations’ greed, bottomless appetites, and appalling growth has led to the death of the coral, the kelp, and now even the waters turn. We must act on nature’s behalf, Tameryh. We shall cull the school,” said Ashani.
“You mean… kill them? Kill my clan?” asked Tameryh.
“You’re thinking too small,” said Ashani.
“This entire city is corrupt. Self-serving Yaun-Teel ready to stab each other in the back for a bit of profit. If they’re willing to do that to each other, what are they willing to do to our world? Just look at the strip mining and slaves!” exclaimed Ashani.
“You’re right. They aren’t worthy of being Yaun-Teel. They live to serve only their own greed. All of them. Every single one of them,” growled Tameryh.
“Yes, indeed,” said Ashani.
“What will we do?” asked Tameryh.
“Call to the bloom. Speak to the bloom. Command it,” said Ashani.
“How?” asked Tameryh.
“The bloom has accepted you, young one, now that you’ve survived the red baptism. Look here,” she said revealing a small urn.
She lifted the lid off the urn, and a small red cloud appeared. She placed her hand into the cloud and spoke softly.
“Come. Come. Let us cleanse this world of the wretched,” she chanted.
She continued chanting, and small specks of red started to flow towards her from outside of the room. After a few minutes, a large red mist had amassed around her. She gestured up and down, and the cloud gathered itself upwards, then downwards following her commands.
“Wow…” said Tameryh as his mouth hung open.
“Now, you just need to rest yourself and…” said Ashani as she trailed off.
Tameryh focused his hands on his chest and chanted his healing magic. Within a few moments his aches started to disappear.
“Very impressive,” said Ashani. She continued, “You already know some druidic arts?”
Tameryh ignored her question and eagerly said, “When. When can we start?”
“Tonight,” said Ashani.
Tameryh and Ashani worked with the red bloom in her hidden home for a few hours. Ashani explained the simple art of commanding the red mist. As long as she remained in contact with a part of the cloud, she controlled its motion. The cloud acted like an extension of her being. Tameryh found an odd enjoyment in effortlessly manipulating the mist. He couldn’t wait to wait them all suffer.
That night, the pair returned to the outskirts of Edonmul.
“Come. Come. Let us cleanse this world of the wretched,” they chanted as they looked down at the city. Soon the red cloud would engulf them all. Within a few minutes, the pair gathered a massive cloud, at least the size of a blue whale.
Ashani turned to Tameryh and said, “I leave the culling to you. Make them pay for their service to the lie.”
Tameryh slowly nodded and darted down towards the city. First, he turned his head to the cathedral. He thrashed his fins as fast as he could as he barreled through the stained glass window at the front of the cathedral.
Bits of glass and debris floated all around him, as he saw the surprised look of five Yaun-Teel commoners and Sidar Asoudi. The red mist trailed behind Tameryh and the majority of it remained outside.
“Who do you serve?!” shouted Tameryh as he commanded his mists to completely envelop the exterior of the cathedral.
“Unintended? How?! What is this?” said the sidar.
“You put yourself before me, before my house, before our gods. You do not serve anyone but yourself, sidar!” shouted Tameryh as some of the red mist began flowing into the room sealing off the exits.
“Is that… by the gods,” said sidar noticing the red mists.
The sidar and the commoners turned and opened the door only to find even more mist on the other side. The commoners screamed and the sidar glanced nervously around looking for an exit. One of the commoners bolted, trying to dash through the mists. The bloom clung to the poor creature as it writhed in pain and its kin looked on in horror. Tameryh enveloped the rest of the commoners in the red mist as well, ensuring that the sidar was the last one remaining.
“You… aberration! Unintended by Yaun-Teel, now unintended by nature itself!” screamed the sidar.
“Oh that’s where you’re wrong, grand deceiver,” said Tameryh as he covered the rest of the commoners in red mists. He continued, “Nature called to me. The truth spoke to me, asking me to fight. Fight the sickness that is Yaun-Teel. And what a sickness it is.”
“Who do you serve!?” screamed Tameryh as the mists cornered the sidar.
The sidar panicked and began mumbling prayers.
“Do you think he hears you, heretic?” said Tameryh as he clenched his fist.
The red mists slammed into Sidar Asoudi, seeping into his body through his gills. He shook violently. The sidar’s face grew bright red, blood leaked from his eyes , ears, and mouth. The sidar tried to speak, but he could only gag as he coughed up more and more blood. The sidar reached to his gills, trying desperately to brush the bloom away to no avail. At last, the sidar gave out one last gasp as blood gushed from his body.
Tameryh let the red mist linger on him as he looked down. Once, Tameryh admired the clergy, but now he saw him for what he was: a miserable self-serving coward who took advantage of his station. Tameryh looked towards the dead commoners and felt nothing.
“You worked in service of the lie…” he said quietly.
Tameryh swam back outside and made his way towards the Basqorjn manor. As he approached overhead, he brought the red mist down with him with terrible force. Tameryh slammed the mist over the entire courtyard, forgoing subtly all together. Within a few moments, he saw the corpses of the watchmen floating up out of the mists.
Tameryh swam down towards the main manor, and forced the mist to form a barrier around it. Tameryh looked through the windows, seeing a few frightened faces staring back at him. Tameryh attempted to open the door, but it was locked.
“Hah, you think that will stop me?” mumbled Tameryh.
Just then, Tameryh heard something coming from behind. As he turned, he saw Blodusk darting towards him with a trident.
Blodusk’s trident pierced through Tameryh on his left side.
Tameryh clenched his fist and brought the bloom crashing down onto Blodusk while also holding the trident in his side. Tameryh watched as the bloom went inside Blodusk’s gills. Tameryh tried pulling the trident out, but Blodusk held strong. Despite the bloom destroying him from the inside, he fought. Tameryh pulled, but Blodusk continued. Tameryh saw the color leaving Blodusk face as his grip went lax. Blodusk coughed up blood and held his hands to his throat. Blodusk tore at his gills trying to give himself a chance to breath. He fought hard as more and more blood left his body. He felt his strength leaving him.
“My-My-Myra!” he finally gasped as he fell to the ground.
Tameryh cocked his head sideways and looked down at Blodusk, barely noticing the trident that pierced him.
“Why… did he really… my mother?” said Tameryh.
Tameryh looked back down at his wound. He removed the trident and winced in pain. He looked up unable to differentiate the blood escaping his body from the red mist surrounding him. Tameryh chanted his healing magic again. While the majority of the bleeding stopped, Tameryh failed to completely seal the wound. Tameryh chanted and focused on his magic a second time.
“CEASE!” shouted Elder Molka as he threw open the door.
For a moment, Tameryh felt the elder’s command seep into his mind. Tameryh stopped chanting the spell, but clenched one fist and pointed towards the elder.
“CEASE!” shouted the elder again, holding up his staff. His coral staff gave off a slight glow with this command.
Again, Tameryh felt himself go limp for just a brief instant.
“CEASE!” commanded the elder once more, but this time Tameryh focused all of his rage and fought through the elder’s magic.
“Who do you serve? WHO DO YOU SERVE?!” shouted Tameryh slamming his fists down.
The red mists crashed into the elder and into the manor. The elder attempted to cling to his staff, but the red mist threw the old Yaun-Teel into the wall. Tameryh swam up picked up the elder’s staff and began chanting. Tameryh felt the staff become increasingly heavier as it accepted his enchantment. Tameryh hoisted the heavy staff over his head, and brought the full weight of it down onto the elder face, crushing it completely.
Tameryh looked down at the elder and felt a twinge of regret. Regret not birthed from the sadness of loss, regret born from an unjust end. Tameryh thought. “He deserved a far more gruesome fate. I suffered for years. Over twenty years of hatred, judgement, and servitude to a master who only served himself. “.
Tameryh slipped inside the manor, and inspected his injury only to find the bloom had attached itself to his wound. Tameryh brushed the bloom away and he found that the wound had closed completely. A wicked grin grew across Tameryh’s face as he felt empowered for the first time in his life.
Tameryh set his sights on the servant’s quarters across the courtyard. He saw that some of them had started to look towards the manor, worried about what was happening. He knew he had to act quickly or else they might escape.
Tameryh called to the mist and darted towards the servant’s quarters. Again, he completely surrounded the building with the bloom. He could hear their screams, the old, the young, the hatchlings, all of them would soon be dead.
“Tam? You’re alive?!” shouted Grimbould as he swam outside.
Tameryh simply looked away from him and clenched his fist.
“Tam! No! Don’t do it boy! You’re no killer, you’re an honorable lad!” protested Grimbould.
“You serve those who serve the lie, Grimbould. In the end, you didn’t care about the truth, just yourself. You could have spoken for me, but you watched me float away to the vastness,” screamed Tameryh.
“No… please… you were like a son to me, Tameryh,” said Grimbould.
“Your words. They only serve you now. You only think of yourself,” said Tameryh as he brought the mists around Grimbould.
“No! No!” protested Grimbould.
“Oh yes. You serve the clan, even if they’d disown one of their own over such triviality. Even if they sentenced an innocent to death,” said Tameryh.
“What? Innocent? You attacked the elder!” shouted Grimbould.
“Where was your protest when my mother was sent off to die? The only thing I saw were your lies, Grimbould. You never told me. Would it make you feel sick? Would it make you feel terrible to tell me the truth? Your actions prove it to me, you only serve yourself,” said Tameryh.
“No you’re wrong, listen! List-“said Grimbould as he began choking.
“Your deception ends here,” said Tameryh as he turned his back on his kin.
That night, the city of Edonmul felt the terror of the bloom. Many escaped as they witnessed the fall of the Basqorjn clan, but not a single Basqorjn family member survived. They say a young Yaun-Teel returned from the dead. Perhaps a vengeful spirit with a thirst for revenge, or the servant of a dark god looking to create chaos.
No matter the case, or the cause, one thing is certain. The bloom engulfed the city. Even now, the red mists still linger there. Who knows what fortunes lie hidden in the once great city of Edonmul. Only a fool would venture into the bloom. Who knows what creatures lurk inside, creatures who’ve learned to live within the toxic mist.
“The endless blue ran red that night.
The seas grew thick with toxic blight.
The pleas for help fell, empty prayer
at the hand of Tameryh Kinslayer”
— a vexillifer’s ballad, “The Fall of House Basqorjn“.
by Dustin Douglas
The Beautiful Lie
Tameryh felt immense pressure on his head and face. He felt the claws and hands of something on his body as it pressed on his chest. Tameryh tried to open his eyes but they felt incredibly heavy, as if sealed shut. Through the shuffle and commotion, he started to hear murmurs and voices. The voices began to sound familiar. He heard a man chanting, and felt a rush of energy run through him as the man pressed his hands on his forehead. Tameryh’s eyes finally opened.
“It looks like the young unintended is waking up,” said Sidar Asoudi.
Grimbould looked down, along with Blodusk.
“It’s a pity. I coulda thrown ‘em out with the rest of the garbage,” said Blodusk with a smirk on his face.
“What happened to him, sidar?” asked Grimbould.
“As I told Elder Molka, I should have known a weak willed unintended shouldn’t be trusted with Dreamer’s Respite,” said the sidar in a judgmental tone.
“Oh don’t trouble yourself, sidar. You merely served him. He probably spun you quite the tall tale to get it from you,” said Blodusk.
The sidar nodded in agreement and said, “It seems everything is in order then.”
“Thank you for your service,” said Grimbould.
“I live to serve,” said the sidar as he left the room.
“What did you do? Why were you drinking that potion?” asked Grimbould to Tameryh.
“I spoke with the sidar because I’ve been plagued with nightmares. He told me to take that to help sleep,” confessed Tameryh.
“Right. But it looks like you were taking more than you should have,” said Grimbould holding up a half-empty flask.
“I… if I waited too long I started having horrible pains. I couldn’t serve the house in that state!” protested Tameryh.
“I shoulda known,” said Blodusk as he cracked his knuckles.
“Thane Blodusk, I leave this to you now. Sorry, Tam, there’s nothing I can do,” said Grimbould solemnly.
Blodusk grabbed Tameryh by the arm, and dragged him out of bed.
“Get dressed. Now!” shouted Blodusk.
Tameryh hurriedly threw on his work clothes and presented himself to Blodusk.
“Off we go then,” said Blodusk as he grabbed Tameryh by the arm and dragged him out of the room.
The pair swam slowly through the servants quarters, through the kitchens, outside, then back into the main manor itself across the courtyard. Tameryh’s heart sank as he feared the worst. He was being brought to Elder Molka.
A pair of well dress guards stood in front of the main house of the manor. They saluted Blodusk as they approached.
“Well met, Thane. The elder awaits in his ante chamber,” said one of the guards.
Blodusk nodded, and pushed Tameryh out in front of him. Tameryh meekly swam through the house, which felt like a palace compared to the servants quarters. Finally, they approached the ante chamber, and Thane Blodusk knocked against the wall.
“Enter,” said Elder Molka.
Blodusk shoved Tameryh as he floundered into the room. Tameryh and Blodusk bowed to the elder, and the elder nodded slightly. The elder wore his golden chains, and held a coral staff in his right hand. Now, at almost 100 years old, the elder’s strength had greatly diminished. Over time, he relied more and more on his coral staff to anchor him while trying to remain motionless.
“Tameryh. Unintended. In recent years, you’ve served with Master Grimbould without many major incidents. However, in the past few days, my guards tell me you were leaving the manor without permission in the middle of the night. Then I hear you were lying to the clergy and abusing Dreamer’s Respite. Today, you forced us to contact the clergy to restore you. Completely unconscious through most of the day. What do you have to say for yourself?” asked Elder Molka.
“I confess. I asked for Sidar Asoudi’s help, and he gave me the potion. He never warned me of what it would do beyond help me sleep. If he would have told me it caused such pain, and trouble, I would have avoided it completely. I would have suffered through my nightmares,” explained Tameryh.
Tameryh heard the thane snort at his story.
“Oh, so you’d have me believe the sidar failed to tell you about this medicine? He lives to serve us, after all. What possible benefit would he have in misleading you? You. You disgrace the house with your accusations,” said the elder firmly.
“Sir, please!” pleaded Tameryh.
“Silence him, thane,” said Elder Molka.
The thane put his massive strength into a heavy backhand, sending Tameryh to the ground.
“Did I ask for your opinions, unintended? No. Here are the facts. Your mother’s mistake became my burden. You. She created a debt, and it was settled when we sent her east. You, however, failed to honor her sacrifice. You probably didn’t understand what those eastern scholars wanted, did you? Those disgusting Kouton offered me the vilest proposition. I’d never let our clan be used in such a way, but your mother gave up her claim. They needed Yaun-Teel. Fresh Yaun-Teel, still in their prime. Oh they slashed her, cut her, put her back together, but in the end, they bleed her dry. That’s right, boy, they butchered her,” exclaimed Elder Molka.
Tameryh started to pull himself back up, but Blodusk restrained him.
“No…” said Tameryh.
“Oh what’s that boy? You dishonor her sacrifice yet again?” said Blodusk as he tightened his grip.
“Unintended. I relieve you of your burdens. I relieve of your responsibilities. I relieve of your earnings, and release your debts to us. You are no longer recognized as unintended, you are nothing. You are not of clan Basqorjn, and you are not welcome here ever again,” said Elder Molka with a stern tone.
“Who do you serve?!” shouted Tameryh.
Elder Molka raised an eyebrow at this remark as Bludusk tightened his grip again.
“I live to serve this house! She lived to serve this house! Who do you serve by killing her!?” shouted Tameryh.
Tameryh began trashing, trying to escape Blodusk’s grasp.
“Why, I serve my clan, fool. Can’t you see? You are the proof that she served herself. You’ve followed in her wake,” said Elder Molka with a laugh.
Elder Molka turned to Blodusk, “Remove him immediately.”
Tameryh thrashed harder, and broke free of Blodusk’s grasp. He darted forward and slammed into Elder Molka. Elder Molka crashed into the wall, letting go of his coral staff. Tameryh picked the staff up, and whipped around to see Blodusk charging for him. Tameryh swam up and over, turned back around as Blodusk pulled out a short blade.
Quickly, Tameryh chanted a spell. As he chanted, he could feel the staff growing heavier in his hand as it accepted his magic. Blodusk charged him a second time.
This time Tameryh slammed the coral staff down at Blodusk hard. Initially, Blodusk raised his arm to block the blow, however the weight of the staff greatly exceeded his expectations. Blodusk arm snapped downwards, giving into the incredible weight of the magically reinforced staff.
Blodusk howled in pain as Tameryh lifted the staff back up.
“Guards, stop him at once!” shouted Elder Molka.
Tameryh hefted the staff upwards and charged towards Elder Molka.
“CEASE!” commanded Elder Molka as Tameryh felt a shock go through his body. He felt his hands let go of the staff as it sunk to the ground. Elder Molka braced himself against the wall clutching his chest.
Tameryh couldn’t move, but he heard the guards enter the room. He felt them grabbing his hands, and binding them. He saw one of the guards help Elder Molka leave the room and then he felt a sharp pain from behind. Tameryh’s vision went dark.
Tameryh awoke and found himself in a dark room with a small window and small locked hatch. His head hurt and he found bruises across his body.
“Hey! Where am I?” shouted Tameryh.
He heard someone approach.
“Oh. It looks like ‘the nothing’ is finally awake. Good news, you worthless trash. You’re being sent to the vastness. The abominations will have their way with your entrails!” shouted the guard.
“No… oh no…” said Tameryh trying to make sense of the situation.
“Oh you really can’t be surprised. You. A nobody assaults the head of House Basqorjn and you even manage to injure his thane? I’m surprised you even made it in here alive,” said the guard with a laugh.
That night, Tameryh found no rest. He found no peace. He was left with his thoughts, though not of dismay. He wanted them all dead. They lied to him for so long.
“They sent off my mother to the east, they said. They didn’t have the gall to tell me. She traded her life, and they let it happen. Then, they treat me like a servant for almost two decades, telling me I’m not good enough, I’ll never be part of the house,” he muttered as he floated around the room.
“I’ll never forgive them. The liars. The priest, the elder, the brute. To the vastness with the entire clan. All of them knew what happened! Those fowl, miserable, worthless, self-serving fools,” he said as he continued ruminating.
Tameryh kept swimming in a small circle, unable to find rest or calm his nerves. He worried that he might be left to rot in this cage for an eternity, but the guards returned a few hours later. They bound him up, and carried him outside. There, Tameryh saw the elder, the sidar, Blodusk, Grimbould, and others from the house.
As the morning sun shined down, a Yaun-Teel male in a city guard’s uniform said, “For his crimes against the city, assaulting an elder of the house, and assaulting his thane, both acts with intent to kill, we hereby sentence Tameryh to the vastness. Do any of you wish to speak out against this judgement?”
The crowd fell completely silent. Tameryh looked to Grimbould, but Grimbould looked down and away.
“Very well. We now cast you out. Lowliest of Yaun-Teel. Serve the vastness better than you served your kin!” shouted the guard.
The guards started placing small pouches across Tameryh’s body. The sidar approached and began chanting. One by one, the pouches inflated and Tameryh could feel his body being pulled slightly upwards. After a few moments, all the pouches had inflated and Tameryh began floating upwards at an alarming pace. Panic set in almost immediately as the vastness of the world above the water steadily got closer and closer. Tameryh desperately thrashed, trying to remove his restraints. No matter how hard he fought, he failed to loosen his bonds. The pouches continued to pull him towards the vastness. He squinted as the sun bared down on him. He’d never felt so much warmth before. He closed his eyes, accepting his fate.
Suddenly, a darkness fell over him. He opened his eyes, to see the red bloom coming right for him. Tameryh felt the cloud completely engulf him as he inhaled sharply. The bloom coated his gills and his panic turned to terror. The vastness approached closer and closer by the second, and Tameryh’s visions went completely dark.
Tameryh awoke as his head bounded, and his body ached. He attempted to raise up his head, but he lacked the strength. He let out a soft moan, as he felt a hand press against his head.
“Rest now, young one. You’ve survived the baptism,” came a female voice.
by Dustin Douglas
Tameryh’s first few years of apprenticeship were hard, but fairly simple.
He cleaned every inch of the manor, inside and outside. Additionally, he would help serve meals when the house hosted a large event. He woke up early in the morning, and stayed up late into the night trying to keep the house in order. As he approached maturity, House Master Gimbould decided Tameryh could work as a courier in town as well.
At the end of a long day, Tameryh was almost finished with his duties. No extra events were lined up, and the house was in good condition.
A bulbous Yaun-Teel wearing a silver version of the house sigil called out, “Tameryh! Come now lad. Bring this message to the slave pens.”
Tameryh perked up. He loved delivering messages since his duties rarely allowed him opportunities to leave the manor.
“Yes sir, Master Grimbould, sir,” said Tameryh with excitement.
“No lollygagging through town, boy. I’ll need your help preparing food when you’re back,” said Grimbould.
Tameryh nodded eagerly as he took the parcel from Grimbould. Tameryh darted out of the room, and swam up and out of the manor grounds. The Basqorjns kept their slaves pens near The Hole. Most slaves toiled away in The Hole mining opals for the Basqorjn family. Few of the slaves every saw much beyond the slave pens and The Hole. From time to time, the Basqorjn retain a few healthy Mer for breeding stock as well, as the Yaun-Teel become infertile after a few generations.
Tameryh looked down at a milky fog that hung in the water. Merely swimming through the grit irritated Tameryh’s gills, and lingering too long would start to hurt his lungs. The constant strip mining created the fog that constantly hung in the water, and many slaves fell ill to prolonged exposure to it. Very few animals or plants called this disgusting place home, other than the slaves.
Tameryh approached the slave master’s quarters, just outside of the pens. He knocked on the door and cleared his throat.
“Slave Master Quora, I have a parcel for you from the manor,” said Tameryh.
“Oye, is that the unintended little runt?” growled a voice from the other side of the door.
“It’s Tameryh here with your package,” said Tameryh with a touch of agitation.
Quora opened the door and looked down at Tameryh. Quora, a huge Yaun-Teel female with a wicked streak worse than Blodusk.
“Gimmie that you little unintended,” said Quora snatching the parcel from his hands.
“Nothin’ better ‘ave gone missin’,” she said.
“I’m not even privy to the contents of that parcel, madam,” said Tameryh with a touch of condensation in his voice.
She looked up and mocked, “oh not privy. Not privy to who yer father is, are ya? AH, ha ha!”
Tameryh scowled at her and said, “Very well. I’ll let Grimbould know you received your parcel.”
“Oye, you do that,” said Quora, slamming the door in his face.
Tameryh looked down and shook his head. He wanted to do so many wicked things to that terrible woman. He thought, “Would it be so bad to float her up to the surface and have the hellish creatures tear her to pieces? Perhaps something worse would be better…”
Tameryh turned away from the pens, and started to leave foggy mining area
“Come. Call to us. Command us.”
Tameryh tilted his head up, and looked back towards the mines.
“Surely, the miner’s aren’t still here,” thought Tameryh to himself.
Tameryh swam a short way towards the mine shaft, but saw no one. Tameryh shrugged his shoulders, and left. The tunnels can play tricks on the weak minded, and Tameryh new this too well.
As he turned back, he saw it. A small cloud of red bloom, hanging in the water. Despite the currents, it stood still. The red bloom softly swirled in front of him as Tameryh felt it pierce his mind.
“Come. Come with us. Come,” he heard a ghostly voice beckon.
Tameryh stood, transfixed. He heard the stories of the red bloom. A vile wave of red washed over unfortunate Pisceans. Some say it enters their body through their gills, and destroyed them from the inside out. Some say bodies dissolved in seconds, others claim blood shoots out of your eyes. Either way, Tameryh knew to avoid red bloom.
In the distance, Tameryh turned his head towards a commotion coming from the slave pens, but then looked back at towards the Red Mist. It was gone.
Tameryh returned to the manor, and ended his day. He spent the next few weeks growing increasingly paranoid of what he had seen. He finished his duties and went to sleep without saying a word of his experience to anyone. He wouldn’t speak a word of it for quite some time…
“Come. Call to us. Bring us to them. Come. Speak to us. Let us hear your sweet voice. Come. Tameryh. Wield us. Make us your instrument of purification,” whispered an unseen voice.
Tameryh floated dangerously close to the surface. The beasts of hell lurked above, obscured by the water’s barrier. The sun blazing in the distance as a shade overtook him. A cloud of endless red swirled around him, and all at once he felt great pain. His body dissolving and burning. Again he heard to voice.
“Come. Call to us. Come!” the voice shouted demanding his attention.
Tameryh jolted up from his slumber. Almost every night, the same dream found him ever since the red cloud first appeared.
After weeks of enduring these nightmares, Tameryh finally decided to speak with a priest of Merrshaulk. While Tameryh normally saved his hard earned coins, he knew that consultation with a priest practically required a tithe. Tameryh knew he could not endure the terrors of his dreams any longer without help. While it proved difficult to request time away from the manor, Grimbould approved a visit to the clergy of the Collector.
Tameryh approached the great temple of the Collector and breathed a heavy sigh as he entered.
“The collector’s blessing to you,” said an elder Yaun-Teel acknowledging his arrival. The elder continued, “How might we serve you this day?”
Tameryh nodded and said, “Collector’s blessing to you as well. I am Tameryh of Basqorjn, uh. Uh…” Tameryh paused for a moment, but swallowed his pride and continued, “Tameryh of Basqorjn, Unintended. I seek spiritual guidance from a Sidar.”
“Oh my. And with what urgency do you seek this guidance?” asked the elder gesturing towards his open palm.
Tameryh produced a small sack of coins and placed it in the elder’s hand.
“Your request has been heard. Please wait here. Sidar Asoudi should be available soon,” said the elder as he logged information on a scroll.
Tameryh waited in the main chapel area and studied the images of Merrshaulk’s champions emblazoned along the walls. The grand seekers, explorers, exploiters, slavers, wizards, sorcerers, and clergy. What ignorant folks called greed, the Yaun-Teel called creative ambition. These champions were so willing to sacrifice everything for their goals. Vanya of Targo, the great explorer. She founded the very city the Yaun-Teel called home. Her desires for fame and fortune created great benefit for the entire Yaun-Teel race. Tameryh looked at the portrait of Grand Wizard Juantic. He felt envious of his magical mastery, as Juantic first established a school for wizardy in Marst Gravis. Truly, greed and profit drove him, but all of the Yaun-Teel society profited from his actions. Before Tameryh could think further about his ancestory, an elder Sidar appeared.
“Tameryh of Basqorjn? Come. Speak with me,” said the elder Yaun-Teel adorned in gold.
The pair of Yaun-Teel slowly swam towards a private office in the back of the cathedral.
“What troubles you so, young one? Is it your mother?” asked the Sidar.
“Oh, no no. Thank you for asking, but… I’ve been having reoccurring nightmares.” Said Tameryh. He continued as Sidar Asoudi nodded solemnly, “It’s always the same. A red mist appears and calls to me. It wraps itself around me, I feel it consuming me from the inside out, and then I wake up in a panic.”
“What manner of red mist is this?” asked the sidar.
“Well. It looked like red bloom. At least, I think. One night after leaving the mine, I thought I saw a small patch drifting though. I heard the voice call to me then. Beckoning me to come closer. I looked around, looked back, and it disappeared,” said Tameryh.
The sidar cocked his head and raised an eyebrow at this story.
“Interesting,” said the sidar. He continued, “Were you alone? The slaves weren’t weaving magic at you perhaps?”
“As far as I know, I was alone. I was ready to brush this off as merely being exhausted from the day’s work, but the nightmares won’t stop. I didn’t feel any sort of fear when I originally saw the mist. I only feel fear in my dreams,” confessed Tameryh.
“I see,” said the Sidar. He continued, “I think I have something that may help.”
The sidar stood up, and began rummaging through a chest at the other side of the room. Tameryh heard glass clanking together, and the sidar eventually produced a large vial of dark liquid.
“I recommend you drink this draught each night before you sleep. This should last you the entire week. If you feel you need more, come visit me again. Of course, be prepared to offer a similar sized tithe as you did today,” said the sidar in a business-like tone.
The Sidar held up a small, cork-sealed vial with a siphoning spigot on the end. Tameryh remembered drinking from vials like that as a child, and he always hated the taste.
Tameryh looked at the sealed vial, nodded, and asked, “Do you think this dream means something deeper? I mean, what sort of thing is that red mist exactly?”
The sidar breathed a heavy sigh and said, “The filthy Mer share stories about it. Cursed waters that claim the wicked, some say. Others claim it’s the remnants of the Kraken’s old magics endlessly roaming the seas, consuming until the end of time. However, the toxin is simply algae. It grows, or blooms, to a massive size. It siphons the purity from the water, and even swimming near it might cause one to gag. At least that’s what the less superstitious might tell you. Perhaps there’s a bit of truth to all those stories.”
Tameryh nodded along and said, “but in the form of a dream? Could it mean something more?”
“Oh, you mean a figurative meaning!” said the sidar with a chuckle. He continued, “Dreams of death, they aren’t too uncommon. Merrshaulk visits images upon us, warning us of dire circumstance or splendid opportunity. Some say they are one in the same. Perhaps, he warns you too? The path ahead of you might be perilous, but trust your instincts. All of us know better than to swim into the red mists without needing to be told. When you feel something is wrong, trust that feeling.”
Tameryh nodded along eagerly.
“Good. Just remember to take small sip of this before bed each night,” said the sidar as he stood up and led Tameryh to the door.
“Yes sir. Thank you for sharing your guidance with me,” said Tameryh bowing.
“I live to serve,” said the sidar, holding open the door.
Tameryh gave a slight bow, and slowly swam out the door, placing the vial into his pack. While he went through the cathedral, he looked back up at the heroes of Merrshaulk and wondered how he might make a name for himself one day.
Tameryh thought to himself, “Could an unintended ever rise to prominence in the House of Basqorjn?”
As he exited the temple, a free Mer woman stared at him in the street. While a bit uncommon in this part of town, other races did come to Edonmul to trade. She wore straps of shagreen, and a tight fitting leather helmet. Tameryh thought she might be a hunter of some sort.
“Don’t give in to the great lies of Suminarae, as comforting as it may be,” said the Mer woman.
“What are you talking about?” asked Tameryh as he cocked his head.
“The priests. They tell you things. The things you need to hear to be a good Yaun-Teel. They tell you what you need to hear to ensure their station remains. If the currents keep flowin’ as they always have, their life will remain comfortable. So, really, who do they serve? They serve themselves first, they serve the lie second, and they might serve you third,” she said.
“Hey, don’t drag me into your toxic heresy!” said Tameryh raising his voice.
“Oh very well, unintended. Just remember this. Soon enough you’ll know you’re nothing more than a vessel to deliver coins, but you could be…” she trailed off.
With an incredulous look, he said, “Could be what?”
The woman faded away right in front of him as she said, “So much more.”
Tameryh looked all around for a trace of the Mer woman, but she disappeared. He looked to the other pedestrians passing by the area, but no one seemed to take note.
He thought to himself, “Who in the vastness was that, and how did she know I was an unintended?”