Endless Blue – Week 37.6 – The Islands That Move   4 comments

Geography

The Islands That Move

One of the most disorienting sights on the world of Endless Blue are the phenomena known as the Floating Islands.  Ranging in size from Colossal to Immense, even at a distance their abnormality can be spotted clearly.  Every other island in the world is the result of the sloping sea bed, either sharply or slowly, rising above the level of the sea.  But these migratory islands are land without support, floating rock that hovers illogically in the waters overhead as life swims beneath its expanse.  Only passive research has been made of these strange formations — given names, charting course, noting size — but who knows what secrets could be unlocked should an in-depth expedition be launched to explore them.

Atlantica

A minor migratory island, Atlantica appears in the open waters between the Mer Currents and the Yaun-Teel Bights.  The islet’s claim to fame is the altitude at which it floats through the water.  Instead of bobbing along at the surface of the seas like all other migratory islands, Atlantic seems suspended in mid-depth.  It appears to be neutrally buoyant, niether rising to the surface or sinking to the depths, but instead constantly changing the level at which it hovers.  Early explorers soon realized that Atlantica keeps a constant level between the Shelf and the Vastness, exactly marking the mid-point between the two extremes.  Chelon navigators used this knowledge to aid in the development of the latitudinal system.

Island Size: Tremendous

Broken Chain Archipelago

An anomaly among the anomalous floating islands, the Broken Chain is an archipelago of small, roughly same sized island whose path is followed exactly by each island, forming a chain.  Five islands in all, these links keep roughtly the same heading and speed as their neighbors, somehow avoiding collision over all these years.  It was from observing these five islands that Seamus Lorwynn first formed his concept for the origin of species, which he entitled pangenesis.  Each island has a vastly different ecology: tropical, arid, temperate, boreal, and polar.  With these widely differing climates in relatively close proximity but still isolated, Lorwynn noticed life forms with distinct similarity but very different traits.  He surmised as one species migrated to a new climate, it eventually acclimated to the conditions there and adapted new traits to aid in its survival.  The isles are named Isle of Lamarck, Isle of Wallace, Isle of Darwin, Isle of Mendel, and the Isle of Avery.  The chain follows a current from the Bay of Kouton north-eastward between the Gulf of Locanth and the Cetacean Oceans to the Arctic Circle, and back again.

Island Size: Tremendous

Charybdis

Believed to be the world’s first floating island, the mass floats along the surface of the water, wide and flat, at a constant speed one knot.  It often floats by other islands, masterfully navigating sand bars and other underwater obstacles, coming close enough for animals to make the jump/flight/swim to its lush ecology.  A verdant jungle thrives on the isle of Charybdis, constantly adding new breeds and species with every pass near landfall.  Even the underside of the landmass are fields of coral and barnacles, completely covering every inch of surface.  While species have been seen to immigrate to the island, no witness has ever noticed emigration from it.  This is believe to be caused by majority of botanical life, which has evolved to be carnivorous.

The truth of this floating island is that it is not even an island at all, but an immense creature.  Possibly a tojanida, it seems placid, with no other care than to continually float on Elqua’s currents.  It never needs to feed, for the forests of plants on its back burrow their roots and tendrils into the tojanida’s carapace in search of sustenance, and in return pass on some of their sugary sap directly to the behemoth’s blood stream.  The plants supplement their sap with the nutrients needed to maintain their host by a secondary diet of animals, caught in all manner of ingenious and colorful ways.

Island Size: Immense

Denebris

Slowly, almost methodically circling the portion of the southern hemisphere blocked off by the Spine of the World, the migrating island dubbed Denebris was a massive meteor that impacted the planet long in its past.  Initially fused to the crater it created upon impact, centuries of erosion wore away at the volcanic rock that trapped it.  Free, the meteorite began to float.  The strange ore that comprises its mass shares a similar structure to that of pumice, with a multitude of microscopic air pockets encased in thin layer of glass.  Deeper into the immense mass, these air pockets become larger, to the point where these glass gas nodules lower the density of the ore surrounding enough to float.  It is shaped much like an iceberg, with only a tiny portion cresting the waves in comparison to the rest of its volume.  The island is remarkably stable, and life has migrated to its surface and made it home, just as it has all over the globe.  Lumulus have begun secret expeditions to mine the island of this ore, which is believed to make deartsteel.  Their endeavor may be causing irreparable damage to the island, compromising it buoyancy and may one day cause it to sink.

Island Size: Immense

Horizon’s Compass

Another curiosity in behavior, this elongated, elliptical island does not cruise the currents randomly like the other islands do, but stays stationary.  Instead, it rotates in place at varying speeds, its blunted end the axis and its extended end pointing towards the horizon.  It floats many leagues to the north of the massive undead sargasso that eclipses the Maw of the Kraken and south of the Crèche of Civilization, in an area of  consistent Shoals called Curin’s Pass.  Curin’s Pass cuts through the normally impassable Spine of the World, but it falls within the ruins of the Kraken Empire, and as such is never traveled.  But with the recent over-population of the Known World, perhaps there is opportunity for those bold few who ignore superstition to follow where the compass points.

Island Size: Tremendous

Spur Island

One of the smaller  migratory island, this island hosts a mass of the mysterious structures known as Spurs. Scattered across its surface both above and below the waves, they make the island seem more like a giant geode than normal land.  It moves perhaps the most quickly of all the migratory islands, its course keeping a wide berth of any densely populated areas.  Life has not spread to the island due to its listing nature, wherein the island will seemingly rotate in a contrary direction than it is moving in and start a new course.  With no single surface exposed or submerged for any length of time, it maintains a rocky, volcanic look.  Those Godless that chart the Vastness can attest that the island seems to find the fastest gulf streams to carry it across the oceans quickly.  The temperature of Spur Island is enough to make what little rainfall the atmosphere produces freeze into ice and snow, which then melted into the world’s ocean when the island rotates.

Island Size: Tremendous

Utopia Garden

This island is neither mineral nor animal, but vegetable.  It is an extremely tightly entwined mass of entangled sargassum that has existed for many centuries.  As the older sargassum dies, newer growths used the dead plants as a source of nourishment.  This layering of interwoven growths has formed a wicker effect that serves as a habitat on the level of the most richest coral reef.  It is home for a disproportionate number of “border” animals — life forms that can survive on either side of the ocean’s surface.  Here, protected from the predation of the Vastness’ aberrations and the fishing of the piscean races, an uniquely pacifistic ecosystem has developed.

Island Size: Colossal

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