Endless Blue – Week 37.7 – Muses of the Five Senses   1 comment


Muses of the Five Senses

As long as pisceans have lived, they have felt the need to express themselves, to share a part of themselves, their beliefs, their understanding, with the rest of the school.  Words, not always adequate in themselves or the individual’s mastery of them, are replaced with innovative ways, communicating through other senses what seems impossible by speech.  By nature, muse is subjective, dependent on the skill of the artist to produce, the readiness of the patron to accept ideas, and the social expectation of how the individual should behave.

Art — Muse of Sight

Art in the Endless Blue is an extension of fabrication.  It is the need to create something solid through a physical medium.  The earliest pieces of art were scrimshaw carvings in flotsam or coral.  As the level of technology increased, art expressed itself in newer mediums, such as through architecture, sculpture, and painting.   Painting through water is a difficult task, and requires specialized pigment that are pliable enough to manipulate with relative ease but resist the environment’s constant solvency to wash it away.  The creation of a waxy pigment led to the birth painting, and the pinnacle tool of the trade exists in the form of the greasemarker.  The cultivation of animals led to the use of canvases made of hide, the expression of fashion through the wearing of iridescent scales and mined precious metals.  Packbreeders took wild species of aquatic spider and sea worms that produce small amounts of silk and bred them into textile marvels, just as they grew the oyster and the abalone into giants for their opalescent treasures.  Anything that is made by the hands of a craftsman can be utilized as the basis of art.

Music — Muse of Sound

Music is as integral part of piscean life as any other artistic expression, and in a world wrapped in water music takes on a life of its own.  The acoustic properties of water are perfect for propagating the reverberating sound waves produced by musical instruments, but require more energy to initiate their tones.  Water carries sound further because it is a denser material, thus can impart the vibration faster than the thinner medium of air.  This means any instrument that can be developed can have an aquatic counterpart.  The musical instruments of Elqua can be broken down into five categories:

Cordostrings — Instruments that make sound through vibrating a stretched string.  Examples are the violin or lute.
Hydrocurrents — These instruments produce sound by blowing a column of water through an echoing chamber.  The flute or the common horn are examples.
Idiopercussions — Represented by a child’s rattle, a cymbal, or the xylophone, these instruments elicit sound by striking, scraping, or shaking.  The sounds produced are short, and cannot produce extended notes.
Membranedrums — Similar to idiopercussions in that the need to be struck to produce their notes, these instruments are stretched membranes over a hollow space that serves as a reverberation chamber.
Vocalsong — The piscean voice, regarded as the most versatile and pliant instrument.  The Orcan versesingers are renown for the haunting beauty of their whalesong.

Through combination of some or all of these types of musical instruments, the waters of the Known World vibrate wonderfully with music.  And in response, somewhere deep within the piscean psyche, is the impetus to dance.  It is the audience’s reflection of the expression, the language of agreement, that conveys a deep resonance to the music.

Food — Muse of Taste

If there is one activity that is common to all the races of the Endless Blue, it would be the need to eat.  Survival, be it as an individual or as a species, is critically dependent on the consumption of nutrients to maintain health.  Without food, there is no energy; without energy, there can be no life.

Culinists are the artisans of this muse, crafting works of culinary magnificence to delight even the most jaded of palette.  They do so by manipulating the taste buds with sensations that can be divided into five categories:

Bitterness — Classically defined as an unpleasant sensation, the sensitivity to bitterness evolved as a method to detect toxic substances before they are swallowed.  It is best used in small doses to accentuate the taste of a dish.
Saltiness — This is the well known taste of seawater.  Since every gulp of breath brings the same taste, salt as a spice is usually rare.  It does come into play as a preservative of meat in the process of jerking.
Savoriness — Savory flavors are those of meat, a heady sensation released during mastication.  Some culinists say that herbivores lack the ability to sense this flavour, which has prevented their evolutionary ascendancy.
Sourness — Considered the opposite of sweetness, sourness developed as a method of plants and animals to avoid being eaten.  However, in small amounts it can be an interesting counterbalance to a light meal.
Sweetness — The taste of sugar, the food produced internally by plants.  It is the basic source of energy used by not only piscean biology, but most every form of life on the planet.

Sex — Muse of Touch

Next to the need to feed, the need to breed is nearly universal.  Nature has very cleverly bred the need to spawn into the very flesh of life, under the principle that the more offspring produced betters the chance of one surviving to reproduce itself.

Many of the religions of Elqua, notably the Olyhydrans, use dogma to shame its constituents, twisting their minds to believe that sex is a sin, a horrible temptation that needs to be resisted.  Sex is only sanctioned in the case of matrimony, and then only for the sake of procreation.  By instilling a moral taboo on a natural process, the churches have used their parishioners own guilt to sheperd them into the flock.  Their own guilt tells them they are unworthy of grace, and the church offers them absolution if only they ask for it.

More primitive spiritual systems, like those of the Locanth and the Yaun-Teel, embrace sex as a natural part of being piscean, of being alive.  In these cultures, sex is viewed as any other social activity, bereft of shame.  While the Yaun-Teel revel in their hedonism, the primitives like the Locanth, Kouton, and Sahaguin simply view it as another facet of life.

Between the two extremes fall the rest of the civilized races, trapped between the social taboo of lust and the undeniable yearning to fulfill it.  In these societies, the profession of prostitution has blossomed as a solution for the moral dilemma.

Thought — Muse of Understanding

A new muse, many traditionalist refuse to accredit its validity.  To simply think is hardly an expression, they say.  But to the imaginative, the inquisitive, the investigative, the need to understand is as fulfilling as any other sense.  They would tell you that that the need to understand is the impetus of all the other muses, for they all seek to open the mind to sensation.  The openness of thought this philosophy espouses is tantalizing for the likes of the Godless, and as a result they flock to it.  But the movement has garnered strong opposition from those that benefit from rote tradition, whom see this dangerous thinking as the beginnings of dissension.

One response to “Endless Blue – Week 37.7 – Muses of the Five Senses

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  1. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 110 – Elqua Calidus: The World Scalders | Endless Blue

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