Endless Blue – Week 44 – The Ur’qwal’she: Perfection in Form   3 comments

Archaeology

The Ur’qwal’she: Perfection in Form

The Ur’qwal’she are a series of artifice construction projects that began secretly the Bronze Era of Elqua.  The current Ur’qwal’she — the eight in the line of improved attempts at the perfect hippoideal form — is almost ovoid in shape and about three meters radially.  An access lock on the outside of the oval casing is specifically designed for the triangular arrangement of the Lumulus’ three fingers, which must interlock around the latch in order to open the hatch ingress.  Picking the lock is a nearly impossible task achieve without some form of divine intervention or arcane boon.

It becomes obvious upon opening the apparatus that this is not simply some dearthsteel shell.  Inside are strange pods, space for four masses roughly the size of pisceans.  These pods are interlaced with conduits, chains, ligaments, and cord, working into the very walls of the shell like fabric.  Inside the first two pods, at about the same location that a passenger’s gill slits would be, are a series of ten sigil-less levers, and the bottom of these opened eggs lays a layer of padding around a central spool.

History

The inquisitive and the diplomatic have long tried to understand the minds of the incomprehensible Lumulus, and rarely has there been any success.  But the same is true from the Lumulan perspective looking outward at the homeseas of the shell-less.  Unshackled by the constraints of religious dogma, the alien minds of the Lumulus have contemplated tirelessly about the intrinsic metaphysical questions that the other races do.  It seems to be one of the few things shared in common with the rest of the piscean species, but even that commonality is not enough to catch glimpses into the inconceivable thought processes that ruminate in their chitinously encased craniums.  Without spiritual doctrine to dictate their direction, Lumulan philosophers turned to more logical methodology to glean the answers they sought.  In the quest to solve the enigma of why life exists, the Lumulus stepped into the role of Creator and chose to determine how.

The birth of the cultural quest known as  The Ur’qwal’she — Perfection of Form — began in the Bronze Era.  Developing the art of smithing metals not only gave the Lumulus an unsurpassable  edge in economical development, but gifted them with the medium in which to forge the most ambitious  agenda of any species in the known world.  The final objective of their progressive plan was to produce the perfect reproduction of the Lumulan morphology, and to attain that goal they began construction on a machine that would obsess their culture for millennia.  Individuals willing put aside their own aspirations for themselves, their families and their forgeclans, and instead targeted their attention on learning the skills and knowledge that would be needed to complete their great experiment.  The shaping of metal, the mixing of alchemicals, the assemblage of an almost never ending series of interconnecting clockwork parts was deemed more than an honor, but a duty more dear than loyalty to their race.

The beginning form of the Ur`qwal’she was simplistic, even austere.  A rough lozenge shape that could barely fit the two pilots elected to operate it during it’s test trials.  Once cramped uncomfortably inside, the activation of the machine began a series of physical rearrangements of it’s constituent pieces, like a revolving puzzle.  Three short, pole-like legs on each side, a pair of clumsy and cumbersome claws extended from the front, below the hemispherical portholes, each beneath a short but slim shaft of metal.  Behind it the rear extended in sections, lengthening the craft a half-times again before unfurling into a fluked rudder.  The deployed state corsely imitated the idealistic form of the crustacean-like shape of it creators.

Despite its auspicious beginnings, the inaugural launch of the Ur’qwal’she met in disaster.  Failure of the first incarnation was brutal and stunning, leading many to think the task was beyond the reach of Lumulan minds.  But in the end rugged determination won out and the project was renewed.  The second incarnation began reconstruction, cannibalizing the form of the first incarnation in much the same way a Lumulus might consume a previously shed carapace.  The Lumulus learned from their early mistake, improved upon the Perfect Form, and eventually were ready for their second attempt at creating perfection.

It failed.  So too did the next attempt, and the next, and the next after that…  Several generations of apparatus have been forged and re-forged, only to have nature prove the whole attempt to be in vain.  But each failure only further tempered the Lumulan resolve, and the pieces that were to become the artifact Ur’qwal’she were collected and started anew.

No incarnation of the Ur’qwal’she has ever been lost.  The closest came during an outbreak of the Shellback skirmishes when aggressive Chelon forces occupied the area secretly storing the apparatus’ bare structure for several months.  During those few months it took every ounce of Lumulan ingenuity and dedication to finally drive back the invaders whom it is believed never found the hidden workshop that stored it.  Quickly the Lumulus moved it to a more remote location on the fringes of the Lumulus Basin and the Spine of the World, in the Antarctic Circle.  There it lay dormant and undiscovered as the Kraken Empire rose to prominence and dominated the Known World.

With the fall of the Kraken Empire, the way was cleared to rescue the Ur’qwal’she from banishment and continue the creation.  Today, the octal incarnation is near completion, in part due to the same “deal with the devil” the Lumulus made with the Chelon to defeat their common masters.  Now armed with the secret of lumulating dearthsteel, the Lumulus are convinced this is the ultimate achievement, and success is all but ensured.  Once activated, it will the culmination of a geas felt through the entire species for nearly as long as there is written record of history.

Campaign Use

The Ur’qwal’she is not a simple magical item to be given the players as payment for some undertaken task.  Indeed, only under the most dire of circumstances would a player character even be let near the artifact, let alone been given control over its function.  However, threats to the artifact’s location or existence are prime opportunities for interaction with the players.  The potential power of the craft is another angle, and the player characters might be enlisted by a concerned faction that the Ur’qwal’she will be used as weapon of war, or even a blue print for further creations.  Such a mechanized navy would make the LMSDF or some other agency an unstoppable force, completely unbalancing the state of affairs among the Fluid Nations.

Powers

Constant

– Gazing through the porthole “eyes” of the Ur’qwal’shi grant those viewing with ultravision up to 60 feet.
– The claws possess the vorpal and keen weapon qualities.

Invoked

– The craft can ignore the effects of any current or buoyancy altering spell.
– The body of the vessel can be made to shed ultraviolet light equivalent to daylight so that those inside may see out the porthole “eyes”.
– The apparatus virtually inhales in water like any other living creature, sustaining a breathable liquid for those inside.  It automatically filters out any toxic or poisonous substance carried in that inhaled water (such as Ceph ink, red tide toxin, or other contaminant), but does not provide breathable water where there is not (such as in a brine lake or above the surface).  This power prevents the passengers from using any type of currentsense within the confines of the craft.  The apparatus can seal off the flow of water from outside its hull and essentially “hold its breath”, leaving the occupants to breathe enough stored fresh water for four to eight hours, divided evenly among the number of occupants.

Resonating

– The apparatus resonates with those parts of itself re-incorporated from previous incarnations.  As a result, the octal incarnation has a primitive “race memory” imprinted on its alchemical conduits and eldritch mechanisms.  This imparts upon the pilot of the vessel an almost empathic link with the craft, and passes on rudimentary emotional cues like fear and anger when face with conditions similar to those that destroyed it in previous incarnations.
– The artifact is capable of consuming prey caught in its pincers.  This act helps repair any physical damage to the craft first, then nourishes the passengers inside.  While inside, the passengers do not succumb to hunger or thirst.

Curse

– The rigors of using the Ur’qwal’she slowly drain the animus vitae of those inside.  The immediate effect is the doubling the need to trance (or sleep for non-Lumulus).  Long term exposure results in permanent point loss to Constitution, and eventually death.  Bodies left inside the Ur’qwal’she after death become perfectly mummified, preserved right down to the intact hair follicle.

Suggested Means of Destruction

It must be piloted to the surface and let all it vital fluids drain out onto the dry soil.
It must be crushed between two colliding islands that move.
It must be made to peel the hull from itself with its own pincers.

3 responses to “Endless Blue – Week 44 – The Ur’qwal’she: Perfection in Form

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  1. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 66 – Wonders of the Aquatic World « Endless Blue

  2. Pingback: Endless Blue – Kickstarter Day 09 – The Epochs of Elqua « Endless Blue

  3. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 91 – Icthara, the Voracious | Endless Blue

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