Endless Blue – Week 56 – Vitruvian Chelon   4 comments

Biology

Vitruvian Chelon

The Chelon deviate from the Picean Form significantly.  The most visible of these deviations is that the torso and tail take up only half of their length, instead of the two-thirds all other expressions of the shape possess.  Behind that, all Chelon have a thickened carapace over their back that is physically fused with their skeletal structure.  This dwarfish morphology both limits and enhances their natural abilities.

The Chelon shell is a rigid casing, encapsulating the species’ internal organs behind a series of fused scales called “scutes”.  As an extension of their ribcage, it cannot be removed from a Chelon short of dismemberment.  With butchery being the only method of separating the Chelon from the shell, only the most cruel or offensive individual would employ the removed shell as personal clothing or armor.  However, the early history of Elqua is rife with conflict both individual and culture-wide; and in these more primitive times, it was not unheard of to claim Chellonshell from fallen opponents as a spoil of war.  Many of those trophies of battle still exist to this day, notably among the barbaric Narwahl and Sahaguin tribes of the Sahaguin Lagoons.  The usage of the shells of non-intelligent sea turtles is not uncommon, except in Chelon societies where it is view as somewhat ghoulish.  There are folklore-ish ghost stories told of “flayed ones”, dead Chelon whose bodies were desecrated for their carapace, now descended from death in a mindless geas retrieve what is rightfully theirs by the death of those that hold the shell.

The shells themselves come in all shapes and sizes, but in general can be attributed to one of three basic types: terrapin, turtle, and tortoise.  Each has a lineage that can be traced back for hundreds of generations, but interbreeding amongst their histories has all but obliterated the ethnicities into a simple variation of the Chelon genome.  Tracing a Chelon’s ancestry through inheritance of their shell shape is in reality little different from claiming “1/16th Irish” or “3/8ths Amerind” — it is an attempt at validating aggrandizement and social standing.

The classic vision of the Chelon shell is that of the terrapin: a curved bowl over the shoulders and down the back of roughly hexagonal scutes, fringed with a thicker rim of smaller scutes.  From there the shell can either have more smoothly fused scutes into a flowing shape, expressing the turtle lineage; or in the opposite direction, with each scute becoming more blocky, looking like embedded blocks into the more concave bowl of a tortoise shell.  The fluid dynamics of turtle shells makes them more effective in  matters of speed and agility, but not enough to constitute a separate race.  This applies to tortoise shell Chelon as well, whom do not enjoy any greater protection than the other shell versions.

While the shell itself does have nerve endings in its keratin-like substance, a sense of touch is propagated through the systems more through sensitivity to pressure.  Due to this diminished capacity of “pain sensation”,  the carapace is a popular location for piercings and carving (but makes a poor medium for tattooing).  The frill around the edge of the carapace and the collar along the front (the scutes on the front of a Chelon are called the “plastron”) are common places for rings, bands, and in the case of the scutes near the head, mounts for ground crystal lenses meant to aid in magnification.

Connecting the back carapace and the front plastron are a series of four vertical scutes called the bridge.  These scales overlap the Chelon’s gills, providing protection to the delicate organs.  One gill lines each of the border between the bridge scutes.  Despite this localize protection, Chelon gills are just as vulnerable to disease and injury as other Pisceans.

The pelvic and caudal fins of the Chelon have two claws pressed flat along the upper edge.  These claws are vestigial, being inanimate and possessing no edge or point, serving only as an indicator to Resurrectionists and the Godless of change through generations of breeding.  Unlike their primitive cousins the turtles, Chelon cannot retract their limbs into their shell.  The best that can be accomplished would be for the individual Chelon to pull its elongated neck back into the fleshy collar, achieving little less that a “shrugging look”.

The Chelon are one of the races of Elqua that reproduces oviparously — by laying eggs.  As such, they do not posses a navel like those races that give birth to live offspring.  A single fertilized egg is laid via the vent and cared for by hand until hatching.  These are single births, and having twins among the Chelon is unheard of.  The rate of successful childbirth among the Chelon has been steadily falling for some time now, and while at one time it was blamed on poor attention to incubation, internal studies are now finding that it is the plummeting frequency of conception that is the culprit.  While the species as a whole is not teetering on the edge of extinction, the balance of natural death to birth rate is markedly tilted towards a shrinking population.

Proportions of Chelon

Alleged Resurrectionist document titled “Vitruvian Chelon”

Armor for the Armored

While the Chelon do derive benefit of increased resilience due to their shell, the protection offered by nautiluses greatly improves upon in, especially in the case of Xanthellae Coral.  Cultivated most of the Chelon’s life, this mass of coral growths is rooted in the individual’s shell, encasing it in a thick layer of coral.  The native porousness of coral allows the nautilus to be grown directly over the gill slits between bridge scutes without interfering with respiration.  Xanthellate Coral will be found most often in the form of a breastplate, but can be manifested in lesser forms as decoration.  Bands around the arms, tail, and digits is common among those skilled in Xanthellate crafting, and the notoriously ominous Masques worn by the Society of Shapers are examples of this crafts’ non-combat oriented products.

4 responses to “Endless Blue – Week 56 – Vitruvian Chelon

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  1. These drawings are cool. Too bad I cannot see them at work:-(

    Christopher Ricks
    • Thanks, Chris! It has been so long since I spent any time drawing that I can feel it now — it took me so long to draw those two Vitruvian pics that I worry about being able to do more. Ideally I want to do all the races, but I’m thinking I may only do the Civilized ones — I’m just not satisfied with my own abilities to do them at an acceptable level of quality.

      The reason the pictures are not showing up at work is probably because the pics themselves are hosted on Photobucket and linked to here. While WordPress does offer storage space, I like to use that space more for “infrastructure” (the banners, page backgrounds, etc.) and use Photobucket for content images. I did this because originally I mirrored this blog on LiveJournal and Blogger, and to prevent conflict of interest issues wanted a neutral third party for image storage.

      Besides, don’t you have more important things to do at work, such as… well, work? *S*

  2. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 97.1 – Chelon: Illustrated | Endless Blue

  3. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 102 – The Shelf: Illustrated | Endless Blue

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