Endless Blue – Week 57 – Vitruvian Orcan   2 comments

Biology

Vitruvian Orcan

Giants among the sentient races, the Orcan are massive creatures with a history just as grand.  A third again the length of a Mer but three times the girth, a single Orcan digit is a thick as a Mer’s wrist, with palms so wide they could crush a Chelon’s skull.  Yet their savage past is now tempered with wisdom and deference, earning the Orcan’s the title “Poet Warriors”.

The foremost aspect noticed of the Orcan is their sheer size, followed by their distinctive monochromatic pigmentation.  Giants of the deep, they extend from nine to ten feet in length,maintaining a 3:5 ratio of torso to tail.  The sturdy skeleton of the Orcan, consisting of bone and cartilage of exceptional resilience, is encased in thick layers of muscle, blubber, and skin.  This gives the Orcan a rounded look, and mutes some of the variation in skin and scale texture that lines the faces of other species.   Some features of the Piscean form are obscured by this, such as the neck and chin.  Even the digits of the hands have taken on a blunt, stubby appearance due to the overly padded epidermis.

Orcans are technically omnivorous, though through cultural development maintain a specialized diet.  They posses multiple adaptions for consumption, both visible and concealed.  Not only are their jaws lined with round, conical teeth perfectly suited for tearing meat, but the palate of the mouth has a series of hanging plates that can capture even microscopic morsels.  Called baleen, these plates act like a filter, straining phytoplankton and rhodoarchaea from the waters.  To maximize the collection, the Orcan has developed an extended “cheek” that runs from the lower lip down to the navel.  This is the ridged flesh seen on the chest of the species, and when feeding can expand like a bladder, holding more water to be pushed through the baleen in order to hopefully capture more particulate food.  Orcans eschew the consumption of meat, and instead rely on this filtration system to keep their bodies nourished.

It is little surprise that the larynx of the Orcan is a marvel.  The Versesingers of the Orcan Oceans are renown, with their Whalesong vocalizations the stuff of legend.  The ability to sing multiple notes simultaneously is attributed to the additional laryngeal folds in the throat.  While most all Pisceans have these proto-folds to aid in swallowing and respiration, those of the Orcan are more developed and can produce sounds almost as complex as the primary chords.  It is the resonance created by singing in different octaves that helps these cetaceans project their voices over incredible distances, and some can even achieve such force that the sound stuns smaller organisms.

The species takes advantage of this vocal modularity in a form of sensation called echolocation.  Beneath the skin of the forehead lies an organ called the melon, an ovoid shaped collection of fatty tissues.  The melon is sensitive to vibration, and is linked to the tympanic membranes that serve as the Orcan’s ears.  Through the use of long notes and short clicks, sound waves travel from the Orcan out into the waters.  Anything in those waters will bounce the sound wave back, and through the bioacoustic nature of the melon, be picked up by vibrations in the fatty tissues.  This forms a three-dimensional image in the mind of the Orcan that allows them sight when there is no light.

Gestation of Orcan young is a long and arduous affair.  Pregnancy lasts fifteen months or more, with the child invariably being delivered as a breach birth.  While the rounded shape of the Orcan body alleviate the usual worry of strangulation by the umbilical cord inherent in breach births, the prominent dorsal fin can still entangle a newborn.  Carrying a child to term is taxing on the female, and will severely deplete her nominal levels of stored blubber.  By the time of live birth, the mother’s skin will sag loosely, like fabric.  To maintain milk production, the female must double her normal consumption rate or risk permanent damage to her body, possibly even death.

Vitruvian Orcan

Alleged Resurrectionist document titled “Vitruvian Orcan”.


Brothers Lost – The Narwahl

A distinct subspecies of the Orcan, the Narwahl mostly inhabit the Sahaguin Lagoons in the southern hemisphere of Elqua.  Socially they still embrace the barbaric ways of their ancestors, and still possess the same dental tusk of those fore bearers.  Essentially an elongated incisor jutting past the lips of the upper jaw, the tusk either appears on the left- or  right-hand sides.  Rare cases have developed both tusks, but such random mutations usually have one tooth pulled.  Choosing the tusk opposite of the individual’s natural inclination for handedness prevents accidents from semi- and full-autonomic reflexes due to chirality.

The Narwahl find no compunction in the consumption of meat; indeed, they revel in it.  While they still possess baleen and utilize them regularly as a part of respiration, Narwahl heavily supplement their diet with the flesh of other organisms.  Their conical teeth are perfectly formed for the rending of flesh from bone, and what they cannot rend their massively muscled jaws will simply crush.  Examination of the contents of the stomach in deceased Narwahl shows collections of indigestible organs such as squid beaks and mollusk shell lodged in the digestive lining.  Hunting prey is a major part of the Narwahl life, and the “bloodying of the tusk” is a rite of passage for their young to come of age.

Most notably, the skin pigmentation of a Narwahl lacks the darkened  expanse of their northern brethren.  While they may have kept the tusk of their barbaric ancestors, the Narwahl have lost the coloration.  Instead their flesh is a greyish tone with dispersed mottling, becoming more dense along the back.  This gives them a subtle, natural looking fade versus the stark borders of shade their Orcan brethren have.  The documentable splitting of the two subspecies is a favored example for the Godless to advance their views on evolution, but others with contrary ideologies counter that since the two can still interbreed, they are still the same race.

2 responses to “Endless Blue – Week 57 – Vitruvian Orcan

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  1. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 96.1 – Orcan: Illustrated | Endless Blue

  2. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 112 – OCEAN Personality: Traits of the Endless Blue’s Homeseas | Endless Blue

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