Endless Blue – Week 58 – Vitruvian Lumulus   1 comment

Biology

Vitruvian Lumulus

Life beneath the waves of Elqua comes in a rich diversity of shapes, ranging from the microscopic rhodoarchaea through the placid Banard’s Swallowers to the inconceivably immense zaratan.  Even the sentient races of the Known World come in an astounding array of forms, in scale, flesh, and shell.  Of all this variation, the Lumulus are perhaps the least “piscean” of all the species of the Endless Blue.

Smallest of the civilized races, mature Lumulus average in length about four feet.  The species is divided into three subraces, identifiable by the pigmentation of their exoskeleton: the red r’hakol’va, the blue j’hastog’ke, and the black m’horst’ki.  Natives of Elqua that have trouble pronouncing the Lumulan language call the races rakova, jastog, and morski, respectively.   The respective ethnicities seem to be compatible for cross-breeding purposes, but such activity is unilaterally rejected by the Lumulus in all contexts.  Despite this, all Lumulus share the same common traits so accurately that separating individuals into subspecies is little better than cosmetic sorting.

The Lumulus’ bodies are blocky slabs of flesh encased in chitin, lacking the sleek triangular shape found in the other races.  This is most notable in the tail, that instead of slimming down to a flaring caudal fin, maintains nearly the same girth all the way along its length.  A thin spine grows through the middle length of the central caudal fin, but it is fragile and useless as a weapon.  A hemispherical shell grows from the back and extends out about a foot in all directions around their barrel-chest, and it possess a hinged, barbed flap that bends at the back of the waist and hangs down over the rear.  These barbs, as is the tail spine, are too fragile to be effectively used in battle.

The chitinous skin of the average Lumulus varies in thickness over the body.  At places it is thick and rigid, such as along the back, where it acts like a secondary exterior skeleton and minor nautilus; while at other points like the joints, it thins out enough to become flexible, allowing movement.  This offers the Lumulus some addition reinforcement for its body, but not enough eschew nautiluses altogether.  A secondary benefit of their toughened skin is a noticeable resistance to heat.  They are as capable of being burned as any other piscean, just that the source of the extreme heat must actually touch their skin to have its damaging effect instead of sufficient proximity.  As the outermost epidermal layer, the shell must be shed for the Lumulus to grow.  Assuming a standard level of nutritious intake, this shedding will take place about once a year.  The normally smooth texture of a Lumulan newborn’s shell become progressively more jagged with each molting, a state exacerbated by the culturally accepted tradition of consuming previously shed carapaces.

Alleged Resurrectionist document titled “Vitruvian Lumulus”.

Every joint of the Lumulan form is double jointed, capable of flexing in both directions with equal strength.  A series of three primitive digits lines the ribcage along either side.  When extended, these three-jointed fingers are capable of fine motor control, but lack the raw strength for rigorous activity, but when laid flat against the side effectively cover the fine bristles of the gills, providing protection.  The hands of a Lumulan mirror this triumvirate of fingers, but instead of aligned in parallel along the side, radiate outward around the wrist in a circle.  All three digits of the hand are opposable, giving the Lumulus a unique grip that is taken into account in their design of tools and ungues.  The additional muscle mass in their thick wrists give their fingers significant crushing strength with unmatched manual dexterity.

The head of the Lumulus is a fascinating case of biological diversification.  It shares the same carapace that encases the rest of the body, flaring out into a slanted curvature around two bulbous, dark eyes.  A ridge extends out from between the eyes, and curves downward into a  tapering point a few inches in front of the mouth.  While this proboscis makes feeding directly with the mouth more difficult, the Lumulus have adapted by tearing off smaller bits and bringing them to the mouth behind the barrier.  With the facial ridge blocking their line of sight just in front of their mouths, the Lumulus developed a series of fine, stiff hairs around their mouth that respond to touch, allowing the individual to “feel” the proximity of food in relation to their lip.  Growing from either side the jawline are a series of three antennae, with two minor antennae pointing forward half a foot and a full foot respectively, and a major antennae that wraps around the next and tuck up behind the back of the skull.  These are modified version of the “whiskers” Lumulus use to feed, and it is believed these organs aid the Lumulus in sensing increases in temperature from the billowing superheated water ejected from thermal vents.

Lumulans are the second of the two civilized races that still reproduces oviparously, a trait generally attributed to more primitive oceanic life forms.  Further separating themselves from the piscean races, a clutch of Lumulan eggs numbers in the dozens.  Both the male and the female share in the care of the eggs, nestling one against either ventral plate down the length of the tail.  The semi-porous egg shell slowly bonds to the carapace of the parent — usually by a week’s time — where it permanently attaches until hatching.  Newborns will then feed upon the remnants of their egg, akin to the species consumption of their shed exoskeletons.  An adult Lumulus can carry up to twelve eggs each (one pair per tail segment), so in cases where a clutch outnumbers the available space on both parents a difficult decision is made on which eggs to allow a chance to mature and which ones become a meal.  This behavior of carrying children further impacts the difficulty in telling male and female Lumulus apart to other pisceans.

One response to “Endless Blue – Week 58 – Vitruvian Lumulus

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  1. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 97.2 – Lumulus: Illustrated | Endless Blue

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