Endless Blue – Week 59 – Dreadnoughts of the Kraken   1 comment


Dreadnoughts of the Kraken

The incursion of the united Kraken species was overwhelmingly brutal.  Inhuman in their savagery, the massive squid crashed over the homeseas of the Known World like a tsunami.  Smashing settlements and reefs with indiscriminate ease, they were like an encroaching storm, unstoppable, spewing out from the Maw, effectively blotting out the light from above and eclipsing the oceans of Elqua in a languishing darkness.

At first, the Kraken attacked piecemeal, each individual claiming absolute domination over its local waters.  The minor villages and secluded towns fell easily, but as the sea tyrants closed in on denser populations, they were faced with more significant resistance.  As the indigenous people fought back against the invading beasts, the unthinkable happened — the once solitary, unsociable monsters began to work in tandem! Never before had any piscean seen one Kraken enter another’s territory unchallenged, but to find the previously monolithic races co-operating in the subjugation of the sentient races gave rise to a new terror that would ravage the water world of Elqua for centuries.

The Kraken Occupation, as it became known, was this period in Elqua’s history, where the unified forces of the Kraken began a sweeping advance through the seas of the Known World.  It what was originally the Verdant Epoch, the age of “new life, new prosperity”, it was a bitter, devastating war, driving the other races into hiding, but never quite destroying their will to resist.  Redubbed “The Verdigris Epoch”, thus began a race of rapid armament, a desperate drive of ever-incremental weaponizing that eventually led to the marriage of two ancient civilization through Lumulan oresmithing and Chelonite enchantment.  But the ultravision imbued ungues, aegides, and nautiluses were not the only creations from these sorrowful times.  Under the tight strangulation of their tentacles, the Kraken occupiers created their own weapons of war, siege machines even more terrifying than abominations that roam above the waves: the Dreadnoughts of the Kraken.

Nautilus of the Gargantua

Massive, heavily muscled individuals under the Kraken regime were outfitted with special nautiluses called armonites.  Armonite nautiluses were comprised of segmented, reticulated plates that encompassed the body of a Kraken when fully deployed in their spiral pattern around a central axis.  Like the armored shell of their primitive ammonites, the Kraken were  encased in these constructs, overlapping their already impervious skin.  Movement and flexing of the Kraken’s body would shift these plates, adjusting their position, collapsing their layout and reinforcing intended areas.  These plates follow the Fibonacci sequence, with the outermost plate able to slide back and cover both the previous two plates, even when fully deployed, and so on.  Fully collapsed, the outermost plate covers all the other stacked up plates in a curved  wedge pattern.

The Armonite nautiluses themselves are the tainted creation of enslaved Lumulus, pressed into producing these engines of war for the most brutal of Kraken.  Each set of armor is individually tailored to the wearer, so the Dreadnought must endure the months of fitting and re fitting.  The margin of error for the shifting plates is so minute that enslaved Lumulan oresmiths used the exacting requirements as an excuse to slow their progress (sometimes to almost a year more than actually needed), a form of passive rebellion.  It is only due to the Lumulus’ shrewd minds that a Dearthsteel Armonite was never made, at a cost of many lives.  While the Kraken continued to forcibly produce Armonites, the Lumulus’ steadfast will to prevent such a tragedy won in the end when the Kraken Occupation was shattered.  Unfortunately, that did not prevent many of the Armonites from becoming enchanted with among other magicks the ability to stay enshrouded in shadow.

Of only a minor detriment, wearing an armonite greatly reduced the movement speed and agility of their wearers.  What was once the only hope for defeating these colossals of destruction was quickly dashed on the rocks as the Dreadnought were often escorted by two to four unencumbered Kraken.  These escorts could more easily respond to shifting tides of battle, thus serve as interference until the undersea titan could swim into place and unload its catastrophic contents.  Armed with this newly devised tactic, the armonite-clad Dreadnoughts became scourges of the seas, and were quickly elevated to the defacto tool for suppressing organized indigents.

The Dreadnought only occupied about one third of the internal space of the Armonite, its body, though flexible, was not pliant enough to twist around the access that normal nautiluses do.  These unused area, at first, were originally used as armor protection from attacks on the beast’s “belly”.  However, during the Battle over Kopian Fields, one particularly atrocious Kraken Dreadnought filled the extra space with dominated warbeasts.  The thick plates of the Armonite served as both protection and cover, allowing the Dreadnought to reach the Fields with the combat beasts intact.  A quick shifting of plates, and the waters reportedly churned thick with frenzying sharks and other oceanic predators, streaming from the gaps in the Dreadnought’s Armonite.  What at the time had been hoped to be the turning point for the Rebellion’s freedom efforts instead disintegrated into a mass slaughter as the unflinching Kraken allowed the warbeasts to kill rebel and collaborator alike, slaughtering any and all that moved.  After that rout, the species of the Known World abandoned their attempts at direct confrontation and from then on adopted the more guerrilla-like tactics that helped them survive this extinction event.

After the Fall

Freedom, though at a dire price, was eventually wrested from the tightly coiled tentacles of Krakenkind.  With the Verdigris over, those wishing to instill hope for the future proclaimed a new era in Elqua’s history, ushering in the Cerulian age.  The Squid as they once were disappeared from the depths of Elqua as quickly as their alliance rose to power.  Their absence left the balance of power off-kilter, and as the sentient races scrambled to rebuild, chaos claimed the remnants of the once great dictators.  What squabbling autocrats didn’t obliterate, the ravages of time did.

The Ceph of today are the retarded remnants of the once mighty Kraken, their bodies shrunken, the power neutered when the dark powers that once bolstered the Squid abandoned them.  Bereft of their previous stature, size, and power, they are now treated by much of the sentient races as the vermin they themselves were considered during the Occupation.  The more militant and disenfranchised of the Ceph have sought out scraps of Kraken sorcery and technology in a futile attempt to give their kind respect and equality, but so far have been unable to scale down the armonites to their current diminutive size, and the isolationist Lumulus have made no effort to provide any for them, their minds not too alien not to understand lingering hate.  Should a day come that the Ceph are successful in recovering their tainted birthright, the marauding cells of Ceph ambushers hiding out in the kelp forests might finally become a force to reckon with — a force with a fresh memory of wrongs heaped upon it by the vindictive survivors.

The question that remains is, Where are these armonites now?  Large metallic structures don’t simply disappear.  Some are believed to have been destroyed in the rebellion against the Occupation.  If so, where are the shattered remnants?  Have they be scavenged from the battlefields long ago, or do some still exist for those brave enough to seek hunt?  And were they all even destroyed in the first place?  It is believed that Lumulan forces went to extreme lengths to recover as many armonites as possible; it is not that much of a stretch to postulate that the other governments also coveted the engines of war.  Certainly the Chelon were reluctant to lose their xantellae-fueled incantations that cost the Source’s reefs so dearly.  And couldn’t there be some hidden caché of Squid weaponry hidden in the Crèche of Civilization?  Somewhere hidden in the depths of the Maw, some shattered, forgotten Kraken armory, jealously hiding a treasure trove of power that could make the seas of the Endless Blue run red once again…?

One response to “Endless Blue – Week 59 – Dreadnoughts of the Kraken

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  1. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 99 – The Vexillifer, Chronicler of the Tides | Endless Blue

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