Endless Blue – Kickstarter Day 11 – The Piscean Form of Elqua   Leave a comment

This is the sixth article explaining key core concepts of the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting, as presented on the original ENDLESS BLUE website.

Early Resurrectionists coined the term “piscean form” as a way of describing the similar traits that all the sentient races share.  At a time before the Ceph were born, Resurrectionist anatomists spent years analyzing cadavers to determine what constituted the “piscean” classification.  The prevailing taboo of preventing any cadaver from reaching the depths of the ocean made the collection of data difficult, if not dangerous.  But if not for the efforts of these early doctors, the field of medicine would pale in comparison to the current state.

The foremost trait is the morphology, or shape, of a piscean.  This shape is defined as having a head and neck connecting to a torso possessing arms, the torso then extending further and eventually tapering of into a tail.  The tip of the tail flares outward to form a flipper, and at either side of the median between torso and tail juts a fin.  Of the three sets of limbs (arms, fins, flipper), the arms terminate in a hand structure that consists three digits and an opposable thumb.  Without the ability for fine motor control that fingers provides, it becomes impossible to interact with the environment in anyway short of clumsy impacts.

The second measure to quantify the piscean form is respiration.  In this case, pisceans breath in through the mouth, swallowing the fresh water.  A valve in the throat blocks of access to the digestive tract and funnels water into the lungs.  Lungs are large sack inside the ribcage that contain constrict peristaltically, pushing water from the top downward to the bottom of the organ.  There, the lungs connect to frilled slits called gills.  The feathery gills extract the needed gases from the water as it is expelled outward through the sides.  Each of the three gill slits is anchored beneath a rib, and are covered by the arms when they are lowered to the hips.  Behaviorally, this form of respiration gives piscean the look of “gulping water”, or what we would call “mouth breathing”.

The third criteria for classification as piscean is sentience.  This is the ability to think, learn, and speak.  The communication of ideas is essential for civilization to flourish.  With out it, learning is little more than learned behavior.  This third determiner has caused some arguments between philosophical and religious groups, the latter of which take the requirement as tantamount to declaration of divine creation — the “created in the god’s image” ideal.

Keep in mind that almost every piscean race fails to match these criteria exactly.  Some argue the Lumulus should not count due to the strange trinary shape of their hands.  Others point out that Yaun-Teel’s tail does not posses the requisite flipper shape.  The Orcans seem to have no discernible neck.  Lumulus and Chelon posses shells like no other species.  The Locanth have fins along their arms.  And the poor Ceph, whose shape is nearly identical to their faunal counterparts, the encephalopods, consistently to this day face hate and bigotry condemning them to treatment as nothing more than trained vermin.  It would seem the race that truly exemplifies the ideal of the piscean form is the Mer, which in turn has spurred debates that the definition of piscean form needs revision.

William James Cuffe

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