Endless Blue – Kickstarter Day 18 – The Vastness of Elqua   Leave a comment

The Vastness of Elqua

It is well known that life began in the waters of Elqua, and there it remained.  Flourishing, the piscean races evolved, the Fluid Nations formed, and civilization thrived.  But not all life remained in the water, and the resulting aberrations that came of that divergence make life above the waves a true damnation.  This is the hell that is known as the Vastness.

The Vastness is so very close, separated from the cool embrace of the see by the thinnest of borders.  Anything can break through the surface of the water and endanger denizens of the Known World, and many things often do.  Life on the surface took an alternate current in evolution.  Where green aquatic plant life utilizes chlorophyll, the mauve flora on land use retinal.  The ocean teems with familiar fish and other fauna, while the island archipelagos are the domain of horrific monstrosities utterly hostile to the piscean species.

Even the environment is wrong.  The envelopment in water, complete and constant, a safe cocoon of liquid is missing.  The Vastness is a horizonless emptiness, thin and feeble, unbreathrable to any proper life other than the aberrations above the surface.  There they perch, vigilant, patient fo the unwary individual to stray too close to the Shore.  They pounce, usually unseen, unbidden, as if out of nowhere, lethal monsters killing good people for the sheer joy of slaughter.

This makes farming dangerous on Elqua.  The farmers raise plants that require light to grow, thus can only raise crops in the shallowest of waters where they are the most vulnerable to surface predators.  The tidal pull of the planet’s three moons makes this even more difficult, sometimes pulling the worlds oceans away from fertile harvests when they align correctly.  Horror stories of pisceans trapped in the middle of a field when low tide arrived, the waters drained way, the poor soul gasping for breathable water, gulping in nothing but the ethereal nothingness that is the Vastness.  Those that weren’t asphyxiated first became prey for predators, and their lifeless carcasses pick over by all manner of insane creatures.

Dry land is not the only source of danger.  The very thinness of the Vastness hides threat to life and limb.  Sky lancers plunge down from above, striking the waters and skewering their victims.  Swarms of miniscule creatures, like blue dragons held aloft above the sea, buzz around easy meals.  Bulbous, floating behemoths, tentacles lashing out at the ocean, scooping the defenseless up and into their open, slathering maws.  The Vastness is nightmare incarnate, terror in solid form, all gibbering voices and primal violence.  Is it any wonder every religion of the Known World preaches the same fear of the world above?  It is much safer in the embrace of the depths, when the Vastness can just scoop you out of water’s embrace in an instance.  It is an aberrant realm outside the water, it is better to dive into the depths, closer to divinity, safe in the arms of gods.

Only the Godless seem undeterred by the cultural taboo of entering the Vastness.  The infamous Endira Mundi was persecuted most of her life for her heretical views of existence in the Vastness.  The blasphemous tales of the aberrations, calling them life like any under the sea, were met with ostrazication, and eventual violence.  With the murder of her family at the hands of a zealous sect of Olyhydrans, she fled to the Lumulus Basin.  There, ignored by the xenophobic populace (Lumulus and non-Lumulus alike), she led the rest of her life in a mostly isolated way, indulging in her love of the world without water.

William James Cuffe

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