Endless Blue – Kickstarter Day 20 – The Maelstrom of Elqua   Leave a comment

The Maelstrom of Elqua

The weather of Elqua is usually quite placid.  With 95% of the surface devoid of land, the great expanses of water prove little impedance to the atmospheric jet stream.  With little friction, the winds maintain a greater amount of their energy that is normally wasted when deflected by uneven land levels.  When storms do emerge, they are generally stronger, more violent, but also pass more quickly.

A thunderstorm in the Vastness is a cacophonous display of light and sound.  The atmosphere is high in noble gasses like helium, neon, and argon, and to a lesser degree krypton and xenon.  The charged release from lightning agitates these gasses, and the additional flow of energy causes the sky to like up like a kaleidoscope.  Like great swaths of a painter’s brush, the Vastness is painted in oranges, blues, and purples in a rippling, strobing display.  When storms form in the polar areas of Elqua, where the Aurorae Tidalis and Currentalis (colloquially known as the “Tides Above” and “The Current in the Sky”, respectively) add in their own unique shades of green and red, the resultant light show can become disorienting and even frightening.  It is little wonder that the native Elquans created a mythology around these storms displays, calling them wars between the aberrations.

Great storms are not unheard of above the sea, nor do they go unfelt below the surface.  The Shores — those areas of the shallowest seas, where water laps against the land — are particularly vulnerable to storms, which alter currents, form water spouts, and damage the cultivated sea floor in their passing.  But none of these storms even comes close the immense hurricane known as the Maelstrom.

The Maelstrom is a giant hurricane that meanders across the waters of Elqua.  It has never died down, never lost its primal fury, never made landfall.  The perpetual catastrophe is in actuality a system of smaller storms, their spiral frenzy feeding off each other and forming what would appear like an octagon from the viewpoint of the three dead moons.  This gargantuan cyclone howls its eternal fury into the Vastness, dragging across the waters in a seemingly random path.  Random, that is, except for the five days that mark the end of the present year and the beginning of the next.  During this week the passage of the colossal storm always, always seems to coincide with crossing the Creche of Civilization, that portion of ENDLESS BLUE where sentient life is thought to have evolved.

The Maelstrom’s funnel breaks the massive waves of Elqua’s ocean, plunging straight down to the ocean floor itself.  Those demented souls foolish enough to try and track the storm’s progress for themselves and survived have noted that the funnel will reach down to any depths, even into the abyssal trenches themselves.  Desperate treasure hunters have been known to swarm the wake of the passing Maelstrom in hopes of finding unrealized treasures in the disturbed sea beds.

Many a piscean settlement has been wiped out by the trek of the Maelstrom across Elqua, as far back as the Golden Epoch, when the First Khan of the Cetaceans fought the Dumasque during their pursuit of the fleeing Mer Current.  Since then the megastorm has harassed and battered the Fluid Nations relentlessly, except for a period of time when the Kraken unified together and conquered the Known World.  The Maelstrom will scars the world today, like a dragged dagger, ripping a constant wound across the ENDLESS BLUE in mindless fury.

William James Cuffe

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