Endless Blue – Kickstarter Day 21 – The Floating Islands of Elqua   Leave a comment

The Floating Islands of Elqua

Even the youngest child knows that land does not move.  Any statement to the contrary brings looks of incredulity.  Yet on Elqua, there exist just such impossible pieces of terrain that seem to migrate across the ocean currents.  These are the Floating Islands, and each is as different as the sentient piscean races.

Atlantica — This relatively minor floating island’s claim to fame is the altitude at which it hovers.  Submerged beneath the waves, Atlantica moves not just in the cardinal directions of north, south, east, and west, but also changes its depth in the ocean.  It is judged to always appear at the midpoint between the surface of the water and the bottom of the ocean floor, following the contour of the world’s crust.  It has never been known to break the waves and become exposed to the Vastness’ aberrations.

Broken Chain Archipelago —  This is a series of small floating islands that seem to play follow the leader, each following the island before it, matching its course exactly.  Despite their close proximity, each has maintained a separate biome yet species have adapted to the island.  It was here that Seamus Lorwynn first postulated his theory of evolutionary diversification.

Charybdis — Considered the largest and oldest of the floating islands, it is an immense, flat discus literally festooned with life.  It skirts around the sandbars of the immobile islands, allowing floral and faunal life forms to migrate back and forth.  It’s not just Charybdis’ top side that is covered in life, but its underside as well, which is overrun with coral and kelp, barnacles and schools of fish, all nestled below it.

Denebris — Following a course along the Spine of the World that circumnavigates the globe, Denebris is shaped much like an iceberg.  Only the very tip of this pumice-like rock peeks up out of the water, and the majority of its mass lurks hidden beneath.  The Lumulus claim it was once a rock formation from their homesea that slowly eroded under constant exposure to sea currents and eventually broke free.  As such, they make claim to it as sovereign waters.

Horizon’s Compass — This is an oblong island that doesn’t so much migrate, as revolve.  It maintains its longitudinal and latitudinal location west of the Creche of Civilization, but its thinner end rotates around.  The arc of that rotation points off beyond the Spine of the World through a body of water called Curin’s Pass that is now part of the Maw and the ruins of the Kraken Empire.

Spur Island —  This island hosts a mass of the strange structures known as the Spurs.  It is the fastest of all the floating islands, the waves frothing as it cuts through the water, its wake so powerful that few can creatures can swim close and survive.  Observation indicates no life has made the jump to this island, and it has more resemblance to a geode than an actual island.  It spins around on several axes, leaving no portion of itself above water for more than a few moments at best.

Utopia Garden — Not an island in the truest sense, Utopia Garden is actually a tangles mass of sargassum.  This formation of floatsam has interwoven with other patches of seaweed and kelp over the millennium, and has created a virtual fabric of plant matter.  It is resplendent in coloration, with the green and browns of photosynthetic ocean plants along the bottom, and the bright red and yellows of rhodoarchaea plants on top.  It serves as a crucial habitat for many border animals (those animals that make a living both above and below the waves).

There exist other floating islands, both large and small, with their own quirks and distinguishing features.  They come in all climates, and are not consolidated in a single nation.  Standard political convention is that a floating island is part of the homesea in which it exists, making it part of that particular Fluid Nation.  However, those that migrate significantly have become points of contention with the various races.  Even though they islands are not populated by pisceans (for various reasons, but foremost due to their proximity to the surface world and the inhospitable Vastness), over crowding is now putting pressure on governments to find new space for its people to live.  It’s only a matter of time before some desperate soul makes the first claim on these unexploited resources.

William James Cuffe

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