Endless Blue – Week 74 – The Conch Lock of Curin’s Pass   2 comments

Architecture

The Conch Lock of Curin’s Pass

The pisceans of the Endless Blue are true architects, planning cities, designing shelter, and building monuments.  The sheer depth of Elqua’s oceans means other than settlements along the Shore, there is little chance for a piscean structure to break the surface of the water.  Aside from the mad vision Magistrate Talmadgius may hold, the largest hand-made structure that extends beyond the wave-tops is the infamous Conch Lock.

The Conch Lock is a contiguous wall linking the islands that make up the Maw.  The erected barriers form a fortified defense around what was once the heart of the Kraken Empire.  Created early during the rise of the Kraken, the wall was built to protect the center of Kraken power.  It served its designed purpose well, remaining unscathed during the final days of the rebellion and the Siege of Andropoli, remaining intact to this very day.  If not for the abandonment of the Kraken by their dark benefactors, the damnable creatures would still live to this day behind their sullen wall.

From sea floor to breaking waves, these large monolithic walls block off the Maw from the rest of the Known World.  The walls themselves are made of great slabs of granite, hoisted into place my the powerful tentacles of the Kraken themselves.  While it was very common during that period for Kraken to force slave labor into erecting their monuments, the sheer size and weight of these granite slabs was beyond the range of the lowly piscean races.  The excavation and stoneworking of these slabs, however, was the toil of slaves.  Strip mining was used to dig the silt, sand, and earth away from the buried granite, and the left behind pits around the Maw leave a pattern with more than a passing resemblance to suction cups from gargantuan tentacles.  Most of the ecology around the Maw and these Tentacle Pits is ruined, leaving behind the eerie remains of coral and upturned rock.

Map of Curin's Pass

The path of Curin’s Pass through the Maw

Now the structure stands, silent and ominous, as a stark barrier separating the pisceans from the birth of their worst nightmares.  The pock-marked sea beds around the Maw delineate the border between the ruins of the Kraken Empire and the Fluid Nations.  This “no Mer’s seas” is a neutral zone, where trespass is publicly forbidden by unanimous decree of all the Nation’s governments.  Even those mercenary individuals that call no government “Master” avoid the area.  For every tale of untold riches and power left behind by the ancient squids, there are a dozen horror stories of corruption and evil to go with them, each more minutely detailed than the last.  And even if a crazy piscean survived the crossing of the no Mer’s seas, they are left facing the impenetrable walled in jaws of the Maw.

The wall of the Maw follows a chain of islands in the shape of the open jaws of sea predator.  Roughly egg shaped, with the narrower end pointing north west, the rounder end is formed by a series of larger, major islands.  All of the islands have a shallow slope to their Shore areas, except between two of these major southwestern islands.  Here, there is a sharp drop down to near Shelf depths.  This pass-way was once called Curin’s Pass, and before the Occupation was a well-traveled current between the Cetacean Oceans and the Sahaguin Lagoons.  This is the same current traveled by the Narwahl when they chose self-exile over abandoning the ways of the Orcan Horde.  Here, across Curin’s Pass, the mostly featureless walls that form the jawbone of the Maw now feature a curious anomaly.  Unceremoniously embedded in the granite is the conical device known as the Conch Lock.  There is no gate for the Conch Lock to open, no hinge nor seam to indicate anything to be opened.  How the Kraken passed through their own wall is a mystery.  But now, there is just a great smooth slab from sea floor to the Vastness above the wave, and an enigmatic, radial centerpiece.

The lock itself look like a huge conch shell, but instead of following the Fibonacci spiral pattern, it has a series of concentric rings.  There are four rings around a central axis, with each ring divided into eight sections.  In the center of each ring section is the outgrowth that makes conch shells so distinctive.  Just as each ring can be turned around the central axis, each of these outgrowths can rotate in place.  These pieces rotate on their own without the need of outside influence, but also turn easily when grasped in the hand.  The four rings rotate around the central shaft, with its own outcropping that extends a good three feet out into the waters.  The overall diameter of the Conch Lock, sans outgrowths, is four feet across.

Like some strange clockwork puzzle, the Conch Lock’s rings and outcroppings rotate in an unguessable pattern.  Sometimes dextral-wise, sometimes counter-dextral-wise (also known as sinistral-wise), the only consistency to these movements is the timing — some part of the Conch Lock will move every 4 minutes.  Any attempt to prevent the turning of a ring or outcropping results in a tactile click, as if the mechanism responsible for its rotation disengages and re-engages in preparation of the next movement.

There are no symbols representing numbers or position anywhere on the Conch Lock, but there is a pattern of circles and arced lines over the pieces.  There does not seem to be any one proper arrangement of the arcs and circles, with multiple possible solutions matching all points of intersection.  These markings bear a passing resemblance to Ley Line cartography by a Xanthellaette, but no single possible combination corresponds to any known Ley Lines on the face of Elqua.

Could it be these etched line on the Conch Lock form a map not of Ley Lines, but of Spurs?  Why does the floating island known as Horizon’s Compass seem to point straight through Curin’s Pass and the Conch Lock?  Could the Conch Lock, with its streamlined symmetry be an unrealized Icht relic?  Might the recent prognostications of the  Synesthete Synod’s Acumen Cipher have some clue to the solution to the Conch Lock?  And what vile aberrations — mutated by exposure to years of remnant dark magic — might be slipping out of the Maw through the gaps in the jawbone wall where the islands sit?

2 responses to “Endless Blue – Week 74 – The Conch Lock of Curin’s Pass

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  1. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 84 – The Cryptic System – Information Demands Freedom | Endless Blue

  2. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 111- Pleione Trench and the Mud Daubers | Endless Blue

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