Endless Blue – Week 109 – Cruor Druids: Wielders of the Red Tide   Leave a comment

Sociology

Cruor Druids: Wielders of the Red Tides

There is seldom ever been a culture that did not produce some disenfranchised soul.  Elqua’s Fluid Nations are no different, except perhaps in the form those radical elements coalesced.  They call themselves Cruor Druids, wielders of the red tide, and they have no love for society.  What drove them to despising the modern world is inconsequential.  In all cases it is basically the same intrinsic idea: society is ruining the world.

The common trait shared by all Cruor Druids is the dismay at society’s disregard for the natural order.  Each sees some fatal flaw in their culture’s belief system that, left unchecked, can only result in the ruin of their species.  That same society has turned a deaf ear the druid’s pleas for a return to a more conducive time.

Their warnings unheeded, Cruor Druids inevitably feel pressured into leaving the civilization that created them and instead live in the wild.  Preferring to remain in the seclusion of nature, the unyeilding expansion of Fluid Nation cities into wilderness brings them back into contact, and conflict, with the Cruor Druids.

Organization Details

Size: Minuscule.  It is estimated fewer than two dozen actual practitioners of bloom magic exist.
Infrastructure: Unorganized cells or solitary.  There is no such thing as “advancement” in the Cruor Druids, only the pursuit of one’s own cause against civilization.
Philosophical Conviction: Like xanthellaettes, the bloom druids believe the world is laced with lines of power.  However, unlike the coral benders, the druids do not see these lines as poetic and grandiose patterns across the world. To the druids, these lines are more like veins, meandering around the world like a circulatory system.  Where leylines are geometric and smooth, lifeveins are chaotic and natural.  Tapping the lifeveins produces the Cruor, blooming red algea whose toxins can kill.  This is the Cruor Web, an invisible webwork of branching threads that pulse with the puissance of the bloom.
Important Locations:  While a lifevein of the Cruor Web can be found most anywhere, there are special places that bloom druids hold sacred.  These are swell tarns, usually brine pools, rivers, and brinefalls where red tide algae collect naturally.  Every bloom druid knows of at least one of these natural algae preserves, and has taken it upon himself to cultivate and protect it with his life.  In return, it is said that the vitae of the algae extends the lifespan of the druid a hundred fold.  There are even tales of slain Cruor Druids being laid to rest in their tarn, only to be resurrected by the magical pool.

Membership Details

Symbol: A piece of sea lace.
Motto: “Let nature clense the sin.”
Badge of Membership: The gills of a bloom druid become permanently stained sanguine by the red tide.  This mark is instantly recognizable for what it is, and serves to keep bloom druids far away from settlements.
Membership Benefits: Becoming a Cruor Druid grants the individual immunity to the toxins spread by mundane red tides.  Once immunity is achieved, the individual can go on to learn the secret rituals and spells for bending the algae to his will.
Membership Drawbacks:  To the last, Cruor Druids have turned their backs on modern culture, deeming it lost to the chance of saving.  Few if any individuals sympathize with the Cruor or red tides, and thus are automatically hostile towards members of the druidic organization.

Major Members:

Not all Cruor Druids are hostile to other pisceans.  In fact, at least one has little recrimination in his heart for the world around him: Teepoc Kopra.  Teepoc is a mer homeopath whom espouses the abandonment of the Mer Currents’ obsessive and faddish ways.  He has become a guru of sorts for those Mer that seek out his wisdom (for a price, that is).  Those that do believe he can cure their illnesses through application of his algae blooms.  The College of Doctors condemns his actions, citing there is absolutely no evidence of the effectiveness algae treatments as medicine, but that does little to stop those that truly believe Guru Kopra’s words.

Another pacifist, Herald beseeches the downtrodden Ceph to abandon their attempts at integration with piscean society.  He pleads others not to submit to piscean persecution and instead hold on to their pride.  The Ceph can find their own way to prosperity, and need not fight for the table scraps piscean society throw at them.  Stop being subservient to pisceans, and serve your own self.  Through peaceful demonstration, Herald has sought to guide the newly integrating Ceph to follow a different current, but has been able to do little to stop it.  Some of his most ardent followers have begun to grumble that perhaps the time for words has past, and now perhaps action is the answer?

Among the Cetaceans is the legend of the Carnivore.  He is said to prowl the current of the Cetacean Oceans, always on the look out for his next meal.  As he spurned Cetacean culture, he also turned away from this people’s dedication to a vegetarian diet.  The Carnivore believes that the Orcan people have become soft in their indulgent ways, and harkens back to a time when the species hunted their own food.  The act is such a integral concept to his beliefs that he will tattoo a representation of each new species he has killed and consumed on his body: those consumed dead on his back, while eaten alive on his chest.  Folklore whispers that tattooed on his chest is not only an image of a killer whale, but even the representation of another Orcan.

The locanthic painter Benigna Nereida is a member of the Synesthete Synod, a group of individuals that possess the remarkable ability to have their senses seep into each other.  Synesthesia is vital for divinations — by eliminating the dissonant sensations, the Synesthete is shown what action are necessary to achieve their goals.  The locanthic painter’s particular manifestation of synesthesia is a connection between taste and color.  The painter can control various forms of algae in addition to the red tide, and as a result is able to use the blooms as his palette of paint.  Immune to the toxins of those strains, each one evokes a unique color as she swims through her painting, the poisons in the water evoking color in her mind.  Which is a good thing, as the locanthic painter is blind, born without eyes, smooth flesh over the empty sockets.

Telstis Naso has grown beyond tired of the Chelon wallowing in the memory of what was, and now despises his race’s fetishization of  the “grand old empire.”   The old empire was not even worth aggrandizing like his fellow Chelon seems unable to stop doing.  Nothing of the Chelon of old was noble — the treatment of the populace was deplorable, and the employment of xanthelleatte is an abomination to nature.  Nothing about Chelon culture is worth preserving to Naso.  As a member of the Order of Anthozoa, he is determined to end the Chelon Sea’s use of coral magic, and as a Cruor Druid he is dedicated to the fall of the “wistful empire”.

X’aukai’le is a lumulus that has sundered all connection with his forgeclan.  He balks at the destruction wrought by his species’ creation of metal and the lumulation process.  Environmentally as well as historically, metal has been the harbinger of the Known World’s undoing.  As a packbreeder, he has grown his own strain of algea whose toxins are explicitly corrosive to lumulated metals.  It is said they able to disintegrate dearthsteel at a horrifying rate, breaking the metal apart before its wielder’s eyes.

The most infamous of all the Cruor Druids was Tameryh Kinslayer, the Unintended.  The bastard child of a mid-level member of the House Basqorjn, Tameryh’s mind became twisted by the rigors of Merrshaulk worship, the constraints of the Principles of Service, and the siren call of the red tide.  As he discovered his latent powers, his grip on reality began to slip, and eventually he sank into psychosis.  One night he lost control completely, lashing out and slaughtering his own house and razing of the settlement Edonmul.

The ability to manipulate the red tide is not limited to pisceans.  Bloom druids have been linked to Iku-Tsuro, the Sea Hag.  She is a vengeful hag that seeks the eradication of the civilized races from the waters of Elqua.  It was she whom appeared to Tameryh the Unintended in the form of Ashani and led the foolish youth into awakening the Cruor Web thereby becoming the founder of modern bloom druid tradition.  She seeks a method of controlling the Rending of the Gorgon, a curse spat out by the Crone Gorgon as the Kraken occupiers rended her apart for aiding the rebellion.

The kelpygmies have  a tribe called the Blood Wrack that all posses the skills of Cruor magic.  These keplygmies are easily identifiable by the reddish-brown foliage that makes up their bodies.  It is believed these are a mutation of the regular kelpygmy race that is required before the creatures can control algae blooms, because no other kelpygmy as demonstrated the ability.  This is an unaccountable occurrence, as most bloom druids disdain the existence of kelpygmies, seeing them as “blatant aberrations of the natural flora”.

 “In all this blue, I seek the red.
The red of the tide, or the red of your veins.
Either will appease me…”
— the Carnivore, choosing his next meal.

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