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Endless Blue – Week 110 – Elqua Calidus: The World Scalders   Leave a comment


Elqua Calidus — the World Scalders

Little else instills such terror in pisceans as the thought of being boiled alive.  The searing pain as the vital water needed to survive cooks you from within, the blistering of flesh and scale as the animus vitae is leached from your body, all the while helpless to do anything to stop the enervation of your body.  It is the stuff of nightmares for fry and adult alike.  This is the dread of boil magic, and it banned across the oceans of Elqua.  Yet there are a few who embrace the boiling and wield it willingly.  These are the Elqua Calidus — the World Scalders.

The use of boil magic is deemed abhorrent by nearly all the Fluid Nations, thus the Calidus are branded as terrorists by most of Elqua’s governments.  There are a few safe havens, however.  The Lumulus Basin is one such place, where the fear of boiling is mitigated by the society’s harnessing of thermal vents to power their ore-smithing.  The alien-minded Lumulus utilize boil magic as stoking tool, to finely manipulate the temperature of chemical seeps used in the smithing process of lumulated metal.

The other neutral water is in the Mer Currents, where any idea or principle can find a place to dwell.  The Taste Unique is a restaurant in the Mer Currents that specializes in hauteur cuisine unlike any other eatery in the Known World.  The establishment eschews the traditional method of alchemical gastronomy, and instead serves “scalded” meals.  Built over a crack in the sea bed where super-heated water bubbles up from deep inside the planet’s crust, the boiling water is sealed off from the restaurant proper by a network of valved pipes that deliver the scalding water to the kitchens under extremely controlled circumstances.  There the restaurant’s culinists, trained by owner Edot Artois himself, use heat instead of kelaguen to break down food into a digestible state.  The exhaust water is caught in a flue above the building and expels the scalding liquid a safe distance upward, to float up harmlessly to the Vastness.  This plume of heated water attracts sea life, and the spectacle has become a noted attraction for the business.  With such a close working relationship with boiling water, the owner is suspected of being a Elqua Calidus sympathizer — a charge he has consistently and vehemently denied.

The Church of Olyhydra has controversially given sanctuary to many boil mages pursued by government agencies.  A hidden faction of the church has been grooming boil mages for some upcoming operation.  These refuges are being given protection, and in return will teach their traitorous skill the Olyhydra’s faithful, and spearhead the Churches amassed forces when the time comes.

Organization Details

Size: Small, but growing steadily in secret.  Members hide in the greater populace of settlements, bringing little attention to their organization’s activities until it is too late.
Infrastructure:  Tightly organized cells, with interaction between cells being commonplace and unmonitored.
Philosophical Conviction:  The Calidus share a common belief that most religious and moral ideals are false, and used by those in power as a means of control over the masses.  They subscribe to a philosophy of nihilism, wherein the individual should not be made to endure any dogma that limits them.  Those that seek to force their will over others will be bathed in boiling waters, steam filling their lungs and scalding their gills.  They will be cooked like the flesh all life truly is — meat to be consumed.  This expansive belief in the futility of existence leads the Elqua Calidus to appear disjointed in their efforts, with no real focus or final objective.  Instead the will focus on institutions and individuals they feel deserve to be scalded until a new, even unrelated objective comes along.
Important Locations:  The Taste Unique restaurant in the Mer Currents, Fort Vement, thermal vents found outside the Lumulus Basin (especially in the No Mer’s Seas between the Fluid Nations), and the more militant colonies of Ceph.

Membership Details

Symbol: Bubbling water, in a shape specific to the cell.
Motto:  “Scald the world; boil the lies!”
Badge of Membership: Unlike bloom magic, where the user is immune to the effect of the red tide’s toxins, there is nothing protecting a boil mage from be scalded by his own actions.  As such, it is rare to find a boil mage that has not scarred himself accidentally some time in the past.  These scars are seen as badges of honor among the Calidus.
Membership Benefits:  Besides access to a type of magic few others possess, there is little protection against boil magic.  However, there are a few side effect of scalding water that are of benefit.  Most notably is the boiling of food.  In fact, the initiation ritual for joining the Elqua Calidus involves the consumption of “boiled foods”.  The Calidus himself must boil his own meal and overcome the social taboo of eating the scalded food.  Rumor has it that the taste of boiled meat and plants is “purer” than that of food denatured by way of kelaguen, the normal method of cooking underwater.
Membership Drawbacks:  With such revulsion to boil magic among the populace, should it become known a piscean willingly wields scalding spell they will be ostracized at best, and hunted down at worst.

Major Members:

Edot Artois has been nothing but truthful in the face of the accusations of harboring terrorists.  In actuality, he has no knowledge of the Elqua Calidus’ activities sheltered by his business, as it is his wife who has given them refuge.  Renet Artois, wife of the Mer restaurateur, uses the Taste Unique as a waylay point for Elqua Calidus activities.  It is the perfect place to hide a Calidus, among the culinists, food workers, and other employees preparing the day’s meal.

Cardinal Sorl Vement, Olyhydran priest descended from the original Marshal of Fort Vement, has been tasked with secretly building a navy of Calidus for the Olyhydran Church to use during the Secession project.  The Church has been working some time now at putting sympathetic Mer into positions of power, with the intent of one day seceding from the Mer Currents and creating their own religious nation.  Sensate diviners of the Church do not foresee the culmination of this plan going smoothly, so in preparation the Church has begun amassing a navy of loyal fanatics armed with objectively the most attention grabbing magic known to the world.

There are stories of a renegade Lumulan that has resurrected the J’warh’abvo forgeclan.  Ceph have been reported wielding weapons with telltale signs of lumulated metal with a unique tinge.  Since each forgeclan produces metal items with a specific coloration endemic to the forging process, this new process impinges into the ultraviolet range.  Previously, the J’warh’abvo forgeclan produced metal with an ultraviolet tinge, but they were wiped out by Kraken retribution for the forgeclans efforts during the Occupation.  Where has this new source of ultraviolet lumulated metal come from?  The Lumulan government regulates thermal and chemical seeps strictly, so how could this phantom forgeclan produce the intense heat needed to smith ore except by employing boil magic?

Terras Addas is a radicalized Godless that has taken to confronting the pious about their hypocritical beliefs.  A truly vile villainess, Terras resorts to hit-and-flee tactics of quickly pouncing on a victim, disfiguring them with scalding magic, then swimming off.  Her intent is to leave the victim alive, so their faith can slowly erode away as they wonder why their deity would allow such cruelty to their faithful.

Tl’eoge’le is a Lumulus with concrete ties to Calidus activity.  As with most Calidus, Tl’eoge’le has a telltale malformation due to his exposure to scalding magic.  Not scar or singe, the evidence of Tl’eoge’le’s dabbling with boiling magic can be seen all over him — his carapace is a bright orange.  Just as how the pigments in crustacean shells transform when boiled, so too has Tl’eoge’le’s carapace.  The effect is so thorough that, despite having molted more than once since the time of scarring, the carapace continues to regenerate in the bright orange pigment.  It does not hinder the transformation that with each molting, Tl’eoge’le recycles the nutrients from his cast off shell into his new one.  This discoloration is not that rare among the Lumulus, especially with ore-smiths that spend great amounts of time facing a fuming hydro-thermal vent during metal work.  However, Tl’eoge’le’s discoloration covers his entire carapce, as if he has bathed in the blazing stem of a vent.

The Shriveled Crone was once a beautiful Orcan versesinger.  It is said her voice was so pure and clear that the water it traveled through was purified by the mere virtue of her song.  She was adored by all so often that she began to believe the fairy tale stories told about her.  It was when she sought entrance into the Prime Chorus, only to be rejected, that her vanity turned to wrath.  Told that her obsession with her own glory would interfere with the quest for Khantusk, she turned her back on the Orcans and the Cetacean Oceans.  She left for the Sahaguin Lagoons, where the cousins of the Orcans, the Narwahl dwelled.  There, she fell in with the dissident zeitgeist there, feeling the Orcans had lost their way.  Her initiation into the Elqua Calidus was nearly as thorough as Tl’eoge’le’s.  She bathed her entire body in the volcanic spew of a thermal vent, the blubber of her shapely body melting and bubbling away, leaving behind a wrinkled, emaciated husk.  She has taken on the mantle of the Shriveled Crone, though she is no true sea hag, and works with her cousins at undermining the Prime Chorus whenever possible.

“When the waters start boiling
the foolish remain to find the cause.”
— word of wisdom about the Elqua Calidus.


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


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.

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Endless Blue – Week 99 – The Vexillifer, Chronicler of the Tides   Leave a comment


The Vexillifer — Chronicler of the Tides

The oceans of Elqua have run red with blood just as often as they flowed their welcoming blue.  From the unpredictable outbreak of the Shellback Wars, through the rise and fall of the Cetacean Hordes, to the world-shaking domination of the Kraken Occupation, conflict has left devastation in its wake.  No nation has been spared the catastrophic havoc of war.

The disruptive effect of warfare led to the creation of the Vexillifer.  Chaos in the heat of battle leaves even the most hardened veteran disoriented, and the aftermath of that combat definitely leaves those living in those places bewildered and traumatized.  War destroyed their homes, broke apart their families, and left them adrift…

Bringing order to that strife is the purpose of vexillifers.  Vexillifers are essentially witnesses for navies.  They have the responsibility to keep their company in cohesion, to chronicle the tides of battle, and to codify for posterity the consequences of war.  They are also burdened with the responsibility of notifying the next of kin of their fallen comrades.

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Endless Blue – Week 89.2 – Jetsam: Fugu Spines   1 comment


Fugu Spines

Fugu spines are the defensive spikes used by the pufferfish to deter predators.  A spine, when removed, appears like a shallow tripod made of calcium with an long extruding tip.  It is this tip that is used to prick the epidermis of the piscean tongue and deliver a small dose of tetrodotoxin, or fugu, into the bloodstream.

The tetrodotoxin causes a sensation of intoxication, light-headedness, and numbness.  This makes the drug a very good candidate for blocking pain.  It was this usage that first introduced the drug to the homeseas of the Known World, when ancient Sahaguin mariners would employ it to keep their minds clear during battle. Witnessing a frenzied Sahaguin warrior hyped up on fugu is a terrifying sight to behold.

Today, there is little difficulty in procuring fugu — a piscean need only hunt one down in the wild — and there is only a modicum of negative stigma associated with spine use.  While the alien physiology of the Lumulus inures them from the either deleterious or advantageous effects of fugu, other pisceans must be more careful to avoid a lethal dose.  However, the Church of Olyhydra, steeped deeply in its dogma of suffering and servitude, is vocal against its use.

“Fugu is a bet with your body;
your life is the stakes…”
— unknown

Endless Blue – Week 89.1 – Flotsam: Vastness Hunters   1 comment


Vastness Hunters

There are those among any society that seek the thrill of physical exertion.  When sane means of reaching a physical high have been depleted, they seek activities only the mad would entertain.  A form of extreme sports, meant to be the ultimate adrenalin rush, the idle athlete might turn to becoming a Vastness hunter.

Vastness hunting is the most lethal incarnation of safari hunting.  But instead of just preying on the most dangerous game swimming the Endless Blue, they take on the aberrations that scour the Vastness above the waves.  It is a very lethal sport, and the aberration gets away more often than not.  Still, the specter of death is not enough to deter the truest athlete.

The original Vastness hunters were a group of sahaguin anatomists that simply sought new animus vitae to autopsy.  While much of the allure of the extreme hunting is for the thrill and notoriety, there is strong impetus to understand how life above the water operates. As expected, anything having to do with the hell above the waters is considered the greatest of taboos.  Even the Sekolahite Church denounces the hunter’s actions — a church whose clergy participate in hunting monsters as part of their service.

Those Vastness hunters that are not Resurrectionists themselves will sell the corpses of their hunt to other anatomists.  The anatomists, in turn, sell the skin and claws to black market artisans as exotic materials for their crafts.  Such items are general reviled in public, but will fetch a high price for the indulgent collector.  Maelstrom cultists are one of the few organizations that will bear Vastness-sourced items with no regard to social stigma.  Otherwise, these items have no intrinsic difference in quality or ability from a mundane version.  Penalty for owning/selling such items or materials is generally excommunication and ostracization.

Endless Blue – Week 87.4 – Jetsam: The Discordants   Leave a comment


The Discordants

There are many in the Known World that envy the Cetacean’s ability of whalesong, and vainly wish they themselves would call out across the waves.  Wherever there is something someone wants, there will be someone there to sell it to them.  Some unethical Resurrectionists claim they can implant a prosthetic that can duplicate the whalesong ability.

Those that pay for the procedure are called Discordants.  As part of the transpiscean movement, non-cetacean individuals have had baleen grafted to the roof of their mouth and their vocal cords altered by anatomists.  It is an expensive operation, so only the most wealthy piscean can afford the procedure.  Because of this, having the implants is considered the cutting edge of fashion daring in the traditionally trend-setting Mer Currents.  There are many, such as the Church of Olyhydra, that outright damn those that get the body modification.

While there are claims, so far there is no proof that anyone that has undergone the surgery has gained the ability to utter whalesong.  But the effect on the voices of those affected is unmistakable.  For those with dreams of becoming a versesinger but were not born cetacean, this may be the only hope.

Endless Blue – Week 84 – The Cryptic System – Information Demands Freedom   Leave a comment


The Cryptic System

Information Demands Freedom

The Kraken ensnared the Known World for centuries in their constricting grasp.  Through the use of their innate power, the artifact known as Khantusk, and a pact with eldritch beings, the Occupation dominated Fluid Nations and ravaged them of their resources.  During those dark centuries, it is charged that the Kouton government collaborated with the occupiers, betraying the other piscean nations in order to lessen the devastation of their own homesea.  Despite no real proof, the stigma has lasted to this day.  But not all Kouton should be labeled traitors.  Some worked against the Occupation, smuggling vital information about Kraken deployment to the dwindling rebellion.  Those Kouton went by the eponymous anonym “The Cryptic System”, and were true unknown heroes of the Rebellion.

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