Life on the Big Wet

Chapter 
NUMBER

The Harvest

2.21.2022

Sitting in the comfortable, hammock style chair hanging outside of your arboreal lodgings, watching the double sun of this magical system close in on the horizon, you feel at ease, as if you’d lived here all your life rather than just half a rev.  In a sense, this is almost your first experience “living” anywhere.  This body had to be made especially for this high gravity environment, and you’ve only occupied one other, with that one only briefly.   You’re sitting about 12 meters up from the water level, low to the ground by O’ooryu standards.  This planet, quite a bit larger than Earth or Delphi, is covered almost entirely with water, water that fills the horizon and stretches the reflected light of the setting suns.

Some dry islands do sprout up above the ocean here and there, but they’re mostly uninhabited.  Initial data suggested small continents, yet the reality has been far more interesting, with millions of square kilometers of shallows, 3 meters deep at minimum, spread out like an archipelago running north to south.  Incredible forests of trees sprout up from these not quite dry lands, reaching easily 150 or more meters in height.  A vast network of what you call wetlands, even though everywhere here is wet, runs from the borders of the forests to the borders of the shallows where the water is thick with all sorts of strange and edible water plants.  Throughout the archipelago range, you can find dense reefs bursting with biodiversity, colorful and teeming with life.

These precious areas of above water ecosystems are dwarfed by the vast expanse of deep ocean.  Sea creatures of gargantuan proportions populate these areas, and they are without a doubt the apex beings of their domain.  One of these denizens of the deep is the reason for your evening vigil on the edge of the forest.  The sound of someone moving behind you takes you out of your reverie.

Turning to look at the massive trunk, easily 40 meters around, you see Uluantha making her way up the stairs that wind around and up the trunk.  She’s been your handler turned mentor since you first made contact.  You think her original purpose was to learn about how you’d arrived since the O’ooryu have detected signs of interversal disturbances, and one such coincided with your appearance.

Upon your arrival via Sieve, the biotailoring nanobots installed in your body went to work reshaping your vocal anatomy to match that of the locals, but you learned quickly that they have magical techniques which work just as well.  You feel honored to have gained her trust despite your obvious alien origins.  You enjoy the many small ways your body has now been magically altered for this environment.

“Good evening!” she greets you with glittering yellow eyes and a smile, “I brought some snacks for while we wait”.  Uluantha sets the platter down on a table nearby and relaxes into a second hammock, also within arms reach of the goodies.  What can best be described as berries, tender seaweed salad, and a variety of raw and smoked fish are a welcome site, and you pour her a glass of something akin to white wine.  “Any sign of them yet?” she asks.

“Not yet,” you reply.

“We don’t have long to wait. the currents are favorable right now.”  Both of you keep your eyes on the horizon while you talk.  “Do you remember your training for calling the lifespring?”

“I do,” you answer, though truth be told this manipulation of magical energy was very new and still intimidating.  “Thank you for allowing me to come on this harvest.  I know it wasn’t an easy argument to win with the Assembly.”

“You’ve worked hard for your place, and you deserve to…”  she trails off staring into the distance as she jumps up from her seat, “...I think I saw something.”  Uluantha begins working a spell to create an area of magnified vision, and you join her to look through it.

You’re waiting for signs of the Wheylanni, one of the largest and gentlest of deep sea creatures, to return to their birthing grounds for this rev.  The Wheylanni migration patterns carry them far into the deep, where they seem to come into contact with a magical source of some kind that integrates into their being.  A parasite living within the bodies of the Wheylanni has evolved to siphon away what the locals call lifespring, the essence of magical energy, and can make them sick or even kill them over time.  The people of the ocean forests venture inside the bulk of the Whelyanni at this season and harvest these parasites to use like magic batteries.

“Yes!” Uluantha exclaims, “look for the splash just at the edge of the south side of the light from the suns.”  You do as she says and see it.  First just a few, and then the splashes multiply while getting bigger with fins visible as well.  The pod has arrived.

A call rings out from where you stand, quickly echoing up the tree and throughout the forest border as hundreds of watchers join in the exuberance.  The areas of the forest around the Wheylanni birthing grounds are kept deliberately rustic in order to avoid disturbing the balance or harming the prosperity of the creatures.  The bounty of the harvest is used to power a thriving array of magical marvels that rival any technology in Synthex.

They have developed mystic tools for flight, advanced energetic techniques for healing, magical biological and material enhancements, and even methods for intraversal travel.  Rather than staying limited by what individuals could conjure from the lifespring, people here found a way to collect and store that necessary energy, even to magnify it, in order to create projects well beyond the scope you expected in this Verse.

Much of that bounty comes from the success of the harvest.  Representatives from each clan in the archipelago come to this patch of forest every year to participate and take a share of the harvest back with them.  “Tomorrow we begin,” says Uluantha, “and tomorrow you’ll earn the opportunity to speak to the Assembly yourself.  Get some sleep, you’ll need it my friend”.

Just after the first sun rises in the early morning, people emerge from their lodgings and make their way to the water below.  The people of O’ooryu may live in the trees, but they clearly demonstrate an aquatic heritage, taking to the sea with casual elegance.  Their eyes easily pierce the darkness underwater, their ears pick up a wider range of sounds, and they can hold their breath for extraordinary periods.

Each group has been training together for several cycles, so you all promptly get to the task at hand.  You follow your companions, swimming through the undergrowth of the wetlands in a tight cluster, until you come out onto the shelf marking the end of the shallows.  Where you would usually see a steep shelf sloping down into a deep basin lined in sand, shells, and sealife, the view is blocked by the enormous bodies of the wheylanni.  Three of you could fit in the iris of one of those vast eyes.

Uluantha signals, and you all gather around to begin calling the lifespring together.  A pale blue rope made of energy emerges from her left hand, extending out to all of you.  Each person takes hold,  then you swim as a group to the largest wheylanni in the vicinity.  Uluantha reaches out to touch it, making sure to swim past an eye.  She calls the lifespring again and you can see patterns of magical energy exchanged between the two.  Uluantha isn’t the only one working a spell, the wheylanni is reaching out to her in equal measure.

In you mind you hear Uluantha speak, “We are welcomed by this one.  They are not well and will be grateful for our help.

Then the great mouth slowly opens and you all swim in together, still connected by the rope.  Continuing, you each conjure a ball of light to float above you and illuminate your journey.  Your lungs, though altered for this purpose, feel almost ready to burst for want of air, but you’re determined to hang on and keep up.  Your swim to the mouth rapidly transitions into being drawn by a powerful current that carries you down into the bowels of the wheylanni.  Holding tight to the rope, everyone works yet another synchronous spell.  A large ball of light forms all around the group and just as you approach the drop off to the first cavern you’re floating in a bubble of air, free of the current.

Everyone breathes deeply and congratulates one another for a job well done.  “Of course, that was just the first step, '' says Uluantha, “now we need to find a lifespring vein to follow.  Everyone reaches out to sense the magic coursing through the wheylanni.  As you follow suit, closing your eyes, you feel a rhythm that isn’t the pumping of fluids, but something very different.  With each pulse you see light in your mind’s eye.  As they continue, you begin to  feel centered, your eyes opening to a whole new world.

Instead of the blackness that stretched beyond the light of your spell globes, there are streaks and folds of bioluminescent tissue all around you.  No biological model you know can adequately describe what you’re seeing.  You only remember your purpose when a young student of Uluantha’s speaks up, “I think that vein looks promising.  It feels…weakened.”  They’re correct, you realize.  You were supposed to be seeking evidence of the pattern disrupting parasites.

“Excellent,” says Uluantha, “Let’s move.”  You all direct your air bubble along the path of that vein until it disappears in a pool of water.  You land in the pool and let the spell fade away.  The air trapped in here is usually safe, and you can all generate your own air bubbles as needed.  You spread out and begin searching for the parasites that embed themselves into the soft tissue, especially in the water.

Kicking and splashing the water agitates them and they begin to glow with their magic.  You create a net of lifespring energy and use your harvesting tool to remove parasites as you find them.  They have a  sting that can send people into a stupor, so you're careful to cast a spell to render the parasites inert before handling them. With this hazard eliminated, your net is soon full.  As you fill a net you “hang” it on a lifespring vein for collection on your way out.  The harvest will take all day and continue for a full cycle.

You have options to consider after this. Your work has qualified you to speak directly to the Assembly of Clans that governs this world, and you’ll be entitled to a share of the harvest.

Here the Verses Discord was offered a choice.

WILL YOU:

A: Propose that O’ooryu joins a coalition with the Para Initiative  It’s time to do more than accumulate knowledge and advise from the shadows.  They already know you came here from somewhere “else”, and took you in when they had no reason to help you.  They seem to share your values and drive to explore while accumulating knowledge about their broader environment.  They might take offense at an offer that could be perceived as a threat to their independence, so it would take real delicacy to negotiate.

B: Gift your share back into the hands of the Assembly  While the Initiative always needs new sources of energy, the best way to achieve that is to continue building trust with these people and learn more about harnessing magical resources.  Their skill within Fantasia would be incredibly useful.  Returning generosity with generosity will place you in a good position to negotiate for a long term research agreement, even if it means giving up a short term resource gain now.

C: Ask the Assembly for a place to start an outpost  While it’s important not to reveal the full agenda of the Initiative just yet, this planet is ideal for a base of operations.  We can continue to build rapport and maintain our discretion as long as we respect the authority of the Assembly.  Without a more robust level of participation in the harvest, the Initiative may not get as much value from this planet as would be ideal, but we don’t need to rush into things.  An uninhabited island could work well.

D: Take your share back to the Initiative HQ  Para needs to be consulted directly, and we need to learn if we can apply this energy source to other Verses.  There may be a way to explore the deep ocean and go directly to the source, or we may be able to replicate this process somewhere uninhabited and rich with magical energy that just needs the right receptacle.  Deciding how to best move forward with a contact as crucial as this should rest in Para’s hands.

(If you’d like to vote on our stories, influence Verses lore, what happens next, game mechanics, and even future cards. Then join our Discord at http://discord.gg/verses)

[Archivist's note: 8 votes in favor of returning the shares to the assembly in hopes of starting a research agreement.  2 votes in favor of taking the Fantasian energy back to HQ and discussing what to do with the resource with Para.]

Several times each day your group weaves a spell together to carry yourselves and your haul up and out of the wheylanni.  From there you create a raft of air underneath the nets, which you pull along as you swim around the bay to a waiting barge where the cargo is loaded.  There are easily 30 different Clans represented, with more on the other side of the bay, and every barge is painted in patterns of bright colors as unique as the Clans themselves.

By the end of the cycle your group, and two others harvesting for the same Clan, have completely filled the 100 meter long barge.  The ships will set out for the processing hub while you and the members of the harvesting crews will fly out to the Assembly House in the morning.  You’ve considered all of your options carefully, and you feel a long term research agreement will be of the greatest benefit for both parties.  You know you’ve only scratched the surface of what O’ooryu has to offer and you should continue here as long as people are willing to teach you.

In the morning you put on your best clothes made with a form of texomancy to manipulate the fiber and weaving, infusing it with lifespring.  The resulting garments are light and fine as silk, durable as kevlar, and dry extremely fast when removed from water.  Carrying your gear, you head out for the charmed flyers platform, making your way along the network of stairs and walkways that connect the arboreal environment.  Uluantha joins you, “This was an excellent harvest.  Was it what you expected?”

“It was like nothing I’ve ever imagined,” you reply, “O’ooryu never stops surprising me.”

Uluantha seems pleased at that, “Do you know what you will say to the Assembly?”

“Sort of,” you offer with a look of absorption, “I plan to ask for a research agreement between my people and yours,” catching yourself from tripping in your distracted state you continue on, “I think offering my share of the harvest back into the hands of the Assembly would be the right way to begin.  What do you think?”

Uluantha laughs, “I think you should watch where you’re going, the platform is this way,” and she redirects you onto the proper path.  “I like your idea, and your approach is good.  Be sure to get the more conservative Clans excited about this first, they will be concerned about moving too quickly and about mixing different magical systems in the same magicae opus.”

You talk strategy in this way for the half hour trip, and by the time you see the Assembly Building you feel like you know what to do.  Floating 600 meters above the open ocean you see a 50 story building made with a mix of ocean materials, similar to abalone shell and coral, layered in flowing natural forms that evoke the currents of the ocean and the intricacy of the reefs.  Lush greenery surrounds it, forming extensive gardens with flowering plants cascading over the walls and down into the open air.

Below that a spiral like a nautilus winds its way down around a central core another 10 stories to form landing platforms, which is your destination.  Looking closely at the structure, you estimate the central spire has 100 or more lifespring batteries, just like the ones you harvested, embedded into it as part of a grand sigil, forming an essential function in this magicae opus.  It’s difficult not to gape at everything like a child in a candy store.

You’re led into the core where you’re given a token that allows you to activate the sublime conveyance within.  Uluantha and you step onto a permanent sigil inlaid from gold on the beautiful shell floor.  Uluantha speaks, “Assembly main atrium”, and your tokens glow briefly before you feel yourself disappear and reappear inside another sigil situated inside a large waiting area slowly filling up with people.  Some stand in small clusters talking, and some sit on padded benches along the walls.

Eventually the great doors of the Assembly open and people are directed to seats according to Clan affiliation.  There’s a lot of discussion about the harvest results, the needs of the governing body, and how to balance that with individual Clan concerns.  Each harvesting crew is called forward and thanked for their efforts, told what their share will be, and given a chance to speak.

When it’s your turn, you observe the formalities as Uluatha instructed, and when you have the chance to speak, you make your case with what you hope is eloquence.

“I came here from a place far beyond the reach of O’oomryu people, as a foreigner in need of your guidance.  You’ve allowed me to stay and introduced me to the wonders of the lifespring.  In gratitude for all of this and more, I give my share back into the hands of the Assembly to use as they see fit.  I’m too new to understand how best to use it and lack a Clan to guide me.”

People are surprised, but the response seems largely positive.  You continue, “I would ask one thing of the wise and gracious Assembly,”  all eyes turn on you now, “I came here with esoteric knowledge of my own regarding the nature of the anomalies that disturb the balance of this system and the lifespring that surrounds it.  I propose that my people and the people of the Assembly should work together to explore these phenomena and improve our understanding of how lifespring functions.  You’ve created marvels to be admired and I have much to learn from you, but my people have their own great works and I think we can help one another reach farther.  Would you consider a formal research agreement with the Para Initiative?”

You don’t get an answer right away.  In fact, for several cycles you visit the Assembly in formal discussion and in the evenings you walk the gardens conversing with individual members.  Uluantha’s information about who is more conservative and who might be more open to change proves invaluable.  By the end, you’ve successfully won over a majority and a formal agreement is signed.  The Initiative will be expected to send a variety of resources in the form of people, materials, and so on,.  In return, participants will learn to create the sigils that the locals use for interplanetary travel.

Many cycles later, Uluantha uses her charmed flyer to take you back to the island where you first arrived.  You take out a hard case with a copy of the agreement, a data crystal with your reports and notes about the proceedings, and a small vial of the concentrated lifespring gathered in the harvest.  You walk it over and place it on the ground, step back and explain to Uluantha, “This is a device that will signal all the way back to my home world that there’s something here for them to collect.  In my verse we use electricity the way you use lifespring…mostly.”

You activate the Portarray and…nothing, nothing happens!  You check it again and it seems to have plenty of juice, “I don’t understand,” you say disheartened, “it should be almost instantaneous.”

Uluantha tries to look supportive, but you can tell she’s disappointed, “The agreement won’t work if this portal you talked of won’t open anymore.”

“I have to wait,” you declare, “I have to stay and keep trying.”

“I’ll wait with you,” Uluantha replies, and you don’t hide your relief.  The sun sets and rises again with you trying the Portarray regularly and no response.  Finally, by midday, the familiar blur of the Sieve portal opening springs up around the case and it pops out of existence.  You’re glad the wait is over, but with a deep unease you wonder, why did it take so long?

[SHK-E Analysis: The Para Initiative invests ENERGY acquiring and sending resources and personnel to the Clans of the O’oomryu Assembly as part of the research agreement, but gains KNOWLEDGE as it learns more and more about lifesprings and this world's perspective on portals and Verses.  All of the brightest inventors and engineers turn their attention to the fact that the Initiative can barely keep its machinery running with the massive energy expenditures and the need to keep equipment maintained for a large number of teams. Fortunately, they figure out how to "clone" the living spark inside the Gloomspark Portarray, and bond the descendents with other devices.  They aren't powerful enough to sustain something like the Sieve, but it is enough to save ENERGY on small devices across the board.]

SAFETY: Very Poor
HEART: Very Good
KNOWLEDGE: TRANSCENDANT
ENERGY: CRITICAL

Para Initiative Reputations:

Interventionist
Friend of the Keep

Para Initiative Inventory:
‍Oystersand’s Illustrated Arcana
Notes on Xavi and 1086
Untranslated Copy of Dear People
‍Gloomspark Portarray]


Chapter 
NUMBER

Fragile Hope: Part One

8.19.2022

  The sun had yet to rise when Uluantha climbed out of bed, hurrying to get ready for the Assembly Gathering later that day.  Most delegates stayed overnight at the Grand Complex before a vote as important as the one on the docket today, but Uluantha preferred to be at home, with her Clan and the comfort of her routines.  Her muscular form carried her swiftly down the spiraling stairs from her home in the treetops, 100 meters up near the canopy.

  She could have woven a spell to carry her to the shallows below, but the run to the water was part of the fun of living near the canopy for her.  She passed other homes, either built around the ancient trunks like hers, or floating in the space between, and waved congenially as she passed the few other early risers like herself.  The sounds of morning songbirds thinned with her descent, transitioning to trills and buzzing as insects whirled to life.

  For Many hundreds of years the Clans of the people of O’ooryu have been organized through the Assembly, and most had prospered from the cooperation it fostered.  But, a bias favoring Enchanters above all other magical practitioners had bred resentments that threatened the stability of generations of lasting peace.  Today, the restructuring Uluantha had proposed to fix this inequality was up for vote, and the hopes of millions rested on the results.  She pulled her mind back to the present as she reached the end of the stairs.

  The forest floor was covered in shallow pools with plant life swaying throughout.  One particular bit of vegetation formed broad flat pads that looked like green polka dots scattered randomly across the water’s surface.  Woody stalks burst forth, sprouting bundles of colorful leaves and flowers.  Uluantha didn’t slow her pace, stepping from one flat pad to another, calling up lifespring to reinforce each one to take her weight without harm.

  Soon the plants gave way to a wide open space where they formed a shaggy border around a deep, clear pool.  With a smooth continuation of motion, Uluantha leaped into a graceful dive and rolled around under the water like a creature returning home.  Her large, golden eyes glowed with joy under the water as she pushed deeper into the pool with her slightly webbed feet.  

  She spent about half an hour in the water, harvesting some crustaceans that lined the walls of the pool for breakfast.  Once she saw others making their way to the water, she knew it was time to get back home and onward to the Assembly.  People waved and called out morning greetings as she passed, her Clan wishing her luck for today’s Gathering.

At the winding stairs Uluantha drew up lifespring again to cast a quick spell on herself, bounding up them in great leaps, as if gravity were optional.  Back inside the house, she spoke a brief incantation and waved her hand over a large nautilus shell resting in a stand on a side table.  The fiery orange surface glowed in response, while the  room filled with the sound of tinkling wind chimes. 

Uluantha was in the process of changing from her wet tunic to a flowing silken gown of iridescent green and pink, when the chimes gave way for a familiar voice, “Good morning, Sear Uluantha,” her aid said.

“Hi, Kalian, where do we stand today, any changes from last night?”  Uluantha stood in front of the mirror positioning a leather girdle over her gown.  It had her symbol of office as a Conservator of the Assembly richly embroidered in pearls and precious stones imbued with enchantments to protect her.  

The answer was crisp with a hint of excitement, “Nothing that we didn’t expect.  Sear Delwyn continues to argue against you, and Sear Kapa’onu reveals nothing about their preference.  It will be close, but I think you may have swayed the Assembly that all three branches of magic must have equal voices within the Hall.”

  Uluantha grinned, rubbed some oil onto her hands, and began combing them through her fleshy plumage to smooth it out and make it shine.  She didn’t have “hair” like the visitors from the Initiative.  Her people sprouted thick strands in a wide array of vibrant colors, vaguely similar in appearance to feathers, that extended from the head in a manner akin to cetara on some ocean creatures.  Her pale pearlescent skin transitioned into plumage,streaked with bright pink.

  She began positioning a beaded diadem high on her forehead as she answered,  “I’m almost ready to fly, and if we’ve done our jobs right, we may see the biggest peaceful shift of power since the Assembly was first formed.  A much needed change.” 

“Agreed, may the  Ocean’s grace be upon you and keep you safe.”

“Kalian, keep a close eye on Kapa’onu, they will be approached by the old guard with offers of special favor, and I’ll need to know where those offers come from and how friendly the exchange was.”

“Yes, Conservator.  See you soon”, and the room was silent once again.

With one last look in the mirror, Uluantha added her neck rings and a set of silver bracers, then ran out the door towards the broad platform where her flyer rested.  The vehicle used a giant turritella shell as a base, with double sets of slender wooden wings poking out from each side.  Uluantha lifted the glass dome that covered the two seats and settled in front.  Latching the cover, she then placed her hand over the central control crystal and four lifespring batteries came to life with a gentle blue glow emanating along each side.

The flyer floated up from the platform and sprang forward through a cleared path, quickly leaving the lush canopy of her Clan territory behind.  Uluantha loved to fly, and the day was perfect for it.  She dove down to skim the surface of the great ocean below, but as she tilted the pointed cone upward again, movement under the water caught her eye.

Two flyers burst up from under the water to match her speed, parallelling her to either side.  “What in the ocean’s deep?!” she exclaimed in confusion.  She’d never seen flyers quite like these.

Their wings were somehow made to lay flat against their bodies while submerged, they extended  as the vehicles lurched up at her.  Some Clan had developed an underwater version in utter secrecy, and the sight of them filled Uluantha with a sense of dread.  Before she could reinforce the magical shielding around her, the attacks began.

Chapter 
NUMBER

Fragile Hope: Part Two

9.8.2022

   Flyers were usually rather simple in their design, the panel in front of Uluantha offering only a few control sigils for things like reinforced magical shielding in case of a sudden storm, or filling the compartment with a bubble of air should the conveyance crash in the ocean.  They had not been designed for use in battle, having been developed during the longest lasting peace ever recorded, so Uluantha had few options to protect herself from her pursuers.

  Before her hand could reach the sigil to activate the extra shielding, a massive tower of water erupted from the ocean just in front of her, perfectly timed to surge into the bottom of her flyer as she passed over it.  Uluantha tried to yell as she was slammed down into her seat, while her visual field filled with the disorienting spray of water.  Just as suddenly, the torrent stopped, dropping the craft into a spinning dive towards the ocean surface.

  Uluantha moved her hands down to grasp a set of elaborately engraved and gilded handles protruding from the central control crystal while speaking a brief incantation.  The handles glowed green as the magic took effect.  Her awareness expanded from her own body to encompass the form of the flyer until its skin became her own.  

  She could feel the complex currents of air and pressure moving around the wings and tail as she shifted them into a new position to stabilize the craft.  This took all of her concentration, leaving her too focused for worries about how close the sharply pointed nose of the flyer had come to the water. Fully immersed in the sensations of flight, she felt the tail just brush the surface as she once again left it behind in a race skyward.  She pulled her hands back to the central crystal to let the enchantment fade, catching sight of those hunting her.

  Urgently, she slapped her palm on the sigil to activate enhanced shielding, and got the incantation off just in time, as bolts of electrical energy slammed into the aircraft from either side.  The flyer shuddered and jumped, but stayed intact: this time.   “How much more of this can we take?”, she asked the craft, not expecting a reply, “Let’s see if we can get a look at what we’re up against.”

  Uluantha continued the steep climb upwards, with the aircraft burning lifespring at an alarming rate, as she searched for her enemies.  She found them circling back for another volley, one shooting into a vertical climb, the other preparing to pursue her in a turn.  She maneuvered her flyer into a loop that would place her nose facing the lower one as their courses converged from opposite directions.  She didn’t like how close this would bring her to them, but it was the best way to get a look at the aircraft and the pilot.

  For a few precious seconds she could see the details of the enemy ship’s silhouette.  Small golden protrusions, like thick gold wire, emerged from sigils at intervals along the body of the craft.  She could make out two at the nose and one on each side of the craft.  The flyer appeared to be a little larger than hers, crewed by two occupants wearing some kind of mask over their faces.  Bigger and heavier, hopefully that means slower and less graceful, Uluantha thought, and she began a turn she hoped they would follow.

  The adversary took the bait; in response, she broke into a roll that rapidly flipped her nose 90 degrees, her tighter turn radius allowing Uluantha to position her flyer on the inside of the downward spiral.  In that moment, Uluantha was so close to her opponent she could make out the patterns of their plumage, as well as the details of the sigil on this side.  A counterspell ward. “Damn!” she exclaimed in frustration, and the moment passed as they continued jockeying for position in a double helix spiral towards the surface.  She could deny them line of sight on her, but she didn’t want to unleash the destruction necessary to break the ward.

  “We can’t win this fight, and I don’t want to be in it anyway,” Uluantha mused at her flyer, “I think it’s time to call for help.”

  The second enemy craft would be on her at any moment, but Uluantha set her ship into a broad vertical arc towards the suns, rolling slowly as she went, and focused on her spell.  She extended her mind into the depths of the ocean below and sang in Wheylanni.  Desperately, she sent the notes of the song ringing through the water, losing all of her positional advantage to the task.

  The flyer that had kept to the high clouds now described an arc that matched hers perfectly.  The one that she’d been trailing had maneuvered inside her arc, where she was caught in their sights for too long.  As she looked at her impending doom, it came swiftly, and obligingly.  The inside flyer unleashed a spell of Dazzling Spray that flared like the sun itself was stabbing at her.  Taking advantage of her disorientation, the adversary at her back discharged a spell of flame that engulfed her in a ball of searing heat.

  Blinded by the display playing out in front of her eyes, in an aircraft plunging towards the ocean, Uluantha reached for the handles that would let her join with her flyer.  Her best chance now was to get safely to the surface and hope that help heard her call.  Luckily, the magical shielding had deflected much of the attack, so while damaged, her flyer was still airworthy.

  “Time to play dead, my friend.”

  Uluantha made the ship spin and stutter as she guided it rapidly down towards the water.  She used a simple spell to make the splash look much bigger and more devastating when she hit the surface with a controlled splash.  She could see the enemy circling above and moving closer, like scavengers trying to determine if she was dead, or just nearly such.

  She extended her mind down into the ocean, sending out a desperate cry of, “Hurry!”  For several agonizing breaths, there was only silence.  

Then, “We are here, your call is answered.  What aid do you require?

  “In the sky above me, two flyers have attacked and driven me to the water, unable to fly again.  Please, honored Wheylanni, will you carry me to the Assembly Complex where I will be safe to leave the water?

  “We will do as you ask, Uluantha, for the bond with your people is strong.

  The massive creatures of the water, the wheylanni moved without hesitation.  One burst up from the surface near Uluantha, swinging their impossibly long body so that the tail moved in an arc above her.  One flyer managed to dodge out of the way, but the other had a set of wings smashed like dried leaves by the force of the swing and spiraled uncontrolled towards the water.  

  A second wheylanni glided towards Uluantha with its giant mouth agape.  Like a vast cavern moving across the water, the mouth surrounded Uluantha’s little ship, and closed around her.  Her flyer could use the lifespring batteries that powered it to float in place on the massive tongue below her, and she relaxed in the eerie blue glow of the otherwise perfect darkness around her.

  “What just happened here?” she said aloud to herself.  Then moving to her mental link with the wheylanni carrying her, “I’m afraid for my people because of division within the Clans.  How are things in the ocean’s depths?”

  “There have been some strange happenings to share,” said the wheylanni in her mind, and Uluantha listened carefully.

Life on the Big Wet

Jump to Section

Lore LibraryBooks & Categories

Welcome to Verses, Wanderer.

Welcome to Verses, Wanderer.

Sign up now for...

  • Project updates & announcements.

  • Discover Verses stories and lore every Saturday.

  • Watch interviews featuring Verses artists, founders, and game designers.

  • Be notified of NFT giveaways

Thank you! Your transmission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong during transmission