Friday, December 6, 2013

Genre Splash #2: The Shoreless Sea [B]

Continued from Wednesday

Other husengels are a danger, too. It is often much safer to steal from another husengel than to harvest the Sea and with a supply of Chaos you can make anything that you know how to make, so the only thing that a foreign craft has to offer besides its pure water is its knowledge. Anything that can be imagined can be organized from pure water if you know how; plants that transmute carbon dioxide into heat and light, metals that actually grow, etc. If your people have devised a way to organize something useful you just might be able to make the encounter a trade rather than a raid. Whatever it takes to survive, you do it. All you need to do is find a way to keep your people alive until a new world begins to organize- it happened before and it'll happen again. Some theorize that the creative acts of the titans are what will one day result in a new world, and occasionally such people make efforts to encourage the development of more and larger titans under the belief that this will be necessary to create a new world. In the meantime, though, these efforts make the Sea more dangerous for everyone, and there are others who wonder if perhaps theirs was not the first world to be created from the Sea and, if so, why there were no survivors.

The inhabitants of a husengel can be a varied lot. For one thing, while the gods are dead some of their children and servants remain, and these usually form the center of a husengel's social structure. They do not necessarily comprise the leadership- though they sometimes do- but each is an important and unique asset to its husengel. No matter what else the formers are capable of there are some powers that they cannot duplicate. Not every power is based on the creation and alteration of physical structure, and the magic of sorcerers was tied to their homelands (so tied, in fact, that they could not even use their magic in foreign lands and some would even sicken and die away from home). Some husengels' formers can also shape pure water into replacement body parts or even shape entirely new sapient organisms. If your people are going to be in this environment for awhile than you may as well make your people more perfectly-adapted to it.

Just as varied as the people are the husengels themselves. They come in every shape, size, and style, unfettered by any limitation save how much pure water they can reliably procure. There are even legends of a ship, whose inhabitants simply call it Home, that is so large that thousands of its people do not even know that there is anything beyond. Only certain people are chosen to bear the terrible knowledge that their lives are at more risk than their friends and family suspect, and these are the ones that are responsible for collecting more pure water. Other stories exist: Of the Trousseth, a husengel whose crew was replaced by Intelligences and invades, slaughters, and replaces more husengels each year. Of the Eulogy, whose people neither trace their origin to the world that went away nor stay here all the time, but have found a way to travel from this Sea to other places that are yet organized.

The well-educated and skeptical in the world consider these and other stories to be a mass of fictitious wish-fulfillment, blatant lies, tall tales, and spook stories to encourage children to go to bed. How could any ship acquire enough pure water to be so large, and keep that much pure water from becoming volatile? If it were possible, why has no other ship become so large? Why would Intelligences bother to mimic husengel crews? And how, if they have been replacing crews for centuries (and each of these crews, presumably, has been doing the same), how are there any real people left? If such a husengel as the Eulogy could leave this world then why would it ever come back? And how could they travel between worlds anyway? Speaking of which, where did this nonsense about other worlds come from?

Still, the stories persist.

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