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Océano de la Vida - Gtx0 ?>


Océano de la Vida
Posted: Posted March 20th, 2012 by Xhin
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This is a conworld I came up with last night to help me get to sleep.

Océano de la Vida is an ocean world with sparse underwater and floating islands. The people that live here are immortal.



Water

The water of Océano de la Vida heals all wounds and removes impurities from the body, which sink far below to a place known as "Segundo Mar". People that end up here from other worlds will find any wounds completely healed, any missing limbs regenerated, any scars smoothed over.

The water is so caustic to impurities however that it will completely disentegrate anything on you that is not living. This includes armor, clothing, and possibly the very boat you arrive here on.

When it regenerates body parts, the water will stick to you far more than its viscosity should allow it, and Muerte will swirl up from Segundo Mar to serve as the material for the body part.

Water can be drunk, and it will quench not only thirst but hunger. It has a slight cantaloupe taste to it, not sweet exactly but more rich in flavor than normal water.

It's also impossible to drown, as the water will replenish the body's oxygen, however this is very uncomfortable as those not used to it will still think that they're drowning, and their body will react the same way.

The water is also incredibly clear due to the lack of impurities and you can see very far down if there's enough light.

The tent city

Floating on the water, attached with thick threads to underwater islands for stability is what is known as the tent city. This is where almost everyone lives, under the canvas of massive gold-colored tents made of Silk. They're slightly transparent, so they let some light in, giving then a vague amber glow.

There is no ground, the tents are erected over Océano de la Vida, and travel is accomplished through Oak boats moving over the water.

There is a currency of crystals which are valuable for various things due to their unique properties and the relative difficulty of obtaining them. A crystal known as Onyx is the most valuable, however so rare that it's worthless to use as currency, so the highest denomination is actually a deep blue crystal known as Sapphire.

Minted gold was tried once, due to the extreme difficulty of making even a single coin, but abandoned because of how easily it would dissolve in Océano de la Vida.

Fish

There are fish that swim below the surface of Océano de la Vida. While numerous and easy to match the speed of, they are very difficult to kill. The reason for this is that the water will automatically cure their wounds. If you dig your nails into them, they will heal up and slip away. Usually spears of Oak are used, as it's one of the only materials that does not dissolve in the water, however if Oak is wounding them the water will flush it out. The best method is to repeatedly wound them from below so that they swim higher and higher and can be caught in a Silk net.

Once above the surface, they can be killed with crystal knives, parts of which will dissolve in the water the fish brings with it.

It is much preferable to eat fish and other food than drinking the ocean due to both basic human need and the fact that the water doesn't give you nutrients so much as cure malnutrition.

Before I explain how fish are prepared, I need to go into something fundamental to the world:

Vida and Muerte

In Océano de la Vida, there are two basic types of material. Vida, the spanish word for life, will not dissolve in water but will rather be renewed and healed by it. Muerte, the spanish word for death, will dissolve almost instantly in water. Even single drops of water can scald Muerte like acid, and dropping Muerte in the ocean will make it instantly turn deep black and sink below to Segundo Mar.

In order for Vida to be healed, there must be DNA present. So anything living, like humans, fish, different crops, etc will be healed by the water, but not everything that is Vida has DNA. Below, I'll describe the various materials and their property:

All crystals -- Vida
Silk -- Vida
Oak -- Vida
Gold -- Muerte
Mugre -- Muerte (however in the presence of crystals it will not dissolve)
Anything non-native to Océano de la Vida, for example other metals, wool, plastic, etc -- Muerte

Life that was once alive will become Muerte eventually, despite DNA still existing. The process can be accelerated by heat or sunlight.

Bacteria are an interesting case because whether they're alive or not, they can be either Vida or Muerte depending on whether they're surrounded by a material that's Vida or Muerte. However, unlike other life that is Vida, they do not heal.

Causing life to become Muerte and the dangers of eating

It's extremely important to make sure anything you eat is completely dead because of how water will react to it. You don't want a fish waking up in your stomach, completely immune to your stomach acid, nor do you want Lechugo growing in your lower intestine.

If that does happen, the way of fixing it is an incredibly painful surgery known as El Mil Infiernos where you're cut open and the now-living food removed, while occasionally sprinkling water on your wound to keep you from going into shock.

All native life on Océano de la Vida has evolved to survive solely on water. In order to kill something it's important to first remove it from water so its wounds cannot be healed. While it is wounded, it is still capable of being brought back to life by water, so sunlight or heat are necessary to remove more and more water from it until it becomes muerte. This doesn't completely dehydrate it, it just removes the ocean water and leaves the normal water that the creature has converted.

Once something is muerte, it dissolves in water, so the best way of testing whether, say, a fish is dead is to sprinkle water on it. Fish can also be cleaned and their bones removed easily by sprinkling water in those places. Same deal with the harder-to-eat parts of Lechugo and other vegetables.

Crystals

Crystals are a very important part of Océano de la Vida. Their unique properties are used similar to magical artifacts or basic technology, and they can be cut laboriously with other crystals to form waterproof tools. Crystals are generally no longer than six inches long, and cannot be fused with other crystals, so their use is limited somewhat and Oak is generally preferred for longer tools and structures.

Before I delve further into their properties, it's important to have an understanding of the geography of Océano de la Vida...

Underwater Islands

Deep underwater are islands that will float at a very specific depth beneath the surface. The islands are small (usually between the size of a room and the size of a house). They are composed of crystals and various layers of muerte that cling to the crystals known as Mugre.

The longer Mugre stays near the crystals, the harder it becomes, so most of an island will be almost like rock, with some layers of grime on top of that.

Oak trees will grow underwater on these islands, and nowhere else. Oak trees aren't actually trees, but secretions of a complex ecosystem which I'll get to soon.

Floating Islands

Above the ocean sit floating islands which precariously stay in place as though they don't need to follow the law of gravity. These too have a fixed height though can occasionally move horizontally (usually due to the Presagio de Viento).

Floating islands are usually almost completely white, and are composed of a soft but heavy material called Silkrock as well as larger areas of Cloudsilk that keep the islands afloat. These islands are much larger than the underwater ones, some the size of cities (though those tend to be miles above the surface of the ocean). Much more transparent and lighter-colored crystals (like Aquamarine) are occasionally found in the Silkrock. Indentations in the surface of Silkrock are filled with Mugre, which remains as a fine dust rather than the rock-hard variant found underwater. It also gets lighter and lighter as long as it is in the presence of crystals like Aquamarine, eventually becoming a light shade of tan. Some of it is held in place and used by plants like Lechugo.

In indentations of Cloudsilk, meanwhile, are lakes of the same water as the sea. The water and Mugre are replenished by the Tormenta Empíreo, which happens very rarely (Once every few years in earth years).

Back to Crystals

While crystals aren't rare exactly, they're very embedded within the structure of islands of both types. Mining them requires the use of crystal tools and the semi-magical properties of certain types of crystal (especially Ruby). Underwater mining is not only uncomfortable without crystal-based equipment (because of the drowning thing), but is also dangerous, because the darker crystals are actually responsible for the fixed depth of the islands. Removing even one can upset an island and make it shift position, which may also cause the creatures living within an Oak to come attack you.

Crystals, interestingly, each have a distinct taste, so powdered forms of them are used as flavors in Océano de la Vida cooking.

Below, I will list the properties of the crystals I have built so far:

Ruby -- Ruby crystals are a deep red, and are found in underwater islands about halfway to Segudo Mar. These taste extremely spicy, sort of a cross between black pepper and cinnamon. Ruby has the ability to heat up Muerte, and when combined with Ruby dust, can heat up Muerte to extreme temperatures. It does not, however, heat up Vida, so usually Oak bowls are used to hold whatever material needs to be heated up, and ruby crystals can be held by your bare hand without burning you (although the muerte itself can burn you).

Aquamarine -- Aquamarine crystals are a light cyan, and are found in floating islands. These taste very sweet, with a leaf-like undertone to them, sort of like spinach and kiwi with a bunch of sugar added. They can turn Mugre into a light dust suitable for farming Lechugo and other plants, as well as help dissolve underwater Mugre so as to get to the crystals and Oak buried within it. When aquamarine is exposed to heat, it will become lighter (not that they're particularly heavy). Aquamarine dust will act similar to helium when heated up enough and will float away into the sky. This is very useful for working with Silk, as you'll soon see.

Sapphire -- Sapphire crystals are a deep blue, and are found close to the Segundo Mar. These taste very bitter but rich, sort of like a combination of a bunch of diferent nuts like hazelnut and pine nut. Sapphire Crystals are extremely heavy, and so are useful for weighing down things and going deep underwater without having to swim down to high-pressure areas. Enough of them can also weigh a floating island down enough to make it eventually land in the ocean, which makes harvesting silk easier (but is hardly recommended for long because whatever parts of silk the crystals are on will simply break off and the island will float back up).

Onyx -- Onyx crystals are solid black, and are found in the same area as Sapphire, but are much much rarer and usually embedded deep inside an island. These have a very metallic taste to them, so are not pleasant in food at all (not that you'd use them in food because of their rarity). These are the largest of the crystals, some are a foot across. Unlike Sapphire, they aren't superheavy, although their size does pose some difficulty of getting them back to the surface. Onyx are the hardest and strongest of the crystals, so are useful for cutting other crystal tools (though cutting diamond itself is a very laborious task). They also have the ability of absorbing heat and light from muerte to a ridiculous degree, so that putting a piece of onyx in a a bowl of melted gold will very quickly solidify it. Small pieces are also useful for cooling off Océano de la Vida cooking, but it has to be done very carefully or the food will become completely cold.

There are other crystals, but I haven't yet worked them out.

Gold

Mugre always has a certain amount of gold in it. Refining it is a simple enough process; Using Ruby and Ruby dust the gold will melt together and the rest will turn into smoke. There's no real danger from inhaling it because the water of Océano de la Vida cures all wounds. Aquamarine dust will also help blow Mugre away during the process.

Gold's main usefulness is as a source of infinite fuel, especially when working with Silk. The problem with generating heat with Ruby crystals is that it only works on Muerte, which tends to turn to ash or smoke and be used up. Gold, meanwhile, is a source of muerte that will only extremely rarely evaporate but will instead stay melted and continue to radiate heat. This is useful for more continuous heating fires, as well as keeping warm during the Tormenta Empíreo. Its biggest flaw is that pure gold will dissolve in water, even when touching crystals, making it completely useless underwater.

Silk

Silk is useful in a lot of different ways; it composes the tents, clothing, bedding, is a vital part of balloons that let you reach floating islands and come up from deep underwater, etc. Creating usable silk is somewhat complex.

First of all, Silk is found on floating islands in two varieties, Silkrock which is a spongy but denser material, and Cloudsilk, which is much lighter. Cloudsilk is extremely painful to the touch due to it being a lot of small threads of Silk combined together haphazardly. This generally makes it useless for human consumption as it would be itchy or even painful to wear it (and water wouldn't necessarily remove all of it because Silk is Vida). Cloudsilk is useful for catching fish, however, due to its painful property. Silkrock, meanwhile is what's used to make Silk.

Silkrock essentially is just compressed Cloudsilk. When a floating island is born from Segundo Mar, it will be massive and it will float very high in the sky due to being almost entirely Cloudsilk. Over time, due to the presence of crystals, Cloudsilk will solidify into Silkrock, which weigh it down. Occasionally sections of a floating island will break off, forming smaller floating islands closer to the surface of the ocean. At the end of its lifespan, an island will be completely Silkrock and will sink back down into Segundo Mar. Near the Tent City, this part of the cycle doesn't happen because Silk is harvested by humans.

Anyway, in order to make Silk usable, a silkrock is taken and heated up by Ruby and Ruby dust and some sort of combustible fuel (since silk is Vida, it cannot be heated directly by a Ruby crystal). A small amount of water is applied at the base of the silkrock while it's heated up. This water will turn to steam and get in through pores in the expanding Cloudsilk, smoothing it from the inside, which keeps it from being prickly like Cloudsilk found on floating islands. What you end up with is something similar to a giant complicated ball of cotton, although Cloudsilk is much stronger than cotton. Strands of this refined Cloudsilk can then be woven into threads and used to make tents, clothing, etc.

For larger projects, gold is used to heat up Silk because it's not consumed when using it. Using gold as fuel gives the silk produced its characteristic Golden hue, which doesn't ever wash off for some reason.

Balloons can be made by including Aquamarine dust into the equation, so that when the refined Cloudsilk is made, it will attempt to float away. Cloudsilk can also slowly be made lighter by exposing it to Aquamarine, although that's not really practical because it takes years to become lighter than air. Balloons are useful for bringing things up from underwater and reaching floating islands.

Oak

Oak, as I said before, is a complicated ecosystem that grows on underwater islands. Essentially, it is the birthing place of all fish. Water can heal and nourish fish, but it cannot build them, so they lay a single egg in the Mugre of a new underwater island. Over time, the egg uses the mugre to help it grow and divide into many "children", the same way Lechugo uses mugre on floating islands. An Oak "tree" is a complicated symbiosis of many different types of fish and bacteria that excrete undigested mugre into a tree-like shape. This excrement hardens due to the presence of crystals like Amethyst and Sapphire into a wood-like Vida material. Some eggs will eventually turn into fish and leave, while others will stay in the Oak and continue reproducing until the end of the island's lifespan.

It's generally better to harvest Oak when an underwater island is older (ones closer to the surface) but obviously before it completely dissolves. Harvesting of Oak is done by cutting it out of the Mugre substrate and floating it to the surface, where it is dried. The eggs in it will die once all the water is drained out and can be cleaned out, leaving only the branches of an Oak tree for human use. Oak trees are massive, sometimes two or three times the size of an island (room/house-sized). They're useful for boats, spears, the handles of crystal tools (wrapped with tightly-woven Silk), bowls to hold fish for cooking (since Oak can't be heated directly by Ruby they serve the same function as pots/pans), etc.

Weather (aka Presagio de Viento and the Tormenta Empíreo)



First of all, Océano de la Vida has a standard day/night cycle, although the sun is usually invisible behind a massive swirling morass of dust clouds with occasional lightning flashes. This feature of the sky is known as Empíreo or more commonly, Mar Tercero. Days and nights are three times as long as they are on Earth, but Mar Tercero makes day less bright and night more lit-up (due to the lightning flashes). Mar Tercero is composed of a number of shifting colors, and as you can see from my art, it can be quite beautiful.

Mar Tercero is known as such because like Segundo Mar, it is composed entirely of Muerte. Unlike Segundo Mar, it does not create underwater or floating islands, although it is very dynamic, and once every few years, its movements will rapidly pick up pace. During the start of this time, winds will blow known as the Presagio de Viento. At every other time of year, there are only very mild breezes very very occasionally, so the ocean has almost no waves. During this time, however, there are strong winds that will send tent canvasses flapping. These winds will help evaporate a layer of the ocean, which almost never does otherwise, except in the presence of extreme heat from Ruby crystals.

Eventually, the Tormenta Empíreo will start. When this happens, huge sections of the Mar Tercero get blown down. These sections are extremely cold, and can occasionally freeze the water in the ocean, as well as cover everything with a layer of Muerte. Floating islands will get moved around and are more likely to break apart during this time. And it will start to rain. The rain is half muerte and half water, so it does not heal anywhere near as well as the ocean water does. The rain can also corrupt a good amount of the water, so if people need to be healed/are thirsty/etc, they have to dive very deep or use water that people have set aside in Oak buckets. The Tormenta Empíreo lasts several months, and absolutely drenches everything, but it serves to move floating islands around and refill them with mugre and water.

Conclusion (Sort of)

Anyway, that's what I have so far. What are your thoughts on the conworld so far?

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Great!

Did you make the pictures?

What do the fish eat?

Posted March 20th, 2012 by Quillwraith
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Yeah, I made the pictures a while back. The conworld ended up having a lot of things in common with them, so I included the ones that made the most sense as part of canon.

The fish live almost entirely off ocean water and mugre that their symbiotic bacteria turn into nutrients. Their main purpose is to serve as a vessel for the bacteria, which sexually reproduce with other bacteria that the fish encounters and alter the single egg that the fish carries. Over a few hundred years, the bacteria will end up slowly killing the fish, at which point it will lay its egg in a new underwater island and die, leaving the bacteria and egg to form the next generation.

Fish that are in the non-mobile part of their life will subsist on the nutrients provided to them by the bacteria that convert mugre in an underwater island.

Posted March 20th, 2012 by Xhin
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Xhin
 

I have found that conworlding is a great way to NOT fall asleep...


You mention with killing the fish that some of the crystal tool will dissolve when it touches the water?? I thought crystal wouldn't dissolve.

The mechanics of where silk comes from are not very clear.

Posted March 21st, 2012 by Blake
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Blake
 

I have found that conworlding is a great way to NOT fall asleep...


Yeah, that may have backfired.


You mention with killing the fish that some of the crystal tool will dissolve when it touches the water?? I thought crystal wouldn't dissolve.


Oops. That section originally stated "gold knives" and I missed the second part of it when I changed it.


The mechanics of where silk comes from are not very clear.


You mean where Silk (floating) islands come from, or how Silk is made from Silkrock?

Posted March 21st, 2012 by Xhin
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Xhin
 

Well, it sure is pretty. I won't say how much sense it makes, though.

Posted March 22nd, 2012 by chiarizio
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The former; the latter was well enough explained.

Posted March 23rd, 2012 by Blake
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Blake
 

Xhin, I love your conworlds. I don't have any questions, but I'll post if i think of any.

Posted March 28th, 2012 by bloodb4roses
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So, it's been a couple of months. I figured it was time for an update. This update will mostly cover natural cycles and the human endeavor known as the Gran Cacería. But first, more art:


Océano de la Vida at night, during Presagio de Viento

(The water of Océano de la Vida will be known as Agua from now on.)

Fish/Bacteria Symbiosis

First of all, fish are not what they appear to be. It is unknown whether they came from another world and were utilized by the already-existing bacteria, or if they evolved alongside them, but their systems are far too complicated for their simple task of eating Mugre and surviving off Agua. Whatever the case, they are reliant on them for both life and death.

As I explained before, an Oak Tree is a complicated network of reproducing fish eggs and bacteria that convert Mugre in the rock to nutrients. The fish begins its life as one of these eggs, deep within the trunk of the tree. It will grow and evolve with its sisters through the branches of the tree. Every twig of the tree is a place where a fish has grown fully and left the Tree to begin its mobile stage.

The fish now carries symbiotic bacteria, and lives with Agua and a thin stream of Mugre from Segundo Mar that the bacteria cause to appear. It is worth noting that this is the same bacteria that infects missing human wounds, which I will cover soon. The fish will carry a single egg, which will be one of its sisters that it dominated when it was still in the womb of Oak. Its purpose is to find a mate who will change the DNA of the egg, but not in the way you'd expect. Fish live for hundreds of years while the bacteria within them slowly take over their body. The fish have no bacteria of their own other than that one kind that creeps within them, slowly biting into their tissue while Agua heals the wound.

In case you haven't guessed, since fish reproduce asexually and carry with them an egg who is identical to them, and Agua cures mutations, there is only one exact genome of fish, all female. The purpose of finding a mate, then, is not to change the genetic line of their sole egg, but of changing the genes of the bacteria that live within them. The diversity of bacteria in Océano de la Vida is unnerving, and it's better that the people who live there don't know about it.

Fish will take hundreds or even thousands of mates over their lifespan, all of which add some of their bacteria's genome to the bacteria residing there. This is not a random process; the bacteria will actively take only certain parts of the donor genome and discard others though by what process they do so is unknown.

When a fish has reached the end of its lifespan, it will find a new underwater island and burrow its way deep inside. Fueled by the crystals, its single egg will awaken. The bacteria, meanwhile, will branch out their network through the rest of the fish and kill it. As they cannot live without Vida, the network will wait for the egg to reproduce, with its eggs flowing through the network and the muerte it summons as they grow, forming a new Oak tree which can often be thousands of miles away from where the original fish began.

The Cycle of Underwater Islands

Segundo Mar is not a flat seabed. It is a swirling morass of peaks and troughs of Mugre at the darkest depths of Océano de la Vida. Deep within it are disturbing processes that form crystals, which I will cover under the Gran Cacería section. For the sake of this section though, know only that crystals are formed below.

If enough crystals are within a peak when it forms, it will break off. Most of the mugre (about 90%) will fall back into Segundo Mar, but a certain amount of it will remain, kept from dissolving by the crystals buried within. As the crystal's influence continues, the mugre of an underwater island will become harder and harder, like rock. Fish are also likely to lay their single egg at the beginning of an underwater island's lifespan. During this time, more and more of the mugre will turn to gold, but never will it be more than a fine dust, and never will it be enough to be visible. The crystals will also change subtly, Onyx breaking up into Sapphire chunks, Sapphire becoming Amethyst, and Amethyst becoming Ruby. As they do so, the island will rise towards the surface, steadily becoming harder as well.

When an underwater island reaches the surface and its mugre is exposed to air, cracks will begin to form in its surface, dividing it around crystals. To witness this process is very rare, as it only lasts a few hours within the hundreds-of-years cycle of underwater islands. The hardened mugre is a material known as Blackstone, as hard and undisolvable as crystal, but without its powers. Blackstone is, however, porous, and will take in air from the surface world for several hours, clearing out the water within it.

When a Blackstone chunk is full of air, it will suddenly and violently sink back into Segundo Mar within the span of seconds, powered no doubt by a new transformation of the crystal within. If there is Oak on the surface, it will violently break apart as well, scattering half-grown fish in all directions. As they are not mobile, they have no choice but to be carried by the pressure of the sinking Blackstone. That's the lucky ones. The unlucky ones are slowly eaten alive by their symbiotic bacteria and unlike mobile fish cannot do anything about it, so the process happens over several weeks rather than hundreds of years. Once the bacteria have killed the fish, they too will die, and the whole thing will become muerte that sinks into Segundo Mar.

Cycle of Floating Islands

Deep within Segundo Mar, the air-filled Blackrock from now-dead underwater islands will undergo many disturbing processes, and the crystals within will turn to Aquamarine, as the blackrock will turn white. Fueled by the Aquamarine, the air within the Blackrock will cause it to explode into strands of Cloudsilk. The newly born floating island will shoot up from the Segundo Mar as violently as the Blackrock did to get to it. Except when it hits the surface, showering water in every direction, it will continue floating up, coming close enough almost to touch Mar Tercero above.

Blackrock is nowhere near homogenous, so when it expands into Cloudsilk, there will be many indentations within it, which trap water and muerte as the floating island rises from beneath the waves. Blackrock also expands to a ridiculous size, from the size of a chair on average to the size of entire cities when it becomes a floating island.

Under the influence of Aquamarine which slowly turns to Emerald, Cloudsilk will slowly shrink into Silkrock. As before, the muerte collected in its indentations will vaguely turn into gold, but never enough to make a substantial difference. Lechugo and other vegetables will send their spores into the island and grow there. Muerte and a weaker verson of Agua will be replenished every few years by the Tormenta Empíreo.

As Cloudsilk becomes Silkrock, it will sink. Silkrock pieces may break off and become smaller islands, leaving the purer Cloudsilk Islands to float back up, though those too will turn to Silkrock over time. Eventually, a floating Island will be composed of so much Silkrock that it crashes into the surface and will sink back down into Segundo Mar. This is the only time when it is possible to collect Amber, the final stage of the crystal transformation cycle. Even then, most of the crystals in a no-longer-floating island will still be Sapphire and Aquamarine.

The floating island, crystals and all, will sink back down to Segundo Mar.

Gran Cacería

Within Océano de la Vida, there are four main types of people that evolve in the closed paradise that it offers:

  • The Hedonists, who spend their time enjoying the bounty of Océano de la Vida and one another's company. These do not last long.
  • The Suicidally Depressed, who were once Hedonists who now spend their time trying to find a way to kill themselves and each other in an environment that is designed to resurrect them. These last far longer than they want to.
  • The Prisoners, who spend their time trying to find a way to leave Océano de la Vida, possibly with Agua and Gold.
  • The Explorers, who spend their time exploring and developing Océano de la Vida.

    The Explorers and the Prisoners work closely together and are generally the only sane group in Océano de la Vida. Whatever their motivation, they seek to unravel the mysteries behind Océano de la Vida in their pursuit of the unknown known as Gran Cacería. These are the ones that originally built the Tent city (and yes, most of the originals are still alive) and developed the technology and materials science of this limited world.

    Gran Cacería -- The Sea



    Creating a massive boat out of the trunks of Oak, six explorers set out to explore the farthest reaches of Océano de la Vida. This was when Silkcraft was still crude technology so they didn't yet have a way of flying there. It was right after an Tormenta Empíreo, so the wind was not enough to move their boat, and they could row it directly towards the sun and then away from it on the way back. They had been at Océano de la Vida for three years, arriving at a Tormenta Empíreo and now leaving at one. They would go towards the sun for exactly a year, and return for another year so that they would not be hit by another Tormenta Empíreo. Of the seven, there were four men, one wife of one of those men, and one concubina. The concubina was one of the few who had lived on Océano de la Vida all her life, and sought to see the world talked about by the others.

    What they discovered on their journey was -- nothing. For the hundreds of miles they traveled, the world was exactly the same. Near the end of their journey, they found a floating island that had hit the surface due to an earlier Tormenta Empíreo. Exposed in its multicolored surface were pure amber crystals, which they had never seen before. They collected these treasures and headed home, with nothing otherwise useful coming out of their journey.

    Gran Cacería -- Mar Tercero

    As Silk technology developed, and more people became stranded at the heaven/hell known as Océano de la Vida, people began to live on the floating islands, cultivating Lechugo and other vegetables. To get there, they created balloons of Silk. One group decided they would try to reach Mar Tercero itself and see what lay within, so using a giant piece of Cloudsilk suspended over a boat of gold and ruby, they created a balloon known as the Gran Globo.

    As the society had evolved, creating Silk was a role that men did not wish to touch, so it was a team of three women that took the Gran Globo on its flight. They started from one of the newer floating islands, one that was nearly the size of a mountain. From living on this floating city through several Tormenta Empíreos, they knew that Mar Tercero was only about a mile above their heads. They decided to go for only a single day and night, arriving home on the second day.

    When they returned two weeks later with a psychedelic-colored balloon unable to speak, the people of the Tent City knew that something strange existed up there. It took them nearly a year to recover and for their memory to return, but before it did, another balloon was created and this time two men and two women investigated it. They decided they would only stay for a few hours. They returned also several days later, unable to speak with a look of complete terror on their faces that no amount of Aqua could cure.

    Several months later, the second group had recovered. What they described was a world of shifting colors and blinding lights. It was random, but ordered. They felt as though they were being watched by millions of people, no, entities who would move around them. And every so often, the patterns would line up into an infinitely-long tunnel that stared at them malevolently.



    They tried to leave, mere minutes after they had arrived, both from the combination of what they experienced and the violent winds of multicolored dust that they couldn't choke away. But instead Mar Tercero toyed with them. It would pull them out of the balloon and hold them apart from one another, and then put them back in. It too would keep the balloon from falling, no matter what they did. But at some point they could feel Mar Tercero diverting its attention away from them, and the clouds of the storm were if not peaceful, at least no longer malevolent. So they returned.

    When the first group recovered, they reported the same thing, except in their case they were much higher up when Mar Tercero awoke, so it took them much longer to get back to the surface.

    The Tormenta Empíreo that year came nearly an earth year early, and its ferocity was unmatched. Huge sections of the tent city blew apart and floating islands were ripped to shreds or toppled over. But this too did not last forever, and Mar Tercero directed its attention elsewhere.

    Gran Cacería -- Segundo Mar

    Segundo Mar had always been avoided, both in exploration and casually averted in conversation. Everyone knew -- this was the place where life came from and where death went to die. The source of the many wonders of Océano de la Vida. Those who went to gather crystals, especially onyx, would look into its depths with awe but never venture too close to it. The other explorers of Gran Cacería knew it would have to be explored at some point, but did not wish to rush it. And after the experience of those who visited Mar Tercero, it was a long time before a group was ready to go to those depths. But they knew that if there was any way out of Océano de la Vida, it would have to be through Segundo Mar.

    Two pieces of technology provided for it.

    The first was the Sirenas, those who had developed meditative techniques and gotten their body used to the concept of drowning. Over time in the Tent City, it was this group and their disciples who almost exclusively went underwater for supplies. They had become master fishermen and had learned ways to cut off pieces of Oak without disturbing the fish within. This group also had the best success rate of having children, and raised them in the art of Sirena rather than letting them become Concubinas like most of them ended up. They also did not avoid Segundo Mar in conversation nearly as much, but rather simply respected it.

    The other piece of technology was Amber. Amber would give off light in much the same way Ruby gave off heat. Amber usually started out as a completely spherical crystal which was extremely hard to cut, even with Onyx, but it was discovered that if it was in a certain long and thin shape it would give off lightning that was persistent and highly illuminating. It was theorized that there were quantities of Amber present in Mar Tercero that were responsible for the persistency of its constant lightning flashes. Especially at night, when the lightning would morph into strange shapes rather than disappearing as lightning should.

    Amber was difficult to harvest because it could only be gathered in small quantities when a Floating Island had completed its life cycle, or very very rarely it could be found in floating islands close to the surface. It was therefore extremely valuable, but really only useful underwater due to night illumination.

    The Sirena were, however, easily able to trade for almost all of them because their skills couldn't be duplicated easily. Armed with their Arc Flashlights, they would naturally be the ones to explore Segundo Mar. But they lacked the motivation.

    Until one of the original balloon explorers discovered a very interesting property of gold.

    Gold Dust

    Since Gold dissolved instantly in water, it was a mystery for the longest time how mugre that was brought up from underwater could contain gold, or why the gold hue of Golden Silk didn't wash out. Gold could be extremely useful underwater or could even be used as a decent currency if it didn't dissolve instantly in water.

    When one of the original Gran Globo explorers returned and recovered, she got back to working with Silk, still creating balloons. Like all Silk workers, she used an Oak bowl with gold in it that Ruby would heat up, turning Agua into steam that would take Aquamarine dust and fill the pores of Cloudsilk. She was so excited for the Gran Cacería that she didn't notice when she was making the Gran Globo that the steam coming up had a golden hue to it. It was during mid-day though, so the entire sky was a golden hue.

    However, after what happened to her, she started working exclusively during the night, fearing the brightest Mar Tercero of the day as something evil, and trying to become a Sirena during the night so she could escape its wrath. So when she created a large balloon during then that was going to be used to lift a giant Oak tree from underwater, she noticed that golden hue coming from the steam rising off the Oak boat she was using as a bowl. Logically, this shouldn't happen, because Gold is Muerte, and Agua destroys Muerte regardless of its form, but here the two were getting along just fine.

    Curious, she collected the steam in an upside-down Oak bowl. When it condensed and cooled off (via Sapphire of course), there was a vaguely glimmering pool of Agua. After straining it a few times through Cloudsilk, she got a thin gold powder that refused to melt together, be burned by Ruby, and did not dissolve in Agua. It was, for all intents and purposes, Vida.

    This powder had another strange property. If an arc from Amber hit it, it would immediately space itself along the arc and keep it persistent far longer than the amber itself would. The arc would also morph into various strange shapes, much like Mar Tercero did at night. And at the end of its cycle, the gold dust would follow the arc back to the amber and collect around it.

    It wasn't hard, then, to create what she called a Tercero Stick. A thin piece of amber coated in this gold dust that would turn into swirling lightning and last for whole minutes at a time, before returning to itself. Completely unaffected by water. And only she knew how to make this dust.

    She talked to the Sirena about it, and promised to make some for them, provided that they use it to explore the Segundo Mar -- and take her with them. They agreed, so she learned to fully become one of them.

    Conclusion

    So yes, I'm obviously not done with this -- I have yet to cover what happened when they entered Segundo Mar. Which I'll probably do in the next few days.

    Thoughts so far?

  • Posted May 23rd, 2012 by Xhin
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    Xhin
     

    As always, I love your artwork. :D

    So let's see... We have tree-fish which are more vessels for bacteria than actual fish; various changes in crystals, mugre, and cloud stuff that all affect one another; malevolent sky entities; and an unknown abyss. I saw a bit about your people's culture in there as well, is there any class system? Or ranking for how long a person('s bloodline) has been in OdlV?

    Also, bacteria feed fish (in a sense), fish feed humans, but what happens to bacteria from the fish getting into humans?

    Posted May 23rd, 2012 by bloodb4roses
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    I saw a bit about your people's culture in there as well, is there any class system? Or ranking for how long a person('s bloodline) has been in OdlV?


    Yes, that will be included in the next update, which I'll be posting on both here and the ZBB.

    but what happens to bacteria from the fish getting into humans?


    Ah, that's a good question. It would appear that humans are immune to them, because the oldest human is about six hundred years old and still alive. In this case, it's because humans have immune systems (which Agua continuously makes better) and the fish do not.

    Posted May 24th, 2012 by Xhin
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    Xhin
     
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