The people of Ik'Thulu have no wings.
Posted: Posted January 11th by Xhin
To be fair though, they don't have the level of technology that the Pivotians do. The way the Ik'Thulu people use Gems and Sympathetic Metals is a lot more rudimentary, though somehow they've mastered the art of Waterfalling and they know the islands and what's in them far better than even the most highly trained Pivotian.
The world is a void, a bottomless depth lit by a dim ambient purple light and the occasional Wandering Sunshadow which gives it Day. Floating in this vast purple void are islands of stone and metal with enormous Turquoise cores -- gigantic prismatic shapes that jut out from the top and bottom of the island, slowly eroding in the endless purple void.
Each island is borne on the Tortoise Wind, a slow current that brings it from the wall at the edge of the world (known simply as "Edge") to the wall of scalding water at the other edge of the world (known as "the Sea") over the course of a couple human lifespans. As best as Pivotian instruments can tell, these Walls are infinitely vertical and are just part of the strange geometry of this place. Anyone venturing into either wall has never returned -- although to be fair older expeditions couldn't exploit Worm Gates to read infinite data. A newer expedition is being put together to do exactly that, crewed by some combination of brave souls, arrogant scientists and the certifiably insane. The leader of it -- Lakjos -- is probably all three. He's one of those weird ones that doesn't quite fit into either Pivotian culture and no one knows where he's from either. He could be an Ik'Thulu for all anyone knows.
Your islands are made of stone and metal at their core, but they're seeded by successive layers of plants -- the Axeroot trees of course seed first, digging through the hard layers of rock, and rotting their top layer of roots into the mulch that everything else seeds in. The Axeroots grow tall and fast like vines, shedding branches at each successive stage until they resemble winding snakes that jut out from the landscape with thin layers of foliage on top. Below them you get more normal forest-fare trees (which again grow like vines), though depending on the composition of rock and mulch you might instead get cactus-analogues or tall mushrooms that unfurl during the purple Night.
During that first year, there will be a time known as The Bloom when all the plants spread flowers and fruits in unison. Most of the color palette here is red, and animals on neighboring islands will know it's time to move in. The Birds will come first of course -- unlike the people of Ik'Thulu, they have wings and can simply fly over to the new island. The Drakes, Bears, Vulun, Garmak, Fish, Frogs, Insects, Crocs, Monkeys, and 'Furs meanwhile have laid or starved into their eggs which wait in one of the rivers for the First Pull to bring them in. The Ik'Thulu, who know how to change the flow of the river, can delay this and collect the helpless eggs for easy food and their Bloom Feast -- though granted new island events don't happen all that often.
Sometime that first year after The Bloom (but before the Sunshadows invert) the Agate in the new island will pulse, and the rivers of the surrounding islands will be drawn towards it in horizontal waterfalls. The eggs will be drawn to the new island, hatching into new creatures of every type and starved mature creatures to guide them. The Crocs and Garmak are known to fight and eat one another for a while, quickly gaining sustenance and strength but dwindling in number so they can spread out over the island and hunt the other creatures peacefully. Despite also being carnivores, the Vulun, Drakes, and some of the 'Furs don't do this and have to act more like scavengers for the first couple years in Croc/Garmak territory.
The Ik'Thulu are on a different schedule entirely. They will freely roam the islands, steering Waterfalls with Agate and Inverted Agate, making dangerous (without wings) journeys to other islands as needed. They will typically keep their settlements on one main island until it Falls and slides into the Sea, but they roam widely around the other islands, collecting rare resources and settling disputes (through bloodshed, usually) with the Nal'Tek. The Ik'Thulu also maintain Trading settlements near Pivots and especially near Pivotian islands.
Continued in next post.
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