The Caravaneers of Archelon

The Caravaneers of Archelon
Once, before the formation of the Scarlet Realm, sailors spoke of the stray islands that
spoke the tongue of man. In truth, these tales was of the gentle Archelons, a breed of
turtles capable of sharing their direct thoughts with lesser creatures.
This, along with their size, made them a topic only spoken about in hushed tones by sailors,
frightened that such beings could haunt them even on shore.

One fateful day, a cruel-minded Prince of the Earth encountered them.
And he disliked what he saw. Even if it was only conjecture, creatures with insight to gaze into his very soul could not be allowed to live.

And so, he commenced a hunt which drove the Archelons into excinction. Or, so would many
believe. However, a single demure spirit intervened. Her name was Ethereal Tsunami.
She was the guardian of the archelons, their spiritual patron, and furious with the arrogant
exalt and his paranoid delusions. Thus, she beckoned the last of the archelons to her side.

And in her a hidden realm of Tsunami's making, in the deepest of trenches, the last of these gentle giants hid from the wroth of the Dragon's Chosen.
Yet, in time, even as the Prince himself died of old age, as the spawn of their vengeful hunter kept searching for them on the waves above, but the spirit kept risking everything for her beloved creatures, as she danced in circles around the Terrestials and their lust for a trophy that could earn them respect in their own family.
As the centuries passed, the house of that wrathful prince eventually died out.
And Ethereal Tsunami, now a patron spirit of the wave-striding traders, returned to the trenches beneath where she had hid the archelons so long ago.
To her sorrow, she found only the picked bones of the long-dead archelons. Among those withered remains, she remained and wallowed in her grief as the last of her favored children had passed away.

On the surface however, the sorrowful lament of a goddess manifested in cresting waves with the strength to cap galleys in one fell swoop.
Soon, the waterways of the warded sea became far too perilous to cross for anything less
than matters of grave importance.
The razor-sharp shears hidden beneath the waters, combined with waves as grand as imperial palaces meant that few ships that dared the journey would ever return.

This continued. For twelve long years.
The inner isles became isolated, and the few kingdoms on the outskirts saw entire tribes migrate away from the sea they had depended on for so long.
Only the tribes of the undersea understood the what truly happened in these lands.
Their traders was the only links that the isolated islands could depend on, and so the sharkfolk of the Shoal Kingdom gained wealth like they had never seen before.

And that drew the attention of a wayward son of the Siren Chains.
His name, was Totojin, born among the sailors of Nessa, yet he was given the grace of the Dragons through lines of blood too muddled to follow.
But Danaa'd had given him the Second Breath, and to his fortune, the absence of the Realm meant that he had been able to grow up in peace and away from the demands of the Scarlet-clad Ruler of All Things.
But one day, as he spoke with a old and worn sharkman who had drunk too much of the good palm-wine, Totojin learned of the sorrowful lament that echoed beneath the waves, and it's effect on the sea above.

Embolded by his own family, the young man braved the waves on a skiff made of cedar and spruce, blessed to endure by the god of the Nessan harbor.
And his journey took him into the open sea. Each day, he swam below the waves, seeking the source of the grieving sobs that faintly echoed beneath the waves. Each night, exhausted, Totojin tied himself to his skiff and slept within it, as it had been turned belly up and submerged to keep it from being tossed away by the roaring waves of the surface.

Nine days passed. No closer to his goal.
And eight nights had he slept beneath the waves. But on the ninth night, a lone orca woke him from his slumber, as it tested the boat, as to learn if it was as edible as the fish it knew.
To it's displeasure, Totojin and his boat was not anywhere edible.
But, much to Totojin's surprise, the orca spoke as it was from the lands above. The orca had once accompanied the traders above, as he had found the traders willing to offer morsels to him for good luck.
In the times before, his kin had learned the speech of men, as they brought man's offerings to Ethereal Tsunami, the goddess the orcas had loved above all other.
But now, as she had been singing her songs of grieve, the orca's brothers and sister had left. He, the oldest among them, had been left behind to protect the singer of sorrow, as a sign of their debt.

Totojin struck a bargain with the grizzled orca, and from that day, those wolves of the sea would be welcome in the waters around Nessa, as kinsmen of his line.
In return, the old orca would lead him to Ethereal Tsunami.

In the deepest trench he could imagine, in the pitch black waters, Totojin finally found the godess he had set out for.
Surrounded by the bones of the Archelons, she had been sitting in the same spot for so long that a multitude of corals and barnacles had covered her from head to toe.
And here, the song that was such a bane to the people above was the saddest lament that stirred the soul, almost captivating Totojin in such a way that he would have remained here for the reminding life he had.
But, with the blessings of the elements that he commanded, he managed stride forward, seeking to end her song.

First, he tried the words of respect and diplomacy. Yet it fell upon deaf ears.
Then, he spoke of compassion and the hardships of her worshippers.
Yet her dirge echoed still.
He pleaded with her, and offered to his life to her, in return for the end of the sorrow.
And nothing. Nothing stirred her from her monotonous songs.

Distraught, Totojin removed himself, and began to think.
All while he swam around in the remains of the creatures that had been so grand to behold.
It was here that his blessed eyes noticed something quite peculiar.
Beneath the greatest of the skeletal behemoths, he found a mound that had been left alone for centuries. And within, he found nine stones the size of oxen, that his companion, the old orca named as being eggs of the archelons, long since turned to stone.
But, to the sharp eyes of the exalt, he saw the dormant traces of life that still remained in the shell.
And thus, he decided to gamble.

Totojin returned to Ethereal Tsunami, and offered to bring back the archelons.
In a instant, the song that had caused so much hardship, came to an end.
And from a cocoon of corals burst the goddess anew, in her eyes a fury that she had long forgotten. She tried to rip apart Totojin for even daring to speak of the long-gone archelons, as he was kin to the butchers that had driven them to their death so long ago.

A battle followed, yet Totojin bested the spiteful spirit, forcing her to listen.
He told of his heritage as man of Nessa, and of the pain her grief had brought upon the lands.

The words spoken was as a knife to the goddess, and she bowed her head and begged for his forgiveness. Totojin took from her a promise in return.
That she would aid him in the return of the archelons. And so it was, that the spirit gave up much of her powers to awaken the eggs of the long-dead giants.

Diminished, she then accompanied Totojin on his journey home, as the eggs hatched one by one. Nine archelons now swam along the currents once more, and their protector was nothing less than a Chosen of Daana'd, allowing them to grow and swim across the seas.

In the years that followed, the traders that had been landlocked by the waves sought out their savior and swore their fealty.
And the pearl-diver from Nessa now became a Trade Prince in his own right.
Gradually, as the archelons grew and the islands atop of their shields manifested, Totojin began sailing to the lands that had been without trade for so long, and told of his deeds.
Goods was now again exchanged from island to island, filling the coffers as the great turtle-islands swam their routes in peace.

Each of the creatures had been taught to speak only to the caravan-masters and to their patron, Totojin and his bride, their guardian spirit.
Beneath the waves, schools of orca defends them from depredations of the jealous sharkfolk, whose twelve years of trade monopoly gave them a taste for the sweet life, a time they desire to recreate.

The Guild, wary of the Archelons, have made a few attempts to acquire one of them for themselves. Yet, to little success, but the factors simply enjoys the profits of these ocean caravans, as few pirates can muster the will to attack these beings, as the numbers of able warriors on a Archelon greatly outnumber most ships.
The Lintha have nonetheless made several attempts, as have the Matahoruan warriors, seeking to claim a archelon for their fleets, but none have been successful.

The Realm have made many attempts to control the Caravaneers of the Archelons, but as Totojin pays his tithes and have sworn alligiance to House Sesus, few see any reason to disturb the results that is produced by this strange compact of man and turtle.

But, many fear that Totojin, now that the centuries have left it mark on him, will die and throw the Caravaneers into chaos as his bargains might fall apart upon his demise.
His children are divided by their interests, and few can predict the currents that the archelons will swim in the coming years.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License