Monday, January 30, 2017

City of Curses: Cecaelia: Introverted Sea Witches

Crux is on-again, off-again project of mine.  #Crux, City of Curses, is a dark #fantasy with guns, androids, mysteries, intrigues and lot of #magicalwestern stuff packed in.  

An offshoot of early Aboleth experiments on humans, they are called Cecaelia.  Their upper torsos are human, with the majority of their species being female and only a few males, if any.  Cecaelia are strange in that they have no elderly and most of their species looks hale and young.  

They prefer their isolation, only developing clutches based around particular prominent witches.  Witchcraft is the basis of all their communities, so much so that non-witch Cecaelia are seen as pariahs.  The Cecaelia Witches in Ith have citizenship, using their underwater talents to aid Ithic trade and research.  The Cecaelia are introverts by nature.  As such, they've rarely willingly mixed with other species.

All Cecaelia are aquatic first, although they can survive on land for a fair amount of time.
Even though they are amphibious to a large extent, they still can't live for a long time out of water without experiencing dehydration or pain.  This means most Cecaelia living amongst other species oft live within walking distance to the nearest source of water.

Blue-Blooded Superstitutions

Cecaelia are introverts by default.  As such, they often will avoid other species, even other members of their own clutch, rather than socialize or even talk.  This behavior, often out of an urge to avoid people they don't know, has long associated a number of superstitions with them.
They would rather these ideas didn't exist.  Because they find some of them embarrassing or outright harassment to deal with.

Blue Blood Cures Old Age: Cecaelian blood is blue, not red like humans.  The color has attracted a number of mystical claims.  Most often, sailors claim it can cure old age.  They point to how the Cecaelia all look so young.  They claim that it originates in their blue blood.  The Cecaelia state otherwise, often citing the spawnurge as the cause of the lack of elderly among their people (see below).

Cecaelia Ink Curses: Cecaelia have breasts, but unlike female mammals, these are ink sacs.  This includes male Cecaelia.  Like Octopi, they can be released underwater to some effect.  But Salish Sailors claim the ink can curse those who are sprayed by it.  But on the other hand, some Ramelin mystics insist Cecaelia ink makes for a potent oracular elixir.  Cecaelia don't like to talk about it at all.  They avoid the subject if they can.  Cecaelian males even dress as females to avoid having to explain why men among their people have priests.

Cecaelia Siren Songs: The last superstition is one that Cecaelia don't quite avoid encouraging.  The idea that they can steer vessels off course, or for the sea to take them, the Cecaelia smile at.  Some clutches do indeed do what they can to get ships to where they want, albeit for different reasons.  Sailors tell tales of Cecaelian Sea Witches standing upon the rocks, naked with songs, and of the seapeople that drowned trying to reach them.

The Spawnurge

Cecaelia brood.  This is called the Spawnurge by them.  The act of procreating is of great significance to them.  Brooding causes Cecaelia parents to obsess over protecting and incubating their eggs.  Octopusfolk do brood fervently.

Cecaelia will starve themselves while brooding.  Both parents almost never survive brooding.  Even parents that survive tend to die within months of their children hatching.  Cecaelia lay between a hundred and a thousand eggs, only a tiny percentage survive to adolescence.  The Spawnurge leaves young Cecaelia orphans.

Cecaelian clutches foster the young together.  Infant and child Cecaelia have no human looking features, only having their humanoid torsos manifesting around ten years of age.

Cecaelia Naming Conventions

Cecaelia do not receive names until they reach the age of thirteen.  Even then, it often is a singular name.  Often the process is simple, but varies from clutch to clutch.

Some are named based on the day of the week they hatched, often with a color placed before or after the name based on the whim of the Cecaelia.  Others are named based on which constellations are in highest prominence.

Cecaelia names all sound feminine, but they have no gender distinction in their naming.
Weekday Names: Anwen, Bryn, Ellis, Irusana, Arsansia, Xaniasa, Hod
Constellation Names: (the seven before are in addition to these) Anid, Meiriona, Iona, Thys, Zhansa
Example Name: Black Anwen, Gold Ellis, Red Iona

Cecaelia Clutches themselves tend to lack proper names too.  Because the Octopi folk are so few in number, they have little to no reason to even attempt to adopt surnames.  One or two have, often to help themselves avoid scrutiny among humans in Ith.  In some clutches, those without witchcraft often are referred to by their role in the clutch, not their name.