Loremageddon 2019, Day Four: an Ilbaret Dance, Tame Sharks, the Ulmish Arc-Signal

Hello, everyone! Welcome to Loremageddon Day 4! A quick bit of preening before I get to today’s content: counting the 1400 some words I posted here, I typed 12,172 words of lore yesterday! I believe this is a career best, and I will now celebrate… by writing even more lore! This time: a dance devised by a people whose arms often have better endurance than their legs, some perfectly affectionate sharks, and an especially elaborate signaling device.

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Full Section #1: The Ilbaret Palmwhirl (World: Canno)

Despite its name, the ilbaret Palmwhirl relies on more than just the palms. However, using them well is essential to performing it correctly.

The Palmwhirl’s intricacy would be unlikely to emerge from any people besides the ilbaret. Early learners too often punt or slap their partners in the face during its passes! The Palmwhirl functions as it does because the ilbaret, while their reliance on tools leads them to stand upright at most times, never developed the locking knee joints which define humans. Their legs are thus a little shorter, and standing upright for long periods exhausts them.

Thus, the Palmwhirl evolved. The ilbaret themselves prefer not to credit any one subculture with its creation, but it’s generally believed that the Prell created the original form at some point during the last Age. Since then every ilbaret town has developed its own tweaks; the Palmwhirl’s overall elements remain similar enough that learning one town’s version lets a dancer adapt to the others without too much trouble.

The dance’s core rhythm is a one-two-three beat alternated sometimes with a simpler one-two. It’s begun from a standing position, with each partner pressing their palm against the other’s. Despite its original intention, most versions of the Palmwhirl have come to employ long, loping steps not unlike lunges. While this makes it more tiring, it’s essential to the way the rest of the dance is performed. On the first two beats, each partner slips a leg past that of the other in a long, curving step, twisting their torso toward the trailing leg.

All the while, the partners attempt to maintain palm contact. After two steps each pulls a half-spin around the other. One partner leans backward, one arm braced against their chest to catch their partner’s palm as they lean down, the other pressed against the ground; the Palmwhirl thus demands excellent core strength as well as a well-developed upper body. The other partner crosses whichever arm they haven’t placed against their partner’s in this movement to the other side; ideally, it should be the left arm if their partner has placed their right palm against the ground, and vice-versa.

After holding for a moment, the partners push off from the ground together and repeat the steps. Whenever the musical accompaniment’s rhythm changes to a one-two–string instruments, drums, and chants from the audience are the traditional ilbaret choice–they repeat the dance’s grounded phase on each beat. How exactly they keep this varied is up to a given pair of partners.

Because of its emphasis on physical contact and the enforced closeness of the grounded phase, the Palmwhirl has naturally acquired a number of romantic connotations among ilbaret and humans, the only other species whose bodies are well-suited to the dance. A couple can slip many other movements into the dance without disturbing its overall rhythm–not to mention the clear symbolism if one partner is always the first to go over in the grounded phase.

Snippet #1: The Tame Sharks of Stoßdär (World: Canno)

The Kingdom of Stoßdär has many cultural elements and traditions which baffle outsiders, but none cause more panic among visiting parents than seeing children just two or three years of age playing in the water with an immense black shark. This has ended in violence, though not death, once or twice–namely, when a furious Stoßdärer parent demanded a duel so as to avenge the insult to the poor, dear shark!

Much as with Ceslon’s wolves, at some point, someone in Stoßdär decided they wanted to domesticate sharks. This must have been a long process, and the results aren’t pets in any conventional sense, but it’s impossible to call the resulting bonds anything other than affectionate–provided one is human or ilbaret, that is. This behavior emerges from birth in the local Blackspine sharks, which will swim up to and wriggle playfully against any human they can reach. This can be unnerving for first-time visitors, but they’re not in any danger.

Blackspines are the largest species of shark on Canno, with adult females regularly reaching thirty feet in length and some few growing as large as forty. They imprint to a general coastal community rather than just one family, and are fanatically protective of its members. In return, Stoßdär’s people keep them well fed with fish and any of the several land-grown meats which the Blackspines have become able to digest safely over the ages.

Whether a hereditary trait or as a result of their domestication, the Blackspine sharks do not enter a feeding frenzy when there’s enough blood in the water. However, they only recognize hominids as “pack mates” by default. An individual Blackspine will accept any individual presented to it by such a pack mate as a friend, but the sharks remain sharks, and they will eat non-humanoid sapient beings if hungry enough and given the chance.

Snippet #2: The Ulmish Arc-Signal (World: Canno)

The Arc-Signal dates back to the Age of Splendors–namely, an earlier period before communications technology advanced far enough that putting ungodly amounts of thought into a signaling device wouldn’t have made any sense. Some specimens of the Arc-Signal survive and are still fully operational. Some of their inner workings can be understood by contemporary Cannoan engineering, but it’s likely to be many centuries before any new ones can be manufactured.

A long tube with several knobs and buttons along its length, the Arc-Signal emits pulses of condensed gas which it draws in from the outside air. The device then subjects these gases to an energy field which changes their chemical composition before projecting them back out into the air. Three knobs allow the user to control the cloud’s length, width and height, and density.

When desired, a button strikes this cloud with an electrical pulse, causing it to burn away in a single luminous flash.

The Arc-Signal was intended to be used with a manual containing not just operational instructions, but certain predetermined flash-patterns and their meanings. Because it renewed its own electrical charge in the process of gas intake, its service life was theoretically limitless, and any stranded travelers or lost soldiers could use it as many times as needed without regard for whether an area had arcane current. The Arc-Signal still sees some service with well-to-do ship’s captains and explorers who have either found one themselves, or were able to afford to buy one.

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And that’s it, that’s the public part of Day Four finished! As always, let me know your thoughts down in the comments, leave a like, and share this post with your friends. If you’d like to keep up with my day-to-day musings, follow me On Twitter!

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