Loremageddon 2019, Day Eleven: Kijnep Poetry, Vestigials, the Riven Sea

Hello everyone, and welcome to Day Eleven! This time we’re focusing solely on Creation’s Fringe–first, the most common poetic movements of the Kijnep people, then the smaller class of entities–“spirit” may be too dignified–known as Vestigials, and lastly the Riven Sea. What is it? Easier to explain in the full article, so:

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Today’s Full Segment: Kijnep Poetry (World: Creation’s Fringe)

Kijnep poetry is a popular form of entertainment among most of their tribes, with many spending extraordinary amounts of time refining their own pieces in order to present them at the next Widebough Ranging–a twice-a-year meeting between all the Kijnep tribes at their great center along the mighty Atagra river which runs through their territory. Here, in addition to many trials of physical ability, the best Kijnep poets contest against each other to prove their worth to their people.

The most popular Kijnep poetic form in the current era is the Unabre–a poem of four to six verses, each four lines, with a repeating one-two rhythm intended to synchronize with the poet’s footsteps as they walk back and forth before the audience. The Unabre uses a fairly rare rhyme scheme in which the place of the rhyming words in each statement changes from one verse to the next.

The most common approach is to keep them at the end of a line, but move this line from the first line to the second in the second verse, from the second to the third in the third verse, and so on. For this reason most Unabres are only four verses in length despite the form allowing for an extra two. As far as content, it varies widely, but the Unabre does have one stipulation: the poem must conform to a certain reality. This may be an imagined rather than real one, but the Unabre must avoid overt references to places, people, and images who lie outside its invented space.

This forces Kijnep poets to become extremely creative both in the invented spaces their poems depict, and the use of implications or symbolism to make statements about other things without violating the requirements of the Unabre form. Over time this has driven Kijnep poets to phenomenal subtlety, and the meanings created in one Unabre are regularly used by the form’s masters to create new implications in their own work.

Snippet #1: Vestigials (Worlds: Creation’s Fringe, any non-Cannoan)

Vestigials, despite their name, are not necessarily vestiges or remnants of anything. In fact, many are just the opposite: nascent spirits which have only recently come into being. Other than this, Vestigials are defined more by their limited power and predictability (in the sense that one can be quite sure what a given Vestigial will do if they’ve correctly identified its type) than by any one appearance. They don’t even necessarily assume forms which fit the sphere they embody, though this much is at least generally the case.

Like many spirits, Vestigials usually exist in connection with a certain idea. Unlike demons, gods, and other greater entities, however, Vestigials do not have dominion over these ideas. Instead, it’s the ideas which control the spirits. A Vestigial of whimsy will flock to every new thing it sees and interact with it, tangle itself among the turning blades of a windmill, and settle into an alchemist’s alembic even as the hapless potion-maker is trying to put it to use!

Such a Vestigial would likely have a form comprised of many different, often ill-fitting components–twisting branches made of glass entangling with thistly strands of vine, the lot intermixed with multicolored fires, or even just a faint glow wrapping over every small, shiny object the Vestigial saw and was drawn to add to its form.

While such descriptions may given the impressions that Vestigials are always harmless, they are fundamentally amoral entities. The aforementioned Vestigial of whimsy might hurl a knife at a crying infant simply because that’s its immediate reaction to hearing such obnoxious squalls. Vestigials of violence do exist, of course, and lack any semblance of sapience to prevent them from indulging their nature at every opportunity.

No one Vestigial is a meaningful threat to any grown adult human who has even a basic understanding of fighting; these spirits are so frail that one good swing with a hardwood staff breaks apart their forms, killing them by simple dispersion. There are two key problems with this image: the majority of the Fringe’s inhabitants are not humans, and Vestigials are not forced to appear by themselves.

A Vestigial swarm intent on destruction and killing can concentrate into a shredding tide, overwhelming even a proper soldier and slicing, burning, or poisoning any exposed flesh they can find. Such swarms can easily kill any ordinary person in minutes, and there’s nothing at all to stop them coalescing wherever there’s violence to anchor them.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, many Vestigials do form in relation to happier ideas–healing or family, for example. Such Vestigials make popular helpers for mages and psionics, who have the power and the means to communicate with these little servants. It’s well to remember, though, that the Vestigials are loyal only to this “master”–that loyalty can turn even the milder brands dangerous if manipulated correctly.

Snippet #2: The Riven Sea (World: Creation’s Fringe)

The Riven Sea is, as its name implies, riven! While perhaps more properly an ocean, it’s referred to as a sea because it’s still isolated in its own way even if not surrounded by landmass. The Riven Sea’s steady areas are contained by an array of sealed harbors–most natural, stony basins and mountains sprawling at key points along the continents whose shores the sea laps. Some are artificial additions from past Eras of the Fringe, representing a scale of engineering neither the Fringe’s current powers nor even the offworlders from Canno can now achieve.

When the many locks allowing transfer from these sealed havens are opened and ships pass through, they emerge onto an ever-rippling, tumultuous tide which pulls them ever faster towards the horizon. Skilled crews ride this tide to the key points where the Riven Sea reaches its opposing half; the unskilled, or those who make too many miscalculations, sail right into the void where the Fringe is split by an enormous crack.

Gravity behaves inconsistently in this zone–a ship may plummet straight into the planet’s hollow core, strike a pocket of space where no gravity exists and so take a long curving trajectory driven only by wind through the core-vacuum, or even fall a mile or two only to be caught by another tendril from the Riven Sea which runs parallel to the surface layer without ever touching it, and otherwise complete their journey as planned–a mage of some power will of course be essential to help the ship sail upward when the time comes to return to the surface on the other side!

The wealthiest captains have access to submersible arcanatech ships with propulsion systems for functioning in all the above scenarios, but these vessels are all relics from prior eras of Creation’s Fringe–extraordinarily rare, obscenely costly, and a prize every pirate wants to take for themselves.

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And that’ll do it for Day Eleven! Later than I’d intended, but it was that sort of weekend–these things happen! As always, like, comment, and share this post with your friends if you’ve enjoyed it–otherwise, you could always follow me on Twitter if you wanted to keep up with more of my day-to-day foolishness.

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