Loremageddon 2019, Day Nineteen: Shard Vellica, the Cleavehull Sea, the Knotkeepers

Hello, folks, and welcome to day nineteen of Loremageddon! This time we’re looking at a continent-sized space rock, a rather vicious body of water–if it wasn’t clear from the name–and a paladin-like order of knights with a few extra wrinkles. Or perhaps tangles would be a better choice of words? Let’s begin!

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Snippet #1: Shard Vellica (World: Creation’s Fringe… sort of)

Those Fringers who actually live on Creation’s Fringe agree that people live on Shard Vellica. Or, something lives on Shard Vellica. Or at least, all other things being equal, someone or something surely lived upon Shard Vellica at some point. Whenever it passes closes to the Fringe, which it does every few weeks due to a highly-irregular ovoid orbit, Vellica blocks out the sun, and lights often appear as golden pinpoints along the planetward side. Someone must have put them there, yes?

An astute astronomer might observe that Vellica’s orbit should lead to it crashing into Creation’s Fringe in short order, and indeed it should. However, the Uncanny Marrow always stretches out to drive the continent-sized mass just far enough away from the Fringe to avert a collision. Over time this process has worn down certain areas of Vellica and imbued them with an unearthly blue glow. Whether this will continue until the Shard splits into multiple pieces or it will develop some form of resistance to the Marrow’s energies is difficult to say.

Otherwise, Vellica is pockmarked by many areas of ancient construction. While its passes by the Fringe last just a few minutes, this has provided astronomers, architects, and historians the chance to analyze Vellica at a distance. It features three primary zones or “sweeps” of architecture. One uses a more reinforced style with slanted, thick structures and darker metals. This has come to be dubbed the “fortress” style, and while not aesthetically pleasing, its materials’ own darkness against Vellica’s would make them harder to target.

The other styles have come to be called the “harbor” and “refractory” styles, with the former featuring prongs of silvery metal not unlike the docks of a great harbor, and the other using many metallic and crystalline compounds in broad arrays of faceted domes and angular connections.

The rationale behind these ancient works is lost to those watching Vellica pass from the Fringe.

Snippet #2: the Cleavehull Sea (World: Canno)

The storm-lashed waters of the Cleavehull Sea require more explanation than might at first be thought. While a new sailor–if they’ve been living in the backwoods all their life, that is–might look upon the mordant waves and think those answer enough, this perilous realm of surf and howling wind takes its name from deadlier things yet. In the Age of Splendors, the Cleavehull was known as the Ambertide, and in those days Canno’s people had laced its waves with powderized copper which allowed them to lay an enormous enchantment upon the whole sea.

Though weak at first for being spread across such a huge area, the Ambertide’s enchantment helped anchor the current, and allowed arcanatech to function hundreds of miles from the shore even before it settled in. Better still, it sped ships along, adding buoyancy as well as helping to sustain their hulls against rust and wear, and was primed to grow stronger over time–after all, since any mage could manipulate it locally to suit their own ship’s needs, why not provide greater latitude to their spellcraft? This was among the crowning achievements of the Age of Splendors, and Morsibrand often lamented that he was born too late to partake in its creation, for every available mage of that century did so.

With this framework created, Canno’s peoples built enormous floating docks and shipyards. The submersible sea-forts of the Ulmish empire ensured their safety. Tens of thousands of ships plied the Ambertide each day, and so too the day the Loar arrived upon Canno. A single squadron of Loar sky-engines flew over the Ambertide that day, directing the genocidal guns of the downed Loar warship.

By the next morning, most of the floating docks and shipyards had sunk, and the few ships caught out upon the Ambertide steamed in desperation for the shores of Ceslon, Taifen, or Anseth. Only a handful made it; the rest sooner or later succumbed to a blast from on high, and sank in shattered pieces beneath the waves. The Ambertide would be grim enough, now, even if those ancient vessels saw fit to linger in its depths.

However, the Ambertide’s makers performed their charge too well. More than a thousand Cannoan years after the last Loar fell, the old enchantment holds strong–the copper guiding it now dispersed throughout the Cleavehull Sea, often sunk far to the depths. It still functions to preserve the downed ships’ hulls from rust and wear, even miles below the waves. And, all too often, the spellcraft sends them rocketing towards the surface.

These chaotic hulks can travel hundreds of kilometers per hour, and if it lacks a mage, there’s little warning for a fragile wood-crafted ship of the abandoned steel behemoth hurtling up towards it. As these ships from the Age of Splendors were cloven in ancient days, so now do they cleave the hulls of unwary cogs passing above them. At times the enchantment lifts whole ships or even the long-drowned harbors which serviced them to the surface for days. Daring adventurers may seek to plunder them; most linger too long, and perish.

Thus their wealth adds to the unspeakable trove within the murky depths, and the Cleavehull’s mortal allure becomes all the stronger.

Snippet #3: Thramna’s Knotkeepers (World: Canno)

The Knotkeepers are the oldest surviving order of knights on Canno, and all serve the goddess Thramna, She of Woven Winds. An ancient Hanirid goddess, Thramna is likewise among the oldest who retain power and prestige in the Cannoan Pantheon. Thramna’s followers believe in the idea of “Thramna’s Knot”–an infinite mesh of connections, be they emotional, economic, or ideological, which sooner or later tie all sapient beings to each other.

The Knotkeepers, then, exist to preserve these connections, and each emblazons their gear with the Knot as much as possible: a heater shield with golden tangles on a blue field, silken ties and twists upon the plates of armor, engraved bands and bindings chiseled into the metals themselves. The order’s official heraldry is simple black and white, with members free to add whatever splashes of color they desire.

In practice, the Knotkeepers function much the same as the paladins common on Creation’s Fringe, but with less emphasis on martial prowess and militant justice–or, to put it in the Cobalt Dawn’s terms, righteous purgation–and more on peacekeeping and providing aid to those in need. This has given the Knotkeepers a sunnier reputation which may be undeserved on two fronts. First, Knotkeepers can certainly fight, and fight hard, when they need to; the order predominantly draws its members from the warstock.

Secondly, the Knotkeepers have a history of working with ruthless powers even if they themselves seem moderate. Ever since the Vigil’s founding, the two orders have worked closely together. If the Inquisitors’ brutal methods disturb the more placid Knotkeepers, it doesn’t seem they’re disturbed enough to break ties or act against them.

Thramna is an old goddess with many idiosyncrasies, and this may explain why she confers few powers upon her Knotkeepers. They have the ability to heal, certainly, as well as mending damaged equipment and inorganic materials, but must depend entirely on their own skills in battle. This makes the order a more popular choice among those looking to preserve life rather than take it; for battle and purgation, the Iron Breed of the Black Havens or the Vigil’s own Sleepless Vanguard make better companions.

Yet, the Knotkeepers always draw the loudest cheers when they ride to the rescue; perhaps there’s something to be said about a savior in bright armor.

***

And that’s Day Nineteen done with! We’ll be getting into at least one especially intriguing topic tomorrow. In the meantime, please let me know any blazing thoughts down in the comments, leave a like, and share this latest lore-barrage wherever thou wilt. Otherwise, you could follow me on Twitter if you wished.

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