Friday, October 16, 2015

Isles of the Menric Sea OR: A DROWNING Land of WONDERS and VENOM!

Stalwart sojourners, we return to another thrilling installment of Fridays in AEthrem! In the past weeks, we have spanned the globe, exploring some of the most dangerous, wild locals to be found. Today, we end our long trek at the far side of the world, in the Menric Sea.

Far east of Otaru and southwest of Tefira, across many kilometers of hazardous open ocean, the Menric Sea rises up as a wide, shallow plain. Here, innumerable small islands poke above the waves and deep-water vessels run aground as the sea floor rises up to meet them. The water depth in the Menric is chaotic at best, influenced by tides, seasons, and the current weather patterns - individual islands grow, shrink, and occasionally connect to one another by temporary land bridges.

Local flora and fauna in the Menric Sea is somewhat sparse, and comprised of hardy species. The land is a mix of red clay and dark mud, both on the islands and the sea floor, suitable mostly for quick-growing grasses by the shore and stunted trees clear of the high water mark, growing twisted in the hard winds from the open ocean. Animal life here is exotic to outsiders, and most species are venomous. The warm climate allows many species of insect and reptile to thrive, such as the native spitting crocodile - with its infamous acidic spray.

Even this perilous environment is home to intelligent life, as well. Local pramadi and ss'ra tribes dot the islands, fighting between each other and among themselves for the limited resources of the Menric Sea. Local ss'ra fiercely guard a few native territories - most likely the remains of their once-proud cities in the region. The pramadi, meanwhile, are especially laid back for their species, caring little about ss'ra territory or anything else. This is most likely due to the calming effects of dried jiruun leaf, which local pramadi grow, cure, and partake of liberally. The tribes of neither species had been able to develop any technology more advanced than flint-tipped weapons prior to the arrival of humans, due to the limitations of their homeland.

Human exploration of the Menric Sea is a fairly recent development. The region is home to a scattered handful of tiny settlements and outposts - established by foreign nations, forward-thinking corporations, and private investors gauging the profit to be gleaned from the islands. Almost uniformly, these tiny colonies are economic failures; the Menric has little of value outside of a few caches of valuable metals and semiprecious stones found thus far - nothing capable of sustaining these far-flung colonies. The remaining settlers are a resilient and independent group, and have become largely self-sufficient - as most outside goods can only be reliably delivered by long distance cargo plane, and few pilots consider the route to the Menric Sea worth the potential profits.

In the short time that humans have begun residing on the islands of the Menric Sea, many local legends have sprung up regarding oddities in the region. The most famous of these tall tales regard massive structures apparently made of spun glass or strange, dancing lights - always seen from a distance or disappearing on a return visit to their location (as if vanishing overnight). Native pramadi and ss'ra readily support these stories, calling up their own elaborate legends that attribute these lights and structures to gods or monsters - benevolent and dangerous alike. No human expedition has ever been able to verify these sightings on a subsequent trip to the location of the alleged encounter.

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Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

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