Dances With Dwellers – Turn Four

Further still: Champion Hall. Even more elaborate than the floors above. Red, green and orange coral makes patterns on the walls, with polished mother of pearl inlaid between. And statues, there are statues here. Humanoids. Sea Dwellers. Constructed from carved bone, coral and gold. Yes, gold no less.

The first stature I see has a large dorsal fin on his back – running down the length of his spine, and smaller fins off his forearms and calves. In his webbed hands, he carries a three spiked trident of coral.

The next Sea Dweller statue is of the same appearance. He carries a golden awl pike with a handle of pearl. The next carries a stout scallop bladed double-edged axe. The next a finely detailed gladius and a silvery scaled buckler. The next a barracuda sword. A conch shell warhammer. A whalebone handled coral-tipped harpoon. A jagged fishbone machete. A coral bladed longsword. A spiked bashing shield.

They craft fine armor and many anAdventurous has worn gauntlets, boots, or other pieces of their crafted armor. – – Quote. Azure’s Fieldguide.

If only they could get their hands on the Dwellers weaponry too…

Further inside still, there are two statues of who I assume to be the Sea Dweller Death Lord (so rumoured in his name linking the Dwellers to necromancy). A mystical energy barrier blocks passage to his quarters. A large boulder with smaller pebbles around it lays on the floor – how did it come to be here? Why is it here? So out of place it looks among the finery.

I try to continue further into the Death Lord’s quarters and find myself blocked by the barrier. Why?

Did someone try to use the bolder to break the barrier?

Why would it only permit lower level adventures to pass through? Perhaps it only permits Initiates?

Mystery.

Who put it here and why?

Dances With Dwellers – Turn Three

Further into the Sea Caves still and I have come across what appears to be the barracks – or perhaps dormitory or sleeping area. Rooms are filled with bunks, bedding neatly rolled at one end in a military fashion. Each bed is ended with a footlocker. I wonder what is kept inside.

It is strange. The Dwellers sleep communally, yet alone in their bunk. Humans and Gremlins often share their nests with others, be it their young, mate or other. Perhaps it is correct what the fieldguide says about the Dweller’s ability to self-regulate their body temperature. I suppose that would render bed-sharing almost entirely useless; they need not do it for comfort.

Another theory is that the Dundee Dweller colony is entirely male. Which is also plausible as there seems to be no young or a breeding population here (at least as far as I have seen). Though the Lesser Sea Dwellers, that occupy the higher levels of the cave, may be Sea Dweller males just entered adulthood. As I observed before, with their crests and dorsal fins, as I have ventured further into the cave these are seen to be smaller and less developed than those of the Sea Dweller Guardians and Elite Warriors that occupy the lower halls.

So, why are all of these Sea Dwellers, entirely male, here?

I theorise that this settlement is just as much of a testing ground for Sea Dwellers as it is for human adventurers. The test: If you survive the humans, then you may leave to join one of the larger, breeder colonies situated upon Fartown or Kilican.

I may be wrong. Some of the adolescents here may be female, but not yet permitted to reproduce until older or proven worthy. I suppose I cannot be certain until I explore the Fartown and Kilican colonies and sight an individual who can undisputedly be seen to be a female. Until then I have no comparison.

Still, in the meantime, if my original theory is true, I cannot help but think that it is unbearable sad. None of these Dwellers were born here. Many will die here. Did they come from the Fartown or Kilican colonies to be here?

Or perhaps it is merely part of their natural breeding cycle. Perhaps I am putting human emotion where none need to be.

Dances With Dwellers – Turn Two

The second level of the Dweller’s home, the walls are more highly decorated on this level. Carvings cover the tunnels, from the floor and all over the ceiling, depicting great battles fought on and under the sea.

Further inside, the surroundings only become more ornate. A chandelier, that could hang in the grand ballroom of the Caer, dominates one room. Strange, glowing fish in glass bowls give off more illumination than a flame. The rest of the chandelier’s construction is of polished bone, mother of pearl and sea shells. Mother of pearl is also inlaid into the tunnel walls.

Pearly orbs light the tunnels more dimly in other places. Unlike the area above, these tunnels seem entirely Dweller-made.

***

After conversing with Brisingr and Cylena the Strange. The conclusion was made that the Dwellers likely do not speak the common tongue as we and the Gremlins do. If the Dwellers ever did trade with the humans, as so many old texts claim, how did it happen? Did they once learn our way of speaking or we their’s?

It was never my intention to attempt contact with the Sea Dwellers when I began this study, but Brisingr said that he would like to try, and I will certainly insist him in that endeavour. It would be interesting to see if it can be done. Again, like many of the other humanoid races, a great deal of history is hidden with them. Think of all of the things that we could learn from the Sea Dwellers? How to make light without flame, the secrets held beneath the waves and, most importantly but perhaps most controversially, the art of necromancy.

Brisingr’s method of contact will come as a gift. A piece of metal work from the human world. He wishes to inscribed it with their writing. Now, if only we knew a calligrapher….

Dances With Dwellers – Turn One

I’ve ventured inside at last. I waited on the rocks by the cave entrance some three turns to see if anyone would join me but nobody came – save the occasional Initiate on their way to hunt. No Dwellers ventured out, either. A pirate or two I did see, milling about the shore. Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me and I went inside.

I encountered my first ever Dweller just a short way inside the cave. I was struck by how similar physiologically he was to myself, or any other human for that matter. He was not hunched or stooped like the Gremlins or Trolls. He stood upright, with a strong, lithe frame and capable-looking limbs. The Dwellers seem to be of a height similar to that of humans, or Land Dwellers as I hear they call us. Facially, we are quite alike. With the exception of that their ears seem to be smaller than what is commonly observed in humans. But, eyes, nose and mouth all seem appropriately of the right size and in the right place for them to bear a striking similarity to humans.

Of course, the major physical difference between Dwellers and ourselves is skin. The three Dwellers that I have encountered in the uppermost level of the cave are scaled (similar to a fish) and are of a blueish-green colour. They do not seem to have any body hair.

Where a human might have hair upon his head, Dwellers have a crest: spiny and a darker shade of blue than that of the rest of their bodies, running from forehead to the base of their necks. Similarly, they have these same dark crests, only smaller, sprouting from their elbows. I wonder if these have use in the water, or if they’re for display? Perhaps they are just as seemingly useless as human hair or fingernails. Crest size and colour seems to vary between individuals.

Their hands and feet can be seen to be more elongated than that of a human, with webbing that appears to begin around their second knuckle. Obviously, this is to give them mobility in water, while their fingers still maintain the length to remain dexterous. Looking at Sea Dwellers, it is difficult to fathom whether they are mammals or amphibians. By definition, they cannot be fish, as so many racists would claim.

The uppermost level of their dwelling seems only a passageway. Discarded fish scale litters the floor, presumably where they have begun preparing a catch on the way back to their homes. The walls are rough and craggy, the floor smooth from the constant motion of the tide. The Dwellers have made no attempt to decorate this upper level.

Currently, however, I stand at a smooth hole carved into the stone floor. It is perfectly circular. It’s edges elaborately decorated with depictions of seascapes and what appears to be script, an example of their writing. It is not like anything I have ever seen before, the characters delicate, swirling and fitting for their clever hands.

Dances With Dwellers

I reached my 24th advancement and I can at last begin my study of another humanoid race: The Sea Dwellers.

As I sit on the craggy rock of the beach near the entrance to their cave, the thought occurs to me that I have never even before seen a Sea Dweller. Such elusive beings they are.

I have heard of the wonders of the inside of their cave. But this will be my first time ever setting foot inside: Having opted to train to my 20th advancement in order to receive my papers to gain my profession, rather than choosing to prove my worth by slaughter.

Brielle told me that there is magic in their caves. I am sure Draekyn told me something about them using the remains of dead humans for decoration; but I believe that he was just trying to scare me from wandering too far when I was a student.

I have re-read my tomes: Their section in Azure’s Fieldguide and my own copy of HSV Tome of Sea Dwellers. It is widely rumoured that the Dwellers were once allies of humans. The colony to the south of Dundee even once traded with the human settlement of Waterhaven. It is observed that the Dundee Dwellers spend their time in less warlike pursuits than their Fartown and Kilican counterparts… Fitting that we should send our newest adventurers to cut their teeth on them.

As I sit outside the marc is growing late and I am unsure of how to proceed. The Dwellers here are perhaps the humanoid colony that endure the most frequent attacks from humans than any other. I recall when I began with the Gremlins I approached slowly; I remained outside for two turns. I left food by the entrance of the tree so that they might upstand that I did not mean harm. The Dwellers do not seem a race that need my charity. A slow, cautious approach though, is most certainly in order. For my own safety, as well as theirs.