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𝕲𝖜𝖓𝖉𝖞𝖗𝖎𝖈






The Wrath of K̸͔̃a̶̛̪a̵̻͌ŗ̶̈n̸̶̛̲͖̊


High atop his pyramidal ziggurat, the All-Tyrant brooded.

In the hidden paths of his deepest, darkest memories to that primordial era when gods swam the seas, Kaarnexaturl dwelt in benthic dreams. The watery realm of his thoughts parted and let the many-minds of Kaarn peer into the past, thinking back to that distant age. In many ways, the All-Tyrant missed those times; he had seen Klaarungraxus himself, with his very own eyes, and had spoken with the Empowerer-of-Tyrants unbowed. A different age and a lost one, likely never to return despite what his Warlocks promised and swore. Nevertheless, the past was the past and the now was all that matter. His eyes pushed from their sockets, the fleshy folds pulling back with that added pressure to act as eyelids, revealing his glowing gaze to the world.

But of those memories passed, forged during the time of the gods’ parting? Two thousand years of time to remember…


“All-Tyrant, may the honor be all yours.”

Kaarnesxaturl stared up at the surface of waves, all six eyes glaring at the world above his watery realm. The gentle splashing of the waves against the shoreline spoke to the Tyrant of good things, of kindness, and of softness, but all he could see is the dreadful world Klaarungraxus sought to drown. For nearly five decades Kaarnesxaturl had watched as his realm was left without their deity, a dread omen and a doom prophesied by the God of Oceans himself. For five decades the Warlocks had served as his advisors, telling him that the great God could be returned, and that the gods above had been thrust from the world in equal measure. For five decades Kaarnesxaturl had waited patiently, testing the Warlocks’ theories, allowing him to conquer more reefs in that time.

Now he was faced with a choice.

His warlock coven, led by the venerable Xes, had been locked in their caverns plotting. Time and time again he had seen their lackeys and minions carrying out experiments, returning with withered corpses of Vrool or dragging Akua slaves to their grottos. What, exactly, the had been up to was of little consequence; Kaarn frankly had no interest in their witchery. But, when Xes had come to Kaarn’s lair with promises of further conquests beyond even those limits made for them by Klaarungraxus, his interest had been piqued. For nearly a month he had been tutored in this new technique, training himself and his most vaunted retainers in this same act. Now it was time to put it to the test.

Kaarn continued to glare onwards at the crashing white-water from below, rumbling. Those boiled and dried up Vrool hung in his mind yet he knew he could not falter here; he was the All-Tyrant, rightful spawn of Klaarungraxus, crowned by the pale-fish Tekretsesxerest to rule all below. And now, all above as well. Floating forward like the demi-god he truly thought himself to be, Kaarnesxaturl rose from the waves in all his dread power. A constant hum rolled from his bell, vibrating his body ever so slightly while the ends of his tentacles played a somatic dance. Maintaining his regal composure even as the moonlight hit him unblocked by water and the loss of that watery embrace, Kaarnesxaturl became the first Vrool to march onto the soil of Galbar.

Behind him followed his warlocks and then, one by one, his several dozen retainers trusted with the knowledge of this act. On that distant northern shore of Pakohu, the island so named by the Akua who lived on or near its shores, the first Vrool set tentacle onto the unhallowed ground stolen from Klaarungraxus’ realm.

The trick had been a fairly simple one, all things considered, and one that the Warlocks had gleefully tested the full extents of with not particularly willing test subjects. A Vrool could pull water into its bell, held within a number of bladders used for structure in their boneless bodies. By calmly controlling the flow of those waters, a Vrool could continuously keep themselves wet and breathing for a prolonged period of time on the surface. As well as simply allowing them to survive above, the water kept in their system allowed them to maintain full structure of their bodies rather than collapsing under their weight. With the Holy Vonu, known to all Vrool from birth as a gift from their God, Vrool could remain strong and powerful even here, on the surface. The water, of course, would need to be flushed from the system and fresh water brought in to continue breathing after a period, but this was a simple solution.

Yet unknown to anyone but the Warlocks and Kaarn himself, however, was an extra portion of that particular skill. With the proper tonal shifts and the right words, that water could be heated like the vents deep in the grottos of Vo. Kept just beneath the point of injuring the Vrool, this heated water could be used to heat the Vrool cardiovascular system and subsequently suppress the flaw of their cold-blooded nature. Whispered and kept hushed by the Warlocks and their master, Kaarn, it was realized that this skill would need to be restricted until such a time that Kaarn’s rule was completely entrenched. Then, as a gift from the Vroolish All-Tyrant, all Vrool could quicken their minds as the Warlocks had.

In the distant, flickering lights could be seen and the smell of something no Vrool had ever sensed wafted across their limbs. Tentacles flickered and shook with excitement at this new awareness, entirely curious to explore an entirely fresh cacophony of the senses. Voices, though primitive and guttural, could be heard over the winds. There was an electric sensation that ran through the collected warrior-vrool, with the gaggle of Warlocks excitedly chattering about the results of their work.

With a flick of his tentacle, Kaarn set loose his warriors on the primitives of the nearby village; it was rightly time to test the mettle of these surface dwellers proper and rightly.


Ah, memories.

Kaarn felt his eyes return to awareness as he allowed the flickering sensations of his memories leave him. He was gone from that ancient place and long forgotten time, from the first Vrool raid on the surface dwellers and back upon his ziggurat. It had taken nearly three hundred years of constant construction to complete, as he recalled, and had been built at the direction of his greatest minds. For the last five centuries he’d been able to enjoy this new perch, far superior to his cavernous lair of the past or even the simple palaces he had wrought for himself. There was plenty of space to observe his realm in all directions and numerous passageways and halls in which he could keep his numerous things. Even his harem of evidently beautiful Akua had room enough for themselves, even if Kaarn hardly doted on them; they were best for when Akuan chieftains needed assuaging, afterall.

In all directions the empire of Kaarn stretched; Aopoa, the greatest reef, and her conquered tributaries were numerous and all across the sea. Most tyrants in the last two thousand years had either been conquered or offered up their blood in payment, and those who hadn’t were allies who offered tribute to their All-Tyrant. Aopoa herself had benefited greatly, the sprawling urban realm expanding outwards from the Tyrant’s tower evidence of that. Aopoa, as the center of the Vroolish world, grew in strength, splendor, and influence. And so close to Ku the pull of that ancient icon could not be denied. Kaarn had even wisely accepted the council of his growing list of advisors, to allow Akua to freely visit that place and even take up residence as citizens of his growing empire. Though the slaves had not been freed, these freeborn Akua would be given at least some semblance of respect; after all, had they not been made by Klaarungraxus as well?

And further still had the Vrool interacted with the world above since those initial conquests. Slaves of surface races had been taken, brought to contained rooms of air so that they might continue to survive within Kaarn’s realm. The warping influence of Ku did its work marvelously, changing those slaves kept close to it to be more pliable to that pelagic realms’ needs. The capacity for lungs to breath water was most common, but gills and more extreme transformations were not unheard of. The city that popped up around Kaarn’s ziggurat, so called Kahu-ali’Haku in Ku’Ano Vonu, housed a diverse array of Vrool, Akua, and slaves of all races brought deep below.

Similar Vrool cities existed, particularly among those domains ruled by Tyrants closely allied to Kaarnesxaturl, and across this growing, decentralized empire there was the closest thing to peace Vrool could possibly stand. Conflict between Vrool was typically relegated to Tyrants killing Tyrants and lowborn killing lowborn, with most true conquests highly regulated by the All-Tyrant and his armies in Aopoa. Tyrants could still war on another, as always, but the risk of gaining too much and calling down the wrath of Kaarn as well as those rivals who could benefit from their reams collapse. It was far simpler and more profitable to simply raid the surface world, conquer or cajole Akuan chieftains into complacency, or make deals with those sea-faring peoples to throw tribute overboard when they travelled over the wrong reef.

That was not to say that the warm-bloods on the surface had not given the Vrool their fair share of trouble. Too many would-be tyrants, third-spawns of far greater vrool, would aimlessly wander with several companions up to the surface world and be slain. Though they certainly took many lives with them, it was clear that the surface was beginning to develop; although primitive, they were not without their dangers. The surface world races were numerous, reproducing faster than the vrool by many levels of magnitude, and they were often inclined towards grouping behaviors that made murdering them en masse considerably more difficult. Worst of all, they had begun to invent weapons using a material unknown to the Vrool and through a means vrool simply could not replicate.

Vrool, of course, had compensated. Being the smartest, most cunning, and most powerful people they had not been left wanting; warlocks produced all manner of interesting experiments that could be weaponized and even before the mortals clung to spears the vrool were armed with weapons of their own. Coral, in particular, could be spoken into growth to form blades, mauls, and stabbing implements while less wealthy vrool had access to bone, stones, and other weaponry. In some cases, bronze was acquired through trade and bent into shape or heated at undersea vents but beyond that it could not be gathered easily.

It was all exactly how Kaarnesxaturl had intended; the endless domain of Aopoa stretched all around the world. He had, as Tekretsesxerest had commanded, brought everything beneath the waves under his rule. Kaarn had become the uncontested Tyrant of all the oceans and he had done so by his own might and power, more than likely one of the largest and certainly oldest vrool in all the oceans. Indeed, even as his new spawnlings began to grow, one phrase had become unequaled to reference his greatness.

The Moon never sets on the Vrool Empire!


Klaarungraxus


Klaar stared at the colorful void that surrounded him, his overmind returning to solidity after some unknown amount of time having passed beyond awareness.

As his massive eyes acclimated to the light around him, one by one sinking into his flesh in mock-blinking, the huge cephalopoidal deity began to get a cleaner picture of where he was. The area around him was clearly enclosed, the vast distances between his location and the exterior walls nigh impossible to perceive by mortals but quite noticeable with his divine senses. With further inspection, Klaarungraxus was able to rapidly determine that not only was the space enclosed, but noticeably finite. Thoughts of oddity and confusion pinged back from the dozen sub-minds, all indicating that they had been long at work but had no potential to track that effort or time spent due to the loss of the overmind in the interim.

Quite a mystery, indeed.

Klaar decided that further investigation was necessary. With surprising ease he navigated the aquatic labyrinth, as if he had done so many times and had set the efforts to muscle memory. The life that filled this deepsea realm was made readily apparent just with simple awareness, the waters teeming with an insane variety of lifeforms with seemingly no patterns to their creation. Biomes intersected or even melded into one another, environs that had once been innately separately due to varying depths and temperatures were now mixed in on each other. The capacity for them to exist so intermingled fascinated the overmind of the Ocean God but that certainly didn’t solve the mystery.

Alien mathematics rolled through the numerous sub-minds, calculating based on as much data as they could gather to themselves. One by one figures began to be presented, determining for the overmind that a considerable amount of time DID indeed pass and, worst of all, it had passed within the confines of an unknown space. Distinct attentions were put into determining whether or not what had happened was intentional by the overmind in the previous cycle or if, somehow or someway, this state had been forced upon the Old Growth Below. As equations were finished and final touches on theories were presented to the central nervous system, it began to dawn on the many-minds exactly what had happened.

The doom had come…

A sense of dread flashed through every part of Klaar that could actually feel emotions in the first place. Panic began to get pinged back from every single tentacle as a realization dawned on the overmind and got disseminated to the rest of the tentacles; no gods were visible, not one. Klaarungraxus, who had become comfortable being able to sense the other deities despite their distance, was now completely and utterly alone. This was very, very bad. All senses were set to exploring the extent of this realm, another note of which was made regarding the sheer capacity to sense and control the world around him. Though this world was limited, it was very obvious that it bent to Klaar’s rules far more so than the previous realm. That power would no doubt come in handy to solve this problem.

A light at the end of the tunnel called to Klaar, his eyes focussing down on the one flashing, bright source of divine power rather than his own. His whole body rapidly transited in space in the matter of moments, flesh teleporting from one place to another in a highly efficient manner of transportation. Before him was a doorway, what looked to be a craggy hole leading into burning bright space. The door itself was considerably smaller than his personage and awareness struck him that to press onwards, he would either need to alter his own form or otherwise find a way to enter a smaller portion of himself inside.

Downward-Left Three-Down, having proved itself as an avid creator, presented an option as alternative to becoming small. Why not, it insisted, Klaar create a simulacrum of itself that it could simply push through the hole? With that, the whole could present a smaller facet of itself in order to get a closer view of its surroundings. The ability to ping back thoughts through the portal would allow for the overmind to maintain connection with the separated entity and allow for exploration without threatening the whole. A perfect plan!

It was settled. With that, Klaarungraxus pulled from himself a portion of his flesh and molded it physically before him into a simple fleshlet. The little thing almost appeared like a childish rendition of the god, small, rounded features yet still baring twelve tentacles and all six eyes. With that the little meat-simulacrum was tossed into the portal to see what was on the other side!


K̸͔̃a̶̛̪a̵̻͌ŗ̶̈n̸̛̲ȩ̸̂s̷̖̐x̶͕̊a̷̫͂t̸̖̂u̵̧͝r̶͈̍l̷̬̑ ̶͖̊


Six blazing eyes left a glowing scar on the inky depths, seeming scorching their ambition into the very fabric of reality. Their fiery gaze stared daggers into the blackness, peering deep into that endless void with belying the obscuration the sea inflicted on those with lesser senses.

The gentle tug of the tide pulled water filled with froth and life across the upper valley of coral that formed the abyssal mount that the eyes now perched above. Huge lumps, soft in shape rather than the sharp, jagged edged coral, could just barely be made out on the angular edges of the reef. Their corpulent shapes seemed to hang like growths all over the reef, afflicted by almost a supernatural stillness. To schooling fish they seemed no different than the reef itself, twisting and turning about them with not a care; it was as if those lumps had been there for years, rather than the few hours in which they had sat and waited.

A flash of light from above, created by clouds moving out of the way from the One-Good-Orb, reflected across the reef to reveal their true nature.

Uncountable dozens of Vrool hung lifelessly on the reefs, eyes shut so that the light could not reflect from their numerous eyes. Each had their hides rubbed with ground coral and muck, hiding their natural colors and disguising their scent and masking their silhouette even further. In their tentacles were grasped all manner of killing implements, from shattered pieces of long coral to simple knapped volcanic stone. About their personages were a number of fetishes and totems, hung on line of sinew or twisted kelp. Their eclectic collection of trophies and splattered warpaint made for a fearsome visage, made all the more clear by their immense size.

Before them all hung the colossal form of Kaarnesxaturl, baleful and terrifying in all his tremendous splendor. The Tyrant-of-Tyrants was the sole Vrool to reveal himself fully on that jagged ridge, the hacksaw edges of the reef seeming to only add to his frightening aura. The very ocean seemed to still around him, Ku silent in respect for his passing. On one of his foretentacles sat, snuggly fastened, the oily, black, curled shape of the Obsidian Torc. That twisted crown-of-different-form seemed to thrum out a dreadful pulse in the waves, a reminder to those Vrool beside the mighty Kaarn that his power was nearly without equal. Hanging from his neck was a rope of twisted kelp, thrusting through a dozen large, disembodied beaks. His infernal gaze was sign enough that he feared nothing beyond the Gods themselves, and even they might be given pause.

Below, in the valleys between the great coral mountains that carved the seafloor into a rough patchwork of grazing grounds, was the assembled horde of Kaarn’s hated rival. They numbered nearly a hundred, only a third of the forces that Kaarn had brought to bare, but their hostility emanated from the depths like the heat of a boiling vent. They had rested in their makeshift camp for the last few hours, taking watch in shifts while using the thick red-kelp forest as adequate cover. A talkative traitor from their ranks had given away their position, hoping that through treason he could somehow escape the fate of the rest of his brethren’s ill-conceived attempt to defeat the Tyrant-of-Tyrants. He had realized his foolishness when he was eaten alive by Kaarn’s most honored retainers. A generous thank you was offered over the corpse by Kaarnesxaturl himself out of gratitude, however.

Down below the predatory eyes of Kaarn great forms trudged along the seafloor. A pair of titan crabs, seemingly injured by the look of their movements, slowly plodded their way through the gentle, knee high fields of sea grasses towards the kelp forests where the Tyrant’s enemies resided. The guards could be seen responding mildly to the arrival of the creatures, either watching them from what amounted to the undersea camp’s picket or moving between the beasts and the camp. Titan crabs were known to be generally docile so there was little threat from them besides one rampant crab trampling through the kelp and waking up the entire camp. The best option was likely simply to put the injured crabs out of their misery and enjoy some good, proper meals before the rest of the host could demand their share of the rich meat.

Just as several of the vrool on picket duty closed with the titan crabs, the armored exoskeletons exploded with movement. Half a dozen vrool poured forth from the emptied husks of the crabs, descending on the guards in a flurry of tearing limbs, stabbing spikes, and gnashing beaks. The fight was brief and brutal, blood spewing out into thick clouds that disguised the results of the violence from outside viewers.

Kaarn watched through the darkness with grim satisfaction as the guards were swiftly and silently slain. Clicks went up and down the lines as Kaarn indicated it was time to advance, a wave of reflective eyes suddenly flashing brightly in the deep. With moonlight to herald their advance the lumpen forms began to descend down into the undersea valley, moving with dreadful speed and certainty. Nearly three hundred dark shades swept across the swaying sea grasses towards the kelp forest, murder on their mind.


The night had been a short one and the killings had been swift and barely damaging to Kaarn’s host. By the time the Tyrant-of-Tyrants’ forces had been detected well over two dozen vrool had been murdered where they rested and the rest were now surrounded. The majority of those vrool that had risen up in resistance against Kaarn’s rule of the reef around the Ku had gathered here and it was in this low valley, among the giant red kelp forest, that they died. A small handful had been spared, not from surrendering but from the considerable effort it would’ve taken to slay them; demands of fealty were given and the wise took it while the foolish were eventually slain, even if taking a few of Kaarn’s numbers with them.

As oaths of fealty were given and the hearts of their comrades offered up to them as mortar to seal their vows, Kaarn floated through the kelp forest with a prideful glimmer flickering across his eyes; though vrool were not particularly known for emotive faces, it would be difficult indeed to see anything but Kaarn’s emotions carved into his ugly visage. The scarred vrool tyrant, easily the largest of his kind in the known ocean, drifted above the seafloor with a few tentacles tugging him along. The loot, though not numerous by any means, had been piled up; a collection of stone and coral tentacle-blades alongside a few gullet-fulls worth of quality giblets and shiny things any self respecting vrool couldn’t help but want in their bed. It was an acceptable haul and Kaarn was pleased to give it all to his warriors; they had, of course, served admirably and deserved a reward. The smallest vrool slain would be eaten whole while the largest and most powerful would have their hearts eaten out of respect, corpses left to the ocean as gifts to Klaarungraxus.

“Tyrant-of-Tyrants, o’ Kaarnesxaturl Xaanesxaal,” came a call, recognizable as his most trusted retainer, Lurz. The once small vrool had grown considerably in Kaarn’s service and had become a force to be reckoned with among the All-Tyrant’s retinue, “By Klaarungraxus’ good graces, the tides bring more good fortunes; there are more prizes than flesh and stones in this trove.”

Kaarnesxaturl turned towards the voice of his nearly-trusted confidante to see for himself what exactly Klaarungraxus had gifted him for his brilliant military maneuvers. A vrool of frankly middling girth lay low to the sands before him, bedecked in baubles and fetishes. The strange looking vrool was riddled with scars, seemingly self inflicted, forming a skein of patterns all across its body. Though Kaarn’s initial thought was to simply beat the little thing to death and feed it to spawn, something in its eyes sent shivers through the Tyrant’s bell. Their six pairs of eyes met, staring deep into one another, and Kaarn felt a sense of revulsion wash through him; though it was small of body, something within the murky depths of this little vrool howled with power.

“Speak your name, fleshling, for I am Kaarnesxaturl Xaanesxaal, Tyrant-of-Tyrants, slayer of vrool, and lord and master of all things beneath the waves of our vast and powerful creator, God of Oceans, Klaarungraxus, he who sired my flesh as his.”

The ominous proclamation rang out as the threat that it was, immediately presenting Kaarn as the dominant figure in the interaction. Nevertheless, his need to clarify his position against such a small vrool was clearly a strange circumstance. A flash of interest from Lurz made it clear that the show of strength was noticed, though Lurz clearly had no intent to act on that one moment of apparent weakness. Instead, Lurz turned his gaze to the small vrool beneath him; what sort of vrool, perhaps even smaller than he had been when he first swore to serve Kaarn, could draw such a response from the tyrant of all oceans?

“Mighty All-Tyrant,” responded the small vrool, its voice distinctly warbled and metallic as it echoed through the kelp, “I am Xes.”

The pair of large vrool stared down at the so-called Xes, patiently waiting for further affectations; although plenty of vrool shortened their names, particularly among those familiar to them, the idea that one would introduce themselves as a single syllable name was preposterous. How else would others know their full name and be awed by its meaning, by the threat posed by their presence? Presentation was everything among the average vrool and Xes’ willingness to use such a simple variation of their name revealed a great deal about the small creature. There was a dread aura about this Xes that spoke many more volumes than his name, and although Kaarnesxaturl knew no fear, he certainly knew caution.

“Xes,” uttered Kaarn, playing with the name in his gullet, “A strange name. Explain yourself, Xes; why should I not have your innards pulled out your eye sockets and fed back through you?”

The little vrool, in all his nerve, chortled! A bubbling, coughing, clacking noise that was, without a shadow of a doubt, a chortle! Kaarn seemed to swell in size, the limits of his curiosity and caution pressed to the breaking point by sheer contempt. Just as he reached out to strangle the cackling little parasite, Xes let out an utterance that brought his tentacles pause.

“Because, I am here to serve you.”

Kaarn snarled, his beak clacking and clicking with barely contained rage as all eyes pointed down at the little vrool. By now a number of retainers had gathered to observe the goings-on, many of whom were in the process of devouring their meals for the day. The currents stilled at Xes utterance, stopping perfectly in a large bubble around the collected vrool. The scars that caressed the small vrool’s hide seemed to warble and glow with an inner light and a number of the retainers began to pull back away from the meeting. Kaarn, for his part, stood his ground.

“I knew you would not disappoint, great Tyrant, and so I waited for you among this rabble,” intoned Xes, now speaking with more volume than his little form should, as if the water itself carried his words further for him, “So I served the needs of one weak master so to see for myself one greater; I am impressed. Cunning as you are vast, mighty Kaarn, just so that Klaarungraxus might be proud of his spawn.”

The titanic vrool stared down at Xes, almost shocked. He had prepared for a battle, quite sure that the witchling vrool would provide for a unique experience to say the least. Now it was offering to serve. This was no ordinary vrool.

“Explain.”

Xes seemed to wriggle with glee at that, seemingly aware that he had hooked Kaarn’s attention. The predatory gaze had lessened, for Vrool were curious creatures by their very nature and such odd behavior could not be left unstudied.

“I am speaker of tides and singer of stones, mighty Xaanesxaal, Tyrant-of-Tyrants. You, greatest spawn of Klaarungraxus, All-Tyrant, Sanuxaan, drag the skein of history behind you as your net; we are all trawled into your saga. I am Warlock, servant of the Eternal Blue Sea, and I have come to serve you. Wisdom I am granted by the God of Gods and in His wisdom, I come to you, and bow low my bell before thee.” With that, the Warlock Xes bowed his head low.

Kaarn was left to ponder as his retinue returned, realizing the threat of the witchling creature had lessened; in fact, it had simply bowed. Eyes turned from the prostrate warlock to the colossal Tyrant floating in their midst and a sense of awe struck many of them. Though no vrool would ever admit to themselves they were destined for servitude beneath another forever, many of that throng felt hushed thoughts run through their mind that they had chosen wisely their lord. If even such a powerful entity bowed before him, surely they would become fat and prosperous in his servitude and die painfully outside of it.

“Rise Xes,” muttered Kaarn as his many-minds deigned to offer succor for his thoughts. He knew well what Xes was doing, the reactions from the warriors around them more than enough to put the pieces together with. Nevertheless, he knew he had to play the game.

“I accept your fealty,” came his next retort, simple and to the point, “You will… advise me.”

A gentle murmur floated through the collected host; up until now, retainers accepted under Kaarnesxaturl had all been warriors or servants. The weak died to the strong or consumed and replaced them; what need had there been for someone to tell Kaarn just about anything? But, all the vrool within earshot knew that this was wise; the witchling Warlock Xes knew much, of that they were certain, and what would be nigh impossible to drag from him against his will would only empower Kaarn’s realm and, subsequently, themselves if he gave it all willingly.

“You do me a great honor, Tyrant-of-Tyrants, and for this my loyalty is sold. My mind to your mind, vast Kaarnesxaturl, for I am your humble servant under the Godly God of all life beneath the waves AND above.”

A curious thought passed through Kaarn’s mind; above, did he say.


Far beyond those distant waters the very god the vrool sang their hideous praises to was fast at work. A panic had overtaken the brobdingnagian mass of Klaarungraxus, God of Oceans.

The twelve-armed-god had not begun to slow for months, his thoughts lost to himself as the growing awareness of something awful coming kept him churning through his works. Mostly this came off as repeated attempts to rearrange, recreate, or reposition the many biomes of the seafloor all across the vast realm that was Vo. The destruction wrought by the benthic deity was immense, areas between reefs left completely destroyed in some cases or thoroughly overgrown in others. Even entire deep sea mounts were raised or lower, occasionally even smashed, and the ruin left in his wake was unmistakable.

He had been thoroughly busy, nevertheless. Several new biomes had been created, from highly bioluminescent kelp forests to entire ecosystems growing up along immense, volcanic, deep sea vents. Anything Klaar could create, he did, and his many-minds went wild with attempts to fill up the space and time that he was dreadfully aware of losing. He had even went about altering a number of sentients he had found living on coasts, admittedly an arbitrary act considering the first case but one that Right-Forward Two-Down took to gleefully.

As he slumped across a large rise of basaltic rock the decentralized minds of the Old Growth Below shook with manic pressures. There was a boiling energy inside his huge form that even that corpulent body couldn’t possibly contain. Even through all the creation and destruction he had allowed himself to partake in, no amount of exertion had spilled the panic from his mind. The insanity had to be purged, that much was clear, or that doom-fueled-anxiety would threaten all that Klaar had been working so hard to preserve.

Downward-Left Three-Down, usually a quieter and more reserved submind, pinged in an exasperated idea through multiple sensory alerts. What if, the suggestion went, the body TOOK all this negative energy and simply put it into something else?

Brilliant!

Klaar lifted Downward-Left Three-Down and pressed the tip of the tentacle to the top of the stony mount that served as a temporary roost. Further, direct action was required. The huge beak of Klaarungraxus was lifted into position before biting deep into that distant tentacle. It wriggled violently as sensory responses demanded reaction to the attack even as its very own mind clearly urged the overmind forward with the action. Black liquid flowed from the wound, so black light was lost in it but with an aura-sheen at its edges that shone bright with pale light. The inky gore sank down as the wounded tentacle was pressed to the surface once more, that midnight oil pouring into the stone of the world only be drawn back out.

An utterly humongous clam sat patiently where the tentacle raised from, revealing itself in the pale moonlight that shimmered down from above. The clam was an oily black with a sheen like the purest rainbow when looked at from the right angle. Utterly beautiful in all regards, the clam had the benefit of existing for all of five seconds before Klaar smashed the work of art into splinters. Sifting through the pulsing ruin and shattered shell, Downward-Left Three-Down fished for a black pearl, the size of a puffer fish when all blown up. With divine dexterity the tentacle drew forth from the pearl, draining the entirety of that oddling stone upwards and out of itself until pearl disappeared and in its place hung a trident of purest black and emanating an aura of radiance. Downward-Left Three-Down gently grasped the trident, lifting it before the eyes of the overmind to receive praise.

With one powerful motion Klaar hurled the trident with all the force he could muster, that deadly item disappearing into the murk.

A sense of calm finally came over Klaar, all the stress of his mind drawn forth from him like a cancer and excised most effectively. All the minds pinged back at Downward-Left Three-Down that it had done an excellent job and there was, of course, much rejoicing. However, even as it gleefully accepted the sensory responses of its kin, that normally quiet tentacle was suddenly faced with a number of realizations. Firstly, that had been one of its finest creations and now it was very much well and truly gone. A shame. Secondly, that the exact functionality of that most dire of artifices was completely unknown to it, as it had been cut short in its study of the creation process.

But, perhaps most importantly, there was one, final awareness it was faced with; it LIKED making such things, and it greatly desired to make more...




Collab by @Zurajai and @yoshua171


Submerged within the endless sea of thought, Àicheil crossed its Dreaming Depths with haste. From his form there swelled great tides of baleful thought and mindless ideation. However, so recent was the unity between the two-as-one that the riptide of his passing became reflection and so entwined and returned to find the vessel of his choosing. Entangled then by the weight of experience both populous and diverse, the Dreaming God slowed and in a moment of indecision, split itself in twain.

Gravitous intention struck the chords of consciousness and amid the storm-song of the God, a divergence did occur. Two silhouettes thrust forth then into the depths, each held within itself a purpose. Though they would remain apportioned for a time their distance did not equal disconnection, for to the Dream disunion was but a false conclusion.



Carried then by the tangling tentacles of intent, Àicheil burst forth from the Dream and into the murky deep of yet another enigmatic realm. Though before his form had blotted out the stars, now it was but a shadow of its former shape, and none too similar was its silhouette. Like smoke bogged down by liquid, his cloak of gray stardust had become and from him it did billow, reaching out for many miles of the sea. Where before his visage had been bipedal in its make, now there existed no rhyme or reason to his sundered form. He was as a mantled jellyfish whose organs had distended, keeping only their starlit form.

Acclimating to this new place the Dreamer's mind expanded and like a rolling tsunami, garbled deepspeak thundered from his form.

”You who I do not know fill my waters with form of your own making,” trumpeted Klaarungraxus, indicating through his intense language the magnitude of his displeasure, ”And blot out life from its rightful look at the skies. Mine eyes see you and you are betrayed by your currents, God-Kin, and your invasion has not gone unnoticed.

Klaarungraxus, for his part, was equal parts massive compared to this new intrusion onto his realm. Perhaps it was something naturally ingrained into his psyche but this particular encroachment onto the sea rankled with the God of Oceans. His many minds expressed great consternation at this thing, unannounced, entering what was solely considered his world. Surely these numerous new gods, spawned from the makings of mortal minds, could bare to act with respect towards those more elder than they? And its size! The immenseness of its existence affronted Klaarungraxus to his core. How dare it challenge him so blatantly in his waters?!

”Give countenance to thyself or prepare for violence.

”You who I do not know fill my waters with form of your own making,” trumpeted Klaarungraxus, indicating through his intense language the magnitude of his displeasure, ”And blot out life from its rightful look at the skies. Mine eyes see you and you are betrayed by your currents, God-Kin, and your invasion has not gone unnoticed.

Klaarungraxus, for his part, was equally parts massive compared to this new intrusion onto his realm. Perhaps it was something naturally ingrained into his psyche but this particular encroachment onto the sea rankled with the God of Oceans. His many minds expressed great consternation at this thing, unannounced, entering what was solely considered his world. Surely these numerous new gods, spawned from the makings of mortal minds, could bare to act with respect towards those more elder than they? And its size! The immenseness of its existence affronted Klaarungraxus to his core. How dare it challenge him so blatantly in his waters?!

"Give countenance to thyself or prepare for violence."

Not-words rumbled without cause or source, the trembling turbulence of the sea did swell and surge through the expanse of his godly mind. Yet, Àicheil did not turn, did not move at all, beyond the subtle shifting of tendrils long and vast. For though silence and stillness were laid upon his vessel, the mind of the Dreaming God felt every nuance to the subtle communication, and for the first time it was as if another being--beyond its twin--had spoken its native tongue.

A roar thundered from its mind, infused into the sea, but in it there was no challenge or declaration beyond that of immeasurable joy and unity. That sound, it spoke, but not with words. It said:

One of mind so near to mine, I finally understand. One whose communication I can truly comprehend. I am Àicheil--Os-fhireach--Neo-Àicheil oh great oceanic sibling. Welcome thee, and welcome me? If you so desire my would-be friend.

Though in deepspeak there was only garbled nonsense, as if a young spawn of Vrool did speak, within that vast impression there was great meaning to bridge the deadly breach. Where now hostility did threaten to erupt, the Dreaming God, he laughed and rejoiced as if an accord of friendship had been struck. Movement then touched his vessel and smoky tendrils caught on currents, pulling at the sea.

Beyond even the shifting form of that starlit silhouette, Àicheil's realm, the endless Dream, bid Klaarungraxus welcome. Though before the Dreaming God had merely thought, now its first utterance could be heard, its like a single solitary word.

"Harmony," it said, and the ocean itself shuddered with its passing. Yet where before its eldrich drone might have killed a score, it did not do so anymore.

The endless Dreaming mind had held apart its chaotic causal current, and in so doing, upon viewing, it saved many a solemn soul. Its intensity, still, did not relent. For within that word, Àicheil had said many more than a single thing. It said, "Desire," and "Accord," in equal measure, but beyond these blatant chords dwelled its truer meaning measured.

Friendship, kith and kin, it proclaimed with ideas and echoing memory. Images of Gibbou's Moon cast throughout the sea, followed too by emotions like happiness and glee. Beyond these two there was a single bout of imagery, which to the Ocean God implied, a meeting of limbs briefly if he was willing to abide.

So, with hope, Àicheil reached out with tendrils three. In the movement of those smoky things there was revealed a Truth, for there before Klaar unveiled was a triquetra quite familiar. The symbol of the twins; one he'd seen before, a mark most cosmic and divine, whose use implied a history most pure. Perhaps, in all his oceanic glory, Klaar might recall a certain being, one whose name would ring right then, as Firinn, the Truthbound God.

Klaarungraxus fell inwards on himself as the two alien entities share thought to thought what passed within their mind’s eye. It was a unique experience, to say the least. Although he did not particularly find the experience any more appealing than communication with other deities who shared equally in their difference from him, he could not deny that this God spoke to him in a manner far more fitting of deities. Klaar seemed to approve. As indications of further thoughts waterfalled from this intrusive God of Dreams, Klaar’s many-minds took up each and every one and twisted manipulated them into understandable concepts. Most interesting of all was the clear connection to Firinn, friend-deity to the Sea.

”Ahhh,” rang out the realization from Klaar’s mind, as stormy skies above their meeting place calmed and tall waves dropped suddenly to the waters below, ”Kin of Firinn Rux, friend and ally to oceans vast; you are he of who Truth made reckoning of. We who understand he, understand each other clearly. Calm tides and bountiful richness, gyres turning in harmony.”

Though physical interaction was entirely irrelevant to the massive deity, he could clearly perceive that Àicheil had intentions of such contact. As he had experienced with Gibbou so too would he with this new entity. One tentacle, Right-Forward Down-Two, reached out to make contact with the jellyfish-like construct that made up the form of the Dreaming God.

A murky shadow of light reflected as if upon the ocean floor sprang forth from the contact, ringing across the seas like some great chime. The vibration shot through Àicheil's vessel and suffused him with its meaning and intent, the context of that great oceanic god. Vast ribbon tendrils pulled in and danced about him, gently mirroring the ocean's natural tide. A smile emanated from the Dreaming God, the sensation content and calm.

Klaar's many minds might feel the attunement as a tingling undulating understanding. An ever so subtle warmth, embraced in a great cold like the deepest tracts of the ocean floor.

"Klaarungraxus," Àicheil intoned, now in deepspeak clear and true, the force if it just short of Klaar's own resonating tune. He let the sound travel the currents for a time, changing them subtly, his many ribbons gray shifting at the disturbance. It was as if Àicheil were tasting these new sounds upon the unreal palette of his eldritch mind.

"Your name, it favors you, brother-ocean," in that moniker there was held a hint of deference, a respect, as if he now understood Klaar to be his elder if by time they were to measure.

"Mine twin conferred to me our bargain. Honor it I shall. Still, a reflection of their memories and the truth of the experience are not the same. So, thusly, I was drawn to you, so that perhaps me might confer and learn of eachother's minds something new."

”A bargain struck is a bargain kept, Àicheil Rux,” retorted Klaarungraxus as the Dreaming God intoned his thoughts to the God of Oceans in his own tongue ”We who are many find solace in such dealings; soft gusts and calming white waters turned smooth and glassy. Alliance made whole between we, who are three, is most pleasing to the eyes of the oceans vast and deep. Surely in our unity as many-minds made one, so too will we be stronger for it. Consider this, for our thoughts right out in polyphony. Tell us, thee Rux who is Ours, what hath your tides pulled thee to?”

Gently wandering across the tides of the ocean vast, Àicheil's ribbons began to diverge from currents fast. They coiled about some ocean life with gentleness and care, and with that contact the god did learn what within them was true and fair. So too did his connection with the Oceanic God reveal, that in the elder being there was a pettiness and angry jealousy. It was writ upon the dream in actions before he'd not glimpsed true, but now as he had attuned they touched his mind anew.

So too did the thrumming water words course against his mind, and with their coming he processed them and responded then in kind.

"I wish to create, my Oceanic brother, but to do so I must make rise stone above your water," therein held was intent and meaning great, but though Àicheil could intone words, his intentions they could not wholly recreate. So, bereft of words or rumbling tidal speech, Àicheil unveiled to Klaar the Dreaming Realm and so spoke from beyond the Breach.

From the breach a dreaming essence spilled, its likeness prismatic light unreal, its intent pure and without substance one could physically feel. Nonetheless it coiled, rolled and filled the sea, submerging them doubly and as it began to overwhelm Àicheil closed the gate to his endless experiential realm. Then, with ribbons gray, and unfurling he wove the fabric of imagination and mortal yearning.

Unseen to those beasts and other mortal minds, a vision revealed itself to Klaar. Rising continents, shelves of rock most bare. Yet though they seemed to disrupt the ocean, in them there was something different than those which had come before them.

"Unity," Ѻs-fhìreach intoned, for beneath those newborn continents there was little earth which could be known. Instead it differed from its siblings in one way most bizarre, as from it there shot pillars reaching deep into ocean afar. On its surface, Àicheil revealed then, that those coral and oceanic creatures would continue to prevail. Salt rivers and lakes aplenty this land it would possess, so that the ocean Àicheil would not cause so terrible a duress.

Slowly, the gray-cloak ribbons calmed in their tumultuous movements and slipped once more into the drifting currents. Neo-Àicheil focused then upon Klarungraxus, and let forth words of great atonement and treaty.

"Dreaming Beasts I shall create, and upon many they shall prey, but on your kin--ocean children--their attentions will always stray. Further still to mortals landlocked in their nature, I will bestow knowledge of you and their fealty so will be gained. As time does pass of them I'll ask the oceans to traverse, and in so doing a challenge will ring out across the sea. In those ages which will come the land-men will fight and treat with your kin. From this will be born in both greater cunning and introspection. From this, I will ensure, that both are enriched, sure and true. All I ask, oh eldest Klaar, is permission--a new accord from me to you."

The God of Oceans did not once lose focus as the dream that Àicheil presented unfolded before him. The many-minds of Klaarungraxus devoured the displayed information with ravenous hunger, absorbing each new concept and adding them to their own understanding. All the while the overmind filed away these new ideas deep within the dark corners of the Ocean’s thoughts, deeply fascinated by the numerous potentials offered by Àicheil’s dream. It was an offer that the Old Growth Below could not possibly refuse.

"Your thoughts to Our thoughts make harmony as one, and one tide from many makes many waves mightier. This accord, enshrined by Vonu oaths, is one the will of waters gladly accepts. May the urstone of oceans, Ku, hear our oath and speak forth our words into the waves to echo for eternity. You may have your rock, o’ god of dreams, for it shall return to the sea in good time. This vow you will keep, of that We have no doubt; the mortals of this place will walk to sea as you have sworn, for the voice of Ku will make them yearn for her vast blue embrace.”

As the Ocean met the Dream halfway, a great joy Àicheil did feel, for now unchained he need not constrain his true creative zeal. So burst forth did the Dreaming God's shouted ululation. It shook the waters, but faded fast, the sound a sign of the Dreamer's endless elation. Moving then, Àicheil bound one ribbon to Klaar's limb, and without thought or further act, he split it from his form.

Contact ceased in that single moment, Àicheil felt the gradual decay from clarity, and so uttered a final word.

"Sign," he said, and in its stead there came a meaning-storm. That which he had left Klaar held within it a fragment of his form, and from it the elder god might reach out and touch the dreaming realm and all its experiential lore. It was a gift, from Àicheil to the tentacled behemoth. As it remained about Klaar's limb, its shape a twisting spiral, it glowed and grew as if it might be viral.

Satisfied, the Dreaming God withdrew and as he slipped into the Dream a fragmented power inside the ribbon bloomed.



Held then within the Dream, Àicheil called forth beyond the seam, and so were pulled from waves to limb the vestiges of a great vision. Colors swirled beyond pale veil and coalesced into the ribbon. Within them were held concepts most numerous and vague, but in this his place of power, he to them purpose and substance gave. Those once abstracted echoes of experience and sensation, they merged then with the ribbon and crystallized--their existence an enchanting sensation.



Reforged by unconscious intention, the ribbon yet remained upon Klaar's limb. No longer gray, it remained plain, though its surface was clear, colorless, and true. Now metallic and translucent it appeared deep beyond piercing, though perhaps not at all imposing. Yet, as it was gazed upon, the shifting strands of minds and unseen hands would intimate a truth. For within that band of god-shorn hand there dwelled a psychic source.

With this boon bestowed Àicheil's fickle mind began to wander. So it was that he left Klaar to ponder 'pon waves and tides and fish. For to Àicheil had he given a most momentous gift.



Klaarungraxus


Deep below the roiling surface of the sea, below the thundering clouds of the hurricane above, the hungry minds of Klaarungraxus were cavorting with thoughts most numerous.

The God of Oceans had been submerged there for some time, past the great kelp forests, coral reefs, and schooling fish that filled his realm with color and life. Beyond all those, where the craggy sea floor shattered into a crevasse so deep no mortal life could survive its crushing deeps. It was the first place Klaar had escaped to when the sun had first named itself his hated foe, so long ago. Though the burning orb of Oraelia now meant little to Klaarungraxus, that deep place in the world that had once been his small pond still felt as home to him. There he rested, tentacles reaching out in all directions both along the trench or up it, like vast roots growing out from a most disturbing tree.

The many-minds of Klaarungraxus were in flux. A dread prophecy, determined by the alien mathematics played out by the tentacles that formed the skein of Klaarungraxus’ decentralized mind, had cast portents into the future that were each coming to pass. With the creation of the Akua and the teeming of life in the seas, Klaarungraxus was made all the more aware of this disquieting doom that hung above him. Soon, he was sure, something would change in a way he would be most displeased by. More than anything, this created a sense of great consternation within the tumultuous storm that was the Ocean God’s mind.

How dare reality plot so fervently against him!?

Despite months of constant calculations and intensive consideration, nothing arose in either his overmind or the many minds slaved to it to come up with a solution. Entire portions of the undersea trench had been smoothed from constant friction as Klaar sat, completely lost within thoughts. Even the water that flowed about his form seemed incensed by it all, vibrating and shuddering with empathetic displeasure.

This fate must be denied by any means necessary!

A single mind spoke back with potentiality; the ever useful Right-Forward Two-Down had come up with a possible line of thought that could lead to success. Continuing on the same sort of thinking that had led to the uplifting of the Vrool and the alteration of the Akua, perhaps mortals could serve in an additional role beyond simply maintaining Klaarungraxus’ deific legacy. The minds lit up with curiosity, manipulating this new idea in their clutches as the overmind pinged back excitement; possibility was never to be ignored!

Over the next cycle of the sun and moon the plot was hatched, revised, and reconsidered. Though Klaarungraxus was a god, the time in which he had available to him and his capacity to consider reality was inherently finite. His minds, regardless of how decentralized, were nevertheless bound to the same divine perspective that the whole of the entity that was Klaar held. But, what if after this prophesied calamity came to pass, there were those who could continue the Old Growth Below’s numerous works and seek to reverse the fate that Klaar was sure would befall him. They would need to be given the capacity to learn and comprehend reality as Klaar did yet remain entirely mortal to keep their perspectives pure.

The Vrool would make natural agents for this intended plan.

Vast, glowing eyes pushed forth from their sockets in a mockery of eyelids, lighting up the darkness of the sea floor with voracious intent. Powerful limbs dug deep into the sides of the trench as his huge form was lifted from the depths. A rumbling began to emanate from what amounted to a throat in Klaar’s pseudo-anatomy, vibrating the very world around him in an ever escalating tremor. All around the world the ocean rose and fell by several inches at a time, enough to only be noticed by those who truly knew the sea. The God of Oceans dragged himself from his hiding spot and into the cool light of his ocean abode, intent on his travel to Ku. With one great suction of water, Klaar propelled himself through the waves and dragged a tidal wave worth of water behind him.


Ku, that most ancient of stones, sat at the bottom of Klaar’s sump as unmoving as it always was. The gentle voices and hums from its smooth basalt surface rang out as never before, reacting to the coming of its creator. In the distance the great shadow of Klaarungraxus filled the undersea horizon. All about Ku, where worshipping and brave Vrool had come to hear the voice of the sea utter its babbling advice only they could hear, life burst into action. They swam away in all directions, for many of the creatures knew not the great entity that swam upon them or knew all to well that he was their creator and in no way prone to acts of benevolence when foul moods befell his storming mind.

With his sump cleared of life Klaar sank into the depths, surrounding Ku in his mass. The stone hummed pleasantly, its words loud but calm in distinct opposition to Klaar’s own roiling mind. The great devilfish lowered himself to it, that stone of his own making, and whispered sweet nothings in return; though they stung of fiery passion and intent, Klaarungraxus could never speak ill or with rage to his beloved ocean.

”Oh ye’ who’s voice soothes, how I have yearned for your calming gyres. My mind is astray, tumultuous waters, and We who need thee have come most longingly. Assist me, o’ beloved oceans, for I dread what will come to pass.”

At the edges of the sump numerous Vrool watched. They were worshippers in their own right, followers of the ancient creator god who had made them in his image. Each was born with knowledge of his greatness and craved nothing more than to emulate him in all things. For many, particularly those youngest spawn, this was the first time they had ever laid eyes on him. He was in all ways exactly how they imagined and they jealously hoarded the memories of his presence in the depths of his mind. One day, they all believed fervently, they would be as large as He who had given them life and thought and mind. His words, spoken in that Holy Tongue of the Sea, rang out across them in waves and eddies that only succeeded in increasing their voracious curiosity. The throaty warble of their presence was, undoubtedly, entirely intoxicating.

”Declare unto gyres my convictions, o’ urstone of oceans vast and wide, so that Our will might be made manifest in the souls of those who live beneath the waves,” came the call of Klaar, weaving into Ku new words to spread across the skein of the sea, ”Make one the thoughts of those for whom the World’s Will doth shine, and begat them as mages, these Warlocks mine!”

With the final utterance of Klaarungraxus’ will, a ripple of power emanated from the urstone Ku in all directions. In him the change started, a mantling of powers before uncontrolled and now the Old Growth Below’s to command. Carried on this stranger tide was a whisper that sank itself into the hearts and minds sentient races of the sea below, their very souls marked with its power. For most it would do nothing, a simple marker of the Ocean God’s demands upon them, but to those very few who resided in the depths that little light would become illumination equal to any of the Orbs above.

Awareness and curiosity unfold as, through unmatched will and desire to know, the gift and curse of sorcerous power was granted to them.

Thus were the Warlocks born.




Klaarungraxus


Far on distant shores, well beyond the watery depths of the Unending Vo, warm-bloods were stirring. On the horizon the unmistakable glow of the rising son could be seen, just beginning to creep its way up the heavenly-wall that was the great, blue sky. To many creatures of the overworld and even for some below, it was noticeably beautiful.

For Cardamom, it offered only pain.

An entire tribe of night elves were on the run, hundreds of people making a mad dash along the coastline. Their community had been disrupted by a mass of earthquakes that had wracked their caves and collapsed huge portions of what was once their home-canyon. It was decided by the elders that they should move to the next canyon over, the coastline the most direct route. Now, it seemed, even that had not been enough. Though the sun was not fatal to the night elves, the pain it could directly cause was more than enough to make even a grown man weep and prolonged exposure over the rest of the distance certainly wasn’t going to help.

That blaring symbol of Oraelia’s fury rose higher, cresting the horizon and unleashing its rays on the collected people of the tribe. A great and terrible cry when out from the back of the column as they were the first struck by the pain of the light. One by one the terrified convoy was lit ablaze by the glorious rays of the sun and sent into screams of their own. Cardamom dropped to his knees, embracing the pain to come for his failure in leading his people to safety. With tears in his eyes, he begged and pleaded for anyone to save them.


Deep below the waves something watched and listened.

Their cries, those of the warm blooded little things that scurried above the waves, wafted across the waters of its realm and echoed in all directions. Tinny cries, mostly pointless, and entirely aggravating. Best to be ignored, thought the entity, and it began to swim off in another direction. A single voice cried out a pleading request, a prayer for assistance to anyone and anything that could hear them. To the many-minds of Klaarungraxus, this was but one begging voice among many.

To all but Forward-Right Down-Two.

The tentacle, in all its independent thought, ran through a number of calculations and considerations on the demand. An interesting request. Using perceptual information received from the overmind, Forward-Right Down-Two considered the case most curiously; what, exactly, was the creature requesting? As the mastermind of sapience for the Vrool race, this particular sub-mind had become adept at understanding and breaking down the concept that was the mortal mind. A simple equation, at least on the surface, but much like the ocean it hid considerable complexity just below. Their suffering, most of all, was a window into the twisted skein of emotions and feelings that mortals had the capacity to feel.

And to Forward-Right Down-Two, it was fascinating.

The submind craved action in response to this and pinged back the thought to the rest of the minds of Klaarungraxus. Though originally disinterested in the entire situation, consensus was required for further decision. At nearly the speed of light, thoughts bounced wildly inside Klaar’s mind, deciding exactly what should be done about the mortal wailings on the shore. Realization dawned on the many-minds and the potential of the situation became absolutely clear. Action could be taken that would accomplish the goals of the God of Oceans while simultaneously granting these mortals the respite they so craved. Brilliant.


Cardamom held back his own shouts of pain as the sun burned brightly. The crowd had continued to move as best they could, attempting to help others, but the rising sun made their vision no better than a human in the day. Children and the elderly were struggling to keep up at any proper pace and with many miles to go there was the distinct possibility that the damage would be permanent.

A strange noise caught Cardamom’s attention, his head turning to take stock of what was happening. Though he could hardly see, all of his senses still available to him told a clear story; the waves were no longer crashing. The smell of salt and brine pulled away, leaving away a surprising dryness, while the sound of water rushing back down the sands of the beach filled his ears. Though he had never heard it in his entire life, it was a sound the night elf was not at all fond of.

Then came the onrushing wall of water.

The crowd had no time to react as the tidal wave dove over them, crushing through the beach and further onwards to flood low lying places and destroying the dense growth further inland. Though faced with the battering waves head on the night elves on the beach remained completely still, seemingly completely untouched by the monumental forces acting on the beach. They remained in position, children huddled to them, covering themselves, before one by one realizing the miraculous event that had occured. For a moment they shared looks with one another, hair dancing in the waters where the dreadful light of the sun stung only lightly. Just as it seemed they had been saved, the first of the night elves began to cough. Bubbles rushed upwards and awareness dawned on them all that they could not breath. As they began to swim upwards, desperate to reach air, a riptide tugged the elves from the shelf that was once a coastal beach and into the depths below. Darkness enveloped them, so deep and impenetrable that even their eyes could not peer into its depths.


A gentle light shone in the darkness, calming in its radiance and soft in its purple-blue hue. Despite its glow it did not strike pain nor blind, only filled the space with a sense of warmth and belonging.

He could see.

Thoughts rushed through the individual’s head, realization and memories clashing at once to remind him of what had just occurred. Surely he had just drowned, if the rushing and bubbling riptide and the depths were something to be believed. Those recollections of past events seemed so distant, as if they had been lived in another life or by someone else. In an attempt to get a hold of himself, the man raised his hands to his eyes to clear them of what felt like months worth of sleep. Before him were hands that were not his own.

“Whhuuugh!?”

His startled outburst came out as bubbling gasps, sound radiating from his throat into the watery surroundings and killing his words before they were even born. He was underwater, surrounded by darkness but for that one gentle light, and before him were hands that were not his moments ago. Webbed fins ran between his fingers and though the colors were similar, they were reflective and glossy. Scales, soft and smooth, now ran across in pockets across his body and his skin looked smoother to the touch. Was this who he had been all his life? He could not be sure, for the memories could not be his.

“H̶e̷l̷l̵o̴?̴”

The drowned elf turned to the voice addressing him, spinning as fast as he could as his heart skipped a beat. Half-standing, half-floating before him was a young child of garrish coloration and strange features. The young girl’s hair had been replaced by a thick collection of fin-like fronds while her colors had intermixed into bright gradients. The language she spoke was not one that the man was aware of ever learning yet in his mind’s eye he knew it as his native tongue.

“W̷h̴o̷ ̷a̶r̷e̷ ̵y̴o̵u̴?̵ ̶W̵h̵e̴r̵e̸ ̷a̸m̴ ̴I̶?̷ ̸W̶h̶a̶t̷ ̶i̵s̵ ̵t̷h̸i̸s̵ ̶p̶l̵a̵c̵e̸?̵”

All around them lights began to glow into life, gently lighting the entire area. In all directions there could be seen hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of individuals just like them. They woke one by one, looking about their new surroundings with awe. The horde collected themselves individually before turning to others for clarification, learning of their shared fate and those memories of lives they may have once lived and people they might have once been. The pangs of grief for that lost time were short lived in some, longer in others, but most seemed simply to move on as if it had never been them in the first place. Names escaped each and every one of them as if that time was now past and such burdens were stripped from them by the guiding hand of fate. Were that it was so simple.

A voice thundered in their minds, powerful and all encompassing. Unlike their own voices the words spoken by this distant speaker made the very waters move with their intent. Each and every one of them was filled to the brim with the presence of that voice and the entity from which it poured forth.

”Mourn not thine sorrowful loss, beloved children of the Maiden-Moon, for thou hath thine prayers answered. Gentle tides and soothing currents abound upon thee for Our grace is yours to bask in. The One-Bad-Orb above can cast harm upon your flock no longer, for schooling below there is safety from its vain cruelties and hateful gaze. Worry not, for you are saved.”

The crowd murmured all at once as their voices came to them, the language that seemed so alien now filling their heads with perfect clarity. An awareness in all of them of this action rippled through the collected numbers of these drowned elves turned elsewise to other forms. One, who could have once been a man named Cardamom, spoke up with his new-found tongue.

“Who are you, o’ savior? And who are we? Let us know our names!” His control of the tongue warbled and wavered, a distinct sign that his race had never been intended to speak it. Though heavily accented compared to the speaker from below, it seemed his language was just as full and vibrant as any other.

“You are Tane Tama’Mawar o’te’Tuatahi-Kahau, little growth” came the response, though in each individual’s head a different name and title was heard, ”And you are the Akua, for ye are now drowned.”





A Tyrant Below





Deep within the confines of his cavern, Kaarnesxaturl rumbled in a most pleasing way. The First Tyrant of the Vrool was, as difficult as it was for a vrool to be, inordinately pleased.

All about his grotto were stacked a number of offerings, ranging from meaty tribute to particularly shiny stones. Over the past few years since he had first been blessed with the genius scheme of rulership, he has utterly basked in the glow of that most rewarding of enterprises. In that time he had proven to be a vrool without equal, at least within the confines of the reef he called home. For nearly a decade now he had reigned supreme, challenged occasionally but never beaten and always coming out far better than before. Lurzoolsxagrun had only been the beginning. Now, with his cavern swelling with prizes from numerous fallen rivals and packed to bursting with all delights the vrool Tyrant could feast on, Kaarn could sit back and enjoy the fruits of his numerous labors.

The decade, of course, had not been a considerably easy one; becoming tyrant over one vrool had been simple enough, but Kaarn had known from that instant that simply one vrool bent to his will would never be enough. It was true, Lurz had kept to his side of the bargain quite well and remained one of Kaarn’s most ardent supporters. Kaarn admitted to himself regularly that he could never trust Lurz, for surely the mongrel was crafty and opportunistic, but Kaarn remained thoroughly on top of that particular relationship. Though Lurz had grown considerably in size, he was still half Kaarn’s size and barely a threat to the monstrosity that was his overlord.

Kaarn had busied himself once his undersea realm had been secured by the ever watchful gaze of Lurzoolsxagrun, the retainer protecting Kaarnesxaturl’s territory as doggedly as if it had been his own. In the early years, as Lurz had yet to bloat from the increased availability of high quality nutrition, he had served as more of an extended set of sensory organs for Kaarn’s personal defense of the territory. But as Lurz grew, so too did his capacity to respond to the hostilities of smaller vrool, freeing Kaarn up for other duties. Within the first year Kaarn had realized rapidly that this process could be replicated and soon his conquests began. Lurzoolsxagrun had served well in these times too, his smaller form adequate for keeping the large, neighboring vrool from paying him much heed during his skulking into their territory. With those rivals marked and appropriately targeted, Kaarn could set about dismantling their realms one by one.

The first half of the decade was easy; Kaarn would have Lurz reconnoiter adjacent territories, discover the extent of which the present vrool claimed as their own, and subsequently follow up with a violent, aggressive push. These initial aggressions were simple; expanding Kaarn’s borders into areas in which more rich resources were abundant. Kaarn and Lurz had feasted well from these battles, the neighboring vrool slinking backwards rather than commit to any serious conflict with the massive hulk that was the growing Kaarn. Even Lurz had found success in combat, defeating several lesser vrool testing the boundaries of Kaarn’s realm and seeking to carve for themselves a niche in what was so obviously HIS world. Kaarn prayed occasionally in thanks to his creator, the mind-in-his-that-was Klaarungraxus; no doubt the vast entity hidden deep in his thoughts had intended for Kaarn specifically to succeed.

As more area was ripped away from competing vrool, Kaarn saw opportunity; lesser vrool, the weakling spawns of his poor adversaries and still growing into their own, made perfect targets for the same abuses Lurz was put through. Rather than drive them utterly from his reef, however, Kaarn set himself and Lurz to constantly harrowing the creatures but allowing them to escape, ever seeking to grab something, anything for themselves in their natural vrool greed. One by one these spawnlings became ideal candidates for fealty, as desperate as Lurz had been. Though most were slain or driven off completely, Kaarn soon found success in offering them the same deal Lurz had received. They would serve as watchmen for his herds of Titan Crabs or vast schools of fish, and would keep secure the edges of his realm when he or Lurz could not.

Then came the real battles. Other vrool around Ku had banded together in similar manners, having heard from those vrool that fled before Kaarn of his successes. Skirmishes raged in the deep, dark places of the world between the First Tyrant Kaarnesxaturl and his rivals, their small bands of retainers constantly fighting proxy-battles between the powerful tyrants. At the peak of the decade, Kaarn directly ruled over nearly three dozen other vrool. The eastern reef around Ku was nearly completely under his control. Even his cavern had been enlarged, lesser vrool made to grind and scratch away to expand and smooth it down to Kaarn’s liking. Now, upon his bed of selectively picked grains of sand, Kaarn basked in the glory of his conquests.

It was then that, against all sense and logic, a most peculiar vrool wriggled its way into the First Tyrants very cavern. The stillborn looking thing was entirely white, less than half the size of even Lurzoolsxagrun, and upon closer inspection lacked such basics as eyes or, worst of all, a beak. It was, if given any thought, not something that should exist.

Let alone enter the cavern of the First Tyrant!

If Kaarnesxaturl had not been first Tyrant of the Vrool, he may have recoiled back in disgust. The thing that now haunted his chambers was a disgusting parody of a vrool, blind and without beak. But he was. Though his oversized heart began to pound inside his torso and over half of the sub-minds returned sensory pings of warning, Kaarn stood his ground and rose to fill up the space of his cavern; it would not do to hide, even from this abomination. Tentacles raised in threat display and with powerful, horrifyingly well-muscled beak gnashing, Kaarn rose to meet the interloper as he had many others.

“I am Kaarnesxaturl,” echoed the Tyrant off the walls, water rippling forward from him as he intoned his challenge in the Holy Vonu, “And you, vile failed-spawn, enter my domain unbidden. What manner of creature are you? Explain, for you are an oddity that will hold my curiosity for only so long!”

There was no movement in the water, no noise, no ripples, nothing. The peculiar vrool turned to face Kaarnesxaturl, and a voice echoed not on the walls of the First Tyrants cavern, but in every one of his minds, “I know well who you are, child. I have watched you, and your growing domain, for some time. Perhaps to sate my own curiosity. Then again, perhaps it was because I wasn’t certain you were capable.”

There was a pause, and when the voice spoke again it was almost proud, “But here you are, First Tyrant. I am Tekret Et Heret, the god of Contracts, and though odd, I believe I have yet to be vile.”

The many-minds of Kaarnesxaturl recoiled inwards, away from the pressures of this great and oppressive intrusion by the entity called Tekret Et Heret. Its words were not in Deepspeak but rang clearly in Kaarn’s minds till only the overmind remained receptive, the others going silent while the God spoke. Alone with his personal thoughts, Kaarn considered the words of pale-vrool most carefully. God, most of all, was a term that needed reconciliation. Unlike that of his creator, the almighty progenitor of oceans, this so-called God was not known to him at birth. If Klaar had seen it necessary for the vrool race to know of this Tekret, he would have left them with knowledge of this other God. Nevertheless, its powers could not be denied. A shrewd hesitation came over Kaarn, a sensation he had not felt since prior to his duel with Xuxus.

“I was capable at my spawning, Tekret Et Heret, for I was born strong and many of my clutchmates fed my hungers,” Kaarn felt his tentacle-minds returning from dormancy, beginning to speak up in the chatter of his active mind. The sensory organs played back the physical memory of Tekret’s arrival, of his words, and they each confirmed that Tekret was empty of the ocean’s tongue. God was still up for debate, but utterly unvrool was without a doubt.

“My patience with words dims and breaks as white-water; why have you come, God of Contracts, to my realm? Your presence confounds me.”

“Your strength was never in doubt, child. But consider this: the vrool are said to be much like their maker. I learned such, and I hesitated. Perhaps apart from all other creatures you may understand this, but gods do not bow. It is not in their nature. Certainly, it is not in mine.”

The white vrool inched closer, heedless of Kaarn’s imposing presence, “So when you prayed to me, for regardless of whose name is sworn on all oaths are prayers to me, I wondered if you could truly abide by your deal. I wondered if your vassal, Lurzoolsxagrun, could abide by it. I have waited for a long while. Far longer than I have waited for others.”

The white vrool stilled and the voice in Kaarnesxaturl’s head grew intent, “I have entered your realm to give the vrool what many other peoples already gained, a true leader. More than a First Tyrant. A Tyrant. Singular, unchallenged.”

Another pause, “Yet it seems, you have not the patience or time for me, child. Perhaps that is a gift for another? For there are others, as we both know.”

Kaarn’s eyes narrowed in disdain for the God’s petty games; it knew well how to pull his tentacles and it infuriated the vrool tyrant to the core. Nevertheless, what Tekret offered could not be ignored lightly. Though he did not know or fear the extent of Tekret’s ability to command or bind the vrool to its alien will, the potential for interference against him was unquestionable. Klaarungraxus would not abide an enslavement of his spawn to some unknown entity, it was not a battle Kaarn personally thought he could win.

“There are no others my equal, Tekret Et Heret, but if you seek a slave to grovel you have not found one,” Kaarn rose to the occasion, refusing to cower before the frightful entity, “I bow to no one and the Vrool will not yield except to strength, and even then they do so only to serve themselves. My patience waxes with curiosity, for I know no power that could bind my race to one will. Explain.”

The voice turned to laughter, laughter in every pitch and voice that there could ever be. The white vrool that was a god shook with mirth before speaking, “You answer your own question, First Tyrant. The vrool yield to only to strength, and yet you know of nothing that could bind them to a greater will? For a vrool to rule it must be strong, for a vrool to rule all its kin it must be stronger than all of them. Stronger than you..”

“I am a God,” the voice boomed, not only in Kaarn’s mind but in the minds of every creature for miles, “And my strength is without limit. If I wished dominion over your people, by proxy or otherwise, I would not need you. All that could stop me would be your creator.”

The white vrool began to swell, not in form, but in presence, “And yet I come to talk. I come because of all your people, you were the first to gain the fealty of your kin. The only one who does not need my power to rule. That is why you must have it. Why you must be the only Tyrant.”

“But you bluster and evade. You suspect me, as you suspect your vassals.” The voice reverberated darkly, “Know this child, I am a god. I am beyond suspicion. You have brought order to chaos, and so I favor you, but I tire of mortal paranoia and disrespect. If you doubt me, try to evict me from your realm. Remove me from this spot.”

Tekret Et Heret, in the alabaster skin of a vrool, held out a single tentacle, “I implore you.”

Kaarn had listened very carefully, his tentacle-minds having grown in determined resistance to the invasion of Kaarn’s thoughts. Though he sorely wished to respond to the insults heaped upon him by the physically lesser form, he knew well at this point that behind the weak exterior was power at least comparable to his own creator. Instead, he accepted his position, at least for now.

“I know I cannot, Tekret Et Heret,” Kaarnesxaturl hissed, staring with all six eyes fixated on the God of Contracts, “And it is a fool who fights when he knows he is already beaten. What, then, do you demand of me for this boon?”

There was, now, a serenity in the voice that spoke to Kaarn. The hostility had vanished, and all that remained was purpose and certainty, “Only that you do what is natural, what I have asked. There is to be an order in the world, child. All creatures have a place, and yours is to rule over your kin. Swear this on my name, and I will give you the strength to do it.”

Kaarn, in that instant, felt it was too good to be true. All Tekret Et Heret asked from him was to continue his conquests? That was a deal he could not possibly refuse. And, just as Tekret had said, if truly the God of Contracts sought to abuse this contract, Klaarungraxus could intervene on Kaarn’s behalf. This was a risk Kaarnesxaturl was willing to take.

“Then I shall, on the ocean and on your name; I will conquer all vrool before me and make all the ocean my domain. This I, Kaarnesxaturl, swear.”

“And so it is done.” The voice whispered in Kaarn’s mind and a fissure erupted in the floor of the cavern. Furious red strands exploded from the crack and swirled, weaving into and around each other as they cooled. The water screamed as lava chilled into a dark glassy black, obsidian. It took little more than a second, but before Kaarn a Torc had been crafted of blood from the worlds heart. It oozed darkness, radiated power from symbols that were woven into its very shape, and whispered of a great destiny. At once it was clear that the God had not deceived the First Tyrant. This was a power beyond mortality.

Kaarn was mesmerized by the torc’s creation, all six eyes locked tightly on its birth. The pangs of its spawning into the world were noises unlike any he had ever heard before. As the trinket cooled and hung in the waters before him, it took everything in Kaarn’s power to restrain his tentacles from their rampant curiosity. Even as they reached out, Kaarnesxaturl tugged them back towards himself. At long last his gaze was able to break away from the torc, looking to Tekret to be sure it was his to take.

It was not something for words, and so there were none. As soon as his eyes touched upon the god the First Tyrant merely knew, in every way that one can know, that the Torc was his.

That awareness was all Kaarn needed to reach forward for the Torc, taking it into his forward four tentacles with fascination and curiosity raging in his heart. The ring was flipped and turned about in his grip, eyes devouring every minute detail and curve of the divine artifact. With bated breath, gills falling silent, Kaarnesxaturl pulled the torc over his forward-right first-down tentacle. Though belonging to the smallest pair of tentacles by far, Kaarn felt the surge of power already coursing through him even as the torc simply brushed against his hide. His eyes peered down at the searing blackness that flowed from the torc into his tentacle and in an instant the power threatened to overwhelm him. Kaarnesxaturl’s massive beak tightened, chipping at the edges where the contact was most forceful. As the sensation of intensity at last seemed to soften, Kaarn felt in himself might beyond reckoning. Though one tentacle asked for clarity through evidence, Kaarn knew in his heart and soul that he was now without equal among his kind.

The awareness of such power was intoxicating.

His gaze rose to observe the pale-vrool only to find the space Tekret Et Heret once occupied was suddenly vacant. In the end, Kaarn was most pleased; better now the God was gone, for he had MUCH to do and had no interest in being watched so closely.




Far from the cunning plotting of the now empowered vrool tyrant, the white-form of Tekret Et Heret continued towards its next unfathomable goal.

Beyond a shelf descending deep into the darkness below rose a vast and most dread shadow, the form casting it more so on both accounts. Six huge, glowing eyes centered one by one down on the pseudo-visage of the God of Contracts while immense tentacles pulled their way up from the seafloor, breaking the surface with ease in their unburying. It seemed that Tekret had aroused the curiosity or ire of something far more powerful than Kaarn and most certainly the God’s equal. Klaarungraxus, in all his depths, had been waiting for the conceptual god to leave his spawn’s humble abode and now seemed intent on confrontation.

”Though you tread these tides I know not your hearkening, kinsmen mine,” Klaar boomed, his thoughts to Tekret’s, the unutterable sounds of the ocean forming his resonant voice, ”Your scheming is known to me but your purposes less so; why do you toil in works not of your own making? A strange meeting, in this place, for kith so distant and different. For what impetus has brought you to my depths, to grant such a boon to mine scion? ”

“I have come to your domain, Klaarungraxus, for the same reason I have journeyed to many others.” The voice of Tekret was soft, even kindly, “I am Tekret Et Heret, the god of Contracts, and your child invoked my presence long ago. As others have and continue to do. My purpose here, as it is everywhere, is the same as those that bring me to them. They swear oaths, craft agreements, and in doing so they create order, structure, and reprieve from a world that is uncaring.”

There was a thoughtful pause and Tekret pointed one of their tentacles back, towards the realm of Kaarn, before speaking again, “Your child tells me the vrool bow only to strength, and I have seen this to be true. What he does not know is that the reason why they bow, or to whom, is irrelevant. I seek only to create great leaders. This is what impels me, for it is what brings order to the world. Under Kaarn lesser vrool will thrive, have the opportunity to grow strong, where before they would have perished untested, unfulfilled. Through conquest a ruler lives better, this is true, but so too do their subjects.”

The small white vrool, though lacking its own, seemed to meet the colossal eyes of the ocean god, “I do not mean to transgress, but I must perform the duty for which I was born. You live for the oceans, Klaarungraxus, and I live for those in, and above them.”

”I am the Oceans, Tekret Et Heret, and all beneath the waves belong to me.

Klaarungraxus leaned inwards, closing the distance between his monumental head and the small body of the contract god. His eyes did not stop in their study, sweeping their gaze across the mimicry of his own form on a far smaller scale. Despite his reservations against Tekret’s actions, the many-minds of Klaarungraxus reached consensus on the value of this new god’s actions. Tekret Et Heret could be as likely to halt such functions as Klaar could stop life from teeming in the seas. For that alone, certain leeway was in order.

”Your ripples make waves and your actions carry merit, young god. I shall forgive this transgression for this; I hear the clarion call perhaps even more than thou. Our trust is put in thee, that you should not seek to transgress on the vrool’s nature further. Leave them to their wiles with this boon and your interests shall be mirrored in theirs.”

The huge, cephalopoidal body of Klaar lurched back, displacing tons upon tons of water with his movement. It seemed that he was content with Tekret’s reasoning, the vast majority of his disdain boiling off of him and replaced with vague curiosity. Three eyes peered back into the deep, towards Kaarn’s cavern, with great interest.

”We shall observe his works, then, with considerable scrutiny; greater still, I conceive, than I ever could have envisaged. For that lone contribution you hath mine undying gratitude. If we part now, we do so as gentle currents rather than crashing waves. An ideal conclusion.”

The little white vrool bobbed, “Then it will be so. I bid you farewell, Klaarungraxus, the Ocean. I will watch the waves.”





K̸͔̃a̶̛̪a̵̻͌ŗ̶̈n̸̛̲ȩ̸̂s̷̖̐x̶͕̊a̷̫͂t̸̖̂u̵̧͝r̶͈̍l̷̬̑ ̶͖̊


Six eyes glowered through the waters, peering voraciously through the murky night at the hulking form of the owner’s hated foe.

Blood, arterial and thick, billowed out from beneath the mass of the monumental predator gorging itself upon its prey. Eight powerful limbs held tightly to the corpse of the fallen creature while four more tore chunks free for gnashing beak to rip into. All the while as this frightful beast feasted, Kaarn glared.

Kaarnesxaturl, as the great blue Vo had named him at his birth, looked on spitefully at the banquet his enemy so enjoyed. He was Vrool, and a large one at that; though his memories before his enlightenment were foggy, he knew he had satiated his youthful pangs of hunger with no less than a dozen of his clutchmates. Despite this advantage of birth, Kaarn knew full well that this rival now haunting his territory was, in terms of size, his better. A rare case indeed for Kaarn, to find another Vrool that dwarfed him, but not one he was entirely unfamiliar with. Nevertheless, this invasion posed more than a little threat to Kaarn’s health in more ways than one.

He would need to act, of course, Kaarn recognized that fully. To sit back and allow this invasion to succeed and go unhindered was to beget further shoring of his territory to the other powerful rivals just adjacent to his own lair. The whale serving as his rival’s dinner was hardly the first that would fall into that corpulent mass’ gullet if he did nothing. With the pop soon to travel on, every whale lost was an intense loss; surely, he would not thrive and grow on the bony fish that resided in his neck of the reefs. Kaarn rumbled internally, organs vibrating against one another to make a cacophony of noise muffled by his thick, muscled hide. Kaarn had kept his beak shut throughout, knowing such a vocalized challenge would surely catch the rival’s attention. As far as the bull Vrool could tell, his enemy had yet to become aware of him; spilled blood made for a powerful ally when the hunt was on, after all.

Adjacent to the hunched form’s right several sharks hung in the waters just outside of reach. One, a younger tiger clearly feeling like testing its luck, swam in closer for a morsel. One tentacle, acting on its own, snapped at the tiger shark and grasped down, hard. After a brief but violent attempt to escape the tentacle squeezed down, breaking the shark’s spinal column in its crushing coils before slowly dragging the corpse back to be deposited nearest to the mouth. This would not be as easy as the last would-be usurper Kaarnesxaturl had slain, that much was certain.

Rage and indignation plucked at the edges of Kaarn’s mind. No more waiting; action had to be taken. Kaarn relented and rose from his hiding place.

The large Vrool bull let his muscular body unrope itself, untightening his form as he had when he was attempting to remain hidden. At his full size he was a sight to behold, roughly eight meters from head to tip of his longest tentacle. A blood curdling screech followed by a rumbling vocalization shook the waters around the small clearing in the reef where the corpse of the whale lay. The challenge echoed across the craggy shapes of the reef, the sonorous warcry of a very angry vrool.

“Your hide is soft and sallow, easily squeezed; you should feed worms, not feast on whales,” came the deeply stinging rise of Kaarn, “Your flesh will sustain my spawn once I tear your eggs from your innards and clutch-hatch my own young from your brood!”

The retort, unsurprisingly, was swift; “Weak and withered but fat and corpulent, I see; you shall fill my gullet more than any whale!”

The other bull vrool left the corpse of the whale behind, one tentacle quickly snagging up the shark as an after-thought of the decentralized mind attempting to protect the resources it had earned. The vrool had let out its response to the challenge of Kaarn even before it had turned, the high pitched and warbling roar more of a natural, Vroolish response to such verbal abuse. In fact, most vrool meetings began with such provocations; it was wise to set the precedence of dominance early, even if violent confrontation was not the goal. Now, as it turned to perceive its foe, Kaarn could see the scarred front of the enemy vrool in all its gnarled glory. No doubt this particular specimen had fought many battles and had grown fat and powerful off the spoils of such victories. And, as always, soon followed the names.

“I am Xuxusragruxs! Your scent speaks of your softness, foe! Lend me the tides of your name so that I might thank your corpse properly as I feast!”

“I am Kaarnesxaturl,” bellowed Kaarn as he rapidly closed the distance, fore-tentacles rising up to meet his enemy’s own, “and you will die screaming, Xuxusragruxs!”

The roaring Deepspeak sent ripples and twisting cyclones out in all directions, twisting the sand of the clearing into intricate, almost artistically flowing geometric patterns. Tentacles immediately locked, sub-minds fighting their own, personal battles with their counterparts as suckers fought for grip so that the tearing and pulling could begin. The two fell upon each other in a vast pile of rippling, muscular flesh while beaks gnashed wildly at one another, clashing occasionally like the blades of fencers. Though their tentacles freely and deeply dug deep, powerful beaks were kept back like knives as both of the dueling cephalopods were well aware the damage they could incur in return if they went for a premature bite.

First blood came to Xuxus as a tear was formed in Kaarn’s bottom-right second-down tentacle, blood pouring into the wound and forming a cloud. Kaarn snarled at the injury just as he was able to tug the tentacle free and reassert control, knowing the rip in his hide raised the likelihood of his arm being torn free considerably. The battle rapidly became a fight for Kaarn keeping that wounded tentacle out of Xuxus’ grip while simultaneously attempting to gain leverage of his own. As they fought both vrool spat hateful rhetoric at the other, curses and words of spite rippling and setting the water between their maws to bubbling, boiling flows. Their howls reached a crescendo as Kaarn was finally able to return the playing field to a level one, the bull vrool slashing an arm that floated a little too close to his beak.

“You have fight in you, Kaarnesxaturl,” howled Xuxus, snapping his beak back with Kaarn pulling the offending tentacle away just in time, “It will make you taste all the better!”

Kaarn’s minds recoiled at the awareness of Xuxus unleashing considerable force on his upper body. Unlike pathetic vertebrates like those species often preyed on by vrool, the cephapoidal race could easily sustain such twists of the body. Nevertheless, to allow himself to be pulled out of such a position was a fast and easy way to lose posture in the fight and be subsequently punished for such a failure. Multiple sub-minds flared up with responses, warning of the impending loss if nothing was done. Kaarn’s thoughts flowed rapidly, considering every possible alternative to being devoured by the truly massive Xuxus.

Bottom-Right Down-Two had found the answer.

The tentacle, in its bid to remain well outside the grasping limbs of the enemy, had wrapped around a large, pointed, spear-like growth of coral. Tightening down hard and severing the shard at the base, the limb surged upwards once the idea was made evident to the Kaarn overmind. Risking his pretty visage be thrusting forward for a bite as a distraction, Kaarn swung his tentacle at the maximum extent of its reach before bringing down the impromptu-dagger directly on the top of Xuxus’ bell. The huge vrool screeched in pain, hissing violently and cursing his foe for the deceptive attack. Kaarn was not finished. Again and again, in complete and utter silence, Kaarn stabbed the rival vrool with all of his might. As Xuxus weakened, Kaarn’s tentacles began to rip and rend and tear, tugging at limbs until flesh gave way and limbs were pulled free of Xuxus’ massive bulk.

Xuxusragruxs died in a cloud of gore, five of his limbs torn from his body and the musculature of his head caved in, coral shard jammed deep into the grey-matter of the once-powerful cephalopod.

A roar of triumph echoed from Kaarn’s beak, altering the artistic design of the sand below as the sounds of crashing waves breaking rocks, smashing reefs, and blood gushing into water spoke his feelings more truthfully than any surface words. He voraciously dug into the flesh of his enemy before stopping, looking down at his foe with surprising awareness. This was not some simple whelpling vrool slain in a petty act of carnivorism. Oh no, here lay the single greatest rival to the greatness of Kaarn that so far graced his presence. That elation was like nothing Kaarn had ever felt before. His minds were flush with the drug-like intoxication of such a grizzly success and to simply dig into his foe like an animal seemed to insult his own victory. Thoughts roiled in his head before the closest thing to a horrifyingly evil smile crossed the muscles of what amounted to Kaarn’s face. His tentacles ripped into one of the gaping wounds placed on the body of his foe, finding the thumping heart of his enemy, and tearing it free.

“Thank you most graciously, Xuxusragruxs,” taunted Kaarn, mocking his enemy with the same insult Xuxus had offered him, “For this most generous of offerings. You strengthen me with your pitiful failure.”

Once the considerable morsel of Xuxus’ heart was in his gullet, warm and filling, Kaarn left the corpse and set about butchering the whale for the rest of his meal. Though a portion of his brain felt that leaving the corpse was a waste, Kaarn knew better; such a foe deserved to rot and feed the fish. His battle with Xuxus was not one of survival or necessity, but one of strength and dominion. If he wished to eat Xuxus like a common predator, he would have; that battle had been personal. Instead, the whale flesh would be his prize and Xuxusragruxs would be remembered for far more. One tentacle plucking the thickly built beak from Xuxus’ face, Kaarn swam back into the darkness towards his lair with his prizes.

In the deep pockets of coral just outside of his senses, something stirred.


Kaarn rumbled pleasantly as he snuggled into the soft bed of sand he had gathered for the sea-cave that served as his lair, each grand tentacle-selected for smoothness and swallowed up to be regurgitated later. The soft cooing noises, reminiscent of gentle gurgling of water flowing out of a tide-pool, amounted to sweet-nothings sung by Kaarn to himself. It had been nearly a day since he had won his battle with his enemy, so-named Xuxusragruxs, and still Kaarn felt elated for the accomplishment. What remained of the whale carcass Kaarn had dragged back lay spread about his lair as morbid trophies, bones and bits of interesting grissle that he simply couldn’t part with. For hours Kaarn had simply basked in the feelings that filled his many minds, wriggling enticingly as one tentacle absently played with the beak he had torn from his foe. Xuxusragruxs, Kaarn assured the disembodied beak, would be a name remembered.

Movement at the mouth of his cave caught Kaarn’s attention and the predatory mass of the vrool rapidly filled up the space, unfortunately pushing aside sand in all directions; work for later, one sub-mind let out as the rest prepared for battle. Much to Kaarn’s surprise, a small vrool wormed its way into his view like a fool. How could such a tiny and pathetic whelpling spawn, likely unfed on his own clutch, challenge him in his own home? Just as Kaarn was about to dash forward to consume the little thing like the morsel it was, its words brought him to a standstill.

“Oh! Oh! Mighty Kaarnesxaturl! Ooh, I fall weakly before thee! You are vast and I am small and weak; I know you to be my better!”

Kaarn looked on in an odd mix of horror, surprise, and even a little shame at the prostration of the other vrool. It was true, of course; Kaarn WAS mighty, vast, and this vrool’s better. Nevertheless, the entire thing was practically embarrassing and that was an emotion Kaarn had never experienced before. Tentacle-minds prepped for combat moments ago plinked back thoughts of confusion, some even moving forward to test and see if this really was a vrool. They thought better, noticing the sizeable beak even on the smaller form of this new interloper; a bite was still a bite, after all. Kaarn simply stared, all eyes on the little one, as the silence of the cave became deafening.

“I am Lurzoolsxagrun, powerful Kaarnesxaturl, and I watched your titanic battle with the pretender-weakling Xuxusragruxs! Your victory was most gratifying; I knew from the beginning it would be yours. He was weak and you were stron-”

Lurz was interrupted by a crack to the head as Kaarn set about beating the little thing vigorously. His tentacles were balled into tight bludgeons as the considerably larger vrool bashed away at the little sycophant. For the moment Lurz took it, simply bundling himself up in his own tentacles and allow the beating to continue. Finally, as Kaarn’s desire to keep beating the pathetic thing waned, Lurz simply opened himself up for the last strike in supplication. It was even worse than before.

“He was strong and you were weak, Lurzoolsxagrun,” came Kaarn’s surprised, nearly melancholic response, “Do not speak of Xuxus poorly again.”

The awareness struck Kaarn in that moment of what, exactly, that sentence implied. Again. Again implied that Kaarn had full intention to spare the little cretin in his lair and the thought confused multiple minds. For a long moment Kaarn ruminated on the thought, falling into his own mind while Lurz babbled away, unaware of the larger vrool ignoring him. One single tentacle pinged a thought that brought realization to Kaarn’s mind.

A vrool was not one tentacle, but many, beneath one mind.

Here was Lurz, bowing before him, supplicating himself before his betters, for a reason. Kaarn had never needed to consider such a position himself, for he had always been large. His victories came easily, except for the most recent one, and he could now very proudly state he had not met a vrool he could not slay. For Lurz, this simply was not the case. He likely fed himself on small fish he could snatch easily or shellfish plucked from rocks. To him, Kaarn was practically a different species. A bellowed order stopped Lurz’ incessant chattering in an instant.

“Explain yourself, Lurzoolsxagrun. What do you want?”

Lurz seemed to practically grin, fatty little face pulling inwards as his beak puckered in excitement; this was no doubt farther than he had expected to get. Although nearly three meters in length, his was unquestionably a small vrool and it certainly wasn’t common for vrool to interact anywhere near amicably. Lurz flattened himself on the ground of Kaarn’s lair, head pushing upwards to speak towards the huge beast that had allowed him entry. Before him one tentacle pushed a fleshy-pod, one of the nutrient rich sacs that grew from certain species of sea-cucumber; a delicacy, to be sure. The gift was shoved through the sand with one tentacle before Kaarn, clearly a bribe.

“I would live in your shadow, mighty Kaarnesxaturl. I would be your eyes and ears and tongue, o’ vast one, and mind your territory in your absence. I would ward away those I can and come to you with warning of their presence when I cannot. All I ask in return is freedom to feast on a share of your territory, decided by you, and a lair to call my own close to yours. For safety, of course.”

One of Kaarn’s free tentacles grasped up the pop and lifted it to his beak, tearing into it hungrily as another stroked lazily at his bell in thought. A fascinating proposal and one Kaarn would’ve never considered. Though he knew Lurz would grow fat on what Kaarn could offer, there was something to be said for having an extra three pairs of eyes. For instance, Xuxus would never have escaped his awareness if another vrool was patrolling for him. He could sacrifice a few measly portions of his meals to Lurz or otherwise allow the weaker vrool to gorge himself on those creatures Kaarn was less inclined to hunt due to their size. It seemed, as his minds each popped back with approval, like quite a deal. Particularly when Kaarn knew he could simply kill Lurz with little effort, if ever the creature so much as looked at him the wrong way.

“Then you will serve as my chosen-vrool, Lurzoolsxagrun. You may select one cave for yourself, Lurz, and call my crops and territories as your climbs; for now. You will give me your fealty, this you will swear on your life, on pain of death. We shall make this pact . . . on Klaarungraxus, in the proper tongue. Do you swear it?”

“I do, mighty Kaarnesxaturl, I do swear it upon Him who spawned us all.”

The words rippled and shook the cave, the power behind those words something to be said. Kaarn pulled up his shard of coral, another prize taken to remind him of his victory, and dragged the sharp edge against an out thrust tentacle of the supplicant vrool. With that the blood flowed like a river, remaining together rather than spreading free, and sank into the soil before disappearing. It would be the first of many. From that one action, many more would follow; a droplet that would form a tidal wave.

In that moment, the first Vrool Tyrant was forged.


Klaarungraxus


The Old Growth Below pondered on its circumstances as it wallowed deep beneath the waves.

A deep pit had been formed by his movements, a slump in the seafloor that served as residence to Klaar after all his numerous works had been completed. In many was it was reminiscent of the pool the tentacled god had once resided in and to the many-minds of Klaarungraxus it felt like home. After the creation of the surface reefs Klaar had retreated to the sump and had simply been content to observe. His vast size had grown to almost mind numbing proportions and now his tentacles reached far and wide like the roots of the Tree of Genesis. Across the ocean Klaar could throw his vision, words in the Deepspeak letting him feel as the waters did on the opposite side of the world from him. His observations, of course, gave him a great deal of insight.

What he had learned had shocked him. As the surface world became populated through the works of the other primordial deities of Galbar, nature was ever more pressured. The awareness inflicted on Klaar of this growth gave even his labyrinthine mind some pause. Consequences upon consequences in a tight, intricate web would no doubt arise from their works. This realization held Klaar in a trance that seemed impenetrable even to his most wanton of moods.

”Where, I wonder, doth our tides take us. The world shakes, reality quakes, and all the Gods hath continued. A lonely and quarrelsome affair . . .”

As Klaar’s intonations echoed through the oceans, causing all manner of weather anomalies across the seas closest to him, his mind's eye turned inwards to himself. Alien and unknowable, the prophecies that were spun by the skein of Klaar’s unconscious pooled like melted wax to be peered into and observed. Dream upon dream twisted on one another showing the numerous potentials the complex mathematics of Klaar’s multilayered visions prophesized. There, before his very eyes, was one potential among many; a world that could not coexist with the gods. Klaar pondered the meaning of this fell augury with his overmind while the slaved minds of his tentacles lashed at the concept, tearing it apart and twisting it to get at the meat of the matter at hand. Surely, there must be a reason?

Irrespective of such a catalyst, it was clear to Klaarungraxus that the possibility of his ejection from Galbar was not a preposterous one. Indeed, the likelihood of such an event seemed ever increasing. The number of the gods, for one, was seemingly unbound by any limitation and their willingness to act upon the world and increase its complexity was vast. Even the very lifeblood of reality from which he had been spawned seemed more active, acting in utterly erratic ways and determining to tread paths that opposed or even contradicted others. It did not take thirteen minds to determine that this was not a sustainable path.

”Twelve vast and boundless limbs of flesh and blood lay dead in the deep . . . Near them, on the bottom, half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose six-pointed gaze, shattered beak, and glare of dark designs, tell of darker portents still . . . My name is Klaarungraxus, God of Deeps; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair . . . Nothing beside remains. Round and decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.”

The poem of depthless contents rolled from Klaarungraxus’ mind as a flowing of icey cold waters from the poles. Above, in the world where other gods reside, a storm formed of monumental proportion that crashed and thundered. Klaar’s foul mood rocked the surface, an awareness of his inevitable irrelevance. In his mind Klaar raged at this possibility, at the loss of what he believed was rightfully his, but in his heart he knew the truth. In the end he would be cast down and what would there be left of him on this world?

”Painfully little . . .”

Klaar’s thoughts moved to the creatures of his creation; a legacy, in a sense, but one that was too formless. Which of them, Klaar considered morosely, could remember their creator or praise his works? A dread realization indeed. Though they lived and died by his designs and to them he provided a world of incalculable possibility, no Deep Drake nor Shorecattle would ever look to the sea and see he who had created them. They would feast on flesh or graze on grasses and continue their lives, unabated by his ridiculous preening.

”How disappointing . . .”

Forward-Right Down-One wriggled in contemplation and then blessed recognition. There was, of course, a solution to this problem! Though the overmind that was Klaar tempered his expectations of his proposed concept the other tentacle-minds shared thoughts on the matter, twisting and pulling and molding the idea before sending it up the chain to the central thought. Klaar marvelled at the concept. He would take what he made and grant it more; a greater gift still than any he had lavished upon them.

A Sapient mind.

Klaar’s overmind immediately invented the image of the Vrool, spawning in that vast chasm that was his thoughts one such lifeform for consideration. A powerful race indeed, built to last and formed from his very own flesh and blood. It was as if from the very start, when he looked upon them with disappointment, that they had been designed for just such an ascension. Their brains were large, though devoted to numerous tasks, and they had considerable space in which to grow. Though they were primarily solitary, this had little bearing on what Klaar was interested in; they would be as he. With little effort he could grant them minds as his, albeit limited in capacity, but each one would become ever more a mirror of their creator than before. A single mind with numerous additions granting them thoughts swift as a zephyrous tide. Then they could look upon the works of their great progenitor and give thanks, appreciate as he did what was left for them upon his eventual passing!

In that instant the Vrool of the oceans vast stopped in their flight through their environs and halted, floating in the watery void. Eyes across the oceans glowed with internal illumination, bright and colorful just as those of Klaarungraxus. Back in the sump in which Klaar remained prone, tentacles wriggled and beak clashed. One by one the lights fled from the eyes of those great predators, leaving behind in them an unquenched awareness demanding to be filled. For the first time their senses led to something more than a deep hunger, their mind’s eye filled with alien thoughts. They were left to their own devices, single minded as they were, and Klaar had no intention or desire to hold their tentacles through this growth; their lives would be hard and harsh and if he was to one day pass on then he knew he need wean his offspring early.

Klaar left in the newly sapient Vrool several gifts, bound to them by instinct alone. Though by no means masters, each was granted an understanding of the Deepspeak their God communicated in, the Holy Vonu that would be their language. Though they would need learn the depths of the language to truly speak as he, it would bring them on the beginnings of their journey. Next, he seated them with a deep and all encompassing curiosity; they would see the world as he had, desire it to be theirs as him, and know no end to their cravings for awareness. Finally, he granted them the greatest gift of all; knowledge of Him who was their creator, so they might know from whence they came and to whom they were going. Though they were simple now, cold-blooded and perhaps slow-witted, they would be his creations most capable of recognizing him.

He was aware, in some capacity, of his new creations’ limitations. By nature of their carnivorous diet and the numerous, anti-social qualities built into their species by design they would never create great cities or magnificent civilizations on their own. Several tentacles theorized that their biology would create in them an innately malign desire towards all life, even their own, but Klaar paid them little heed. It was no business of his, after all, that they should fight one another; surely that was how nature was already, so in the Vrool there should be no difference. They would be fractious, fratricidal, and belligerent by nature and Klaar was most thoroughly pleased. The strong and the smart would certainly rise above the rest, after all.

At the bottom of his sump Klaar set to work creating one last thing for his people to be. A simple basalt altar, black and oily in appearance, was cut into a plain rectangular prism and set at the bottom of the sump. In it Klaar dumped much of his attentions, his power, and from there whispers of Deepspeak played at the ears of the world. When his people were ready this would be their first altar, the place by which they could speak to the oceans as he did and perhaps speak unto him. Perhaps, even, it could be the beginnings of something far greater. Upon it he left the Vonu word Ku, denoting its position as the first place that mattered.

A good start.




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