Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tidewaters - Mushrooms and Snails

"...Small beings, hangers-on of a temporary type. Genetic dead-ends, small populations unable to hold their numbers, species lost and without advantageous situations. They are the limited, the dying species, the lost individuals from places we know not. At times it seems depressing, as if there were no real rooted places or peoples in the known world..."
—Prof. Triadesches Ballett

Mushrooms, taciturn fungus minds who came to be in the pumps and hydroponics of the Ship. They are new and young and not very outgoing as a species, tending mostly to their growths and crops, muttering when they speak if at all. They have a rather eminent concept of self, and think all other Mushrooms are themselves—more specifically, each believe they are all they encounter, and observe all others as reflections of themselves. This leads to very difficult diplomacy, as conversations go tremendously one-sided after a Mushroom starts picking up on a speaker's phrases and ideas.

As such, not much is known about Mushrooms, aside from their agricultural tendencies and extremely forceful punches and backhands, which seem to be derived from the only source of bone in their bodies. They are small, only three feet tall at the most, and seem to need only moisture for survival, rejecting all given food for anything other than fuel for their projects of fungus. Some have begun to associate them with the embodiment of resilient life aboard the Ship, walking representations of the possibility of survival in a place that is often hostile—others, merely mushrooms.

If they have culture, it is either purely internal, or somehow incomprehensible to other species, beyond the arabesque patterns of their food crops.

Brought aboard by a long-ago group of wealthy treasure-seekers, this sapient species of snail was found almost immediately in a servile role to their 'saviors', used as mobile drink tables and sources of light conversation. For the generations onward, sheer physical limitation has kept the Snails as such, with only their clear, charming voices being of much use in contest.

For the singing of a Snail is addictive, derived from the humming inside of their shells, reminiscent of unheard winds through rusted keyholes in tones that go above and below listening spectrum. It is a gift that demands ever more song until the Snail itself cannot hear anymore, and then still more. It is said this is lethal to all Bilgeborn, and will drive the latter to melancholy and madness if heard for too long. Affluent humans, however, continue to listen as they will.

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