South of Bevia there is a stretch of sea into which ships cannot safely sail. Covering many nautical kilometres north-south from Bevia to Tossec and almost twice as many west-east from Aergyre to Yavhore, this stretch of the world’s ocean has never been explored or mapped by any sailors in any of the planet’s inhabited continents. Any ship that sails into this region either turns back very quickly or does not return at all, and rumours of sea monsters pale in comparison to stories of titanic storms and whirlpools that destroy ships near-instantly. As always with dangerous tales, there is the assumption that someone must have survived going into this region and returned, otherwise how would such stories have spread, but certainly a sailor would be hard pressed to find someone who could truthfully say they had sailed into the Storm Seas and returned intact.
The Storm Seas conceal the continent of Djyekkan from the rest of the world and are the reason why it has never been properly discovered by anyone who doesn’t live there, and are also why the people of Djyekkan do not realize there are several continents full of people inhabiting the rest of their planet. Even the most accurate maps of the world do not include Djyekkan simply because the Storm Seas are so impenetrable, so it has never even occurred to anyone that there might be an inhabited landmass in that region. Because the seas around their continent are so difficult to sail safely, none of Djyekkan’s cultures have a strong maritime element aside from local fishing, because any ships that venture too far out from the main landmass of the continent simply do not return.
Even under the ocean the region of the Storm Seas is considered dangerous. It is an unknown area known by different names such as the Dark Waters or the Kraken Field, and if any merpeople live there, they haven’t been in contact with any of the surrounding imperia. This area was discovered by merpeople some two thousand years ago, when during a geological survey a group of geologists from the Imperium of Cloinda Orik determined that based on all their measurements and instruments, there had to be a landmass in this region, which explained for them why nobody was aware of any merpeople living in the region—it was mostly land. An expeditionary team sent to confirm the findings, however, raised the ire of some local krakens, who began emerging from the Dark Waters and attacking all nearby imperia. The Kraken Incursions resulted in great loss of life for merpeople of all those imperia as well as for the kraken when they also attacked a nearby underwater dragon colony, which ignited a long-dormant conflict between the two species of apex predator.
Eventually peace accords were created with the kraken, who despite not having recognizable governments, clearly had some central organization and were clearly able to understand the merpeople’s desire for peace. The dragons were also convinced to retreat and all agreed to respect the boundaries of the Dark Seas and not explore them further. More distance measurements have been conducted since then and determined the rough shape of the landmass in the centre of the Dark Seas, but there were no serious attempts to penetrate the region since the Kraken Incursions until approximately twelve hundred years later, when, as part of reparations for their role in the Sea King’s tyranny over the seas, the kraken agreed to let some small numbers of geologists, seismologists and vulcanologists into the region to study its seismic activity, terrain and of course, the landmass in the centre of the Dark Seas.
These teams noted that the Dark Seas region experienced notably stronger water pressure than other areas of the sea, and that the local wildlife was considerably more dangerous, which they attributed to the presence of the kraken. There was deemed to be a slightly higher level of seismic activity than usual in the region, but not to a dangerous degree. Four dormant underwater volcanoes were found that might pose potential danger if they were to become active again, and the kraken were informed of this, though it is not clear what they did with this information. The Deepest were determined to be present in the area to the same degree as they are everywhere else, though if the kraken understood them as gods was unclear. Even up close it was impossible to confirm much about the landmass aside from the fact that it almost definitely was a landmass. The teams of researchers were obliged to leave the area after a short time and could not determine more, and no more has been learned about the Dark Seas since.
Above land, the Storm Seas have remained similarly inscrutable, despite advances in nautical technologies across Nova and especially in the Empire. Ships are still unable to safely traverse the region, though explorers in the Imperial Navy believe they’ve been able to penetrate farther than in previous generations thanks to advances in shipbuilding. Even so, however, they estimate it will be another hundred years at least before their ships will be able to fully map the region they call Osc Veqe, and many wonder if the effort is worth it. There is a not uncommon sailors’ belief across all seafaring cultures that the Storm Seas might in fact be hiding the Gated Land, but this is rarely taken seriously by anyone who doesn’t live their life on the ocean.
Greater attempts have been being made from inside Djyekkan to penetrate the storms, which they call the Great Dome, as well, because astronomers and mystics have long said the world is round and that there must be a great deal to it beyond just the continent of Djyekkan. Many foundational myths on Djyekkan talk about other lands and people living on them, and the land of Djyekkan being protected from those people. Though very few people take seriously the idea that there might be people living outside of the Great Dome, the possibility that there might be other lands out there is intriguing to Kajda explorers. Finding ways to break through the Great Dome has become something of a passion project for many researchers, though it’s not taken seriously enough as a pastime for anyone to seriously pursue it as their primary research, at least not without being made fun of.
The Storm Seas have been observed by the Escever on Nova’s moon for some time, and they have determined the phenomenon to be supranatural in some way. They have not found an explanation and it is outside of their mission statement to do so, so the question has been left to a station intern named Egnkant, who believes that the storms are somehow being caused by some form of energy manipulation that has its power source on the continent of Djyekkan somewhere and has likely been active for millennia. Egnkant does not believe that such a power source could work for so long without being maintained by someone, but has no current hypothesis as to who might be doing that maintenance.
Because there is known to be nothing in the Storm Seas, no serious attempts to break through them have ever been made except by the very curious and the very prideful. Most likely, unless something major changes in the Storm Seas’ composition or unless someone somehow realizes that there is something in there, figuring out how to get through them will not be a major priority for anyone in power for a good while.
From “The Definitive Atlas of the World, Vol. 1: Lands and Locations,” by Pascal Tiberius Naoton Quimbell Haeverine anNatalie, published in White Cape in DN 1997.
4 thoughts on “Friday Lore Post: The Storm Seas”
Krakens! What are krakens like? How big are they/can they get? Do they shapeshift? Can they interbreed with other sapient species? Do they have powers/magic unique to them? Will we be meeting any? Do they respond to the command, “Release the Kraken!”?
Krakens! They’re really very big, about twice the size of dragons when fully grown. They’re generally fairly aggressive and territorial, but they have been known to be negotiated with. They communicate telepathically both with each other and with other people to whom they choose to communicate, and live in large colonies. They aren’t known to be able to interbreed with other species, though very little is known about them and they do sometimes share territory with other large sea monsters like hydras, so it’s not impossible.
Merpeople have mostly observed them to be very large and not much else, but some type of magical ability does seem to be present in them; they have an intrinsic connection to deep powers in the ocean that nobody really understands, and they’ve been hypothesized to be able to control currents and seismic activity.
They’ve never demonstrated shapeshifting ability that anyone knows of, but we’ll see if that remains true once we’ve actually met some up close. I’m sure we will someday. And as for whether they obey commands, I guess we’ll have to find out. 🙂
What do they look like? Your standard giant cephalopod? A sea serpent? A giant scaly humanoid-ish monster with tentacle arms? A horrific mishmash of oceanic biology, mixing crustaceans and ichthyoids and mollusks and god-knows-what-else together?
Do leviathans exist?
They come in different shapes, but the most common is “giant cephalopod” for sure. Some of them do have more humanoid arms and legs with mostly face tentacles, though. The tentacles are really the important part.
There are definitely sea monsters that we might call leviathans down there, yes! All manner of enormous monsters swim in Nova’s oceans. 🙂