Waters are the second smallest breed of aershaa, as well as the most varied, coming in 4 different sub-types with remarkably different cultures between them. Ranging from the passive, Airborn Listhrean Waters to the scaled, cold-sea-loving Aquatic Ocean Waters, there is no single breed more diverse than that of Water aershaa. Furless, small, but thick-skinned and well-muscled, Waters are not to be underestimated as the "weakest" of aerkind. This can be the largest mistake another being could make, particularly facing the temper of one more prone to fighting.
Physique & Appearance
Waters are small in stature, but well muscled. The aquatic varieties are built as powerful swimmers, wings able to arch forward and make powerful, sweeping strokes like gigantic webbed arms. It is for this reason that they are so small and lightweight: a smaller size and leaner frame makes for less resistance beneath the water, allowing them to be far more nimble and quick as they dart after prey, or simply play beneath the waves. Large barrel chests support massive, powerful lungs, able to hold their breath for long periods of time - up to a half hour - before taking a breath at the surface and diving again.
The Airborn variety is of the same height as the Aquatic, but has a much greater wingspan, wings built instead for long-distance flight, including tailfins positioned on the sides of their legs. This is acchieved only through shifting by the Korogo that dwell in Listhrea, or by being born to at least one parent with this shifted trait.
The Standard Aquatic and Airborn varieties of Waters are adapted to warmer climates, unable to handle the winters of the northern and central regions of the world. Listhrea never reaches temperatures below 60, but the quatic Waters of the rivers migrate come mid-fall, traveling the rivers to the south.
Only the Aquatic Ocean Waters can take the colder temperatures of the world, well-adapted to the icy temperatures of the sea. Fat deposits and a thicker hide allow them to survive where other subtypes of Water cannot, also allowing them to interact with the Ice aershaa, whom in the past had never been seen by Water kind. However, they still cannot exist in the barren snowy landscapes of the north, as their furless hides simply won't allow it.
Coloration can vary slightly from the normal within reason, but not greatly. Below are basic examples of the color allowed for different sections of the aershaa - these can be varied in saturation and lightness.
Water coloration depends on subtype - Ocean Waters are found in deeper, darker cool colors. Airborn Waters are found in much lighter, brighter colors. Aquatic River Waters are found in dark varieties of more natural tones, such as browns, tans, greens, and greys. White Waters are extremely rare. There are no red or black Waters, unless impure.
Water tailblades, like many tailblades, are highly flexible, as well as being nearly indestructible. Their positioning and shape serves like the dorsal fin on a fish, aiding steering within the water. Incredibly long and lightweight, they're easily maneuvered around their flanks and spun to the front of them for use in hunting and combat, as well as a means of defense for larger predators in the water. Attacking a Water from above can prove deadly, as the sharp edge of the blade runs along the top of the "fin" structure, and not on the smaller amount of the bottom after the tip of the tail.
Flight / Swimming
The only flighted Waters are those on Listhrea who have been permanently bioshifted by the Korogo, or those who have been born to bioshifted parents, in order to give them the ability to fly from island to island. It is good to note that bioshifting only began as a practice 7 years ago, and so no Water who is naturally flighted can be older than 6 cycles. Airborn Waters have enormous wings with boned-membranes along the outside of their legs that function as a pseudo-tailfin. Their legs are held together in flight, allowing greater distance and lifting power, as well as the ability to glide. However, flighted Waters are unable to swim easily underwater, sticking mainly to paddling on the surface of the Listhrean ponds.
As previously mentioned, an ordinary Water is a powerful swimmer, able to reach underwater speeds of 30mph. A skilled Water can launch itself from beneath the waves to snatch a waterbird from far above the surface, as far as 10 feet, and drag it under in a single try. A wingless Water, however, though a decent swimmer and able to dive, can neither last as long beneath the water, nor can they swim with the same amount of speed. What wingless Waters have that other Waters lack is land speed - powerful limbs and a streamlined frame that allow them to run as fast on land as their winged counterparts can swim underwater. Those who do not spend their lives in the water, even with wings, are able to use those muscles for land speed right from the get-go. It's a matter of adaptation, as Water bodies are naturally built for speed and agility. If the muscles go unused on land, they will fall weak, which is the typical case of a water-loving Water, but it does not mean the potential to gain strength and speed on land is not there.
Waters have what is commonly called illuminated eyes, an eye structure native to Dreyrull that makes the eyes appear pupiless. The bioluminescence within the core of the eye allows for sharper, brighter sight in dim, dark, and cloudy situations, making them particularly good at seeing underwater and at night. It varies from pack to pack whether Waters are Diurnal or Nocturnal. As avid followers of S'feena, the sun goddess, they prefer to be out in the daylight to receive her blessing. Their day sight isn't terrible, either, and underwater sight functions better during the day, so it all depends on their local lifestyle. A wingless Water with no ties to S'feena, for example, is more likely to be active at night.
The problem with illuminated eyes is a defect that can commonly occur within them. If they are born with too much bioluminescence within the reflective core of the eye, it can render them blind, or wash out the majority of their vision, like always trying to look through the glare of the morning sun.
For a Water, it is more common to have an oddity than it is to not. Perhaps this makes it strange that they would still be called "oddities," but earlier in Water history, few Waters had such features.
Waters can have two particular defects that come in many shapes, quantities, and forms: scales and fins. The scale oddity only occurs on Ocean Waters as a result of the high salt content and cold temperatures of ocean water. They are tough, calloused "flakes" of skin, smoothed by swimming in the strong currents of the ocean, that overlap and take on a scale-like appearance. The unfortunate thing about scales is that they can become quite dry, itchy, and irritated when on land. As all Waters must sleep on land, this typically means a scaled Water will den in a tidepool.
It is unknown what caused the fin oddity to appear in Waters. Waters themselves believe it to be a gift from S'feena or Listhrea to give them yet greater strength and speed in the lakes and seas. The less religious types believe that their ancestors originally had fins, and they are simply making a comeback. Either way, fins can appear along the back, tail, top of the head, and limbs, often interfering with the growth of a tailblade, so not all finned Waters have blades. They are sturdily boned, able to be collapsed and raised with both emotional responses and however needed. For example, leg fins would need to be collapsed for the Water to be able to lay down.
When a Water crosses with a furred breed, it's a very slim chance that the offspring won't be furred. Furlessnes is a passive trait, but will often shorten the length of fur on the offspring if crossed with a long-furred breed.
Flighted wings are also dominant, and so the flightless Water wings intended for swimming do not often pass on to Mizpup offspring.
There is a Dreyrullian saying, "You can only tell a Water by the hooks in its tail," which can be interpreted both as fishing hooks and broken kinks. It means there's no real way to judge how a Water is going to act. Listhrean Waters are notoriously peaceful and fun-loving, but take a Water from Listhrea, and you could get anything. Rivers tend to be proud, powerful, and sometimes violent, but also daring, playful, and adventurous. Ocean Waters are stereotypically seen as brooding and serious, but they have been seen as playful and peaceful as a Listhrean. Whatever life throws at a Water is what they will become in the end.
Though able to hold their breath for extensive periods of time, Waters do not live strictly in the water as fish do. They den near bodies of water, typically not more than half a mile from the shoreline of a river, lake, or ocean, building dens of mud, moss, and sea/lake/riverweed. However, the majority of their days are spent in or beside the water.
Culture & Religion
It is hard to simply define a single culture for Waters, as there are many that have branched out over the years. For now, we will cover some old basics.
Airborn Waters have always believed in the love and grace of the goddess Listhrea. Listhrea's great tail directs the direction of all rivers, and Listhrea is the very essence of its waters. Her home was once within Lake Listhrea, before the Sundering caused it to collapse into the ocean. They believe that it is the great goddess who lifted the isles of Listhrea and its surrounding land onto her back and into the sky (as gods have no need of wings for flight), and that it is she who carried them to this day. The true reason Listhrea lifted over a mile off the drey, and the phenomena that keeps it afloat, is still unknown, although many believe it has to do with the concentration of levistone in the area.
Listhreans are all about preservation of the eternal cycle, much like Draians are. The spirits of their kills are thanked, even if silently, and thanked again collectively at the Festival of the Lost that all Listhrean inhabitants celebrate collectively in the autumn. Nothing is destroyed that won't be used, and even the grass crushed beneath their paws remains in their thoughts and energy. This is also an important part of their magic usage, which utilizes the moisture in all living things.
Aquatic Waters are typically much less ritualistic and spiritual. Many believe in S'feena, but it is moreso a casual, passing feeling of peace and thanks, rather than something to be actively celebrated. They do believe that S'feena can grant those who are worthy greater strength in times of need, but it is a combination of change and personal perseverance that grants this gift from the goddess.
Aquatic Ocean Waters are still new to the world, the oceans only having calmed enough to dwell within in the Sundering 7 years ago. It is this that keeps them from having a set culture, beliefs and rituals instead varying from pack to pack. It is common for them to believe that Time, the universal entity/guardian of death in Dreyrull, dwells deep within the seas.
It is the Mozu that help Listhrean Waters perform their ritual, building levistone rafts for the body to lay on and gently glide off the great floating isles into S'feena's arms. Their funerals are always facing west at sunset, so that they may drift directly into S'feena's embrace.
Ocean & River Ritual
Ocean and River Waters will weave a raft of seaweed and / or timber to carry the body out to sea, where S'feena's great servants of death dwell to carry them to run with her in the afterlife. It is the duty of the closest aershaa to their soul, be it a mate, a bonded, or a companion, to construct the raft, where family or a pack may assist in gathering the material. Mournful howlsong that rises and falls like the waves will be sung until they have drifted from sight.
Waters are very particular about their choice in mates, more so than most, and so typically only breed with their own kind. The only breed nearly as commonly chosen as Waters is the Fire, as Firewater and Waterfire offspring tend to be strong, powerful, and healthy, as well as being able to adapt to a wider range of climates.
Common mates: Water, Fire
Incompatible with: Ice (excluding Ocean Waters), Barren
Tame Waters are prized both as compact household companions and fantastic runners. Waters are the racing airla of the sporting world, competing both in airla-only events and against breeds of dog. Wingless Waters are very commonly captured from the wild, fetching a hefty amount in the trading market. As for Waters as household companions, both pure Waters and the Firewater mixes are valued as easily cared-for housepets. Their size and gentle nature makes them ideal as family companions, and the furlessness of pure Waters makes them hypoallergenic in most circumstances, for those with more sensitive immune systems.
Though not terribly often, Waters are found in showla (show-airla) circles, particularly those of the bioluminescent variety. Bright coloration and glossy skin makes them crowd-pleasers in many circles, and occasionally a nicely patterned set of wings adds to their beauty. In most cases, wingless are preferred, making winged Waters immensely rare in nearly all divisions of the world of tame aershaa.
Only Listhrean Waters have a particular naming system, known to name their children in a descriptive tribal manner. They can be named for coloration, for personality, for talent, or for heritage, and their names are known to change as they change.
**OOC: Tribal names consist of a verb and a noun, and come in two formats: Descriptive long, and Combined Short. These are examples of names expressing the same ideas in the two different formats.
Descriptive long names:
Sings with the Mountain Storm
Runs Like Wildfire
Soaring in the Waters
Combined short names (in 3 different combined techniques):
The possibilities are nearly limitless, and are a good way to set a central mood for your character. **
Growth & Aging
Water aershaa grow at the standard aershaa rate, covered here.
Waters, as Water Elementalists, manipulate the moisture within all living things and any non-stagnant water in the world. The average Water typically only learns to manipulate pools, rivers, and fresh puddles to their advantage, able to concentrate it, shape it, and move it at astounding speeds, making the use of it widely varied. Water formed to a sharp point is as deadly as any weapon; dense water formed in a sphere is an effective shield; water separated into thousands of small pieces and set forward at rapid speed can be deadly, it's virtually unlimited. But a well-trained, older Water can use moisture in anything, particularly within plants, able to control their movement and growth. A very rare trait that can only be learned by another master is Lifewater Mastery, or as it's sometimes called to frighten the young, Bloodweaving. This is the most dangerous and frowned upon means of weilding water magic, as the mage manipulates the fluids within a living being to bend their will, and sometimes, their minds.
Ostrydeo 23:07, August 28, 2012 (UTC)
Minor Edits: Candle at 17:05, Aug 6, 2013 (UTC)