~O~ Legend of the Deep Ones ~O~
Greetings; or as my people say, "curl of the wave crest." I am Ya'nathli'ctukan, High Priestess of the Esoteric Order of Dagon. I know our language is difficult for human tongues, so you may think of me as Ya'na. You may have heard of our race, whose name translates simply as 'Deep Ones' or 'Dwellers of the Deep'. We bear a sorry burden of false tales and misunderstandings, such that it might be better if you have not heard our name before, and know only the wilder, stranger myths. We are the sirens and mermaids and selkies of your stories, only much of the detail belongs firmly within fairytale. We don't have fish-tails in place of limbs, and we don't dress up in animal skins to change our shape. That happens naturally, and gradually, with age. As you will see from my photographs, I am quite young still, only a decade shy of a century. Our elders stay below the waves and would not permit a photographic record, for good reason. Even in this "twenty first" century of enlightenment and science, much prejudice would attach to our appearance as we 'grow towards the Deep'. Then why, you might ask, do I come to you at all? Simply put, I feel that it is time for us to enter into the public consciousness, and to set straight the more egregious rumours concerning our kind. The earth grows ever smaller as humanity expands, both in numbers and in technological achievement. It is inevitable that some day, our worlds will meet. I would like that meeting to be a smooth and peaceful transition rather than a sudden and fateful collision. Judge us, please, not by the fireside shadow-play of your melodramatic yarn-spinners, but as I present myself, on behalf of my people, in simple and, I hope elegant truth.
Here you see me, Staff of Office in hand, as I tread the sacred ground of an ancient and revered temple of our people. These ruins, once a mighty and graceful underwater complex, were cast up above the waves by successive volcanic activity, which rendered the region uninhabitable and forced my ancestors to flee to their current abode.
I stand upon a buttress and look out over the salty inlet of the sea, which eagerly attempts to reclaim that which the earth's beating heart has cast up out of its grasp. One day, the sea will prevail. She grinds as patiently and mercilessly as Time itself. To either side of the archway, you can see the robed Pilgrims, symbolic figures who represent the growth transition of our race from passable humans to... something else.
Here I have discovered an ancient altar, a place which brings mixed and weighty emotions. It is true that once, our kind did practise blood sacrifice to our gods; but those old ways are abhorrent to us now. We have advanced in moral reasoning just as you, our races intertwined in both genes and culture; for how many human religions once practised sacrificial murder, just as ours? Let us agree not to judge one another on the basis of our ancestors' mistakes. For me, this temple and this altar bring the same kind of fascination and rapport as it would to you to visit the ruined temples of the Incas or the Aztecs.
I pose beneath a broken, yet still beautiful 'rose' window that looks out onto another of the iconic Pilgrims, who decorate all our places of worship, guarding and guiding the faithful. Once this window gave onto an undersea landscape of waving corals and rainbow coloured fish, instead of the monotonous fecundity of dry land plant life. Yes yes, I know there is a skull by my feet, please do not be distracted by such archaeological details.
I leave the inner sanctum and return to the walls, where I stand a moment against the sky. The soft wind stirs my hair in the manner of the ocean currents which once threaded these cloisters. The ivy climbing the pillared blocks behind me is a poor mimic of the ocean flora of bygone days, which would have coloured the walls in a natural resplendence of every shape and hue, like living, fronded jewels.
A little pensive as I recall the lost beauty of this place, I turn to the camera, and to you. Am I really so ugly in your sight? I assure you that many of your race came willingly to intermarry and strengthen our bloodline. I do not say that history has not seen occasional kidnappings, or 'sacrificial' exchanges of human brides and grooms; but in the main, particularly here in our original homeland, the admixture of our kindreds was looked on with complicit reverence by both sides. Would that such days could come again. The humanity in our blood grows thin as we are forced to be ever more secretive in our ways, and though the Elders of our race are populous, they are also sterile in their age. We need our younger, more human 'dry-breathers' to keep us from eventual stagnation. For while we cannot die, excepting by violence, no race can survive without the rejuvenating principle and fresh perspectives of its children.
A fitting place to ponder on the cycles of life and death, I stand upon a bulwark overlooking the ocean as it seethes around an abutment of volcanic rock. What the earth pushes forth, the sea wears away, in an endless and harmonious dance. Beside me hang skulls upon a pedestal; not trophies, nor macabre warnings to would-be malefactors, but hallowed relics - the preserved bones of former priests and priestesses of my order, killed by tragic accident or in battle. The larger skull is of a most venerable Elder, probably so grown towards the Deep that he would find it hard to move around above the water. Some day I, too, will grow and change so that my skull, were it to be removed, would look like this. Some day I, too, will dive beneath the waves one final time, never to resurface; to spend the rest of my ageless existence in the gentle Deep, breathing water, the wind in sun-stippled leaves above my head but a fond and distant memory.
So, gentle reader, are you now reluctant or intrigued; horrified, or curious - both to know more, and to meet us - meet me! - in the living flesh? I hope I have illustrated our existence in a kinder light than hitherto has been the case. Please forgive my skimming over the details of our racial ageing process, as while quite natural, our Elders could be a little startling to the newly enlightened. Nothing is secret, or to be withheld, but for the sake of harmonious adjustment, let us introduce them once better acquainted. I bid you safe partings, and may the currents bear you to prosperity!
~O~ Credits ~O~
Location: Lost World - truly the most beautiful sim I've visited yet, there is always some extra detail to discover and the builds and textures are peerless; I could live here!
Windlight: Places Abracadabra2
Hair: Griddie 'Oy' in Lime - this incredible hair is in constant movement, lovely for photos
Skin & Eyes: Skinthesis 'True Mermaid' avatar - *sold currently for L$10*
(full avatar includes shape (male & female), fins and tribal/fishing outfit, as pictured)
Outfit: Falln Kimono ~ Lime Dragonflies
ni.ju tintable claws
Pixel Puss clawed feet
Schadenfreude Mer-elf ears (not that you can see them under all that hair!)
I stumbled across the avatars while browsing other bloggers' favourites; I am indebted to βloomy Miles for her awesome picture, for the purchase heads-up, and for the location; and to MoonFallon for favouriting it in the first place. I only used the skin and eyes - although I did mod my face shape in line with the original avatar, to get that 'fishy' feel of large eyes and lips with receding nose and chin. I hope I still managed to keep her cute ;) The original avatars are awesomely cool, but I also wanted to look more traditionally pretty - partly just to kick over the old 'monsters are ugly' cliche and partly because Ya'na is dressed up to the nines in her religious robes and regalia. The figures in βloomy's post are probably every-day swamp hunters in their practical work gear. For the inquisitive, Ya'na's race is based on the early 20th century horror stories by H.P. Lovecraft and if you really want a peek at how the elder Deep Ones turn out after their slow transformation, check out my Shuttle Grey post. You can see why she's being coy ;)
|Close detail of ornamentation|
Centre: Tekeli-li Star Spawn Loremaster staff (retinted, has animated eyeball)
Right top to bottom: Skinthesis True Mermaid fish hook piercing; bewildebeest Booty Ring.
The detail in this ring is astonishing but sadly, I realised that it's so tiny, you don't really notice it unless you zoom up close - and on a moving target, with the annoying tendency of the camera to move THROUGH prims (and avatars!) when you get close, I doubt anyone is going to go to the effort required. Still, it's beautiful and I love it ^.^
Just one more photo!
|Windlight: Orac - Drawing underground comic|