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  1. December 2019 Dutemps Tower I AM GOING UNDER THE SEA. I WILL BRING YOU A FISH. Aquaria considered what else to say, then added HAVE FUN AT THE ART GALLERY! It was only a day trip out to the art museum with the glass with her other friend, but Jessie had been looking forward to it and that was good. She didn't want to spoil her good time, so she added a note on the refrigerator that said CALL HELP IF I AM NOT BACK SOON. With her job done, Aquaria headed to the closet where she kept her armor. She climbed inside and throbbed with satisfaction as the space-metal closed around her, the warm liquid that emerged from every crevice inside immensely more satisfying than the cold, dry air of their apartment. She and Jessie had special windows that actually opened, something Eve had said was the "superhero" model and because sometimes the claustrophobia in this little dry space was terrifying. With her armor on, she hung her trident over her back and began climbing the sides of the building, up towards the castle. Was anyone home today? She certainly hoped so. December 2019 "Would Heroditus Stylianos please report to the headmaster's office? He is being picked up." The rather odd PA announcement seemed to make Heroditus' art teacher very worried, and right in the middle of watercolors no less. Heroditus had never actually heard that particular phrase said over the intercom before, at least not when it came to him. "Oh dear, oh dear, well, ah, Mr.Stylianos, we'll take care of everything," said Ms. Zinzendorf. She walked him to the door, a sympathetic expression on her face. "Don't worry about a thing."
  2. Down below The argument from below awoke Heroditus, his parents' voices echoing up from the atrium of their house to his second-floor bedroom window. "No, he's too young! You shouldn't take him to a scene of such...carnage!" "He is my right hand, and he needs to know the nature of our foes! Especially with him about to go Above!" The third voice wasn't immediately familiar, and spoke more quietly than either. "Whether you bring the boy or not, we need to go quickly before the spoor is lost. I trust you, Stylianos, and if you trust your son's discretion, that's all the word I need." Peering out his window, Heroditus could make out quite the crowd down below. His mother, his father, and a figure in a general's armor he thought he recognized were standing in the courtyard around the back of a high-speed watercraft that looked to be of military make. The general was accompanied by several soldiers, all of whom were still inside the craft proper. There was enough room for more inside.
  3. Disclaimer: the author is one of those liberal-minded academics interested in defending an oppressed people, sometimes to the disservice of their own objectivity. Let's start with what the Freedom City book tells us about Deep Ones. Deep Ones are Atlanteans corrupted by interbreeding with the Serpent People, as well as the influence of the Serpent Scepter. What does it mean to be "corrupted by interbreeding"? When people talk that way about humans; we know what they mean, and we recoil from it. Deep Ones carry the blood of their Father Dagon and their Mother Hydra, the mighty gods that in the days of Lost Lemuria reached up from the depths Below and reshaped them in their image. This is a shameful thing in our history books because the history books were written by the people who kept the ability to write; whose civilization weathered the great Cataclysm that destroyed Lost Lemuria They have hairless, green, scaly skin, clawed hands and feet, entirely black eyes (with no iris or pupil visible), pointed ears, and sharp teeth. Their scales provide Deep Ones with some natural armor, and their eyes are adapted to see even in the blackest ocean depths, but they deal poorly with light as bright as daylight on the surface. This is a common look for many Deep Ones, especially the ones that live down in the tropics or up along the eastern coast of North America - but the Children of Father Dagon and Mother Hydra wear the shape of their home waters. Arctic Deep Ones have the fat bodies of seals and move as slowly as a Greenland shark; riverine Deep Ones could almost pass for a green-skinned human. Not that there are many of the latter left. Their skins (labeled incorrectly) are in the British Museum - and in the Royal Museum in Atlantis (labeled correctly). The ruins of Lemuria lie at the bottom of the Pacific, largely undisturbed, though occasionally visited by scavengers (human and otherwise) looking for ancient artifacts and secrets left behind by the Serpent Empire. Some scattered tribes of Deep Ones can be found there, usually worshipping some sunken idol or ruin. When humans worship at long-neglected churches, or pray in shrines destroyed by fire, we admire their piety and their commitment to their faith. Why don't we do the same for the sons and daughters of Dagon and Hydra? The truth, as it ever is, is complicated. - Let's move now to legend and story. Deep Ones eat people. This has happened. Deep Ones are endocannibalistic - they eat the bodies of their dead in homage to the maw of Dagon and Hydra, absorbing the power of those they've lost as a way of keeping their souls alive. A Deep One has never truly died if someone who has eaten their flesh lives; and so in some of the great cyclopean cities Below the chain of being goes on to the days of Lost Lemuria. (The Deep One word for Lemuria literally is Lost Lemuria in the dialect of Lemuria before the Fall.) Deep Ones are also exocannibalistic. They eat the bodies of fallen foes and feed them to their young; the better to honor a worthy enemy and to gain some of that power for themselves and for their kin. A Deep One might do things to the body of a Surfacer that would horrify said Surfacer but it's nothing they wouldn't want done for themselves in the same circumstances. There is another reality to Deep Ones. They are starving. They have been starving for a long time. Surfacer ships have drained their hunting grounds dry and pumped poisons in their waters; the pitiless mercy of Atlantis awaits if they venture out from the deep open oceans and rocky shoals where they have been forced by circumstance and centuries of unending warfare. If a tribe of Deep Ones should swarm a shipwreck or a crashed plane, hooting with a terrible cheerfulness as they bare their fangs, they are enemies to be defeated who will kill and eat what they can but they are doing it because they are out of food. Deep Ones worship strange gods. This is true. Deep Ones worship their Dark Father Dagon and their Dark Mother Hydra (who have at times been worshipped by Canaanites and feared by Greeks) and believe that one day Dagon and Hydra will rise from the Depths and the world will be transformed. When the stars are right, the first will be last and the last will be first, the sea will be as the land and the land will be as the sea. The apocalypse will come and Deep Ones will rule where now they suffer. The faith of Dagon and Hydra is an apocalyptic faith that demands personal sacrifice and penitence; a Deep One with no tattoos, piercings, or other scars (in memory of the marks on Dagon and Hydra, left there in their long-gone wars with the foul gods of Atlantis) is no Deep One at all. But their suffering - their suffering for faith, will be rewarded. The false gods of Atlantis will fall and Lemuria will rise, and there will be a new world. And perhaps this is cruel. But their faith believes in apocalypse because they need an apocalypse - an uncovering that will reveal the world for what it truly is. Where there will be justice for a people who consider themselves lost and hunted, where there will be a reckoning for a people who consider themselves to be sorely used. If they aspire to supernatural change, so have many fallen peoples down through the centuries. If they try to hasten the great day of Jubilee, as some do, so have many peoples over the centuries. The difference is that when they do magic, it works. A charismatic priest or shaman will sometimes unite a tribe, or even a whole kingdom, for a raid on the Surface or against Atlantis - an attack blessed a thousand ways. The mingled blood of sacrifice will please Dagon and Hydra (for oh yes, I already said Deep Ones practice sacrifice and bloodletting, and mimic the great hungers of their gods through sacred cannibalism, didn't I?). The booty of the raid will feed a tribe, a kingdom, a people, until the time comes for the next attack. And if a warrior dies on said raid, their flesh will make a pleasing sacrifice for the tribe. It is a terrible thing to die on the land and have one's bones be buried in the dead earth. Deep Ones love the water better than the air. Yes. Yes, of course they do. Even for the more amphibious sort the light is always too bright here and the air has a killing dryness. Everything smells strange and the voices sound wrong, and everything looks bizarre. Their songs echo strangely in the air, proof of its disconnection from the realms of the gods below. Deep Ones want to kill us all. There have been Deep One invasions of the Surface - the most recent and most infamous saw an army of Deep Ones assault Freedom City during the Archevil Incident. Objectively they were cannon fodder and distraction for the Archevil's entity's larger plans for transcendence and global domination; but that hardly matters to the human beings they killed in the process. That was back in 2011, but you can find images and horrific accounts of their attack with just a little Googling. This is how people know what Deep Ones do - because they've seen it in action. Sing a different song. When a nest of Deep Ones falls to an Atlantean reprisal, what do the Atlanteans do with the survivors? When a prisoner is taken after a raid on the Surface, what do the Surfacers do with her? That they are not as brutal as Deep Ones does not excuse brutality, nor does it return to life those who died in the cold dry ground Above or beneath the tridents of Atlanteans below. Deep Ones consider themselves in a war, and in a war you fight to win. There is nothing they would do to a Surfacer they wouldn't do to each other if suitably pressed. What about the stories that Deep Ones have more than once subverted the Atlantean royal family; driving them to threaten the Surface in 2002 and actually invade it a decade and a half later? Well those stories are all true (and even now, there are agents in the Atlantean royal family waiting for another chance to strike!); but does the average Surfacer believe them? The Atlanteans would blame it on the Deep Ones, wouldn't they? One bit of supernatural subversion by the Serpent Scepter could happen to anyone but twice seems like carelessness. Deep Ones hate Atlanteans. Yes, yes they do, and the feeling is mutual. Deep Ones see Atlanteans as cruel, arrogant aristocrats whose goal is the extermination of their people. Atlanteans see Deep Ones as cold-blooded monsters whose goal is the extermination of their people. Both sides can point to atrocities, to killings, to tortures, across millennia of warfare, as proof that what they say is true. Deep Ones resent Surfacers for their alliance with Atlanteans, for what they've done to Mother Hydra's oceans, and for the Deep Ones they've killed. They _loathe_ Atlanteans. Deep Ones are sexual predators. Why would they do that? That is nasty. Deep Ones want to be my friend. Deep Ones are obligate carnivores, raised from birth with the idea that Atlanteans are cruel and arrogant monsters and that Surfacers are callous, alien fiends. Through blood and sacrifice, they believe that the world will be reborn anew and the Deep Ones will be freed from the captivity that is their powerlessness. They are carnivores who can talk to their food and know it would prefer not to be eaten - but they must live anyway. They will kill you because they are hungry and because stripping the flesh from your bones will be a sacred rite to them. They will kill you to send a message to their other enemies - to show the power of the sons and daughters of Dagon and Hydra over their foes. They will kill you at the command of their shamans, in the name of their dread gods, and of the coming apocalypse that will sweep away all the Surface world in waves of oceanic annihilation. But they won't kill you because they are Deep Ones. They will kill you if they have a reason. When they are monstrous, they are monstrous in our image. And that is the most frightening thing about them of all.
  4. December 9, 2017 Freedom City Maritime Museum The Waterfront Alexa Xieng's homework had taken her to the Freedom City Maritime Museum, a small private museum that discussed the history of Freedom City's shipping industry. There was actually quite a bit of history to see here, much of it going far beyond the age of heroes that had begun in the late 1930s. In her walkthrough so far she'd passed everything from a birchbark canoe like those used by the Lenape Indians who'd once lived all up and down the New Jersey coast to the cunningly hand-crafted model of one of the Nantucket whalers that had docked at Freedom's ports from the late 18th century on. The museum's tour guide, an older man with a white-streaked beard and a merchant marine cap, was obviously much more eager to talk about this part of Freedom's history than the "new wing." "Don't get me wrong," said "Captain Craig" a little awkwardly as he glanced into the newly constructed wing of the museum, its metal-walled rooms a sharp contrast to the rebuilt Victorian brick that made up most of the rest of the museum - which had once been a shipping baron's house, a century or so before Alexa's birth. "We certainly support Freedom City's hero population - but there isn't much to say about their maritime history. We discuss the Deep One invasion and the Atlantean one last year, of course," he went on as the two of them crossed the central foyer of the museum to the "hero wing", "but you can find that on your local websites. But don't let the curator hear me say that," he added with a wink. "We do have some fine artifacts preserved," he added, "all of them donated to us by the Freedom League. Behind Captain Craig, peering through the doors of the new wing, Alexa could make out the newer exhibits the man was speaking about - the Deep One invasion of 2011 being one of the main centers of attraction. In fact, a nearly intact Deep One suit of battle armor was in a glass case at the center of the room - but a half-dozen seeming-'tourists' were in the process of opening the case! The half-dozen men, all of them in Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts that clashed oddly with the chilly weather outside, were intent on their work - and hadn't noticed them yet.
  5. Initiative time! @Blarghy - here you go Sea Devil: 9 Naia: 25 Ikatere: 14
  6. Hear our call and remember, kin! When great Lemuria sank, the ancestors sank to the depths below and left us here in the shallow waters! When the Father and his children abandoned us, we called upon all the gods of all the Heavens above! We called upon the gods of the sea! But cruel Poseidon laughed and delivered us to the foul Atlanteans! We called upon the gods of the river! And fair Heqet extended her hand! But the Eye of Ra turned upon us, pitless as the sun, and we fled into the darkness below. We called upon the gods of the tree! But furious Donar hurled his lightning to burn our flesh! We called upon the gods of the promised land! And great Dagon heard our prayer! Dagon of the fields! Dagon of the sea! He came among us with mighty signs and promises! He came among us in the style of our people! He pledged that he would be our true god if we were his true children! Remember Mother Hydra! Hydra of the fair skin and pleasing eye, Hydra of the bellow like thunder and the many children! Mother Hydra gave us the knife and the venom! Mother Hydra gave us the forge and the ink! Father Dagon and Mother Hydra birthed a new people in those nights! Remember always the teachings of Dagon and Hydra! Through the blood of sacrifice, we are made whole! Through the pain of sacrifice, we will be redeemed! Through Dagon and Hydra, we will be free! We are the children of the Ones Above and the Ones Below. The land is ours! The sea is ours! All was taken from us by the foe!They are cruel! They are foul! Their lips are red with the stolen blood of our children! There will be vengeance for what we have lost! We are not the forgotten children of dead gods! WE! ARE! DEEP ONES!
  7. Saturday, May 20th, 2015 Frankfort, Michigan, United States Late afternoon Frankfort was a small town of barely a thousand souls, full of picturesque buildings, sandy beaches, and a startlingly white lighthouse out on the point. Families walked or ran up and down main street, people on vacation enjoying the warm spring weather and the cool breezes that blew off the lake. It would be a perfect image, if not for an air of tension that hung over the town. You didn’t have to go far to find the source of the tension. The town’s docks had been interdicted, with Atlantean troops standing on the boardwalk and stopping anyone who tried to get to their moored boats. Tourists stared at them; police talked at them; angry citizens and protesters yelled at them; but the soldiers of the underwater kingdom were impassive in their verdigrised armor and lightning-staffs. For three days and three nights they had kept up a silent presence, not intruding further into town or attacking any of the surfacers (well, except for one guy who showed up at the ER with a broken arm and an electrical burn, but he should’ve known better than to throw a brick) but not allowing anyone to reach their vessels, either.
  8. There are loved ones in the glory, Whose dear forms you often miss; When you close your earthly story, Will you join them in their bliss? Refrain: Will the great seal be unbroken Oh ah me, oh ah me?— Is a better home awaiting In the sea, in the sea? In the joyous days of childhood, Oft they told of fierce love, Pointed to the dying Surface; Now you dwell with them above. You remember songs of Dagon Which you sang with childish voice, Do you love the hymns they taught you, Or will the Surface be your choice? You can picture happy gath’rings ’Round the great seal long ago, And you think of tearful partings, When you left them there below. One by one their seats were emptied, One by one they went away; Here the great seal has been broken— Will it be complete one day?
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