Welcome dear customer, welcome! It’s always nice to see a new face around here. These are miserable times and I don’t get that many visitors anymore. Take a sit! Let me pour you a good ale and tell you about our city.
The Legend says there were five far away islands. They had been at war for so long that no one remembered why.
One day the Sea Snake God, Father of all Creatures and King of the Oceans, tired of all the blood and corruption spreading on his water, decided to end the war. He stretched his endless body throughout all the continents and twisted itself around the five islands to pull them together. The Five Countries became one.
The enormous effort and fatigue of bringing the Five Lands together took the God’s life. His golden skin turned into the roads and bridges that connect the archipelago today. We had to overcome our differences in the most forceful way: coexistence.
Before departing, the Sea Snake God chose five leaders, one for each island, and gave them five eggs. His final gift and Legacy. He also gave them a Prophecy: “The First Heir will hatch when the harmony has shifted. A broken balance will bring obliteration”. This was a threat from a God who just committed the ultimate sacrifice to save his Kingdom. The leaders decided that peace between the five races must be kept at all costs. They created the Council of Keepers and swore to protect the Eggs and guide their People. The Council will always remain neutral and represent the five factions as one. We call our leaders Keepers of the Balance as this is what they have done since the Prophecy was spoken. Century after century they passed the Eggs to worthy successors, following the traditions.
It is said that each Egg represents the community it was donated to. The Sacred Eggs will bring good luck and prosperity to the ones who connect with them and please them. They have feelings and great powers. They can be benevolent or vengeful and can see through everything and everyone. Each egg has their own different character and peculiar shape, crystalline colour and size. They are big enough to be carried by their Guardians. The few who had the honour to get close enough to them could swear that these larvae fish-like creatures are visible through the alabastrine and glassy membrane that protects them. Someone also mentioned that the embryos inside the eggs can look at their surroundings and move and communicate with their Keepers.
Let’s have a walk my friend. You see, there are not many people around here lately. Something terrible happened in our city, but I’ll get there. We’ll start from my district. Freshok Town.
Belzer the Kind was the name of the first Egg. He was given to the Freshok, people of the West. Our first Leader was Golkor, the Dodgy. Golkor was loved by his people for his persuasive communication skills. He could turn black into white with a couple of sentences (and you would have believed him). The Freshok have translucid blue skins and long fins growing from their heads. They like to collect trinkets and wear them. A Freshok on the street will not go unnoticed. Every trinket is a trophy gained through a rite of passage, it has a significance and importance. They call these trinkets Memory Charms. A Memory Charm could be any object as long as it has a history that is worth remembering. This ancient tradition allows the Freshok to carry their most precious memories and experiences (and it’s definitely a great conversation starter). It is plausible to say that Freshok are ‘Memory Collectors’. Hard workers with a sense of humour, the Freshok people are expert sailors and fisherman. They are loud and talkative, but not usually great listeners. They craft almost everything with the most peculiar materials gathered from the sea and are very well known for their smuggling skills.
The Freshok District used to be the most crowded and noisy place one could ever see. A very long and narrow plot of land made into a port. Can you see over there? Roads, boats and buildings merge in a unique and colourful way. Everything here is so messy that you will not know if you are walking on land or floating on water. Vessels and cargo ship of every size and shape are coming and going twenty-four-seven. The Freshok love it that way. Chaos is the best way to mix right and wrong, legal and… grey areas.
In a well-balanced society, where there is chaos, there must be order. The second Egg, Igott the Serious, was given to the Kroster of the Eastern Island. When we want to say that someone is utterly stubborn, we say “his head is as hard as a Kroster shell”. That’s because nothing is harder than a Kroster shell and no one is as stubborn as a Kroster person. This proud and resilient people are enforcers of the law. Do you see that massive cube of metal reflecting the light of the moon? They transformed the Eastern Island into a metal fortress that is over 2,700 feet tall. It’s such a monumental building. You can see it from here. Every floor of the Prison-Island (this is how we call it) is thoroughly organised and every member of their society is put to work here. It also confines the most dangerous criminals within its inescapable jails. No Kroster will ever be unemployed. Their bureaucracy is precise, effective and infallible. In fact, every job within Prison-Island is assigned at childbirth. The Krosters also have a very fair promotion program, based on meritocracy and personal ability. The Easter Island is the only district in Sea Snake City with an unemployment rate of - 0.3456%.
It is very difficult to understand what a Kroster is thinking as they hardly have any expression. Their black eyes are tiny and very well hidden between the cracks in their knobby faces. In many cases, they do not have fully formed hands, but sharp and pointy claws. Sometimes they have both hands and claws. In some occasions, they have more than two arms as well. A Kroster mom will count the arms of a new-born child even before checking if he is alive. The more arms, the more respected they are as members of society.
Their natural propension for order and structure does not make them the favourite people of the Freshok community which will refer to them with the derogatory title of “Crabs”. Now, as a side note, most of the people in the suburban and poor areas of Sea Snake City call the police Crabs.
Krosters are not very talkative, but their few words are usually honest and direct. It is also said that they recognise very easily dishonesty and lies. My advice? Don't get mixed up with crabs.
All the citizens of Sea Snake City praise the five eggs and hold the egg of their own faction in high esteem. But nobody in the community worship their Egg as much as the Mollurk people. The third Egg was Mollurk, the Silent. That’s right. The Mollurks took their name form their Egg. It remains a mystery whether they had a name before the Five Lands were bonded. If they did, they made sure to wipe it out from any readable book. No track of their origins or heritage can be learned from any plausible source. They certainly have a very deep and long history, though. You can feel the profound and oppressive weight of their ancient deeds by looking at the Cathedral of the North, a sacred place where only the Mollurk monks and the most influencial members of Sea Snake City are allowed. Mollurk Cathedral is an immense agglomerate of black stone sustained by onyx buttresses to support the weight of its towering and prominent roofs. The dark stained-glass windows allow a frail and distorted light to permeate indoors. In fact, the Mollurks are notoriously sensitive to light. The rest of the buildings around the Cathedral are smaller, but elegantly located around it. Mollurk Town was allegedly built with the same architectural style to elevate the sense of oppression and obscurity. Indeed, these are creatures accustomed to darkness. Their bodies have malleable shapes, made of tentacles and threadlike fibres as the ones found in animal and plants of the tropical areas. Their faces must be covered in public with no exceptions. This is a mandatory rule for males and females of their species, as mentioned in the Silenctum, the sacred book of Mollurk. This religious tome is written in the ancient language of Mollurk and not many people, made exception for the Mollurk Monks, are able to read it. It is my understanding that it is nearly impossible to get hold of this manuscript, at least legally. The Mollurk people are generally respected for their religious belief and the aura of mystery they project from their towering island. It is said that a Mollurk bodies are very flexible and they could fit in a space as small as a pint glass. The most suspicious people also believe that this natural ability, would make them very skilled and stealthy assassins. Mysterious disappearances in Sea Snake City are told to be the doing of a Mollurk Secret Society of assassins. Naturally, these are merely rumours. No one could ever confirm the existence of a Mollurk Cult or an Assassin Guild for what it is worth. Furthermore, there are no public records of any Mullork ever being guilty of thievery or murder. They are exemplary citizens and their religion forbids any form of violence, or so I have heard. They are eventually the most pacific people in the city.
No matter what they say, their district still gives me the chills and I wouldn’t go there at night – or day.
The fourth Egg, Grenubian the guilty, was donated to a community even more accustomed to obscurity: the Biolux, Tribe of the Deep. The Southern Island, home to the Biolux, is more likely a crater. Everyone called it the Black Pit. It is submerged by water made exception for its upper Rim which emerges from the surface with towering spikes. This rocky formation is over 800 feet tall and resembles the menacing mouth of a sea monster, which granted the border to the Southern Island the name of Kraken’s Wall. Despite the ominous sight, thousands and thousands of visitors from every part of the City, travel to the Black Pit every single day. An intricate network of underground tunnels has been built during the years, so that high-tech locomotives could reach the underwater heart of the Southern Island: Bioluxury. Why would people from everywhere go to an underground city so profusely? One word: pleasure. Biolux detains the gambling and gaming monopoly in all Sea Snake City and it is the only place where gambling is allowed. Hundreds and hundreds of clubs, casinos and gambling facilities, restaurants, theatres and showcases can be reached from any part of the island in a matter of minutes. They built a place where anything you can think of is available, for a price. Biolux people cannot breathe out of water. Hence, they built Bioluxury inside an immense underwater dome at the exact bottom of their crater. The dome is dry and filled with air, so that all customers from the surface can enjoy a reproduction of their natural habitat. The rest of the Black Pit is completely submerged and can be safely admired from inside the dome. The Pit is populated by buildings made of cubical rocks and layers of folded metal, giving Biolux Town a mixture of primitive and modern architectural style. The outer building façades are decorated with whale bones and rib cages of other immense sea animals. You can see Biolux citizens swimming graciously all around Biolux. Small high-speed submarines are travelling in and out of the underwater dome, through the caves and tunnels that connect to the Black Pit. The Biolux can move inside our atmosphere with the use of Water Spheres, a mobile technology which allows the Biolux to stay inside a shell of reinforced glass and carbon-fibre filled up with sea water. With the use of these vehicles they travel and interact with people and objects with the use of bio-mechanic arms implanted on the Water Sphere. They have the most peculiar and grotesque aspect. You can see through their bodies and identify their bones and internal organs. Their skin is thin and transparent as glass. They have lived in the deep of the oceans for millions of years and developed the ability to emanate light from their heads or other extremities of their bodies. It is also said that their ancestors were practicing cannibalism and that the tradition of eating the flesh of their own species is still alive between them. I heard that the richest members of their community would pay a fortune to have a ‘special’ meal. Interesting fact – The mayor of Sea Snake city is half Biolux and half Freshok. His body can withstand the atmosphere of the upper city and the depths of the Oceans.
The last and most precious Egg, Krioz the Mutable, was given to the Koral. The Koral Island is placed at the exact centre of Sea Snake City. It is told that Krioz has the most incredible transparent shell and the outer membrane of this Egg constantly changes colour. The experts who have studied Krioz in the last centuries believe that he is communicating through his multichromatic behaviour and sending a coded message. No one had any luck in deciphering this message, also because staring for a long time at this egg will cause seizure and epileptic attacks. The Keeper of the Koral Egg is blind, probably for this reason.
Koral People are elegant and tall people. They have skins as colourful as the Coral Reef and long sinuous fins that they adorn with the most precious jewels and fabrics. They believe in the nobility of blood and the law allows them to have more legal partners at once. They will not usually breed with any race apart from their own. They have a great passion for politics, art and literature and this can be noted in their mixed architectural taste characterised by asymmetrical values and elaborate ornaments and serpentine lines.
The highest Koral building is the Central Tower of Parliament, a spiralling building that symbolises the constant change and consciousness of nature, beginning from its centre expanding outwardly. The lifeless body of the Snake Fish-God spirals around the tower as well, without touching it. His silver head stands still right above the highest floor of the building. This sacred place accommodates the Gatherings of our Leaders.
Koral value wealthiness and intelligence above anything and they value their King. King Richard Lionfish’s duties are far greater than his rights. The Monarch provides impartial non-political arbitration. He would also be able to intervene in case the Council of Keepers acted unconstitutionally.
The Keepers of the Eggs have always managed to keep the peace between the five races and avoid major incidents. Our Society was built on the threat of an angry God, but I believe that our people have learned to overcome their differences and to coexist and enjoy the diversity in our City.
Not everyone agreed with my statement though, as the first Egg hatched just a few days ago...