Macroceiri (Macro-cere-I) Macroceiri are one of the stranger species in existence, and probably the only civilized species to have a natural predator. They live up to 120 years, but one reaching this age is uncommon, most dieing off around 90.They live in the depths of the oceans, near strange, warm, vents that sprouted out of the ocean floor. Up to a thousand years ago, they lived solitary lives, with the exception of reproduction, scavenging the remains of dead sea creatures, as they had done for untold amounts of time. But something changed in their minds, and intelligence grew where only instinct existed before.
They began living in larger groups, and putting their collective knowledge together to improve each others lives. They built cities, they began harvesting resources, and domesticating various creatures of the deeps. It took time, but more and more cities sprang up, centered around clusters of thermal vents. Only several such clusters existed, so the cities were few and far between, but made up for it with their great population. But within the last century, they are threatened by a mysterious plague. After analyzing it, the Macroceiri determined it’s origin was from the surface world. Team after team of scouts were sent up, none returning. One by one, the cities began to fall victim to the plague. So far, three out of their nine cities have been lost. Now, one team of scouts returned. They told tales of the surface, of the blinding orbs of light, of the strange small creatures. Now, they set out, looking for salvation.
The Macroceiri look much like the spider crab, which is in fact related to them. They have eight legs, and two multi-clawed arms, which are just legs that have mutated. They have ovaloid bodies, about two feet long and about a foot wide. They have two eyes, which are well suited for seeing in the near pitch-blackness in which the live in.
They are extremely sensitive to light, although they can get used to brighter conditions. But untold millions of years living at the bottom of the ocean has reduced their need for sight. They have rather primitive eyes, and upon the surface, they don’t see much other than vague colored shapes. Some of the surface dwellers created a lens that can focus their vision. Their legs reach about 4 feet in length, giving them a total diameter nine feet, counting their bodies. At the bottom of their legs they have sharp claws, ideal for climbing. For a mouth, Macroceiri have four mandibles on the outside, and many, many tiny, sharp teeth within. Unlike land species, Macroceiri have a vertical mouth, instead of horizontal. Their color range goes from bright yellow overlaid with reds and oranges in youth, to dulling gray as they age over 75. Very rarely, about one in five hundred thousand, a Macroceiri is born with a slight error in coloring, and comes out in a shade of blue, which never dulls with age.
Male and Female Differences:
- The Macroceiri are the other way around of most species. Instead of the male fighting for and attracting a mate, the females do that. They are usually dominant in society, but males have equal rights. Male Macroceiri are generally smaller and lighter built than females, and their colors are often not as bright as females. However, they posses the same amount of intelligence, but use it more often. Female Macroceiri are heavier and bulkier, often stronger too. Their colors are very bright, and tend to go with their instincts more than thinking things through.
Macroceiri are still a developing civilization, and many aspects of their old ways still exist. Most still live on their own, only interacting when needed. After breeding, the male and female go their separate ways, leaving the eggs in a safe spot. Some though, stick together, which is becoming more and more common. Macroceiri do not feel as many emotions as land animals, they lack the more complex emotions such as love, hate, and greed. They are capable of feeling sad, happy, and angry, but most accept that what happens.
Their minds are still developing along with their civilization, and have yet to understand concepts like nationalism, capitalism, money, advanced religion, and war. Their predator, the Whale, is viewed a symbol of death and despair in their culture, and has been for a very long time. The Giant Squid, also only hunted by the Whale, has always been an ally of the Macroceiri. In fact, the Macroceiri have befriended the primitive creatures, and is often used to transport loads Macroceiri can’t.
- Since they live underwater, Macroceiri don’t speak. They use a form of sign language, using their limbs, bodies, eyes, mouths and movement as communication. It is highly complex, and takes half their life to learn it completely. Upon the surface however, they found need of a more simple mean of communication, but they found they were incapable of speech, due to lack of vocal cords. Instead, they rely on their surroundings and attitude to communicate, and often make symbols and drawing when the aforementioned means fail.
- Being isolated from other forms of intelligent life for their entire existence, and living underwater, the Macroceiri never developed a need for clothing. But on the surface, away from their vents, it is cold. They have taken to wear the furs of surface beasts, draped over themselves, much to the surface dwellers shock (think along the lines of: “Oh no! Giant walking fur!”). Due to the aggressive nature of some surface dwellers, they have made themselves armor. It’s a strange sight to see a fully armored, giant crab creature, but the intimidation effect is very useful.
- The Macroceiri never had a complicated religion. Since their civilization began, they’ve believed in a higher power, only referred to as the Deep Power. They named it this because something has to be below those vents that give them the warmth of life, and the only place the vents go is down. They don’t really have anything advanced, because their isn’t much to attribute to a higher power at the bottom of the ocean. The surface world proves to be something else. They have no explanation for lightning, for rain, for fire, or for wind, or anything else up there. They don’t see how the Deep Power can cause those, as it lives below.
- Their social system is basic. They have a council of elders, male and female, that decide what the city should do, and what would be best for the people. One representative from each city council goes to a world council, to discuss what is happening in their cities and what solutions they have found for problems. They share ideas and ways to help, and then go back to their own cities, each one benefiting from the shared knowledge. Macroceiri are not an empire, nation, or kingdom, but a collective working towards the improvement of each others existence. They do not use money, each one works for the good of the people. The surface economies confuse them, at least in the places that do not attack them and allow them to observe their economy.
- Macroceiri do not have ‘proper’ names, but rather something they are identified with. Someone stole fish when they were young might be known as ‘Fish Taker’, or someone who got to close to a vent and was burned by the scalding water might be known as ‘Water Burnt’. They know what each other’s names are without having to ask, although no one knows why. When two strangers meet, they seem to already know what their Story is. They refer to names as Stories, as that’s what their names are. Stories of what they first did that was significant, and earned them their identity.
- Macroceiri can navigate places without light, and they do not need anything to provide light.
- They also seem to be able to adapt to breathing straight air instead of filtering it from water.
- highly adaptable
- When in their natural habitat, they can be easily blinded by even a dull light. They also are vulnerable to the freezing waters outside the range of the vent’s heat. At the vent, the water is boiling, and the water is about halfway boiling in the vicinity of it. Once out of range, the temperature drops to nearly freezing.
- Every few years, Macroceiri must molt, and grow a new exoskeleton. It can take a few weeks to shed their old shell, and a another week for the new one to harden. It’s during this time they can grow, unimpeded by the shell. They can be easily damaged during this time though, and a Macroceiri in molting seems to attract the only predator of theirs: The Whale. The Whale, the same whale that hunts the gentle Giant Squid, also hunts Macroceiri.
Macroceiri architecture is simple, yet complex. All their structures are made of stone harvested from the chasms that exist near one their cities, and that stone is hauled long distances by the tamed Giant Squid. Only the bravest Macroceiri accompany the squid, as the temperatures between cities drops too freezing, and the Whale hunts those areas. Their buildings are generally square-ish, with a single opening. Inside is a system of tunnels and chambers where the individual or group live, with areas for storing food and other things. Their buildings are much larger than the surface races, to compensate for their long legs and 9 foot diameter.