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Katonate Confederacyby Christopher Cherrington
Currency of the Katonate consists of specially prepared 1 x 1/8 inch kelp discs. There are 3 denominations, each represented by their shape (round, square, and triangle). The round disc called Pye is worth 1 silver. The square is called Diamn, and is equivalent to a gold piece. Lastly the triangle is called the Hyvpphe and is worth one platinum. What makes these discs special is their buoyancy. Gold is rare, and nice to have for jewellery, but is very heavy. So if one owns many pretty things, they will sink faster if they don't have a lot of currency. 1 Pye will float 1 pound on the surface of water. 1 Diamn will float 10 pounds, and the rare Hyvpphe will float 50 pounds. People of the Katonate will also barter gold and other precious materials, as well as gills of water and the priests' wine (Ylluvatari).
Katonate Thieves Guild
This guild has always been around. They are the ones to turn to when priests deny rations, or you want to secure some contraband items and such. They run the black market, and supply many items into the capital that could only be found on the outer rim or possibly on the mainland. Most members are Kna, and they are known for their experienced smuggling and trading syndicate. Because of this relationship, the merfolk tend to stay away from such activities, and would rather help the rimmers in their pirating, then "legally" trade with the Kna and outside clerical scrutiny.
Famous/Infamous Peoples of the Katonates Illiovousti High Priest of Katonata (the capital raft and Sacred Garden) Illiovousti is the highest ranking member of the Katonate Priesthood. Voted in by a secret council, he only knows he was selected by his sudden blindness, and the fact his eyes turned obsidian black. Thus is the way and tradition of this position. He is still getting used to the blindness, and his hands have been rubbed so raw from walking about that he has not yet had enough time to read his new order's sacred reels. As such, his health is declining faster due to the curse of the Katonatia (the obsidian artifact).
Waavioolii High Priest of Vrroapaaul
Waavioolii is a blue whale. Awakened by the Katonatia, she was able to discover enough of this strange artifact to contract the blindness associated to the surface dweller's high priesthood. She has been able to keep her health, and has outlived 5 of the high priests of the Katonata and so believes she may be able to discover the truth of the Katonatia.
Saalujek High Priest of Kamvaael (a renegade rimmer colony associated to followers of Tempikaaul) Saalujek is mad. Crazed by his unfortunate addiction to Tempikaaul's Ylluvatari, he is already succumbing to the lich like disease this area is known for. Nearly a third of his body has shrivelled and rotted, and he keeps these areas preserved by applying treated Tempikaaul Kelp like bandages. In his mad mind he preserved a giant squid as a new type of giant zombie that he keeps at the heart of his small colony. At first he thought of it as a pet, but now in his insane mind he believes it is the living avatar of Tempikaaul herself. Thus he feeds this bulbous beast with all sorts of prisoners as sacrifices to Tempikaaul.
Kamvaael is a dark and blighted part of the outer rim. Only rumoured to exist, mostly as the Katonate's version of Hell, but this is a very real place on the outer rim. This colony suffers from a putrid fog that blocks out the sun and keeps the colony in pitch black nights and eerie fog shrouded days. There is no colour to be found in this dreary place, everything is black and white, and any night vision or infra-vision is totally useless. The whole of the colony is "glued" together by Tempikaaul's undead kelp. Anyone unfortunate enough to stand more than a minute within this kelp will sink into the kelp like quicksand. Treat the unfortunate victim as being webbed as per the spell, but loses 1 point of strength every round he is trapped. If the victim dies (STR = 0), he turns into a grey shroud in three days. Walking across the kelp is easily done, but one should always be careful not to fall into a gap and be swallowed into the kelp (a one in six chance for every 50 feet). After spending more than two weeks within Kamvaael, one learns how to avoid such traps and would be able to decrease his chances by 1 in 10 every 50 yards. Most denizens of this place live on captured ships and makeshift rafts of floating debris. Many of the living folk are quite mad and insane, due to the debilitating effects of Tempikaaul's Ylluvatari. Every week spent drinking one dose a day will need a saving throw vs. magic to avoid losing 1 hp to the strange zombie like affliction. Spell casters are rumoured to become liches, but in reality they only become spell casting zombies (but are immune to turning).
The Spiral of Knowledge
This long spiral path in the heart of the Sacred Garden is walled on the right by a polished granite wall. Carved in the wall is the most complete history of the inhabitants of the Confederacy. Many children are welcome to come and learn here, and are encouraged to make rubbings with blank reels to take home and study. This practice has created a very learned society of those fortunate enough to afford such time to practice the skills of reading reels. The wall is made of black granite and is about 2 feet thick and 5 feet tall. It discusses many of the religious traditions, mathematical equations, and very exacting accounts of the Confederacy's many voters and their gill worth throughout their long history. The wall is seamless and solid throughout its 1500 foot path. There is a section that is no longer allowed to be read, as it is much older and almost polished smooth from many years of rubbings and readings. This section will re-open when the current curators have a final rendition of the original text to re-carve back on the wall. There are some skipped periods in their history, as the reels that originally contained this information were lost to fire, moisture, or age.
Spell Books for Wizards
Wizards, although rare in the Confederacy, are viewed more as Priests of a different sort. They train with priests in their temple and they learn their religious studies, they just cast different spells. Their spell books would be too cumbersome to be read on reels, so they create ribbons to study. They are usually made of cloth with embroidered rises for the different letters that make their alphabet. Some priests will keep some prayers in the same manner, so it is hard to discern who is really a priest or mage. The Eeliistii make up most of the wizardly class, and they too have adopted the Katonate script. They can memorise the bumps and rises of the script into their flesh.
These merfolk are in truth vastly different from those encountered in the Sunlit Sea. Instead of the scaly fish tails most associate with merfolk, these have the hind quarters of octopuses. They prefer shadows to direct sun, and are more closely related to the deep dwelling dark merfolk than most societies would like to know. Their skin is photosensitive and tends to change colour to match their environment, and can even change texture and shape to match solid objects around them. They also can change facial features enough to imitate other races or friends of victims. The Eeliistii, as they prefer to be called, of the Confederacy do not deal much with the regular Katonates. They don't need many of the things the air-breathers need, and they only work with the priests to help them cultivate their kelp. In exchange, the Eeliistii make their homes within the kelp beds and cultivate many pearls, molluscs, and fish for trade. They are a private lot, and so do their best to keep up the rouse that the waters beneath the rafts are too dangerous for air-breathers. It is not much of a lie; the kelp the Katonates depends so much on can entangle and drown many an unfortunate victim. Lion fish and many varieties of poisonous jellyfish abound as well. To the Eeliistii these are no more dangerous than insect stings to mainlanders. The main crops of the Eeliistii are small pink pearls that they like to enchant with light spells. They use these to create light for the kelp beds, as the surface grabbing rafts tend to hide the much needed sunlight for their growth. This creates an eerie setting of pinkish light and green shadow beneath the waves and rafts of the Confederacy. Rumours abound of the Eeliistii having a taste for human flesh, and so many Katonates avoid swimming were kelp beds dot the surface. As stated above, the Eeliistii have adapted a way to memorise Katonate script into their flesh, and so they can communicate to each other just by touch and to multiple Eeliistii at a time. This and the fear of Eeliistii intending to drown a hapless victim can get them into a lot of trouble, when the reality is they are trying to communicate across the skin of the victim as it is a much easier form of communication for them. This has also given rise to the rumour they are telepathic and they can read minds. They do have voices, and these they like to use to sing. Their songs are very enchanting, and some have adapted their singing ability to deadly charm spells. They also have the natural ability to mimic sound, and can imitate whale songs as well. Even whales fear this, as they believe Eeliistii sometimes imitate their songs to cause them to beach themselves when close to land.