El's Fin Shoes Item in Argentii | World Anvil

El's Fin Shoes

Every great once-in-a-while, a powerful relic will form from an unfulfilled dream rather than experience and memories. These are always profoundly sad and staggeringly dangerous.
— Shiv Moonsong

Elvel 'El' Ru was born on Capitalla. He lived among the waves for fifty-two short years before foul weather drove his ship under. He never learned to swim and blamed himself with his dying breath.


El lived his life seeking adventure among the waves. Born to a long line of sea-faring folk, he only wanted to live and die aboard a ship. The moment he was old enough to set sail, he joined the crew of the Sea Sprite Blue. (Even if he wasn't actually old enough to enlist, his enthusiasm made the captain turn a blind eye to his lack of a beard.)

As the years went by, El's beard never came in. His breasts, however, did. But by then, he was only known as a sharp-eyed, steely-armed midshipman capable of pelting the living stuffing out of anyone who dared besmirch his capabilities on the deck or in the rigging.

Eventually becoming captain of the Blue, he was known as daring, fierce, and reliable. Cool in battle and calm in storms, there seemed little that could shake him. It all came to an end when the ship was sunk by a storm. She had taken on damage in a fierce pirate attack. The pirates, mistaking her mercy run as a merchant run, sought to bring her down. Barely escaping with the hull intact, the damage to the sails had left them vulnerable to the storm winds that capsized them.

All hands were lost, along with the vital medicine that was in the hold. Knowing as he went down with his beloved Blue that neither he nor the vital medicine would reach port, with his dying breath he cursed his inability to swim and wished for the ability to carry even one crate to the people who needed it.

All counted, 7,582 people died to fighting, storm, and sickness.


In the end, El became a pair of swimming fins that bestow the wearer with the ability to swim with the swift, sure confidence of a fish. Unfortunately, they also imbue the wearer with the drowning sense of guilt and remorse that El felt as he succumed to the inky black depths of the endless ocean. This manifestation swallows the wearer's willpower until they are dragged under by the weight of the vast and endless sea, never to breathe again.

Item type
Clothing / Accessory
Current Holder
Subtype / Model

Because each relic reflects the lived experience of a single, unique individual, each relic is one-of-a-kind.

2.75 lbs.
20 in. long, 8 in. at widest point.
Raw materials & Components

Made of firm, flexible rubber these fins stretch to fit the feet and fasten behind the heels with adjustable straps. The fins are long and flare widest at the end of the 'toes'. Thin, sturdy ribs add stability to the flexible fins, like the bones in the fin of a fish. Wearing the fins for just a few minutes is enough to impart a deep sense of regret and longing that grows deeper the longer they are worn.


Author's Notes

Pillars of Progress Award 2024 Submission

Hi hi hi! I thought it would be fun to share some of the inspiration behind this article.


One of my favorite places to hang out is the Challenge channel in the World Anvil Discord. It's a wonderful place to find inspiration and friendship. Often, in the course of conversation in there, little micro challenges will arise within the other challenges that are always going around. One of those came up during February's Cabinet of Curiosities challenge: 'we should all make a pair of elfin shoes.'

Great idea! Super fun! There's just one problem...Argentii doesn't have elves, as such. The closest thing at the moment are Shadians. So, twisting this micro challenge into something that would fit within the confines of Argentii became a personal goal.

This article is what came of that.

And can I just say real quick....I think this line:

"As the years went by, El's beard never came in. His breasts, however, did."

might just be my favorite thing I've written in the last year.

About the Artwork

Almost all of the artwork on this page was made from clipart and other resources via my Canva Pro account. This includes the Haly Bitmoji on my Welcome Badge. The single exception is the Seven Tomes Chapter Badge, which was made by Polina "Line" Arteev, and is used with permission as I am a member of the Chapter.

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