Colorless

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Called Noras by the Regalti, Colorless is a condition where their skin loses the ability to change colors, which shuts them out of a large aspect of Regalti social interactions. The condition has two different origins. Rarely it is hereditary, but is can also be triggered by poison from Balloon Jellies and other types of jellyfish.

When a Regalti is colorless, either because they were born that way or they are injected with jellyfish venom, the crystal lattice under their skin responsible for the change in skin color disappears, either dissolved by venom or it simply never existed to begin with.

Regalti no longer turn red when happy or angry, they no longer turn blue when depressed, they don't turn violet when praying. Regalti are forever stuck in their base skin color, which ranges from light pink to tan to yellow to dark brown, depending on their specific ethnicity and their exposure to the sun.
Sayli Sarai.png
Sayli Sarai, Elya Sarai's mother, suffered from jellyfish stings when she was a child. Even decades later, her skin is still covered in scarred areas that don't change color.

How Regalti Normally Change Color

See also: Regalti - Color Perception and meaning
In Regalti and most mammals of the Planet Collena, the top of the Dermal layer of skin contains two layers of tiny guanine nanocrystals organized into a diamond pattern with capillaries running between them. Normally these crystals reflect yellow light the most and other wavelengths less so. Combined with the red of the blood vessels, this is what gives Regalti their base appearance.

When the blood vessels expand, due to strong emotions like happiness or anger, the distance between the two crystal layers increases, which increases the wavelength of light that is reflected. Combined with the red of the expanded blood vessels, this often gives Regalti a red appearance.

When blood vessels contract, but are still between the crystal structure, the wavelength decreases, giving Regalti a green appearance. This is caused by calm emotions. When Regalti experience twitch emotions such as fear or terror, the crystals fully contract, but don't give the blood vessels enough time to move out of the way. This will give the skin a cyan appearance.

The blood vessels can contract further and move beneath both layers of crystals. The wavelength decreases further and the skin appears blue. At maximum contraction the skin will appear slightly violet.

There is one more mechanism in place where the crystals can be electrically stimulated by nerve endings. This causes the top layer of crystals to change shape and reflect UV light away, which will greatly brighten the appearance of the skin. A different signal can cause the bottom layer of crystals to absorb UV light, causing the skin to appear much darker. This allows Regalti to distinguish different emotions that cause the same skin color change. Bright red is happiness, dark red is anger.

Rarely the system can go haywire, usually when deep in religious ceremony, sexual activity, or eating certain types of foods, where the body produces splotches red skin and blue skin with inbetween colors, entering a state called "Rainbow Skin".

Missing nanocrystals

If the condition was the result of a jellyfish sting, then being colorless is a result of the jellyfish venom dissolving the guanine structure of the crystals, and damaging the surrounding skin cells enough that it is impossible for them to grow back. The skin will be left scarred where the sting happened and it could be years before it heals enough to regrow the crystals, or it might never happen at all.

If the condition was inherited, being colorless is a result of the body's inability to naturally produce the nanocrystals in a large enough amounts to show a proper change in skin color. The effect can be minor, but usually it prevents any color change. A milder form of the genetic condition is where only the ability to turn green to blue is disabled, and Regalti can still turn Red to show happiness or anger.
 

Effects of being Colorless in Society

Emotions

Regalti can smile and frown, but with few exceptions, these expressions of emotion are rather muted in favor of the skin being a more direct showcase of feeling. If a Regalti is colorless, then others will not immediately know their emotional state by appearance alone, which can be confusing for many Regalti. The issue is that Regalti society developed with everyone's emotions being out there in the open, readily readable for all to see. This is no longer an issue in current times, as Regalti are much more tolerant overall.

Society

While less of an issue in current times, in the past, colorless were shunned by society, sometimes being barred from entering certain shops, running for political office, holding certain jobs, and more. Colorless were forced to live on the edge of settlements and work dangerous and undesirable jobs. The concept of changing colors was so ingrained into every aspect of society that being unable to change colors was as if you didn't belong in that society. Examples of jobs that were suited for colorless included wood, metal, and leather workers, as well as executioners.

Religion and Praying

Many Regalti religions such as Vennek, rely on the skin as a visual indicator for how in balance they are when praying. If they are violet, they are considered in balance. If they are red or blue, they are considered to be out of balance. If they don't change color at all, they are not influenced by the Vennek concept of Nanse Shan, and are considered to be outside the reach of god. In older times, many colorless regalti were shunned from religious ceremony.
 

Difference between a Jellyfish sting and being completely colorless

In older times, there was no difference between the two varieties of the condition. Fevarik Mythology even stated that if you were stung by a jellyfish, you angered the gods somehow and future generations were cursed to being colorless somehow. when a colorless Regalti was born, it was said that someone somewhere in their ancestry angered the gods and they are suffering the punishment. The two conditions are completely unrelated, but they were treated the same.
 

The War of Purges

The War of Purges was a devastating world war of succession fought a little over 600 years ago by various factions of the Tevari Empire (also called the Bevarian Empire). The Tevari regularly tortured and interrogated prisoners of war by injecting them with jellyfish venom, which on top of being extremely painful, caused them to turn completely colorless. They would start the torture by injecting the venom into fingers and toes. They would continue to inject venom at various points in the body until they got the information they needed. This torture was rather effective with some groups of people, such as the Fevarik, who believed they would be shunned by their gods and shut out of paradise when they died if they became colorless.


Comments

Author's Notes

This is an entry into the Unofficial Condition Challenge::

Unofficial condition challenge
Generic article | Apr 22, 2022

Don't ya wanna write conditions?!


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3 May, 2022 03:37

Nice article and condition. I like the diagrams.

Want to check out more read my bard article
26 May, 2022 09:03

This is some excellent sci-fi! The details on the mechanism of this, especially the diagrams, are outstanding. And I want to give all of your Colorless a hug.

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga. Mother of Bunnies, Eater of Pickles, Friend of Nerds, First of her Name.