The Deeps Myth in The Ocean | World Anvil
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The Deeps (/ðʌ 'di:ps/)

Beginning no later than 6000 Oce, ocean-worshipping tideriders held the belief that humans originated from the ocean below the surface currents. This confusion stemmed from their tradition of releasing the dead into the ocean, combined with the changes occuring in the legend of the Swiftwater River journey. The area came to be called "the deeps" after a superstition arose that invoking the name "place of death" at sea would cause the dead to claim someone from the ship in the near future. It was the nearest concept in Ocean worship to an afterlife, but was not looked upon as either a paradise or a torment. Since the decline of Ocean worship, "the deeps" refers simply to the volume of water between any ship or boat and the ocean floor. The term is also used in many common phrases in Oceantongue.

Historical Basis

The place of death is cold and dark, deep and silent, and presses in on every side. The people move through death without seeing and without hearing, without touching and without feeling, and without changing.
— Beginning of Oceanfolk creation story
...They escaped the place of death, where people live without thinking and kill without caring.
— from the Valdian Song of Journey II
  In the Valdian River Cycle legends, the first people to settle the plains and coast of the continent followed the Swiftwater River (called Ciiadociee (/.tʃiːɑːˈdoʊtʃeɪ/) by the Valdians) from an unspecificed location. Details in the legends suggest it is mountainous and cold, and that it was called "place of death" because of the danger faced by the fleeing tribe, rather than as a concept of afterlife.


By the time the Cluster Islands were settled, the ocean-based creation myth was universally known not only in tiderider families, but among the resettled colonists. Without institutional memory of the coastal civilization, the idea of the ocean as the source of human life seemed creditable, especially in light of the growing general awareness of The Eddy and the Water Seekers who lived there.
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