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Water Seekers of the Old Eddy

Despite being reclusive and solitary, living far from any kind of land, Water Seekers have been a significant influence on the Cluster Islands civilizations. The Seekers were well-known for regularly coming to the islanders' rescue, whether from natural disasters or acts of great violence. That along with their ability to shape water into tools or structures gave them a reputation as mystics and miracle-makers.


In the Old Eddy there was no formal hierarchy, only an unspoken social ranking. The more solitary Seekers regarded the more sociable ones as less serious. This was not always false, since the sociable ones often stayed at the Eddy for only short periods of time. Every change in the Eddy's demographics meant a change in the general background aura, creating a minor irritant for the Seekers who were there to experience the calm of the ocean.
The terms Sage and Dancinglight, so closely associated with Water Seekers today, in fact originated from outside the Eddy. Tideriders started using them in the mistaken belief that the Seeker who met them under the dome of dancing light must be ranked high within the Eddy, when the opposite was usually true--that Seeker met with the tideriders because they didn't mind talking to people.
The habit of calling the meditating Seekers "Sages" originated in the early half of the Volcanic Era when ocean worship was still widely practiced. Even after the tideriders understood that the Seekers were not actually divine manifestations, they still thought them to be receiving wisdom directly from the ocean.


It is difficult to express what drew Water Seekers to the Eddy. There was something about the emptiness of the ocean that satisfied them, though each in their own way.  Their goal was to feel as little as possible, aiming for a neutral balance between bodily comforts and bodily needs, in order to more fully experience the ocean.

Public Agenda

The public perception of Water Seekers was wildly wrong in many respects, but if the Seekers themselves knew that, they made no attempts to correct the record.  That could well be because they had no interest at all in anything other than being in the stillness of the ocean.  Visitors represented an interruption to that stillness, and they were tolerated only because trading favors for supplies meant that Seekers no longer had to go searching for ships to ask for food.  Likewise, their intervention in island crises was because the sensations of pain and terror disturbed the Seekers in meditation.
The skewed perception may have been of some benefit to the Water Seekers.  Even though the idea of the ocean as a powerful sentient has faded away, the awe of it is generations deep. That same awe, applied to the Seekers, probably kept the interruptions to a more reasonable minimum.  We tend to be cautious about drawing the attention of people who just might be able to stir up storm waves.


The Water Seekers owned only what drifted in to them from the currents circulating around the Eddy.  Large objects such as tree trunks or old boat hulls were tied together to create platforms as places to rest or to store necessary supplies, but other than that they had no bulidings of any kind.  The only resource the Seekers could be said to possess was their skill with manipulating water.


Oceanic Era
Water Seekers have occupied the Eddy for at least as long as people have occupied the Cluster Islands, and possibly as much as nine thousand years longer, depending on how the tiderider legend of Tiamou's voyage is interpreted. Yadi, who according to the legend walked from Tiamou's ship to a nearby atoll, is often named as the first Water Seeker. However, it is also possible that Yadi died of exhaustion after such a grueling swim, if indeed the incident occured at all.
More plausible early sightings of Water Seekers are seen in tiderider accounts dating from late in the sixth Oceanic milennium, describing the ocean in human form boarding a mother ship and requesting food. These incidents were remarked upon regularly throughout the rest of the Oceanic era and into the early Volcanic.
The first confirmed instance of a Seeker intervention occurred during the atoll evacuations near the end of the Oceanic Era. A logbook entry dated 9748 Oce (-101 Vol) described an incident in which stormy weather and high seas swamped a tiderider fleet carrying more than five hundred evacuees. The conditions made it too dangerous to rescue those who had gone into the water, and the fleet was forced to continue without them. The following day, a group of five Water Seekers on foot caught up with the fleet, towing a loose raft of lashed-together debris loaded with the survivors.
Volcanic Era
The Eddy itself remained unknown to the general population until around 200 Vol. No first visit has been recorded, but at about that time logs start to mention rumors of a place where Water Seekers gathered. By 250 Vol Tiamou's legend had been revised, with Yadi reaching this mysterious place, and tideriders began deliberately searching for it.
A few navigators with particular knowledge of ocean currents developed a knack for finding the constantly-moving landmark. They began calling it the Eddy because of its location within a gyre. With boats more often coming to them, the Water Seekers had to come up with a method of countering the distraction. Through the coordinated effort of several water-working Seekers, they raised a dome out of the ocean to surround the boat and sent one of their number inside to deal with the visitors. The dazzling motion of sunlight passing through the water gave the dome and the Seekers' designated representative the name of Dancinglight.
Not everyone was welcome at the Eddy. To make it worth the interruption, outsiders were expected to have both a genuine need and something worthwhile in trade, and the need was the more important of the two. If they didn't have the means to compensate the Seekers, they would be politely refused. If their request was trivial or against the Seekers' principles, they would be expelled with unambiguous displeasure: the Seekers holding the dome would release it onto the outsiders and then push the boat away.


In 2016 Vol, a submarine volcano erupted while the Eddy was directly above it. The plume of steam and rock blasted up through the water with almost no warning, and most of the Water Seekers in residence died immediately. A very few managed to escape the initial blast, but were swept up later in Kezlaf's hunt for Seekers.
Despite a lack of proof, the consensus is that the disaster must have been deliberate, the result of an early test of the Eruptor. A natural eruption would have built up more slowly, pushing the water above the volcano in ways that the Eddy Seekers could not have helped but notice.
Dissolution Date
2016 Vol

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