Skrarrens Ethnicity in The Spheres of Oblogga | World Anvil

Skrarrens

Former rulers of the Expanse

During the Age of Wars, the Expanse was nothing like the empty void of current cycles. Numerous Spheres fought each others, who to defend themselves, who to play an active role in what they called the Grand Purpose. The Sphere of Skrarr was no different. It was late to join the party but went down in history like no others.

 


Sphere of Skrar by Rumengol via Artstation

Vessel of conquest

 

The Sphere of Skrarr is unassuming on the outside. Of medium size, its shape is close to an octopus, except with far more than eight tentacles. Assuming the Red tint of stealth, it has the ability to dim the light emitted by the gas in the interior of its membrane, effectively going dark. Living at the bottom of the Expanse, it can go deeper than most Spheres, its dive only halted by the Bladed Streams that its soft body is unable to cross. Nimbler than most, it is a predatory Sphere that wraps its tentacles around its prey before piercing the membrane and sucking in any organic matter inside. Unlike most of its kind, it doesn't kill the Sphere, as it lacks the means to do so, but renders it inhabitable instead.

 

Skrarrens are nothing like their Sphere. Descendants of the giant isopods, they grew to be even bigger, about twice the size of their ancestors. Unlike many crustaceans, they did not adopt the hive mind paradigm, which allows crabs of the same Consortium to share a single mind and produce an incredible number of drones. Instead, all skrarrens have their own personality and goals. As a result, their mind is not tailored to bend a Sphere to their will, and skrarren Spheriers tend to be lacking. Their symbiosis with the Sphere of Skrarr is only possible thanks to the Sphere itself being quite active. Spheriers act merely as counselors and cautious drivers.

 
 

Social structure

 

Skrarrens have an unconventional system. Once per cycle, some skrarrens suggest themselves to rule the spheria for the next cycle. They stand on top of a big rock and explain their motives and project for their kind. Then, all non-candidates get to choose the most capable of all by claiming their signature. The next leader is the one whose signature fills the spheria, making the will of all skrarrens theirs.

 

They then gather a group from the elite caste to form a temporary ruling caste. The specialization of each member of the caste, which goes from ten to thirty people, is up to the ruler. As they have all the power, it is not uncommon for a newcoming leader to cancel many of their predecessor's measures as their first command.

Skrarrens by Rumengol via MidJourney

Awakening of a giant

 

When War broke out, the skrarrens weren't remotely prepared. Instead of going all out, like so many others, they retreated to the depth. There, with other Spheres able to join them, they prepared for war. The Deep Alliance, as they named themselves, was a coalition of seven deep-delving Spheres led by the Sphere of Kelmt, the most warlike of them. Their goal was not as grand as the contenders above. They wished to strengthen their forces and make at least the deep Expanse a unified place, away from the petty wars of greater players. And they would have been able to reach their goals if it was not for Tklkrlt.

 

Tklkrlt, the first empress

 

She started her life as a Skrarren scout tasked with surveying the Abyss and warning the Sphere of any sight of a Leviathan. She was from a middle caste with no hope whatsoever to ascend the hierarchy and seemed satisfied with this much. Until something made her change dramatically. After a quarter-cycle of duty, she went back to her home Sphere and, not long after, murdered the current ruler to seize power. It was a brutal event that saw the slaughter of most of the ruling caste.

 

The way of the skrarren was never that violent. Internal dissensions were frequent, perhaps more than in any other spheria, but never to the point of killing each other. Before the army could recover from the shock of having their ruler killed at a critical moment, Tklkrlt gathered enough followers to secure her place. Things did not go as smoothly with the other Spheres of the alliance. Kelmt, in particular, was not pleased with all and was evocating an exclusion of Skrarr to punish the new ruler's actions.

 

That was once again settled in a brutal and radical way. In an instant, the whole Sphere of Kelmt was dragged down to the Abyss. Only the echoes of its shell being ripped apart by the Bladed Streams ever came up. A simple demonstration of what was in her power announced Tklkrlt. It was no wild Leviathan, but one that obeyed her will and will eat up any enemy. Thus hatched the Skrarren empire, as the five remaining Spheres from the alliance submitted to the will of their new empress.

 
Flock of skrarren warriors by Rumengol via MidJourney
 

Tremor of conquest

 

Skrarrens did not take long to adapt to their new leader. Blessed with extraordinarily long life, Tklkrlt saw five generations live and die under her reign. She banished the electoral system and declared herself an eternal leader. When they crawled up the Expanse, her Leviathan friend followed, leaving nothing in their wake. The unfortunate Spheres that encountered the unstoppable force were met with a choice: submit or perish. There was no fight against an unfathomable being who only needed a limb to get rid of a whole fleet.

 

At the inevitable death of the twisted empress, Skrarr was a name feared and respected across the Expanse. The empire was a herald of destruction and more had died to the Tendrils than to all others, Leviathans and Spheres combined. The relationship between the empress and the Leviathan was never clearly explained, nonetheless it was passed down to her successor, her son Tklkrrk. He swiftly disposed of the foolhardy who believed him to be meeker than his mother, then worked up to stabilize his rule.

 

Rule of terror and abundance

 

For the only time in the Age of Wars, the Expanse knew a bit of peace. The new emperor developed a network of hunters and provided his empire with amounts of food even the peaceful age could not rivalise. Still, everything has a cost, and mass hunting of primals made their number dwindle down to near-extinction in a few cycles. Nothing big enough to divert the lineage of Tklkrlt from its dream of abundance.

 

When primals went missing, they turned to their subjects. Seizing control of some of the larger Spheres in her reach, the empress Tklkrlttk was the first one to establish slavery. She turned all the inhabitants of the unfortunate spheria into livestock and let the others feed on them. As desperate Spheres began to fight each other to make an offering out of the adversary, the cohesion of the empire flinched.

 

Collapse

 

The Skrarren empire seemed immortal. Protected by the greatest Leviathan knew to the Expanse, it had nothing to fear. Except for this divine protection to fade, or worse, to turn against them. The fall began when the skip carrying empress Tklrrk disappeared alongside its escort. Still young yet already mad, she had no direct heir and the empire was confused on what to do.

 

Then another reckless crew took arms and went to attack Skrarr. But this time, instead of getting grappled by an unavoidable tendril and minced down, it got through the inside of the Sphere unscathed. Their guardian had abandoned the tyrannic rulers. Have they been defiant, lacking in their duties to it? One could only speculate on the reason, but it was just the occasion denizens of the empire needed. The Skrarrens, shielded behind an impenetrable wall of tentacles, had become complacent, unable to fight for themselves. They fled to the deep, hoping to be spared by their former protector, and the empire they took so long to establish fell apart in less than a cycle as conflicts and wars rampaged the waters once again.

Tklkrlt, first skrarren empressa by Rumengol via MidJourney

Proto-religion

 

Tklkrlt had quite the peculiar view on Spheres and Leviathans. The common way of thinking during this faithless era considered them as either tool to be used or mindless forces of destruction. The empress claimed they were higher beings, existences shadowing any civilisation of the Expanse, gods in the flesh.

 

Her ideology was forcefully taught all over the skrarren empire, and was the origin of some powerful religions that appeared later. The Spherical Church and the Cult of the Sunken Gods both took parts of Tklkrlt's discourse as their sacred foundations. Even to non-believers, she raised the status of Spheres and humbled many spheriers into considering a Sphere's mindscape, not like a puzzle to solve, but a complete psyche to reason with. It greatly improved their trade, allowing later spheriers to overcome obstacles thought absolute to spheriers of old.

 
A tendril coming from the deep by Rumengol
 

Lasting effects

 

The Skrarren empire took great care to reduce the diversity in the Expanse. Numerous species went extinct under the rule of greedy emperors, oblivious to the long-term consequences. They are one of the main reasons for the scarcity and famine experienced by their descendants. Out of paranoïa, they also exterminated all Spheres able to dive as deep as the Bladed Streams, cutting off a whole chunk of water to anything but them and some skips.

 

Before Tklkrlttk, slavery was a fringe to non-existent concept. People believed they fought their equals, albeit in the wrong. She was one of the first to deem the lives of her enemies inferior to hers, and to degrade them to workers and livestock. Although the root of slavery is now forgotten, it became such a common concept that consideration of others in the Expanse is currently the other way around. Deeply xenophobic, people tend to think of others as inferior to them before even considering the people.

Skrarrens as of now

 

After the debacle and their escape to the deep, skrarren laid low and never resurfaced for the rest of the Age of Wars. They slowly went back to their ancient system, thanks to a Memory hidden from the first empress' legacy by a group of conservatists. Rejecting the way of war, they chose to turn themselves into thinkers, philosophers, and scholars, trying to study the secret of the Leviathan. Some say they do so in the hope of taming one to get back their position as rulers of the Expanse.

 

Unlike most, the spheria remember the Age of Wars, and the greatness of their Sphere back then. It now is a second class spheria, ignored by the greatest. They tell all who listen how powerful their rule once was, but as memory fade, they are less and less believed, and their dream is slowly taking over their mind, becoming an obsession. Even their control over their Sphere is decaying as they lose grasp on reality.

 

The Obloggian perspective

 

Pah, they're pitiful. Fallen warriors basking in their former glory, that only a handful of Memories still remembers. For all we know, all of this could be made up. Just get a good look at them, they aren't even living on the Sphere of Skrarr, they're barely passengers. Let me tell you that if they truly were the harbinger of death and destruction they claim to be, no way they would have fallen so low.

 

Most of the time, we don't even consider them. They're not worth the trouble. They can hardly get out of their Sphere anyway. All they have for them is the fear that predatory Sphere indulges to meeker spherias that pay them tribute. At the end of the day, a Sphere like that would never be able to threaten our great Oblogga, so as I said, they're not worth our time.



Cover image: Skrarrens

The Age of Wars

The first war marks the Cycle 0

  • 416th Cycle
    Gathering of the Deep Alliance
    Political event

    Led by the Sphere of Kelmt, the alliance is a group of Spheres banding together against the greater Spheres.

  • 418th Cycle
    Tklkrlt seize power
    Life, Crime

    After murdering Krll, the simple scout took over the Sphere of Skrar.

  • 419th Cycle
    Destrution of the Sphere of Kelmt
    Disaster / Destruction

    The new empress displays her might by the annihilation of a whole Sphere.

  • 419th Cycle
    The new Skrar empire is born
    Founding

  • 420th Cycle
    The new Skrarr empire appears in the Expanse

  • 427th Cycle
    Death of Tklkrlt
    Life, Death

    Having lived a longer life than any other skrarren, the empress die in her repose, weakened by many diseases that twisted her body in an abnormal shape. Unlike what is common in isopods, she only laid thirty eggs during her whole life. Only five hatched, from unknown fathers. All of her offsprings died of old age long before their genitor, except for the last one, named Tklkrrk, who will then take his mother's throne.

  • 428th Cycle > 458th Cycle
    The Expanse at peace
    Life, Achievement/ Win

    With the last Sphere subjugated, the Expanse knew its first period of peace since hundreds of Obloggian Cycles. With the Sphere of Skrar forbidding conflict, noone dared to pick fights.

  • 430th Cycle > 447th Cycle
    Hunters network are in activity

    Near the end of his life, Tklkrrk achieved his lifelong project: a huge network of thousands of hunting crews all over the Expanse, tasked with delivering food to any Sphere asking it, without any regard towards quantity or sustainability. The network almost squished the Expanse dry of primals and collapsed on itself several cycles later when the lack of prey made crews turn on each other over the smallest catch.

  • 446th Cycle
    Slavery established

    To counter the oncoming food shortage, Tklkrlttk, the eightth empress of the lineage of Tklkrlt, enacted slavery and turned the weakest Spheres into livestocks.

  • 361st Cycle
    End of the lineage of Tklkrlt
    Life, Death

    Betrayed by the Leviathan, the last skrarren empress, Tklrrk, gets killed during a trip to subjugate a rogue spheria. Cut down at a young age, the empress had no heir and the Sphere of Skrarr fell into chaos, quickly followed by the rest of the Expanse.

  • 462nd Cycle
    The Sphere of Skrarr falls back into the deep

    With no suitable army or protector, skrarrens are unable to face the wrath of the whole Expanse, and retreats to the deep, where noone can reach it. As all deep delving Spheres have been destroyed, only skips could possibly get to Skrar.

  • 464th Cycle
    The Vengeful Armada is annihilated
    Disaster / Destruction

    The former citizens of the Skrarr empire unites to send a great armada destroy once and for all the Sphere of their torments. The formidable expeditionnary force, only exceeded once in size, is slaughtered by the unforgiving Tendrils. The alliance quickly crumbles to internal conflicts and the Age of Wars resume as if the empire has never been anything major. To the name of Skrarr was forgotten half a dozen Obloggian Cycles later.

  • 1243rd Cycle
    Founding of the Spherical Church
    Religious event

    Basing most of its faith on the ideology of Tklkrlt, the Spherical Church considers Spheres as godly beings descended upon them to bring salvation. Fringe and laughed at during the Age of Wars, it continuously gained adepts and power in the later cycles.

Comments

Author's Notes

The lineage of Tklkrlt is not a lineage in the conventional sense, as one of their main characteristic is the shared signature between all members. However, it adopts most of the codes and structure of a real lineage, and was considered as such by the descendants of Tklkrlt.


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Sep 29, 2022 08:48 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Fascinating glimpse in the past! I really love your mad impress, and having a portrait of her in the article even makes it better XD I love the idea of those terrible isopods XD And the fact that leviathans can be "tamed" leads to fascinating possibilities... I really like the different ways skarrens view and interact with spheres, and to see how they influenced the modern civilisations and religion :D

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