Take a Deep Breath : Dive into The Spheres of Oblogga

"Say, what lingers in the deep shadow ? What awaits in the shallow light ?" The child asked the same questions over and over.   "You need not to know, for the far deep and the far high are both out of your reach." The tentacles of his elder sought to calm him down. "You'll live and die in the arms of Oblogga, thriving across the Expanse."   "But where are we going ? What's at the end of the Expanse ?"   "Everywhere and nowhere child. The Expanse has no end, and so has our course."   Llonari stepped out frustrated. The priest didn't satisfied him with half-answers. He swore to himself that if noone will, or can, answer him properly, he will do it himself.
 

The ocean is vast, unfathomably so and mostly unknown even for those who lives here. Down there, it is called the Expanse, a space with no limit to the sides, only a far bottom and an unreachable surface. At the first glance, it seems like a void, dark and immobile. But if you look a bit further, and open wide your eyes you will spot it. The scarce life that may vanish if you look away. In the yesteryears, the Expanse was lush, fishes of thousands of colors flourished. It was a primal age, filled with crude beauty and following blindly the cycle of life and death.

 

Then intelligent species emerged here and there, bringing the waters to a new age of prosperity and civilisation. The ocean floor was closer to the surface and shining cities bathed in the scattered light that brighten the heights. Nobody remembers what happened when this golden age came to an end. The water rose or the bottom fell, crushing the nacreous palaces under incredible pressure. Many died. Few were spared, even among the most advanced people. They faced near-extinction, and the great civilisation disappeared. But life found a way, as always.

 

The Spheres

And on the last moments, they appeared to guide us and provide us shelter through the darkest sea.
— Extract from the Spheres' canticles
 

It's hard to tell if they existed prior to the apocalypse or if they appeared with it. Either way, the Spheres were a miracle. They are gigantic beings with a sturdy body that allows them to survive in the depths, and a back covered by a thin membrane taking the shape of a bubble with a low and constant pressure. Thanks to the peculiar environment inside the membrane, survivors began to swarm toward the Spheres, eventually evolving in symbiosis. Nowadays, in a space devoid of most forms of life, the Spheres are one of the few that can roam in the currents in relative safety.

   

Once again, civilisation arose. Cities are organic, floating and thriving in the depth. But it never returned to anything close to the ancient times. What was once an unified people shattered to become xenophobic species isolating themselves from one another. Conflicts and antipathy arose, wars even, reducing the already low number of survivors to laughable amounts.

   

The Spheres themselves can't even be considered a specie entirely. They tremendously differs, both in appearance, physiology and behavior. Big enough to harbor thousands, if not millions of individuals or having barely the space for a dozen. Twin, triplet Spheres exists in a result of the merging of some smaller Spheres. Some actively swims across the Expanse, but most just float around.

   

The Spheres and their inhabitants do not only cross each others in a space so great, however. And down there, encounters can be either fortunate or deadly.

Deep Terror by バシウス (Bacius9)
   

Primals

by pxfuel

They are the most basic forms of life, lacking intelligence and survivability. While lying at the bottom of the main food chain, they have a tacit hierarchy between them. Predators and prey alike, from sharks to lower fishes, are considered Primals.

Leviathans

by pxfuel

Many believed at first that the Spheres were the biggest life form of the Expanse. They couldn't be more wrong. It was hard to confirm the existence of Leviathans, because they leave few witnesses. Some are revered, like the Sunken Gods, others are hunted in great crusades, but all are feared.

Abyssals

by pxfuel

Strange and creepy, the deformed inhabitants of the deep Abyss are probably what remains of the past civilisations that couldn't escape with the Spheres. Mere shades of their former glory, they have disturbing features and a culture so savage it's best to keep distances.

 

An expanse beyond sight

It's impossible to fathom how wide the ocean truly is. Explorers left in a straight line come back several cycles later, with nothing more to report than unknown currents and temperature variation. Maybe civilisation exists solely in an infinitesimal part of the world. Maybe said explorers dumbly circled for a long time before coming back.

 

What is certain, however, is its height. There is the surface, the origin of light and many legends, a forbidden place that bodies used to deep pressure can't reach harmlessly. There is something beyond, something unknown, and most have no problem with it.

 

Understandable, when surviving in the Expanse is enough of a struggle already. There is no measurment of how deep it is, and it doesn't matter. Where light is faint if it even exists, other senses allow a perception that doesn't rely on sight. There is more than enough space for everyone, and although Leviathan encounters may occur, the dangers are for the most part recorded. As long as one doesn't venture to deeply.

 

The Abyss covers the bottom of the ocean. At some locations the ocean floor is within the realm of the Expanse, most of it is part of the twisted domain underneath. There is no light, and sound struggles to travel. Beings there are blind and deaf, but they perceive their environment in such a bizarre way that can't be explained. Immense and horrific, the place is just like its denizens.

   

A space so grand

The Expanse is nothing like oceans we know of. It is way deeper, wider and quieter. Spheres and Leviathans rarely stumble upon each others by accident. It is next to impossible for one to find its way in a tridimensional space with no landmark, chart or senses. Thus most remains unknown. Places may be crossed by many fins, and forgotten on the spot. It is, however, a finite world, with physic boundaries restricting the Spheres in a pelagic habitat.

A forgotten past

The ancient civilisation is said to be wondrous and powerful, with advanced technology modern days can only dream of. They set the guidelines to Sphere taming. Current spheriers are using method they barely understand, unable to cut loose from their teachings. But most of it is forever gone, and that's okay. People of the Spheres have moved from this golden age long ago. They rebuilt new societies, adapted to their condition and slowly catch up to their ancestors.

 

Survival of the fittest

It is just like the old days. The strong ate the meek until they are the only ones standing. In the present days, Spheres are either too big or too grouped to be hunted, or they are the hunters.

by pxfuel

Strangers in their own home

They came from the Expanse, and live all their lives in it, but know so little. Now that the society is somewhat stable, foolish youngsters seek to venture to the depths and reclaim what was once theirs. But how will they do it, if they don't even understand the waters around them ?

 

No place for humans

Bear in mind, this is not a world of humans, nor humanoids. Having two arms and two legs is considered an alien look between protagonists of the world. In the Spheres, there are highly intelligent octopuses, dolphins, crabs and whatnot, and their perception is not the one of submarine humanoids. Their speech is nothing like our constructed languages, but will be rendered as if. Some terms will have a different meaning down there. As earthy clouds can't exist, Clouds have physically nothing in common, yet they are close enough in the way people consider them.

The Obloggian perspective

In order to concretize general concepts, most articles will have a take on what are the average Obloggian's thoughts about the subject. The twin Spheres of Oblogga are the second biggest in term of size and population in their area of the Expanse, and the location of an upcoming project in the setting. Eventually, other perspectives may be added, such as the opinion of the Strke Sphere, one of the smallest and most dreaded, or the cosmopolitan Medvièl.

 

Further readings

 


Cover image: by Jean Chevillard

Comments

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Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
25 Aug, 2021 22:05

Had to delete the other one. Sorry for pinging you twice here. This is beautifully written, my friend. I love the idea of a water world and every detail about this seemingly infinite ocean just makes me want to know more, and therefore, eager to continue.   Once I get these notifications under control i wanna dive in and learn even more. By the way, awesome quotes. That's what really got me to start with. It just pulls you in... or under as the case may be. Till next time, and there will be a next time... even if oceans are absolutely terrifying.

26 Aug, 2021 12:25

Thank you so much! I'm sooo glad you liked it! Happy that the quotes worked, I wasn't sure because I'm not really used to writing them yet.   Yeah, working on this world is both frightening and fascinating, just like actual oceans xD. I still need some time before releasing other articles, but your comment is very encouraging. I hope you'll continue to enjoy it!

I gathered some awesome articles in my Reading Challenge, want to take a look? There's also a Reading Challenge Big List combining all mentions of authors for the challenge, maybe you're in there too!
9 Sep, 2021 02:43

I absolutely adore the setting already. It is both alien yet familiar enough that you can fear it. Great work and the background image does wonders enhancing it all!

Author of Ravare.
2 Oct, 2021 22:29

Thank you! Glad you liked it and the effect worked well :)

I gathered some awesome articles in my Reading Challenge, want to take a look? There's also a Reading Challenge Big List combining all mentions of authors for the challenge, maybe you're in there too!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
3 Oct, 2021 14:33

This is a nice summary and introduction, I still found a few concepts that I did not grasps from the other articles, as well as many fascinating mysteries hopefully to be explored soon in future articles :D

To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
22 Aug, 2022 16:19

Phenomenally interesting concept, I love the Spheres especially :)


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.