Best Of The Unicorn Jelly Forum
Particularly interesting letters and answers to questions about Unicorn Jelly
On The Nature Of Radiation and Light In Tryslmaistan
On The Issue Of Human Skin Pigmentation On Gryrnu
On Why The Sky Is Blue In The Tryslmaistan Universe
On How Much The Author Knew Before Beginning Unicorn Jelly
How Do The Jellies Talk?
On The Internal Organs Of Jellies, And Crystal Biology
On The Symbiotic Nature Of Chou
About The Gryrnese Pentacles, And Occult Symbols In General
The Nature Of Water And Chemical Elements In Tryslmaistan
Exactly How Vlax Keeps People Alive
Why There Are Clouds In The Trslmaistan Universe
On The Statistics Of Homosexuality On Gryrnu
On The State Of Gryrnese Medicine
What Are Worldplates Composed Of?
Is There Crystal Life In The Sea?
About The Art Culture Of Gryrnu
About The Clockwork Devices Of The Gryrnese
All About The Gryrnese Bosom Sow!
Rain, The Central Sea, And The Cycle Of Water
About The Day And Night Orbs
Details About Unicron J-L-Y
The Last Days Of Myrmil, and The Flight Of Unicron J-L-Y
Why Do The Gryrnese Accept That Their World Was Settled Only 300 Years Ago?
How Could Lupiko Know Anything About Uni's History Before They Met?
How Do Earthly Plants Manage To Grow In A Universe Of Cold Lumonic Light?
What Is 'Death' For Crystalline Life Forms?
What Does The Gryrnu Language Sound Like?
What Do Slimes Actually Do?
Why Do Jellies Only Have Two Eyes Instead Of More?
Why Chou Can Never Have A Baby
How Does The Gryrnese Government Work?
If Light Is Different In The Tryslmaistan Cosmos, How Can Humans See?
What Do The Jellese Eat?
Who Were The 'Faeries'?
How Do Jellies Reproduce?
How did the Tratonic Bomb that destroyed Myrmil actually work?
Why do the Gryrnese use a base seven numerical system?
How do Gryrnese marriage ceremonies go?
What is the species of the ants on Gryrnu?
Why is the Stormfall such a problem?
Why was Wai-Wai so hated by Neve?
Are There Libraries On Gryrnu?
How Do The Gryrnese Wipe Their Asses?
What about Menstruation in Tryslmaistan?
"Can't get sunburned, eh? Why is that? Just curious...and if I may add to the question (since I think the answers are somewhat related) -- just how does light work in Tryslmaistan, anyway? What is it "made" of? I recall no mention of an electromagnetic force as we know it on Earth, so I'd guess light can't be electromagnetic waves like it is on Earth. Are there trinal paravective waves, maybe?" -Tursiops0
Radiation works differently in the Tryslmaistan Universe than in our own Mundis Universe, but ultimately serves many, but not all, of the same basic functions.
In our universe, such radiation as light, in all of its forms, such as visible light, x-rays, radio waves, and so forth, are all made of various frequencies of one thing: photons.
A photon is a most curious creature. Photons are energy, and they have a transcendent nature in that they are both particles, and waves...or, if you prefer, both and neither. They are something outside the common imagination: they are 'wavicles'.
Depending on how light is measured, it can act like a particle, like a bullet or a tiny lump or grain, OR the very same light can act as a -wave- in the fabric of spacetime...entirely the opposite thing from a particle. A wave of light can pass through two (or more) holes in a screen -at the same instant in time- just like a wave on the ocean can pass through the posts of a pier...because a wave is an effect upon something else...the water. But a particle is a discreet thing, and photons can pile up like boulders (in effect). How can something real be a thing, like a grain of sand, and at the same time also NOT be a thing, but be an effect, such as a wave, passing though a medium, such as water? Only if it is both and neither, indeed, something right outside of our common labels and definitions.
Essentially, a photon is a hyperdimensional fold of spacetime, void curled in on itself, a living variable in the equation of existence. Photons is weird stuff.
Tryslmaistan has no photons, rather it has lumons. Lumons are not particles, nor are they waves...they are lines and angles. The photon exists as two contradictory things at the same instant, because it operates under the rules of the quantum realm, and thus seems paradoxic. The lumon is also paradoxic, being that it is an infinitely straight line, and -also- an angle with -no- lines running out from it. The lumon is also infinitely long, and because of this, there are no 'speed of light' issues in the Tryslmaistan universe...sight is instantaneous. The frequency of the photon is created by its wavelength, when it is measured as a wave, but the frequency of the lumon is created by the degree of the angle, when it is NOT measured as a line.
Because photons can act like particles, they can smash through things, like tiny bullets, and cause damage. That is what a sunburn is. Cells damaged by tiny bullets of light ripping though them and wrecking things. That is why sunburns can develop into cancer...one of the things inside a cell that can get ripped up is the DNA, which is the control program for cellular machinery.
Lumons cannot act like 'bullets', and cannot punch though tratonic matter, the matter that makes up everything -including the converted humans- in the Tryslmaistan universe. Thus, no sunburn.
So, you might ask, how can lumon radiation pass though crystal, or the lens of an eye then? Shouldn't everyone be blind as a consequence?
To understand that, you need to understand that light, photonic light as in our universe, does not actually ever 'pass' though our eye lenses or through glass! That is an illusion.
In reality, photonic light is absorbed by the outer surface of glass, or your eye, and the potential energy kicks atom after atom after atom in a line, until -on the opposite side of the glass- an equal photon to the one that hit the surface is released. It isn't the same photon that hit the glass, it is another photon with the same energy, wavelength, and direction. When you see, whether through a window, or through the lens in your own eye, you are seeing a copy of the light that hit the window or your lens, not the orignal light at all. Seriously.
When lumonic light hits a tratonic window, or lens, in Tryslmaistan, it induces a planar inversion of the traton it hits. This planar inversion is passed from traton to traton, until on the opposite side, the potential energy is released as another equal lumon. Just like how photons work, in effect, but using a different methodology to achieve the same net result.
One of the first lessons Creatrixes and Creators learn, when beginning the study of the construction and design of universes, is that parallels of function are commonplace, yet the methods used to implement these functions are infinite (Aleph 0, not any multiple infinity, just standard infinity). There always has to be a system for distant perception, and ultimately, however it works, it pretty much ends up serving the function of something not entirely unlike light.
"Do absorbed lumons still create heat? As in, can I still take a lens and a piece of paper and focus enough lumons to a point on the paper to make a fire?" -Rossperk
Yes, the absorption of lumons does increase the local entropy, albeit at a reduced level than in our universe. However, the frequencies produiced by the sun and moon orbs associated with every worldplate are very visible-light range, and thus, lacking the equivalent of infra-red, or a powerful output, are like so-called 'cold light' -the kind of light that comes from charged tubes, or bioluminescence. The heat transfet is very, very tiny. However, it is the cumulative effect of this tiny amount that makes the entire Tryslmaistan cosmos have a pleasant ambient temperature.
Now, you are prolly thinking at this point, fine....tiny amount of heat from those orbs, but it is a closed universe, a closed system, why are they not broiling in a cumulative hellish inferno of heat that cannot go anywhere. Not to mention the energy released by Shatterel cycles, movement, biology, and everything else that can happen or occur?
The answer, is in the Veils....a VERY large-scale phenomena that seperate entire worldplate -clusters- from each other. The Veils, which are listed in the Powers-Of-Ten Cosmic Zoom map section, act as heat sinks due to some rather unique energy transformation dynamics. Ambient heat is taken by the Veils and converted to high frequency Tryslmeric Charge, also called 'Electanic Charge', the potential of which powers the light production of the orbs. As the orbs circle the worldplates, they broadcast light, a very miniscule bit of heat, and low frequency Tryslmeric. or 'Electanic' Charge, which builds up in the Worldplates. The Worldplates act like gargantuan crystal capacitors, and when they reach critical mass, they discharge, creating Shatterel. The Shatterel gradually dissipates into the atmospheric void, as heat, which eventually reaches the Veils. A balanced, perpetual cycle with no beginning, a perpetual motion machine, a closed energy loop. It never varies, and never changes, and is regular as clock-work.
Always, as the Jellies state. Always.
"So, is the Tryslmeric Charge capacitated in the plate itself, and discharged into the air around the plate at the breaking point?"
Yes...the discharge into the air is what causes the Shatterel to form, three times a 'year'.
"Wait, let me get this straight: The orbs create low freq. T-charge, which the plates absorb and eventually convert to heat (via Shatterel), which is absorbed by the Veils that convert it to high freq. T-charge, which is absorbed by the orbs that convert it to low freq. T-charge again (and light, which gets back into the cycle as heat later on). (Sounds like a Dr. Alchemist strip! ^_^ )"
"About the Veils, looking at the 10^7 Tetra map, is it the phenomena that creates the Voids (like the Kaltis, Yumu, and Semtis Voids), or is it what seperates them into little groups of 3s? Or both?"
The Celestial Veils are wispy, curtain-like phenomena, rather like unbelievably gargantuan draperies made of cotton-candy energy/mist. They are organized in a fractal manner, so that smaller and smaller sheets 'decend' from the Great Curtains until these dinky ones ultimately invade the regions near small (3) groups of Worldplates sit. The Great Veils are like walls, dividing the Voids, as you suggest, and were a deadly nightmare to the original colonists from Myrmil. A lot of the ark-ships did not make it through more than a few Veil crossings.
"Then the various skin pigmentations are because the people's ancestors where from a planet that had mundis light? Because light rays aren't harmeful, why would different skin pigmentations evolve?" -Kaleidors
Exactly correct, Becky! One of the original groups that ended up in the Tryslmaistan Universe included a divot from what was once/will be/is now called Nigeria, in Africa. Nigerians have the most incredibly, lovely, absolutely black...almost blue-black...pigmentation. It is remarkably dark. Yet, in all of Unicorn Jelly, we see no strongly dark-skinned people. Chou is pretty dark skinned for Gryrnu, and she is a very light brown. Millian has a bit of pigment, and a trace of kinky (oval crossection) hair can be found in Zuzux. These are the last reminants of the Nigerian group, diluted and mixed with the genetics of the other groups from earth, over a very, very long time. Because radiation, at least in the usual 'punch a hole through matter' concept is not a part of Tryslmaistan physics, skin pigmentation serves no purpose...but neither is there a powerful engine for evolution either! Thus there is no evolutionary pressure to eliminate dark skin, either, other than it costs a few extra calories. As you can see, despite the limited selection, the Gryrnese are not starving. Anymore, anyway.
So that is why everyone in Unicorn Jelly appears to have such a mixed genetic background, why there are not deeply dark skin colors, and why the reminants of dark skin have not faded from evolutionary pressure (there isn't any!...well not much...).
Gryrnu is the ultimate 'melting pot' for peoples and cultures from earth. Because they only had each other, there was not room or patience for forming ghettos, for isolation, for fussing over which sneech had a star on it's belly. The were lucky to survive and thrive at all.
"Why is the sky blue?" -Rossperk
I love this question. It is oft presented as the quintessential childhood question. Here is the answer:
The Tyndall Effect. In 1859, John Tyndall figured out that light passing though a particulate medium...say water with dust in it...would scatter light. The scattering would be such that red (low frequency) light would be more affected than blue light (high frequency). Air is basically just a very low density water, if you think about how both act, what they are made of, and how they flow.
Now for years the idea was that blue sky was caused by dust in the air, or water vapor particles...but calculations by none other than Einstein himself proved that the very particles of air alone...molecules of oxygen, atoms of nitrogen, molecules of carbon dioxide.... were sufficient to create a full-blown (pun intended) Tyndall Effect, regardless of any dust and water vapor. Atoms are particles too!
Now there -was- a bit of fuss over why the sky is not violet, which is and even higher frequency than blue, instead of just blue...and that is answered by three things. One is that human eyes are less sensitive to violet than to blue. The other is that the atmosphere absorbs quite a lot of violet light, and thus less gets through (the sun puts out white light, which just means that it puts out all the colors at the same time) you can chalk that up to the nature of the gasses themselves. The last factor is that the sun, while it does put out all colors of light, does not do so equally...it just does not pump out -quite- as much violet as it does blue in the mix of light it produces. G-type stars (like our sun) produce unique light balances due to what trace atoms they contain, beyond the usual hydrogen and helium.
So, why is the sky blue in the Tryslmaistan universe? Because the Tyndall effect still applies there too! Tryslmaistan has some odd physics, yes, but not all the physics of the Tryslmaistan universe are unique...most of the physics there are identical -or very close- to the physics of Mundus, our own universe.
However, you might notice that in all of the color pictures I have done, the blue color is not quite the same as that of our earth. For one thing, sunsets (or orbsets if you prefer) do not get all reddish, rather they tend more towards being teal or blue-green, with touches of violet. Further, the blue of the Tryslmaistan universe sky is more teal than that of earth overall, and as it darkens, becomes more deeply blue...kind of a Prussian Blue. There are also more definite traces of violet, especially off of reflected light, such as from the crystal plants in the deserts. You will see this violet hue in many of the color pictures if you look. These subtle touches relfect the unique character of the Tryslmaistan universe.
Indeed, as the day progresses on Gryrnu, the sky will shift as the sun crosses the Worldplate from a greenish teal in the morning, to a pale teal-blue at midday, to a strong teal and violet at orbset, and deep intense blue, never pitch black, at night. For a tour of this, go re-read the Great Manly Monster Slaying Expedition which shows the passing of one full day, from morning to evening, in color. This is the sequence where Yasui lost the use of his arm, by the way. Pay attention to the light, the sky color, and the way the light reflects and refracts off of objects. I am proud of that Alt Universe sequence.
Side note...yes, that is an example of an Alternate Universe event that ALSO happened in a very similar fashion in the Prime Universe story, albeit in the background because it was not important to the main plotline. Some Alt Universe stories are relfections of similar events that happen in the background of the Prime Universe. Others are utterly different from the Prime Universe. That is the nature of Alternate Universes. Back to the topic...
The Jellies actually see the sky of their universe as far more violet, almost pinkish, but humans see it as these teal and blue colors, because they have eyes that evolved on earth, and thus are limited by that evolution.
If you look carefully, you will see that I have been most careful in representing these details!
So now you know...not only for earth, but for Gryrnu as well.
I love answering these sorts of questions...its fun! ^.^
"Random question: did you have all of the unique physics, culture, history, etc. of Tryslmaistan figured out in advance from the very beginning, or did the Muse not bring all that up until the strip was already rolling? Similarly, has the Muse been calling the shots from the very first strip, or were you working alone at first?" -Bigearlx
My curious partner, my Muse, bent my head to the task from the start.
I did not want to do Unicorn Jelly, and I all I knew was my sorrow and anger over the loss of my game project. I was miserable beyond comprehension. Then, one day, I had a kick in the pants feeling, and it nagged at me. I started sketching on napkins, and needed to start carrying a drawing book in my purse. I started making the first character designs for what would one day become all of the cast of Unicorn Jelly. Each character just popped out, and the pressure to have to act upon them built. At this time I started noticing that there were online comics out there.
I had no idea what the farg I was doing with the first Unicorn Jelly strip. At first I figured that the whole thing would be just a D&D fantasy romp. I thought it would be silly video-RPG stories about a goofy witch and her little pet. I had no idea that the guards protecting her would become so important...I named them as 'disposable' characters after all (Redcloak -'redshirt'- and FODDERman!)...I was expecting to have them constantly being killed off and suddenly back, like Kenny from South Park.
Then Chou showed up. And the Shatterel storm. Suddenly the complexities of the Powers of Ten map began to take on an eerie consistancy, and meaning. As time has progressed, more has been revealed, to me as well, and so I fel this wonderful sense of discovery of something that seems so 'already made'...as though I were just tapping into something neater than I could think up. I really like that feeling. I have come to like not knowing what the next panel will be until it is finished and I get to read it. The one time a whole set of strips was just shoved at me in my mind, all finished, it was boring to actually draw them...just work. The Way the Muse usually does things, I have this mix of terror and awe and wonder as I draw the strip....I haven't a clue what is going on, but I just try to trust that it will not only work, but make sense, include foreshadowing of future events, and create a complex, multilayered story that will 'learn me somptin' if only silly me can figure it out.
So far, it has worked, like magick if you will excuse the term, for two years. I cannot explain it, so I try not to...it is too neato to ask too many questions, you know? I have turned from begrudging the work to looking forward to it, knowing that it alone saved me from an almost suicidal despair. I suppose there is one obvious magick in Unicorn Jelly after all..the fact that it gets made at all. I am reading it along with you, as it goes. I do get more hints and clues, true, but I am always being surprized.
"How do Jellies talk?" -Bigearlx
Normally, before humans, they used the entire surface of their body to generate -and recieve- sound. They were like living monophonic speakers, vibrating.
The Jellies we have seen have all been affected by the human occupation, and conquest of Gryrnu. They are the last on 'The Rez' of their tribe, and have adopted many of the Humans mannerisms and ways. They form mouths and move them in time to their vibration-speech. They use Talcryl commonly, instead of Jellese. Many had forgotten their native language entirely, in fact. Unlike most Amerindian tribes on Earth, though, the Jellies did not lose their original religion, and kept it, as you saw with KayWai.
Jellies do not need the mouths they form...they do it because they are trying to appease a very rational terror of the Humans that came and slaughtered them for land and resources. Since Jellies are not keen on change, they fall into patterns and hold them once formed.
"I would assume that they are evolved from the crystal life within the universe, essentially they are made of the same stuff as that within the crystals, except seem to have developed a reasonably thick outer coating to prevent themselves from spilling everywhere. There has been no suggestion within the strip as to whether or not Crystal life contains any organs at all, at least that we could recognise." -Lordroberts
First up, it is a strange thing to contemplate what is meant by a true, 'steady-state', universe, which is the sort of universe that Unicorn Jelly takes place in. Tryslmaistan had no 'big bang', no origin point, no defined start. It is/as always/was. There is no natural evolution (in the way we know the term) in the Tryslmaistan universe. The advent of humans, however, has set everything on it's collective ear. Vlax acts to mutate earth life, and thus is an engine for the evolution of Red/Green life, if an odd one. And, as we have seen with KayWai and Uni, some Red/Green life can mutate crystal or White life. This has never happened before, and is unnatural to the entire universe of Tryslmaistan.
Although Tryslmaistan has no evolution, because there is no engine to drive evolution there, it does have a kind of atemporal structural progression in the sum construct of its cosmology. This can be seen in that all White life is based on a common plan, and all versions of it are extentions of that structure. The basic layout of crystal life is a denser shell covering a lighter, fluidic center.
If you remember the Great Manly Monster Slaying Expedition, when the Teal Scizzortiger was burst open, it was seen to be a hollow shell, filled with a creamy transluscent goo. This goo is what one would find inside everything from a Crystal Basilisk to a Scut-Scut on the beach...and of course, Uni. KayWai, being heavily contaminated from a diet heavy in Deifica, as well as a unique mutation, is filled with a greenish-blue jell, mush less opaque.
The goo does not have discrete organs as we know them. There is no permanent 'liver' or 'spleen' or 'heart'. As organs are needed, they form, constructed on the fly by the replicator units within the goo. When the organs are not in need, they are taken apart, so that other organs can be built. This would be ridiculously inefficient in our high entropy Mundis universe, where energy and life are so limited. In the Tryslmaistan universe, however, this system makes a sttrange sort of sense.
Now the more complex the crystal entity, the more likely that it will contain 'replicator nodes' mixed into the goo. While not precisely organs, they are pre-constructed universal mega-components that can be used to speed up the construction of any number of temporary organs formations. Universal chunks of commonly used code, for the programmers out there. Ther Slimes do not have any of these, the large crystal beasties have some, and the Jellies have a lot of them. Thus, Jellies can be killed by slicing them in half, because the goo spills out and the replicators inside cannot make use of the nodes they depend on and fail. Slimes can survive any amount of whacking because they are just a big puddle of replicators, no nodes, and thus can just rebuild missing mass...as we saw with Uni. However, being more simple, they are not capable of being as intelligent, because, in effect, they cannot process information as well.
Which brings us to how these creatures think. They do not have a discreet brain, rather they disrtibute their thought-like functions over the whole of their substance, with connections and processing systems being created and dissolved constantly. The non-stop nature of this allows memory to exist, as memory is always being copied from one transient structure to the next. In effect, they have a volatile memory...if one was ever interruped somehow in mid-process, it would likely lose its memory!
So, transient organs, goo inside a 'shell' or 'skin', and no evolution but an obvious structural 'progression' instead...at least until the Humans showed up...and changed everything.
"I got the impression, and you'll forgive the imagry, that the numerous crystals were basically maggots devouring Chou's body so they could become more Basilisks. Uni apparently has the ability to heal, but a natural ability wouldn't really differentiate. I think Uni healed the crystals and Chou at the same time, resulting in a bonding, the creation of a new life form that was at once human (elf) and basilisk. A hybrid." -Crowfrog
Crowfrog is basically bang on. The Crystal Basilisk reproduces rather like some Earthly wasps...who lay their eggs inside the living body of a spider they have paralyzed, to provide -fresh- food for hatching larva.
In the case of the Basilisk, the 'egg' is a soulution of crystal replicators...kind of like natural nanobots...that make use of the available, concentrated minerals and salts to manufacture a new, baby Basilisk. Rather than being like a bunch of maggots swarming, it is more like a single unified web, or net, of crystalline fibers and nodes growing throughout the host body. Normally the host would be a native crystal life form...like the crystal 'crabs', or other such creatures, all possessed of a hard shell and a liquid-crystal interior.
A human body is even wetter and softer and has a decent concentration of minerals in the bones...no wonder little Amalthea Yaru...eventually 'Chou'...was implanted. Pretty tempting to a Basilisk.
Uni's 'serum' managed to arrest the growth and spread of the basilisk fetus, and stablized Chou's own metabolism. A state of balance was achieved, where the two life forms, human and basilisk embryo, could exist together, equally. Since the basilisk life is alien, human antibodies and immune response is useless to eliminate it, and vice versa. The two are now a hybrid, and neither could survive if the other was removed...there is not enough of the original Amalthea left to keep her organs running if the basilisk was removed, and there is not enough basilisk developed to survive without the human support.
Chou is now a unique creature, alone in all the multiverses, alone in all of her own time and space. She belongs to a new species with a population of exactly one. Since she is sterile, she cannot reproduce, so she is all there will ever be of her life form. On the positive side, she can probably expect to live as long as her basilisk half...upwards of 300-400 years. Or more, because her own biological family is pretty long lived too. She will be alive for centuries after Lupiko is composted.
(In Response to a long discussion concerning the Gryrnese 3-sided pentacle (!), the uses of magick sysmbols in general, and the origins of their use...)
All About Pentacles, Tryslmaistan Or Earthly.
Lots of talk about this topic, so I decided to put in my own words. It's kind of something I have studied a bit, so...
Pythagoras and his bad boy posse basically had their own custom religion going, because do-it-yourself cults were really big among the Greek philosophy otaku. For these folks, geometry was pretty exciting stuff, and they found in the study such beauty that it inspired religious feelings in them. So, to make the whole of one of the most vital elements of western culture into a pop-culture factoid, these Greek boys made a pile of dice and sat around telling fortunes with them. Those dice were later made REALLY popular by a certain pundit named Plato about 80 years later, and that is how the 'Platonian Solids' (instead of Pythagorean solids) eventually became the dice we use in Dungeons and Dragons.
Now Pythagoras and his buds also liked playing with flat geometry too, and they especially liked relating the dice they loved with flat shapes. Their fave-rave 3-D shape was the Dodecahedron..the 12-sided die. To them, it somehow symbolized the cosmos, the Ultimate, and what we might translate as god, more or less. Now a D12 is made up of 12 perfect pentagons...five sided polygons. 12 was a bigtime magic number (12 months in a year, comes from all of this) and the fact that the shape that meant 'god' was made of pentagon suggested that five was a big deal too. After all, humans -we ultimate life form types- have five toes and five fingers and stuff, so here was this uber-cool connection between god and man and cool crap like that.
So, lots of folks had lots of fun over the centuries playing around with the symbol for Mankind, the pentagon. They played with drawing lines between the points and ended up making a star shape...or rather we draw stars that way because it was all such a big cool idea at the time. That was the pentagram. They took the star and drew a circle around it and that looked REALLY cool...thus the pentacle got super famous.
Now there were these cats out in the desert, recently escaped from slavery under Egyptian rule, and they were into all kinds of mystical stuff. However, these Hebrew folks wanted their own magick, rather than all that crazy Egyptian stuff, so the created a whole form of magery called the 'Kabbalah'. Lots of magick playtime later, we have every kind of star, including the well known 'Star Of David', the hexagram.
Now some of these Jewish tribes, always on the run, went all over the place, and influenced everyone and everything as they went. With their culture came also their Magick, and this affected medieval Europe in a big way. Soon everyone from gypsies to the members of the royal court were playing with the stuff, and because the crusades caused Europeans to check out books from Islamic libraries, the western world got all the original Pythagoras stuff back too. How did the world lose all of the Greek stuff you may ask? You see, there as this little cult called Christianity, back near the end of Rome, and it got a little certain that it had the One And Only Truth. In order to celebrate this Fact, they threw a little party, and asked the proto-German Huns (who were real big on Christianity) to come over and help them celebrate being so very damn correct. Well, My ancestors being what they are, things got a little out of hand, and they basically burned down the single biggest library in the whole world, and also any others that they could get to, on the grounds that there was stuff inside that did not agree 100% with their Super-True Christian Beliefs. Oopsie! The Dark Ages, the loss of all knowledge, eating bugs and living like animals for a few hundred years, a real big setback for the west.
Anyway, the point is they all got it back, mostly, when the Crusades went borrowing books, and that REALLY made all the mystical symbol stuff seem really neato! Now it was the stuff of court and king- on the sly, of course, since being caught actually playing with magickal stuff pretty much got you burned at a stake. Until about 1959, when the Inquisition finally was officially ended. My birth year.
Still all those centuries of playing with pentacles had really gotten into the culture, and when a bunch of English-type folks started re-inventing what was left of old legends, myths and stories into the new cult on the block, the gentle nature-religion called Wicca, or Witchcraft, they naturally made use of all the best magick patterns in history, and the best looking one simply has to be the pentacle..I mean, it is SO cool Americans put the symbol on their planes in the various World Wars and minor wars, and it still is the symbol for the American Air Force. Guess why the Pentagon....is one. It just looks cool.
So what does this pentacle actually mean, anyway? The Earthly Wiccan one (as opposed to the Tryslmaistan wiccan one) has a star inside a circle. In a nutshell, the star is Mankind (kind of looks like a standing person, you know), and the power of the Will, and the circle is the Universe, Goddess, and the sacred moon. the points of the star can mean stuff too, if you like. It is supposed to be a happy symbol, meaning life, and love, and good, wholesome magick. Of course, those wacky Christians did not like this any more than they liked those Roman Libraries, so we have all the scary movies about devil cults using pentacles. Problem is that Wiccans do not believe in Christian stuff, so they don't believe in any devil at all. Satanists are really still Christians, because they still play with the bible...just from the opposite side of the book. Witches don't even care about all that god and devil stuff at all, and the bible is just a story to them. Just paper. So the real meaning of the pentacle to the people who claim it is the happy symbol for life magick.
Now, just to be contrary..there always are folks who want to be, you know?....some folks decided that all that scary movie stuff as pretty cool. What can I say? So, in order to differentiate themselves from the 'regular' forms of Wicca, they turned the pentacle 'upside down' to symbolize going with 'black magick'... magick targeted at dark purposes. Regular Wicca would see such folks as pretty silly, because one of the basic rules of Earth Wicca is that whatwever someone does, comes back to them three times over...so doing black magick would logically be pretty stupid...since the person doing it would suffer more than the target. But there ya go, humans are perverse.
OK, with me so far? On Tryslmaistan, on Gryrnu, the pentacle is a Trinary Pentacle....this means that the symbol is a triangle instead of a pentagram, but serves the same cultural purpose...a sign of magick and of life. The Gryrnu Wiccans call it that because the word has survived, barely from long ago. Indeed all the words on Gryrnu are distorted words from Earth languages....Greek, Finnish, Japanese, Chinese, English, French...and a few others too. Since you have seen Chou go on about the Alpabe runes, I think most of you have figured out that humans are not native to the Tryslmaistan Universe, and only barely survive because Vlax keeps their organs running amidst different physical laws than we have on Earth, in the Mundis Universe, where we all live.
The early people who ended up in the Tryslmaistan Universe tried to make sense of it, and in doing so, they resorted to all the stories and myths they knew...and that is why there are 'Witches' and 'Alchemists', why they believe in Magick (anything a person does not understand is Magick, or so I am told by my Steampunk-Electro-Atomic-Radio-Quantum Computron!).
And yes, the Wiccans of Gryrnu see the circle as the Universe, and also the moon orb, and the triangle as a Worldplate. it only makes sense...they are trying to make order of their universe.
Just like Pythagoras and his buds did....and we all still do...today.
Actually, this has been addressed obliquely in several things...several Alternate Universe strips, the article on the site about the physics of the Tryslmaistan universe, and so forth.
"Alrighty!!! First, what is the elemental make-up of water in the Unicorn Jelly universe? Is it the equivilant of H20 using their elements, or diffrent? Also, I don't remember you actuly saying this (you might have) but are there atoms in the Unicorn Jelly universe? If not, or if the physical laws and elements are diffrent enough from ours to effect this, what would happen to H20 if it was suddenly transported to tryslmaistan? Would it be ripped apart from the change of physical laws, or what? How about people, or a book of advanced physics (hehehe)?" -Stevetrm
In a nutshell, the universe of Tryslmaistan is based on 'tratons' rather than 'atoms', or more correctly, tratons are the tryslmaistan version of atoms. Where atoms are closed wavicle shells surrounding a particulate nucleus, tratons are polyhedral forms made of charged layered planes of dimensional energy that exude repultractive forces.
There are over a thousand different tratonic elements on the Tryslmaistan periodic table, and thus conversion from our universe (Mundis) to Tryslmaistan is not unlike taking a 16 color bitmap and loading it into a 256 color paint program...there are a LOT of possible 'colors' to 'map' to.
In the case of air, we have seen that a universe spanning atmosphere of Tranium, Parbon, and Hurium gas dominates Tryslmaistan space. Of these tratonal elements, tratonically remapped earth life can metabolise tranium and parbon...the rough equivalents of Mundis oxygen atoms and carbon dioxide molecules.
Tryslmaistan water is made of the elements Quanogen, Norogen, and Balorium. The three tratons form a tetrahedronal molecule where the corners are Qua-Qua-Nor-Bal. This is used like water by the remapped earthly life forms, and also by the crystalline native life forms...one thing both actually have in common. Both crystal life and earthly life use the same organic solvent....which is very fortunate, because if this bit of luck had not been so, we would have no story to tell at all. It is not an unlikely thing, though, since the closest analogue to water is so common, both in the air, and in liquid form....the remapping would almost certainly find this 'color' the closest match.
By the way, Transversal Protean Cosmologic Transmogrification, or TPCT is a natural effect that occurs whenever matter from one universe is brought into another universe. It happens very rapidly, and releases a lot of energy into exterior (both Ana and Kata) dimensions when it occurs. The remapping is not deliberate, neither is it random..rather is is closest analogue based. TPCT occurs because matter is a direct expression of a given universe, so whenever matter is tranferred between universes, it not so much 'becomes' new matter as creates an equivalent expression of a specific pattern within a new cosmological medium. Thus TPCT is not true transmogrification in the deepest sense, but rather a translation of a pattern, such as matter. A better name for it is 'Multiversal Translation'.
Um, but all of that is for second semester Creatrixes (and Creators), where you have to bone up on multiversal mechanics and basic paradimensional cognigenesis. Sorry, probably boring if it is not your major.
"You have mentioned that humans are not native to the Tryslmaistan Universe, and let on that they're from here, our universe (whatever it's called) <Mundis>. You also have definitely made it clear that humans there cannot survive without Vlax. The weird part is that you said that if matter were instantly transported from here to there, it would be converted to their matter, and work for a brief instance before it completely stopped. So, I bet we're all wondering how the first humans from here to there survived long enough to get vlax in their system."
Remember back when Lupiko and Chou were making the long hike back from the Evercliffs, all beaten and hurt, passed by the secret tea growing facility, and such? They finally collapsed, because, what with everything that had happened to them, Lupiko had forgotten to bring any Vlax from the desert. It was growing all around them, but she was so messed up, she just forgot. By the time they got to the forested lands, they were in trouble. Eventually, Sisu saved them with fresh Vlax. This was our first view in Unicorn Jelly of the 'Weakness'.
Now the Weakness happens because the nearest analog (in Tryslmaistan) of our atoms of copper and iron are metallic/crystalline tratons that are almost, but not quite 'right' for the kind of bonds they have to make to terrestrial organic molecules. Hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying molecule that makes blood red, uses one single iron atom, amidst 100 other atoms....the whole molecule acts as a nanomachine: it traps an oxygen molecule (O2)like a bear trap, then releases it. The traton that replaces iron mostly works, but gradually gets unseated from the surrounding molecule.
What reseats it, and makes the molecule work again, is Vlax. Vlax molecules act like a steadying frame that hold the traton in place, but do not otherwise interfere. The body gradually excretes Vlax, over time, though.
Now it takes time for a significant portion of the molecules of hemoglobin in an animal to become unbalanced, and so the person or creature will gradually feel more and more tired for no reason. Then they get dizzy, lightheaded, and start having fainting spells. Finally, coma, and eventually death.
Now this process takes several weeks before coma occurs, so one can imagine the original transplanted humans scrambling to find something, ANYTHING to cure the symptoms. Some people, and some animals, would be affected sooner...the 'canary in the coal mine' concept. So they would be very eager to try anything to save their lives.
Eventually, they would try Vlax. Vlaxifurm, the domes that Vlax comes from, are unusual because they are soft, filled with gooey ooze, and almost seem organic in an earthly way, in some aspects. It is reasonable that the First People may have tried Vlax even right off.
This is not counting the possibility that some of the transplanted humans, who apparently came from a very high level of technology, above ours, and thus most likely from our future, might have had some sort of equipment to help them deduce what was going on as well.
As to what 'actually' happened, we can never (due to things you will eventually learn) find out for sure, but we can make these conjectures.
"Um, in today's comic (8/28/2001), uh... why are there clouds? That is, why would a world that has no other weather besides the shatterel have clouds? Unless, of course, these clouds are not made of water particles (or that universe's equivalent). Also, is it me, or do those clouds look like they're blowing? And, wouldn't blowing clouds mean the existence of 'wind', a word that shouldn't even be in their language (since the only moving air is from breathing or moving objects)?" ---Ross Perkins
Even in a windless universe, clouds would form as discrete masses of water vapor. Since there is an absolute universe-wide 'up' and 'down' the clouds would have orientation. However, they get stretched out, not by wind, but by planovective force. Planovection is one of the physical laws unique to Tryslmaistan...like linovection, the force that causes the absolute 'up and down'. Linovection is a stretching of spacetime along one single axis, with all the lines of hyperdimensional distortion being parallel. But planovection is like a universe being layered, like sandstone or a cake. If spacetime is a static 'block universe' ala Einstein, then Tryslmaistan is a crystal block that is stretched in one direction, and 90 degrees to that, layered. The result, planovective force, is what has arranged the largest masses into 'plates'...since there is no mass-based gravity, stuff in space does not normally form spheres, as in our universe.
Now planovection normally only affects objects above a certain scale, just as quantum pheneomena in our universe only really show up below a certain scale...but quantum effects are still there on the macro scale, and Tryslmaistan planovection is still there on the micro.
Since it is 'weaker' on the small scale, it can only affect tiny, loose, charged particles, and water vapor fits that bill. Planovection makes the clouds streak along flat, decrete planes, over time, but that time is longer than the clouds exist, so the result is roughly earthlike cloud formations, at least most of the time. One would think that there is no rain, because the temperature is constant in the normal Tryslmaistan universe, but rain does fall, usually only over Worldplates, due to factors of droplet size, and static charge release. There is no thunder or lightning, however. Tryslmaistan is a static universe, 'steady-state' as they would say in cosmological physics. The temperature is always the same, everywhere. The clouds form, the clouds fade and re-form, as the particles are affected by the various forces, and by moving objects causeing brief 'winds'....specifically the day and night orbs around each worldplate. These churn the atmospheric void, but collectively do not cause a uniform 'wind' that moves in one direction or another.
Shatterel is not water vapor, but the air itself, and it melts back into air, once the charge is lost. The charge comes from those day and night orbs spinning about a worldplate, acting like a dynamo. The built up charge reaches critcal three times a 'year' and disburses as an effect upon the local atmosphere next to a worldplate...Shatterel.
It is always as dependable as clockwork, always exactly the same, always the same pattern.
Unless something is very, very, very wrong.
(In response to a discussion concerning the larger number of homosexual people in the population of Gryrnu compared to Earth, and the Kinsey Stats used in the Character Information Area)
Everyone's theories on the Kinsey scale issue are most interesting indeed!
On earth, at least in the America of the 1950's when Kinsey and Pomeroy did the Kinsey Report, the average Kinsey number was around 2. If I remember it was something like 2.2, 2.3 somewhere in that range. Mostly heterosexual, some repressed bisesexual tendancies. very few people came up as either a 1 or a 6 (1 is absolutely het, 6 is absolutely homo).
It is true that the average Kinsey on on Gryrnu is higher than on earth, it is closer to 3.1, wich means most folks are bisexual. There are many more gay folk than on earth...the percentage on earth is around 10%. For Gryrnu, 30% of the population is gay. This is actually a significant bias.
The why of it is complex. One factor is environmental stress. Homosexuality is caused not by genes, but by prenatal homones. In a nutshell, in animals, including humans, when stress,either emotional or biochemical, is applied as specific 'windows' in fetal development. In rats, this can be done with as little stres as moving a cage from one room to another. The key is that the stress has to occur at just the right moment in brain development. There are three such windows. One controls internal gender, or gender identity. Another is where the brain develops the function if which sex it will be attracted to directly. The third determines behavoral characteristics such as nurturance behavior...in humans, what we could call core masculine or feminine traits.
Any combination is possible. You could end up with a straight man who exhibits feminine behavior, or a gay man who is tough and butch as hell. You could end up with partial results...a bisexual woman who is very feminine, or a straight woman who is very masculine seeming.
Gryrnu is a harsh environment for earth life, but there is also the matter of how tratons...the equivalent of atoms in the tryslmaistan universe work. They work almost correctly for earth life, but not quite. That is why Vlax is used. But even with Vlax, organic chemistry is just a tiny bit 'off', and this varies with Vlax dosages. So, between the high stress, and the Vlax and molecular issues, the result is more gay folks than on earth.
Something like this happens on earth too...more gay folks are born just after -or during- wartime than during peacetime. One theory is that this is a human version of the adaptations that other animals have to affect population rates...for instance rabbits will re-absorb their unborn babies in times of starvation, most cats will eat their kittens, and wolves actually enforce celebacy (the alpha male and female break up trysting wolves). There is another advantage to the human way, though.
Gay folks are, on average, one standard deviation (about 15 points) in intelligence greater than straight folks, and about the same increase in creative ability. So, not only is the chance of baby-making reduced, but the folks that are not as interested in poppping pups are smarter and more clever. That makes them useful for solving problems, finding new ways of doing things, and if they get dead while being so adventurous, the population has not lost a reproductive chance...or so it would seem to work out, back in caveman days. Now, of course, we have a different life, vastly more food, just as much or more stress, and gay folks often want children...and we have the tech to do this without anyone having to have sex with anyone they are not attracted to.
Now you know why gay folks exist in animals and humans, how they come to be, and what the evolutionary advantage is. It also explains why the percentage of gay folks in science, medicine, high technology such as computers, and all forms of art is -much- greater than in any other occupation...say driving a truck, or resurfacing a road, or sewage work. In fact...heh....(personal joke here) the percentage of gay folk in the computer industry (where I have spent most of my career) is about 30%...close to the same as Gryrnu.
"Wouldn't the environment also be a factor though? The hormones are the single best explanation I've ever heard, but the fact remains that probably ninety percent (exaggerating) of NFL fans are watching because they like to see men in tight pants touch each other's bums. Yet given a test, they would certifiably answer negative because it's been beaten into them. This world, this society, is still very puritan in many ways, and tends to be as harsh as possible to anyone living outside Stepford. On Grynu those puritan origins, while possible (hope not), would be extremely diluted by all the other cultures it absorbed. Children wouldn't have hatred and fear of gays beaten into them, so when puberty hit they'd be allowed to follow their hearts to either gender. Or both. As a result the natural thirty percent isn't repressed to fifteen. Just a thought." ~Lee
That is a good point. It is clear that as far as civil law and religious influence are concerned, being gay or straight is immaterial. Not only are folks like Yasui and Millian able to marry, this is perfectly ordinary in Gryrnese culture. There is no Bible or Koran in the Tryslmaistan universe, no Christ, no Allah, no 'sin'. There are various laws, of course, and some of the laws are pretty messed up, just like anywhere, but bigotry over sexual preference, as we understand it, simply does not exist on Gryrnu. Now, there IS bigotry over racial and ethnic boundries, as we have seen, and, as we will see, near the end...there are some folks who do have an issue of who is gay and who is not...but not out of religious reasons or reasons of tradtion. Rather the conflict that will come over this issue will be peculiar to existence within the alien realm of Tryslmaistan itself. We shall see this issue brought to light near the end of Unicorn Jelly.
(Regarding the fact that Lupiko was told that her mother died of a cerebral hemorrhage) "They can and do perform autopsies? They are able to come to *that* conclusion? (and even if it's just what Lupiko has been *told*, it has to be possible, right? if it wasn't, no one would've come up with it.) I'm not a doctor, but I'd think a certain amout of, erm, medical knowledge would be necessary. Wouldn't it?" -Ricky
Perhaps you should go back and read the beginning of the strip again..
The highest calling...the most elite position that Gryrnu Witches hold is as healers. Within the culture, this means that Lupiko's mother was a doctor. This is why Faelini's family, and especially Muri, her sister, pushed so hard for Fae to get her degree: a doctor in the family means money. Fae started out poor...because her sister helped elevate her, that is why they had that big house, and why Lupiko came from a rich background. On Gryrnu, the highest Witches perform the same function as doctors and surgeons.
Lesser Witch occupations go from that all the way down to growing crops and raising pigs, or performing in shows, or running restaurants. But Muri wanted only the BEST for her sister, so Fae had to become a full doctor, a full healer.
All medical proceedures on Gryrnu are by law the domain of the working Witches. The tools that the Witches use for things like surgery are built by the Alchemists, but otherwise, the witches do all the medical stuff.
If you recall, the very first job we see Lupiko doing is attempting to cure a young girl infected by Crystal Basilisk spunk...and that is how Chou came into the picture. Lupiko was trying to be a country doctor, and that is why she often quotes what medicinal compound or plant, or crystal life form should be used for whatever illness (the first Shatterel storm we saw).
However, because of the severe and totalitarian limits on discovery and invention, medical advancement is almost nonexistant, and traditional cures and techniques are all that are legally used. Some of those are very pseudo-medieval, but others are remarkably advanced, as though they had been handed down from a superior, lost technology...say Myrmil, for instance?
That is how they know about cerebral hemorrhages. It is also how the Alchemists know how to decribe things like 'tratons' (the atoms of the Tryslmaistan universe) and molecules, and other things they do not have the technology to rigthfully know...all handed down in books copied from books, copied from even older books....
Keep in mind that we are dealing with a civilization that has degenerated from a much more advanced state, clinging desperately to whatever they can save, of the glory they once possessed.
"I Wonder, (before humans made organic soil) is a (generic) plate mainly made of sand and water on its surface, and is rock beneith the surface, or is it sand all the way through (kind of like our moon)? How deep does the ocean go? Is the sea bed curved like some sort of giant, triangular bowl? (Sorry, using sea and ocean interchangeably...not that it matters there, similar to the discussion of the word 'sail'.)"
A worldplate is made of huge solid slabs of densly packed crystal on the bottom, (where by the way, an ecology of upside-down crystal plants and clinging insectoids live) which is then topped by a gravel of crystal boulders, which graduate to the sands of the crystal desert. The desert is interrupted by spikes of Crystal in places, but otherwise forms spookily regular domes or hills that follow the solid mass of the plate below. The Central Sea, which is freshwater and salt free, sits in a huge triangular bowl as you suggest. The ocean, at its deepest point, reaches halfway to the bottom of the Worldplate as a whole.
"Oh, and are there water dwelling crystal/white blooded life?" -Rossperk
Yes indeed. Vlax, for instance, uses the water for part of it's life cycle...Vlax domes produce worm-like children than dig their way to the sea. In the sea, the worms grow to form huge lantern-shaped structures that float like jellyfish do. When these reach maturity, they tear into flat ribbons, about two meters long and 10cm wide, which undulate to the shore. The ribbons wriggle across the land, excreting great amounts of Vlax as they go, until they reach the crystal desert. Some become new Vlax domes, and others keep crawling, right off the edge. It is believed that they drift to colonize other Worldplates, but no one knows for sure.
There are other oceanic life forms too. The shore has the Scut-Scuts, disk-shaped Spin-Leapers, and tiny, spike-propelled TumbleDice. The sea itself harbors the enourmous fragile, multiplaned intersecting DriftWillen, the corkscrew shaped, hollow Galascines and the Rippling DeepBottles...a kind of multi-chambered crystal whale-slug-jellyfish-abstract-art-display. This is all supported by microsopic crystal plankton.
The newcomer to the scene is the Koi fish cultured by the Humans...and there have been rumors of something else, down there, something odd, and terrible, and perhaps mutated from Koi and Goddess knows what else...but again, no one knows for sure.
Well I do, but I ain't telling.
"Where's the Gryrnu art, music and literature!? Didn't I once hear something about the Wiccans producing plays? Or would attempts at creative expression be viewed a "new way of thinking" and thus a violation of the pact...? " -Rootstudio
Oh, there is a thriving, if somewhat institutionalized, art culture within Gryrnese society.
Traditional plays are done on stage, such as "The Goddess Song", "The Marriage of the Alchemist Kharris", and the popular "Splendor Of Myrmil", as well as comedies such as "The Lost Glasses". The latter details the misadventures of the clumsy and forgetful Alchemist Pandorotto (a favorite comedic character in several works), who works at basic construction labor. The gag with Pandorotto is that his glasses are always represented a gigantic...due to a paperwork error that can never be corrected. He hates the things (they are bigger than the head of the actor) and various slapstick in always involved. Eventually, Pandorotto takes his glasses off to do actually finish some job, and naturally loses them in some fashion. They might be taken by children ("The Alchemist's Bothersome Day"), buried in sand ("The Jelly and The Alchemist"), or sat upon all day by an enourmous Bosom Sow ("The Lost Glasses"). Pandorotto then endeavors to avoid the requisite stiff fine for not wearing his Alchemists Glasses (Pandorotto is notoriously cheap) in ever increasingly absurd and desperate ways when -of course- the council (or some official) tours his worksite.
Gryrnese culture includes a kind of puppet show of sorts, too, which is a strange combination of Kamishibai and Stick Puppets. Backgrounds, switched in and out of a picture frame, are used with flat, slightly mechanical wooden puppets in the entertainment known as 'Telets'. The Telet play is an entertainment for both adults and children, and there are even somewhat...mature.....Telets too.
Every year, the Wiccans hold an arts and crafts festival, and the Alchemists counter with a Traditional Mechanisms Show, where mechanical clocks, small toys, and permitted tools are judged.
There is also the Animal Fair, which allows the top breeders to show off their pigs, rats, crickets and chickens. In case anyone was wondering, they do not permit any animal fighting...animals are too precious to allow them to be damaged without survival based cause (such as for food).
The Wiccans are very big on dancing, and there are three main kinds of dance that are taught: Farmkint, which involves many people in large circles, High Wiccan, which involves elaborate and very slow dance moves that are more like pantomime than what we think of as dance, and Animalan, which is centered around imitation, of people, of animals, and of any other life form from a Jelly to a tree!
There is also a general art form of doing Talcryl scrolls...many of which you have seen adorning walls and rooms all over Gryrnu. Calligraphy is very big on Gryrnu, and there are contests, shows and academy courses in it.
These are some of the most notable art forms on Gryrnu...we just have not seen them in Unicorn Jelly because the characters have been too busy to bother bringing them into the action!
"<Shatterel forms in enclosed spaces of still air, and can suffocate people in their homes, so they have to go outside> So, wait... how come some alchemist hasn't yet thought of building a simple motorized fan... pardon me, an "automatic air adgitator and shattrell nullifier" and putting it in the enclosed spaces before a Shatterel storm?" -Warpzone23
As a matter of fact, rich people do have mechanical fans. They run like clocks, if rather -large- and very expensive clocks, and once wound up, can run for nearly an hour at a time, sweeping the air about at a pretty decent clip. Servants keep them wound up. Thilia, head of the Council, has no less than seven of the bloody things. She doesn't even go outside during Shatterel. But then, she is the head of the whole farg'in Council.
We have not seen one, because so far, we have mostly been following the lives of a very poor Witch and her daughter as they get chased about by mean people.
You might be interested to know that there are mechanized toys, clockwork crop watering machines, a rather top-of-the-line clockwork Bosom-Sow milking machine (which actually tends to scare the poor piggies unless they are raised with it), and the Alchemists even have -though they keep it secret- a very crude resonant crystal communication device. They use a kind of Gryrnese 'morse code' on the thing. They consider it their 'secret advantage'.
Again, we have not seen these things because...none of the characters in the story have needed to be around where these things are to be seen, or played with.
I read your comic every Mon thru Fri, and I was wondering about your bosom sow in today's comic. I am an animal science major at the college of Agriculture and Life Sciences of Cornell University, and my family used to raise swine so Gryrnu's agricultural system seems a little impractical. Specifically what is the intended correlation between the swine we raise in this country and those of Gryrnu. Basically, are they supposed to be the same animal? If so, I thought you should know that pigs have teats not nipples (think cow/cat/dog versus human as far as how it's illustrated). Another thing to consider is the way in which pigs reproduce. Piglets are highly dependant on the sow, and it is not practical to raise them separate like we do dairy calves. This is largely because piglets are not very good at producing heat, and there are a lot of them per litter. Pigs milk is also very high in fat because of the inability to transfer fat to the fetuses through the placenta. I'd be curious to see how you can explain this. -Helen Evans (not a forum question, but so good I had to add it)
There is an Alternate Universe Strip showing the Bosom Sow Available HERE
The Bosom Sow is the result of perhaps as much as 300,000 years of human breeding and selection. While this sounds like an incredible time period, and one in which -far- more dramatic change would be likely than the development of breast-like hypertrophied teats, it is to be understood that Tryslmaistan is a low-entropy steady-state universe, with correspondingly longer lifespans, and evolutionary change is not natural to it. Although terrestrial animals are also not natural to the Tryslmaistan universe, they are greatly affected by it, so that change is slower, overall.
Now I say that there should be much greater change in a third of a million years than what is shown, because it is to be remembered that all the extant agricultural crops, and domesticated animals of earth were selectively bred in only 10,000 years, a mere fraction of the time the Bosom Sow was developed. The current array of foods and domestic animals common to our industrialized experience cannot even be said, in most cases to even vaguely resemble the original life forms from which they were developed, and the degree of change that can make a broccoli from a cabbage, or provide for the full domestication of wild fox canines in less than 30 years shows that the effect of selective breeding should have, by all rights, done far more in 300,000 years to the pig. But, Tryslmaistan is a slow place.
Now the 'bosom' of the Bosom Sow is a bosom in name only, and are a hypertrophied teat. The swine were carefully bred for this purpose, and the fat content is quite a bonus, rather than a hardship. Fat is very, very useful in countless ways, and the Gryrnese make use of everything they have with an imagination not unlike a society filled with George Washington Carvers. They have to. It is to be remembered that the humans only have available to them 17 distinct lines of terrestrial life to work with, and have struggled to survive in an environment arguably more hostile to earthly life than frozen Antarctica. Consequently, every single animal and plant that humans can use is cultivated with a care that would be unimaginable on our abundant earth.
Bosom Sow piglets are cared for constantly by humans. A special tunic-like outfit, called a Ruklan, is worn by piglet caregivers, and when the animal is not engaged in any given activity, it is carried more carefully than a human baby, in a large pouch in the Rukan, so that the piglet is in constant contact with bare human skin. The piglets are unnaturally docile by terrestrial terms, as are the adults, another result of selective breeding...extreme passivity (this can been seen in the special miniseries strip, in that the sow shown acts more like a perfectly trained lap dog than a pig.) It is not only considered an honor to carry a piglet in this fashion within Gryrnese culture, the job has a waiting list. The piglet is given better attention than a human child would be given, and truth be told, is actually valued more highly...a child is another mouth to feed, ultimately, but a piglet will become a source of survival for everyone. It is to be understood that Gryrnese values are not earthly ones, because of the harshness of their environment. One Bosom Sow piglet is worth several human lives.
The Bosom Sow is only eaten after it dies of natural causes, which, because of the incredibly sterile environment, are long in coming. Bosom Sows live upwards of 60 years, and that which is not converted to food is, like all organic matter including dead humans, put into the Wiccan composting facilities to help create and maintain soil. Eating an animal so old would be disgusting to we on earth, but they make quite a ritual out of it on Gryrnu, and the deceased sow is given a respect that humans themselves do not even give to their own. Needless to say, the murder of a sow is unthinkable, so much so that it is not a capitol offence...there is only a small, token fine. Anyone who kills a bosom sow is pitied in a way that is quite alien to human cultures. People try to forget such an event as quickly as possible, it is too horrible to remember.
Sows all are named, given birthday celebrations, doted on, sleep on specially sewn beds, or, even in the bed of their keepers, are housebroken and use a litter box, and are honored guests at events. So, for Ylla to have won second place at the Fair is an event that is not like winning a prize at a state fair on earth...it would be the equivalent of winning at the Olympics. Ylla can look forward to fame, fortune, and constant requests for her and her sow PuuPuu-Ko to inaugurate projects and events, be present at state functions, and attend, together, Council dinners. No bands at the time of winning you say? No Parades?....No, because that might upset the animals. Very different mindset.
What of slaughter for male swine? Handled with a delicacy again alien to earth. They play music for them, give them a last meal, groom them sing to them, cry a very great deal, and dispatch them painlessly. More tears, and an entirely separate industry deals with carving and parting them out...the actual keepers are spared the 'horror' of dissecting what amounts to one of 'the children'.
Farmers of all kinds are very well paid on Gryrnu. They are elite, and have many privileges that even Council members do not have. The reason for this relative freedom and wealth is their animals, and the survival they represent.
The Gryrnese do not do these things because they especially 'love animals', or because they 'revere life' any more than terrestrial humans do. They do these things because they were taught to do them, because it is part of a system of survival that works for them. The Gryrnese are just folks...and they care about their own survival very much....so much that they do what is necessary, and also what has become traditional. With so little to work with, they have made an art out of making the most of, and out of, what few animals and plants are available to them.
Do I really think that swine could be bred to have functioning super-teats, effective breasts to give milk? Yes, I do...if people had enough time for selective breeding, and enough motivation to do so...if their lives depended on it. Ultimately, both human breasts and the teats of pigs evolved on earth from sweat glands, both are hypertrophied sebaceous glands. The oils and water and protein of sweat has evolved to become milk, and in both humans and pigs, it serves the same mechanical function for the survival of young.
The Bosom Sow is just more hypertrophied yet.
Wow, I can tell you put a lot of thought into answering my question, I must admit I expected a short response that avoided the actual question
I totally agree with you that pigs could be selected for milk production as well as decreased litter size to increase the available milk yield for humans. It seems though, that they would have had a lot of losses in the beginning due to the way fashion in which pigs reproduce (lots of babies w/high losses, kinda like mice). So what sets pigs apart from other livestock that they were able to survive (sheep or goats seem more practical than pigs)?
Pigs were the last thing left, along with chickens. The First People, being the usual bunch of humans, found themselves suddenly in an utterly alien and -for some- hellish universe. At least nine, and perhaps as many as 16 cultures and time periods were represented, and between terror, language and culture issues, and the sheer mind mangling horror of it all, many mistakes were made. Although many animal species came along on the divots of earth that were under the humans, as well as many species of plants, only 17 ultimately survived the initial weeks and months.
Some animals were simply eaten, without much thought, until a form of authority finally dominated, and instituted rationing, and rational thought. Fortunately, some of the divots contained the majority of entire farms, and in two cases, orchards. Of the orchards, one from China (plums), and one from France (apples), only the plums were successfully protected and survived to the time of Lupiko and Chou. Of the grains, only rice made it, wheat and barley did not.
Then came the problem of Vlax. As animals and people became mysteriously ill, weak and failing, and eventually began to die, the end seemed inevitable. While my Muse has not told me how the matter of Vlaxifurm being used came about, endless possibilities come to mind: since Vlaxifurm is the one crystal plant that contains a liquid gel, it may have seemed potentially edible to someone, or possibly medicinal. One of the divots was certainly from our future, so it may have been possible that advanced technology was used to chemically analyze it, or that, as one reader suggested, actually create Vlaxifurm in some manner as a nanoreplicating crystal machine-plant. Or perhaps someone simply noticed a hungry, lost animal surviving after eating from it. I may never know. But the need for Vlax to overcome the incomparability of earthly biology in the Tryslmaistan universe is definite, and those peoples and animals and plants that were given Vlax survived, and those that did not, eventually died.
Between all of these factors, and adding the problem of dealing with the native sapient species, the Jellies, as well as the various chemical and salt hungry crystal beasts, the many varieties of life that came with the humans were gradually whittled down to the 17 we know in the story today. Pigs were bred for milk, bred essentially to replace cows and goats, and even to some extent sheep, because they were what was left. In short, the humans made use of what little they had when all was finally settled enough for survival to truly become established. At this point, losses would have been terrifying, so one can imagine every human in those days literally slaving for the every need and care of each individual piglet, even beyond the level of current era Gryrnu. It would have been like Cro-Magnons lost in a cave, struggling to keep their last bit of fire alive.
The story of the Gryrnese is the story of any human population forced to cope with an extreme and hostile environment. Just as the Innuit once lived only on the flesh of fish and animals native to their hostile and frozen northern clime, or the tribal Nigerian once lived entirely off of a staple diet of cow milk mixed with cow blood, supplemented by termites and the odd edible root, so the Gryrnese make do with what they have, and bend it to their need. And, just as with the Innuit, who can tolerate a level of vitamin A (from eating the liver of the polar bear) that is fatal -within minutes- to a European (as some ill fated anthropologists once found out...oops!), the world in turn makes changes to the people that inhabit it.
So, on Gryrnu, pigs are life, along with crickets, bees, koi, ants and chickens...because that is all there is. And the reason that there are only six animals is because it took humans time to get their act together, form some sort of strategy, enforce that strategy, and overcome terrible odds. Some of the ways I depict humans in Unicorn Jelly are decidedly unflattering, and even fairly cynical, but I also recognize that humans are incredibly inventive and heroic survivors regardless of the odds. What they cannot overcome, they change. Hence the Bosom Sow... not to mention the high vitamin-oil (E and A, in case you are wondering) content 'Color' crickets, the overly fluffy, almost hairy chickens (they have bred their chickens, though I have not yet shown this, to produce feathers that are exceptionally long and fibrous, and so forth.
"How does the worldplate form in such a way as to hold "water"? That, and what keep it from leaking out? Or is that where rain comes from? Leaking world plates?" -Xiombarg,
The Worldplates are a solid mass of crystalline materials that are, due to the contracting and compressing force of planovection, increasingly dense towards the middle of the Worldplate. This causes a slight indentation of the plate, both on the top, and the bottom, as the matter condenses....remember that in Tryslmaistan (as in Mundis!), not all crytalline materials are hard...indeed most are of varying qualities from liquid to semisolid. Some are rubbery, and others semipermiable. This contraction in the center of a Worldplate causes the 'bowl' effect to provide a basin to collect rain into a freshwater sea...the 'Central Sea' of each Worldplate.
Water evaporates into the air just as it does on our world, and this forms clouds, and the clouds eventually rain. This is a familiar cycle. The clouds tend to rain more over a Worldplate, rather than out in interstitial space, simply because of a combination of dust, around which water vapor can accumulate, and the Tryslmaistan equivalent of static charge. Remember that Linovection, the equivalent of gravity in Tryslmaistan, has essentially no effect on objects above a certain scale, and also below a certain scale...which means that very, very fine particulate dust is essentially weightless, and thus remains airborn for a very long time, unless attracted by static charge to an object (such as another particle or a bit of water vapor, or even a wall. On Gryrnu, they must sometimes dust the walls and ceiling of their homes, not just the shelves!). Worldplates have a surprizing amount of essentially invisible airborn dust surrounding them, helping rain clouds to develop.
When it does rain, it is very, very light by terrestrial standards, and they do not have lightning or thunder, ever. The rain drops themselves are quite large, but fall slowly. It would seem surreal, almost cartoon-like to someone newly from our world and universe. Nearly half-inch wide drops, sometimes larger, falling in slow motion to a gentle impact on the ground, or, if very close to a wall, actually being pulled by static charge to hit, and run down, that surface.
The water normally flows down through the composite that makes up the Worldplate, until it reaches the dense layers, where it gradually flows into the bowl that makes the freshwater Central Sea.
"What is it that causes the day and night orbs to rotate around the worldplates? And how did this come to be?" ~Taaminara
The origin of the day and night orbs are pretty much covered in the concept of Tryslmaistan being a steady-state universe....it always-is-was-will-be. Unlike our own Mundis universe, Tryslmaistan has no origin and no end...it had no 'Big Bang' and it will never suffer entropic heat death. It is a perpetual motion machine, which is the very definition of a steady-state universe.
The day and night orbs are made of a single element each, and are hard, solid, and about 20k in diameter. The uniform matter which the orbs are made of generates light as it encounters 'resonant friction' as the bodies orbit through the basic Forces that govern the Tryslmaistan universe. This 'Friction' energy is converted into the equivalent of light (ray-like lumons) in the Tryslmaistan universe. The sun orbs are made of the element 'solarine', and the moon orbs of an element called 'noctrium'. Rather obvious element names, but there you go. These elements are terribly, terribly poisonous, but not 'radioactive' in the way that we understand the word.
The orbs can, in some ways, almost be considered to be like the old, incorrect, idea of how electrons were supposed to 'orbit' the nucleus of an atom, back in crappy school physics books. They are highly charged monoelemental spheres that have a repultractive relationship with regard to each other. They remain at a fixed 'balance' distance between their comutual repulsion and attraction for each other. Constantly charged up by their interaction with the local fields near a Worldplate, and the forces of the universe as a whole, they release that energy in motion. The reason they rotate is because, in part, they are affected by the Worldplate being triangular...charge displacement is not equal, because the triangular shape is wider on one side and pointy-thin on another. One orb dips, affected by the wide side, the other flips up, less affected by the small side of the Worldplate. The charge exchange sort of works like a giant electric motor, and the two orbs do another revolution, and so on. Because they are bound to each other, and to the proximity of the Worldplate itself, they do not go zooming off, and because they are smaller than 100km, they are not affected by the large scale forces, such as Planovection. The orb elements themselves are neutral to Linovection as well, and if you had a piece of the material (in a safe environment..they really are quite poisonous), it would hang in the air, affected by invisible forces from the universe at large. In fact, in ancient Myrmil, they had a device for measuring local charge and force, and this device used small chips of noctrium amd solarine as the basis for measurment...in the way that natural lodestone can be used to make a magnetic compass on our earth (only more fancy!).
Why are the two orb elements unaffected by Linovection? Because they are composed of tratons that share a peculiar trait: polarized force planes. There are some 33 elements in the Tryslmaistan periodic table that are immune to Linovection, and they are all rare, part of the 'Abeyant Group' of elements, all characterized by polarized tratonic planes that effectively 'fall through' the 'grain' of the Linovective field.
"Odd question. Is Unicron J-L-Y from a world or a plate?" ~Lee
Well, the Worldplates are worlds. They are the equivalent of planets for the Tryslmaistan universe, each one an 'earth'....a small earth, but an earth nonetheless. Maybe you mean, "was Unicron made in the advanced civilization on the Worldplate of Myrmil, or did it come from our Earth with the First People?" if THAT is your question, Unicron J-L-Y was most definiately constructed on Myrmil, and is one of the robotic crystaloid-technology war machines used by the Alchemist Faction and The Wiccan Faction -both- to fight each other.
The Unicron model was a mass-produced, easily programmed direct assault unit, capable of close and medium range delivery of highly destructive Charge capacitance bolts, with a fire rate of one bolt every three seconds. Each bolt could draw a line across terrain or target, superheating matter at the point of impact causing a catastrophic blast resulting from rapidly expanding, vaporized material. The Unicron has two double-ended advanced crystal impulse units (these are the basis of what eventually became the 'Brooms' used by the Gryrnese of today) and six stationary vertical crystalloid repulsion towers (a technology lost to the current Gryrnese people) to provide a stable lift. The entire machine uses a crystallonic neural net capable of making independant targeting and mission objective decisions. Unicron is powered by artificial, mutually annihilating (slow burn) hyperstate Yauron crystals which are pressed together inside a simple mechanical frame. (all of this technology is very, very beyond the modern Gryrnese) The Unicron, of which there were nine different versions including the J series (J-L-Y being "J series, Lightweight, Yauron drive), was built by the long vanished 'Nakimono Universal Machines', based on the floating Myrmillian artificial satellite island of Klasgune, some 300,000 years to the past of the current story.
Woo! I guess it wasn't a spelling error after all. Huh.
"Artificial Sattelite Island, eh? I guess they were damned advanced after all, if they could make satellite islands large enough to bypass linovection." -LordRoberts
Put large enough Repulsion Towers and a big enough Yauron Plant to power them, and you could suspend a city. Especially if the money of BOTH Factions was behind the project (remember, Nakimono sold the Unicrons to both factions equally). But you are right, Myrmil was damned advanced technologically. Not enough to escape the Tryslmaistan universe, so no warp gates, teleportation, or stuff like that, but they did make maximum use of the basic laws we have seen hinted at, or explored so far in the strip. If the Gryrnese can make 'Gloms' for a cold light source, that idea is a pale, faint and fragile memory of the Myrmillians using the same basic concept to make a Yauron Drive, with two crystals making not just light, but unbelievable amounts of energy. The Myrmillians were -centuries- beyond the technology of Gryrnu as it is today.
Consider how America can spend billions on a stealth bomber that can drop bombs powerful enough to literally evaporate an entire mountain (much less a city) and the idea of making a suspended platform seems quite a bit less amazing. A floating platform would have strategic advantages to a company like Nakimono....if a few HUGE crystal impulse units...'Brooms' were installed, you could move it, making it a mobile platform...it could be positioned where it was needed, or -most importantly- kept safely neutral, so it could sell Unicron mechs to whichever Faction bid the highest. Being neutral during a war can be very, very profitable, if one happens to be selling something both sides need. It can also be risky, so being distant is a basic requirement. Makes ruthless sense, if you think about it. Guess what company finally came up with the Trato-Yauronic Bomb...the last weapon ever sold on Myrmil?
Discussing the behaviors of Unicron J-L-Y in the story, Warpzone32 and Crowfrog debated how the Myrmilian people left Myrmil...in a pre-planned, anticipated evacuation, or running with whatever they still had available after catastrophe. My answer describes the last days mof Myrmil, and how Unicron J-L-Y came to the Gryrnu we know....
Because almost no one in Factional power on Myrmil actually believed that the Trato-Yauronic Bomb could -really- destroy the entire Worldplate, no preparations were made. The Myrmilians on the attack barges and warships watched in horror as everyone and everything they loved crumbled and fell into oblivion. This horror was turned to utter despair as the chunks of Myrmil, a few days later, hit other Worldplates below and destroyed them too. The utter nonsense of the 'Chain Reaction' theory of Worldplate collapse espoused by some very few was undeniable. They could not just go to the next Worldplate nearby, because all too soon, the disaster would wrap around the universe, and come crashing down, much bigger than they could imagine. They had to run.
Run they did, using anything and everything they still had flying. The artificial island that was the base for building the Unicorn Units was too slow to take with them, so it was abandoned to its eventual doom. The Myrmilians scattered, desperate to travel as far as they possibly could. Unfortunately, none of their fleet was equipped for a truly long voyage, and if it had not been for the gardens, farms, animals and seeds on the independent, artificial Nakimono Weapons island, there would have been -no- hope in any event. They scavenged everything they could find...some 23 different species. Not all would survive the trip. The displaced Myrmilians settled when they could no longer travel, but during the initial flight, the Pact of Myrmil was already being developed. Whatever initiated the conflict in the first place was now irrelevant in the face of total annihilation.
As time went on, each Worldplate that was migrated to, as the storm approached, presented the everpresent challenge of colonization, of conquering the natives, of building up an infrastructure to run again. Technology was lost, ships were lost, tools were lost, and as the millennia passed, even true knowledge about Myrmil was lost...partly by time, and partly by design.
Many things had been left behind at the site of lost Myrmil, though, besides that floating island...armored platforms, crippled ships, and many, many robotic weapons. Although given the order to stand down, the strain of running constantly, hovering, waiting for orders that never came, damaged by the war, these robotic units developed faults. Some began attacking once again, the last instruction, the only instruction they were made to carry out. Those attacked were forced to respond, and soon a pointless robotic conflict ensued, in the empty place where Myrmil once hung.
By the time the storm had wrapped around the cosmos, only a few Myrmilian mechs still prowled, engaged in endless combat. These robots were very sophisticated, and had the ability to make independent tactical decisions...they could evaluate threats, attack in teams, and run from superior power. The Unicron series were especially 'smart' and the approaching storm, falling from above, registered beyond any threat level they were programmed to evaluate. They alone ran. They fled the scene en mass. This made them easy targets for lesser robot drones, who picked them off as they flew away. These lesser drones were still shooting even as the storm swept down from above and obliterated them.
Certainly, one lone Unicron unit escaped the drones, and the storm. On and on it traveled, following two instructions: locate and destroy the enemy, and preserve its own functionality. It knew which direction to go...and it knew what to flee from. Eventually, when the distance was so great that the storm no longer registered, the Unicron assessed that it was running out of power. It assessed its situation. It was safe as far as its scans could show, There was no enemy. There was no place to dock. There was no place to refuel. There was nothing around it. It did what a nearly mindless automaton would do: it shut itself off to wait for retrieval. The fact that it would fall as a result was irrelevant, as this was a situation it was not ever expected to encounter, a situation not accounted for in its programming. Those who programmed it knew there would always be a Myrmil to land on.
Unicron J-L-Y fell for ages, for eons, perfectly preserved as it was from the moment it powered down. Until it hit Gryrnu.
"*blink* If elves have longer life spans, and the general assumption among the common people is that Gryrnu has been colonized for 300 years, how come most of the elves don't know that this is not true? " -OBAKETENSHI
There are several reasons for this.
One, is that Gryrnu is a fairly harsh environment for the alien creatures from earth, the humans, who have imagined their Vlax-induced mutations to be fantasy races from mythology. There are a lot of ways to get killed in the Tryslmaistan universe, from crystal fauna to deadly, toxic crystal plants, the war of colonization that always occurs for centuries after an Ark Ship lands on a new Worldplate, and humans killing each other, to boot.
Secondly, people are people, even if they live in an alien universe. The mutated humans of Gryrnu are still human...and that means politics, stupidity, ignorance, and the enforcement of ignorance. As a parallel, consider the Earthly Christian sect called the 'Seventh Day Adventists'. This group, despite all the overwhelming evidence, despite all the carbon dating, the existence of multi-million year old canyons and colliding tectonic plates, magnetic patterns in rock and chemical isotopes, despite all of these things and countless more proofs of the true age of the earth...some 4.5 billion years....absolutely cling to the ignorant yet utterly firm belief that the earth is a little over 4000 years old. They have an exact figure. It's based on counting the 'begats' in the bible.
They are willing to die for this belief, as is the wont of the fanatic, and occsionally have fought to have it made law, as part of the horrifically ignorant, oxymoronic mess called 'Creation Science'. They listen to no reason, no logic, no proof, because they can write obvious evidence off as a 'delusion from Satan'. The real world, to them, is a lie caused by a mythical devil. These are real people, and there are a LOT of them.
And such insanity is only the tip of the iceberg on our earth....I could go into the 'Christian Scientists' (an oxymoron, to be sure) who still cling to the belief that all disease is not caused by microbes but by satan, and often die refusing medical treatment...and so many more. The humans of Gryrnu are no different. Authority, which they have been trained to accept without question from birth, tells them the truth, and despite all obvious evidence, they believe it. Anything that shows this belief to be false, is a lie, a delusion, and conspiracy against the good, right, and true system.
To further enhance this effect, cultural binders, like Makineri and Muri and others, have a licence to kill....just like a medieval witchfinder, or an enforcer for the Inquisition under the Pope. Kill on sight, any deviant spreading lies. On Grynu, though, they do not require the step of torture and confession....they simply eliminate dissent efficiently, instantly.
Thus, the bright people who do figure out there is something wrong by fighting their beliefs, tend to be bright enough to realize that life means keeping their mouth shut.
This, by the way, is exactly how Nazi Germany managed to run their extermination camps without dissent...the majority of Germans really would have not approved at all...they would have rebelled in horror...but they knew that to do so meant death...and worse...rejecting authority. Perceived authority is very powerful in primate species like humans. Unbelievably powerful. So the German citizens simply...ignored, failed to think about...why the crematoriums were running day and night.
Not unlike how America and Canada dealt with the concentration camps for Japanese citizens here in North America.
People....are people, and as a mass, they are easily led, mostly mindless, and follow authority like sheep, even if the authority is ignorant, evil beyond comprehension, or just plain ridiculous.
Since this happens in our abundant world...imagine the effect in a harsh environment. Fanatical adherence to the 'proper' beliefs.
"Is anything before Octorber 2nd 2000 C.E. actually cannon? I just realized that Lupiko COULDN'T very well be remeniscing with Uni-kun about his earlier trials in Visco city because Lupiko wasn't there when said trials were occuring, and Uni-kun can't talk." -Warpzone32
Yes. That IS interesting, isn't it?
There have always been three explanations. Nobody -on the forums- has asked about this before. It's neat that someone finally has!
It has been hinted that Lupiko has some sort of Wiccan-taught telepathic and clairavoyant 'Gift', and that her mother had this too. Supposedly, she gets 'impressions' from Uni, and sometimes sees entire event flashbacks in her dreams as she sleeps with Uni close to her.
The so-called 'telepathy' is actually a chemical communication that is transmitted through physical contact. Psychotropic chemicals exude from the outer membrane of Uni, and affect the neurotransmitters in Lupiko's brain. Possible evidence for this comes from two sources: one, the time that Uni lost cohesion and became acidic, burning Lupiko's hands, and two, the lucid dream experience that Chou had with Kay-Wai, demonstrating some form of direct communication is possible.
Yasui and Millian, who regularly deal with problems (dangerous creatures coming too close to the Human lands) in the region of Visco City, doubtless also have trade with the sapient Jellies that live there. They could easily have learned about the adventures of Uni from the Jellies...who were so impacted as to have their entire city destroyed....and then passed that information on to Lupiko, after the time that Uni was rescued, but before the day where Lupiko and Uni recount Uni's story.
So, which explanation is true?
The point is, that all of them are, or are not, equally. Since it is clear that we are never told, beyond doubt, whether Uni came about as a result of eating Deifica flowers, or if Uni was truly 'visited' upon by a Holy Unicorn of myth and legend, we can assume that what Lupiko thinks she knows about Uni is her best understanding, but cannot be 100% certain. Uni seems to believe certain things, but we, the readers, cannot know absolutely.
Consider your own memories of events. You may be certain, emotionally of any event that has ever happened to you, but if no documents exist, if no proof remains, then, rationally, you cannot be 100% sure any given thing ever happened. Memory is very faulty, and can easily be influenced and modified later in time. Indeed, recent studies have shown that the very act of remembering something alters the memory each time it is recalled. Sometimes the best we can do is reconstruct the most logical possibility. This is what Chou did, to decide that Uni was born of the chemistry of mutant flowers, rather than dubious spiritual causes.
But sometimes, what seems logical is not always the correct answer, either.
The events prior to October are canon, certainly. But none of us are privy to exactly what those events -actually- were. That is the truly curious element in all of this. We as the readers are not permitted to be certain that the events we have been given is any more accurate than the thoughts and beliefs of the characters recounting them.
"How do earthly plants manage to grow in a universe of cold lumonic light?"
The sun and moon orbs, Ashun and Velu, are cold, which is to say they are the ambient temperature of the Tryslmaistan Universe, which is normally, by the way, precisely 74.3 degrees Fahrenheit (23.50 degrees Celsius, or 296.65 Kelvin). I say normally, because the cosmos-spanning superstorm has raised the temperature a bit...not in any way noticibly to Humans or Jelliform life, but significantly in that it could happen at all. The Stormfall has freed a great deal of bound energy, and continues to do so, as more and more of the universe is affected. Eventually, as the Storm reaches Totality, the entire Tryslmaistan Universe will be several degrees warmer than it normally should be. However, after Totality, the ambient temoperature will gradually fall back to the normal level, thanks to the anentropic mechanisms of the Tryslmaistan cosmos.
Because the orbs generate cold Lumonic light, which they do because they are made of the elements Solarine (Day Orb Ashun) and Noctrium (Night Orb Velu), the light cannot feed plants the same way that it does on earth. Lumonic light is very different that the photons of the Mundis universe, as has been explored elsewhere, and so cannot contribute to photosynthesis in imported, transcribed earthly plants. Lumonic light is also useless for the manufacturing of Vitamin D within human skin, as well, which is why Pig milk is so desperately vital to the survival of humans in the Tryslmaistan universe.
How do terrestrial plants then grow in such an alien universe..indeed how do native plant equivalents get their vital energy?
On our Earth, light, photons, are the foundation of all life. All that lives and grows and is exists only because of our sun, and the plants that convert the energy from sunlight into simple sugars that ultimately power almost all of the life on the planet.
In the Tryslmaistan Universe, the foundation of all life is Electanic Charge. The same energy that ultimately creates Shatterel, that is converted into Lumons by the constant decay and reformation of the Variable-Protean Elements (the equivalent of radioactive elements on our periodic table) such as Noctrium (21 on the Triotic Table) and Solarine (63 on the Triotic Table), and which ultimately cycles in a anentropic perpetual loop within the universe as a whole, also forms the basis of all life.
Electanic Charge affects Triotic elements in various ways, and permeates the whole of the cosmos. One element that Electanic Charge affects in an interesting manner is tanogrium (29 on the Triotic Table), the nearest equivalent of the earthly element magnesium. Now Clorophyll, the molecule in plants that converts sunlight to chemical energy, is functionally identical in structure to hemoglobin, the molecule in blood that carries oxygen, save for one atom, in the center of the molecule...in hemoglobin that atom is iron, and in clorophyll it is magnesium. It is therefore no wonder that earthly plants also require Vlax in their life functions.
In normal clorophyll, the magnesium atom allows the surrounding molecule to act as a mechanical agent that uses solar power, which excites the electrons in the atom to gain and lose energy levels, which is communicted to the rest of the molecule, which in turn, like a geared atomic machine, moves about and sews together the atoms that ultimately make up the plant sugars that power most life.
In the transmuted, transmogrified earthly plants within Tryslmaistan, magnesium is replaced with tanogrium, the closest analogue to magnesium, and this ultimately changes how plants get their energy. Tanogrium operates much like a piece of quartz in an electric field...it pulses, over and over. The traton constantly changes planar shape in the constant presence of the shifting Electanic Fields of the cosmos, and in this manner communicates the energy to the neo-clorophyll within the eartly plants, stitching together neo-sugars, made of tratonic elements, which in turn power all the stranded eartly life within the Tryslmaistan universe.
Now, an obvious extention of this fact is that, since plants do not need light, they can be grown anywhere, even underground, in absolute darkness, with equal effect to growing them above ground. However, it should be noted, that while this is interesting, it is impractical...since growing things on open wide fields is much easier that digging our enourmous caverns just to prove that a dark greenhouse will work. Also there is the issue of rain being desirable. But...if they had reason to, the humans of Gryrnu could grow plants in the dark.
The question is what constitutes as "Dead" for crystal life. Do they have some sort of internal circulatory system that keeps them fuctioning? If not, then what would stop, say... one side of a scut scut from continuing to try to regrow after Yasui had cut it clean in half on a beach picnic? -croax
The basic structure of all the crystal life in the Tryslmaistan universe follows a common pattern....a semi-liquid, protean interior, enclosed by one or more layers of boundary to the outside world. In the Jelliform life, such as Slimes and Sapient Jellies, the boundary is exceedingly elastic and capable of tremendous deformation, whereas in the Crystalloform life, such as the Scut-Scuts and Teal Scizzortigers, the boundary is a tough, hardened, relatively inflexible shell.
I should make a note about the nature of crystalline materials in the Tryslmaistan Universe first.
On earth, most crystals are hard, Very hard. Rocklike, to be more to the point. While there are such matters as liquid crystals in a LCD...a Liquid Crystal Display, and so forth, when we think of crystals, we think of hard, heavy objects.
Tryslmaistan crystal is not like that. In all cases, crystalline matter in the Tryslmaistan universe is fluidic...it is flexible, like rubber. Whether the enourmous crystals that make up the core of a Worldplate, the shell of a Scizzortiger, or the plates of a Spradic Disk Tree, all are non-brittle. Truly brittle things are not possible in the Tryslmaistan universe...not in the sense that we define brittle or rigid.
Anything in the Tryslmaistan universe can bend, if enough force is applied, in a gradual enough way. Sudden force can cause breaking, even shattering, in much the same way that water will shatter like glass (if you film water with a very fast camera, and slow an impact with a sheet of falling water down, you will see that the water shatters...like glass does...before turning into rounded drops). This is why Shatterel will snap and break and crumble, why the hull of a Scizzortiger can fracture, and so forth.
If, however, you were to hold a piece of broken Scizzortiger hull in your hands, it would have the feeling of a kind of plastic, it would feel as though, if you were superhuman, and very slow, you could almost bend the thing with your hands. Imagine the way a bowling ball feels, or some other high impact plastic is, and this is what the harder crystal material on Gryrnu would feel like. It does not feel ultra hard, like quartz on earth. There is that barely definable sensation of flexability to all crystal on Gryrnu. This explains, as an aside, how such improbable beasts can walk about and not break themselves from the constant impacts, from microfractures in their shells....they are not brittle like earthly crystalline matter. The have a certain amount of 'give', and compression to them.
Some Tryslmaistan crystals are quite soft...like the Gloms used for lighting, which are like soft, moldable rubber art eraser, or stiff chewing gum. Some are as soft and bouncy as Jello, yet possessed of incredible strength and durability...not unlike silicone jels on earth. And some are nearly liquid. This explains, for those that have asked, why the sand that covers a Worldplate does not slice open Human feet...it is not like crushed glass. It is no more dangerous than earthly sand, despite lacking the rounded, weathered edges to the grains. Sharp points do not always mean harm in the Tryslmaistan universe. Unless, of course, the sharp point is on an advancing Crystal Basilisk!
Tryslmaistan life, to return to the primary topic, shares not only an outer hull, or barrier, but also a common mechanism for the interior semifluidic matter within: distributed, ad hoc organs.
In earthly life, we have a set of organs, and these organs do various tasks, but always stay what they are...a stomach is a stomach, and never a heart, for example. Tryslmaistan life generates organs on a need-only basis. It can do this, because free energy is much more abundant, so a system which would be deathly inefficient in our own entropic universe of Mundis is perfectly fine in the Steady-State universe of Tryslmaistan.
Jellies and Scut-Scuts all form the organs they need only as they need them. They have no single 'brain', or 'heart' or 'liver' even then, rather any formed organ is distributed throughout the constantly changing, oozing internal biomass within a creature. When a Scut-Scut needs tendrils to engulf a Tumbledice, it grows them from internal biomass, repurposing whatever was there before. When food is brought inside the shell of some crystal beast, an inclusion space...just like a sapient Jelly can make to hold loose change within....is formed, then repurposed into a digestion chamber. When the food is digested, processing organs drift into existence and dissolve when no longer needed. Later, a waste chamber will form, and supporting organs as well, and so forth.
The internal, semiliquid biomass is in constant motion, churning and forming and unforming organs, or distributing nutrients. In effect, the life of the Tryslmaistan universe is not unlike a diverse array of ways to put a gigantic ameoba inside a box or a bag, and then see what happens. But even an earthly ameoba has permanent organs....Tryslmaistan life does not.
Stab a sapient Jelly with a pike and you annoy him. You hurt him a little too, in that his life processes have been interrupted, some biomass may leak out, and he must then heal up the hole. But cleft a sapient Jelly in twain, and you kill him...the liquid biomass all pours out, and it has not the ability to pull the creatures boundary halves together again. Make a big enough hole, and the Jelly will also die, if enough biomass is lost. You can bleed a jelly to death, in effect.
Clubbing a Jelly will also kill it, but it takes a long time, and much clubbing. How does impact kill a Jelly? By constantly interrupting, or even shattering forming organs in the biomass so disruptively that eventually life functions cease as toxins and waste accumulates to critical levels, or the biomass starves for lack of the ability to process the resourses swirling within it. A hard enough impact could also break open the outer boundary, much as a water balloon splits open.
For the harder, shelled creatures, such as the Scut-Scut and the Scizzortiger, the same is true, for the same reasons...make a big enough hole, or break or crumble the hull, and the creature looses the liquid biomass inside the outer barrier. Without the barrier, the liquid mass has no framework to build within, no scaffolding on which to form organs, and no protection from the gasses of the atmosphere which change the Charge balances of the biomass, leaking electanic Charge to the air, draining the very wellspring of life.
Even the drippy, puddle-like Slimes are nonetheless bounded by a very, very soft, very, very elastic boundary layer to seal in electanic Charge, nutrients, and moisture. Moisture is another issue for such life....the desert is very dry, and loss of moisture will kill.
A crystalloid creature is 'dead' in exactly the same way that an earthly creature is 'dead'...when the organs can no longer function (or form!), when there is no more activity in the molecular machinery of life. The life of Tryslmaistan is curious, but also fragile too, just as it is on earth.
What does the Gryrnese language (Talcryl) sound like? I mean... gee.. I guess thats a hard question to ask :p is it hard and full of consonant like Russian or German? is it a flowing like Elven? -phatcat
Talcryl sounds like a bit of a mishmash of world languages, dominated just a bit by Japanese, Korean, and Finnish. You can find bits of most of the earth's cultures in the sounds of Talcryl. This is reasonable, considering that the language was indeed formed through the collision of multiple cultures, all at the same time.
A typical sentence in Talcryl would be:
"Kotranin warikas en 'Iniyuyisa' dosu ta."
The pronounciation would be:
"Koh-trah-neen Wah-ree-kass EIN Een-ee-Yoo-Yee-Sah Doh-tsu TAY" Which basically amounts to saying the equivalent of "here is an explanation or understanding of mathematics for you".
To greet someone in Talcryl, you would say
Which is said "Soo-OOh-Mee PIE-Vah". It basically is an all purpose greeting, which means, ultimately, "Happy Hello!" Alternate Kai-Wai uses this greeting a lot...he is really saying "Suumi Paivaa", I just translate.
To say Thank You in Talcryllic, you might say Daedan! if you were in a hurry "Day-dahn"....or if you were being more polite, you might say Kamsa hamnidaa! which is said "Kahm-sah Hahm-NEE-dah"
To say 'Good-by', you might say Gurdos Silbernan! "Goor-dahs Sill-bear-nan!" or even Zae Zaan! "Zay Zhan" if you were in a hurry.
As for the accent and rhythm of the language, well...
The best I can do is to offer that it sounds somewhat Easter-European....not to far distant from a true (not a Hollywood) Translvanian accent with a touch of Japanese and Korean sounds tossed in. Imagine the accent affected by the Babylon 5 actor Peter Jurassic, who played Lando the Centauri ambassador blended with the sound of your favorite Japanese voice actor in an anime. More or less that.
How about the Jellese language?
You can hear it for yourself if you can play an MP3 file:
Listen To 'An Introduction To Conversational Jellese' 1.29MB MP3 Format
Or DOWNLOAD 'An Introduction To Conversational Jellese' as a 1MB .ZIP file directly to your hard drive.
Slimes... How do they relate to Jellys, I know they preform some kind of service in Jelly Citys, as we can see in one Alt Strip they can be called to requesting Pools or pods, and Jellys give them orders, But to do What? I think they build and repair the city, but they must do so much more, Please Miss Reitz, can you fill us in on the "Secret Life of Slimes? -Moriarty
Slimes perform many functions in Jelly cities. On Gryrnu...the last Gryrnu our story just left....the Slimes were slaves, forced to work against their will or choice. Why? Because the Jellies there had been very strongly affected by the domination of the humans.
Unconquered Jellese and Slimes live more equitably, and Slimes, despite being greatly at the mercy of the Jellese in terms of both power and intelligence, are treated reverently. In proper Jellese cities, as we shall see in time, Jellies do not bark orders at Slimes...they invoke their aid with prayers. The cramped requesting pools we have seen in the past are instead the Fountains Of Assistance.
In the uncorrupted Jellese world, everything is sacred, spiritual. Everything to its place.
Even so, bottom line, the Slimes do most of the work. They repair the cities and construct them too, because Slimes are formless living chemical factories. They produce the glassine material of Jellese cities, following the design of the more intelligent Jellies. They process wastes into building materials, digesting matter and converting it. Slimes drive some Jellese devices with their churning, and they convey resources inside their bodies, to be delivered where required.
Consider the Slimes of Jellese cities as formless blobs of liquid life that can flow over a building and repair it, dissolve food and flow through pipes to your 'table' where they disgorge it into your 'bowl', live in your toilet and dissolve your waste only to convert it into useful materials, wall repairs, or even extruded furniture and tools. They can work individually, or in cooperation to create structures and devices, if the design can be communicated to them.
Communication with Slimes is through direct 'neurochemical linking'...Slimes cannot talk and sound is irrelevant to them. So, a Jelly will dip a pseudopod into a Slime and effectively think chemicals into them, describing the plan for...a bathtub, say, or a building, or a boat. The Slimes then work like bees to make these things, swarming and squirming and extruding.
So, ultimately, Slimes are worker drones...in Native cities they at least get reverance and honor for this, but they still do it, and they really have no choice. Being, ultimately, not totally mindless pools of living goo, though close to it, Slimes are easy prey for any native crystal beasts, who love to dine on the chemical-rich Slimes above all else. Slimes are the bottom of the Tryslmaistan 'animal' food chain, just above crystal plants. In the city, Slimes are protected by the Jellies who design walls and various simple defences that benefit both the Slimes and the Jellies. They do depend on each other, and need each other.
If a Jelly can create organs at will, and obviously psuedopods, what's stopping a jelly from making, let's say...ten or so eyes? Why do all they all have TWO eyes? If it's a different biological set up...different mental process...and it's obviously not to look like humans, because unconquered jellys have two eyes as well... -El Juno
Vision takes a lot of processing power... in most land mammals on earth, vision takes up a good 40% minimum of brain space...us humans included. Nearly half of your brain just to process the input of two eyes. And the brain sucks up more oxygen and resources than any other organ...it seriously burns fuel.
Tryslmaistan may be a Steady State universe, but it is not an extropic universe... there is an overall anentropic force, but only to the point of balance. Thus, life forms do have to worry about their own biological energy budgets. Granted, the budgets are very much more generous than here on Mundis Earth...but the Jellese already use most of that bonus on the incredible ability to form complex organs on the fly, as well as pseudopods as needed. A Jelly would not be able to igest and process enough energy in Mundis to hope to do that. Tryslmaistan Jellies could not live in our universe. The physics are all wrong.
Thus, with all of that happening, there is a limit to energy, and that limit is why Jellies have just enough eyespots for binocular vision.
However, you will note that the solid-hulled, more rigid crystal beasts have any number of eyes. Because their structures are more rigid, they save on energy, and thus can afford more extravagant optics.
I know that Chou is now a Crystal Hybrid, Red and White life, but could she, still have a child, or is that now impossible for her? -Moriarty
If Chou were to attempt to have a child, it would imbalance the symbiosis within her. The crystal basilisk side of her is very aggressive, and will take every opportunity to gain more ground. This is why, since Chou's accident, she is a little different, a little colder and more calculating.
A human fetus is seperated to an amazing degree from the mother during growth in the womb. The Placenta acts as a buffer, a barrier, that seoerates the parasitic child from the host mother. This is why a mother with, say, AIDS, can still birth a healthy, non HIV child. The blood never mixes, and if the birth process is ultra clean, and no blood gets into the baby, they baby can survive, despite the doom of the mother.
This seperation is the problem. If Chou had a child, the fetus would be just thusly isolated from her system. It would have no 'uni-factor', and would present a fresh, utterly available target for the tiny crystalloid 'mesomachines' in her body to first infect the placenta, then to burrow into the fetus itself.
Then, the scene from Alien would eventually play out, as a baby Crystal Basilisk rippped its way out of Chou and stalked off. The crystal spoor would devour any child inside her, then kill her getting out of her body.
Chou, for this reason -if there was technology for such things- could never give blood. Fortunately, the Gryrnese have no ability to deal with a blood bank, or giving blood, so this never will occur. The same result would occur as being infected by a Basilisk.
This is why Chou can never dare to have a child...and she is bright enough to reason this out.
1.The Structure of the Government, The Ranks and levels in it, and how one comes to these ranks, and what is the job of each rank and level. Ie how the Council works, and such
is the hierarchy of the Gryrnese Government:
(Note, it is possible to serve in several positions at the same time)
The Governmental Council Of Gryrnu -3 members + many support staff (Thilia Lilinffylst, Waen Pahworzu, and Rei Naxela were the Council of the time of our story)
The Governmental Departments:
The Department Of Cultural Affairs
-Cultural Binders (Makineri and Muri were in this!)
-Cultural Oversite Committees
-Cultural Enforcement Officers
-The Ministry Of Indoctrination (Thilia also served this too)
-Wiccan Academic Committee
-Alchemist Academic Committee
-Colony Project Special Corps (covert ops! Wai-Wai is in here!)
The Department Of Defence (Commander Pho heads this! He is the top dog!)
-The Elite Myrmillian Guard
-The Gryrnese Defence Corps
-The Gryrnese Militia
-The Gryrnese Merchant Marine Guard (Millian served here)
-Colony Project Control (covet ops!)
-Perfection Crystal Violet Ultra (super-covert ops! Wai-Wai and Sisu!)
The Department Of Production
-The Wiccan Circle
-Local Wiccan Covens
-Coven High Priest/esses
-The Circle Of Agriculture (food, clothing, paper, recycling)
-The Circle Of Healing (medicine, chemistry, dyes and inks)
-The Circle of Secrets (Besom Drives, Tea, Religion, etc.)
-The Alchemist Union
-Local Alchemist Union Centers (Makineri also served here)
-Research Mill Operations Controllers
-Service Gear (from roads to plumbing, repair to transport)
-Construction Gear (from buildings to tools, vehicles to sundries)
-Colony Project Appropriation Committee (covert ops!)
2. The Military Structure and Rank system in Grynu Who does Pho Report to?
Described above. Pho is the head of Defence.
The Gryrnese ranking is:
3. Information on the Mail, Police, Fire department. Are There Cops in Grynu?
Mail is handled by the Service Gear. Fighting fires is done by volunteer firefighters supported with state funds. Police work is done by The Gryrnese Militia, who operate more like police, than an army.
4. Information on the sewers and the "Compost" that Ive heard mentioned in a few comics.
Sewers and plumbing is handled by the Service Gear, Compost is the work of The Circle Of Agriculture. Plumbing is only for the city, and the largest compost facility is the 'Mere' of Ponsbury.
On the nature of light... since we know lumons don't carry significant amounts of energy, or trigger chemical reactions the way photons do... how do people see? How are lumons even detectable? They must have *some* interaction where they impart some level of energy to either matter or charge, else, from the perspective of the hunks of matter we are, lumons might as well not be there. Obviously this isn't the case. -Waismulo
Lumons excite the retina indirectly, rather than by the channels light -photons- normally use.
Lumons can be re-angled, bent in effect, by interacting with the traton that stands in for phosphorus. Lumon have various odd interactions with a number of elements, in point of fact, changing states in these elements. State changes are kind of like having a switch or a polarity flipped. The traton will have its innate behavior modified.
Following this, a particular traton, a doride element called Paspartine, acts like a capacitor, in that it begins absorbing ambient electanic charge...in effect, the Lumon 'flips the bozo bit' on the traton and alters its behavior. Paspartine, once stoked with electans, reaches a critical threshold called the 'electanic capacitance threshold' (ofddly enough) and discharges all of the temporarily pooled electans at once in a burst. Electans, or 'Tryslmeric Charge' are the force that powers life in the Tryslmaistan universe, as we know.
When this burst of electans happens in the phosphene-like tratonic molecules inside the rods and cones of an eye, the result stimulates the cell to send a signal.
So, humans and other red life cannot see lumons, but they can see the passing of lumons as they interact with Paspartine in their rods and cones. This indirect action ultimately provides the effect, if not the reality, of lumonic vision.
However, it should be noted that this also means that humans do not see colors in the same way that we do on earth. Because this form of vision has somewhat different rules than we are used to, the 'look' of the Tryslmaistan universe can only be approximated by me. If you or I were suddenly tossed into the Tryslmaistan universe, and all of our atoms inevitably converted into equivalent tratons, we would wake up from this shock to a world that appeared maddeningly alien. Colors would not be correct, everything would appear strangely 'edged' like the popular 'cel-shading effect used in video games like 'Jet Set Radio' or 'Cel Damage'....almost like having black lines around edges. Colors would appear either muted, shimmery, glowing without light, overexposed, or strangely tinted in incorrect ways. Everything would have a slightly wavery appearance that would be difficult to describe, and it would be painful at first to focus the eyes. It would take many generations of humanity to adapt entirely to this.
The First People may well have imagined that they were in hell, or had gone to Aelfheim, or had been sent to limbo. Some would surely have been driven mad. But, given enough time, people can get used to anything.
In a way, the black-and-white nature of the comic is not entirely inappropriate for representing Tryslmaistan. Color exists, because the brain calculates color as much as it 'sees' it, but it is not quite right, and is overwhelmed by the strangeness overall.
What do the Jellese eat? -Croax
The Slimes, and their cousins the Jellese, eat a variety of native crystalloid 'plants' and 'animals'. They hunt for food, gather glassine plants, and also cultivate crops too...though the crops are not grown on land, but in large spherical 'jars'.
All of this material...whether it is the interior goo from a TandleSpear or a purple Knifecarpet, or even something a big as a Razorchest Clampstrider or our old friend the Teal Scizzortiger, is generally first processed by the Slimes. Jellese can absorb such internal gloop directly, but the Slimes make everything much more...palatable (if the jellese had palates, which they don't).
First, fine dining and feasts.
Slimes are the Iron Chefs of the Crystal world, and a Slime will be poured into a large bowl-like Chowfountain and be supplied with a carefully chosen selection of ingredients that the Jellese would consider a good and...tasty....mix. The Slime, or sometimes Slimes, dissolve the food stuffs and begin their unique chemical transformations. In effect, one could say that the crystal liquid Slimes mingle with the food, prepariing and 'cooking'...chemically altering....it from within, as part of it. Some Slimes are more revered than others, and some are considered to be the equivalent of 'great chefs' while others are just considered marginally better than eating food raw.
After the Slime's work is done, the Slime extricates itself from the mixture, leaving behind a finished work of cuisine. Basically, a big bowl of chemically alterered and blended goo...a soup....cooked and mixed from the inside out.
Individual diningtubs are filled with the contents of the Chowfountain, and the Jellese enter these and absorb the 'soup'...not unlike the scenes of Uni enjoying absorbing tea in Lupiko's washtub. Jellies may have their own favorite personal diningtubs, or use a 'restaurant style' tub.
This is Jellese fine dining.
For Jellese fast food, a Jelly need only go to any Requesting Pool...or the equivalent in pre-conquered Jelly cities, and ultimately have a circulating Slime provide a stream of quick, predigested nutrition for the Jelly to lob a pseudopod into and suck up.
The Slimes, intimate to all food production within a Jellese city, actually get first pick of the nutrition, and essentially live constantly supplied with more food than they could ever use. City-dwelling Slimes (which means almost all Slimes) do not have to gather their own food, and thus have a benefit, and the Jellese, who lack such powerful chemical processing abilities to break down and alter food, benefit as well.
KayWai and Uni both are mutants, changed by having successfully integrated earthly materials as part of their permanent make up. While evolution and change are not normally possible in the Tryslmaistan universe, the matter from our own world nonetheless brings with it something extra....a capacity for change. That capacity is very hard to achieve within the Steady State cosmos of Tryslmaistan, but events can very rarely so conspire as to make it evident.
KayWai and Uni are effectively as much half-creatures, bridging the gap between crystal life and earth life as Chou is. All three of these beings are chimeras, part crystal life, and part earthly life. And both require some elements of both types of life in their diet, to varying degrees.
Chou can go a very long time before needing to ingest any crystalloid matter, and indeed, even bits of sand in her food can be enough. KayWai and Uni can love for a very, very long time off of Red and Green life, terrestrial life based food, but eventually, they will need some nutrients that they cannot get, nutrients found only in the sand and the crystal biology of Tryslmaistan.
Fortunately, as we have seen, some crystal life was brought on the Arks to allow the operation of the Electanic Chadometer, the device that allows early detection of approaching Veils.
A little nibble here and there is all any of the three would need.
Alright, this has been bugging me for a while. We've heard of vlax mutated giants (were they giants or goblins/ogres or something?), halflings, and elves. However, in the character information for Lupiko, it says she has some Faery blood thats not talked about. May I inquire what a faery looks like in UJ? Or is this just outdated information.
It seems interesting because she also has a faery harp or something right? -Croax
The 'Faeries' were a group of Humans...composed of so-called 'Elves', 'Humans' and 'Ogres'...the various Vlax-altered family lines...who, a half a century ago, decided to...experiment with Vlax in unusual ways.
This was the closest thing to a '1960's' style Hippy revolution that the Gryrnese culture ever saw, and it actually lasted a surprisingly long time before it was utterly quashed. A full two generations.
The 'Faeries' as they came to be called, created a covert subculture within Gryrnese society. They made use of Deifica to have religious visions, and practiced a kind of cult of love and pleasure that included a total rejection of the seperations between Wiccan and Alchemist Factions. To the outside socieity, the Faeries appeared perfectly normal...they tried to follow the rules, appear normal, act normal, and espouse socially accepted opinions. In secret, they took great forbidden pleasure in mocking the entirety of Gryrnese culture, and felt compelled by a higher power and a 'deeper mystery', much of which came from overindulgence in Deifica.
Total sexual freedom was one of their practices, and orgies were common. Music and dance were intermingled with wild sex. The Faeries belived that they could breed a superior, Goddess-like race of man through indescriminate (but spiritual) sex and the use of special 'potions' during the gestation of a child. These 'potions' were cooked and chemically altered Vlax concoctions that also contained a great deal of the mind altering Deifica, as well as some chemicals taken from crystal life.
The result of this was the birth of babies that had some very unusual characteristics...they were unnaturally thin, incredibly wispy and frail, shock white in color, and possessed of shock white hair that looked for all the world like a dandilon puff. The children had gold eyes, and moved with a very strange gait, fluid and almost dance-like.
The parents of Faerie children tried very hard to hide their unique...characteristics. They dyed their hair, dressed them in bulky, oversize clothing, and tried to teach them to act like their peers. For a while, this worked, more or less, but the Faerie children also seemed to...think...differently than other people, even their own parents.
Eventually the whole secret movement was discovered when the Faery-folk were incautious about holding an outdoor gathering in the desert. Charges were brought, then dropped, then brought again. The Books of Myrmil simply had nothing to say on this sort of thing, other than perhaps issues of breeding, and those rules primarily applied to the colonization period, not centuries later. Although the actions of the Faeries could not be deemed truly illegal...except for pubic sex issues and marriage issues...there was no legal basis to execute either the parents, or the children. However, it was agreed by the Council of the time that the whole thing was at the least terribly unsavory and wrong, and therefore must be stopped for the public good.
The Faeries were abolished, and covert operations were put in place to prevent such underground movements from gaining momentum ever again. The Faerie children managed to find lovers, for they did have an unearthly beauty about them, and unlike the usual, non-transmissable mutations caused by Vlax, somehow some aspect of the genes of the Faeries were permanently altered. This, quite to the surprise of everyone, caused some of the Faerie traits to be passed on to offspring.
By demonstrating that this was even possible, family lines such as the 'Elves' and the 'Ogres' demanded research into what had happened, since to produce the unique qualities and appearance of these family lines requires specific Vlax use during every pregnancy and every child's early development. Unless this is done, according to family traditions, all children would simply appear as stock normal Human, and the power of the 'Racial Clans' would be lost. A permanent solution to produce transmissible unhuman characteristics would solidify the Racial Clans forever.
Such research was not to be, however, because other things, bigger things, were far more important to the Council, such as the approaching Stormfall...
How, exactly, do Jellies reproduce? -Various people
HOT (well, more accurately, ambient temperature) JELLY SEX!!!
Tryslmaistan Jellies, as well as many other creatures in the Tryslmaistan cosmos, reproduce by means of spores.
When sapient Jellese people have sex, as they become the equivalent of aroused, they manufacture temporary reproductive organs within their bodies. Males create Spore Bulbs, and females create Uteroid Sacs. When forplay, which involves various configurations of pseudopods and the resultant probinbg of each other's biomass reaches a peak, the outer membrane of the Jellies begins to alter. The membrane becomes sticky, and semi-liquid, and is covered in a thin sheen of acid. The acid stings the Jellies slightly, which creates a reaction that brings the reproductive organs to the surface from deep inside, where they have been forming.
The male Jelly produces multiple eruptions of large boil, or pimple-like lumps, which are the protrusion of the Spore Bulbs. In the female, hollow circular funnels open up, with wide, sloping openings leading down into the Uteroid Sacs. Eventually the edges of these funnels raise up, above the surface of the female Jelly and appear like the open end of a tuba, flairing out in a circle.
Locked in sticky pseudopodal embrace, stinging in excitement from the acid burning each other's membranes, finally the males Spore Bulbs will burst, ejecting a vaporized cloud of a powerful chemical base mixed with reproductive spores.
If enough of the material falls into one or more female Sac Funnels, it is transported by rapid, rippling contractions down into the Uteroid Sac. Along the way, the base counteracts the surface acid, and protects the spores.
Inside the Uteroid Sac, the spores begin to collect. If there are enough spores, reaching a specific critical level, the female will sense the chemical density and automatically release an activation enzyme within the Sac. This causes the spores to burst, and begin growing into a tangle of living threads. As the threads grow, they also wriggle, and this action causes the body of the female to inject nutrients into the Sac, to feed what is rapidly becoming a Jelly embryo.
At this point, a chemical signal is released, and the impregnated Sac will close itself off from the outside. Becoming an Inclusion, the Sac remains affixed to the outer membrane of the Jelly, which begins to thicken and harden slightly. This makes the creation of pseudopods much more difficult for the female, but acts as a kind of light armor to protect the Sacs, which are now, with growing fetal Jellies inside them, termed Pods.
Inside the Fetus Pods. the writhing threads begin to form a ball, and the ball begins to differentiate between an outer layer of thich threads, and an inner core of thin threads. The outer layer becomes a membrane, and the inner core melts into internal biomass.
At this point the Pod, being semi-transparent, will show the outlines of a little ball, the fetal Jelly. From conception to this point takes about three weeks.
At two months, Tryslmaistan time, the fetal Jellies will begin to display eye strips. The eye strips occasionally sink into the interior of the fetal Jelly, and then surface again, a cycle which follows resting and rapid growth phases.
Color begins to become obvious around four months. The color of a fetal Jelly is determined by the balance of acid versus base at the moment of conception...the more acid, the closer to what we would call the 'violet' end of the spectrum, and the more base, the closer to the 'red'. Halfway, the average, is various shades of 'green', which is why so many Jellies are depicted as green.
The Jellese have their own little myths and stories about what the colors mean, and among them are the whimsey that a greenish Jelly will be normal or average of temperment, a reddish Jelly will be confident and regular in behavior, and Jellies that lean towards the blue and violet range will be emotional and -for the Jellese anyway- unpredictable. The equivalent of artistic, if you will. No Jellese is truly unpredictable in any way that would mean anything to a Human, of course.
During pregnancy, the female Jelly will become large, almost twice her original size, and because of her thickened outer membrane, will find manipulating objects more difficult. Near the top of her dome, will be found one or more teardrop-shaped Fetus Pods, inside of which the small fetal Jellies can be seen rolling and spinning, or lying still.
When a Jelly mother gives birth, the Fetal Pods swell a few days prior, and the membrane of the mother becomes soft again. This permits the mother to easily extend pseudopods, and form bowls, to catch the newly born Jelly babies when the burst from their Sacs.
Immediately mobile, the Jelly babies are eager to explore and move about, requiring a great deal of attention.
The Sacs on the mother are absorbed and disappear in a few days. Over time, the mother loses her mass and returns to her pre-pregnancy weight. After about thirty Tryslmaistan years, the female is capable of becoming pregant again. Reproduction is slow, in a Steady-State universe.
A Jellese infant takes about sixty years to reach sexual maturity. At this time, the Jelly would be considered to be the equivalent of a teenager.
Jellese engage in sex only rarely, but form very strong filial bonds that commonly last a lifetime. These bonds, however, are not ritualized, in the same manner as is the custom of many humans...there is no Jellese 'marriage'. Jellese commonly share the care of infants, and form trusted groups of adults who all collectively care for children. Even so, a child and mother can always identify each other by taste, which in the Jellese is a sense which covers every part of their body.
Baby Jellese are born with a faint, partial memory already installed. They have a basic grasp of many things even before they are born. However, it takes many, many years for this encoded memory to completely surface. By 10 years, basic language skills are in place. By 30 years, the young Jelly will begin to have faint glimpses of understanding of history, the basic patterns of life in the Tryslmaistan universe. By 50 years, the Jelly child will have encoded memories surface that involve more abstract concepts, such as the beginnings of Jelly mysticism. By 70 years, the young adult Jellese is already undegoing mental hardening, where ideas and information, as well as the capacity for thought and reason become highly rigid and unchanging. By 100 years, a Jelly is almost incapable of new ideas, and can easily be rendered insane by the introduction of something truly novel, such as, say, the landing of an alien force of Humans from another universe who plan to destroy civilization and claim the entire world as their own.
How did the Tratonic Bomb that destroyed Myrmil actually work? -Nemo
How A Tratonic Detonation Device works:
Tratons, unlike atoms, are not constructed of clouds of electrons around a nucleus. A traton has no nucleus, in point of fact, and nothing that is like an electron, or even an electan.
Tratons are not unlike polyhedral shapes made out of polygonal planes of intersecting energy. A traton can deform along these planes, and you might call it an origami box of sorts.
Molecules, in the Tryslmaistan cosmos, are composed of interlocking tratons, and the bonds between tratons are like puzzle pieces fitting into each other.
Now these energy planes undergo, as does every form of matter in the Tryslmaistan cosmos, a kind of entropy. They break down. Like subtratonic shatterel, the energy planes can fragment, and the fragments, depending on the number of sides, become one of the three flavors of electans. In effect, all matter in Tryslmaistan is inherently unstable, and pseudo-radioactive. This is not radiation akin to the kinds in the Mundis universe, where we live, but it is analogous.
What keeps all the matter in the entire Tryslmaistan cosmos from breaking down are the Veils, which generate electanic Charge, and this effect recrystallizes the energy planes of the tratons. You might imagine it as though it were 'quantum rock-candy' forming.
But, there is a potential danger, which can never happen normally, that the anentropic recrystalization could go too far. In effect, that a traton or a bunch of tratons, could become so 'perfect' for lack of a better term for an anti-entropic state, that they exceed the boundaries of solidness, the limits of physics. This is Extropic Transcendence, and it is explosive, and it is dangerous, it is getting not only something for nothing, it is getting a heck of a lot of something for nothing in a blinding flash.
The tratonic bomb that destroyed Myrmil used this principle. Three carefully shaped pieces of utterly pure Chijimutite crystals were arranged inside of a mechanized casing. The three pieces, originally one whole piece, had been carefully divided with a single blow from an impact, in much the same way that a diamond cutter can cleave a diamond with a precisely calculated blow from a chisel. This was important, because of an effect within the Tryslmaistan cosmos not unlike that of the quantum mechanical concept of intertwined particles in our own universe..the parts of the crystal possess a kind of mutual 'spooky' connection.
Using a special Anentropic Transducer, heat could be inverted to become cold, freezing the crystals to nearly the lowest possible temperature, the equivalent of 'Absolute Zero' for the Tryslmaistan cosmos. The only remaining component was a mechanism to slam the three halves together to form a sort of 'critical mass'. Key to this was that the parts be placed back together in as exacting a correspondence with how they were prior to being divided as possible, ideally a perfect correspondence.
Now this critical mass is not of the kind we speak of in an atomic bomb, rather it is to allow for a final crystallization along the previously broken planes of the divided Chijimutite crystal. At such a low temperature, the crystal parts are nearly at extropic criticality already, and brought back together, the natural, ambient anentropic effect of the Veils is added to the mix...and that is the key.
Detonation occurs because that last anentropic effect pushes the crystal past the point of extropic transcendence, effectively going beyond the limits of conventional Tryslmaistan physics in the same way that the interior of a black hole, in our universe, is indescribable and beyond our conventional physics. The analogy is not exact, but it will do.
At the moment of extropic transcendence, tratons inside the Chijimutite recrystallize to form a 'more perfect than the original' form of the original crystal. This violation causes a compound extropic effect, and put simply, if entropy is the loss of potential energy to chaos and heat, then extropy is the gain of potential energy creating order and cold. Vast amounts of energy are suddenly bursting from an effective nowhere, a 'virtual space', in the same way that our quantum mechanics allows for 'virtual particles', and the result is, one heck of a lot of stuff, and no room to put it in. Matter, coming into existence, with no place to go, does not enter quietly.
The Alchemists of Myrmil grievously underestimated the effect. It was far more powerful than all but a very few even imagined, and the result was cataclysmic.
Now why Chijimutite, specifically? Because of all matter in the Tryslmaistan universe, Chijimutite is the most exquisitely 'tuned' to the effects of the anentropic flow from the Veils. Indeed it is this flow that provide the energy that allows Chijimutite to have the power to move, and to push or pull connected objects. With Chijimutite, you literally get more energy out than you put in, a small vibration, such as a specific tone of sound can result in a contraction or expansion magnitudes greater in terms of energy. The additional energy comes from the natural ambient flow from the Veils that power the whole of the cosmos.
Myrmillian Alchemists recognized this, and their science understood it, and understood its potential, and ramifications.
Unfortunately, they did not understand is well enough.
What was this terrible tratonic like? It was small, about the size of a soccer ball, with a base just big enough to support the freezing mechanism. On the outside were cylindrical machines to push the crystal parts into place. It would fit in the trunk of a car, easily, yet it took out an Worldplate, and by extension, in due time, the entire universe.
Why do the Gryrnese use a base seven numerical system?
The early humans, the First People, were a diverse mix, from many time periods and cultures. Most of them came to the conclusion that they had somehow ended up is some variation of the idea of hell, or fairyland, or some mixture of the two, and so, early on, there was a kind of short lived cult that centered on the idea that they were all damned in some way, this being the reason they were in such an alien universe.
Leading this, and bringing it to a focus, were a group of terribly frightened medieval-era European people, who managed to form a faction that united most of the less technological groups together. It took quite some time for the precious few high technology groups to become dominant over everyone.
These European groups created the focus on 'Alchemists' and 'Witches', on interpreting antilinovective drives as 'brooms', and so forth. These influences remained even into the height of technological Myrmil, and thus on to the time of the current story.
One of the most vocal of the 'damnation cult' groups were various Catholic and Jewish peoples, united in terror, who also brought with them a fixation on the number seven. From Kabbalah and from Catholic mysticism as well, a madness sprung that was not unlike the aborignal American 'Ghost Dancers' who believed that by dancing they could magic back the original indian population and culture. The number seven, and ways of making use of it, were seen as a means to regain the grace of god, and thus be saved from the hell that they saw Tryslmaistan as.
The legacy of this was a base seven numerical system, one of many concessions the high tech groups had to make to unify these lost humans for the sake of mutual survival.
How do Gryrnese marriage ceremonies go? Are there differences between a same-sex wedding and a het one? -ObakeTenshi
Weddings are no different whether the couple is heterosexual or homosexual. Gryrnese culture, lacking any remaining connections to terrestrial bigotries or taboos, is a society, where -except for the Ark migrations- sexual preferance simply is not an issue.
The profoundness of this is not to be underestimated. In Gryrnese culture, being gay is not any kind of issue at all. No parent cares at all, no one blinks if someone turns out to be gay, bi or straight, and there is no bigotry or seperation of any kind under law or religion. It truly is an alien society.
There is only one case where being gay or straight matters: Queer folks are excluded, by the Pact of Myrmil, from transport on the Arks. There is an exception for people who are bisexual in some cases, but all of the children on the Arks are screened for homosexual tendencies, and eliminated if any are found.
The reason for this is not just reproduction by itself. Gay people can and do have children, and under such a dire situation as the end of the world, one can expect even a strongly gay person to 'do their duty' and have children to propigate the species.
No, the real reason the Pact demands only Heterosexual people on the Arks is to encourage massive breeding. All the Ark children and crew are expected to follow an exhausting and highly controlled breeding program, one that turns any joy in sex to a mechanical duty, and because it is all enough to turn off even a hetero person eventually, they are hedging their bets with all heterosexual people.
The children and the crew will be expected to have as many babies as possible, for as long as they live, with rigidly assigned partners only, and with no ability to form any sort of family or bond. It isn't a happy situation.
But enough about such matters, you ask about marriage.
There are two main variations on marrage in Gryrnese culture, the Wiccan ceremony and the Alchemist ceremony. Both flavors come in many cost forms, depending on available wealth, and the degree of fuss one wants to have.
The ultimate Gryrnese Wiccan wedding, which Millian and Yasui had, would be held at a sacred temple or other ritualistically important location, and involves much pagentry and pomp. Gryrnese Wicca is rather unlike earthly paganism, and is in many ways often like a blend of Catholicism, Judaeism and Shinto, all wrapped up in a Wiccan package. It is an amalgum of half-remembered bits and melted-together elements from the First People and their lost, earthly beliefs.
Gryrnese Wiccans are not as 'Nature' oriented, for instance, because there is a heck of a lot less 'Nature', and life itself is a constant struggle in an alien realm. So buildings are preferred to open air, and the trappings are banners and veils, finery and music, and a long procession. A Wiccan Priest or Priestess officiates, and the ceremony, after the long procession, which essentially has the couple walk along what is (hopefully) a long line of relatives and friends, ceremonially stopping and introducing themselves as a couple to each person, and accepting gifts (which are carried by a number of helpers, the 'Henchweds' who haul the gifts and display them as the procession moves along), then begins.
The Wiccan ceremony takes place under a specially constructed veiled canopy of sorts, which is in the shape of an elaborate, almost 'Bucky Fuller' styled, lacy tetrahedron. After prayers to the Goddess, a recital of the lineage of the couple (Gryrnese are very big on genetic history, on geneology, something strongly encouraged by the Council, for reasons that become vital at Ark migrations), the couple recite special prayers to each other. By this, I mean that they literally pray to each other as though their partner was a deity. Then, after all of this, the couple have their left hands tied together with seven cords, one blue, one red, one green and the remaining four white. Bound together thus, their hands clasped together and wrapped with thick woven cords, a small triangular table is placed beneath their bound hands.
On this table is placed a small, hollow, blown crystal (effectively glass) orb, around which is engraved words of despair and rejection, jealousy and anger. The couple, together, as one, smash the fragile orb with a blow from their heavily bound hands, usually with a small hop...simply because it is less awkward than trying to flex a bound grip.
If the couple smashes the orb with the first try, this is said to be lucky, and to be a blessing, which will prevent all bad things from happening in the future to the couple. Of course, if they are still struggling after three tries, the Priest or Priestess comes in with a rather oversize hammer-like ritual device which has the Gryrnese words for hope and love enscribed on it, and smashes the crap out of the orb in a big flourish, thus conquering all the bad stuff through the 'divine love of the Goddess'.
The couple are unbound, kiss, and are pronounced married.
Much food is eaten and music played. There is a traditional circle dance.
The ultimate Alchemist wedding is rather different. It is, in some respects, almost like a military affair. Decorations are in deep colors, and are of geometric shapes reminicient of order, logic and mechanics. People wear dress uniforms, not unlike far more elaborate versions of the uniforms of the Arkship crews. After what amounts to a military inspection made by the couple of the guests, the guests then form a circle around the couple. If there are enough guests, two or more circles are formed, one within the other, always the couple in the center.
The couple then each, in turn, give their arguments as to why they belong together. They may list their geneologies, reasons why they need each other, reasons why it would just be wrong to not be together. Facing them is a person playing the role of a traditional character, the Great Constructor, who acts as a mock judge. He may cross-examine statements, make rude obervations, and seem to be bent on preventing the union. The Alchemist couple make a show of fighting him with logic and reason, until eventually they have nothing more to say. At this point the Great Constructor announces that without a valid argument, the marriage cannot be allowed, for marriage is the foundation of the house that is society, and no house may stand without a proper foundation, and much else besides. At this point the couple will stand up against the Constructor and finally proclaim that beyond all reason, all logic, all meaning, they just plain love each other. It is the first time love is mentioned at all in the ceremony, and for that reason comes across very powerfully.
The Constructor suddenly changes his attitude, as if converted by the outburst of emotion, and acknoledges that behind any purpose, there must first be the desire of the heart to make it happen, and that the heart is the most fundamental reason of all, and the one that cannot be denied.
Much hoopla then breaks out, all the autere trappings up to this point are dropped, and the whole crowd basically whoops it up and goes nuts. There is food and dancing and music and the Gryrnese equivalent of drinks, and it is a big fancy party, the very opposite of how it began.
Lastly, of course, are very simple, and fairly neutral, civil ceremonies.
That is how marriage is handled in Gryrnese culture.
What species of ants do the Gryrnese have anyway? -Sheseala
The kind of ants the Gryrnese have are [i]Oecophylla smaragdina[/i], the Austalian Green Ant, sometimes called the 'Citrus Ant'. The ant secretes a citrus-like chemical from its abdomen, and has been used in many ways on earth: Aboriginal women would use the secretion on their nipples in order to flavor them, and to treat respiratory illnesses in their nursing children, and the ants, when crushed, put in water, and strained, create a tangy, citrus-like beverage. This can be sweetened with honey.
The Green Ant is a weaver ant which builds a nest in bushes or shrubs. On Gryrnu...on all the Gryrnus.....this ant has had to adapt, and over the eons has changed its behavior radically to live in Plum trees, building nests from Plum leaves. The ants will guard and protect their plum tree from attack, and have been known to take out smaller crystalline creatures that invade human lands...the acids the ant secretes can dissolve crystal hulls, even if the jaws of the ants are unable to bit through a crystal animal.
The ants can survive on plum trees because they get needed Vlaxilin from the fruit and sap of the tree, and the trees get Vlax from the soil, which may have Vlax added by humans, or may be enriched by the passing of crawling Vlaxifurm ribbons, making their way from the sea to the open desert.
Gryrnese Green ants are also cultivated in chambers by the Gryrnese, and antkeeping is as advanced as beekeeping on Gryrnu.
Why is the Stormfall such a problem? -Tony Lime
Tryslmaistan space is not infinite, in fact, it is very finite. That, in a nutshell is why the Stormfall is so dangerous...eventually everyone will have no place to run to anymore, and only one Worldplate will be left.
When the Stormfall started, it formed a column, a constant wraparound cylinder of debris that began to grow. At the halfway point of the entire universe, the Stormfall wall will be dimensionally 'flat', and past the halfway point, will become a shrinking circular curtain, closing in on a center point. (This has to do with the way hyperdimensional structures, such as universes, work. There are diagrams in some of the Alternate Universe specials that explain this visually)
Now, there could be StormDivers, living in the falling rubble, indeed there almost certainly is (!), but when that last Worldplate falls, the storm, closing in upon itself, will grind itself out, smash itself against itself, and finally stop, leaving nothing but dust. This dust would include, of course, the StormDivers falling with the rubble. They are ultimately doomed.
The entire volume of the Tryslmaistan universe is very small compared to our enourmous Mundis universe. Compared to Mundis, All of Tryslmaistan could fit inside a box that stretched from our sun to just past Alpha Centauri, the closest starsystem to earth...about 4.5 light years away, just over a parsec.
Tryslmaistan is roughly 3.2 light years 'wide' (in a hyperspace sense!) by 0.03 light years 'tall'....wide and flat.....using the Mundis speed of light as a yardstick. Of course this cosmic space wraps on all sides to meet itself, which is why you can fall all the way around the universe, or, if you had a ship powerful enough, fly all the way around in any direction. The trip would be much longer sideways than up and down before the wrap.
Tryslmaistan is a 'pocket' class universe, very, very small compared to our own. But then our universe is very, very empty, and Tryslmaistan is literally jam-packed with matter...every part is filled with matter, be that matter air, or Worldplates. There is no empty vacuum in Tryslmaistan.
Now, an entire universe just under a parsec wide, and handfull of Astronomical Units tall may seem incredibly dinky, and it is, but that is also one hell of a huge place in human terms, which is why 300,000 years of running away can occur before nearing the mid-point. The Humans could happily continue running away for another 100,000 years before the effects of Charge imbalance caused by Worldplates being destroyed got so bad that no one could survive being outside the ship (like Texto, only much, much worse...), and if they made adjustments to never leave the ship, they could run all the way to the last Worldplate, another 200,000 years beyond that. But by that time, even standing on that last worldplate would be death, because there would be nothing but massive Charge, and a surrounding curtain of death, closing in. Game Over.
This is what Chou knows, and she is so concerned with taking action in her lifetime because she realizes that Mankind has blithely been running away for 300,000 years and has not changed how it does things. What happened to Texto is an example of that...it could have been avoided simply by putting the controls inside the Ark. 300,000 years ago, Charge bleed from the Storm was not an issue, so it did not matter. But the Humans have clearly borrowed more than bits of language and culture from the native Jellese...they have clearly been affected by the entire Steady-State nature of the universe itself, as well...like the Jellese, they now resist all change. Chou sees this too, and it is simple now to realize that the Humans are very likely to just run to extinction, blindly.
Chou is the only person in 300,000 years to truly grasp the problem and defininately the only person to consider it an issue. She has doubtless calculated that when she dies, if nothing changes, there will almost certainly never be another person who will bother to make a difference. So, Chou is thinking 300,000 years ahead, because in all of time, she is the only one likely to. Something has to be done by somebody, sometime, and that time probably has to be now, if it ever is going to occur.
Why was Wai-Wai so hated by Neve?
While Queer folk are just a normal part of Gryrnese society, both lesbians and gay men having weddings, and living normal lives, things are not so good for transsexuals and the transgendered. Being Genderqueer is a big taboo in Gryrnese society.
Even with that said, it has been noted in other posts that all of the Ark Children were selected for being straight, among other qualities, in an age old, futile effort to eliminate Queer folks, and to increase breeding activity. The reason being that the people who wrote the Books Of Myrmil must have felt that heterosexual people would do their job of breeding like cattle with more...gusto...than homosexual people.
I suppose there is a slim argument there...it is easier for males to 'get it up' for someone they are attracted to...but it is a very weak argument even so. It must be a very faint carry-over from Earth, just as there are bits of language and myths of animals like foxes and butterflies.
Genderqueer Humans are to be killed on discovery in traditional Gryrnese society. Transsexual and transgendered people are denounced in the Book Of Myrmil, and are to be eliminated. No one cares about the Jellese, which is why no fuss was made about KayWai. The Jellese are considered subhuman.
The reason for this edict is lost to time, and no one in the story knows exactly why. All they have is a word, and a basic commandment to follow concerning people like me.
But I know the history behind the why of it, and here it is....
The 'Faeries' were not the only rebellion that has ever occured in the history of the Gryrnese, and one, long, long, long ago was led by a transsexual.
Her chosen name was Lylthia Campaspe, and she was a Male-To Female in a world without surgery, without hormone therapy, without any recourse. This was still a time, however, when there were memories that yet remained of the real lost Myrmil, and all of the technology that it had. Yalla wanted that technology back, for obvious reasons, and formed a social revolution among the rather unhappy people of the time to try to change the direction of civilization from becoming what we see it is today in the story. She wanted a society devoted to reclaiming lost technology and science, instead of a totally controlled, totalitarian society designed to keep people dumb, and working hard...so that a very few might escape to begin again.
In short, she wanted what Chou wants now, only she was too early, and lacked Chou's incredible mental abilities. She failed, spectacularly, and a lot of people had to be killed to force conformity once again. Eventually her name became the Talcryl word for 'evil', Lylth. It is also the word for anyone shown to have gender issues...they are 'Lylthkel', or spawn of Lylth, spawn of evil.
If I had done strip 549 in Talcryl, Neve would actually have said "Ando te YaStuu Lylthkel te!" or " [This Human] [wretched/ unconforming/ disruptive] [spawn of evil/ genderqueer/ sick/ perverted] !". What is there is close enough.
If I were to live on Myrmil, I, like all the other genderqueer folk, would just have to suffer, hide, or try to pass anyway, while hiding in fear. Rather like much of the third world today, actually.
Wai-Wai Ngo can be understood to be well worth being a covert ops person...he managed to keep the secret of his physical sex all this time in a hiddeously totalitarian society. He could not have managed to do this by always being nice. Indeed, he has done more than a few extreme things in his past to survive. Desperation makes monsters of us all.
Even so, Wai-Wai wants to be a good man. I think most readers can see that...it's just that...Gryrnese society is very, very harsh, and thus people, even good people, may be put into positions where extreme behavior may be the best option sometimes.
For those that don't know the terms, half of all transsexuals are Female-To-Male. Born with female organs, the brain, the person inside, is male. They are men, only they have female bodies. It is just as miserable as the other direction of being transsexual.
Transsexual men (because they are men, inside, and also are transsexuals) do not get even a tenth of the press or the fuss that transsexual women (like me) get...mainly because we live in a patriarchal culture, where male privilage is a big deal. In patriarchy, it is a horror and a terrible evil that anyone would ever give up the crown of being physically male for something as wretched as being female. Thus the fuss and the attention of the media.
However, this also means that MTF types also get a lot of help, too. Double-edged sword and all that. FTM types kind of get ignored a lot. Which can be good...and can be bad, too.
Given the almost total control that the Gryrnese government exerts, I suspect that any libraries, or the publishing and distribution of literature of any kind, are firmly hedged in with rules and regulations. For instance, not allowing patrons to take books out; You have to read them then and there. Alchemists cannot enter a Wiccan library, and vice versa. And records are kept of the books you select or purchase, in order to spot any potential troublemakers. How Close did I get? -Rev. Cardboard Box
Bingo. Books are controlled...which is why Lupiko's mother was in such trouble for owning books that she was not legally allowed to own.
In Gryrnese culture, books are classed by content.
Childen's books, once approved, can be owned by anyone.
Books on home life are also allowed universally: cooking, cleaning, the best way to take care of children, nutrition, that sort of thing.
Books about plays and music are allowed, once approved. All books have to be approved by the government.
Books about complex facts, trade and commerce...Wiccan books and Alchemist books are classed according to content, from those open to any member of a Faction (but not the other Faction!) to those so secret that only the Council can see them (The real Books Of Myrmil).
You can buy books in stores, those books that are allowed, but there are no stores devoted only to books, just as there are no libraries, save the collection that someone might put together in their home. Having too many books is...discouraged.
So, a happy children's book, a cookbook, or a book on crystal beasts could be in anyones home. A book on the proper use of metalworking tools would only be seen in the home of an Alchemist, and a book on the tea tree would sit on a shelf in a locked room in the back of a government building, and only a person with credentials could ever see it.
In this strip, uni512, we see Texto accidentally dropping a load of Millian's wash...
I am assuming that this strip was set, timeline-wise, before the New Gryrnese had 'blazed' a path to the fresh water Inner Sea...
I am curious to know which Crystal/White Life 'plant' produces a fluid that not only acts as a oil/sweat/dust/dirt/blood detergent, but also evaporates without leaving a residue behind...
(It's obvious, at the point in this strip, that the New Gryrnese were living off of Arkship stores, and water was too precious a thing to be used on something as wasteful as washing clothes.)
Is the "crystalplant" that Ylla is referring to be found in the Life On The Land alternate strip?
The Obelesfern looks like a good candidate, but so does the StackStance 'plant'...
The whole conversation about 'Crystal laundry fluid' has brought up another "touchy" subject...
Once the Inner Sea was reached by the New Gryrnese, composting was started to help build soil, to cover over the crystal sand, and give a 'foothold' for the Green Life... But there is a rather mundane question... Uumn... How do I put this delicately...>
How does a New Gryrnese wipe their ass? -Waen Pahworzu
Wiping your ass, Gryrnese style!
The Obelesfern is a useful and interesting crystal plant. As has been mentioned before, crystal matter is not rigidly hard, like the rock crystal of earth...this is not stone we are dealing with, even in the rocks that make up the Worldplate. Everything is some degree of being plastic, or even rubbery.
The Obelesfern is very soft, even for crystal life, which is why it was originally named a 'fern' rather than, say, a spike or something. 'Fern' has a mythological conotation of softness to the Gryrnese.
The fluid inside the Obelesfern is a runny goo that has chemical components that are identical to the biosolvents that the Crystal Basilisk uses to extrude, and to reabsorb, the spines it uses for locomotion. These same solvents are useful, to a degree, for cleaning clothing, which is why Texto was using crystalplant fluid...Obelesfern specifically. The Obelesfern is hollow, soft, and filled with solvent-laden fluid. The fluid is a bit thick, like a thin syrup, or perhaps hand lotion, but it can work, if there is no water. It is a decent act of emergency or extreme situation survival knowledge to be able to use.
But the most common use for the Obelesfern is for asswipe. By cutting the exterior hull into strips, a soft, clean, and lotion-covered rubbery material results. This can be used to clean the body, including removing the mess of defecation and urination. The solvents are volatile, and evaporate, leaving only a trace of crystorganic residue. Sometimes strips of Obelesfern are used as bandages, too.
The material is not absorbant, of course, but it is workable for such uses. The solvent has no effect on terrestrial organic matter, but it is fluid, and it can flush out dirt, dissolve crystal sand, and leaves a more or less clean odor...an almost plastic like odor, but, still, better than, say, human schmutz.
Gryrnese will keep a jar of Obelesfern strips near where they would need them. There is an industry based around growing plots of the crystal plant, harvesting and slicing it, and making it available.
However, the really poor, like Lupiko and Chou back at the beginning of our story, simply went out behind their house and used leaves from the cone trees. Cone trees do not have needles, like pine, but rather, flat, three-lobed leaves...as we have seen in some sections.
There is one other, strange use, for the fluid of the Obelesfern...because it acts as a solvent for crystal matter, children and some adults can use it in combination with local crystalline rock as a kind of 'glue' to make hobbies and crafts, simple toys, and such works.
How did generations of living in the Tryslmaistan universe effect the human reproductive system? More specifically, do women still go through the periodic bother that is menstruation and if so, how is it explained and dealt with? I must imagine that things like blood must be disposed of carefully, so as not to attract creatures that crave the salts and other minerals that red life is so full of. -Jade Cat
Nobody has asked this one before!
Unfortunately, menstruation is still suffered through in the Tryslmaistan cosmos as it is on earth. Humans have really not changed all that much by being there, save for an extended lifespan, and with it, a much later puberty, and a few other small details. The reason for the alteration in lifespan is because of the anentropic principle of Tryslmaistan, which causes a constant, low-level repair of oxidative damage in human cells, combined with a lower metabolic rate being required overall.
The only other change of any real note is that human pigment is gradually being lost, because of the non-damaging nature of lumonic light, but this process is insanely slow. Eventually, one might expect the Tryslmaistan humans to be utterly colorless, pasty and sickly pale, but such a state would not occur for at least another 300,000 years. Which is why we still have humans with light brown skins. It is possible, however, that the current situation of human pigment we have seen is the final stage, a balance point. This is suggested by the extra kick of energy that anentropy provides living things...it is possible that the loss of biological energy that pigment production demands (any biological activity has a cost) is balanced by electanic benefit. If so, no more pigment will ever be lost.
Lastly, it would seem that humans are somewhat more passive in Tryslmaistan, having been bred for such over a third of a million years.
Beyond these small differences, humans are the same there as they are here. And that means that yes, menstruation occurs, along with cramps for some, and the need for pads. The Gryrnese have not developed tampons.
Mentrual pads are made from cloth (the manufacture of cloth has been referenced elsewhere), and are used over and over. The pads, when full, are cleaned out in a bucket or pail, and the bloody water is added to compost, applied on crops directly, or used by Alchemists, who can extract minerals by precipitative reaction. Very often, the pads have been collected for a week or more before being cleaned.
Blood, and other bodily excretions, does not decay in the same way as on earth, because bacteria are few, and cannot live without Vlax. As the Vlaxilin is used up in the blood by any skin-based microorganisms, the bacteria die, ending decomposition. So old mentrual pads can be stacked to dry and they will not have 'dead blood odor'. Humans also lack strong body odors in general for this reason.
Now, to our culture, all of this may seem strange, but it is to be remembered that the Gryrnese lack many of the issues we possess, because their way of life is shaped by their needs and situation. Blood is an organic matter, and it is high in minerals, and such things are terribly useful in their cosmos. Sewage is another resource that is commonly collected, too.
Cramps are treated with mild infusions of Deifica and tea...not enough to cause massive hallucinations, or complete anesthesia, of course, but rather just for light pain relief. Much in the same way that cannibis, in our own world, and especially in America, was used commonly for 200 years, until it was outlawed in the 50's under political pressure from William Randolph (Citizen Kane) Hurst, in order to destroy hemp based paper and so benefit his own personal investment in wood-based paper.
The Wiccans have a few little rituals associated with menstruation, for the Alchemists it is just a boring biological function of no note.
There is one particulately Gryrnese use for menstruation, however...the senses of native life can sometimes follow the airborn scent of metals in blood, and so menstruating female fighters, seeking a prowling crystal beast at the borders of the Human lands, may use their own menstrual blood as a kind of bait, in various ways, to lure the beast they need to terminate. This gives them an advantage over male fighters, and this advantage is sometimes grumbled about by some males, in seedy fighter bars, over mugs of tant-laced beverages.
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