The Tzelicrae

(Original post can be found on reddit, here… https://old.reddit.com/r/worldbuilding/comments/j0pwu5/the_wildsea_culture_and_history_of_the_tzelicrae/)

Perhaps the most curious of the core four bloodlines, the tzelicrae hail from within the leafy darkness of the sea itself. Beginning as self-organized colonies of spiders, a tzelicrae is truly ‘born’ when it develops a functioning hive-mind and becomes capable of acting as a single individual.

Biology

There are two important fronts to tzelicrae biology, those being their internal and external forms. Internally an individual tzelicrae is made up of thousands of spiders, constantly shifting and crawling over each other to puppeteer their external skin. Some tzelicrae reinforce their internal structure with a skeleton of driftwood and animal bones, but most prefer the fluidity that comes with a completely boneless structure.

Externally, tzelicrae create a ‘skin’ for themselves from silk, bandages and the general flotsam of the sea, often incorporating articles of clothing, gear or salvage into the whole. Masks and hoods are common, as the precision needed to accurately animate the likeness of a face takes many years to learn. It’s also commonly observed that old habits die hard, with many tzelicrae fashioning themselves additional limbs or warping their bodily dimensions to better suit their needs, unconstrained by traditional biology.

Some lucky tzelicrae win the lottery of skin, coming into possession of a donated, bartered or stolen covering taken from one of the other three major bloodlines, or from an animal or insect of the wild waves. These individuals can often pass for years as members of that bloodline, occassionally acting as spies or informers in hostile or developing settlements.

Culture

As the only one of the four common bloodlines to have been created as a direct result of the Verdancy, the Tzelicrae can trace their history back to its earliest moments with startling accuracy. Their oldest settlements are oftne built around a Huskpa, an immense living monument of silk containing spiders from all of the tzelicrae that have ever lived there. These huskpas are repositories of history and tradition, and are protected at all costs.

Due to being the best-equipped to reach the depths of the wildsea, the tzelicrae tend to adopt the cultural mannerisms and building styles of pre-verdant civilizations lost to the darkness of the roots. Scholars often have a particular reverence for their efforts, marvelling at the way they dredge and lift entire buildings from the depths to the surface.

The tzelicrae also have their own common language, Knock, created to be spoken in a variety of ways to suit the differing body shapes and capabilities of their kin. Some versions of knock are entirely oral, others signed with hands and fingers and yet others rapidly tapped out in something akin to morse code.

Tzelicrae A: A three-armed dredger of ancient and forgotten things, crawling below the surface to salvage from wrecks and ruins.

Tzelicrae B: A travelling bard with a beast-skull accordion, their clothing styled after a civilization long-lost to the roots.

Tzelicrae C: A char, a ship’s cook that has fashioned their body to better perform in the kitchen, with multiple limbs to handle food preparation and a headpiece that doubles as a makeshift table.

Art by Omercan Cirit for the Wildsea TRPG – Discord invites available on request.

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