The Shattered Sea
The cephalopod people, more properly known as the Kukulup’oe or “Structured Ones.” Having evolved their organized civilization post-cataclysm, they have no loyalty to the ancient gods. Theirs is a highly artistic and intellectual society – the Teuthidae have an astonishingly strong aesthetic sense. They have also evolved a great deal of specialization of labor, involving what is generally understood by outsiders as living, sentient technology, and an ornate caste system. Sentient giant clams work to continually clean the water of Teuthidae cities, while nautiloid masons secrete and grow the mighty spiral cities of these proud squid-men.
Referring to the civilization as a whole as “Teuthidae” is something of a misnomer, since this is actually a pre-cataclysm human word for squid, from whom the Muhe’elele, the most numerous sub-species of Teuthidae, are descended. They acquired this name from outsiders who first came into contact with the Muhe’elele, who serve as the diplomatic corps for the Kukulup’oe nations. However, on the whole, they have found it an acceptable title for outsiders (who often find Muhe’elele thought-words to be difficult to pronounce, if for no other reason than most other creatures are achieve the subtle skin color changes that accent Teuthid words), encompassing the varied sections of the ornately ordered caste system of the Teuthidae,
taxonomy and caste
The caste system is taxonomic, and breaks down as follows. The decapodian Muhe’elele descendents of ancient squids, comprise a diplomatic caste and are responsible for most contact with outside races. Their favored class is bard. however, as cephalopods are deaf, Teuthid bards use color variation and bioluminescence to tell the epic poetry of the Teuthidae on their skin while creating vibration and sound by forcing air through their funnels and creating visual images and mind-words using their psionic abilities, thus creating bardic music like effects. The architectural and artisitic caste of the `Aumoana are responsible for the secreted shell cities of the Teuthidae. Their favored class is artificer. The heavily armoured Palekila are the military caste (referred to by some as “Hoplites”) and are identifiable by their thick, horny spiral shells. Their favored class is fighter. An intellectual caste is provided by the Muhe`e, descended from cuttlefish, characterized by their thicker tentacles and smaller bodies. Their ability to not only create They may choose their favored class from either Rogue or Sorcerer. The octopodian He`e make up the priestly caste, and unsurprisingly, they favored class is Cleric. There are also other, strange castes, like the Paau, or gargantuan clams. They are a sentient, living part of every Teuthid city, being responsible for filtering the water surrounding the city, and preserving its breathability. Interestingly, they also have a life span dozens of times longer than the oldest Teuthidae, which makes them doubly respected as elders of every Teuthid community. They are entirely static, and removing one from its anchor will kill it – the death of a Paau is cause for city-wide mourning. During the human raid on the great Teuthid city of Iseasii in the year XXXX, the humans used powerful magic specifically targeting the Paau of Iseasii, causing them to reverse their natural processes, essentially resulting in the entire city drowning in poison.
Possibly the most interesting aspect of the Teuthid caste system is the existence of the I’akaina (literally “Brother Meat”) – the food caste; most often bivalves – who are raised for the simple purpose of being eaten by other Teuthidae. While some might consider them only semi-sentient, the equivalent of food animals in other cultures, the Teuthidae acknowledge their kinship with these creatures and thus provide them with a place of honor among the castes – without the I’akaina, the Teuthid kingdoms would collapse – Teuthidae are exclusively meat eating and cannot subsist on the fungus, slime, and plant diets of some other underwater species. The Teuthidae will grant any living creature he consumes the honorific of I’akaina, whether non-sentient or otherwise, showing his respect for the entity that sustains his life. It is also frequently used as a term of friendship for non-Teuthidae – which can be somewhat disconcerting when one realizes that it indicates that one is potentially dinner – but is meant entirely unironically as a term of respect.
Teuthid language is best described as impressionistic. It is complex, subtle, and entirely unspeakable by non-Teuthidae. Because Teuthidae have only limited ability to actually craft sound, they rely on their psionic abilities coupled with their ability to change the colors of their skin, to create “thought-words” which essentially insert concepts and feelings into the minds of their communicants. Simultaneously they transmit a set of sounds into which this word may be literated. Since Teuthidae lack hearing organs, but their eyes are highly evolved and can as easily read lips, the “spoken” Teuthid language relies heavily on vowel sounds punctuated with a handful of consonants as well as glottal stops, since these are handily understood visually. They are also capable of registering changes in facial expression and body language which for them take the place of vocal intonation. Thus, cross-species communication is made possible.