[Fish] Syliran Shiner

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[Fish] Syliran Shiner

Postby Karyk on May 18th, 2017, 2:24 pm

Article: Syliran Shiner
Author(s): Karyk
Other development: Not on this site
Additional Info:
Peer Review Thread: As applicable.
Founder Review Thread: As applicable.

Synopsis: To create a fish with distinct challenges for fisherman and have cultural and economic impacts on cities and peoples in the North Suvan Sea region. This fish will help provide depth for fisherman, to improve in distinct areas of the fisherman's craft, and providing new areas for fisherman to work in.


The Syliran Shiner did not exist prior to the Valterrian. They began their life as simple, bottom feeding, salt-water rope fish. When the Valterrian struck, and wild djed surged through the land, a small feeding school of these fish were caught in the effects. They had been feeding on algae and other microbes near an underwater vein of iron. The wild djed killed all of the living rope fish, but there were eggs atop the metal deposit. When these baby rope fish were born, they had some metallic properties, and were able to feast on the iron. These fish went on to populate heavily in the northern Suvan Sea, ingraining themselves in the cultures of Syliras, Alvadas, and the Svefra.

These fish were discovered first by a Svefra woman, named Pearl Waveswept, a member of the first generation of people to brave the wilds after the Valterrian. She was a deep diving fisherman, usually setting cages, creels, and traps for lobsters, crabs, and other crustaceans. One day she noticed that many of her metal cages were deteriorating rapidly, huge sections of metal bars and mesh missing, while her wooden and clay cages remained untouched. She spent many days diving to her cages over and over to figure out what was going on, before she finally saw one of the rope fish latched onto the cage. She tried to yank it free, but it was far too strong.

She cut it off of her cage at the jaw, taking the fish and its severed jaws as prize. When she brought it back to her kin, it was soon discovered that the fish tasted heavily of metal and while good in a pinch, was deemed a trash fish and a pest. The metal bones were nice adornment, but without forges, the Svefra had little use for them. But Pearl had other ideas, she knew it was useful, just not sure as to how. She turned the shiny, metallic jaw into a necklace. She dedicated her life to scouring the seas to study these new creatures, which she named Iron Eels.

Pearl learned many things about this fish, sharing her information through her pod, even if many deemed her research as pointless. She even developed a taste for the metallic fish, swearing up and down that they made her healthier and stronger. She learned that their scales shined especially bright in the sunlight, that they were not particular about the type of metal they ate, that they sucked up sand when large metal wasn't available to feed upon. She discovered that they tended to be solitary when there were no large deposits of metal to feed upon, but when there was, they came in droves in a feeding frenzy.

But Pearl died before she could learn anything truly useful about the fish, poisoned by her consumption of the flesh, dying from various heavy metal toxicities. Many Svefra viewed her obsession as unhealthy, and that gave birth to the Iron Eel's Jaw being used as a gift and a reminder. Often a Svefra will give this to a friend or family member when they are concerned they are becoming too obsessed with something, to remind them of Pearl's plight, and to free them from it.

The fish wasn't deemed useful until an Isur man in Syliras received the fish during a barter with a Svefra. The Isur was named Torvir Steelthroat Terras, and he was a metallurgist and smith in Syliras, and his wife Iori Hammertoe Terras, was a cook. Torvir found the bones fascinating, being the first to realize that they were not in fact a single type of metal, but rather a uniquely combined metal. Unlike traditional metallurgy, the metals weren't blended into a new alloy, but rather swirled together, making a unique coloring. It was beautiful, and he immediately saw the profit in it as an adornment. After years of experimenting, he perfected the process of melting the metal just right so as to not force the metals to mix, which would create a brittle, useless alloy. Being able to work with this highly decorative metal, he gained popularity as the man to go to for adorning hilts, armor, and other such items.

And while he worked on learning more on the bones, his wife spent her time trying to make the meat safe for consumption and more palatable. She never managed to remove the metallic taste, and therefore assumed it wasn't safe to eat in large amounts, her efforts did reveal an unexpected effect. All of her pots, pans, and cookware that had been used to work with the fish became incredibly shiny, appearing to be better than new. After many seasons of practicing with the rare fish, she managed to fine tune the process of the oil, dubbing it Shiner Oil.

Knights and many others clamored to buy this oil, thus the Iron Eel became known in Syliras as the Syliran Shiner.

--Myths and Common Knowledge
No one knows how the Syliran Shiner came into existence, except perhaps Laviku. It isn't common knowledge that it did not exist prior to the Valterrian. It's discovery by Pearl is well known among the Svefra, significantly less so in other cultures. It is well known in Syliras that Torvir and Iori made the fish useful and profitable, as well as slightly known in the Isur community abroad. It is well known to many in the northern Suvan that it is not safe to eat over the long term, but in times of desperation it will do. Outside of this area, it is significantly less known.

---Syliran Myths
The Sylirans believe that the fish came into existence during the earliest days of the Order's founding. It is told that a human man named Sheka Hrall, created them unintentionally. He was known for being a hot headed individual, but very strictly adhered to his morals and duties. It is said he got into a heated disagreement with the founding Dyrus brothers, and because of this, he left the Order, the first man to do so. Upon leaving, he threw his sword and shield into the Suvan Sea. The Knights believe that the sword became the Syliran Shiner fish and fed upon the shield, representing the first betrayal to the order.

Because of this story, it is believed a very ill omen if one of these fish attaches itself to a Knight's armor, which happens from time to time in the river basins around the northern Suvan. Because of how they feed, the Shiner latches onto the armor through its sucker mouth, and leaves behind a circular indentation. This indentation is known as the Shiner's Kiss. It is often believed that this is a sign that the Knight's will and loyalty are wavering, often leading to that Knight to be mildly shunned until they further prove themselves. This is usually done through an impressive feat of heroism or morality, followed by the Knight traversing the same water that he'd received the Shiner's Kiss. If no additional kisses are received, the shun is ended.

However, it is also believed that until their conviction is proven yet again, that the Kiss marks the lace where the Knight will receive his deathblow. The cockier Knights that do no believe in the superstition, or believe themselves to be too skilled for it to effect them, will often get the Kiss tattooed onto their body. Especially overconfident Knights will take the tattoo further, buying a live Shiner from a fisherman. They will then place a bit of metal on the Kissed area, and wade into the water with the fish, and letting the fish latch onto their body. This, while not especially painful, does leave a prominent scar.

This fish has also given rise to a slew of insults that are popular amongst the Sylirans.

Armor Sucker - One who cares more for how their armor looks rather than how to use it effectively. One who is especially vain.

The Kissed - Those who've been "cursed" and shunned

---Svefra Myths
The Svefra believe the Iron Eel was created by Laviku himself. They believe that Laviku created them to help keep his realm clean of the metals left behind by men, that often poisoned his waters. This led to many Svefra choosing to not dispose of metal objects into the oceans when possible, so as to not make the Iron Eel's job more difficult.

If a metal anchor is raised by a Svefra, and it has a single Iron Eel latched onto it, this is viewed as a blessing, that the Svefra is choosing a good time to leave the area. None at all, and the Svefra believe it is too soon, but more than one is seen as having overstayed.

Chain Eater - Those who're enslaved by an idea rather than chains. One who is obsessed with an idea, commonly used as an insult for the Syliran Knights.

The Syliran Shiner is a large rope fish, often mistaken as a type of eel, though they are much less thick. They are often about 6-7 feet long on average, with the largest ones reaching 10-12 feet. They often weigh anywhere from 100-300lbs. They range from three inches to five inches thick. They lack ventral fins, with a single, short dorsal fin running along most of its spine. They have two small, feathery pectoral fins just behind their gills. They are covered with small scales that are especially shiny, and reminiscent of the metals the fish consume. It has a sucker mouth, designed to suck up sand to extract metallic particles, as well as to latch onto larger metallic objects.The Shiners that live on the east side of the Northern Suvan near Syliras tend to be more of the blue-silvery colored variety, whereas those on the west side near Alvadas are more of a rose gold hue, this is often believed to be caused by differing metal particles in the sands.

--Unique Traits and Characteristics
The most notable trait of the Syliran Shiner is its blinding brightness. It is not luminescent, but rather incredibly reflective when in shallower waters. In deeper waters, the shine is still noticeable but significantly less prevalent.

The Shiner is also much heavier and denser than it appears, much of which is due to their metallic bones and the thick muscles required to move the added weight.

The Shiner's brightness, as well as its denseness are its chief protections. The brightness often blinds predators that are too close, and can confuse and disorient them. Their scales are not especially strong, but their dense muscles and metallic bones often makes predators regret taking a bite out of them. Even more so due to the fact that they simply are not tasty.

The Syliran Shiner has two methods of eating, both of which involves its only source of sustenance, metals. It's primary method is sifting through the sands on the seabed, suck into up, and absorbing the tiny metal particles that occur naturally. It then expels the sand, algae, and anything else it sucked up as waste.

The other method involves locating larger metallic objects. This is done by very finely tuned sense of smell toward metals. Once it is found, the Shiner will latch on with its sucker, and excrete a small amount of enzyme. This enzyme dissolves the metal into smaller particles, which it then sucks into its mouth.

--Social Structure
The Syliran Shiner is a fairly solitary fish due to the scarcity of the metals in sand, having to work over large areas during the day. Males and females are equal in standings, and are nearly impossible to differentiate from each other. The fish only come together in a single event, a feeding frenzy. When the Shiners detect large deposits of metal, they gather en masse to feed and breed.

--Reproduction and Lifespan
The Syliran Shiners only breed during a feeding frenzy, where there's a large availability of food. During this frenzy, the females feed heavily, then lay eggs atop the metal. This keeps some of it saved for when the babies are born, as other Shiners won't disturb the eggs to get to the food. Once the eggs are lain, the males will fertilize indiscriminately over as many eggs as possible by ejecting their sperm over the vast area.

Once the eggs are fertilized, it takes roughly one-third of a season for the eggs to hatch. The parents do not stay with the eggs to protect them, and once the baby Shiners are born, they are capable of living entirely on their own. They feed on the deposit upon which they were born, and the cycle begins anew.

Shiners can live for many years, always growing larger. The biggest ones are easily ten years or older.

-Requirements for Catching
Syliran Shiners are only found in the Northern Suvan Sea, at any depths. However, they typically only feed near the seabed, as they are more exposed in the open ocean. There is a higher frequency of Shiners near Syliras and Alvadas, due to the increased likelihood of metal being dropped into the waters. But the largest and oldest of Shiners are only found in the middle of the Northern Suvan, all the way down at the bottom.

--Necessary Skills
---Fishing (Competent or Higher) - This skill is necessary as to have finer control over the line. Having nonstandard mouths and eating habits, Shiners don't move the line much when latching onto the bait. If they are unharmed in the baiting and catching process, they put up no fight until removed from the water. However, if injured, for instance by a hook, they put up a massive fight, and have broken many a fisherman's rod, caught on the large hooks by mistake.

---Bodybuilding (Competent or Higher) - This skill is necessary for the Shiner's weight. Being metal and of dense musculature, they are incredibly heavy. And the larger the bait, the more Shiners that are attracted. Fisherman often have to cut their lines free because too many Shiners took the bait to be lifted free.

--Necessary Gear
Syliran Shiners need to be caught with an extra strong line and rod, both of which usually make the entire rig heavier. Nets very rarely ever catch them, being a thin rope fish. Cages rarely work as well. Rods that are too flexible or light will snap, lines that are too weak will break. Strength and patience is everything when catching a Shiner.

In order to catch the largest and oldest of the Shiners, one needs access to a fishing boat. They also need an incredibly long line in order to reach the seabed. Finally one always needs metallic bait. Some fisherman believe in specific types of metals, but Shiners will eat any and all.

Syliran Shiners have many uses. Their metallic bones are used for decoration, their scales ground and used for makeup, their meat used to extract Shiner Oil. Their meat can be eaten but is the least used part of the fish.

--Metalsmithing (Expert or higher) - Only highly trained metal smiths can process the metal into usable material without ruining it. By heating it slowly, and carefully, the metal smith can increase the shine, without allowing the metals to blend, thus losing the metals unique swirling coloring scheme. Too hot, the metals blend, making a junk alloy; too cold and the metal loses its luster and becomes brittle.

--Blacksmithing (Competent or Higher) - Once the metal has been treated by a metal smith, it is usable. It is only used as adornment in weapons, armor, and tools typically, due to its impurities and lack of strength.

--Jewelrycrafting (Competent or Higher) - Jewelrycrafters use the metal often as settings for jewelry, to let solid colored gemstones to stand out from the swirling colors of the metal.

--Cosmetics (Novice or Higher) - Cosmeticians can grind the scales to make a powdered coloring agent, often used as makeup. The Shiners near Syliras yield a blue-silver powder, whereas those near Alvadas yield rose gold colored powder.

--Cooking, Meat (Novice or Higher) - Chefs typically do not prepare Shiner meat, due to its metallic taste and its metal toxicity. Its a whitefish that cooks easily, and will do in a pinch.

--Cooking, Shiner Oil (Competent or Higher) - The oils from the Shiner can be extracted by cooking the fish and separating the oils from the rest of the fish. This needs to be done slowly. Overheating makes an oil that dulls the shine of metal rather than greatly improving it.
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