The fog lifted and writing and job hunting commenced.
The job hunt goes pretty much as expected in the current environment. Jobs are being posted but they are either too far away, I lack the degree to qualify, or I’m up against at least 50 other applicants. I dropped the coinage to have my resume redone why a service, we’ll see if it proves to have been a wise investment. Getting the resume read is only half the battle, I have to sell the interview. Do not be anxious about tomorrow has become my mantra. 😉
Writing has been done. I took one of the Week 37 Spare Prompts, Sea monsters, and why they’re merely misunderstood, and had some fun. As usual, the research was almost more fun than the writing. Trying to find what I wanted proved to be harder than I had anticipated, but persistence prevailed and I found some usable sources.
Sea Monsters, what are they?
Aquatic Cryptids, sometimes known as Sea Monsters, are a subset of Cryptids. Due in part to their environment, and in some cases size, Aquatic Cryptids are rarely seen and therefore have less literature then their land base cousins. Where some land dwelling Cryptids have become curiosities, Aquatic Cryptids are misunderstood and feared for little reason.
Cryptids are plants, animals, and other eukaryotes not recognized by the Mundane scientific community. They range in size from a small dog to over fifty feet. They can be malevolent, openly attacking anyone who gets too close to their home territory, or benevolent, passively or actively aiding humans in their territory, but most seem to be neutral, akin to a force of nature, indifferent to humans, preferring to be left alone. Even though they may be uninterested in humans, it is best to give any cryptid plenty of room as they can become annoyed and start to consider curiosity seekers as invaders.
Aquatic Cryptids are water dwelling Cryptids. They live in the oceans, lakes, and rivers all over the world. Like their land dwelling cousins, they range in size from trout to hundreds of feet.
There are two primary categories of A.C. (Aquatic Cryptids) – Ocean dwelling and Fresh water dwelling. Ocean dwelling in some cases appears to be a branch of some common ocean species that have grown to unusually massive sizes and tend to have little ability to use magic. Fresh water dwellers frequently are true supernatural beings and many possess, and use, magic.
Some examples of Ocean dwelling are the Leviathan, Kraken and Cetus. Leviathans are one of the few A.C. that are known to be openly malevolent. Their positions should be noted at all times and care given to avoid their territories. Kraken, a common name given to the unusually large squid, are usually indifferent to humans, but they can be dangerous when aroused. Cetus, like Moby Dick, attempt to avoid humans; most have tried to move to seas less frequented by humans. There were reports of Cetus giving aid to survivors of lost ships, but having been driven away from ancestral territories by over fishing and hunting, they have slowly stopped rendering aid.
While Fresh Water dwelling A.C. like River Spirits and Kappa are worldwide, they tend to be classed alongside the land dwelling Cryptids. The main difference is their ability and willingness to use magic. Water Spirits, like Grindylow and Naiad, can be found on every continent. They tend to be malevolent and are known to prefer pools, marshes or ponds where they can prey on the careless travelers. A noted exception is the Kappa of Japan, being a form of Yokai, which are seen more as tricksters, and on rare occasions, have been known to help humans they deem worthy.
A third smaller category is mostly comprised of Cirein-cròin. Examples are the Loch Ness Monster, Kipsey River Monster, and Memphré that have adapted to fresh water. They can show the characteristics of both the unusual size sea dwelling and the magic of fresh water dwelling A.C. – including the ability to change their form to aid in concealment.
This is not to be seen as a comprehensive list of A.C. It is only a short list of the most well known examples. Additional study should be made to better understand the various forms and abilities. The Mythology site (https://mythology.net/monsters/sea-monster) is a good place to start. However many websites are created and maintained by Mundanes so caution should be taken to verify any information with reputable sources.
Part of the misunderstanding most people have with A.C. stems from the size of some of these Creatures. Several of the Ocean dwelling A.C. are so massive that they cannot survive on the land; they would collapse under their own mass, like a beached whale. Those A.C. are large enough to damage ocean going vessels with little effort. Early ships traveling through their territories were sometimes seen as objects of curiosity. When the A.C. came up to investigate the humans would panic and attempt to battle the beings. These fights tended to be short and one sided. A.C.s started to view human vessels as invaders. While some retreated to waters where humans rarely travelled, some started to fight back. As a result of the attacks, humans started recording the locations of many specific creatures.
In the early days of sea travel, ships tended to stay near coast lines thus limiting chance encounters with A.C. By the 15th century, ships were able to navigate open waters and humans began to encounter deep sea dwelling A.C. Early sailors who understood that these creatures were simply trying to defend themselves began drawing warning signs on sea maps. Norse sailors were some of the first to use warnings about creatures they called dragons. Olaus Magnus from Sweden did one of the most complete maps of his home seas in 1539. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olaus_Magnus) He included serpents, kraken, sea pigs and deep sea lobster as well as lesser known Cryptids. (See Map: https://espliego.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/1500px-carta_marina.jpeg) In 1570, this map would become incorporated into Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum and has been quietly credited with preventing countless 16th century sailors from accidently crossing A.C. territories and causing unnecessary conflict. Thomaso Porcacchi and Gerhard Mercator, with Hendrik Hondius, would continue this custom with their maps of the Caribbean Sea, warning of Cetus and serpents in the region. (https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:8336h274d & https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:6t053q80b) These warnings, along with others, greatly reduced accidental intrusion into territories of A.C. and calmed unnecessary fears, allowing human and cryptids to exist peacefully.
By the 18th century, the maps were being drawn by Mundanes who didn’t know or believe that A.C. existed; believing instead that the earlier warnings were fables so they began to leave them off of new map drawings. This reduction in clear warnings resulted in a marked increase of contact between human vessels and A.C. Some of the A.C. became fearful of human incursion and began striking back at the invaders resulting in such incidents as Captain Nemo’s battle with the squid like kraken and the revenge by the cetus known as Moby Dick against the murderous Captain Ahab.
The advent of new ocean navigation technology, combined with many Aquatic Cryptids moving from ancestral grounds to seas less frequented by humans, has reduced the number of incidents of contact. The modern era is witness to a form of long-term peace between humans and these beings. Without provocation, the attacks have all but vanished. A.C. wish to attend to their hunting and breeding and be left alone, watched only from a distance, they can exist as nature intended them.
Kristen P., Archivist