Death may Die
A greatly misunderstood threat, and a threat that greatly misunderstands us, Raliites are an excession in our very own oceans. One might believe that they are several species, but in fact, they are a single “umbrella” species, drawn together through the vagaries of a bizarre reproductive cycle and capability.
Raliites are capable of operation in water and in air, and the recent emergence of arcane sciences has given them new impetus and mobilization. There’s now an ongoing war with the sea as the aquatic horrors rise up, but by the same token there’s more to them than what is immediately evident.
Their place of origin isn’t clearly identifiable, but Raliites are clearly extraterrestrial. According to pictorial Old One records, Raliites came to the Earth sometime in the Mississippian Epoch of the Carboniferous Period. They came on artificial flight platforms, and established a nation on artificial soil, converting those flight platforms into solid infrastructure for their own habitation. Giant Raliites are the principle subjects of the art, but the war images demonstrate principally the smaller Raliites.
In the Pennsylvanian Epoch, the most significant members of this species disappeared. According to many Rali cults, this was due to a change in the stars. This absurdity is probably a misunderstanding. The problem wasn’t that the “stars were wrong,” it’s that the air was wrong. The Mississippian Epoch represented the largest oxygen saturation of the Earth’s atmosphere in its history. The Pennsylvanian Epoch was a plunge. The titanic bodies of these creatures failed due to hypoxia.
Modern Raliites are the same or similar species to these older forms. They’re essentially neotenous. Raliites grow to the extent their environment allows and continue to grow throughout their lives until they reach the largest they can sustain (though they do so quite slowly). Modern Raliites, believed by many to be a completely different creature, is the same species, but marked by their bizarre reproductive capabilities – these Raliites have hybridized with humans.
Raliites are principally aquatic amphibians, capable of air gulping but designed for aquatic life. They communicate through telepathy, but this telepathy rarely reaches humans. Modern Raliites also have vocal apparatuses. Their principally aquatic nature is most borne out in the fact that they continue growing throughout their lives at slow rates until they finally reach the peak size their environment allows. Raliites who live on land for most of their lives will attain smaller sizes than those who live in the sea. Given that size means age, Raliites have a great deference to size, and are deferential to things much larger than they are (though only to a point).
Raliites are Functional excessions. A Raliite is noticeable to humans by the bizarreness of its movements. Even with approximate human features (two arms, two legs, one head), its movements are hugely abnormal as its body tissues move in ways unnatural and physically impossible to ordinary tissues.
Modern Raliites look something like “fishmen” or “frogmen.” Most Raliites encountered are a bit larger than an ordinary human. They are not by nature murderous, though many of their practices are barbaric (including Raliite and human sacrifices, endocannibalism, exocannibalism, incest, ritual rape, etc.). A Raliite who isn’t raised by Ralii takes the ethics of the people who raised it, so the vicious nature of the Raliite isn’t genetic.
Ralii have the remnants of some advanced technology, but most of the technological capabilities of their ancestors are beyond their grasp in a very literal way – it’s literally too large for them to use, or even to properly analyze. They do have some advanced engineering techniques and arcane procedural knowledge.
Culturally, Raliites are positive supremacists. They are not murderous, though they are somewhat disdainful in a pitying way. They do have the feature of attempting to “integrate” species that they deem worthy, thus to obtain their genetic advantages and to “uplift” others, doing the double duty of improving their own species and making them feel better about themselves. The notion of Raliites seeking human extinction appears to be another misapprehension – they do seek to end humanity as we know it, but they do so generationally in the way that one generation replaces another.
This isn’t to say they are kind, nice, or friendly. It is entirely possible to befriend a Raliite, and they can make good friends (if you can tolerate their aberrant cultural practices). However, Raliites, as a whole, disdain humanity and at the same time fear it as the only meaningful threat to their existence. Although they want to integrate the human genome into their own species, they don’t feel any particular harm at the loss of a few.
One odd feature that deserves mentioning is photography. As functional excessions, Raliites have an odd interaction with chemical photography. As their war machine has developed, they’ve learned to use electronic warfare mechanisms, which can short out digital cameras (unaffected by this phenomenon). As for the effect on chemical photography, see the functional excession article.
Reproduction and Hybridization
One of the unique features of Raliites is their reproductive systems. All Raliites are true hermaphrodites, able to both impregnate and to be impregnated. Indeed, Raliites can reproduce parthenogenically, though they react to that in the same way most humans react to incest. What sets this apart is that they can apparently reproduce with practically any species.
This is how they hybridize themselves with humans – they take the direct approach. The children take on the species characteristics of the mother at first, but develop into a hybrid form at a certain age (usually around 35). The hybrid form is the well-known modern Raliites. It appears that any Raliite reproduction with humans produces the same Raliite body configuration, so no actual “metamorphosis” occurs at any age for those born to Raliite womb.
There is an ongoing misnomer that Raliite hybrids start human and end up monstrous. In fact, they do begin their life human in nature, but as they get older and start noticing the alien nature showing on their persons, they begin to sequester themselves. They eventually have to seclude themselves from all human visitation. They always want to live near salt water. If they go to a salt marsh or someplace similar, they live alone.
However, few people are able to live entirely under their own devices, so they meander until, at the coastal areas, other Raliites eventually find them. They aren’t harsh or brutal (Raliites can be quite caring). They take in the stray and teach them about the Raliite people and culture, and generally treat that Raliite as a prodigal child returning.
Since Raliite objectives aren’t obviously monstrous, and since many of their horrendous behaviors might get a pass on the grounds that Raliites “aren’t human,” it’s little surprise that most hybrids end up numbering themselves among the Raliites. Indeed, a number of humans number themselves among the Raliites, seeing Raliites as a source of transhuman evolution for their children.
Raliites have lost access to the technological infrastructure that brought them to Earth some so long ago, and haven’t had it for some 300 million years. They do possess a number of advanced technologies, but they have little understanding of it.
The barriers between themselves and humans prevent them from simply gathering human engineers, so they’ve been in a process of sending their hybrid children to universities to learn the necessary fields. However, human science isn’t innately up to the task of coping with the technical gap and clear engineering shortfalls of dealing with the enormous Raliite devices.
Still, Raliites have a long time ahead of them, with no theoretical limit to their longevity. There seems to be a beacon coming from their original city, built upon a platform of the machinery they used to get to the Earth in the first place (and likely added to later). This beacon was only intended to contact other Raliites, but some humans hear the call. In many cases, the humans take it for dreams or fantasies.
The message is unclear. It only comes in parts, but it appears to be unchanging. It never clarifies itself, nor has it adapted to the changing times. It’s probable that it’s misunderstood. The beacon speaks of the rising of Rali (the city for which they get their name) and the awakening of the titanic lords of their people. It doesn’t mention humans at all. It states that the moment of the rebirth will be when the sky, stars, air, wind, or some other aerie element is “right,” and that outside intervention will be required to awaken them.
The systems may be failing. This would explain why, according to some reports, a temporary awakening occurred while the Earth’s atmosphere was unable to support the titan. The titan died, and it isn’t clear if the Ralian infrastructure was able to rescue it.
In the modern age, new things are happening that make Raliites hopeful. The development of arcane sciences among humans has mobilized them to capitalize on human development. Their hope is to utilize arcane drafting systems to produce a procedure that will allow them to resurrect their lords. Some Raliites understand human perspective on the hypoxia issue, and wish to use some arcane means to increase the oxygen levels of the Earth.
However, these various measures led to human investigations, and they perceived these investigations as attacks (they might not be entirely wrong in that sentiment). Raliites now have a second operation, that of war with humanity. This gives them pause, as Raliites have always had a disdainful respect for the human “noble savages” (or an equivalent term).
This respect proves accurate, as the human war machine has had some successes at keeping them off dry land. Their hybrid coastal communities get raided, and Ralite hybrids now face severe consequences simply for being born. This, however, might have turned backwards against humanity. Raliite hybrids are potential tools against Raliites, and instead they flock to Rali for want of anywhere else to go.
The seas, unfortunately, belong mostly to Raliites. This doesn’t mean that nobody can pass, and Raliites have a habit of ignoring small civilian craft. Indeed, they’re still open to making deals for good fishing and the like, though they strongly reject bottom trawling and other destructive mechanisms. Individual Raliites who reject the movements of the whole also come about, but thanks to human actions there’s no safe place for them to go, and no way for them to integrate.
Over hundreds of millions of years, Raliites have developed their own internal factions. We don’t know their full details, but some interactions with Raliites along with observations of their movements and actions have demonstrated certain unique features. Their names are unofficial, but often used by those monitoring Raliite activities. None of these factions form a majority – these are cultural sects formed within the main culture.
It would appear that some Raliites have no connection to their titanic ancestors. A few Raliites known to be connected to Raliite society express disdain for clinging to the corpses of the past, and state that those titanic elders are eras out of date. (It is from these sources that we learn that modern Raliites believe those ancients to be some form of high priest of a god cult, likely an excessionist cult.) They would prefer to salvage the ruins of Rali and use the technologies to better themselves.
Different Raliites have different views of humanity. One group appears to believe that the hybridization project is in error, and they should work to breed out the human traces. No direct interaction occurs with them in any meaningful way, as they place no value on human life.
It should come as no surprise that Excessionist cults are ordinary to Raliites. Many Raliites worship Excessions, pay homage to them, or interact with them or their agents for advantages. Raliites probably originate from excessionist cultism, which would explain their nature as functional excessions.
Another perspective on humans comes from the so-called “Transhumanist” faction, who emphasizes the idea of mutual assimilation. They believe that the hybrids mingle the qualities of both, and engage in breeding programs to emphasize the best qualities of both. These are also the source of much information, as they’re far more likely to be talkative.
Rali cults have no or very limited connection to actual Raliites. The only thing motivating these cults is the telepathic beacon of Rali. Although these cults have ways of identifying each other, they don’t have any direct way of interacting with Raliites, and it’s entirely possible that if they tried the Raliites wouldn’t understand them and wouldn’t care to try.