What’s the story you ask?
It was one, that to the Barrenmire was no story at all, but a factual creature on their planet. They even went as far as pointing to a large roundish mound on the horizon and claiming that was the very creature to which they had referred. It was hard to see as the heat made anything in the distance look wavy in the rising temperatures, even in the early morning. The story goes that a huge creature called the Stormwhal dies and lives in an endless cycle. When lacking water, these impossible creatures would dry to a husk like leather covered skeletons in the desert sun. But when the rain came, they would soak up water in great quantities. As the flood waters would rise, they would keep consuming (and at a rate so quickly that a series of swirling whirlpools would form around them). As the rain surged to its fullness, the skies fully opened and the great waves would come, one from the north and one from the south. We call them tidal waves on Hearth Heart, but, when the whole planet is engulfed in the same rainstorm, the waves are much larger than those we understand. They are a hundred and a half net lengths tall by the Barrenmire system of measurement. In any case, they would cause flooding planet wide as well as ripping away anything not strong enough to hold its own against the torrents of water. The whirlpools around the Stormwhal would intensify, and perhaps even combine, into a large singular vortex of water swirling down to the bottom of the flood waters to the still beached creature upon the flooded desert sand at the vortex center. Then, the whirlpools and vortices would suddenly cease, and the raging waters would blend into the now ocean like horizon instead of the spinning hole it had been minutes earlier. From the depths a rumble of thunder can be heard, followed by several more in various directions. But still no creature to be seen, only the blinding never relenting rain. Until the wave clash, the two-hemisphere sized waves which apparently start simultaneously at both poles move steadily towards the planet’s equator as a tumultuous raging wall of water. As the waves travel, they change the land, push the air, rip out by the root the dead or weak Thornsquat trees, pick up boulders, sand, everything in their path and bring it with them in the swirling eddies behind the wave. This is important to know because this is how the only safe places on the entire planet are formed. All this debris, a whole planet’s worth, in fact, is shoved to the equator. Then a wave clash occurs. It is exactly as it sounds and one million times as loud as one might expect. Two Everest high, planet encompassing waves carrying the debris of the planet to its equator is a spectacular display of nature that would rival most any other act of nature, and you cannot watch it because the sound wave alone would destroy you. But more on that later. This is a Stormwhal story after all, not one about hiding in the central cave of resonance as a planet shook.
After the wave clash, the sky is utterly saturated by the spray and the shockwave that encompasses the planet so completely that it reflects itself back several times before dissipating excites the clouds to a frenzy. This is when both Barrenmire and Stormwhal alike emerge for it is the time of Mire Bounty. Three days of raging deadly waves and storms, when the Stormwhal can “swim” into the sky, and where they fight for breeding rites. This critical time is when half of the Barrenmire travel in the most durable and most cleverly made seafaring vessels, I have yet witnessed outside of the technological realms, to all the other tribes for hasty but necessary trade, exchange of crews for those who wish to stay or leave, and to drop off lost Swirlstriders before returning to the home tribe. The other half of the Barrenmire fish without rest for as long as they can stand it. They have a variation of the trade ships designed with huge nets attached to all eight sides of the ship so as they spin the nets, they catch and funnel the trillions of freshly hatched Stormwhal spawn into the ships center where they are secured until full and returned to the jerky docks. Yes, eight sides, but that is a separate entry. All the while above, the adult Stormwhal battle for the right to mate and unlike so many of Hearth Heart’s creature it is the females who battle to defend an attached diminutive male. Though not absorbed by the female, it is much like the Angler fish that we know. The battle though… the Stormwhal females are covered horns to caudal fins in electrocytes. I have never claimed to know everything about anything so I only discovered, when I arrived back in Hearth Heart, that electrocytes are how our electric eels produce their charge when threatened by a predator. This made the Stormwhals exactly what you might imagine they would be; giant living, hyper aggressive, lightning storms battling each other in raging storm clouds above a flooded planet. And this was just the first day of sailing… but that is an entry about the journey itself and this one is just about the Stormwhals.
Ok! Hello! Farewell!