| "Are you sure you want to know this?"
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"Crushing black silence. Thoughts like mud. Focus on light. Recall the surface. Recall the Surface! You are human. Three great presences. Deep as stone.
"The Drowning Feast. The greatest yet. Dishes like treasures. Gifts from above. Gold, wood, brick. Flesh, hair, eyes. Words, rhymes, thought. Why remain below? Flee far above. The wrong place. The wrong time. Abandon your plan. Or be resolved.
"WHAT HAVE YOU BROUGHT US? Voice in bones. Words in water. Answer in haste. They are hungry."
Flukes are otherworldly beings and masters in the arts of changing the flesh, which often resemble giant sea urchins.
"The secret. The Bazaar brought me; brought us all, all us shapelings, Axiles. The Flukes, the misers, even my Emissary. Why? Too deep a secret for me, my friend. Even here, too deep for me."
Flukes come from the land of Axile, an otherworldly place somewhere between the stars. (They are also known as Axiles). They seem to be natural masters of the Shapeling Arts, the practice of altering and changing the flesh of living creatures, and agreed in an ancient deal to come to the Neath at the behest of the Bazaar and the Masters. Although the Flukes did this in order to gain greater control of the Shapeling Arts, it is currently unknown what the Bazaar's end of this deal is - unknown even to the Flukes themselves. The Flukes promised never to love as part of the bargain, which likely plays into the Bazaar's quest in some unknown way.
Even in the Neath, the Flukes continue to practice their arts, and through the use of things like Amber have created the Rubbery Men, which they use as intermediaries between themselves and humans. Nowadays the Flukes can be found all across the Neath - many reside deep within Flute Street, others roam the Unterzee, one crashed long ago into a particular ship, and one Fluke even resides inside the Cave of the Nadir.
Flukes have a number of interesting interactions with the other creatures of the Neath. Their use of the Shapeling Arts was mimicked and practiced by the fearsome Starved Men, who use the art to contort their bodies. Mutton Island's genuine rubbery lumps might be made out of Flukes, and it would appear the delicacy makes its consumers more likely to become Drownies should they suffer death by water. Speaking of Drownies, the Fathomking seems to be married to a Fluke, and some part of his domain requires him to eat Lorn-Flukes at his Drowning Feast. Family trees in the Neath remain... er, as odd as one would expect.
"The deliquescing body is full of incomprehensible organs that collapse at your touch. You understand nothing, and very quickly, there is little left of it. But at its centre, you find a vast lump of resin or congealed gall, the size of a barrel, flawed with darkness."
We know a surprising amount about the biology of the Flukes.
The most striking feature of the Flukes must undoubtedly be their spines. These gigantic spikes have strange memory-altering qualities; if one is pierced by a spine that's still attached to a Fluke, they enter something of a trance state, in which some of their memories and the Fluke's memories will meld and mix together. Severed needles are capable of removing memories - specifically regrets - from the memories of those pierced with them. These needles can then be used again to inject those regrets into someone else.
The Fluke itself also serves as a massive repository of the memories of those it has killed; when someone takes a memory from the Fluke, a spine containing that regret will grow upon the receiver.
"Sentiments and histories coil, prisoned by irrigo as the irrigo is prisoned by amber. Mourn the mind that has passed."
The core of a Fluke acts like its heart: when a Fluke dies, much of its body will simply dissolve away, but its Fluke-Core is one of the only parts of the beast that stays corporeal. These cores are always drenched in irrigo, suggesting they may be responsible for the Fluke's ability to drain away memories.
"The oldest Lorn-Flukes. Too vast now. Swollen with hate. Swollen with wisdom. Tendrils glisten dully. Light contracts nodules. Watch them flex."
Furious and prone to confrontation, Lorn-Flukes are Flukes who are overcome by their anger and seek to destroy anything that crosses their paths. Lorn-Flukes are feared by zailors, who know that these spiny monstrosities can skewer a ship with their spikes and scream words in the Correspondence to drive the ship's crew mad.
Although Lorn Flukes will fight almost anything, they are more specifically plotting the downfall of the Bazaar and the Masters due to the deal they made with them that trapped them in the Neath, far from their homes.
"There is a mournful keening. The zubmarine reverberates with the weight of it. You remember home, where the sky is impossible and the stars -"
Lornest Flukes are Lorn Flukes that have submersed themselves under the zee and changed in the darkness. Lornest Flukes are less formidable than their more traditional cousins (perhaps due to their single large, exposed eye), but their ability to drive anyone nearby mad still makes them exceptionally dangerous. These Flukes seem to be infused with violant light as well as the usual irrigo, making them capable of transmitting their memories to other beings without direct contact.
"You send your crew out into the dark. From the observation dome, you watch them become silhouettes against the light of the Fluke. Its pale radiance grows in strength as the flesh sloughs away. It is like the last moments of a near-spent candle."
Dawn Flukes are Flukes that have been transformed and modified by the power of the Dawn Machine. While they still look like sea urchins, their bodies have been mechanically enhanced with metal plating and artificial spikes. Dawn Flukes seem to have been fundamentally changed by the influence of the artificial judgement, and their cores constantly emanate sickening and maddening false-sunlight. Upon dissection, it would appear that the innards of such flukes may have become more dawn-light than Fluke; they quickly dissolve into light and warmth upon death. Just like any Fluke, be careful when handling a Dawn-Fluke: their light is still capable of driving zailors mad with chants of THESUNTHESUNTH-
"This close, your sky-suit cannot entirely protect you: when you finish coughing, the dizziness is overwhelming. You can smell the Fluke's dying wishes, are ravaged by its regrets: the search it leaves incomplete; its fear that the search is impossible and will never end; the jagged, excruciating recollections of being outcast and the certainty that only the outcast have a chance of success"
Those familiar with Lorn-Flukes will be surprised/terrified/driven to insanity to learn that Flukes also roam the skies of the High Wilderness. Known as Scorn-Flukes, these Flukes have ritually scarred their exteriors, and they tear through the skies in search of information and guidance to their home, Axile. This might be a sympathetic mission, but they plan on gathering this information by attacking ships, destroying them, and then harvesting the crew's souls to probe their memories for information. They seem to meld these stolen memories with their own, often increasing the total misery that the creature constantly secretes.
A Scorn-Fluke is responsible for the extremely outlandish setting of Worlebury-juxta-Mare. A cult, known as The Church of They Who Must Grieve, has formed around the Fluke and wants to appease the great beast. They do whatever they can to share in the Fluke's grief, while the Fluke performs various apparently random actions, including giving visitors bodily growths and augmentations, creating monstrous egg-laying goat creatures, and generating mysterious mists around the port.
- Original by Elyk11