Sea dragon. Sounds awfully romantic, doesn’t it? I’ve recently been enraptured by the mystery and intrigue surrounding the ancient race of the Astrii, bastardized in our common tongue as “astreans”. There’s something so beautiful about the idea of these people from a time gone by, so foreign to us both in their strict adherence to customs and their inexplicably advanced technology. During my research on the astreans, I’ve discovered much about their culture, but little has been preserved by traditional means. Perhaps it’s because so little is understood about it to begin with, but I suspect that there have been other factors at play here.
The most recent primary resource I can find of astreans existing alongside land dwelling browbirds is from shortly after browbirds migrated to Wyldre from the Old World, incidentally in the form of folklore being transferred from the oratory tradition to these intricate tablets, presumably generally used to store different kinds of information.
In the modern day, we’ve managed to imitate this to an extent and recreate it on a visual level, but the intricate engineering is beyond even the current leading experts. There are many examples of gorgeously engineered astrean architecture, technology, and arts, although it’s merely a fraction of what there once was. They had plenty of time to devote to their crafts, even while making such leaps and bounds in technological advancement.
This tablet in particular — acquired by myself through completely legal and responsible means — holds the tale of an astrean warrior prince who felled an army of a thousand in combat. The story itself has some pacing issues and could definitely be enriched with the addition of more love interests than just the one princess that he rescues in the end, but they can’t all be masterpieces, and I’m certain that there are many variations of the same folktale. Personally, I would have enjoyed hearing about the prince becoming besotted with one of his shield brothers and having an illicit workplace romance, but unfortunately the person who created this transcript was not catering explicitly to my tastes.
If you’re interested in reading a steamy romance between two dashing knights, consider purchasing my book ‘Fighting For Our Love’, a spiritual sequel to the smash hit ‘Married To The King Against My Will (But Actually Not Against My Will)’ in which a knight and a king enter a marriage of convenience. I received a lot of positive feedback on the knight character in the latter and I wanted to explore that military setting more. The focus on honor and glory; the heightened emotions in battle; the carnal and repressed desires of those who swear upon their lives to protect… All of these ideas greatly influenced how I built the characters for this new book. I hope you’ll all enjoy ‘Fighting For Our Love’ when it comes to bookstores near you!
Regardless, there’s much to be learned from the salvaged lore. For one, it’s made clear that astreans were a community based race, with different sects and tribes holding very different traditions and customs from each other, to the point of conflict sparking between them. Even the spoken language varied between different societies, although it’s clear that the astreans also had certain shared words, such as the name of their race. I’ve found the name “Astrii” occurring in multiple different personal accounts made by astreans during their time — also obtained fully legally, of course.
The tale of the prince and many other records also detail the nature of astrean armor, which has only been physically recovered in fragments since. I’ve taken the liberty of illustrating what I believe it may have looked like according to a translated excerpt taken from astrean literature, which describes it as “woven from innumerous threads of light steel, as smooth as fabric and yet as indestructible as that which binds the soul to the body”.
Although I am the foremost expert on the astrean languages as far as I am aware, even I had trouble discerning whether the mentioned “light steel” refers to weightlessness or literal beams of light forged into wearable steel, the latter of which being something that I cannot even begin to comprehend. The sheer genius of astrean technology is leagues beyond anything possible even now with all the resources we have at hand.
Quoting the same aforementioned literature: “no mortal blade can pierce the silk, nor can fire or frost tear the threads asunder. Each suit possesses a name; the naming imbues with power unknown.” Unfortunately, that’s where the preserved fragment ends, so I’m unsure as to what “power unknown” really means. Suffice to say, though, this was no ordinary smithing.
Through my own studies, I have discovered evidence that suggests astreans may have uncovered the secret to eternal life — or the closest thing to it. Long before the first revenants and without ascending to the status of ancients, astreans somehow unlocked the potential to live longer lives than any other known mortal beings, although it’s hard to estimate exactly how long their lifespans were. They could easily outlive the average browbird.
Even the hiros of today, the winged descendents of the mythical hylos, have not deduced a manner by which to conceal their feathered wings. And yet eons before, astreans somehow had the ability to hide and show them at will with no visible runes or technology involved at all.
During one of my trips, I visited the site of the underwater ruins known to the layman as the Fallen Temple, but known to scholars such as myself as Perlora Pios, which approximately translates to the common tongue as “hidden pearl”. I suspect it was named as such for its clamshell design, opening up to reveal the “pearl” itself, an iridescent temple housing the shrines to a pantheon of astrean deities — though it is by no means an exclusive list. The walls of Perlora Pios are covered in intricate and stylized carvings of real astreans who existed throughout history. Here is an artistic recreation of the one that spoke to me the most, depicting one of countless priests who served Perlora Pios in their time.
As you can see, the priest in question has no visible wings, and yet we know as a fact that all astreans possessed wings at birth. It’s assumed that the priests of Perlora Pios hid their wings during their time serving their deities as an act of modesty, though other denominations held no such beliefs.
In its day, Perlora Pios would have been surrounded on all sides by a glorious astrean city, a pure wonder of architectural majesty. Now, it is all ruin, although the foundations have stood the test of time enough to be lessons to us all. The ruins of cities such as these are found all over the galaxy, somehow with recurring architectural motifs that imply these estranged astrean communities were capable of communication, no matter the distance.
Passage to astrean cities is limited, even now that they are little more than shells of their former selves. Always built on the seafloor, and sometimes even dipping into trenches, these cities are famously inaccessible to even the most cunning explorers. There are illustrations of the seas being parted to create tunnels through which astreans and land dwellers could travel to meet and converse, though it seems that such interactions were limited. What I do know is that these cities were built on the nexuses of powerful ley lines that acted as wells of magic, weaving the very fibers of this world through the streets of their civilizations and converging directly beneath an observatory.
Just one! In each established astrean city, there was a multifaceted and layered dome capable of peering into alternate layers of reality, from the dreamscape to the future to the abyssal void itself. Partial restorations have since been made, but no recreations, and certainly nothing able to function in the way that it seems they originally did. I assume, judging by the intricacy of the machinery at work, that these domes were also capable of picking out certain events or moments, allowing whoever was conducting the research to retrieve only the most relevant information. What exactly these astrean scientists were studying, though, remains unclear.
Whatever it was, it was enough to put all the warring between different astrean factions to rest. There is no documented conflict between astrean nations for thousands of years before the migration to Wyldre, and even the folktale of the prince is dated by its depictions of battle. One day, there was infighting and swashbuckling and calamity, and the next… nothing. Their communications, if any, have not been preserved.
It’s hardly surprising, given that astreans were a notoriously private race. They barely interacted with the ancestors of the modern land dwelling browbird, nor the satyr, nor the kitbull. Save for the exception of the occasional scout or symbiotic relationship with seaside villages, astreans kept to themselves to a fault, which may be part of the reason why so little is preserved of their knowledge and culture today. If they had shared their technology then… Well, who knows what the world would be like now.
There’s no use in wondering. They disappeared without a trace not long after browbirds migrated to Wyldre for reasons unknown even to me. Those who were left behind are merely names of legend, impossible to track down and even harder to squeeze any drop of information from. No matter how hard they’re pressed, they refuse to speak of what happened to their fellow astreans, or indeed why they remain. All I can hope for is that someday, somehow, the astreans may return, bringing with them all the things they have learnt — or perhaps they’re gone forever, lost to the sands of time. If there is something out there that is capable of extinguishing the brightest light in our universe, we should all be very scared indeed.
All of this to say, please preorder ‘Waves Of Passion’, my brand new novel debuting in bookstores soon! As you can see, I have conducted ample research in order to accurately portray the heartstopping romance between a rugged astrean vigilante and her satyr lover as they embark upon a quest to retrieve a treasure from the deep. Any more information and it would be spoilers, but before you ask, yes, there will be a love triangle. Thank you all for your continued support of my work!