Albia was on the brink of disaster. The Shee were preparing to abandon the planet, never to return. Experiments were in the midst of being destroyed, while chaos and turmoil painted the landscape in eclectic colors. Yet there was a group of Shee who were far more calm, far more organized, and far more unusual. While their brethren destroyed, they carefully concealed. Their unmarked flying craft matched all the others, many of which were already in orbit. Only theirs held a secret. More precisely, theirs held the secret of life. In the rush of the great exodus, they collected specimens of their genetic work. Others did the same, only this group’s past was checkered by unorthodox experiments. What they boarded the craft with were not just normal Albian lifeforms. They were the building blocks of a great experiment.
Every Shee was ordered to leave Albia, and there was no option to stay behind. It was never clear whether the mysterious group tinkered with the Albian ocean prior to leaving, although they seemed to have some part in ensuring that marine life continued on. The more important part of their story was when they entered the realm of the stars. Every Shee flying craft was headed in search of better planets to colonize, which made it simple for the group to head off on their singular mission. Their belief was that all life began in water, and they sought to find a planet to begin their experiments. The Shee’s sense of time has always been a mysterious concept, so they may have succeeded in a matter of days or decades. Most importantly, the group discovered a viable world with an enormous ocean. A world named Artmeiidae.
Life was not present on Artemiidae, which set the Shee into wild speculations about their theories. They were builders, though, and they set to work crafting aquatic terrariums and molecular structures. A small area was dedicated to housing lifeforms from Albia exactly as they had been preserved. However, the gears were set into motion to create an entirely new ecosystem from the Shee. This would be their pride, where all of their genetic experiments could be observed. Their only rule was that they were never to replicate the Norns, Grendels, and Ettins from Albia. Artemiidae would thrive without their presence, which had often been a nuisance to the impatient Shee.
Little by little, the experiments were a success. They were creating life, and controlling it in every way. The fish and other critters were genetically engineered to avoid freewill: Through their own mysterious ways, the Shee could control everything. They became addicted to the power of controlling life. In some strange way, the Shee believed that they were entitled to this perspective. No one was above them, and none of their lifeforms would ever question them. Artemiidae looked beautiful, but it was a dangerous world. It was filled with lifeforms, but no life. The Shee were blinded, and simply built upon their aquatic terrariums. Soon, each individual Shee was immersed in the power over everything.
What no one considered was how life would find its way. The small region where the original Albian lifeforms lived was left alone, since the inhabitants were not bound by the Shee’s control. The building blocks of life were present, but not just for simple fish. The very DNA of Norns and Grendels had not been lost, and these species soon began to evolve. They were similar to their ancient ancestors from Albia, yet they had completely new traits. For one, Norns and Grendels could live together peacefully in a place where there was enough food for all. Only space was limited…
Somehow, the Norns and Grendels found their way to the Shee-controlled terrariums. In an instant, the Shee were furious over the sudden appearance of the complex lifeforms they never wanted to see again. Unrest sprung up like a leak, spreading to every Shee. Each wanted to know who had experimented with this forbidden DNA, and their pride was too much to let them see the truth. They only knew that these lifeforms, with their freewill, had to be destroyed.
Yet there was one Shee who had a small part in the rise of the Norns and Grendels. She possessed knowledge of the ways in which the Norns and Grendels used to be enemies, and she set to work splicing cruel genetics. Her life encompassed the great battle with Borland’s cousin, although that is a tale for another time. His DNA was stolen by her, though, and also used to create her predatory species. In the meantime, other Shee found a rift at the bottom of Artemiidae’s ocean. It was cold and empty: The perfect place to lock away the Norns and Grendels. Together with the enormous skeleton of Borland’s cousin, they were banished by the Shee. Even with the danger to their control gone, the Shee were still mistrustful of one another. Some feared that this world would end up like Albia: A great disappointment and embarrassment. The chasm at the bottom of the ocean was sealed, but still the Shee wondered if their control would be threatened again. The Norns and Grendels were too intelligent to submit to anyone else. Soon, the doubt was too much for the Shee. One day, their lone flying craft took them off to the farthest corner of the galaxy in the blink of an eye. And they were gone. Forever.
That sudden disturbance from the Shee had a very unintended consequence: It opened up a part of the sealed rift on Artemiidae. Where life was sent to die, it found its way again. Thermal vents opened up in response to the shudder on the world. New lifeforms began to take shape all over, and many thrived without the needless control of the Shee. For all of their intelligence and pride, they had been careless. Many Norns and Grendels perished when they were locked in the deep chasm, but not all. Left on its own for ages upon ages, Artemiidae came alive with a beautiful display of natural life. Danger still lurked from the single Grendel experiment, but Norns and Grendels swam throughout the oceans. Now, the tale of this underwater world is poised to continue after the discovery of Artemiidae.
Disclaimer: This story is entirely fictional, and is unrelated to the stories behind the metarooms used in this world. The name of this world, Artemiidae, is related to how Artemia Sea was named. Thanks to Grendel Man for the inspiration!