“Once we bag the shipload, we move fast; fall back to the travel encampment, and we brain-ream any high echelon cultists. The Tinkers assure us they can get enough cyberware into the cult-bods fast enough to break any mystic link, but we’ll move them right quick and abandon the fall-back before any Reacher comes after us. We’ve got heavy air transport waiting to pull us out, warmounts and all. The meat-speakers get a free ride inland quick as can where the elders can squeeze them for info; the little fish and any freed hostages get sent upcoast to the Tribe camps for re-education. We be quick, but thorough about this; we are NOT going to be talking about the ‘big ones that got away’.”
---Wayfinder Warchief delivering a quick briefing on a raid on a Cult of the Deep transport off the California coast.
“She-Mar damn it! That was too close!! I HATE having to buff sucker marks off my armor!”
<<“I don’t believe in catch-and-release.”>>
---Gilloc raider to a captured Deep Cultist
Lord of the Deep
As the Shemarrian Nation of Rifts Earth spreads its influence and its explorations, it encounters more and more monsters and monsterous nations. This extends to the oceanic realm, where Tribes like the Darkwaters have spread in an effort to meet their traditional enemies, the Splugorth, on all fronts. However, the generally eastward-looking focus of the Shemarrian Nation has had them mainly contending with the creatures and powers of the Atlantic Ocean, especially the Splugorth-controlled North Atlantic. However, increasing contact with species like the Horune and the Naut’yll have alerted the EShemar to other threats on the high seas, and under them. The Lord of the Deep is a case in point.
The Tribes of the West Coast are the most likely to encounter the Lord of the Deep and its minions and followers, given their westward explorations and coastal holdings. While most of the attention of the Tribes has been turned to the CS’s explorations to the East and the vampire problem in the Southeast. tribes such as the Wayfinders and Clan Shelley, and Clan Shinden in Japan, have become increasingly aware of the activities of the Lord of the Deep in its efforts to spread its influence. On several occasions, on both sides of the Pacific, the Shemarrians have encountered cults, even entire communities, dedicated to the Lord of the Deep. Since these enclaves often are linked to the Horune, allies of the Shemarrians’ traditional nemesis the Splugorth, these cults have, if for no other reason, been seen as cause for alarm.
Seeing the results of the Lord of the Deep’s depredations, and, in one case, bearing witness to an entire coastal community being destroyed by a Reacher, the Shemarrians take the Lord of the Deep seriously as a threat, even though they as yet have little they can do to assault the monster directly. This has not stopped them, however, from picking at the fringes of the creature’s domain, and nipping its minions where they show themselves.
The Shemarrian Nation, where it can, hunts down the Deep Cults and their activities, killing their zealots and priests, disrupting their operations, freeing prisoners, destroying cult grounds, and scattering cultists before they can congregate in enough numbers to pose a more serious threat.
Much as the Wayfinders despise the Coalition States, they’ve taken a page from the CS’s anti-mage handbook with regards to handling cultists of the Lord of the Deep. Desirous of getting more information on the extent, aims, and activities of the Deep Cult, but not trusting conventional restraints to control Pacted cultists, the Wayfinders often cyborgize cultists (a process sometimes refered to derisively as ‘canning’) taken prisoner, neutralizing their magic abilities and (ideally) cutting off any links to the Lord of the Deep. The cultists are then mindcontrolled by various means and squeezed for information. before being mindwiped completely. Both the Lost Eclipse Tribe and Clan Shelly have also been rumored to have turned the more suggestible and more recent members (into whose minds the Cult has yet to sink its hooks too deeply) of the Deep Cults into ‘Churian’ double-agents or combatants against the Lord of the Deep and their former comrades (Clan Shelley supposedly making them over into such NeShemar as their ScreamQueens). Clan Shelley’s recently introduced Gilloc sub-type is reportedly figuring prominently in their operations against the Deep Cults.
The Shemarrian Nation has no long range plans for dealing with the Lord of the Deep; their main focus for now is elsewhere. They are aware that of several other groups (the New Navy, the Japanese powers, the mysterious Lemurians, the equally mysterious Whale Singers, and a floating city the Wayfinders have visited several times) actively engaged in opposing the monster and for now trusts in those groups. However, ashore wherever they are, the Shemarrians will investigate any reports of sea-cult activity and will eliminate any Deep Cults they encounter. The Wayfinders, Clan Shelley, and the Lost Eclipse are the Tribes most involved in taking action against the Deep Cults, though, as their range grows into the Pacific, the Darkwaters’ Deep Watch is expected to take a more proactive role in taking combat to the Cult’s deep water warrens.