Phylum: Caleuche belandae
Habitat: Oceans, seas, large lakes and the Ships' Graveyard
Disposition: Adventurous, competitive, needy, compassionate
Diet: Spiritus, aquatic minerals, wood/metal/cloth
A mamonme with potentially the largest body found on Praxis, they resemble a ship with a female figurehead. Though the figurehead is their main means of interacting with others, it is but a small part of their being. The greatest minds on Praxis have been at a loss to explain their nature and thus have put them into a class of their own. Yet their own origin story, passed down through the ages, is accepted widely.
It is said that there was once a captain of a great ship named the Celeste. The Celeste had been cleped after his late wife and was his pride and joy. He and she, as his lady of the sea were renowned for the speed of their many trips across the vast oceans of the world during the Age of Qualms. Many people could not explain it, others who were jealous claimed he was in league with the Nephyrum who frequently caused suffering in the name of their master Nephyrias.
It is believed that he once had an undertaking of great import which would see him round The Cape of Good Hope and make his way across the Great Divide to dock in a port in the country of Rocai. Legends claim however, that the wind persisted in heading his ship, threatening his schedule and thwarting any attempts at doubling the cape. Furious, the captain swore a blue streak up and down the deck, he cursed the wind, he cursed the gods, he even cursed himself, for just after sunset he swore to the figurehead of his ship that he would be eternally damned if he were to anchor in a bay and would rather sail the oceans till his day of judgement.
The ship was seen many times after that and became particularly infamous during the era of the demon lords as it was never seen without foul weather following in its wake, claiming those who fell into the oceans or foundering galleons and others unfortunate enough to cross its path. It was said that this ship docked in the Ship’s Graveyard, an atoll found within the Great Divide where derelict ships were laid to rest.
It is unclear which of Seretique’s daughters was responsible, however after the Grand Changing, it is said that the Celeste found itself back in the Ship’s Graveyard one day, however this time a being of immense power was waiting for her. This daughter of Seretique had a special sensitivity for souls and had long since noticed the ship's plight. For a night and a day she gathered demonic energy and poured it into the vessel. The Celeste felt alive as she had never before been, her figurehead springing free to move as her crew once had. The Serebim only asked for two promises in return, that she would enjoy her new life and that she would help other ships... and so she did. Using her energies the Celeste brought life to the wooden denizens of the Ships’ Graveyard which soon became a hub of activity. Her energies too found their way to a secret sleeping in the deep sea below Gravelhold, but it would be many years before Nautilia would be resurrected from her ocean tomb.
Phantom ships have, on the whole, been a relatively misunderstood species. It was unclear whether the mamonme were in fact undead or living. Some asserted that the figurehead is being haunted, while others believed the ship may in fact not be a ship at all. In recent times however the process by which a Phantom ship forms has been researched, however at the behest of the queen of these mamonme the truth has been kept quiet.
Phantom ships are known to travel the seas looking for their future husband and saving those who find themselves at the mercy of the ocean. Many have found their mates in this manner or have otherwise been proclaimed as heroes to families who believed their loved ones lost forever. These mamonme take on many forms and types from youthful schooners to pirate galleons and battleships, to name but a few. What can be stated with utmost clarity is that these mamonme always resemble the bowsprit of their ship.
While these mamonme usually behave in a calm and collected manner, we feel we must mention their intense fixation on the idea of having a captain. Phantom ships are renowned for their fantasies about captains or rather of having a captain. It is well known that the figureheads of phantom ships are prolific readers of novels dedicated to the relationship between a phantom ship and her captain. These mamonme can be seen giggling with a massive flush on their cheeks in the Ship's Graveyard, a copy of the latest edition of their favourite novel in hand. These novels are typically bawdy and focus on how a captain “controls” his ship. Those who are far from their home port will oft put in at a port and purchase manuals about captaining one's ship to use as light reading.
In matters of a more carnal nature a phantom ship can be aroused simply by stroking or polishing her railings or even swabbing her deck. In fact, when out on the open ocean, husbands have been known to wait until their wife is otherwise occupied before purposefully giving the deck a good mopping. Some more mischievous husbands have been known to perform these acts while their wife is talking to a friend or putting in to port to acquire supplies. This is usually met afterwards with an angry red-faced mamonme who makes her husband take responsibility for his actions. Another method to send a phantom ship over the edge is to tell her what to do in the capacity of "captain" when under the covers.
In closing we just want to assert that life with a phantom ship is a life of sailing the seas with enjoyable company as well as becoming the captain of a ship. Truly becoming one of these mamonme's husbands is a life changing experience.
- The phantom ship is based on the legend of the Flying Dutchman.
- While it was originally planned that there would be a ghost ship mamonme, it wasn't until watching the Japanese animation Aoki Haganne no Arpeggio and Kancolle that inspiration hit.
- Much of the base character details are a nod to Takao, the author's favourite character.
- There is also a nod to the video game Final Fantasy VII, it is the name of one of the OST tracks.