Underwater colonies tend to be built into sturdy cliff sides, with massive trade districts behind huge thirty meter tall triple-paned walls of glass which give a view of the exterior seas and their submarine docking facilities, showing the bounty of the ocean as well as the beauty of the undersea forests in the sub glacial Sea of Asgard.
Aquilon was born alongside the first generation of humanity to never see earth. It began life as a research station situated on the Perpetua Glacier. At that time it was simply known as Glacier Run. The facility dug into the ice below for storage space, and eventually was forced to use that same space for living quarters as colonists moved north.
Aquilon's defining moment came when an outbreak of animus caused the residents of Glacier Run to seek shelter in their buried storage facilities. Trapped beneath the ice for more than a year, the colonists were forced to make due with whatever they had available. Necessity saw the invention of space and resource rationing techniques that would turn a casual scientific outpost into a culture of extreme efficiency. When the animus threat was cleared from the surface, many of those underneath the ice decided not to return. These one time storage facilities were expanded into the city of Deep Aquilon. Those who chose to return to the surface began to explore the furthest reaches of their frozen homeland while the inhabitants of Deep Aquilon set their sights on the bottom of the ocean.
The Aquilonians were earning a reputation as explorers and visionaries, with many other colonists admiring them. They lost much of their appeal when they drafted a national military spearheaded by their recently formed knightly order, the Templar Aquilonia. Turning their scientific might to the development of high energy weapons, the Aquilonians earned a reputation as warmongers among some factions as these developments were widely unpopular outside of the Kingdom of Ice. These fears proved mostly unfounded, as Aquilon focused more on internal protection than external violence.
In more recent times, Aquilon has worried the global community with its ever increasing rivalry with Xanadu. As two of the most powerful factions on the moon, an impending war between the two could be disastrous for more than simply the factions involved. The Nations of Aquilon and Xanadu have an uneasy relationship. Both are members of the Avalon Council, but they are often at opposite ends of discussion. Making things worse is the fact that both factions compete in the production of state of the art technology, and each has some of the best academic institutions in the world. The factions see each other as rivals both economically and culturally.
For now, Aquilon seems content to be seen as the slightly eccentric visionary of the world. They still push the bounds of science. Though they do not always go as far as the Quisivati, their wares are often much more useful in daily life.
What few outside of the frozen north are aware of is that Aquilon cannot claim credit for all of their advancements. As the Deep Aquilonians dug ever more into the glacier beneath them, they began to discover a network of tunnels already present. These tunnels appeared to be crafted as living arrangements for some civilization of the past, one that has left behind many artifacts buried in the ice. Some of Aquilon's biggest scientific advancements were simply the result of researching the many strange finds that they dig up in their ever expanding empire.
Grim Stalker - Caeci Vagus
Life for the children of Earth is tenuous on New Horizon. No one thing epitomizes this as well as the Grim Stalker. Though there are several species, and each of them is extremely deadly, the best known species is the Great Plains Grimstalker.
Grim Stalkers have a superficial resemblance to terrestrial bears, but grow to a significantly larger size. These towering elephant sized predators are frightening enough based on their mass alone, but combined with their dreadful countenance, resembling a blind skull, they have been known to send men and women alike running away and screaming in terror.
The species has a typical skeletal structure, but is made especially resilient due to the presence of hundreds of disc shaped bone plates which cover their body and are located between the skin and muscle tissue. These plates make penetrating and already thick hide even more difficult.
Grim Stalkers typically live in pods of as many as a dozen, ruled by a massive bull and his eldest female mate. A normal pod also contains two to four secondary mates and their pups.
Male pups are driven out by the bull as they approach maturity. Female pups are traded between different pods to keep the gene pool fresh as well as replace aging females.
A male pups ultimate goal when they is to challenge an unrelated bull for his pod, but many never reach the necessary size to do so. Most lone Grimstalker attacks are attributed to smaller bulls like these, or ousted aging bulls and infertile females.
Displaced bulls and females will often completely lose the will to live, and retire to a burial ground. Such burial grounds are usually a wealth of grim stalker corpses from which one could theoretically harvest their hides, teeth and bones. However, the dying Grim Stalkers will viciously attack anything that desecrates the dead of their kind.
Grim Stalkers typically hunt only the largest of prey, Zakt or herds of Prairie Porkers. They are aided in their hunts by their absolutely phenomenal ability to blend in with their surroundings. Their fur acts as an optical camouflage, filled with some of the most biologically advanced cromatophores ever known to science. Millions of tiny pigment sacks in each strand of fur can grow or shrink, dramatically changing the Grim Stalkers coloring to the point that, despite their size, they simply melt into the background from a distance of more than thirty feet.
Observing them is made even more difficult by their unusual pheromones. Their dander has an odd effect on both native and earth life, pacifying them with a very mild tranquilizing effect, allowing them to sneak up even more easily on their prey.
Tracking them by infrared is also somewhat dicey as they have an unusually low body temperature 80f, which actually drops as low as 65f for short time when closing on their prey. As soon as they reach their prey their body temperature explodes to nearly a hundred degrees to speed the flow of blood.
When they attack, Grim Stalkers typically use their powerful forelimbs to rend opponents with their foot long claws, which are sufficient to smash and rip through any modern personal armor and more than capable of battering down large secured doors or other fortifications given time.
A Grim Stalkers bite is the stuff of nightmares. Their enormous banana size and shaped teeth, when driven by their massive jaws, are capable of causing absolutely cataclysmic damage. Reports of them being able to rip armored vehicles open like a can of beans are not exaggerations.
Unless by some small miracle they survive, small prey, including anything up to the size of a bull Jotun is often swallowed whole. So universally deadly are their bites that some regions hunters have taken to the habit of buying their own coffin and filling it with personal possessions so their loved ones will have something to bury and remember them by.
When faced with particularly overwhelming odds, Grim Stalkers will vomit forth a massive stream of the especially potent molecular acid which allows them to digest even Wafans with ease. This acidic bile is capable of hitting a large group of targets, leaving them in agony or even killing them.
The only way even a large group of adventurers can hope deal with a Grim Stalker is to lure it into a trap and surprise it with overwhelming force. As a general rule of thumb, if a trap isn’t sufficient to kill a hundred men, you will only manage to make the Grim Stalker angry and earn yourself a hot molecular acid shower.