Avoc history has long-since been kept, but we have become more aware of what to keep. After the work of Vu’Rou published as “the Balance of Sea-Dwelling Species,” it seemed fitting to me to investigate some questions I have had while conducting research into our old homes in the seas. Specifically, I have a series of tools and logs from a planet-star in Aft Seas. I since returned to these dwellings twice and found no more clues as to why we had made these tools and the contents of the logs, and will undertake on what Vu’Rou has informed me is called a “thought experiment.”
The first item to consider is the log – a series of records indicating various fauna spotted on a daily basis for years, along with records of hunting. Both of these entry types have names recorded. These names could have been kept as a form of verification of sorts, whether an avoc would check with the preceding reporter to confirm the number of a given species spotted, or whether hunters would confirm there is a healthy population.
My initial hypothesis is that these logs are some form of conservation to prevent overhunting and ensure that enough of each animal would be available for the next hunt. For example, when the number of cervugi in this log are reported below 78 there are no hunts. There is one hunt in 27 years of logs when there are 79 reported, otherwise I would report the threshold of hunting as 80. This pattern seems to hold true for other populations of fauna as well, even increasing in hunting frequency if the population is reported large enough. Though it is not conclusive, there is enough evidence to say that local fauna were hunted regularly when in an appropriate population range – hunting would increase if the species neared overpopulation and cease if the population grew too small.
A different mystery, or rather series of mysteries, is the hunting itself. Avocs have long since been a culture of subsistence between river fish and agriculture. There are numerous records of how to grow certain crops under water given currents, temperature, and sloping of the seabed. I would posit that these animals were not hunted for meat at the scale presented by the logs – at least the majority of these hunts are not for feeding.
Some clarity as to why certain animals were hunted, not for food, is provided by the tools I have collected from this settlement as well. The dates on the logs as well as other records indicate the settlement was hunting these animals pre-Thawing, which is obviously impossible. For non-avoc the period between the avoc’s creation and the Thawing was an existence under the surface of the water – all seas and rivers were covered by lieyos. Davoto thawed the lieyos when avoc were ready to climb from the waters and make home on the land.
The tools however have clear usages, and in some cases are clear as to which animal was hunted for the tools. Two different axes were found, one made from a straight section of a cervugi antler, the other made from a long and thick bone. I suspect it was an upper leg bone from a bapuva based on the size, but I cannot be sure. I had initially thought of bones from an akkoure’s hind legs as they are of similar size but I have been reminded by a colleague that those bones are hollow and no good for tool use.
Additionally in the hunting log two species have distinct notes: the whyr and akkigavou. The notes are short, with a number and the word ‘ouha’. Both of these species are birds and do not have tails, the translation of the word from aevot, so I suspect the notations are for how many tail feathers were harvested. I have come to this conclusion due to previous folkloric knowledge of white whyrs – that their gold feathers were used as currency around the time of the Thawing despite no record of such. It is unclear as to what value or use the akkigavou tail feathers would have, but I believe these records indicate that they were hunted for these feathers.
There are no indications in the logs or tools as to why the cranipxum were counted. Their hunting when the population was in a ‘normal’ range, that is between overpopulation and scarcity, is decreased compared to each of the other aforementioned species. However, when the species is recorded above a certain threshold there seems to be an active effort to hunt and bring the population not only under the threshold but significantly closer to scarcity than any other species. Why this is the case is unclear even at the conclusion of this thought experiment.