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Kelph


Kelph [KELF]
Quick Facts


Types: River, sea

Length: Up to 8ft (2.4m) long without the tail; averages 6ft (1.8m)

Weight: 100-150 lbs (45-68kg)

Lifespan: Unknown

Origin


The Kelphi are the first known sentient species to have evolved within Mycena Cave. Though no one is entirely certain where they came from, multiple signs point to a pool in a previously unexplored cavern. The cavern was revealed in the last big cave-in (see: Chapter 5 - Buried Treasure), following which two Mycenians discovered a room that may have once belonged to the Sorceress. The pool was visible but not accessible from this cavern, but the Kelphi say there are several underwater tunnels in the rock that lead out to a river.

Several of the original Kelphi recall dreams of Before, similar to the vague recollections that many Ineki and Drasilli have. The current theory holds that magic from the adjacent cavern leached into the water, waking the spirits that slept in submerged boulders and changing their shape so they could survive underwater.

The magic may have sparked a similar change in other submerged stones. Magic users in the Cave have not been able to find a connection between this pool and other bodies of water, but they believe that some form of sympathetic link must have been forged. Recently, a large number of stones fished out of water and carved have woken Kelphi instead of Ineki or Drasilli.

History


Shortly after the first Kelphi woke, they left their pool and spread out through Mycena Cave’s various waterways. Most settled in rivers and streams, but one or two chose to make their homes in lakes, while a few more daring individuals decided to explore the Cave’s true deeps.

The Kelphi kept primarily to themselves, but they occasionally interacted with the land-bound residents of the Cave. This happened rarely enough, however, that the Kelphi largely weren’t known by the Ineki or the Drasilli until an Ineki researcher came into contact with Sherriveu. As one of the original Kelphi, she thought it was her duty to reach out to the wider community and begin this cross-species relationship on good terms.

Physical Characteristics


Both river and sea Kelphi have webbed feet that enable them to swim easily through rivers and deeper water. The first Kelphi all had lungs, but the sea Kelphi have developed gills over the years, which allows them to stay underwater for longer periods. The river Kelphi are capable of holding their breath for minutes at a time, though some have been known to fashion breathing tubes out of reeds so they can linger underwater even longer.

The Kelphi typically grow larger than the Ineki and the Drasilli, measuring on average at about 6 feet (about 1.8 meters) from nose to vent.

Types

River Kelphi

Sea Kelphi

River Kelphi have long, lithe bodies, which allow them to easily navigate the quick-moving rivers they prefer. Some can be found in lakes, but most make their homes along riverbanks, where they dig half-submerged dens with easy access to both land and water. Their flowing fins are primarily used for display and fold tightly against the Kelphi’s bodies when they are in motion, though the Kelphi who live in lakes have found their fins useful for drifting in quiet water.

Sea Kelphi get their name from the vast bodies of water in which they live. Shortly after the first Kelphi left their pool, several traveled far into the Cave’s shadows and settled into the deep waters there. They gradually changed to suit their new environment, developing heavier scales and spines as protection against the depth’s many dangers. Though they live primarily underwater, they retain the original Kelphi’s amphibious nature.

Diet


The Kelphi eat a variety of seafood, though both types avoid dracckos in the water and on land. River Kelphi occasionally hunt insects or small animals and will eat any fruit they find, while sea Kelphi may nibble on kelp if nothing else is readily available.

Culture


Community

Because there are few Kelphi in Mycena Cave, individuals tend to live alone or with their immediate families. The Kelphi nevertheless have a strong sense of community, and they find reasons to gather throughout the year. Though they are not as comfortable on land as in water, they are still glad to make the acquaintance of their land-bound neighbors and will happily trade fish or clamshell necklaces for other goods.

Courtship

As a symbol of their love, Kelphi pick a rare flower that only blooms once or twice a year to present to their beloved. This represents their dedication and their patience, as well as their ability to endure hardships for the sake of love. The flower grows in ponds, and a Kelph typically needs to travel on land in order to reach a pool housing one of these blossoms. Sea Kelphi, who have a more difficult time crossing land than their river cousins, refrain from this ritual unless they are absolutely certain that they have found a mate for life.

Sprouts

A Kelph sprout blooms on the Sacred Tree much as Ineki and Drasilli sprouts do. However, there are rumors of an offshoot growing in the shallows of a lake, which is more easily accessible by the Kelphi than the Sacred Tree itself is.