Kelpie


Kelpie

Basic Information
Nixie, Wihwin, bunyip Unknown The eldest recorded kelpie reached 4039 Carnivorous with a particular love of human flesh
Physical description
Various Various
Cultural
Various Fae, Common, Kelpie World wide
Out-of-character information
https://www.deviantart.com/alexandrevla/art/Kelpie-Sketch-882473421

Oh kelpie with your dripping mane
seducing valiant men of heart,
who by your spell would all be swain
and every sense in them, depart.

Why weep you by the loch and tide?
What brought you from your kelpie depth?
Sure no desire is kept aside
from your cold, illusory breath.

No longer do you haunt the bank,
but mourn a clever fae of wile
from whose enchanted cup you drank,
now captive to his charm and guile.

He'll bid you work a hundred years
in slavery chains for nigh
'til kelpie legend disappears

for proper penance, hue and cry.

- Thvia Shetley, Poetess

Breeds

Saltwater Kelpies

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Saltwater kelpies are thought by fae scholars to be the original breed of kelpie from which all others derived.

Saltwater kelpies favour the open oceans and seas of the world and do not do well in small enclosed bodies of water like lakes or ponds. Despite their name they can survive in freshwater bodies if large enough to accommodate them. They are by far the largest and most violent breed of kelpie which has made them a valuable addition to fae court cavalries around the globe. However their speed, cunning and violence has also made them a popular target for hunting parties who see killing and skinning these animals as a mark of true skill.

Saltwater kelpies prefer colder climates and as such are mostly found in the North-East. The largest pods are thought now to inhabit the Ocean of Fjirstaf but have been spotted in the Blight Sea and the Gulf of Ryt in large numbers.

River Kelpies

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River Kelpies are much smaller than their sea-bound cousins and instead of webbed hooves have ventral and pectoral fins.

Much like the saltwater kelpies, river kelpies can survive in fresh and saltwater, however their skins are not as tough as the saltwater kelpies and as such they prefer warmer waters. As such you will not often find these kelpies near the source of the river but on the wide flatter bends.

Out of all the kelpies the river kelpies are perhaps the fastest but they are not as strong. During the mating months they will swim upstream against the current to reach the better mating grounds.

Freshwater Kelpies

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Freshwater kelpies are the smallest kind of kelpie currently known to zoologists measuring no more than 1.7m in length when in their kelpie form. They are most often found in glaciers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds though occasionally they will inhabit small rivers too.

Unlike saltwater kelpies, they cannot survive outside of the climate in which they are born. This means not only will they die in saltwater but that there is also a risk of life if a freshwater kelpie is moved between freshbodies of water.

Their more docile nature, colourful scales and smaller stature make them incredibly popular pets among the fae kind. They very rarely shift their forms and are considered by other kelpies to be a 'sub' species of their kind, more mythical beast than fae.

Despite their size a freshwater kelpie's diet is still carnivorous. In particular they favour small adults or children.

Swamp Kelpies

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Swamp kelpies hail predominantly from the Bayu Garramarisma, the Iuk-'U-Delta and the Ixchel Wilds. They are some of the hardest and most elusive kelpies preferring, unusually, not to live in groups but alone or with one or two others in a small family unity.

The swamp kelpies do not have fins like their cousins but a curious series of vines and kelp which move like limbs and enable them to disguise themselves as they move through swamps.

There is not much known about this kind of kelpie other than that they are famed for their violence and hatred of direct sunlight.

Coral Reef Kelpies

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Coral Reef kelpies are found predominantly in the South-West and the warmer waters they so favour. Their personalities are widely different to that of their cousins and instead of eating humans and preying on them, they are often heard in stories as helping lost sailors or shipwrecked souls.

This does not mean they are not as powerful as the other kelpies. Indeed they are deeply territorial and protective of fae or humans to whom they had formed big attachments to and will often fight to the death to protect that which they see as theirs.

Coral Reef kelpies uniquely do not have to live off of meat. Instead they get a lot of their sustenance from the sun, which soaks into their scales and harbours as energy like food would. Storing energy up like this however takes a long time and involves nearly 12 hours of sunbathing.

Their mischievous and playful nature has led to them dominating a large part of the Dawn Court, which is unusual as Lesser Fae, holding as much power as the legendary Furies.

Deep Water Kelpies

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As the name suggests, Deep Water kelpies can be found at meters of at least 2000m though they no doubt dive much, much deeper.

Very little is known about the breed and over the last millennia alone they have only been spotted twice. The stories say they have long, eel like bodies that could wrap around a large ship and drag it to the depths with ease.

Saltwater kelpies who have said to come in contact with these ancient beings often talk about them as Gods.



Traits

Fae-wide Traits

As a sub-species of Fae, kelpie share in some universal species-wide traits. They share the species wide sensitivity to all things iron, True Names are a powerful tool that when used improperly can result in their death and they are also beholden to the laws of hospitality.

For further information on these see: Fae.

Kelpie Traits

Kelpies are overwhelmingly unseelie. Unseelie are less principled, making no false claims of goodness or righteousness about their kind. They do not believe in honour, but value the cleverness to outsmart even pacts. Broadly speaking the unseelie are more violent than the seelie and this is no more evident in the kelpie-fae. Unlike other unseelie though, the kelpies are not accepting of half-breeds into their ranks. Even for full-blood kelpies there are a series of trials to prove one is a true kelpie. To fail means death.

As creatures of bodies of water it is no surprise their Celestial Alignment is Lunar and their Elemental Alignment is Water. This means, much like other creatures of the wide ocean, kelpies are stronger when the moon is full and in the winter months. Their water abilities also enable them to breathe under water in whatever form they take and make them able to survive the deep depths they favour.

Bloodline Traits

Much like normal horses, different bloodlines of kelpies are considered to have certain traits that make them appealing to breed from. Some of the most famous bloodlines have tell-tale features:
  • Chiklak; A prominent Saltwater kelpie line known for their ability to hypnotize their victims with their gaze. They have unusual purple eyes.
  • Lucassie; A river kelpie bloodline known for their incredibly quick speed and their unusual all-pink scales.
  • Ootoova; A freshwater kelpie bloodline known to look like koi fish.
  • Saunik; A Coral kelpie line known for their curious spots on their lower body and their melodical voices said to enchant fae and mortal alike.
  • Ullulaq; A Saltwater kelpie line known for their famous blue hair and vivid azure-like scales that can reflect the surroundings around them rendering almost invisible. This trait is passed down through the Maternal line.

Magick

Universal Fae Magick

Faeries, as magical entities, can tap into the veins of magic that run through Arethil. Called leys, these lines stretch to every corner of the world and often connect magical locations. Subsequently, areas with high concentrations of magic form where these lines converge. "Magick", as it is simply called, is borrowed temporarily from the leys and channelled through the user. As temporary vessels, fae may hold their own stores of magick or draw from the leys for larger needs than they can normally carry. The amount of magick one may carry or channel varies greatly by species, but the categories of strength dictate the hierarchy of fae. While borne of magic, even faeries are beholden to the same laws as mortals. This type of magic allows Leprechauns to do the following:
  • Ley Travel
  • Wards and Glamours
  • Minor spells

Shape Changing

Kelpies are all able to change from their aquatic form to that of a horse and most are believed to be able to take on a high-fae like appearance (there is no evidence of Deep Water kelpies changing forms).

Breed Specific

Saltwater Kelpies: Electroreceptors on a saltwater kelpies snout allow them to detect even the faintest heartbeats.

River Kelpies: River kelpies are able to propel themselves with a large amount of force into the air and can then use their large fins as wings to glide considerable distances.

Freshwater Kelpies: Freshwater kelpies are low level empaths. Their scales change to reflect the mood of the person closest to them.

Swamp Kelpies: Swamp kelpie's tentacle-like lower bodies are incredibly poisonous. One touch on the bare skin can paralyse a Lesser fae or mortal, and render high fae slower and weaker.

Coral Kelpies: Coral kelpies can produce sharp, knife-like spikes from tiny hopes in between their scales.

Deep Water Kelpies: Deep Water kelpies are rumoured to be able to produce large quantities of ink to cloud water where sunlight reaches making it easier for them to travel to higher levels of the ocean.

Lore

Coming of Age Trials

Also known simply as just "The Trials" this is a coming of age ceremony that young kelpies undergo on the cusp of adulthood. The Trials seem to differ among the different breeds, with little known about the Swamp and Deep Water Kelpie traditions, but the majority seem to follow the same structure. The trials take place over three days and usually around the full moon in the winter months though some kelpies will hold the Trials as and when a kelpie comes of age.

On the first day their ferociousness and hunting skills are tested. On the second day their physical strength is tested. And on the third day will test a young kelpies Will.

The saltwater kelpies trials are known to be the most savage and brutal. Only 4 in 10 young tend to survive.

The Iron Bridal

A cruel name for an even crueller magic.

In mortal myths it is rumoured that when a kelpie appears as a normal horse and lets you climb upon its back, the only way to survive being dragged to your water grave is to jam an iron bit between its teeth. Only then will the kelpie listen to its rider. This is not far off what happens to modern day kelpies in the service of Cavalry units.

Seen as barely more than beast-like by many Greater Fae, it is thought among the upper crusts to be much safer for all to bind a kelpie to a handler than enlist its willing help. The bond is usually committed at a young age for the kelpie when the memory of the pain will fade. A handler will cut his or her hand and spill enough blood to write a series of runes on the kelpies skin. The instrument is a nasty, barbaric looking quill with an iron tip. The mix of iron and blood weakens and bonds a kelpie to whomever's blood is used. Some handlers care so little for their kelpies they will ask a changeling or human servant to write the runes with their own blood, stripping even than small connection from the ceremony.

The runes live like a tattoo in a kelpies skin until they or their handler dies.

A handler may add in a clause to their series of runes that the bond shall pass to another in case of their own death.

The bond allows for a handler to force a kelpie to do their bidding using what the kelpies often refer to as the Voice. This is a direct, obvious command that cannot be tricked out of or interpreted differently. A kelpie will feel a weight that can grow to a crushing sensation the longer they take to fulfil the command.

Little is known about how such a bond can be broken.

History

Many years ago kelpies were thought of as little more than mythical creatures. Kelpies did not tend to use their high-fae appearance and stuck instead to their main desire; hunting mortal flesh and consuming it. It is from this period of time the origins of the kelpie myths developed over Arethil and whilst the kelpies lives have changed enormously since then, their reputation amongst the mortal world has not.

The kelpies do not recall exactly when the first Duanann approached them and different pods or breeds have different variations on this tale. What they all agree on however is that these high fae were seen as Gods. Kelpies revered and worshipped them, often entering into sacred and protected bonds in order to serve their needs. Again, collectively kelpies will agree that this was a peaceful, golden age for the kelpies who were cared and look after for by these higher beings.

It is during this time many kelpies believe the Duanann actually gifted the kelpies with the ability to transform to look like them. One such story among the Coral Kelpies goes that an ancient King of the Spring Court fell so deeply in love with his kelpie he wished for her to be able to experience the world as he did so gave her a High Form.

But soon this close relationship began to deteriorate. Other high fae realised the use kelpies had for things over than companionship. It was the Autumn Courts who first enlisted the help of kelpies as warriors during the Hunt. Their savagery and strength inspired other Courts and fae of power to recruit them into their own personal armies. Others turned to hunting them as games and sport. Kelpie numbers in the wild began to dwindle drastically to the type of numbers seen today.

The most fierce and largest known group of captive kelpies are those belonging to the dreaded Night Court who, when they split from the Autumn Court, stole those belonging to the Hunt. In order to drag them from their oaths, the notorious instigators of the split found a way to forcibly bond a kelpie to a Duanann. This type of magic changed the rules of the game for many courts with most adopting the same principle in order to grow their Cavalry ranks.

Interestingly, Dawn and Dusk are the only two Courts known to have no such bonded kelpies and those serving in their ranks do so of their own free will.

References

  • https://chroniclesrp.net/threads/wild-kelpies-for-a-prince.4098/
  • https://chroniclesrp.net/threads/the-goblin-market.3743
  • https://chroniclesrp.net/threads/aftermath.3651/
  • https://chroniclesrp.net/threads/of-sisters-best-friends.4074

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