Species Sunday: Ïakshai

We’ve reached the final installment of our Species Sunday series. In previous weeks we featured the Akrasi, Skirr, Kalatur, Humans and Drake.

CrucibleIakshaiDEWLike the ocean, the children of Water are changeable. While Ïakshai are usually lean and graceful folk with water-toned skin and hair, when experiencing strong emotion their appearance can radically alter.

In states of ecstasy, rage, excitement, or other overt feelings, the Storm rises and a Ïakshai’s body can swell to great size. Ïakshai in this form may manifest billowing clouds, seething arrays of horns, fangs and fishscales, or sleek hulking forms drawn from the deep places of the mind and the ocean.

At the other end of the spectrum, when intense contemplation, contempt, depression or other inward-focussed feelings become prominent, Ïakshai take on their Glacial form. Aloof, inexorable and radiating a chill of frost, they become spindly creatures of hard edges and glinting eyes.

Among Ïakshai, this fluidity of form is as much part of self-expression as a frown or a smile, and small shifts toward either state are a part of usual non-vocal communication.

Ïakshai bodies are largely spirit. They eat rarely compared to other species, drawing as much nourishment from their spiritual endeavours as from food. They are obligate carnivores with a preference for seafood, consuming flesh to maintain their own flesh. Their sharp pointed teeth are ideal for stripping meat from fishbones.

IakshaiÏakshai reproduce parthenogenetically, and can create offspring alone, with other Ïakshai, or through ‘inspiration’ from members of other species. Somewhat like binary fission, the parent separates part of its self to become the founding flesh of the new Ïakshai. The baby develops in the parent’s torso, with a layer of flesh grown to accommodate the budding creature. When gestation is complete, the parent pushes spiritual essence into the extra flesh like water into a balloon, enfolding the child’s soul to give it distinct form and budding it off.

Some Ïakshai will create a child by themselves as an act of devotion to Water, placing the newborn in a small boat or coracle and setting it upon a river or sea for the Primal force to guide where it will. Such foundlings are eagerly adopted by other Ïakshai as a sign of hope and promise.

Many Ïakshai make their living on and near water, anything from fisherfolk to merchant river-traders to pirates. They are individualistic and tend to live either alone or in small groups of close companions.

Every Ïakshai has a Yearning for something: it may be a search for their true love that leads them across the world, a need to always see the Lumen ignite over the ocean, or a quest for perfect artistic or literary expression. Regardless of its particulars, this drive is central to a Ïakshai’s life story, and confessing a Yearning is as valid an explanation for one’s actions as any reason that other species would regard as rational.

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