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Chlaenas are a giant chimeric race that resemble a tauric cross between a human and an octopus. They can be found in many of the seas of Felarya, especially in the abyssal depths of the Topazial sea and in their underwater city Ryzelm’oire. However, roaming chlaenas have been known to go closer to the surface and even onto land. A chlaena’s body is made up entirely of muscle and soft tissue; they have nearly no bones or other rigid internal structure, which means that they have unparalleled flexibility and contortion abilities. They are capable of greatly compressing themselves into tight spaces, or expanding their body to swallow a creature nearly their own size. While this helps a lot when it comes to large prey, a chlaena’s compressibility can also work against them, and relatively smaller predators might be able to stuff a chlaena down their throat and swallow them!
While a chlaena must stay wet to survive, as long as they have ready access to water, they are able to traverse land much more ably than one might expect. A mermaid who climbs up onto shore for safety from aquatic predators is often rudely surprised when a chlaena merely follows her, dragging themselves onto land with their tentacles. Terrestrial beings often find chlaenas disturbing, for reasons they just can't put their finger on. Maybe it’s the eight tentacles extending from their octopus-like lower body, or their large, staring eyes that don't blink often enough... Or maybe it’s the fact that they seem to be unnaturally cheerful, all the time, and the way that their boneless, ‘unnatural’ way of moving (particularly on land) tends to make intelligent vertebrates shudder. A chlaena is capable of turning their head nearly 360 degrees around, so if they want to look at you, they will typically not turn fully around to do so... which can be somewhat unnerving.
Chlaenas, like the other cephaloid races, have odd mindsets; they simply do not think the way the “normal” races do. Their logic is pretty much the only kind they are really capable of following, and their behavior can often be frustrating or frightening to those incapable of understanding their motivations. However, one thing you can rely on is for a Chlaena to be cheerful and honest, even at inappropriate moments. Of course, their "honesty" is by their own standards for honesty, just because a chlaena tells you that she isn't going to eat you does not mean she is never going to eat you. “Of course I’m not going to eat you!” in a chlaena’s mind means, “No, I’m not going to eat you right now. Maybe later!"
Powers and abilities
Chlaenas are capable of squeezing into very tight spaces, by compressing their flexible body and shifting their organs around inside their body. This allows them to pass through an opening only 10-15% the size of their entire body. Most chlaenas possess a mild paralytic venom, which can help take some of the fight out of large prey. In all but a few subspecies, this venom is non-lethal, as it affects only the voluntary muscles.
Due to millions of specialized cells in their skin called chromatophores, chlaenas are able to rapidly change the color of their entire body, or certain parts of it. They use it either to match their surroundings, or for communication and to display their mood. Nearly all chlaenas have ink glands located somewhere in their bodies, which they can use to squirt a pressurized spray of ink into the water, quickly creating an underwater ‘smokescreen’ to cover their escape or give them the advantage in an attack. Some chlaenas can even mix their venom into the ink, creating a cloud that dulls the senses of predator or prey. Just about all chlaenas lack the predator sense (some subspecies are an exception, but they are very rare), and must rely on their normal senses only. However, most chlaenas are capable of seeing in conditions with low levels of ambient light, and some are even capable of seeing part of the infrared spectrum. The average chlaena also possesses a very keen sense of touch, making some able to sense small vibrations and water currents. Chlaenas also tend to have a fair degree of magical potential, and most of them eventually learn the pressure-based Deep Magic common among the abyssal dwellers of the Topazial sea. This allows them to ascend and descend quickly without severe injury or death, by carefully regulating the pressure in and around their bodies.
- Credits goes to TheQuantumMechanic, Zoekin, Shaman, Xeno the hedgehog, and Fish for the design of Cecaelias and their subspecies.