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Vhiyra are a specie of sapient beings with tauric bodies consisting of a humanoid half from the waist up and the body of a worm from the waist down. While their form can vary greatly depending on their subspecies, they always keep within that elongated, wormlike body shape. Most vhiyra live in aquatic or damp environments, although some of them can be found in dry, terrestrial locations as well. Some with well-developed crawling ability can travel on land for short periods of time but will dry out if they stay out of the water too long a time. Giant individuals can stay out longer because of their thicker skin and more massive bodies, but wet habitat vhiyra are still more comfortable coming out on rainy days.
Depending on the subspecies, the size of a mature adult vhiyra can range from tiny lengths of just a few inches, to, in the the most extreme cases, giants with lengths nearing a quarter mile . Although some species of Vhiyra are among the lengthiest life forms on Felarya, they are nowhere near being the most massive, as their bodies are typically long but with very little girth. Some specimens possess rounded bodies while others are flat, some have bodies divided into segments while others are entirely smooth and few even have armored plates. Vhiyra also display a wide variety of appendages and outgrowths such as bristles, studs, tentacles, proboscises, parapodia, pincers or radioles.
The bristles sported by some sub-species of vhiyra are fine, semi rigid filament that line their body, most often laterally and in bunches. They are used for defense as well as gripping the ground to aid with crawling. Studs are hard or rubbery protrusions commonly found in the same places other species have bristles. In some subspecies these protrusions have developed to become fully controllable appendages known as parapodia, which are either designed for crawling or have become flattened for swimming. While most vhiyra are relatively slow swimmers or crawlers, some have well developed fin-like Parapodia, making them capable of short bursts of speed. Even for the slower specimens, when their bodies are anchored to the ground by their crawling appendages they can perform fast thrashing movements, allowing them to quickly snatch a passing meal. Tentacles on vhiyra are most commonly found extending from the head and have adapted for various functions like sensing or being used as a prehensile appendage. Tentacles that are used for feeding are either covered In a sticky substance to catch prey, or are transformed into a proboscis and used as a secondary mouth. Radioles are actually a variant of a tentacle as well, although they are primarily found around the hip. The structure of radiole tentacles is similar to that of a feather, where the main body of the tentacle serves as stalk from which smaller tentacles grow outward, together forming a comb like form that can catch and absorb eatable particles and tiny creatures from the water. Pincers are a rarer feature among vhiyra only being present in highly predatory species such as the hack vhiyra.
Hair on a vhiyra is not simply a dead outgrowth as it is on most creatures; instead it is made up of many tiny tentacles. This makes it slightly prehensile and also allows it to act as both a respiratory and filter feeding surface capable of absorbing dissolving micro-organisms. Even the more predatory species who lack additional filter feeding surfaces such as radioles, still hold a bit of the ability to filter feed through their hair to a certain extent. While it cannot supply their full energy requirements, it can extend times between meals by a small percentage and help ward off starvation as long as they cut down drastically on their activity.
Many aquatic vhiyra can secrete a special cementing compound that hardens once the substance loses contact with their body. This compound is used together with sediment from the sea floor and minerals suspended in the water to build the hard tubes that these vhiyra typically live within. The tube is not a living component of their body, merely a casing, which they have the freedom to leave at any time. However these structures are regarded as home, and for a giant vhiyra to build another one at a different location can take quite a few weeks during which their soft body (as in the case of many tube-dwelling species) will be exposed. It's possible to break up their tubes into portable pieces and re-cement them back together at a new location, but this is still quite a hassle. For these reasons, tube building vhiyra, especially large ones, stay sedentary most the time. The softness of their bodies comes in handy for these vhiyras when they need to compress fully into their tubes to hide from a threat. Being a sapient race, many tube building vhiyra have found other uses for their resin like secretion, using it to shape all sort of objects, from items ranging from everyday tools like a comb, to specialized weaponry. Vhiyra have very little hard structures in their body, some only having a few hard forms around the brain, face, supporting the arms and shielding the spinal nerve. Instead, they both support their form and power their movement primarily through a series of muscular internal hydraulic chambers filled with coelomic fluid.
Vhiyra posses a crop and gizzard digestive system instead of a true acid producing stomach. The crop in vhiyra is typically similar in shape to the stomachs of other giant predators but does not do any digestive work and is simply a storage compartment for food. It does however release a slimy lubricant preparing food for the next stage. The real work takes place in the gizzard area, the gizzard is a longer space with muscular walls lined with studs. In the first part the studs are blunt and rubbery and compress together and relax in rythmic motions, squeezing the life from any still live prey in a similar fashion to a snakes coils, afterwards prey is crushed and reduced to particulate matter by the more numerous and serrated studs in the later portion, making it ready for absorption in the intestine. Death comes quite quickly to any prey swallowed alive once entering the gizzard area it’s a much less painful fate than being digested by the stomach acid of a typical predator. However being in the crop of a vhiyra would be quite an "unnerving" experience, as a swallowed group of prey standing here would be pulled down one by one into the gizzard. The entrance to the gizzard often has protrusions that help with pulling food in , the crop will also contract to squeeze food down to the crop’s entrance. Digestive track layout varies slightly from species to species, generally the larger the typical prey size of the subspecies in question is, the more pronounced the crop and gizzard area are. While a bacteria-eating variant may just have one long intestine while another who feeds on relatively large creatures will have a large crop and gizzard. Filter feeding vhiyra with a pelvic set of radioles will have a network of food-carrying passages to which the Radioles are attached at their base, these carry tiny prey and particulate matter caught in them directly into the intestine.
Vhiyra in general have a great deal of natural regenerative ability. As long as a vital organ isn’t entirely lost and the vhiyra is still able to continue on living, lost parts will slowly return over a period of weeks, though during this time they will have to continue to find sources of food and a safe place to hide in their crippled state. Vhiyra can lose a lot of their worm portion and still survive, as long as a portion remains that is one and a half times the length of their humanoid body remains most can go on living. Some of the more hearty sub-species are able to practice autotomy, where a tentacle, arm or portion of the tail will detach automatically with very little bleeding if it becomes entrapped or caught by a predator.
It's interesting to note that some vhiyras possess colored blood. Between all the subspecies of vhiyra there are three types of blood found. Some use Hemerythrin-based blood, which appears purple or pink in color, Others use Chorocruorin-based blood which appears greenish in color and other use hemoglobin which is red in color. Typically,the more mobile vhiyra sub-species who have greater energy requirements possess purple or red blood, while sedentary species possess green blood. Depending on the type of blood they have, their interior tissues will be tinted toward that color.
Most vhiyra have separate sexes rather than being hermaphroditic as less developed worms are, but their mode of reproduction can vary greatly between subspecies. Some use egglaying, releasing microscopic eggs into the water, while others carry larger eggs on their body or keep them in a nest area or within a tube during incubation. Those females who employ epitoky grow extra, primarily fluid-filled segments at the end of their tail that hold fertilized egg. The segments stay attached while the eggs hatch within and the young continue to grow, when it’s time for them to be born these segments break off painlessly and the young burst out a few days later. Pouched reproduction works by hatching and then incubating larval young within a pouch chamber the females possess until they are old enough to move around competently outside. The vhiyra sexual organs are located within a pit on their stomach that resembles a navel and only appear when sexually aroused. The patches vhiyra have where humans have nipples are actually sensory patches and internal pressure regulators. On females, the breast like forms are actually containers for a nutrient dense form of the coelom fluid that provides an auxiliary source of energy when growing eggs or young within her body.
All vhiyra possess an inbuilt ability to sense and tap into the primordial magic of Felaryas ley lines. However most of them are not trained to recognize this ability. To them, locations rich in ley magic simply give them greater comfort and ease of life, as their bodies as an involuntary function, use the ley magic to amplify their biological functions and abilities. This quickening healing and regeneration time even beyond normal Felaryan standards and allowing for more available energy for physical activity and other functions.
Ley line connectivity is more much more pronounced among tube dwelling species who are surrounded by their tubes that attach to the Felaryan seabed and that are made up of Felaryan silt and sand. Free swimming species can still sense ley lines well but are more influenced by it when in contact with the ground. This ability to sense the underlying foundations of Felaryan magic in its soil and ley lines combined with their natural sensory equipment grants them an extremely good predator sense. It also gives them a sort of anti-magic ability similar to that of Felaryan insects when they stand in areas crossed by Ley lines, allowing them to dissipate a spell directed against them and releasing it into ley currents.
For example something like fairy shrinking magic would affect them initially, but would start to begin to gradually dissipate immediately, the same would be true of a curse. However those spellcasters aware of the workings of ley magic can alter their spell to compensate for the dissipating effect. This anti magic effect does not apply to magic converted into another form of energetic potential such as heat in fire spells or kinetic in earth spells.
Unfortunately for the vhiyra themselves,
the constant flow of primordial magic through their body also interferes greatly with their own casting of spells. The constant in/out exchange of Ley magic tends to carry with it the first part of a spell while still attempting to compose the rest. It's like trying to write sentence with an eraser following close behind. So by the time you get to the end instead of " Ala-Kazam" you get "azam". For this reason vhiyra tend to be lousy wizards or mages of rule based magic. This erasure of magical codes usually results in nothing being produced at all, the spell blowing up in their face or a completely unexpected spell no matter how much they practice.
Although vhiyra have the potential to become powerful Ley magic users they usually focus on honing their natural survival abilities. Only a few have really delved into the control of Ley magic, but those who do put great effort into it often become legendary.
- credits to String fountain for the Vhiyras.