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Cephalapea

Red Squiddy Blue Squiddy, flying through the air;
Old Squiddy, New Squiddy, tangled in my hair;
Warm Squiddy, Cold Squiddy, floating through the trees;
Shy Squiddy, Bold Squiddy, eating all the bees.
-Victran Childrens Rhyme

Also Known as: Flying Squid, Sephvolant, Bugbags
Habitat: Coasts, Wetlands, Swamps
Hazard Level: None

Summary
A harmless and odd creature found on coasts and in mires and wetlands across the continent, the Cephelapea bears a characteristics of squid, octopi, and jellyfish with one vital exception; they float in air rather than water. Capable of growing up to 2 meters from mantle to tentacle, Cephalapea bodies are buoyed by float-bladders filled with lighter than air gas. The species propels itself by releasing controlled jets of air through three propellant orifices on their bodies. The species sustains itself on fish and insects with swamp squids acting as rapacious insectivores and coastal squid harvesting fish from tidepools. Cephalapea are easily frightened and readily flee humans and other threats, ascending above their reach or zipping away towards shelter.

Description
Cephalapea have an umbrella shaped upper body bouyed by seven spherical bladders filled with lighter than air gas. Between each bladder emerges a sinuous tentacles, seven in total while a thick mantled head dangles from the centre. Three ‘nozzle-limbs’ are nestled between these two structures. These flexible but muscular limbs are used both for respiration and to expel concentrated jets of gas to propel the creature. Cephalapea lack true eyes, but their body is covered in light, heat, and movement sensing nodules that allow them to perceive food and threats. The mouth of the Cephalapea is a soft maw nesteled in its centre and the species gathers insect prey on its deft and sticky tentacles before drawing it into the mouth. Larger variants take fish by dangling their limbs in the water. Cephalapea skin is filled with chromatophores that allow them to rapidly shift colouration. Their vocalizations range from squeaks and burps to strangely lyrical bubbling and gurgling noises.
What study has been done suggest that the Cephalapea, while exceedingly cautious is also a surprisingly intelligent and curious species. Some southern handlers even claim it possible to tame them.

Cephalapea are not without predators; In addition to large cormorants and seabirds; Brogs, Grots, Skulks and other voracious swamp predators seek out their chewy meat. Their defenses against such predators include:

  • Blinding sprays
  • Whipping and stinging tentacles,
  • Releasing and igniting small pockets of flammable gas,
  • A startling hypersonic whistle produced by squeezing gas through their orifice.
  • The ability to rapidly ascend away from prey.

The process of Cephalapea reproduction remains unclear. Some naturalists report observing Cephalpea sleep in clusters of 3-5 by latching onto coastal rock faces and many suppose that the species retreats to even more remote heights for mating. This reclusive tendency makes additional info unlikely but they do appear to have a modestly high fecundity.

Swampies: A term used for the resilient and voracious mid-sized subspecies found in swamplands across Aeldos.
Shorebags: A term used for the thinner, smaller, fish eating subspecies found in various coastal and lakeside areas.
Tijang: A rare subspecies reported by Mujin on the Ailuran Isle, these particularly Cephalapea are said to grow to enormous size and are named after the Mujin word for a solar eclipse.

They are considered a delicacy by Victrans and Lux alike and their helium bladders are highly valued and difficult to obtain prizes sought by both hunters and lorekeepers. They are also sometimes sought out for the intoxicating effects of their toxins.

*Squid Cult: As ridiculous as the Cephalopee is, it is not without its’ admirers. Some rumors speak of a cult in the southern marsh, consisting primarily of disenfranchised Victrans who captured a matron squid and have devoted all their resources to the care and worship of it. According to the stories their high priest claims to understand the squid language and at the very least can boast a convincing imitation of the sounds the squid makes. This squidpriest has apparently declared the Mother Squid or ‘Cephalaprime’ an incarnation of a pre-cosmic god.