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Tidbits from Etherna: Selekhs

Narcosis

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"So ye arrived. Upon one of many Antiochian port cities, whichever it may be - warm Gullhmar; frosty, tide-ridden Aldmer or misty Cynthia. Pray tell, unweary traveller. Hast thou heard about the selekhs, sirens of the seas?"

Selekhs remain a mysterious race of aquatic beings, dwelling in most of the southern and south-eastern oceans. Not much is known about them, albeit their appearances were noted throughout the pages of history. Since the times of dawn, Selekh were often called spirits of water and each race gave them different names - Sylphaeans, Nixe, Selks… while humans called them Melusines. The so called stories of mermaids, bewitching the fearless sailors of the southern seas were their tales of unrequited love, sang by the bards and glorified by decadent poets of the new age.

Selekhs seem to age differently, retaining their youthful looks for almost entire lives, which they spend mostly underwater. They appear on the surface world rarely. When they do, one can only be mesmerised by their unearthly beauty - slender limbs, smooth and delicate skin, softly shaped faces with those iridescent red eyes, that seem to swallow your soul. Their heads are adorned with various growths, that seem to resemble underwater plants, while bodies have different pigmentation - from shades of grey, through blues, yellows and greens - often covered in different patterns. It is said every single one of them is as unique as lines on the palm of every human.

They seem to be attracted to the civilization above. Sometimes, they appear within port cities around the world, bearing no ill intentions. Since they're somehow able to communicate in the surface languages, they often remained between humans for a while longer. Some of them did it for far longer, forming peculiar relationships with surface dwellers. Yet, as human-like they might look, one also can not unsee their inhuman side - swimming membranes between their toes, sharp claws, finned backs, tails and lack of hair; Chests adorned with gills, which help them breathe underwater. Their mouths hide two rows of sharp teeth and there's no denying they are, without a doubt, predatory creatures.

They are best described as exotic flowers of the seas; Their graceful swimming - colours glittering through the warm waters, their ravishing look as they leap through the waves and extend their arms - as if to welcome, beckoning you. As you step to throw yourself off into the cold embrace of the sea, you realize it is only as poisonous, as the beauty of flowers growing within the tropical forests of the west, revealing their ugly, carnivorous nature.

Selekhs have longed to be with humans for a very long time, but those two races share two entirely different worlds, not meant to ever become one. Whether it's mere curiosity, escapism or something more, remains completely unknown. Their numbers are short between few and as trustful they remain towards humanity, they tend to avoid talking about themselves or their origins, retaining a safe distance, merely observing. Curious, but not lacking common sense. Their homelands seem to be as far away as the most distant outposts of the known world, hidden between the mists, down below the crushing waves, somewhere within the impenetrable darkness. Legends speak of a once glorious kingdom - a gem shining within the seas, now sunken and devoid of it's past glory; traces of olden times and secrets of the past, buried to never resurface again. An ancient civilization, so advanced it finally lead itself to it's own downfall. Are the Selekhs remnants of a bygone age, sole survivors, or perhaps the last children of that shimmering ghost of the past?

It might not be of importance to them any more. We see those nimble beings, now living their lives in perfect harmony with the sea, unconcerned with the fancies of human civilization, clothing nor glitter and sparkle of temporal goods. The sea embraces them - like a mother's womb and within that womb, they nourish, rest and love. It is only deep within their eyes, you'll sometimes see that strange grief of what seems to be aeons of sadness in solicitude. Then you'll understand the beauty is in the eye of the beholder.



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