Patino Cisternfish Species in Creus | World Anvil
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Patino Cisternfish

Thanie stared at the plate in front of her. Though it looked like a fish and was vaguely fish shaped, the....thing was clear-skinned, and she could see the meat and organs of the fish laid out for display in front of her. Though the fish had been steamed, it had not been gutted, and the organ sac was visible through the fish's underbelly.   The mayor of Patino had a broad smile. "Be sure to take care with the knife. Carve the meat from the fish slowly without piercing the organ sac. It's quite delicate." He demonstrated with his own silverware, raising a thin slice of filet on his dinner knife before taking a bite. "A local delicacy, only found in Patino."   Magistrate Haideri had the faintest twitch on his lip as he raised a cut to his mouth, chewing suspiciously. "An interesting choice of presentation. It tastes merely like trout, so there's something to presenting the fish whole in this way that's part of the plate?"   The mayor chortled. "Every visitor to Patino has to try Cisternfish presented a la mode. It's part of the Machine City experience. Just don't break the organ sac." He took another bite. "Though yes, the cooks normally filet the fish and serve it in the ordinary way." He gestured to Thanie. "Something wrong, dear? You haven't even tasted the dish."   Thanie gave Haideri a pleading look. "Please, tell me I don't actually have to eat this. It's looking at me." She turned to the fish with a disgusted look.   "It's all part of the job, apprentice." Haideri pushed his plate away. "Though I wouldn't say no to eating more regular fare a bit later this evening."   The mayor's eyes lit up. "The night markets in the lower wards are well known for street cuisine. Perhaps the Magistrates would like a guide? Any of my staffers would be more than happy to give a tour."   Thanie had a sour look, carefully sawing the tiniest bit of meat off the fish and gingerly placing it in her mouth. "By the First Princeps, I hope your guide shows us food that isn't meant to disgust."   "Don't worry, I've had my fun." The mayor raised a hand to the staff. "Clear the table and let's go for a walk. I like to get to know every Magistrate that enters Patino, as I look forward to every new relationship with the Longhall."

Basic Information


Patino Cisternfish are a variant subspecies of the common Saibh river trout found in the Inix, sharing the same wide dorsal fins and reduced spinal fin and tail. It is in coloration that the Cisternfish is unique; while the river trout ordinarily comes in various silvery-blue hues, the Cisternfish's scales are transparent, likely due to its habitat of 'underground' cistern lakes, completely isolated from sunlight. This results in a generally disturbing look, as the Cisternfish's muscles and internalorgans are plainly visible once the fish is brought to the light.

Genetics and Reproduction

Cisternfish share the same reproduction cycle as other trout, spawning eggs that turn into fry. The limited confines of the Patino cistern system, however, mean that there are relatively few fish reproducing in the population (compared to, let's say, the entire length of the Inix river, or any greater river-tributary system). Academy researchers speculate that this is the cause of the relatively rapid speciation shift that is being observed.

Ecology and Habitats

Patino, the Machine City rerouted the Inix river away from its natural outlet over the original Patino Waterfall, instead channeling the water down and through the waterfall's cliff face, feeding hundreds of spinning waterwheels and generating power. Water does not descend straight down the cliff-face, however, instead being impounded in several cave-cisterns carved out from and embedded inside the cliff itself. While originally merely an engineering feat (in order to better regulate the speed of each waterwheel), the cisterns have taken on part of the ecosystem of the Inix itself, as fish fell through the waterwheels and ended up inside the various cisterns.   The habitat of the cisterns represents a subset of the ecology of the lower Inix River itself, with sediment buildup at the bottom of each cave and various flora and fauna that have survived their transit through the waterworks. The lack of sunlight, however, stifles ordinary plant growth, thus favoring filter-feeders and the fish that feed upon them.

Additional Information


While trout have been subject to aquatic farming in other locations in the Principality of Etoile, the Cisternfish is not technically subject to the same. However, because of their lives within the Patino waterworks, the engineers that direct the water flow have total control over the Cisternfish's circumstance, making the distinction between 'domestic' and 'wild' species blurred.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Despite their strange appearance, the Cisternfish is as edible as any trout fished from the Inix, and more convenient for most of the population of Patino to fish. Rather than taking the elevator trams to the top of the cliff and fishing for trout in the lower Inix reservoir, residents of the city can enter the waterworks directly and fish in the cisterns by lantern-light. They remain an unpopular food dish, so there's no real chance of the Cisternfish being fished to extinction.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

The Patino Cisternfish is only found in the cisterns of Patino, the Machine City, though trout are common in all freshwater.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Researchers from The Academy of Etoile have noted that most underground species have diminished eyesight, or are blind completely. This has not yet happened to the Cisternfish, though it has only had a hundred years of divergence from its parent species, but comparisons have shown that the Cisternfish has significantly smaller eyes than most common trout.
Conservation Status
While there are only a few cisterns in the Patino cliff-face that have Cisternfish populations, they seem to be thriving without any specific protection.
Average Height
Average Weight
Average Length
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Patino Cisternfish have translucent-to-transparent scales and skin, unlike the trout they descended from. This is a remarkably strange appearance for a fish, and always prompts concerned comments from anyone who sees one for the first time.
Geographic Distribution

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