Borrowers (Samavra)

But how can you trust them? That's what I want to know. Sure, probably most of them are harmless, right? But the ones who aren't... Tam's beardsplitter! You could be one, you know? Not that I think you... just...anybody could be one. And they could be anybody.
  Those who borrow. Shifters. Morpha. Mimics. Face thieves. They have their own name for themselves - Children of Water - but no one uses it. Their natural state is something like a giant amoeba, but they can copy or create nearly any form they choose.   In Samavra, it is illegal for a Borrower to perfectly mimic another individual or even species. They are required to have some telltale sign that they are not Vessuna or Gherau and so on. So, one might take the form of a Bearfolk, but add a tail or have no eyes. It has been pointed out that outlawing perfect replication is problematic. After all, if that Vessun looks like a Vessun, how is one to know it's not a lawbreaker?   Borrowers are generally distrusted. Even those who agitate for their fair treatment often don't want to live next door to one.

Naming Traditions

Family names

It's complicated. Ielva smells like... well, I guess you'd say their mother, but sounds like one of their... fathers? And texture-wise you can tell they're a derivative... no, that's not a good word for it based on your face. Uh, a grandchild, maybe? Of Old Kielan. Look, I said it was complicated.
  Borrowers breed very differently from other species. They say that they can tell by the true name of one of their kind what lineage they have, but they have difficulty explaining how to anyone else.

Other names

Borrowers do have their own naming traditions. Unfortunately, these cannot be used by other species. Their language is not only more than sounds, it's not even primarily sounds. Those who live in Vessun tend to choose Vessunan names for the other species to use, though some may also go by nicknames like Pitch or Birdie.  


Water Children are not gendered, so the pronouns used by other species seem irrelevant to them. Most choose they/them but many are comfortable responding to whichever the surrounding culture fits the expression of their alterforms.


Major language groups and dialects

Some Borrowers call it River Sense. They object when others refer to it as River Tongue, since they argue that no tongues are involved.

Common Dress code

Samavran Borrowers wear what Samavrans wear when in alterforms.

Funerary and Memorial customs

From water we came. To water we return. As this one diffuses into the deep, may the Tide Mother guide them to effervescent new lives.

They send their old off to die alone. It's creepy, is what it is.


Water Children are descended from creatures of the deep ocean. When they die, they return to a largely liquid state. Tradition dictates that they do not die on land. When elderly individuals lose the ability to shift form, they are transported to a large body of water in a ritual the Children refer to as Dissolution or Unraveling in Vessunan. (Various borrower groups in different places and times have tried a number of other translations, but the words never seem to sit well with other species.) They do not die at this point but rather drift away into the water to await their end when they will lose form entirely.

Common Taboos

They avoid the color yellow. In their natural state, turning yellow makes them look a great deal like living corpse amber. While they are not themselves susceptible to the laughing pins they do not want to be associated with the disease's grisly towers. Over time, this has blossomed into a general distaste for the color.

Common Myths and Legends


Historical figures

Delavian is the only Borrower hero.


Beauty Ideals

Water Children perceive beauty on more levels than appearance. In their true forms, they describe each other in terms of color, texture, taste, smell, and even viscosity.   Their beauty ideals for other species are based on cultural beauty ideals from the species in question, but also may include traits not normally under consideration.  

If a morph tells you that you taste good, don't take it the wrong way for Calitai's sake! It's no different than someone saying you have pretty eyes.
Gulshan's Guide for Wanderers

Gender Ideals

They do not have genders.


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