A Kaipal, also known as a Kelpie, is a beast in the form of a horse. Living in rivers, lakes and swamps, it brings prey to a watery grave. Though Kaipal can be tamed, few try to domesticate them. Instead, they are brought into Beast Emporiums and pitted against other beasts in trails of combat. As a type of Beast, it was created in ancient times through mage intervention in nature. Made of aether and negative curses, its meat will give Beast Consumption to anyone who eats it.
They closely resemble a regular horse. The only distinguishing factor is that they usually have dark or black body hair, with kelp or sea grass manes and tails. Their eyes are described as white or glassy.
Dietary Needs and Habits
It is carnivorous and with recent Human interference, it has gained a taste for sentient flesh. Over the years, it has learned that humans will willingly approach it if the Kaipal acts like a regular horse. Through trial and error, it lures victims into the water, where they either drown or are torn apart by the Kaipal's jaws. It primarily attacks by thrashing the prey still in its mouth.
A trial of combat is the only way a Kaipal will permit domestication. If a potential owner is able to survive its onslaughts and incapacitate the animal, it will take this as superiority. The Kaipal will give its owner a grudging respect but will fight them every step of the way. Owners often say "the kelpie tests you", and watching riders lured into the rivers, it's hard to disagree. Once domesticated, a kelpie is extremely loyal to its rider and sometimes shares its secrets. Untrustworthy of anyone else, the beast isn't recommended for urban riders or people who travel in groups. Their eyes are also said to take on natural colours in the presence of their rider.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Dark elves and Ors have plenty of time to tame this wild beast and so Durmok communities are full of them. Their owners work one-on-one with the kelpies in tasks. These include: hauling carts, working large machinery for mills, pulling plows and for riding. Dark elves are wise to their personalities, preferring to use them as workhorses than travel animals. Outside of the Durmok, kaipal are captured without any direct engagement. Caught in snares or tranquillised from a distance, hunters bring in kelpies alive to their clients for higher riches. Some are sold into Kelp Racing, where they're trained with one jockey and kept in the race trade their whole lives. It's a dangerous sport, made even more hazardous should a buyer consider using them in jousts. They are most prevalent in Beast Emporiums, where beasts from all regions of Poraile are put in tournaments to the death. Since kaipal are aggressive already, bringing them in contact with other beasts makes for high-combat shows. Some are bred or trained to fight, though breeders are few. Upon betraying the kaipal by exposing it to such stressors, they will turn on their breeders and kill them.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
They make their home in the southern regions of Poraile, where lakes, rivers and marshes are more frequent and temperate. Kaipal take advantage of the plant life in the bodies of water to hide themselves.
Kaipal have a higher intelligence than average horses, appearing demure and friendly to humans and hiding its true motives. It has a good memory, but recalls slights easier than potential allies. They can appear domesticated as needed, or learn to avoid a hunter's traps if laid too often.
Equus Caballus Algarum
Kaipals are not under protection. The curses that Kaipal give to neglectful or abusive captors make them unnecessary.
1.8 m - 2.2 m / 5'9" - 7'2"
600 kg - 1,000 kg
2.6 m / 8'6"
They are bulky horses, good for hauling goods and can give powerful kicks. Most wild specimens have far superior jaw power, able to bite through even the toughest of hides.
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