Author Takenaka_Emika

Race: Anemone

Sex: Universally hermaphroditic

Height: Ranges from 5′ to 6′, though the body is mildly elastic to cope with water pressure, making determination of an individual’s ‘natural’ height highly subjective.

Build: Slender

Skin tone: Varies due to camouflage reflex, but most usually shades of dark blue in their normal habitat.

Hair: Properly speaking, anemones have no body hair, though they have a great number of long tentacles atop their heads that are colloquially referred to as ‘hair’ by those who have seen one; the tentacles are a mixture of greens and purples that become bright when the anemone wants to attract attention but fade when one is dormant or hiding from a predator

Eye color: Opaque light blue.

Appearance: Anemones typically have a svelte, feminine body shape with small breasts, usually close to B-cup. A pair of stalks bearing gills originate along the median of their front torso, just below the collarbone, and grow downward along a diagonal. The branches do not move on their own and generally hang down when one stands upright out of water, falling over their breasts. A phallic-looking branch protrudes from their body near the ‘groin’ with a head flanged by diminutive writhing tentacles similar to the longer ones above, and a deep-blue vagina exists underneath with small feelers ringing the entrance. Both types of tentacles frequently make small shifts toward whatever the anemone’s currently interested in unless checked consciously by their bearer.

History: Anemones are a mutant offshoot of a giant, drab-colored freshwater hydrozoan that has since been pushed to extinction. Anemones are a fairly new species in terms of Mareth’s chronology; only emerging from their non-sapient, non-humanoid precursors after the demon factory had adulterated the lake with chemicals for quite some time.

Biology: Anemones have an internal construction more similar to jellyfish or their seafaring namesake than the humans they superficially resemble. Lacking a skeletal structure, most of their body is extremely elastic and supported by the autonomous inflation and deflation of thousands of tiny, interlinked bladders within the penultimate layers of the skin. The elasticity and compressibility help to resist the changes of pressure frequently incurred when the anemone transitions between surface and deeper water, and the bladders can be filled with air to no ill effect, allowing one to decrease weight and increase rigidity to remain above water when necessary. The topmost layer of the skin is a tough cuticle that prevents damage to the essential vessels underneath.

The anemone’s tentacles share the same structure but with stinging nematocysts interspersed densely in the topmost layer of the skin. These stinging cells fire whenever in contact with any surface, even the anemone’s own, though she is immune to her own venom due to the outer cuticle. The venom injected by the cells retains the paralytic effects of the anemone’s ancestor but has been endowed with an aphrodisiac effect by long exposure to factory runoff. Anemones synthesize venom quickly enough that the larger tentacles cannot run out except in cases of severe lack of nutrition, leading to a downward spiral usually resulting in the death of the individual; venom reserves on the smaller tentacles can be depleted during overuse.

The feelers surrounding the vagina are a degenerate form of the tentacles, retaining the venom but lacking the color. The anemone’s nervous system runs through her entire body, with a nexus in the head, roughly in the center of her nerve network. Sensory nerves are at their highest concentration in the face, the genitalia, the breasts, the gills, and the tips of the tentacles. Because the anemone’s elastic body is designed to resist pressure damage, an anemone is unlikely to find being pinned underneath a heavier creature in either mating or combat uncomfortable. However, applying sharp pressure or squeezing suddenly without giving the anemone’s body a chance to distribute the force will cause one to experience something similar to pain and likely provoke a defensive response. The same holds true of any bladed implement used with enough force to penetrate the cuticle.

Diet: Anemone retain, for the most part, the dietary needs of their ancestors; they require the nutrients found in the bodily fluids of living creatures. The mutations wrought by the demonic corruption of the lake have modified the anemone’s digestive system to extract these nutrients efficiently from said fluids, particularly semen, to which anemones have developed a partiality, at the expense of eliminating their ability to subsist on any other food. Anemones have a high capacity to store nutrients and as such, are always psychologically hungry even if not physically in need of nourishment.

Reproduction: Anemone reproduction favors warm, damp spaces. Anemones reproduce in a queer admixture of invertebrate and terrestrial modes and could be considered primarily parasitic in nature. Though not interfertile with other races, anemones tend to copulate with any female using the penile branch located at their groin; the haploid gametes released each have the potential to grow into a new anemone and will try to implant in the womb of the recipient. When one is successful, it emits a hormone that causes the other oocytes to die and be absorbed by the host’s body. The implantation follows the normal routine of pregnancy.

Anemone are not particular about partners; if two anemone meet in this way and both have enough nutrition to support a pregnancy, they will typically copulate with each other, and the haploid oocyte implanted will be fertilized with additional genetic material inside the recipient’s body, resulting in true diploid sexual reproduction. The resultant offspring of any anemone ‘pregnancy’ will take the shape of a small, non-sapient, shaft, not dissimilar to the penile branch, that will search out nearby liquid if available and slowly begin taking on water to decrease the density of each cell and begin cell division and differentiation pursuant to becoming an adult anemone. The growth begins at the back of the shaft, where a dense nucleus of undiversified cells gathers. If no liquid is available the offspring will often try to parasitize its mother in order to survive on her bodily fluids, first adhering to the skin surface and then using pressure from cellular expansion to force its way through and connect with the circulatory and nervous systems. This process is irreversible; the undifferentiated cells die a preprogrammed death once the conduit is established.

If no suitable female partner is available and food supplies abundant, as they often are with shoreline anemones living near male-heavy camps, an anemone can reproduce ‘asexually’ by masturbating herself to orgasm and placing the ejaculate in her own vagina. The success rate of such self-impregnation is fairly low. Anemones typically only do this for one generation; once an offspring emerges and is fully-grown, the anemone will prefer to copulate with it as long as it remains in the area. An anemone regarded as a cute pet or a sex toy by a predominately male community can quickly grow to plague it in this manner.

Behavior: while they may have a fair bit of natural intelligence, they are very young as a species and by no means world-wise or accustomed to society. They have some talent for language but little exposure to it; most of their sparse language skills come from observing the interactions of others from faraway. Anemone tend to communicate with each other by touch or gesture and will usually default to this with other races, only using words to add emphasis or consciously with races that do not seem to respond to the myriad small cues that anemone recognize in each others’ actions. Anemones tend to be slightly mischievous or sadistic, either as result of their corrupt origins or simply because of their inexperience and lack of social mores.

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