The Dominoore Fish is a creature of many shades and hues, coming in many varying colours, ranging from cyhalloian snow to norsidian. It is found in the waters around Milkengrad, and in the Ancythrian Sea, and has a few interesting qualities. It is a known mount for a group of rogue Brownies, and even possesses mild telepathy.
With its numerous colours, light, gracile and rounded body, and rather odd
appendages, the Dominoore Fish is quite a sight to behold. It possesses a
rounded head with four antennae-like tendrils protruding from it. Two share the
centre, while another two are placed a grain above its large eyes, placed on
either side of its face. Below its eyes is its small mouth, complete with eight
teeth on each row, comparable to the molars of a
human. These teeth are great for grinding up plants and other small fish. On
its underbelly, there are four fins, positioned as if the fish were on four
One scaly fin makes itself at home on each side of the fish. Its skin is incredibly hard and its scales rough, making it nearly impossible to spear and/or skewer. In fact, they only efficient way to kill it is to strike at a small chink in its armour, nearly a nailsbreadth in size, in the middle of its underbelly. Its tail splits into two, allowing for much faster swimming when it is required. The Dominoore Fish can control each part of the tail individually. While it jerks from side to side to get forward, the tails 'kick' as a human might kick their legs. The fish possesses the ability to greatly increase the speed at which the tails move, allowing for quick manuvers and hasty retreats, not to mention speedy travels. The reason for its exceedingly tough exterior is that it has a very fragile bone structure. Five ribs on each side connect to its spinal cord. Its head is made of a hard, flexible substance that differs from bone. In its tail, the bones are the strongest, allowing it to swim quickly.
The red Dominoore Fish is by far the smallest of its kind. It may grow up to three quarters of a fore, and these are the lucky ones. The eyes of this fish are a red slightly darker than the karikrimson palette of this unusual being. Two black stripes run parallel from its head to the base of its tail where one runs down each side. The yellow Dominoore Fish is larger than its red brethren. The average size for it is one fore. Its eyes are a shade lighter than its golden exterior, putting emphasis on the shine of intelligence in its eyes. Stripes run its back in a similar manner of the red fish.
The average size for the green Dominoore is a fore and a half. Its eyes are generally a much darker green. Two black stripes make an 'X' going down its back, and curve to come around to create another 'X' on its stomach, forming a loop. Black Dominoore Fish are the largest of their species. They have an average length of two fores. A single white stripe runs down their back. Other fish of the same breed always yield to them. They are considered the dominant breed among the entire species. The various sizes of these breeds allow River Runners a more comfortable fit based on their height and girth.
The Dominoore fish has a mild telepathy. It can communicate images to its rider,
and is theorized to be able to commuicate with its fellow fish. It is
intelligent enough to send images that warn of danger, weather patterns, the
need for food, and even aggression during mating season. However, it is very
difficult for its rider to understand what it is trying to convey. This is why
its rider has to be trained to understand at least the gist of what the fish is
communicating to them.
Territory. The Dominoore fish is primarily found in the rivers around Milkengrad, and also in the Ancythrian Sea and rivers stemming from it. Milkengrad is a city on the coast of the Sea of Tears, in the Sarvonian province of Vardýnn. They are sometimes found in other areas, but this is rare as they tend not to swim far from their birthplace. When a River Runner Brownie, those known to train and ride this fish, leaves his or her group, they often take their fish with them, traveling in other bodies of water, and sometimes selling them for a reasonable sum of money, as they are valued for their exceedingly tough scales. This is fairly rare however, as the Brownie would not readily part with their transportation. They would have to be most desparate to sell their fish for scales for any reason short of the fish dying.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Dominoore are both fresh water fish and salt water fish, so they can survive in the ocean or a river. They are usually found toward the surface of the water. Many believe that they do this because of their fragile bone structure. They believe that even slight changes in pressure cause discomfort for them. When they are undomesticated, they generally wander in groups of two or three. Usually, the largest fish naturally becomes the undisputed leader for the group, although a larger fish may come along and dethrone it. These leaders can be fish of either gender, though the females have dominion over males if the two are relatively the same size. The genders of the members of these groups can be varied in regards to how many of each. There is no “norm” for this. Their behaviour is generally quite docile, except during mating season when the females become very competitive.
Socialization is a major part of the Dominoore's life. It is believed and speculated that they are able to communicate telepathically with each other. If this were true, they could easily warn each other of coming danger, pass on food-related information, and even instigate games or sometimes brawls in mating season. They will often chase each other around in their own version of the game of tag. Several accounts of travelers along the river have seen them show kindness to each other, snub feeble attempts at mating, and a few have even claimed that they were having a telepathic argument. While these sources are far from reliable, many believe that they can, as they are able to telepathically communicate with their rider, though this cannot be proven to be truth or fabricated nonsense. An experienced researcher of aquatic creatures states: "While most behaviours of the Dominoore Fish definitely suggest not only telepathy with its rider, but also telepathy with each other, there can be no way to scientifically prove this as of yet. Therefore, it must be classified as myth and speculation for now."
Diet. The normal diet for a Dominoore is plants found in the water, including various algae, the yealm reed, and the waterstar. Their teeth are made for grinding, and they put them to good use. However, if the need arises, they may eat smaller fish about a nailsbreadth in size. If food becomes extremely scarce, they may even resort to eating their young in the early stages of life.
Mating. During mating season in Sleeping Dreameress, one would think that the males would get quite competitive over the fine female candidates, but this is not the case. It is the females who butt heads, slap each other with tales, and bite like crazy. There cannot be more than one female in a traveling group of Dominoore during this time. Females not in a group will usually wonder about, finding groups of male fish or fighting other females for the right to stay in a group.
The actual mating process consists of a courtship dance. The females will find a nice spot in the water, and begin swimming in wide, broad circles. Any male who comes along may enter the circle from below. The female will then stop in front of him to appraise her potential mate. If she finds him acceptable, she will resume swimming in circles around him, making them tighter and tighter until they are almost touching. Next, they will both swim to the bottom of the river or body of water. The female will lay the eggs, and the male will fertilize them. A female can lay up to one hundred eggs at a time. As the female then dies, the male will cover the eggs in the silt at the bottom of the water, and proceed to watch over them until they hatch, during which time they must fend for themselves. Male Dominoore Fish usually lives around ten to fifteen years. The females usually reach breeding age around five to seven years old, as is their lifespan.
It should be noted that in the rare event of crossbreeding, crossing different colours of the fish may give varying results. When fish of a different colour mate, the vast majority of the offspring will be the colour of the larger breed. The majority of the offspring are female to compensate for the death of the female fish after laying her eggs.
Usages. One use for the Dominoore fish is to make a very tough and thick armour. Their scales are exceedingly impregnable, and many layers of them make for an incredibly strong armour piece. As one would notice upon consumption of a Dominoore fish, they are far from appetizing. In fact, most would empty the contents of their stomach after trying one. Only the Helcrani men see consuming as a testament of proving their manhood. Thankfully, the River Runners have found a more practical, if not exactly legal, use for them.
The River Runners are a rogue group of Milken Brownies who raid boats and innocent travelers along the river. They have incorporated the Dominoore fish as mounts to ride on, training them easily with a reward and punishment system. Exactly how they do this is rather interesting. They take advantage of the speed of the fish. When a Brownie is riding on a fish, it can manage quick and powerful jumps along the river to reach its destination.
The River Runners have developed an interesting way of riding these fish. They have developed an ingenious saddle and harness to allow them ride the fish without falling off. The saddle is leather and flat, molding to the shape of the fish. Long straps run underneath the fish attached to the saddle, attaching the saddle with a network of buckles, clips, and ties. Extending from both sides of the saddle are straps that the River Runners tie around their legs to keep them from falling off. Furthermore, there are looped straps extending from the front of the saddle, used as a steering mechanism much like the reins of of horse. All of this is coated in wax so that the water does not damage it.
Because of the Dominoore's telepathy, each River Runner forms a close bond with his or her mount. This makes the fish fairly easy to train, and they are highly obedient. The River Runners run them through various exercises to increase their stamina and to allow them to attain greater speeds.
Myth/Lore. For many, this multicoloured fish is woven into tales of exaggerated mystery. An old legend says that once they were a tribe of evil humans. A dark witch cursed them and turned them into fish after she had caught them trying to steal from her. It is said that her curse made it so that if you catch one, it will grant you one wish if you promise not to eat it, and to immediately let it go. If you do kill or eat it, then not only will your wish be unraveled, but bad luck will haunt you for the rest of your days. This is also one of the speculated reasons as to why their teeth are similar to humans, and why they have telepathic abilities. The old legend was written in the form of a poem, and children in the area sing it often to themselves:
If ever a
Dominoore you find, catch it and demand your wish
The River Runners are not only known for riding the Dominoore Fish, but they are also known for their pirating. Now, many have asked "How can such wee people on fish rob travelers on the river?" Well, here is a recorded raid on a small boat of a newly-wed couple, taking a moonlight sail along the river. It is from the point of view of the groom. Unfortunately he would only divulge a shortened version of the story:
"They came like a swarm of insects, overwhelming us with their sheer numbers. They rode upon oddly coloured fish of varying sizes. They carried with them an assortment of of miniature weapons, albeit small, but they looked rather sharp. Before we could so much as yell, a group of them had thrown a new over the boat, effectively tangling us in it. We couldn't move and my wife was screaming. Shortly after throwing the net, many of them jumped aboard the boat and began rummaging through our belongings. After they had taken all of our valuables, even my wife's necklace, they jumped back into t he water, but I heard no splash. They must've landed on their fish. It was several days later before we were found by friendly fisherman and set free."