Khendochar are a rare, flying, poisonous fish species existing only in the inland waters of the Ancythrian Sea in northeastern Santharia. Though poisonous for most people, full grown Khendochar are edible if prepared properly, at least by the elves of the Goltherlon Forest, who obviously have found secret means to discern whether a fish can be eaten or not.
Image description: The flying fish of the Ancythrian Sea: The Khendochar. Drawn by Mikael.
Appearance. The Khendochar is one of the largest fish on Caelereth, second only to the massive cáeh-fish, and grows between 0.8 and 1.5 peds measured from the mouth to the tip of the tail. This makes the fish probably the largest known species of "flying fish", of which there exists a good variety at the Ancythrian Sea. The Khendochar's fins are thin and semi-transparent, and can grow rather large, up to the actual fish's breadth. They might even appear like wings on the sides of the fish (see depiction), and this is also partly their function. They are very slender, as they need to "fly" temporarily in the air in order to catch their prey. The pectoral fins protrude from approximately halfway down the length of the body to about three quarters of the way down. The tail fin is also thin, and is used as a “rudder” while the fish is in flight. The scales are dense and rounded and a have a bronze colour, shining with a brilliant metallic luster, like many Ancythrian fish. Their eyes are without pupils and consist of two quite large silver orbs, one on each side of the head. The shape of the fish's mouth gives the impression as if the Khendochar is constantly frowning, lips turned downwards, and always puckering about.
Special Abilities. Kendochar are a special kind of fish. The Khendochar uses its enlarged pectoral and pelvic fins to make a "flight" possible, which also earns them the name “Flying Fish”. When swimming, the pectoral fins are kept close to the body. To fly, the fish first builds up speed underwater, then rises straight into the air with both sets of fins extended. In this way, Khendochar can glide as far as 40 peds in order to catch insects and other prey near the surface of the sea without touching the water, while they use their tailfins for rough steering. The flight of a Khendochar may last up to several moments, depending on the size and weight of the fish. The sound of Khendochar emerging from the water and propelling through the air, then hitting the sea again with a loud splash is well known among the fishers of Cavthan or Elsreth. It is usually a good sign to try one's success at other fishing grounds, as the Khendochar mostly lives away from other shoals, so waters where Khendochar can be found are most often low on fish. However, usually Khendochar show up on the surface mostly at nighttime to feed, when they feel better protected in the safety of the nightly veil.
There also exists a belief among the locals of the Ancythrian Sea area, which probably is more a superstition than an actual fact, namely that the Khendochar can smell predators and humans and back off in time when sensing the danger. What is for sure, though, is that if you move out at night in a boat and hear lots of loud splashes somewhere near the shore, the sounds will be gone as soon as you go to investigate its cause... - a good sign that the Khendochar know that danger is approaching.
Territory. The Khendochar inhabit only the Ancythrian Sea in the United Kingdom of Santharia, which is a saltwater sea at the southern Sarvonian continent. Khendochar live throughout the entire sea, mostly on the shores though, as these are the locations where they can find the insects they need to live. Their population in the northern parts and in the deeper areas of the sea is much smaller due to predators, such as the notorious Ancythrian shark.
Habitat/Behaviour. Khendochar are lone fish, they do not swim in shoals. They hunt alone, they feed alone, and look out only for themselves. They care nothing about anything but their welfare. Even so, they are timid, and do not get into conflict much. Its predators include the Ancythrian shark and cáeh-fish, both of which are immune to the poison in their flesh. Whenever they catch the scent of a human, or one of the previously mentioned predators, they quickly turn around and head elsewhere.
Diet. Like the cáeh-fish, the Khendochar are carnivorous, but only feed on insects or smaller fish, they are not the least dangerous to humans, even though their appearance might look quite detering. Older, larger Khendochar completely cease to "fly" and change their eating habits during their later years. They will only feast on seaweed and various kinds of coral at this older age. This is mainly due to an increase in their weight, preventing them from flying as effectively as before. Their poison supposedly is lost due to the lack of insects in their diet.
Mating. The Khendochar mating season is in the fall, generally in late Passing Clouds to early Dead Tree. Because of their lonely nature, the male Khendochar releases a fluid into the water that attracts females. After the female is attracted, the fish simply chooses one of the various small caves within the Ancythrian Sea, and lays about 10 to 20 eggs. The eggs will mature after about three months. Soon after this occurs, the parents’ generation will die out, and the new Khendochar will restart the cycle.
Usages. While Khendochar are avoided by humans as food due to the poisonous flesh, the wood elves of the Goltherlon are known to eat mature Khendochar which have no longer poison in their bodies, assuming that they don't eat venomenous insects anymore. Although Khendochar flesh tastes delicious, it is not recommended for inexperienced fishermen to discern for themselves whether or not a Khendochar has reached an age where it is safe to eat. This is a privilege reserved for the elves who know nature better than men. Many humans who have tried their luck caught terrible illnesses from the eating of a Khendochar. Some humans have learned how to cook the fish properly, yet they cannot catch them at just the right time, and the fish are not as delicious.
Myth/Lore. A story related to the Khendochar you might often hear at an inn in Cavthan is the tale of the shipboy Leimolf. He was on a ship called the "Cantalanta" on its way from Elsreth to Cavthan, when suddenly a terrible storm broke loose in the middle of the night. A lightning struck the large ship, so that it broke in two, and in the turmoil Leimolf was thrown into the sea and seperated from other crew members, who managed to hold on some driftwoord to save their lives. For hours the small boy swam in the darkness in the vast sea, and just when he was about to give up all hope to ever come out alive again, he heard loud splashes and decided to move towards them. Leimolf finally found a small isle in the vastness of the sea, and he only found it because it was surrounded by jumping Khendochar, who came out for their nightly feeding. Two days later a ship picked up the lost Leimolf on its way past the spot and brought him home safely...