Cousin to the veldryn, the salawa is a strange, slender canid creature with a distinctive, slightly curved snout. They are best known for their ability to eat magic, and subsist entirely off of the energy they gain from it. This makes them all but immune to magic, which in turn makes them natural rivals to the kitsune.
Average Lifespan:: 350 years
Average Height:: 4 feet at the shoulder
Average Weight:: 300 pounds
Location Found:: Primarily Ristell
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Ascension Salawa are born mortal, but all have the potential to ascend to immortality. However, the ritual is risky, and could easily result in death. The aspiring Ascendant must first absorb a near-lethal amount of reiatsu, then focus it inward, into the very core of their being, slow enough to not overwhelm them, yet fast enough to force a change in their very essence. Should the ritual be performed correctly, the salawa will ascend to immortality.
Species info credited to Fyfergrund.
Appearance Slender canids with distinctive, slightly curving snouts. Their long tails end in small forks, and their ears are erect, and somewhat resemble upside down triangles that widen as they get further from the skull. They are covered in a thin pelt of fur or a thin coating of scales, if not a mix of both, typically grey, dusty red, or sandy yellow colors, although other variations have been spotted. Their eyes can be any color imaginable, and heterochromia is fairly common.
Culture Salawa live primarily out in the deep deserts of Ristell in loose clans led by a pair of elders. Territorial boundaries are primarily ceremonial, with individual salawa allowed to cross and mingle with other clans at will. This allows for greater diversity among clan bloodlines, and often strengthens bonds between neighboring clans.
Since salawa gain energy from absorbed magic, the latent reiatsu present in the ground sustains them without the need for them to hunt. However, greater amounts of reiatsu are to be had from prey, so hunting parties are not uncommon where possible. They also have been known to come to the rescue of travelers lost or stranded in the desert, leading them to safety before disappearing into the desert once more.
Although they will fight fiercely if provoked, they prefer to avoid confrontations and simply fade into the wilderness if faced with an enemy that can't be easily dissuaded, secure in the knowledge that they can never be driven from sustenance.
Abilities Their magic eating abilities make them utterly immune to all but the most powerful of magics, and they tend to thrive off of powerful reiatsu effects as if it were a feast. This compensates for the fact that the salawa completely lack any innate magic of their own. The magic they absorb, whether from prey or an actual spell cast upon them, can be used to power some form of magic effect, though the exact effects an individual salawa can conjure are as varied as the magics of any other species.
They are a hardy, resilient species, able to survive under the brutal Ristellian suns or the coldest Icemarkian winter without worry. However, they typically avoid areas with an abundance of latent reiatsu, as an overabundance of energy will have to be expended swiftly, lest it overload the unfortunate salawa, and cause them to be consumed by it.
Their magic immunity renders them unable to be seen by scrying magic, or any mental or magical probing beyond mind-speech. This effect extends to those around them, particularly if a pack of salawa are present. Likewise, most magic wards and traps will fail to activate against them, or the magic they release will simply be released.
Often as he could, Time liked to wander the Realms, visiting the various creatures he had created to see how they were doing, and to spend some time at ease among them, relaxing and sharing his wisdom. It was on one of these forays into Noctis to visit his stonelions, concerned that they were growing and expanding unchecked, that he spotted something new, and unusual.
At first, he thought they were a a pack of kamine migrated from Millirand, but these creatures lacked wings. Hiding himself from sight, he moved closer to better observe the creatures. He found them to be unusual, reptilian canids unlike any he had ever seen, covered in velvetine fur. Though they had only primitive minds, he was impressed by the cleverness and cunning he saw within them, and decided they would serve as a good balance for the stonelions, and curb their steady expansion.
He awakened their minds fully, and gave to them the gift of language and culture, then tasked them with serving as a balance for the stonelions so that neither species would expand too far, matching nehryngi cunning and agility against stonelion strength and fortitude. He blessed the leader of the nehryngi, the first he blessed with an awakened mind, with a higher level of intelligence, the ability to understand all languages, and the power of Sight.
While most veldryn chose to remain on Felnova with the White One, a sizable number nonetheless decided to seek homes elsewhere in the Realms. One such group went to Ristell, but swiftly found themselves facing difficulty. The Underground was largely too cold for the slender-bodied veldryn, used as they were to dwelling in warm climates. It didn’t help that the Ristellian desert was harsh, and large parts of it barren.
However, the veldryn were nonetheless a cunning breed, and they wouldn’t so easily be sent running with their tails tucked between their legs. Through many harsh trials, they persevered, learning how to scrounge for food in the desert, and, over time, adapting to draw energy from their very environment, sustaining themselves upon the very reiatsu of Ristell itself, and the power of the suns.
Over time, their overall appearances began to shift, with their ears broadening at their tips, their snouts gaining a distinct upwards curve, and their tail tips splitting into short forks. They regained the power of speech, and could store magic energy within their bodies for later use, though they lost the Fury. They had ceased to be veldryn, and became instead the salawa, the reclusive magic-eaters of the desert.
Classification: immortal salawa who can take on a humanoid shape. Location: primary Ristell.
The ascendant salawa, or simply ascendant, have deliberately absorbed enough reiatsu to undergo ascendancy, and become immortal. Their overall appearance remains the same, but they gain luminescent markings upon their body, and the innate ability to take on a humanoid form. While in their humanoid form, their heads remain exactly the same, as does their coloring, preventing them from passing themselves off as humans or other humanoids. The luminescent markings vary from individual to individual in both design and color. Ascendants still need to absorb magic to make use of it, but they can handle greater amounts than mortal salawa. Ascendants are highly respected in salawa society, though they rarely live among the clans for any great length of time.