|Official Name||Blubber Seal|
|Common Nicknames||Fat Seal|
|Habitat||Waters around Ellador, Far North|
As chubby as they are smart, Blubber Seals are a frequent traveler of the seas around Ellador and the Far North. They are often sought after and used by hunters for their blubber-like flesh reserves, which are easily converted into oil for lighting lamps or as food during tough times. They are also known to become semi-feral should they live near and be fed by Humans. Despite having an awkward appearance, the animal is swift underwater and fully capable of feeding itself. The Blubber Seal will no doubt continue to contribute to the blubber business and provide light for many houses for years to come.
The Blubber Seal has been a staple of the northern waters of Aloria for centuries, existing as far back as before the Cataclysm. While rare, some scholarly accounts speak of the Drovv hunting animals like these, as well as their domestication of them to serve as entertainment animals. Such events occurred right up until the Drovv fell during the Fifth Void Invasion, but unlike some of the other animals that were kept by the Drovv or lived nearby, the Blubber Seal escaped the corruption by the Void. It is suspected that their numbers after the Void Invasion were hurt by the later Cataclysm, considering the damage it did to the north, as the animal was not seen for the next half a century. When they finally did re-emerge, it was to the Velheim Ailor who now plied the northern waters either in exploration or for fishing. Originally, the Velheim did not hunt the animal and instead observed it as an interesting sea mammal. However, with time, reports emerged that the animal’s fat body held a substance very similar to whale blubber, thus giving the animal its name. The animal was soon singled out as groups sought resources like whale blubber to fuel their lives in the harsh north, and as the seal possessed a source of it that was far easier to hunt than a whale, it quickly became hunted in multiple areas. In the two centuries since then, it has been hunted on and off by various Velheim coastal settlements around Ellador. The animal can also be found in the waters of the Far North, though in sparser numbers. The animal can also be “domesticated”, though its large size makes such situations rare and only an occurrence among Velheim villages where there is some sort of enclosed pool of water. While wild populations are always in flux due to hunting periods and seasons, the animal remains populous and is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.
The Blubber Seal is a giant among seals but holds a similar appearance to others of its kind. They have a length of ten to thirteen feet when fully matured as well as a weight of well over 3000 pounds. Their heads are bulbous and appear similar to a smushed upside down heart with two large black eyes, a pair of small outward-facing ears and a small nose and mouth with white whiskers. Their bodies are wide but sleek and below the head extend out a pair of three-feet oblong paddle-like flippers which they use to maneuver themselves. Their body ends in two slender tail-flippers of similar length. Their bodies are covered in a thin layer of grey fur.
Both genders of the species are born in equal numbers, and there is no difference in external appearance between males and females.
Life Span and Development
Blubber Seals are born live as small pups, generally about a foot long and alone while twins area rarity and triplets are never known to occur. During this period, the female will care for the pup on the shore or an ice flow for five to seven days, not leaving its child and fasting as it does so. After this stage both parties return to the water where the mother teaches her child how to swim and hunt. This goes on for several months, during which the Blubber Seal grows in size. However as the next mating season approaches, the young abandon their mother for elsewhere in the pod. She lets them leave her side and the cycle begins again. However, it takes a year and a half for a Blubber Seal to physically mature enough to mate, and so the young observe the mating practices of other Blubber Seals in the pod. The mammal can ultimately live up to 40 years old, even in captivity.
Despite the Blubber Seal being a carnivore, they are surprisingly passive and possess a curiosity which has been dwindling over the past two centuries. The Blubber Seal primarily eats fish and other small forms of marine life and rarely attacks sentient races, preferring attempts to escape. They were also once curious about Human vessels, as old Velheim tales speak of the fat creatures coming right alongside old Tall Ships or fishing vessels, sometimes being thrown a fish treat or not before following and then leaving. While this still occurs, it is far rarer than it used to be and this has fed into the belief that the animal is more intelligent than most assume. While it is fat and calm, it is a capable hunter underwater and is capable of teamwork with other members of its species to hunt particularly large groups of fish. However, in seeming opposition to these extreme bursts of activity, the animal is known to bask on land or ice near the water’s edge, this is often where “domestication” or semi-feralization begins. Seals who have been given food or clear water will always remember where they got it from and can form a loose bond with whoever gave them such a gift. Some Seals even become permanent residents of small towns, rarely leaving the area.
Territory and Groupings
In the wild, Blubber Seals maintain a constant pod. They are never without one of their own, and a seal without a pod will quickly perish. They swim in a continuous cycle around Ellador though some believe they replenish their pods when passing by areas of the Far North, where new pods join the cycle and low-numbered pods move into these zones untouched by Human hands.
- Blubber Seal fur is rarely used by the Velheim as it is thin, only acting as a covering for the more coveted blubber-like flesh beneath it. When it is used, it is either found in the summertime or small, delicate works usually for major local figures like Rakhrs or Earls.