|Official Name||Ksai Fish|
|Common Nicknames||Kai Fish|
The Ksai Fish is a species of Fish native to Dexai in the Far East, where it has been used by the Sihai Race for centuries as both a source of food and decoration. Over their time in captivity, their coloration has been altered into a range of vivid, pleasing hues, and those who have escaped into wild populations have carried these spots of color with them. With the desire for goods from the Sihai homeland increasing, and more Sihai leaving said homeland to explore the outside world, Ksai Fish are shipped abroad and traded with increased frequency, making them a common sight to those surrounded either by Sihai or Sihai things.
Ksai Fish have been part of Sihai life for millenia, going back to the Early Kingdoms Period. In the beginning, they were merely a part of the local diet, the fish’s unaltered ancient ancestor a species of carp that was common in the rivers and lakes of Dexai. During this time, they were dull in color; greys, browns and other dark tones to help them blend in to riverbeds. The ancient Sihai, in their pursuit to control their food supply, came to control the Ksai Fish and domesticated large numbers of them to serve as a food fish in artificial ponds and similar water structures. Over time, the Sihai slowly began to manipulate the fish, bringing out recessive features and traits to the point of completely changing the creature’s color. By the era of the Guo Dynasty, the creature’s dull coloration had been exchanged for one of glittering yellows, pure whites and solid blacks, with various speckles and areas of other colors in these patterns. Even wild populations were affected by this, their own dull coloration eventually coming to a permanent rest at a muddy-yellow which they still possess today. With the Guo also came the development of the Ksai pond, a body of water in a park or garden setting for the fish to swim in and entertain or amuse others with their bright colors as they moved through clear waters. In the following centuries, this remained the way of things. Much more recently, the Ksai Fish has finally escaped the confines of Dexai, being shipped across the sea to wider Aloria. Some are taken to help start new sources of fish for traditional Sihai cuisine, but a number of others are taken purely for the prestige of the upper classes. Since the rise in popularity for Sihai things, the Eastern Craze as it is called, the desire for these bright and exotic-looking fish is high. Unfortunately, small groups of the animal have managed to escape in some areas of Aloria and have started to impact local environments as their rapid propagation and tendency to stir up river beds have produced unattractive results. Still, these disruptions are small in the grand scheme of things, and it seems likely their shipment to wider Aloria will continue.
The Ksai Fish is diverse in appearance and shape, but there are several common characteristics that define the species. They are generally between one and two feet long, with a diameter of an inch or so. Their weight varies, but is generally between fifteen and thirty pounds. Their heads are wide, with two small black eyes on either side of their head and then a generally flat surface between them and their wide, easily-puckered mouth. Just outside of this mouth are two small but obvious barbels, slightly curved down and a mechanism the fish uses in its aquatic navigation. Behind their heads are a pair of short, pointed pectoral fins before a prominent gill line. Further behind that are often a second set of short fins, with a short dorsal fin starting in the middle of their body and going back, ending shortly before the forked or indented caudal fin. Their colorations are various and are described in more detail below.
As mentioned above, the Ksai is an extremely diverse animal. Thanks to extensive breeding by the Sihai, a number of varieties of color and physical shape have emerged within their population. In general, their population numbers are equal between the two sexes, but males are impossible to tell apart from females externally. Below can be found a listing of the various subspecies of Ksai Fish in Aloria.
- Common Ksai: The Common Ksai is the wild variety of the species, found extensively domesticated in fish farms but also out in the wild of Dexai. They are pale to muddy yellow in color and possess the shortest barbels out of all varieties. They are also known to sometimes have patches of black or brown along their sides or on their backs.
- Lu'm'ing’a Breed': The Lu'm'ing’a Breed is one of the earliest varieties of Ksai Fish developed, which took black and grey samples from wild populations and bred them together, producing the current species. They possess a unique cloudy appearance in their body, with patches of white and black together in a striping pattern, with black being the dominant color in the face and on the animal’s fins.
- Nn'ing'yqy Breed: Also called the Kai’tsen Breed, after the Gold-like alloy the Sihai developed for use in their art, this species is bright yellow in coloration. Some do possess the occasional black spot, often on the top of their heads or along the backs, but the majority retain their uniform bright color.
- Fu'm'ie Breed: This species of Ksai Fish is entirely orange in coloration, but some can posses black or white splattering along their backs and sides. They are also known as the largest variety of Ksai Fish, with one member of the species in the Imperial Gardens from the Gai Dynasty period having been recorded to reach over three feet long.
- Bae'ie'm'c Breed: The Bae’ie’m’c Breed is sometimes called by foreigners the Worm Fish, as the species has an almost unnaturally white coloration. It is also somewhat translucent, revealing the edges of the internal organs of its body to any who look. Its body is also commonly thin, further exasperating the effect. They are known to have the longest barbels, and can be splotched with orange and black, though this is contained solely to their backs.
- Bae’ing Breed: This species of Ksai Fish is one both reviled and awed at by Sihai and foreigners. Its origins are murky, with many Sihai claiming it was the result of corruption by the “blackened creatures” that threatened them millenia ago. What is certain is that the modern fish is deadly, but useful. It possesses a dark yellow color, very similar to the Common Ksai, but its sides are discolored with blues and purples as if the fish is bruised. Additionally, their scales in that region are particularly sharp, some would even say barbed, which is used to deliver their toxic payload into a foe’s body. This toxin is deadly to all Races, hazardous to even normally resilient Eronidas and Allar, but the flesh of the creature is succulent. Skilled Sihai chefs know how to cut the creature open once dead, leaving its toxin organ intact and unopened, to then create wonderful dishes from the remaining succulent meat.
Life Span and Development
The Ksai Fish breeds fast and lives long, a problem the Sihai have solved through killing thousands of them a day. They are born from small green fish eggs numbering as many as a thousand, released by a single female within the various water sources the Ksai Fish inhabits. Males then fertilize those they can, after which the fertilized eggs darken in color. Ksai Fish babies known as fries emerge from their eggs very quickly, that being one week after fertilization, and over the span of the next six months, rapidly mature. They are all white when born but at the end of these six months, their coloration begins to come in. By the age of three, they will have settled into their final coloration and are considered mature, as they now have the ability to reproduce. Ksai Fish can live up to twenty years in the wild, but domesticated members of the species have been known to reach well over a century old. It is said that currently, there is a Ksai Fish in the Imperial Garden of the Sihai that was a fry when The Naether Aetherium occured, some 300 years ago.
The Ksai Fish, like most other species of Fish, is generally mindless and lives out its life either in wild schools or in the confined territory of a pond or artificial water structure. It survives on instinct; swimming, breathing and surviving however possible. However, they are notable for one trait: greed. Whether it is some small part of their brain that desires more, or simply their automatic nature to consume food, feeding time for Ksai has been said to resemble “the feeding of some species of ravenous worm” by Ailor and those not from Dexai. They foam the water, pushing their heads up into the dangerous air to gasp and suck and beg for the food thrown down at them either in confined environments by keepers, or in the wild by kind travellers and roamers. They swim over each other in this action, in a flurry of motion that betrays, many feel, a deep and greedy nature.
Territory and Groupings
The Ksai Fish is a coldwater, freshwater species which lives in two different regions. The first is in the wild, where schools numbering as large as two hundred swim in the waters of the rivers, lakes and swamps of Dexai. Some Ksai Fish in Aloria, particularly in the Regalian Archipelago, have escaped confinement and also now exist in the waters found there. However, their presence is invasive, and most fishermen promptly seek their destruction so they do not fill waterways with their unwanted presence. In contrast to this, there are the Ksai that live in captivity in schools or groups as large as their keepers want, though it should be noted that any Ksai Fish without at least one other of its kind will be generally listless and lacking in movement. These Ksai are often colorful and kept for decorative purposes to fill artificial water features, but also kept in more industrial surroundings for the express purpose of slaughter and consumption.
- Ksai Fish isolated in pairs when mating are said to do a “harmony dance.” They swirl around each other, following the tail of the other, reflecting the other’s movements until the process is complete whereupon they separate to go about their usual day.
- Bae’ing Breed poisoning causes first great stomach pains, then hair loss as the skin or scales yellow, followed by dark boils forming around the stomach area. Only an individual with 20 points in the Proficiency of Medical Sciences could effectively heal an individual affected by this disease. The individual languishes on for a week before passing without treatment, though the Allar and Eronidas can last two.