|Common Nicknames||Etosian Firenewt, Lamperós Fotiástís|
The Phalarkis is a medium-sized amphibian native to Etosil, the arid landmass home to many unique forms of wildlife. However, the Phalarkis has been described as the strangest, as it possesses six limbs, a coat of glowing green inedible slime, and a love for fire. They were first discovered by the Altalar during the waning years of the Allorn Empire and have since grown to live alongside the Ailor which largely populate the region. They are kept as pets by some but the majority live in the wilds, and will likely thrive for many years to come.
The Phalarkis was initially discovered by the Altalar relatively near the Cataclysm when Altalar vessels were forced to circumvent a major storm by seeking shelter in one of Etosil’s many sheltered bays. While the Allorn Empire had explored Etosil centuries prior, this trip in particular happened upon many smaller discoveries that earlier sweeps had ignored. Among them were a series of strange local amphibians, later known as the Phalarkis, singled out by the Altalar for their six limbs and their glowing nature, in addition to a genuine enjoyment for fire which the Fin’ullen sailors found endearing. Some years later, as Ailor grew in number on what is now Etosil, the Phalarkis was discovered in greater numbers and had evidently spread across the landmass where before, they might have only been native to one small stretch of coastline. While tales existed that the Phalarkis Glow Gland was capable of creating fire they were untrue, as the efforts of many alchemists eventually proved. In the meantime, they became pets, at least among those who enjoyed them, while many more remained wild to Etosil’s rugged landscape. Even in the Bone Horror Crisis they managed to endure, their ability to survive in fire meant most escaped the clutches of hordes who jumped after them, only to ignite and be destroyed or disrupted. They have thus remained populous across the island despite many recent disruptions to the populations around them and across the world.
Phalarkis’ are decently sized salamanders, reaching between one and one and a half feet in length with varying weights based on the time of year. They have broad, flat heads with a spade-like shape and a pair of independently movable lime-green or yellow eyes resting on top of this flat head, while a pair of small but obvious black nostrils rest at the tip of their snout. The rest of the animal’s body has a vertical build to it, with a slightly pointed back leading into a similarly vertically pointed tail that ends off the animal’s body. It stands on three pairs of short legs, each that has a dexterous hand with four rounded digits that allow them to scamper and move with decent speed. Their most notable features are internal. Phalarkis have something known as the Glow Gland, an internal organ that links to their skin allowing for the excretion of a thin slime, which helps the animal survive the fire it so craves. However, this slime interacts with their smooth skin in a unique way and causes the amphibian to glow a pale green at night, particularly on its underbelly where the Glow Gland can be prominently seen inside its body. Beneath this thin slime layer is the animal’s true coloration, with a bright red underbelly while a mix of black and brown make up the rest of their body.
Phalarkis have limited diversity, as the species lack sexual dimorphism and they all glow and survive fire with equal ability. The only minor differences are the style of their blended brown and black body colorations, as those in southern Etosil are known for having spotted color formations, while those in the northern half of the landmass have a fade in and out over parts of their body between the two tones.
Life Span and Development
Phalarkis are unique in that they are ovoviviparous, meaning that the eggs are held inside the mother until the individual Phalarkis mature into juveniles, and leave the body. They number as many as a dozen, and initially lack the ability to both glow or survive fires, being barely the length of a finger and much thinner than their adult sizes. Over the course of three months, after being inside of their mother for around a month, Phalarkis will mature into their adult size and are capable of reproduction at six months old. However, by the time mating season comes around late spring into early autumn, most have further matured to around a year old. They can live for up to six years.
Phalarkis are surprisingly expressive for amphibians, in that they have a small but effective range of vocalizations they make when happy, angry or annoyed, and tired. They are also generally gentle creatures, getting along well enough with Humans or other animals. They are helped by the natural defense that is their Glow Gland and its slimy excretions. This substance, in addition to glowing, has a severely harsh bitter taste that causes indigestion. As a result, most Phalarkis are left alone, however, juveniles are especially vulnerable as their Glow Gland has yet to fully form, and some adults, weakened or older, can also produce less, leaving them open to attack by predators. Phalarkis often eat insects and small fish, hunting through the use of a thick, sticky pink tongue. Phalarkis are also known for their enjoyment of fire, campfires in the wilderness as well as braziers and other manmade sources of fire in civilized surroundings commonly attract Phalarkis to them. They curl up and nest in the flames, sometimes even staying there until they are buried by the ash, before jolting up and heading off once the fire has died down, or awoken from their sleep.
Territory and Groupings
Almost antithetical to their enjoyment of fire, Phalarkis as amphibians tend to live in and around shallow pools of freshwater within the lush valleys and hillsides of Etosil’s often arid landmass. They are solitary creatures, but by the nature of their relatively high population, they tend to live close to other members of their own species. These groups, known as crackles, are best observed approaching and entering or surrounding a place where a flame has been lit.
- It was once common to state that something was nonsense by calling it “Phalarkie” since for nearly two centuries, most scholars in the Regalian Empire didn’t believe in the existence of this six-legged, fire-loving, amphibian.
- Phalarkis who lack their external coating of Gland slime are still capable of surviving fire, but do so for much shorter periods of time, and often rush off quickly, their forms literally trailing black smoke as if slightly singed as they move allowing them to be easily tracked.
- While Phalarkis Glow Glands are not capable of creating flames from nothing, the slime they produce can be added into alchemical pellets that allow a user to make their fires an aesthetic range of green colors rather than the normal warm hues of red, yellow and orange.