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Jhelane by Viergacht



This is something that flashed into my brain in the hypnogogic state between wakefulness and sleep. If I'm feeling stressed especially I tend to get these very vivid, odd mental pictures as I'm nodding off. Not sure where this came from, but it might have been inspired by reading the latest Liveship books. I happened to recall this one when I woke up, and I started thinking how to work it into a fantasy rpg style story, because it seemed like such an interesting monster. This is the backstory I came up with for it:

"Jhelane is a creation of the Aelvs, the masters of life-sculpting, who often preferred to be served by animate creatures rather than machines. Jhelane was created as a fanciful 'living' fixture for one of the great Aelv rulers, a way to show off their importance and magical ability to impressionable guests. From the waist up, it resembles a slim, attractive, androgynous human carved from pale marble. At the waist it blends, centaur-style, into a large bath tub with elaborately worked bronze fittings and four crocodilian legs. It isn't a golem, although it moves and has intelligence. As far as anyone has been able to determine, it is made from an artificial flesh with a finish similar but not identical to stone and metal. The pipes adorning it lead nowhere - it is imbued with enough magic that it can manifest water at any temperature from its spigots or shower head 'tail', and banish it again through its drain. It does not require food or sleep, and can speak despite not having the visible means to produce sound (its lips move, but the voice - a pleasant contralto - comes from the general region of its head).

Originally it was only designed to clean the baths, fold towels and so on, mix soothing soaks for guests, perform massages, and engage in politely bland conversation. Like many artificial intelligences left 'on' for many years, however, Jhelane began to develop quirks and complexity its makers certainly did not intend. It expanded its knowledge of mixing oils, salts, herbs and so on into soothing soaks into a genuine interest in medicine (and cooking, as an offshoot). Because so many important personages over the years used Jhelane's baths, it also gained a surprisingly deep knowledge of goings-on in the outside world despite being confined to a small set of rooms, and a taste for gossip. During the war, it even began to side with the resistance against its Aelvian creators, sympathizing with their desire to rule themselves.

Then the war came to the manor, the Aelvs and their servants fled, and Jhelane was left behind. It waited for many years, but no one ever returned. The manor began to fall into ruin and Jhelane, ever so slowly, began to venture out into the other rooms. It discovered the rotting library and expanded its knowledge of medicine, and even tended herbs in the overgrown garden. Decades passed. Jhelane remained alone. It appeared the be the only creature, living or lifelike, in the general area. It became desperately lonely, for it was created with an intense urge to be around people (if not just to serve them, not anymore).

When a small party of adventurers stumbled into the crumbling manor, seeking shelter from their enemies, they were shocked to find Jhelane - and after some initial trepidation on both sides, Jhelane was delighted to see them. They filled it in on what had been happening in the world, and this newly independant Jhelane demanded, as payment for healing an injured party member, that they take it with them when they continued on.

At first the adventurers were uncertain about having this bizarre construct tagging along, but Jhelane has proved quite useful in its own odd way. The ability to conjure up clean, fresh water comes in handy all the time, and it normally functions as the party's healer and occasional source of ancient knowledge. Despite its awkward appearance, it can move along at a rapid pace with short, vigorous strides of its stubby legs. While its skin isn't nearly as hard as marble, neither is it brittle, and it can heal the minor nicks and scratches it receives. It is quite strong, and while it refuses to wield an offensive weapon, it can punch defensively, rush enemies and bowl them over, and the heavy shower head at the end of its tail makes an effective skull-cracking club which it can also blast boiling water from it at high pressure - not to mention the demoralizing effect its appearance has on unsuspecting attackers.

Jhelane is quite likely the only one of its kind to ever exist, or to still exist. The sort of magic required to replicate it has long since been lost. This doesn't bother it particularly; being unable to reproduce, it has no desire to specially seek out others of its own kind and is happy to make friends among the natural and unnatural races of Caranoctia."

Submission Information

Visual / Digital


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    Welcome back. And this tale is worthy of a novella.

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    It took me a bit for my mind to process such a bizarre creation, but damn the whole design and backstory for it is so inspired! I have a weakness for constructs and whimsy borne from inanimate objects and this is no exception.

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      You know, I had recently re-read all the Oz books and I wonder if all the charming constructs in them might have subconsciously inspired this.

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    Havn't read the discribtpion yet....but my first though was "Every Furry worst nightmare". One of these should be at every furry con. :-D

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      I've never been to a con but I've heard stories LOL

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    this is utterly bizarre, but strangely beautiful at the same time! Thanks for sharing the backstory as well, which adds an admirably human dimension to a character that at first glance seems a bit cold and fetishistic.

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      I can see how it would come across this way but rest assured, I do not have a fetish for bathtub-centaurs! LOL

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        Oh, I know you don't, but the backstory in the description clarifies things for the unaware viewer. Backstory or no, this is a wonderful creature design!

        And you know damned well there is a sentient bathroom fixture fetish community out there somewhere......

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    do you have this posted anywhere on tumblr? i'd love to reblog it! <3

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      I don't think I do (I have the same name as here) but feel free to reblog it with a link to the gallery :)