Blood of the Sea
Cecaelias are curious and social half-octopus creatures with a love of novelty. A short-lived race, cecaelias search for every bit of enjoyment they can draw from life. They take pleasure in new experiences, from trying new land fare to meeting a previously unknown race and exploring unknown waters.
From the waist up, cecaelias resemble humans with agile but muscular builds. Their eye, hair, and skin coloring tends to mimic that of surfacers in nearby communities; this natural adaptive trait allows them to more easily form social bonds with neighbors. Instead of humanoid legs, cecaelias have eight cephalopod tentacles that allow them to move quickly both on land and underwater. Cecaelia tentacles tend toward shades of brown, russet, emerald green, and deep blue, with coral tones on the suckered underside.
Cecaelias generally get along well with humans, as both races share the experience of being a relatively short-lived race among much longer-lived peoples. Cecaelias also ally frequently with locathahs, as the fish-people are as social and inquisitive as they are. Cecaelias are proud but don't hold themselves above other races, reacting with cautious openness when meeting new people. They're sensitive to condescension, though, and they anger quickly if they suspect someone is talking down to them. Overly flowery language or flattery can likewise insult them; cecaelias respect those who speak plainly, even if what they have to say is unpleasant.
Cecaelias rarely form large settlements. Cecaelia families with infants and young children band together for protection, remaining in one area. Once the children reach the age of five, they're considered strong enough to no longer need the protection of a large group; the family then leaves the settlement with the children and resumes its nomadic ways.
Cecaelias often decorate their bodies with tattoos. Cecaelia tattoo artists are valued members of a cecaelia community and create colorful pigments from cephalopod ink, sea plants, and tropical fish. Always seeking new experiences, cecaelias also visit coastal settlements and hail passing ships to trade for tattoo services; a cecaelia sporting a "land drawn" tattoo earns respect and admiration from her peers. Most cecaelias favor swooping, abstract tattoos reminiscent of ocean currents, though some memorialize their adventures or significant life experiences with symbolic images.
Cecaelias are restless wanderers at heart. The attraction of a new location is often enough to spark a journey—the more exotic and far-flung the destination, the better. They scavenge ruins and shipwrecks near coastlines, trading their finds with nearby land dwellers. Cecaelias enjoy traveling with adventuring parties, particularly those with surfacers in the mix. They may hire on with a group solely for the opportunity to socialize and explore. That doesn't mean cecaelias disdain their share of the treasure, though; they use the proceeds from their expeditions to fund their coastal trading and travel.
The notorious cecaelia pride stems from a conviction that they were once part of an enormous empire. Though most evidence has been worn away by time and the waves over thousands of years, cecaelias firmly believe they are descended from powerful ancestors. Cecaelias also consider any artifacts of their lost empire—or artifacts they simply suspect might be from their lost empire—to be their belongings. Word of cecaelia treasures in the hands of others, particularly evil races such as sahuagin, inflames them with anger. Cecaelias may take extraordinary risks to retrieve such items from their enemies.