Art by, Mikaroni_And_Cheez
Common Jobs: Theologists, Pinball machine builders
Likes: Legends, Storytelling, Bubbles, Space itself, Giant inflatable hamster balls
Dislikes: UV Light, Being eaten, Reality checks, Being above water
Attack Method: Used to eating things that don't fight back, a protegrotten is only truly able to weakly strangle its enemy and nibble at its face.
The protegrotten firmly believe in their creation myths and the most central figure in them is The Mother In The Sea Above Our Land, who is said to have created the species.
The protegrotten is an elongated beast, ten times as long as it is tall, and nearly invisible. This near invisibility is from their nature as a mostly fluid lifeform, having liquids fill the entirety of their body with a translucent skin membrane holding it in. As such they are very delicate, with a trade-off of gaining regenerative qualities.
Hundreds of spherical masses dot across the body, with their function depending on size and placement. Bigger masses behave as organs and other vital parts, such as a stomach or mouth. Smaller ones are either sensory organs or capable of expanding and pushing against the body to perform as limbs. Sometimes this can be used to produce new limbs, but this process takes weeks to complete. Most extrusions are simply fronds used for tactile sensing.
One thing is completely lacking from this malleable structure are the eyes. The protegrotten is completely incapable of seeing, but as they live in caves this is far from necessary.
Protegrotten have around four pairs of legs, the last of which is at the base of the tail and faces backwards. The tail itself has a long fin extending from the base as well.
For a species that barely encounters each other, the protegrotten are a sociable and friendly walk of life. Living in complete darkness, they believe all good things are miracles and graciously gifted to them.
Protegrotten can spend hours talking about their life and the stories passed down to them from everyone they've ever met. From tales about how the world was made by a loving mother, to the way the person who spoke to them last made their day- The protegrotten love to interact.
With only myths to go off of, the origin of the protegrotten is grounded in mystery and legends. All the myths share at least one thing- An enormous protegrotten that lives in the endless ocean above the planet created the species and laid eggs in the caverns below.
Eventually as with many species, the protegrotten were discovered by aliens who settled on their planet. Both species were amicable towards each other and the protegrotten slotted their way into the great pinball machine of intergalactic society.
The species remains in the same place they always have been, but aliens now live on Hulengast too.
A craggy, alpine planet filled to bursting with tall mountains above and colossal abysses below, Hulengast is perfect for troglobitic lifeforms. Rivers that line the mountains all inevitably pour into the caves and bring life to what dwells within.
Alien settlements can be found on comparatively more level ground, but nearly all native life and buildings are underground.
Pitch-black: Existing as the only known subspecies, the pitch-black would be expected to be something wildly extraordinary to earn that title, however these protegrotten are merely the only of their kind to live in the twilight zone of the caverns. They have pigmented skin, less facial organelles in favor for primitive eyes, and a smaller face.
Neotenic Troglobite: Unless in artificial settings designed to suit them, protegrotten can only live in lakes in abyssally dark caves. This makes them suited for life underground and underwater, but near impossible to survive elsewhere.
• A popular pastime on Hulengast is going to arcades, where rows upon rows of pinball machines line the building. Apparently the protegrotten creation myth involves their god bouncing their eggs around and gathering boons for the species to have upon creation.
• Urolinds and protegrotten make great roommates, as the former can live in the same climate as the latter. Many hybrid protegrotten are part urolind.
• Protegrotten currently participate in tests to find new ways to get them onto land, barely any of which are destined to actually work. One such test is using mutagens and other chemicals to force the body to metamorphose into completing a regular amphibian's course of puberty. Testing has yet to begin.
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