The Sillaro River is the pride and joy of Deniz. The largest body of clean water in the Archipelago, it is constantly sweeping up volcanic minerals from the Aguamarina Caves and whisking them down the current. The salt deposits in the south form the backbone of the island’s economy, but this torrent of nutrients also allows a garden of algae and seaweed to flourish on the riverbed. It is no wonder that the Denizans once believed the beautiful Sillaro to be the domain of a Sea Queen.
It is here that shoals of Umishi make their home. In the myth of the Sea Queen, they were in charge of tending this vast forest of kelp. In reality, they feast on the all-you-can-eat banquet it provides. Some take only small nibbles, while others swallow entire stalks whole, but they all remain alert. Where there are herbivores, there are carnivores — and one such carnivore lurks in the undergrowth.
Kalazu are very intelligent Temtem, and this intelligence is thought to have arisen from the sheer amount of neurons they need to coordinate their eight limbs. This one knows that an Umishi’s greatest defence is its ability to swim at speeds no other aquatic Temtem could hope to achieve, so it has figured out that the most practical way to catch its preferred prey is to ambush them in their feeding grounds. Any slight movement will scare away the Umishi, so it lays perfectly still on the riverbed with its limbs spread out in different directions.
The Umishi have finished their feeding frenzy and swim away in a hurry, but one leaves a mere second later than the rest. Seizing this opportunity, the Kalazu lunges its nearest arm towards the straggler and wraps it around its tail. The Umishi thrashes its tail in a desperate attempt to slip free as the Kalazu pulls it backwards, but its attempts are futile. The grip is simply too tight. It has no choice but to meet its fate within the Kalazu's sharp, tooth-like beak.
When witnessing events such as this, it is all too easy to assume that nature is cruel and uncaring, but predators play an important role in every ecosystem. The Sillaro's Kalazu are vital for keeping the Umishi population in check, for without them, they would become overpopulated and devour all of the kelp until the riverbed was nothing but a barren, underwater desert. While this Umishi may have met its untimely end, many more will live on and continue the species for many generations to come.