HWE Kappa Picture

Name: Kappa

Alias: Garappa (regional variant from Kyushu), Kawataro, Kawako, River Goblin

Alignment: Various states of Neutral, has Lawful and Chaotic tendencies

Rank: 1, Kaijin

Race: Yokai

Size:

Height: Kappa rarely grow much larger than human children, with the Garappa cousins being equal to lanky teenagers. Thus they range from 3 to 4.5 ft tall

Weight: Kappa are surprisingly heavy for their size, often ranging from 130 to 240 lbs.

Powers:

Water Child - All Kappa are natural born swimmers and have a supernatural affinity for water that allow them to even manipulate it to an extent should they be immersed in it. All of their natural parameters are enhanced when they are in a body of water, particularly fresh water.

Supernatural Surgeon - Due to their natural affinity for all water related matters, Kappa have a equally natural understanding of how carbon based life forms tick. To the point that they can reach into something's anus, crystallize a significant portion of that subject's Enigma or life force into a pearl like orb called a Shirikodama, and pull it out for later consumption. Kappa can also lend their talents to less invasive destructively purposes like bone setting and innovations in medicine that are even today beyond conventional medical science. In other words, if a Kappa wanted to cure cancer, AIDS, the Bubonic Plague, etc. it probably could. At least on an individual basis.

Pro Wrestler - Kappa are stronger than humans and display this commonly in their favorite hobby: wrestling. Your average Kappa can give even the top Yokozuna a run for his money in Sumo and are commonly masters of Judo as well. A Kappa has a strong center of gravity and despite their small size are extremely difficult to forcefully move or throw. More often than not it's the Kappa's opponent that ends up thrown or cratered into the floor. They use these techniques with lethal intent to drown when they are submerged.

Weaknesses:

Honor before Reason - Kappa are honorable, polite and never break an oath; often to their own detriment. For all their skill and strength Kappa can be made laughably vulnerable or cooperative with a deep bow, a sworn apology and an exchange of goods that it favors. They are instinctively compelled to return these displays of respect. Most notable of their material weaknesses are cucumbers which it craves for its high water content and crisp flavor. If it is sworn to an oath or deal in a horse stable, a location that for many reasons makes it extremely vulnerable, it cannot get out of the deal on pain of death.

Dish Spills Over - Kappas have a depression like disc on the top of their heads that holds a critical reservoir of water from their native rivers and lakes. This is commonly called a 'sara'. Should this disc be emptied, the Kappa will become desiccated and be utterly paralyzed, at the mercy of whoever managed to empty the disc. In order for this to happen however, the Kappa either has to lean overly forward as if profusely bowing or be forcefully upended and upside down. Anything less will only cause the water within the disc to swirl, kept in check by the Kappa's subtle water manipulation. Only by putting pressure on the brain (typical of anything that causes a head rush) will the disc be emptied. It goes without saying that this is impossible underwater.

Needs a Hand - Among other strange physical characteristics of Kappa, their arms are connected together inside their body. Meaning that they can effectively double the length and size of a arm at the expense of shrinking the other. However this also makes what amounts to their arm sockets being rather weak. If get a solid grasp on a Kappa's arm, they can pop the appendage clean off. The Kappa will be more than willing to perform a service in exchange for returning the arm. Said arm can be simply reabsorbed back onto the stump good as new so long as the arm is intact.

----

Day 5: Childish Predators in Honorable Rivers

Kaitheros watched his young priestess approach with a bemused expression. Her hair looked just recently washed and haphazard, a storm cloud seemingly brewing across her face as she set to work laying out her new ceremonial tools that he had introduced to her last night.

"I had thought you stopped sleeping in this late little Miko." Kaitheros ribbed dryly.

"I don't want to talk about it." Ruki huffed, going through the cleansing process and trying (unsuccessfully) to make herself more presentable.

"I imagine there is more to this story than a simple lapse in time management. What ails you girl?" Kaitheros asked, knowing that only frustration would result from the Miko's current mood.

"...It's stupid and not important." Ruki spat in exasperation, fumbling with the paper strings on the gohei and getting noticeably more agitated by their inability to lie flat.

"For something that's 'stupid and not important' it seems to be taking a considerable amount of your concentration Ruki." Kaitheros stated simply. With a huff the Miko relented.

"You really want to know? I had gotten myself ready for today and even had time to ask some of the elders about some of more archaic traditions to see if they remembered anything that might come in handy."

"Were they not as forth coming as you expected?"

"They were more than helpful, you know how old people are. Once they start remembering something from way back when they can go on for HOURS about it."

"They weren't the problem?"

"No." Ruki huffed. "But when I went to leave, a huge bucket of rotten fish fell on me!"

"Oh my~" Kaitheros replied with amusement, trying retrain a chuckle.

"It's not funny! Some of the village kids were playing a prank on one of the elders. You can guess who."

"The grumpy one?"

"Yes, the grumpy one. He was escorting me to the gate when he had to turn back to get his sandals. I stepped out to wait for him and suddenly I'm covered in fish guts! And that's not the worst part!"

"Oh? There's more?"

"Those little brats weren't even aiming for me but the old man! When they realized I was the one they hit they scampered off the roof and took off swearing at each other. Now everyone is going to give the old man a hard time because I was careless! Then I had to head all the way back so I could change my uniform and bathe AGAIN. And I still smell it!" Ruki ranted.

Kaitheros hummed in affirmation.

"And here I thought it was something more biological in nature." Kaitheros stated with a hint of relief. Ruki shot her resident guardian a disgruntled scowl.

"That's not for another week at least!" Ruki shot back, further embarrassed.

"My mistake." Kaitheros replied, not sorry in the slightest.

"You're enjoying this..." Ruki huffed, humiliated.

"Not nearly as much as a majority of Yokai would if they had accomplished the same. The ignorant petulance of children is nothing compared to the willing and intentional hazing of Yokai. One particular breed is rather notorious for it and live side by side with humans much of the time.” He stated, putting the scenario into perspective.

"Let me guess, more rape monsters." Ruki sighed.

"A disturbing formality with this one...and equally disturbing consequences."

"What's our monster of the day this time? Midget, red headed Oni that stuff people in pots of gold and dance around them screaming about how their magically delicious?" Ruki asked sarcastically.

"Don't give them ideas! And I think the Fey already have that covered...but no the breed of Yokai I speak of is a new topic from what we've covered before. This one is aquatic if not outright amphibious."

"So killer rape frog monsters then." Ruki concluded curtly. Gradually flattening the gohei strings at last.

"You aren't wrong...but your people often suggested they had more in common with turtles..." Kaitheros trailed off. He let it sink in and as he expected Ruki's mood shifted at the realization.

"You mean Kappa?!" Ruki exclaimed.

"The very same. Kappa are one of the four major races of Yokai and have long established their relationship side by side with mankind...for better and decidedly worse." The onyx kaiju figured that getting into Yokai would get Ruki to relax...her reaction was not what he was expecting.

"But...but Thero-Kun. They're so CUTE!" This time it was Kaitheros's turn to be offended.

"WHUT?"

"Kappa are little duckies with turtle shells on them! They're too adorable to be evil!" Ruki protested.

"That's exactly why Kappa are one of the foulest of all Yokai!" Kaitheros countered. "We are talking about a creature that has a tri-chambered anus!"

"Okay THAT you have to be making up because I can't even imagine how that works."

"Kappa physiology is a chimeric and alien tapestry that regularly mocks rational thought. They absorb oxygen three different ways, drastically decreasing the fatigue on their muscles. Muscles that despite their diminutive frame have been trained through a lifetime of swimming much of their lives and wrestling their victims into the river bed to drown and devour them!"

"Now you're just making them sound cool. I bet they had a hand in making ninjas too! Probably formed a bandana wearing boy band of them even!" Ruki countered stubbornly.

Kaitheros raised the knuckles of his claws to the few exposed areas of his head and began to rub them in circles. As if trying to relieve a mounting migraine. An idea came to him however.

"Ruki...Kappa are like that group of boys that dumped the fish on you."

"Thero-Kun that's not a fair comparison. Those boys are little demons in human skin!"

"Kappa are LITERAL river demons Ruki! They appear much like children but like the most spoiled human children raised in the most hedonistic of cultures, Kappa feel no remorse in tricking, tormenting, violating, killing and EATING people who they catch near the rivers and lakes they inhabit."

"Oh come on Thero-Kun, what's the worse they can do? Kancho you in the butt?"

"Do you know what a shirikodama is?" Kaitheros said with all seriousness.

"Really? You mean to tell me that 'ass ball' that supposedly holds people's souls exists?"

"It's a bit more complicated than that but yes. It exists, because the Kappa create them."

"I thought it was just a legendary organ that doesn't actually exist."

"Doctors today wouldn't be able to prove it exists because it is not something that occurs in the human body naturally. The Kappa has to create it. When a Kappa reaches into a victim's anus, it is not simply probing to find the Shirikodama, it actively uses its natural affinity for water to manipulate the part of the body that excretes waste and tunes it toward defecating human life force or Enigma as we call it today. A Kappa can gather and crystallize this energy and once it's fully formed in the palm of their webbed claws they promptly yank it out and devour it at their leisure."

"...EWWW!" Ruki gagged in disgust. "They have their hands up there and...Uggh~ And then they Eat~ Oh uuurp~"

"Starting to see why Kappa are NOT cute yet? This isn't just a simple matter of siphoning energy either. Such vast internal reserves of life force are finite in a human. To be deprived of such an amount to create an Shirikodama is to doom the victim to a fleeting few months to a year of lethargic, hollow and humiliating waste of a life before succumbing to a feverish organ failure and death."

"So..are they like kiddy ass feeding vampires then?" Ruki asked, steadying herself and trying to get fresh air after seeing the entire process.

"You aren't far off. Kappa enjoy many other parts of the human body. Blood, liver, intestines. Anywhere that has high concentrations of water passage are primary targets for a Kappa's appetite. Their affinity for water makes those locations ideal for the particular human element they require to fuel their existence"

"Any other horrible things I should know about them?"

"Shouldn't you have a bucket for moments like this?" Kaitheros asked, aware of how the proceeding material would upset Ruki's human sensibilities.

"I'm getting used to it, do your worst." Ruki answered, putting on a brave face.

"I do you hope you don't develop into a masochist. In any case, Kappa do not have females among their kind. They are a parasitically reproductive breed of Yokai that can and will take advantage of bathing human girls and women of breeding age. The ensuing 'infestation' is half as long as a human pregnancy. As such Kappa are not patient enough to wait out a normal birth. They have fully functional claws and beak when they are ready to leave their 'host'. At which point the infant Kappa simply tears itself out of the womb, feeding on the internal organs as it's first meal before pulling itself out."

"Oh Kami...they're like chestbursters!"

"If they left through the chest at least death would come swiftly. A Kappa's birth for the human mother might as well be reverse seppuku. In ancient times, human villages would recognize the signs of a Kappa pregnancy and grimly wait for the result. Clubbing the infant to death and burying it a mile from the river to show their grievance with the violation. It was a small gesture of defiance but it worked for some time. Until the Kappa simply kidnapped the women and spirited them off to the underground tributaries where they make their lairs and keep anything they find that can't remain submerged."

"If Kappa are as small as a child how do they get away with so much?"

"Size to a Yokai isn't everything. Many succeed in spite of their relative size to a human. Kappa in their native element might as well be beaked sharks in terms of physical strength. Unlike the brute force of an Oni or the martial speed of a Tengu, Kappa are built to endure and wear down as opposed to overwhelming or smashing people apart. Their affinity for water gives them a natural knowledge of how any living thing with water in it's veins works, including themselves. They are masters of wrestling, sumo and judo. Even the greatest of your Yokozuna would be hard pressed to last more than a minute with an elder Kappa. It was exceptional individuals that were able to challenge a Kappa and win. And never in their element."

"But they have weaknesses right. Their water bowl on their head."

"Indeed, their 'sara' as it is called holds an essential reserve of moisture and vitality for a Kappa. Should it be emptied they will shrivel and become unable to move, helpless. Doing so however requires you to either catch them off balance or give them a head rush. Pressure on their brain prevents them manipulating water and allows the sara to spill. One of the most obvious ways of doing so is to bow profusely before them. They will return the bow and spill their sara, holding them in place until they either die of dehydration within a day or so, or they agree to whatever their would be victim demands of them before filling it back up. The other is to flip them upside down, easier said than done as they are heavier than they look and have a strong center of gravity. Both methods of course are useless underwater."

"So what if you're caught in the water? Are you doomed?"

"Not quite. A Kappas arms are joined together inside of itself. They can double the length and girth of an arm by shrinking the other. The sockets themselves are weak and if you get a firm hold of one of their arms, you can 'pop' the appendage right off."

"OW!"

"It doesn't hurt as much as you'd think. A Kappa however will perform a service for you if you promise to return it's arm. Upon getting it back intact, the Kappa simply reattaches the arm at the stump, good as new."

"I don't understand. Why would a Kappa agree to all these things? It seems like they'd get screwed every time."

"There are 'advantages' to Yokai being forced to live near humans for so long, sharing the same vital life line. Unlike Tengu or Oni who live in aloof mountains or blasted hellscapes and dark caverns, far from humans, Tengu often live in the same lakes and rivers that humans use. Due to how they procreate and what they need from humans, it makes sense for them to keep a stable population of humans nearby for their benefit. However what the Kappa were not expecting was that overtime, the 'nature of society' would imprint itself on them. As such they are creatures that obey oaths, repay service in kind and are bound by notions of honor and respect. Once a Kappa has given its word, it is bound by it. To defy its own word amounts to self destruction, a calamitous strike against their own nature. A Kappa that would dare to not uphold its oath risks dissolving into a puddle of stinking membrane webbed flesh. Something Kappa consider worse than death."

"So if you can trick a Kappa into being vulnerable, you can make it swear not to hurt you or to help you with something."

"Exactly Ruki. Your ancestors and other Miko have long brokered oaths and pacts with Kappa clans to temper their more violent and mercurial habits. The most common one is simply to make that Kappa swear not to harm humans for the rest of its life. The most effective times to do this ironically are after a Kappa's most brutal act of vandalism."

"Throwing rotting fish at people?"

"They reek of fish naturally, they have no need to waste fish on tormenting humans. They do however have a livid hatred of horses and cows. Especially horses. They will raid stables and fields close to the river and drown them."

"Why would a Kappa hate horses?"

"You've seen the 'runoff' from ranches and farms on the material plane yes?"

"I think so...why?"

"Imagine you are a Kappa. You are breathing through your beak, skin and the kelp like ring of 'hair' around your sara. Suddenly the water you live, eat and breath in becomes clouded and toxic with animal feces and urine. Imagine how disgusting and infuriating that is for a creature that uses it's skin to breath. It would be like holding your nose to a cow's anus and breathing deeply, every minute of every day those animals linger near the river."

"Kappa might have a point there. We don't have farming practices like that here."

"True, however their vandalism is not exactly the most covert of operations. Should you catch a Kappa in the act, you can force it to apologize. In writing."

"Honor before reason?"

"Hahaha, indeed. Villagers have often setup Kappa to be caught trying to drown their horses and cattle, forcing them to come to the horses stable to write the apology and agree to whatever conditions the villagers have for pardoning the Kappa of its disgrace. Allowing them to extract pledges of loyalty and friendship with entire generations of humans."

"Why a horse stable? Don't they hate anything to do with horses?"

"A horse stable might as well be hell to a Kappa. It has every element that Kappa find disgusting and abhorrent. Animal feces, dry starching hay, hot dusty air, the stench of its most hated animal wafting into every pore. Even the iron bits used to bridle horses are offensive to Kappa. They aren't very keen to ginger either. Anything that would dry out or have an toxic effect if exposed to water angers and disgusts a Kappa. You must understand that Kappa are proud and stubborn creatures but also very intelligent and emphasize personal honor. It is by playing to that sense of honor that humans were able to find ways of cohabiting with them. It also helped that humans regularly farm vegetables that Kappa find delicious."

"Cucumbers! They love those things."

"A vegetable with just the right concentration of water and pulp, understandably its good for their skin and thus vitally important to them. Kappa can live off of cucumbers almost exclusively for a time. They also enjoy eggplant and squash, as well as soba and natto. But cucumbers are a vital delicacy they can't resist, even between it and a human child."

"So everyone should just have cucumbers on them."

"Perhaps. It is known that having a cucumber on you is an effective bargaining chip with Kappa. But eating lots of it yourself just makes you an irresistible target for every offense they can muster."

"ALL the offenses?"

"What do you think they force down the throats of women and children they kidnap?"

"Yeeesh~ so how can a Yokai that's so honorable resort to childish pranks and the like?"

"Their nature as Yokai makes them at odds with humans regardless of how many oaths they are bound by. It certainly doesn't stop them from resorting to relatively harmless offenses like 'kancho', farting loud enough to wake the dead and flipping women's skirts. All adaptions of their true nature to the oaths they are forced to keep till they die. A Yokai will be a Yokai after all. Back then, knowledge of how to deal with Kappa was common place. In this age many write off Yokai as nothing but folktales meant to scare adults and children alike for amusement. They would be woefully unprepared for a Yokai resurgence should it manifest again."

"How wide spread are Kappa? Just in Japan right?"

"For the most part. In Kyushu there is a cousin of the Kappa called a Garappa which is a shy and very lanky subspecies of Kappa. The major differences being largely avoidance of humans and a Garappa's knees when it crouches arch above the creature's head. They also tend to have more spot patterns and a shelled belly. While Kappa have either monotone or blotch patterned skin with a yellowish belly. They are otherwise the same. They are not welcome on the continent and have fearsome competition to face there. So they choose to stay in the relative security of Japan where not all the rivers were turned into toxic ruins of their former glory."

"I guess even Yokai have it tough sometimes..." Ruki mused.

"It's not easy being young and small, often what appears to be an act of malice is just a misguided cry for attention...or acceptance. Kappa live in that uncomfortable and quarrelsome middle ground among Yokai. They make disruptive and vile neighbors unless you lay down some boundaries. Then they are just...odd. As much as I hate to admit it Kappa are one of the few Yokai races that give back for the mercy they are shown. The creatures have a natural eye for medicine and they are the ones that taught the art of bone setting to man. If they give you fresh fish, it is a sign of good luck. Kappa love challenges, games and sports. and they empathize with children more than you'd think. Which sometimes makes their Yokai nature a troublesome burden. A Yokai can't fight against its contrary nature and so such oaths and trickery were necessary to make cohabitation for both species at least tolerable."

"If Kappa are so gifted at medicine, why can't they just perform C-sections on women they knock up? That's better than dying horribly right?"

"It's been ages since I last beheld a Kappa clan. It doesn't change the fact that women and children they kidnap do not return in any capacity. For the clever Kappa however, I suppose anything is possible for their long term survival. Doesn't change the fact that they are a disgustingly lecherous species." Kaitheros spat.

"Or that they smell like fish." Ruki grinned. Already thinking of how she could teach those boys a lesson.

"I never took you for the overtly mischievous type." Kaitheros added, noticing the vibe.

"I never said I don't like pranks, I just don't like mean spirited ones that cause more trouble than what they're meant to. Besides, a scary story or two is fair turn about right?"

"May the spirits help them if you ever become a teacher." Kaitheros ribbed her.

"Hey! I'd be a great teacher!" Ruki said defending her stance.

"You'll have to be a great student first." Kaitheros added. "I see you have your materials sorted out. Shall we begin your lessons?"

Ruki shifted uncomfortably.

"Um~ you mentioned that Kappa were aquatic Yokai. Are there other Yokai that are like the Kappa? You know...water oriented."

Kaitheros knew she was stalling but figured one more couldn't hurt.

"If we are to discuss Yokai that are of water and wave, then we must delve into denizens of the eastern depths: The Ayakashi."

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Continue Reading: Ages of Man