Source: From Hell's Heart, pg(s). 82
- See also: Whale
Faceless whales, sometimes called Darklands whales, and called ansiktsloshvals in Aklo, are a type of whale known to dwell in the Sightless Sea, where they hunt along the sea floor, as the depth of the water keeps them safe from most predators.
Faceless whales resemble their surface-dwelling relatives, but with colorless and transparent skin through which their veins and organs are visible. They lack eyes, possessing instead an unbroken expanse of wrinkled skin. They are toothed whales, and have narrow, tapering mouths lined with black, conical teeth. Faceless whales typically reach seventy feet in length and 90,000 pounds in weight, although some specimens can grow to half again as large.
Faceless whales are solitary predators who spend most of their lives alone, and only gather into pods when food is abundant. Once prey becomes scarce again, the pods disperse and each whale sets off on its own. If a solitary faceless whale finds an area where prey is abundant, it circles its edges while emitting a groaning song to call other whales to this location.
Faceless whales also come together to mate and raise their young. A mated pair will remain joined only as long as necessary to teach their single calf how to hunt, a period typically lasting five years. Once the calf makes its first unassisted kill, the parents and young part ways.
Faceless whales hunt aggressively. When they find prey they can outswim, they plunge forward with their mouths open to seize it before it can escape. When pursuing larger or faster prey, they track it at a steadier pace, often pursuing their target for days on end. Once their quarry becomes too exhausted to swim further, the whale stuns it with its sonic cries and devours it. Faceless whales are fairly indiscriminate hunters, due to the scarcity of prey within the Sightless Sea and the often alien nature of the creatures found there. They eat almost anything they encounter, and aquatic aberrations make up a large part of their diet. They are also known to prey on ships and humanoid sailors, typically when other food is scarce. A single humanoid only provides a snack for an adult whale, but can serve as a full meal for a juvenile.
Despite their size and predatory dispositions, faceless whales are not at the pinnacle of the Darklands' aquatic food chains and have predators of their own. They spend most of their time in the depths of the Sightless Sea as a result, where the crushing pressure and freezing temperatures isolate them from most of their hunters.
A faceless whale can dive to more than 7,000 feet in depth and remain submerged for hours at a time. When they surface to breathe they do so for minutes at a time, inhaling and exhaling large volumes of air.
The faceless whales' origins are not known with certainty. Some legends state that they were swept into the Sightless Sea during the cataclysm of Earthfall or at some point before that, while others claim that they were driven into their current home by powerful sea hags after the whales refused to teach them how to use their powerful songs.
Faceless whales are most often found in the Sightless Sea in Orv, but also inhabit Lake Nirthran in Sekamina. They occasionally reach the surface seas, a feat they are believed to accomplish through instinctive knowledge of the hidden waterways linking the Sightless Sea to the surface world. Whales who reach the surface do not remain long, typically staying only long enough to take a few breaths of clean surface air.