Kelpies are mythical creatures first created on The Land in LY 553. The Sorreter whose idea it was to create the species was named Buford. In 552, he led an expedition to Lake River, and set up a base came in the Lake River Mountains. It was simple enough to find seals and striders, the two animals that he intended to be the only contributors of genetic material in the creation of kelpies. However, in the course of the expedition, Buford and his team unexpectedly discovered an amphibious species which came to be known as Buford's spitters, and he decided to add some of these creatures' DNA to the kelpie mix.
Since seals are not themselves amphibious, it was not originally intended for kelpies to be so, either. They were merely intended to be semi-aquatic, but not to actually be able to breathe underwater. However, the addition of Buford's spitters changed this. As convenient as that might be, it was not the primary attribute for which the spitters were incorporated into the genetic design of kelpies. Rather, it was their ability to spit a psychoactive venom (specifically known as a bufotoxin), which causes hallucinations if it comes in contact with a person's (or animal's) skin. While few people over the years have been exposed to this venom (and fewer still have lived to tell of it), the most commonly reported hallucination is of the kelpie transforming into the appearance of a human being. As for a kelpie's actual appearance, the body is primarily that of a strider, though its tail is that of a seal, and it has the blubber and fur of a seal. The head is a combination; mostly strider, but with some elements of a spitter. Its legs are mainly those of a strider, but with seal flippers which can be either tucked around the legs when on land, or opened out when in water.
Wild kelpies mostly live in Lake River, though there have been reports of them in Drop River and Port Sea. They are not known for attacking humans, though the hallucinations caused by their defensive spitting of venom may cause humans who approach them too closely to do unwitting harm to themselves. Because of this, kelpies are sometimes blamed for human deaths. However, kelpies are sometimes used by merfolk in much the same way people who live on land use striders, for transportation or other work. (Domesticated kelpies typically have their venom glands removed.) In 828, merfolk began importing kelpies to West Ocean and First Sea, and later bred domesticated kelpies there.