The festivities have continued late into the night with no sign of winding down. The music and laughter are still loud, spirits still high, alcohol still flowing. Someone hands you a cup full of some unnamed concoction, it tastes like rum and citrus, and you’re happy to accept it and drift through the crowd, enjoying the buzz from the booze and the revelers around you.
You draw closer to the music, watch the joyous movements of dancers to the steady thump of the drum beat. One of the musicians catches your attention, a striking figure, alluring and electric, like they are somehow at the center of the festivities. Bright and intense eyes peer at you from beneath the brim of a hat, and your eyes meet for what feels like a long time until they wink at you, a gesture that feels entirely unambiguous.
You drain the rest of your drink, ready to see where the rest of the night takes you.
Hope you’re ready for some surprises, because the Encantado has your attention.
Most cryptids and creatures from folklore are imposing, monstrous, aim to maim or torment those who cross their paths. The Encantado, however, is basically the monsters’ answer to a bard, charismatic and seductive. This shapeshifter hails from the Amazon, the human form of the pink-skinned river dolphin, the Boto. It is said that they live deep in the river in the city of Encante, an underwater utopia that apparently gets a little boring after a while, sending its inhabitants to the surface in search of some excitement. At night, the Encantado transforms into a human, but blending in isn’t their style—as humans they are wildly attractive, they are invariably talented dancers and musicians, and they are absolutely looking to get laid. While this is probably a fun, sexy time for the Encantado and their companion for the night, these charmers are also super potent. Women are pretty much guaranteed to get pregnant from their encounter with the Encantado, and men who cheat on their wives with a shapeshifting river dolphin will find their wives pregnant afterwards.
Seduction isn’t the Encantado’s only skill. Their charisma is hypnotic, and they are said to enchant humans to do their bidding. Running into an encantado while they are in the Amazon is said to cause insanity, so fishermen are wary of running into dolphins in the river. They can also control storms, creating bad weather on a whim, and have a tendency to bring humans they fall in love with back to Encante, never to return to the human world. Given that Encante is described as a paradise, this could actually prove to be something of an upgrade for their human companions.
Spotting an Encantado may be the best way to avoid succumbing to their charm, and luckily they have a pretty big tell. They may be able to shapeshift into super good looking humans, but they still need a blowhole to breathe, so the transformation is incomplete. They tend to wear hats to hide the literal hole in the top of their heads, and get super agitated if they’re asked to remove it. If you meet an attractive stranger who gets weird about taking their hat off, just treat it like a red flag, even if they are human.
There are no stories of fighting an Encantado because their charm is enough to diffuse any possible conflict, so it’s unclear if it would even be an option to fight one or if all that energy is just going to fuel sexual tension. They may seem more vulnerable in their dolphin form, but it’s said that it’s bad luck to kill a boto, and even worse luck to eat one. Just making eye contact with a river dolphin can unleash a lifetime of nightmares, so better take a cue from the groups indigenous to the Amazon and give them a wide berth. Your only real options may be to find the will to ignore that attractive musician making eyes at you at a party, or to get ready for your likely half-dolphin children.