Originally only found in the Maritanis
, since the Blight
temporarily destroyed it, the Merkind have magically relocated their city to the Sea of Lyrielle
near Castle Caerleon
. Merkind can now be found on land with legs but must return to a body of water every three days to avoid dehydration.
The Merkind are an aquatic, semi-humanoid species of sentient creatures created by Lyrielle the Coming Tide
to populate and protect her beloved oceans. Until the Blight
, they were a highly isolated culture that had little contact with any members of the outside world. Following the Blight, to survive, they have been forced to interact with other societies of which they know very little.
Merfolk appear like mortal Humans
from the waist up and like large fish from the waist down. The color and scale pattern of their tails varies as does skin, hair, and eye color. Merkind are not, however, restricted by human coloration. Hair, eye, tail, and even skin color can reflect any of the rainbow hues found within the sea. Although the Merkind do have a very strict patriarchy, they do not harbor any preconceived notions about the superiority of one coloration over another. Sometimes, unusual coloration can even manifest unexpectedly within a family line that has as yet not displayed such colorful traits.
The Merkind were a very isolated species with little contact with any creatures beyond the boundaries of the Maritanis
before the coming of the Ocean Blight
. For this reason, they do not adhere to many of the same societal constructs as the rest of the inhabitants of Ga'leah
Love and Marriage
Lyrielle the Coming Tide was a very solitary creature who did not welcome many other deities into the oceans, considering most attempts from other gods as meddling in her affairs. As such, the Matchmaker was never openly welcomed into the Merculture. Although she is recognized as a deity of the Pantheon and respected, the Merkind pay her no more tribute than they do any of the Gods, most of whom they tend to ignore. There is only one temple which contains the Matchmaker's effigy and it is located within the capital of Mahrielle. Although it is not forbidden to worship other deities, it is considered sacrilege to worship any deity more than the Merkind's patron, the Coming Tide. It is also not impossible for the Matchmaker to exert influence over individuals in the Merculture. Although Lyrielle considered them her property, she made them with the capacity to love which in effect gave the Matchmaker permission to interact with them whether welcomed or not.
Because of this, Love is regarded much more loosely beneath the seas than above the ocean depths. It is not uncommon for Merkind to have multiple partners within their lifetimes. Monogamy is not a societal norm and marriage is a practice rarely seen. However, for the most part, the Merkind share their creator's outlook. They do not like to have others interfere with the way they conduct their personal lives and therefore afford others the same privacy out of respect. So, those who do choose a monogamous relationship, who marry, or who favor a homosexual or bisexual versus heterosexual relationship are not judged in any manner.
Please See Nobility.
The Breach is a rite of passage that occurs when all Mermen and Mermaids of the Merkind reach adulthood. During the ritual, the King uses the magic of his trident to give the Merkind legs. For the passage of one cycle of the moon, the Merkind are allowed to roam the land above and have whatever experiences they desire with Humanity. At the end of the Breach, the Merkind in question must choose to either return to the sea or remain on land. Those Merkind that choose to remain on land are rendered Human and are forbidden to ever re-enter the ocean waters again upon penalty of death as a traitor to their own kind.
The Breach itself was a way of quelling Merkind curiosity about the world above the waves and a way for the Coming Tide to be sure that those who constituted her chosen people were truly those who loved the ocean as much as she.
Mersociety operates under a very strict Patriarchy. Mermen are a very rare aspect of the species. For every twenty mermaids there is only one merman. Because of this imbalance the lives of mermaids were determined to be much less valuable than their male counterparts. With the Coming Tide's adoption of the Pirates as her worshipers in addition to the Merkind, the leaders of the Merkind determined that it was necessary to teach the much more prevalent and thus dispensable Mermaids to fight. From that time forward the armies of the Merkind were exclusively female while the Mermen governed the Merkind from the safety of underwater cities and citadels.
After the death of King Triton and the recession of the Blight, the daughters of King Triton attempted to make a claim to their father's throne. They were summarily denied because of their gender. After undergoing so much suffering and loss during the Blight and witnessing how other societies existed above the sea, many of the women of the Merkind determined that they would no longer submit to their male counterparts and the revolution was born. In time, they even garnered the attention of the Fae Amazons who championed women and their independence and promised to help the Merkind fight for what was theirs by right.
The Merkind were created by Lyrielle the Coming Tide in 1600 AF. Because of the Sea Goddess's reclusive nature, she did not share in the creation of the Fae and kept herself apart from the favored race of the Pantheon. Though there were some Fae who embraced the oceans and sought to worship Lyrielle, for the most part the goddess of the ocean ignored their devotion and remained within the sea having only minor contact with Gods such as the Lightgiver
and the Green Man
, and even more seldom contact with the Fae. Lyrielle feared that, much like the gods, the Fae would try to effect a change on the oceans, so she jealously guarded the seas against all but a few of them and wished to keep it to herself.
However, as time passed, Lyrielle began to crave a species that would delight in her seas and worship her as their only deity. The Merkind resulted from this desire. Created to resemble the Fae of the Pantheon as well as the creatures of the sea, she imbued them with gifts that would allow them to help her to protect the ocean from those who did not appreciate its wonders while also ensuring that they would not and could not leave her domain.
The first of the Merkind was named Aegaeon. Lyrielle was taken with the beauty and majesty of her first creation and soon enough took him to her bed as a lover. Though more Merkind soon followed, Aegaeon was recognized for the favor he received from Lyrielle and made the king of the Merkind.
Not long after her affair with Aegaeon began, Lyrielle found herself pregnant with his child. Lyrielle was horrified by the resulting offspring and cut all ties with Aegaeon, sending him back to his kind with orders to lead and procreate and forget about the love they shared. She gifted him both with a huge palace that spawned the Mercapital of Mahrielle and a magical trident that became a sign of sovereignty and ensured his lineage would always rule over the Merkind.
Since that first generation, the Merkind has continued to grow. The original settlement of Mahrielle became the capital of their culture, but many smaller communities of Merkind began to appear in other areas of the Maritanis. While some were completely self sufficient, others like Reeftown were within commuting distance of Mahrielle and were much more dependent upon the capital to survive.
For a long time, the Merkind were the only 'children' of the Coming Tide. However, when the Fae were defeated and Humanity followed in their footsteps, Lyrielle proved to be more open to the admiration and prayers of the seafaring humans than she had been the Fae. Unlike the Fae, the humans had no magic and could not try to meddle in her affairs but could only partake in her bounty. Lyrielle bestowed her blessing upon some of these humans, who would later become Pirates. Unfortunately, the Merkind quickly proved jealous of their new siblings. They believed that the sea goddess was making physical contact with the Pirates more often than with the Merkind, and they feared that they would no longer be her favorite children and would, in effect, be replaced. This sparked a harsh rivalry between the Pirates and the Merkind. Lyrielle, as only a goddess of the seas, lacked the ability to quell the tides of jealousy and mistrust, and was helpless to halt the battles between Pirate and Merkind which soon followed. Although Adora the Bleeding Heart tried to intervene and bring peace to the oceans, any interference with the ocean was deemed unacceptable by the Coming Tide and met with swift and decisive action that resulted in the harsh punishment of the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion.
Feuds between Pirates and Merkind continued for generations. Then, the Blight came to the ocean not long after it struck the land. As Dokrayth was falling to the plague, it was extending its reach into the seas. A Blighted whale, called Monstro by the Merkind and Pirates alike, was only the first of the new dangers which began to fill the seas. Although Lyrielle, the Merkind, and the Pirates all fought to hold back the Blight, effforts proved unsuccessful.
As the Blight spread, the Merkind who had settled outside the capital began to seek refuge within the city of Mahrielle. Using the magical trident given to the royal family by the Goddess as a sign of sovereignty, Triton erected a magical barrier around the city that held the Blight at bay. For a time.
The assault on the oceans began unexpectedly, with all manner of horrifying creatures attacking beneath the sea as well as on the surface of the oceans and eventually even on land. The barrier that protected Mahrielle fell and some of the Merkind were forced to flee to avoid certain death. The Blight appeared to be leaving a single channel of open water, a trap to be sure, but those Merkind who wanted to flee had no other option.
Those who fled found themselves in a small inlet on the coast of Solhara alongside many Pirate ships. There, they were forced to bear witness to the Coming Tide's final stand.
Before she died, Lyrielle was aided by some other members of the Pantheon to safeguard what she could for the Pirates and Merkind alike. For the Merkind, she granted all the ability to move on land with human legs (albeit temporarily). She also transformed her body into the Sea of Lyrielle, a newly formed saltwater sea located near Caerleon. The location outside of Caerleon was chosen due to a deal made by the High Queen of Ga'leah, Gwenhwyfar Pendragon, and King Triton of the Merkind, one in which they agreed to a partnership between their people in the early days of the Blight. The Forebearer aided Lyrielle in relocating the entire city of Mahrielle (including those within it) to the Sea of Lyrielle along with what healthy sealife she could save.
Some Merkind which survived the Ocean Blight did so by beaching themselves and assuming their newfound legs to flee the Blight after Lyrielle's death, some were taken aboard Pirate Ships by Pirates willing to put aside rivalry to save Lyrielle's chosen people from extinction, or some were taken with the city of Mahrielle and relocated to the Sea of Lyrielle by the goddess herself.
Any Merkind within the open ocean at the time of Lyrielle's death were undoubtedly swept up in the Blight and died. It is believed that King Triton was slain in this manner though no body was ever recovered and no witnesses to his death have ever been found.
After the Blight, the Merkind were forced to interact with the land-dwelling societies. Many of the warrior women fought alongside the land-based armies and slowly the women of the Merkind came to learn that not all societies were so strictly segregated. Slowly, the Mermaids of the Merkind came to want something more. Now, with the Blight gone and the peoples of Ga'leah struggling to overcome the destruction left behind, the daughters of Triton and the other Mermaids of the Merkind desire not simply equality but a chance to rule the seas.
Mermaids and Mermen are fully capable of sexual reproduction. They do not give live birth but instead lay small eggs which grow as the baby mermaid inside matures. Merkind are not capable of reproduction with other species without intervention from a member of the Pantheon.
Merkind are born with the ability to wield a siren song. With nothing but their voices, they can sing songs that can invoke strong emotions in other creatures. In some cases, they can even craft simple illusions through their gift of song. They are also gifted with the ability to control the ocean waters. With the exertion of their will, one of the Merkind can cause ocean water to spin into a maelstrom or rise into an ocean wave. Such effects are small unless large groups of Merkind pool their efforts to create larger waves or whirlpools.
All Merkind are able to breathe beneath the ocean waves as well as in the air above, and can communicate with creatures of the water and the air without difficulty. Many Merkind are also able to sense occurrences in the water around them making them aware of nearby disturbances from ships, swimmers, or foreign objects near their location.
Following the loss of the Maritanis, Lyrielle gave the Merkind a final gift before her death. She granted them the use of legs to walk on land. However, determined not to allow her Merkind to forget her or forsake the sea for the land, she placed one caveat on the gift. They could walk on land but must refresh themselves in the water of the sea, lake, stream, or river routinely. While the first day out of the sea water is pain free, subsequent days spent without bathing in sea water cause an increasing pain in their legs and feet which can become excruciating and sometimes unbearable. Though it has yet to be tested, many believe if they remain out of the water for more than a single week that the pain will either drive them mad or kill them. It is advised that mermaids return to sea water at least every three days to keep their lives comfortable and avoid any adverse side effects from the land. Very inventive Merkind have discovered that carrying sea salt with them on land and adding it to fresh water when they bathe or swim is enough to fulfill the requirements of the deceased Sea Goddess and prevent any pain they might endure from travelling too far from the oceans.
Merkind are flesh and blood creatures. They have a finite lifespan similar in length to a human lifespan and can be injured or killed in much the same manner. They are susceptible to the same injury and fatalities as a Human being with the added dangers of dehydration if they remain out of the seawater for a week or more.