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, they have been forced to interact with other societies of which they know very little in order to survive.
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 the 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 zealously guarded the seas agains 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 of 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. The rest of the first generation of merkind created by the Coming Tide would later come to be known as the Telesti, or uppermost caste of merkind culutre. The second generation of merkind crafted by the sea goddess would come to be known as Thestians, the middle caste of merkind culture. All subsequent merkind were simply termed Krill and treated as the lowest caste of their culture.
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. Though Aegaeon followed his goddess's commands, he worried that she would be lonely in her palace beneath the seas with none to attend her besides their abominable child. And so, as he had merchildren and the merkind grew, he made a vow to the Coming Tide that each geneartion one member of the royal family would commit themselves to her priesthood. This promise has never been broken and many of the other noble families of the Merkind uphold a similar promise out of principle.
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 were within commuting distance of Mahrielle and were much 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 rivarly 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 th goddess of mercy and compassion.
Feuds between pirates and merkind continued. King Triton's wife was believed murdered by pirates, sparking a whole new wave of animosity between the two peoples of the sea.
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 soverignty, Triton erected a magical barrier around the city that held the Blight at bay. For a time.
The assualt 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 forcd to flee to avoid certain death. The Bilght 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 them 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 agreeing 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 safe.
Those Merkind which survived the Ocean Blight and advent of the Black Water did so by beaching themselves and assuming their newfound legs to flee the Blight after Lyrielle's death, some were taken onboard pirate ships by some Pirates willing to put aside rivalry to save Lyrielle's chosen people from extinction, or they 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 and his heir, the Princess Attina, were slain in this manner though no bodies were ever recovered and no witnesses to their deaths have ever been found.
Now, the Merkind find themselves struggling to survive, exploring the land with their temprorary human legs, and attemping to find political stability after the loss of their king and his heir. The next in line for the throne, the Princess Alana has always been a vocal opponent of the caste system of the Merkind and if given the crown has sworn to abolish it completely. She has ever growing support amongst the Antiroyalists who oppose not just the caste system of the Merkind but the royal family and the crown itself. Most of the royalists instead back the Princess Andrina who is not the next in the line of succession but supports the customs and traditions of the Merkind and has been working tirelessly since the Blight to help the Merkind adjust to their new lifestyle. With no clear leader emerging to unite the peoples of the ocean, revolution seems imminent.
The Merkind are a very isolated species with little contact with any creatures beyond the boundaries of the ocean. For this reason, they do not adhere to many of the same societal constructs as the rest of inhabitants of Ga'leah and Allutheria
Love and Marriage Edit
Lyrielle the Coming Tide was a very solitary creature who did not welcome many other deities into the oceans, considering most of such attempts to be 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, Lyrielle. It s also not impossible for the Matchmaker to exert influece over indivudals 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 uncommmon for Merkind to have multiple partners within their lifetimes. Monogamy is not a societal norm and marriage is a practice rarely seen outside the Royal family. 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#Merkind
Mersociety has developed a caste system since the early days of their creation. It's segments are strict and no movement between castes is recognized. Although their private natures cause them to remain uninvolved in the sexual relationships of others, soceity will not recognize marriages that cross caste lines. If children are born from a union between members of two separate castes, they will always inherit the mother's caste.
The Telesti (singular: Telesto) are the uppermost caste of mersociety. They can trace their lineage back to the first merkind created by Lyrielle the Coming Tide. They are always recognized by the title of Lord or Lady. Most Telesti serve the Royal Court in one capacity or another. A few of them have been given the task of governing settlements outside the capital of Mahrielle or have positons of authority within the Military. A very few of the Telesti practice a trade, typically more artistic or intellectural trades rather than physical ones.
The Thestians are the middle caste of mersociety. They can trace their lineage back to the second grouping of merkind created by Lyrielle the Coming Tide. They have no inherent title. Most Thestians are educated individuals who practice a trade wthin the capital of Mahrielle or another settlement. Some, but not many, are afforded positions within the military or the royal court. While some Thestians may be quite wealthy and influential, they will never have the position of influence of the Telesti.
The Krill are the lowest caste of mersociety. They cannot trace their lineage back to the first or second grouping of merkind created by the Coming Tide. They were, instead, the product of more recent and less prestigious generations. Krill can, at best, only hope to gain wealth and respect by enlisting in the military or taking jobs under professional Thestians. They live in the most outlying areas of the capital and other settlements and are many times ignored under the pretense of allowing all Merkind the privacy that Lyrielle requires from the Pantheon.
In recent years, discontent amongst most notably the Krill, but also some members of the Thestians, began to take shape. Although the movement began quietly, it continued to grow in popularity and an underground effort to overthrow the monarchy emerged. It became so widespread before the ocean was Blighted that even one of the royal family, the Princess Alana, joined the cause. Following the fall of the Oceans, the Antiroyalist movement has emerged from the shadows and become a vocal and active group demanding change in the new Merkind home within the Sea of Lyrielle.
Merfolk appear like mortal Humans or Fae 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 colorations. Hair, eye, tail, and even skin color can reflect any of the rainbow hues found within the sea. Although the Merkind do have a caste society, they do not harbor any preconceived notions about the superiority of one coloration over another. Sometimes, unusual colorations can even manifest unexpectedly within a family line that has yet not displayed such colorful traits.
Although it is uncommon, some legends among Merkind speak of individuals born with the lower half of a mollusk like a squid or octopus rather than a fish.
Mermaids and Mermen are fully capable of sexual reproduction. Gestation is similar to that of humanity as is physical aging and maturation. Merkind are not capable of reproduction with other species.
In theory, if the Merkind does not have their tail at the time of intercourse, it might be possible for a Human-Merkind hybrid to be conceived, but without magical intervention would be born as either Human or Merkind without any of the characteristics of the other species present. It would also be impossible to determine which way the child might lean before birth.
Mermaids 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.
Mermen are gifted with the ability to control the ocean waters. With the exertion of their will, a merman can cause ocean water to spin into a maelstrom or rise into an ocean wave. Such effects are small unless large groups of mermen 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 and the birth of the Black Water, 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 salt water routinely. While the first day out of the sea is painfree, subsequent days spent without saltwater 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 sea for more than a single week that the pain will either drive them mad or kill them.
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 a Merkind is taken from the ocean and their tail is allowed to dry they will perish in agonizing pain.