Merfolk

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Merfolk is an umbrella term used for the various kingdoms of magic-wielding, water-dwelling creatures who speak the common tongue. Most merfolk can be described as having the upper body of a humanoid and a long fish-like tail. Merfolk have very powerful magic inherent from birth. The average merfolk are able to perform transformation magic at will, though some can perform more advanced magic as well. This has lead their society to be very vain and image-focused. They are a proud people who worship the moon as it controls the tides they reside within.

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General

Most of the societies keep to themselves, however some have gone onto land to treat with nearby cultures and assure peace and mutual prosperity. The main society is the kingdom of Uannes, a rich and thriving group of cities without names. The ruler of Uannes is a diplomat who often travels throughout the land world to assure the good name of merfolk everywhere.

On the contrary, the greatest rival to Uannes is Marid, a kingdom of deep dwelling merfolk who shun and despise the land world. They are ruled by a council who work to ensure the safety of every member of Marid. Where Uannes is filled with towers and crowded cities, Marid is more sprawling, covering the seafloor with dwellings. They are more militant than most mermaids and their ideal appearance is very different. They value their ability to strike fear in the hearts of land folk, and therefore often present themselves with dark colors and more grim attire.

Usually, merfolk choose to go on land as diplomats or passive observers, generally peaceful and staying out of conflict. There are also those who go on land simply to cause strife and trouble, though never directly implicating the rest of merfolk or their governments. Those who do so, need to stay very hydrated. While their transformation magic makes it capable to have legs and lungs, merfolk feel uncomfortable being dry and will often stay close to water, or, for the very rich, have someone follow them with bowls of water for them to dip their hands in to relax. All merfolk see themselves as better than any other race, especially any race that live on land. Some are kind, or put aside their pride to work together with them, but all are looking down their nose at everyone else. All of the monsters races earn their disdain, such savagery is unbecoming and will not be tolerated.

Merfolk should not be confused with Deep Ones who are a monstrous race of savage water dwellers. They are entirely different races, though merfolk tend to pretend deep ones simply do not exist, as they do not help merfolk maintain their image. Failing this, encroaching deep ones who find themselves too close to merfolk cities will soon find themselves on the dangerous end of Maridian weapons.

Appearance

  • Clothes - Merfolk wear lots of layers. Layered skirts especially. All of their garb is very flowy and drapey. A lot of the fabric used is sheer and see through. The colors depend on where the merperson is from; Uannes merfolk wear shades of blues purples and greens, whereas Marid merfolk wear dark greys browns and blacks. Bare arms are popular, with scarves attached at the shoulders and wrists.
  • Paint - Most paint colors are shades of blue, but this is variable based on where the merfolk are from. Glitter is also used to give the iridescent scales appearance. All colors should be more pastel, giving a very soft and subtle look.
  • Accessories - Merfolk wear tons of shiny accessories, primarily silver. Rings, bracelets, necklaces, headbands, etc. are all used in merfolk fashion.
  • Fins - Ear fins are a staple of merfolk. They are displayed in various forms, some much more extravagantly than others, but all display them out of pride.
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Kingdoms

There are several kingdoms throughout the oceans, as well as some in large rivers. Hermit-like merfolk are not unheard of, but most prefer a sense of community.

Uannes

The largest of the kingdoms, Uannes spans over near coastal areas, where they are able to do frequent trade with those from the land world. They are extravagantly dressed in blues greens and purples, and wear excessive make up. They value appearances over any other attribute and look down on those who spend less time on their appearance.

Marid

The second largest of the kingdoms, Marid lies deep in the ocean, far from any coast. They spend little time interacting with the land world, and blame most of their problems on it. Any Maridian who goes on land does so for the express purpose of causing war and stirring up trouble for the land world. They play up the fears of the land dwellers and dress in browns greys and blacks, often incorporating netting and fishing line, while still accentuating the beauty in their faces. They are skilled artisans and weaponsmiths, their goods are sold throughout the merfolk kingdoms.

Atarga

Atarga is a freshwater river kingdom. It is much smaller than other kingdoms, spread out over several connecting rivers and tributaries. They are widely regarded as both healers and tricksters, playfully interacting with the land world and helping people they deem worthy. They are mostly dressed in browns and greens and wear less metallic accessories than other kingdoms. They often put shells and other accessories in their long hair.

Rusalka

A northern polar kingdom, Rusalkans are a hearty folk with thick skin to protect them from the cold temperatures of the north. Some cities are built into icebergs, moving with the tides to various hunting grounds. Others are simply attached to large ice shelves. The people of Rusalka are incredibly skilled architects and often have telekinetic magic they use to move and carve large pieces of ice into fanciful arrangements. Due to the nature of ice not staying together very well year round, they are largely nomadic, most move along to create new architecture and abandon old creations to be found or fall apart. They are primarily white and pale grey with almost freckle-like spots of dark grey or black. Red is a popular accent color for Rusalkans.

Religion

There are two main religious factions throughout merfolk societies. Those who worship the Lunar Twins and those who worship the volatile magma goddess, Pellao.

The Lunar Twins, Vatae and Lona

Vatae and Lona are the inseparable twins who guide the moon through the sky. They push and pull the moon through its cycle, and do the same to the sea. It is thought that they were once merfolk themselves, who loved each other and the sea so dearly that they never wished to be parted. The two used their powerful telekinetic magic to raise themselves to the sky, to see as much of the sea as they could. They flew so high that they found they could not get back down, and every time they reached for the sea, it shifted. Vatae looked to Lona and found her shrouded in darkness. Lona looked to Vatae and found him bathed in white light. Neither felt afraid, for they were still together. They joined hands and spun in the sky, happily dancing and looking down at their home. As the twins danced, the sea seemed to dance with them. Merfolk look to the sky and see the twins dance, Lona shadowing her brother, and know they are never limited to any one place.

Pellao, The Volatile Progenitor

Pellao is mainly worshipped by the citizens of Marid, who use her magma vents in the sea floor to forge weapons. She is thought of as an angry god trapped beneath the seafloor, separated from her creations. Long before the modern era, Pellao travelled the world looking for a place to leave her mark. She never thought much of the other gods and tried to avoid them entirely. She found the sea to be a quiet place filled with wonders and set to work on her children, giving them a place for their own as well as the ability to join the other god’s creations on land if they so chose. After Pellao created the first few merfolk she explored deeper and deeper into the ocean, eventually finding a craggy trench. The water was much colder here, and this made her curious, as she had only known heat. As Pellao ventured deep within the crevasse, the earth shuddered and moved. She realized that gods on the surface were fighting so fiercely, it was moving the earth all the way down here. And she was trapped. A great furious rage built up within Pellao, exploding forth and spewing out through cracks in the earth. Her rage can even be seen in some places on the surface, but few understand her wrath like those who live closest to her, the loyal folk of Marid. It was the land world’s fault that their god was separated from them, trapped in the cold dark center of the earth.

Appendix

  • Atarga: Named for Atargatis from Assyrian mythology[1]
  • Lona: Moon goddess from Hawaiian mythology[2]
  • Marid: An Arabic word meaning rebellious, often used interchangeably with “ifrit”[3]
  • Pellao: Combination of Pele from Hawaiian mythology and Llao from Inuit mythology[4][5]
  • Rusalka: A word for Russian sirens with red hair, often thought to be vengeful spirits of women.[6]
  • Uannes: Named for Oannes from Babylonian mythology, also known as Adapa.[7]
  • Vatae: Named after Avatea from Polynesian mythology.[8]

Known Merfolk

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