- 1 History
- 2 Psychology
- 3 Perception of the World
- 4 Commerce and Trading
- 5 Appearance
- 6 Water Conditions
- 7 Mer Tribes
- 8 Religion
- 9 Leviathans
- 10 Racial Ability
- 11 Reproduction
- 12 Aging and Death
- 13 Language, Script, and Names
The Mer, as with all of the mortal races, begin with their creator. Chrien, tormented and anguished by the shattering of Fei, attempted to re-create her departed mother. Finding that humans were particularly simple to bend to her whim, Chrien began with the task of moulding them into what she perceived as Fei's image. However, mortals, unable to transcend into the image of an Original Being, would shatter if pressed too far. There was a cost to Chrien as well, who was never meant to be a creator of life. Dozens of beings would rise into creation from the scales of Chrien's tail, only to twist and corrupt, taking monstrous, unintended shapes. Horrified by the failure before her, Chrien would ignore her creations, intentional and unintentional, and continue, plotting and searching for a solution to form a doppelganger of Fei. Never quite succeeding, Chrien does not lose heart, instead continuing to pour her essence into the creation of new, different Mer, flirting with her own destruction all the while.
With their explosive introduction into the world, the Mer quickly and exponentially began to multiply. Disheartened by the neglect and disdain from their creator, the Mer fled from Chrien, fearing her wrath. Scattering from the domain of Chrien, the Mer settled both a farther section of the Sea of Desolation and beyond. As they expanded their reach, the Mer found that as generations passed, they developed traits that separated them from one another. Mer that shared strengths and talents would gather with one another, forming tribes that would travel far from other tribes, knowing the destruction that each was capable of. Rejection had turned the Mer as a whole into a self-conscious, arrogant, bitter people. The bitterness gave rise to a voracious need to prove themselves as superior to the other creatures around them and to a lesser extent each other.
As a whole, the Mer tribes, while possessing of stark differences among themselves, think in a similar fashion. Born from Chrien, the Immortal of Storms, all of the Mer possess a pre-disposition towards apathy in regards to caring about matters beyond themselves and their tribe. Despite this, they possess a deep font of love and affection for two things: The tribe and their deities. Their religion and existence is completely consumed in adoration for their leviathans and leaders, the Mer showing a loyalty to those who save and preserve them that to others, would seem completely unnatural. The few mortals who befriend a Mer find themselves to have a loyal ally indeed. However, with such a profound sense of loyalty and a fragile heart, to betray a Mer is to awaken an even more powerful hatred within them. This hatred extends to despair, bringing all but the most self-controlled of the Mer into a permanent, vengeful mind set known as Reisah. When Reisah is declared, friends and loved ones of the Mer who declared it will, generally, rush to the Mer's side and assist them, the clans of the Mer developing a vendetta very quickly due to roiling tempers and misunderstandings.
Reisah is not declared lightly. Once a Reisah has been declared, it is very difficult to remove. Reisah's have been declared between tribes, extending from the original Mer involved to many generations of Mer after them. Some tribes are based on the Reisah that their leader created. Reisahs can be made against other tribes, other races, or specific individuals. Daring mer can potentially attempt a Reisah against an immortal or a Leviathan, but many elect not to go down that path as the Immortals and Leviathans are incredibly powerful beings. Common Attitudes
The personalities of the Mer vary tremendously, as with all of the mortal races. However, the abandonment by their creator weighs heavily upon them as a whole. Darkness clouds over the lives of the Mer, though they can find joy in their existence, living for one another, or themselves. They care nothing for the majority of the other mortal races, trading amongst themselves and acquiring whatever else they need or want through thievery, banditry, piracy, and murder. It is also not unknown for Mer to over-hunt or drive away fish to starve a land settlement dependent upon the ocean into submission.
On the other hand, when the Mer turn their attention towards other members of their tribe, they find compassion. Even amongst the differing tribes, with the abandonment by Chrien, the fact that most of the other races detest the Mer, and the fact that they share a home creates an uneasy truce among the Mer tribes, as long as boundaries are respected. When serious territorial disputes do arise, the Mer can be absolutely vicious and it is not unknown for two tribes to fight until one is wiped out.
Their most prominent enemies however, are the other mortal races who dare the waters. The Mer feel their need to use flotation device such as boats or ships is proof that they have no right to the ocean. If they were meant to master it, they would have the natural abilities necessary to do so. Any ship crossing Mer territory is fair game, whether it has anything on it they want or not.
The only exception to this, and it is not a guaranteed exception, is the Biqaj. The Mer and Biqaj share a faint bond, due to their shared connection to the ocean, as well as the Original Being Fei. Mer and Biqaj have the ability to sense each other when in the same general vicinity. For more on this, see Language Script and Names. The result is that some Mer are more likely to interact in a positive fashion with the Biqaj, or at worst, will usually just avoid them rather than attacking.
Perception of the World
The Mer, as a whole, see the world in two lights. Above the waters, they see hostility and hatred. The mortal races, as a consensus, despise the Mer for their destructive nature, seeing no merit for they never have the opportunity to witness the love that the Mer are capable of. Below the water, the Mer find home and companionship, seeing the other tribes as either ally or enemy, dependent on their current alliances and territorial stresses. While the Mer find hatred in much of their lives, they also find companionship, forging strong ties, which keep them from giving in to the despair that Chrien's hatred has left in their racial memory.
Commerce and Trading
With a few notable exceptions, such as the Rynmere Bank, the majority of Mer do not use coins. This does not mean that they do not trade, but they are more likely to barter than to exchange coins, particularly among themselves. That said, if an individual or group of Mer often has dealings with the land races, they may adopt the use of coin for simplicity's sake. The truly nomadic Mer who merely move across the ocean have no use for coins, and rarely if ever need the goods such coin might bring.
Some Mer do have a fondness for treasure, though what this encompasses varies by Mer. This often leads to treasure hunting within shipwrecks, and often spurs the piracy, banditry and other attacks they inflict upon the other races.These Mer tend to stick together, protecting large clutches of treasure. These tribes are rumored to be quite wealthy, and may be the target of land dwelling races.
Like their creator and the original being they were modelled after, the Mer are tailoured to life in the oceans, and have sharp teeth. This is where all definite similarities end. It is important to remember that Chrien was desperately trying to recreate her mother, which led not only to radically different appearances within the Mer, but also predisposed them to mutations. That said, there are several broad groupings that Mer tend to fall into, though something entirely different is not unheard of.
The first of Chriens attempts were Coleoidea-esque in nature. Though their torsos maintained their humanoid shape, from the waist down they sported tentacles, most commonly like those of an octopus. With their clever tentacles, these Mer tend to be some of the best crafters, and as they are not as strong swimmers as some of the others, often have well established homes in reefs, sunken ships, caves, grottos and the like. They tend to favour either very cold or tropical waters, with those from more tropical regions often having bright, flashy colours and markings. Their tentacles are usually between eight and ten feet long, with their torsos being around four.
The next, and most common form are those whose lower half resembles fish, sharks, whales or the like. Their top halves can be anything from entirely human, to sporting an array of aquatic fins and features which help them in their environment, be it functionally or acting as threat displays. Their tails can range anywhere from eight to twenty feet long, though any individual with a tail over twelve feet is generally built more for long distance travel than speed or maneuverability. The smaller Mer in this group, will often don torso armour made from tough seashells.
The third group are very similar to the second, with a few key differences. These Mer tend to be on the more petite side, speed and agility being their allies. Even more than that however, they are the only group to have poison or true and reliable luminescence. When sailors speak of beautiful men or women luring those who've gotten a touch of cabin fever to their deaths, it is almost always this group they are speaking of. They also almost always boast an otherworldly beauty, making them that much more deadly. Fishermen tend to refer to this group as sirens, as their voices can draw a land dwelling race to the seashore. Captivating and haunting songs can be heard amongst the rocks of the most dangerous waterways, trying to entice a careless ship to wreck and fall beneath the waves.
One known tribe of this group are the Tidewhispers, who operate off the coast of Endor.
The fourth and final group, while still able to breathe and operate in their aquatic environment, still have humanoid legs. This is both a blessing and a curse. As a group they can operate on land far more easily and without any particular effort on their part, but they still need to return to the water for a minimum of several hours every five days or so or their skin begins to dry, crack and bleed, and more worryingly, their internal organs, starting with their lungs do the same, resulting in them drowning in their own blood. They are weaker swimmers than any of the other groups, and often employ heavy and intricate armour and weapons.
Most of the Mer who run the Rynmere Bank are of this group, and the Rynmere Bank is in fact considered a tribe by other Mer.
Over the course of arcs, the Mer have adapted to a great variety to water types. A great majority of the water on Idalos is saltwater but time has created many lakes and rivers throughout the land that consist of freshwater. With the changes in water availability, some Mer have become adapted to the type of water that they live in.
Few tribes have moved into the freshwater regions of Idalos, as most prefer the open ocean. Tribes of note include the Yu've'lith and Loval tribes. Tribes that fall in the freshwater category are the hardiest of all Mer, as they tend to be able to move into saltwater for a short time without issue. This adaptation is considered euryhaline as they are able to survive in both water conditions. Depending on the territory that they claim, they may encounter never encounter saltwater. The Yu've'lith are Mer that travel frequently between freshwater and saltwater, but most other tribes elect to stay in freshwater alone.
Freshwater Mer can be broken down into two additional categories. Anadromous Mer were born in freshwater, but elect to live their lives at sea. These Mer only return to freshwater when it is time to lay their eggs for the Swarm. Currently, there are no known anadromous tribes. Mer that were born in saltwater but elect to live their lives in freshwater or between the two are considered catadromous. Catadromous Mer will return to saltwater for the Swarm. The Yu've'lith are considered catadromous as they will have their swarm in the brackish water at the southern end of the river.
Most of the tribes consider themselves to be saltwater Mer. These Mer have far greater difficulty traveling in freshwater. Often, only a trial or two can be sustained in freshwater before they suffer symptoms of Tibbitus. Despite having a short window that allows them to move freely into other territories, saltwater Mer use freshwater to their advantage. Very sick Mer that suffer from parasitism and disease can be placed in freshwater for a few breaks to kill off the affliction. Then the Mer can return to their saltwater home to fully recover. As briefly mentioned in the freshwater section, anadromous Mer have not been identified as freshwater locations are difficult to come by for Swarming.
Tibbitus is the sickness that saltwater Mer develop once they have stayed in freshwater too long. It normally takes one to two trials for Tibbitus to start developing. It can be described as 'waterlogging' or 'freshbloat' as eventually the Mer begins to take on water to offset the high saline content within their body. Eventually the water will begin to cause cell lysis and organ dysfunction. Multiple organ failure occurs, making it incredibly difficult for a late stage Tibbitus inflicted Mer to return to saltwater for recovery. Ultimately, the Mer will suffocate when they are no longer able to pass oxygen appropriately due lack of red blood cells.
Depending on the Mer's ability in mertamorphosis, they are able to stay the effects of Tibbitus for a period of time while on land.
The main Mer Tribes are those most known throughout Idalos; however, there are small tribes found throughout the waterways. These smaller tribes have generally broken from a nearby main tribe because they no longer share the same religious beliefs, moral values, or motivations. Small tribes can potentially overtake the main tribes if they have a large enough following or if main tribes decimate one another. Small tribes can accompany Leviathans that are left alone for periods of time. This is one of the most common ways a small tribe becomes a main tribe.
OOC Note: Small tribes should be approved via a request in the Prophet Support Forum. Once approved, we can add them to a small tribe list. Story progression may elevate a small tribe to a main tribe.
Main Mer Tribes
The Akktava follow the Leviathan Sotong. This tribe dwell in the deepest parts of the ocean, taking shelter in shipwrecks that were brought down by ocean storms. Most Mer of this tribe tend to be the category one Mer, their tentacles and defensive inks making it easy to hide in the darkest depths of the ocean. Sotong has a small region where he swims, having built a nest out of shipwrecks as it were his trophy room. He makes it his personal mission to seek out ships that have piqued his interest. These could be the first of its kind, have important cargo or personnel on board, or be the lead of a warring fleet. He has enlisted the Akktava to get the information from him, and they do that willingly if not with gusto.
Their territory is around Scalvoris, where ships are ripe for the sinking. It is not uncommon for the Akktava to use their suction tips to crawl up the side of a ship in the dark of night to get the information that they need. Akktava are skilled water spies and information gatherers. Despite having a form that puts normal land-dwelling citizens off, they are highly valued as their tentacles allow information seeks to get what they need. Sotong uses this to his benefit, as the Akktava put their Leviathan above their clients. Since peddling information is considered black market work, they often find themselves employed by the Pirate Lords, whom are always seeking knowledge on the other Pirate Lords. The Akktava also run the Deori, an incubation facility for Mer that wish to know their lineage and families.
The Kanohi are a tribe that worship the Leviathan Dortaka. This tribe is made of fourth category Mer so that they can follow their Leviathan on land when he chooses to move on to empty beaches. When he is on land, they are capable of fending for themselves and bring him offerings of plant life so that he does not have to travel far inland. When he rests on the beach, the Kanohi will clean and decorate his shell with intricate paintings. They are very artistic and will use the portions of his shell to make ornate jewelry and decorative armor. These products are sought after by land-dwellers as gifts or other parties. Thick pieces of his shell can arguably be as strong as good quality steel, but these are hard to come by as the Kanohi are less likely to part with them. Kanohi Mer and land-dwellers will often share fires when Dortaka has decided to beach himself for a few days.
The Kanohi will often return to the sea as quickly as they had come. The moment Dortaka decides that he wants to return to the ocean is the moment the tribe moves on. This can vary from 2 trials to a whole season. When they are traveling with the giant turtle, the Kanohi will either grip themselves onto his shell or ride on the very top. Special grips are ground into his shell during the times he spends on lands to make it easy for the Mer to soak themselves in the water while keeping up with his speed. Occasionally Kanohi will attempt to swim alongside him, but it is not uncommon for them to be bound in some fashion to his shell in case they cannot keep up and are left behind. Each Arc, Dortaka resides in a shallow region of the ocean, where he can peek his nostrils above the water but remain mostly submerged. During this season, the Kanohi will create an underwater settlement. It is often during the Swarming (Ymiden), as they are a southern tribe of Mer. Their territory extends along the coast between Desnind and Quacia with a large area beneath the isles of Doliene.
The Meerabelard are an ancient Mer tribe made of Mer with tails and tentacles. The only type of Mer not welcome in this tribe are the legged Mer. Over time, they have come to accept that they belong the ocean and legged beings belong on the land. The Meerabelard place the legged Mer as creatures from neither the sea-dwelling or land-dwelling world. They are Chrien's true mistake while the other Mer are closer to the ideal image Chrien first envisioned. The Meerabelard pay reverence to their Immortal mother above all else despite her inability to love her children. They believe that loyalty will inevitably triumph and they will be rewarded as the true children of Chrien. They love her although it is a one-sided relationship and pay her respects as often as possible. The Meerabelard tribe can be found in the waters between Ivorian and Nashaki. Although they are a small tribe of firm Chrien believers, they claim large territory and travel the waters often.
The Meerabelard's relationship with land-dwelling people is restricted. They try to teach their young that those on land have been forsaken by Chrien and that they are not entitled to the gifts of swimming and underwater breathing. Interacting with a land dweller in a peaceful way often means exile from the tribe, if not death. All Meerabelard are highly aggressive Mer and will purposefully seek out swimmers to drown, eat, and feed to their young.
The Soro'koralli claim the territory in and around the Karang Reef, located between the uninhabited islands west of Strosdyn. Some sailors say they are a Mer tribe that has been imprisoned by a giant beast that swims the waters around the Karang Reef. The Mer see it as the Leviathan, Retchin, protects them from the fierce predators of the deep. They pay respects to the giant shark-like beast in forms of song, dance, and festivities. Otherwise, this tribe is considered relatively peaceful.
These Mer are brightly colored hippies that wear little-to-no clothes or armor. They are farmers that build up the coral reef by protecting and cultivating it. The Soro'koralli want to protect the oceanic environment and the Karang reef. They take from the environment just enough to live off of and do their best to replace what they took. Damage from land-dwelling explorers and careless ships that think it is safe to travel near the reef is unwanted. This is one of the few reasons that they will take up arms. Ships that travel too close often fall prey to Retchin's wrath. He offers the skeleton of the ship to the Soro'koralli so that they can use the remains to make new coral reefs on the outskirts of the Karang.
The Minisink are a group that consist of six, small families interspersed in a very large area. Each family tends to a small territory that offshoots the main migration pathway of their Leviathan, Sallura. Sallura travels the open oceans between the eastern and western regions. Her people, the Minisink, are Mer that tend to have longer tails and are capable of traveling long distances with her. The families will swim with her when she is in their region, taking from her the spoils that she had brought with her from run ins with ships. These spoils are taken to the heart of their territory, where they protect her treasures with their life.
The families are based on their compass locations: Northeast, Northwest, Mideast, Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest. The southern families tend to spend more time with Sallura as they will swim with her all the way to the coasts of the Southern region and back before splitting off to tend to her spoils and their families.
The Akosile are a group of Mer that inhabit the water around Niomyr, a city that is elevated just above the waves. Areas of the city have been customized to allow for the underwater breathing Mer to show their wares to land-dwelling citizens. These locations have large glass boxes inserted into the water to allow for the above water citizens to submerge themselves into the underwater society of the Akosile. They show various cages of live fish, allowing land-dwellers to pick their meal. They offer the freshest fish, as it is killed directly in front of the buyer. The Akosile merchant will then rise above the waters long enough to take payment and hand over the merchandise. They are considered excellent craftsmen, fishers, and tradesmen. The Akosile will even offer groups of their finest warriors as guards for trade ships from other scavenging Mer and small pirate ships.
The Akosile have shrugged off their Immortal mother for the guidance of other, kinder immortals. Although they pay respects to Moseke and Ymiden, the patrons of the cities nearest them, they favor Chamadarst. His domains of neutrality fuel their desire for peace between them and the land-dwelling citizens of Niomyr. He also supports commerce and glass, which are directly incorporated into how they make a living.
The Yu'vel'ith are Mer that reside in the rivers around Sirothelle. Although this tribe takes in various categories of Mer, they normally consist of very aggressive Mer. They are a warring tribe that specializes in the slavery of their own kind. Weak Mer that are caught off on their own have been known to disappear. Other tribes will tell their young that the horrible Yu'vel'ith will come in the night and steal them away if they are disobedient. The Yu'vel'ith make up the horror stories of the Mer, but are considered friends to Sirothelle, who are the most common buyers of Mer slaves. Although the rivers appear to end at the base of the Heart of the World, underwater tunnels lead into a tank beneath Sirothelle. These tanks are filled with crude camps for the slave Mer. Yu'vel'ith guards are stationed at the entrances of these tunnels to prevent the slaves from leaving.
These slave Mer are property of the Yu'vel'ith to be used by the citizens of Sirothelle. The slave Mer may be commanded and forced to change their fins into legs so they can walk amongst the city and do the bidding of their masters. They are often collared and chained. Slave Mer that have angered their Yu'vel'ith masters are occasionally forced to spend longer periods of time on their legs so that they may suffer the pain of the transformation. Those that are no longer wanted by the Yu'vel'ith may even be exiled from the tank and forced to live out their days on painful legs until they commit suicide.
They are followers of Faldrun, whom they believed loved Fei even more than Chrien. They work with the Aukari to punish those that follow Chrien, other Immortals, and/or favor other mortal races. They see the Aukari as siblings, born from the hate of those free to do to Idalos what they wish. Like their Aukari friends, they think the rest of the world hate the Mer and cannot understand why Mer idolize or wish to work with races that can hate so passionately.
The Oyoqlar are a peaceful, race loving tribe that rely heavily on their racial ability. Located in the freshwater river nearest Hiladrith, this tribe is made of open-minded Mer of any category. They believe that all the races of Idalos were destined to work and live together. They abide by the city rules and do their best to remain peaceful to the citizens of Hiladrith. Not all people feel the way they do. Despite the occasional backlash the Mer endure, they continue to have high hopes that peace will be brought throughout the lands for their race.
This tribe is most widely known for their use of their racial ability. There is an area heavily protected by friendly land-dwellers where the tribe can safely go through the transformation process. The tribe has strict rules that they are to error on the side of caution. No Mer is allowed to walk among land-dwellers for more than four nights and five days. On the fifth night, they are obligated to return to the sanctuary and change back to their traditional Mer form for recovery. Some have tried to break these rules and suffer the consequences of leg pain. Eventually they return and the tribe elders place them on probation until they can be trusted to follow the rules. Fourth category Mer do not have to undergo the process and can freely move between the tribe and city. They are often tasked with aiding the friendly land-dwellers in protecting their transformation sanctuary or escorting Mer on their first trip into the city.
As with the theme, they do not single out an Immortal to worship. They are an open-minded tribe and allow their members to practice whatever faith they wish as long as no harm is inflicted on anyone.
Small Mer Tribes
This tribe is made of very loyal Mer that honor their tribe by serving Rynmere. They take great pride in managing the Rynmere Bank. They do not have a particular religion, but they are brought together by their love of wealth. Any Mer can run with this tribe as long as they do not steal from their clients or from the profits that the Rynmer are entitled to. The Rynmer work beneath Rynmere in underwater tunnels to shuttle money back and forth to the treasury at the bottom of Lake Krome. The bank manager is considered the leader of their small tribe. They may not be the largest of the main tribes, but they are considered the wealthiest.
The Tidewhispers are very similar to the Meerabelard, although are more elitist in their thoughts. They only take the smallest, prettiest, and most deadly Mer of the third category. Legends of enchantment follow their tribe around as they lure sailors to an early, watery grave with their songs. They will draw them with song, erotic scents, and flashy lights. These are generally skills or physical traits of this specific group of Mer. They are found off the coast of the Endor region of Rynmere. They particularly enjoy haunting Norr Bay.
Located on the opposite side of Rharne on Lake Lovalus, the Loval have set up their home. There is little known about this small Mer tribe. So far, they appear to be peaceful to the citizens that venture onto the lake's surface, although recent events suggest that this tribal value has been changing.
Abandoned by their creator, the Mer as a whole have no organized religion. They look to none of the other immortals, taking a particular distaste to U'frek, who they believe turned a blind eye to Chrien's hatred of her creations. Rather, each tribe has found a deity to take stock in, patrons born from the depths of the oceans themselves and older than even some of the immortals. These beings are known as the leviathans, and dwell in the depths of Idalos' oceans.
Some tribes deviate from the traditional deities, pursuing a religion around a specific set of views. The Rynmer of the Rynmere Bank, a group of Mer that deal with land dwellers, support coin and commerce as their religion. The more prosperous they are, the better off the tribe is. Other tribes may seek natural disasters to worship, following storms around for the mere pleasure of watching ships fall to the winds and waves. It is not unheard of for a tribe to create a relationship with another Immortal and set them on equal placement with the Leviathans. These tribes tend to be more secretive, as these views are frowned upon.
Leviathans can be thought of as the progenitors of some of the oceans creatures. The first, largest, most impressive and intelligent of them. It is unknown where they came from, though of course the Original Beings are suspected to have been involved. Although they are sentient in their own way, it is strange and alien enough that they are extremely hard to communicate with or understand. The Mer, with their ability to communicate telepathically through intentions, are the most successful, though even they struggle. To date no member of any other race has managed a similar feat.
Often a tribe will try and find a Leviathan that is similar to them in some way.
It's unknown why these creatures tend to look upon the Mer favorable, and accept them, but they do. Perhaps it is a similar loneliness. The Leviathans are singular creatures, with only one of each type existing, and the Mer have been abandoned by their creator. Were either of the two more given to introspection, perhaps it might be thought that the Mer are the children the Leviathan cannot have.
Its not unheard of for a Leviathan to come to the defense of their Mer tribe, particularly if other mortal races are attacking, but there has so far never been a case of Leviathans fighting each other, even when tribes of Mer war to the point that one is wiped out.A Leviathan without a tribe will simply wander until a new group takes to revering it as their deity. A Leviathan is not left by itself for long, as young tribes sprout up when word spreads of a lonely Leviathan.
For the most part, Leviathan keep other predators away from their Tribe with their sheer size. They are in effect, a safe home base for the otherwise largely nomadic Mer to return to. A symbol for them to rally about as a tribe. On rare occasions, a Leviathan may issue a Tribe wide directive. This is most often when an area has been depleted and it is time to move on, although they have been seen to move their Tribes to safety before natural disasters strike, or to move them out of the way of wandering Immortals.
Sotong is a giant, luminescent, squid-like creature that makes his nest in the waters south of Scalvoris. His nest is made from the wreckages and trophies of ships he has brought down over the course of his lifetime. He has multiple areas that glow throughout his scales, including his eyes. They offer a soft orange light to the darkest depths of the ocean. He is driven by thoughts of wealth and trophies and compels the Akktava to bring him information on ships carrying great gifts. It is rumored that beneath the ship graveyard that makes up his nest is a vast hidden treasure of gold and onyx nels, various statues, and chests full of secrets.
It has not been unheard of for the Akktava to get information about the pirates of Blackbrine. Only if there is a treasure worth stealing will he swim south to wreck havoc on the Blackbrine pirates. The Pirate Lords of Scalvoris have an unsettling agreement with Sotong that their ships are left alone unless a Pirate Lord has killed an Akktava Mer without reason or committed a grievous crime against Sotong himself, like attempting to steal his treasure. This particular Leviathan is the only creature that the Pirate Lords are knowingly afraid of. Legend suggests that the Pirate King and Sotong have a friendly relationship, further securing his place as the Pirate King.
Dortaka is the most docile, stoic, and friendliest of the four known Leviathans. He is a giant turtle that can be found on land or within the sea. His shell is the neatest thing about him as it is kept clean and decorated at the tips by his tribe. He is an herbivore by nature, feasting on the large kelp beds that are washed against the coasts of the southern region. Areas on the southern continent are heavily forest and provide enough forage for the giant turtle without the environment suffering a significant amount of damage when he feeds, which is not often.
Dortaka is followed by the Kanohi, whom he considers children. He is the most-likely Leviathan to hold a conversation with a single Mer and often know each one by name whether they know it or not. No one knows exactly how old Dortaka is, but all of Idalos suspect he is the oldest of the living Leviathans.
Sallura is the second largest of the four known Leviathans and docile in nature, although Dortaka takes the title for the most peaceful as she is willingly to wage war for treasures and her tribe. She is eel-like in how she swims, with four electrifying tails that can send quite the jolt when she concentrates on a particular target. Her gills are found on flaps that can be flattened against her head and have a strange blue hue to them. Her eyes are covered by three slips each that make her appear to have six eyes in total. Three arms are on each side of her body and represent the six families that make up her clan: the Minisink.
She travels the main waterway that splits the eastern and western aspects of Idalos. Legend has it that greats storms will occasionally follow her slow swim. Some sailors believe this is somehow caused by the electricity she is able to generate from her tail. All of it appears to be myth, as storms occur trials after she is seen in the area.
Retchin is the largest of the four known Leviathans. Retchin is very similar in physical design to the shark. He has multiple layers of teeth that shed continuously, dorsal fins and vertical tail fins, and is constantly swimming, as is necessary to keep the water flowing over his gills so that he may live. Deviations from the common shark include his size, the two human-like arms, and the lamp-like eyes he has. Sailors often mistake him for an imaginative underwater vessel, right before their ship is gutted and they are sent to their watery grave.
He is revered by the Soro'koralli and claims the territory around the Karang Reef. Legend suggests that he had been caught up in a large net that had been left behind by land-dwelling creatures. The first Soro'koralli members found him on his deathbed, released him, and made an instant bond with the giant beast. Their compassion lead to the formation of their small, environment-oriented tribe. Retchin remained, circling and providing protection to the growing group for saving his life.
All Mer have the ability to trade their lower limbs for legs. Very few of them do. This is because in order for this to happen, the Mer need to find somewhere shallow and safe where they can enter a trance like state, curling up into the foetal position. Their skin will at this time produce an abundance of slime, eventually coating them in a layer as though they have been returned to the egg. Once this happens, their lower bodies will begin to change into legs. Tails splitting or tentacles fusing. The change is based on a racial restricted skill called mertamorphosis.
Once fully changed, the usually disoriented Mer will make their way to shore. If this is their first time with legs, they now get to experience the joy of learning to walk. As well, unlike the Mer who are naturally legged, because these changed Mer are returning to a genetically remembered more humanoid shape, they have relatively foreign genitalia to deal with too. Please note that they are still not capable of crossbreeding and the females still will not bear internal young.
This does not change their torsos, and inhuman Mer remain inhuman. All type keep their sharp teeth. At early stages of mertamorphosis, Mer are unable to manipulate the look of their legs. As they become more skilled, it becomes more difficult to tell that they had a tail
On top of the helplessness they must subject themselves to while changing, staying changed carries with it it's own risks. If changed too long, the change become permanent. This would not be so bad, were it not for the fact that the unnatural legs will become more and more painful with each passing trial even if immersed in water until a single step or the slightest touch is agony and those so inflicted tend to take their own lives before long.
Each of the Mer groups, though distinct in anatomy, reproduce in the same way. Rather than relying on sexual reproduction as other mortal races do, females that have grown past maturity (approximately fourteen arcs) begin laying eggs once every six arcs. Much as human womens cycles will match over time, so too does that of a Mer Tribes cycles, this keeping a tribe from having to deal with an unruly mob of newborns each Arc. Each female lays a clutch of approximately three hundred eggs, and each tribe pools all of the eggs laid by each female together. Each season clutches are gathered is known as the Swarm, where all of the male Mer of a given tribe will go and fertilize eggs. Fertilizing eggs is an aggressive season for the males, as most will violently engage with one another for the privilege of passing their genetic material. Many a male will die in the season of the Swarm, the bodies of the defeated left near the clutch, for the first meal of newly born Mer are the bodies left before the clutches.
The season of the Swarm is the most violent season as well. Even on Arcs when a tribes females do not lay eggs, the males still tend to get more aggressive during this time period, and fights are more likely to break out. Raiding also tends to happen more often. With the massive rise in population on Arcs when eggs are laid, comes with the need to fill the stomachs of many newborns. As Mer are born, the bodies set before the infants will not be enough to sustain the starving wave of organisms, leaving the stronger to feast upon their weaker brethren. A Swarm which begins with upwards of 200,000 hatchlings, will rarely have more than 30,000 survive the initial onslaught.
Swarm generally occurs between Ashan and Ymiden, although major temperature changes can throw this off. Central Idalos is usually Ashan, while the Northern and Southern ends usually have their Spawn during Ymiden.
Aging and Death
Mer are born able to swim and with sharp teeth. Though not precisely intelligent immediately, they do possess a sort of cunning necessary to survive. Because of the telepathic nature of their communication, the youngsters can only get vague concepts across and even those not until halfway into their first arc, adults can generally direct them when they are not distracted by hunger. This directions are just that, tending to be telling them where to go, as more complex concepts are lost on them. True communication does not come until about the third Arc. At their sixth Arc, when the next Swarm occurs, names are generally given or taken, and they are accepted as true members of the tribe, having lived for long enough that their continued vitality seems likely.
Most Mer reach full physical maturity at around fourteen, and sexual maturity at sixteen. The only real exceptions to this are the particularly massive Mer who may not be full drown until twenty. The Mer can live up to on average about 75 Arcs, however the brutal nature of their lives makes a lifespan of about forty far more common.
Mer are a race of exceptions, two notable exceptions to the above are that legged Mer while hatched in shallow waters tend to spend the first two arcs of their lives largely on land, their younger growing skin not drying out nearly as quickly though they still spend much time in the water. Secondly, the particularly large, tailed Mer will generally live longer barring accidents, reaching an average of 120 Arcs.
Mer do not tend to have many rituals for the dead. They will often either leave the corpses of their brethren or feed them to sea creatures, with a Leviathan being their preferred choice. Even the legged Mer will usually only bury on land a Mer who has fallen dramatically out of favour or who is considered cursed. Some Mer consume their dead, seeing it as both a useful source of protein, and a way to permanently incorporate the deceased Mer into the tribe and themselves after they would have otherwise been 'gone'.
Language, Script, and Names
The Mer communicate with one another and their Leviathan deity through telepathy, the thoughts of one translated not as words, but intention. This has led to many Mer names being actions, concepts or things from their environment. Mer who have been exposed to the spoken languages may simply choose a name they like the flow of, either for themselves, or to assign to another.
Mer can transmit their thoughts to other mortal races as well, most will choose not to do so given their general dislike of them. Exceptions do occur though. Mer have no trouble making themselves understood by any race as their communication lacks an actual language. It does not work in reverse however. Mer telepathy could be thought of as projective. They can make themselves heard, but they do not read minds. This being the case, although anyone can understand a Mer, a Mer understands non-Mer only if they've bothered to learn to comprehend the spoken language.
The singular exception to this is the Biqaj. As well as being able to sense each other, it has been found that all Biqaj possess the ability to respond to a Mer who addresses them. This is an ability which must be practiced however. On first attempt, the Mer will have trouble grasping what the Biqaj is trying to say, comparable to someone whispering across a room, or speaking in a very thick accent. Similar concepts may get confused, which is where some conflicts come from. A Biqaj may try to express fishing, and a Mer may take it as a threat, or communicating geographical information might be seen as an attempt to usurp territory.
Colors are commonly used to warn or attract one another just like the marine animals. Reds, blacks, oranges, and yellows are perceived as aggressive colors. Some Mer will have these colors as a defensive mechanism, mimicking more aggressive species to save themselves from attacks. Greens and blues are considered neutral while darker tones are used for species that are more defensive. These colors can be translated into markers to warn other Mer of territory boundaries, conflicts, or land-dweller interference.
The Leviathans will often take no notice of a singular Mer, usually requiring the coordinated efforts of the tribe to get a plea or course of action across to these giant beings. In many cases, the Leader of a tribe might be the Mer who has the best relationship with that tribes patron Leviathan.
At present, there is no formal written language in use among the Mer. They will sometimes use pictograms to leave warnings of one kind or another though, either to each other for threats in the area, or to others warning them to keep out.