THE MERFOLK TRIBES

DARK MER - DEEP MER - GLITTERMER - LESSER MER - MARYÓNS
RIVERMAIDS - SARVONIAN MERFOLK - SWAMPHAGS

There exist a multitude of merfolk or merfolk-related tribes throughout the world of Caelereth, living in seas or lakes. All of them are humanoid in appearance above the waist, merging into a strong fish-tail below, possess a certain intelligence and are capable of communicating with other races, though in limited form. Some of them are rarer to be found or even considered mythical.

Not to be confused with the better known Merfolk of Sarvonia, Nybelmer on the other hand are a far more intelligent race that is able to speak the human tongues and lives in more or less organised communities among the coasts of Nybelmar. Capable of casting advanced magic depending on the tribe, they are a presence that cannot be ignored by sea-faring nations. Scholars identify at least four separate sub-races, or ‘pods’, amongst Nybelmer: Deep Mer; Dark Mer; Glittermer; and Lesser Mer of the Inner Sea. Deep Mer and Dark Mer have a deeper red colour inside the gill slits compared to their Glittermer and Lesser Mer cousins, perhaps because they live in the open seas.

 Here's an overview on all known tribes of Merfolk of Caelereth, sorted alphabetically:

DARK MER, THE ("CHARCHAVECHE", "BLACK MER")
Dark Mer, or "Black Mer" as they are sometimes called, are creatures of mystery believed to make their home around Essalui Thareliath. They are solitary philosophers – brooding, thoughtful sorts who are known to keep to themselves, but on occasion randomly aid humans lost at sea or fishermen in distress. With pale-white skin and scales that contrast magnificently with their dark fins and hair, they are said to be small, reaching no more than one and a half to two peds. They are unique among merfolk for their long fingernails and squid or kraken-like tails.

There is much prejudice in the world against Black Mer. Though there has been no report of a Dark Mer attack, they are rumoured to be of evil intent, and feared by sailors. Dark Mer are endowed with beautiful voices that call out in the night for help. Should one be foolish enough to search for the crier however, his ship is surely doomed, and will soon be destroyed by the dark workings of these mer, and the sailors ravaged and eaten raw. Or so goes the folklore of northern Nybelmar.

However, recent studies suggest that most of these accusations are unjust. Dark Mer, or Charchaveche as they call themselves, are reclusive beings that avoid contact with other races – even with their Deep Mer brothers. Brooding and disdainful of all other beings, they are exceptionally intelligent, often capable of speaking several human languages. It is said they are great scholars in their own right, and users of magic that rivals that of the humans in most aspects. The Deep Mer speak of them only with the deepest respect, if they can be persuaded to speak of them at all.

Among the handful of facts the Compendium has been able to verify is the Dark Mer's habit of never eating animals of any kind, supposedly because of a deeply-rooted belief that all life has its value. This makes it unlikely that the old stories of terror are true. Probably the only reason a Dark Mer would seek contact with a human is to save them from drowning. Even then, humans rarely remember anything, and attribute their rescue to the actions of the Deep Mer instead.
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DEEP MER, THE ("SOÉLIVECHE", "DEEP SEA MER")
Deep Mer with their royal blue fins are giants among Nybelmer; reaching an average length of six peds from head to tail they are impressive to behold, but quite rare to find. Deep Sea Mer are the Wardens of the Mertribes, a sort of “High Merfolk” if you will. Leaders of the merrace in “foreign relations”, the Deep Sea Mer travel to each of the merrealms to make sure all is well. A group of Deep Mer is rumoured live under the Drifting Woods, but in general they seem to like to travel great distances through the depths of the ocean without having a set home.

Deep Mer have fairly dark colours and tails resembling that of the whale. Their scales are often a deep blue or green, and this colour seems to 'bleed' into their fins, which have coloured centres but transparent edges. Their hair colour might be anything from light blue to dark green. The skin tone is usually blue-ish, with a striped pattern on the shoulders, arms, and back, usually in a slightly lighter colour than that of the scales. They also have transparent third-eyelids, to improve their vision and shield their eyes from the water pressure of the depths. These are the strongest of the Mer, with an impressive physique and an aristocratic bearing.

Should one encounter a Deep Mer in the ocean, it would be advisable to ignore the creature and keep a safe distance, as they are often ill-tempered in their dealings with 'Surface Dwellers'. The sub-tribe residing below the Drifting Woods is generally a bit friendlier, especially to the Ter'ei'Vikh with whom they have a blossoming trading relation.

As most Nybelmer, they are able to work magic to some degree, but their abilities are strictly defined among the sexes. The 'male' merfolk, who are usually the largest, are comparable to rudimentary mages of the School of Water, while the 'females' seem to be able to communicate with many creatures of the sea, and command them if needed. Finally, the 'third gender' are the Deep Mer's link with their ancestral spirits and the only ones that can become shamans. Their magic is that of the mind, and many a fisherman will readily swear there are amazing women to be found underwater in a certain area – women that mesmerise you, and call for you, but disappear as soon as you jump into the water. It will be obvious from such tales that the Deep Mer, while being hunters of fish themselves, do not appreciate the human interest in the sea's bounty.
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GLITTERMER, THE ("BEVOLUIVECHE", "LIGHT MER")
Most commonly sighted of all Nybelmarian Merfolk are the cheerful and sometimes frivolous Glittermer, who dwell in the surface areas of most of the coast of the Kaerathi peninsula. They are well-known, albeit infrequent, visitors of port towns and fishing ships, who enjoy the sun as much as the water, often beaching themselves or climbing atop cliffs in order to sunbathe.

Light Mer are light in mind and morals as well as in appearance – too much exposure to sunlight has made them light-fingered magpies who acquire shiny things just as carelessly as packrats, with as little concern for whose property. There is a constant byplay between Light Mer and others, be they other mertribes or human divers, where the Light Mer are constantly ‘raided’ so that the illicitly-owned property can be retrieved… Of course, finding the culprits is the real issue, since Light Mer live in family groups without a fixed location.

They are of medium size, usually around two peds and a few handspan, with frilled fins and light skin covered in cream, golden, or silver scales. Their skin and scales have various markings and patterns, the colours of which vary from individual to individual. It is even said that no two Glitter Mer have the same secondary colour – something that can neither be proved nor disproved.

Light Mer are very fond of pretty items, and will often try to trade beautiful seashells and polished rocks for land-made jewellery and trinkets. Although they are intelligent enough to realise what they are trading, they can just as easily offer a raw gemstone in trade for a bit of coloured glass as they would offer a common seashell with a bright shine. This surprises many people, but in fact the Light Mer simply do not care, as they have no need for the items they are trading away.

The magic of the Light Mer is seldom seen, and many people believe they are incapable of such feats at all. Yet there are persistent tales of captured Light Mer that summon ferocious waves and winds against their captors, and similar stories of Light Mer calming a storm to aid one who has done them a good deed. Again, this cannot be confirmed, but fishermen seem to have an unwavering belief in these stories, and very few sailors will willingly do something to hurt a Light Mer.
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LESSER MER, THE ("BOCHILUVECHE", "INNER SEA MER")
Lesser Mer are the Mermish occupants of the Inner Sea. Compared to the other mertribes of Nybelmar, they can be considered to be of low overall intelligence, and are in many aspects not unlike the Baovveche of the Santharian seas. They are regarded as a lesser species by most other Nybelmer, who attribute their stupidity to the stale waters of the Inner Sea. Deep Mer do their best to bring them the fresh ocean currents every time they travel to the Inner Sea, but one can only do so much for those who have no desire to help themselves.

Coloured with various pastels, Inner Sea Mer can be quite pretty if one can be observed calmly, but reports suggest that their numbers have been dwindling over the past decades.

They are primal creatures, driven mostly by their desires for food and safety. Fearful of the fishermen they encounter, they will usually flee before they are noticed, even though they are not hunted or hurt on purpose. Even the Dark Mer, the philosophers of the merrace, cannot explain this fear, although they confirm that it does not extend to other mertribes. As far as we know, Lesser Mer possess no noteworthy magical skill, nor have the ability to speak human tongues like other Nybelmarian Mer do.
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View the Maryóns

MARYÓNS, THE ("WATERSPROGS", "WATERCHILDREN")
The Sarvonian Maryóns, Waterchildren or Watersprogs as they were named by the common people are of the same race and general appearance as the merfolk or rivermaids and share most of their body-characteristics: a humanoid upper torso and a fishlike tail. They are much smaller than the merfolk, more fragile looking, but nevertheless they seem to move effortlessly in their challenging habitat, the waterfalls and pools at the base of the falls. If they can still be called sentient is discussed hotly. The elves called them in Styrásh Marchuh'yonía (lit. "waterfall maids") or Aél'már'yonía (lit. "white water maids").
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View the Rivermaids

RIVERMAIDS, THE
Rivermaids or "ál'már'yonía" as they are called in Styrásh are seens as "the little sisters of the mermaids". They are said to live in all rivers of the Sarvonian continent where the winters are not too extreme, so that there is always some streaming water left and the creeks are not frozen to the ground. Though closely related to the mermaids, they show nevertheless some differences. All seem to be female, at least the gender cannot be distinguished. Unlike their seaborne relatives they are able to hibernate during the cold period in areas where ice covers the open water. They are sentient as well, but many claim that they are not as intelligent as the merfolk. [READ MORE] Return to the top
 

View the Sarvonian Merfolk

SARVONIAN MERFOLK, THE
Merfolk are sentient creatures, although not high in intelligence. They are humanoid above the waist, merging into a strong fish-tail below. Their hair comes in a wide range of naturally occurring oceanic colours; black, dark green through pale green, turquoise, blue, lavender, white, and silver. Merfolk are said to come in male (mermen) female (mermaids) and neuter genders (mer) although only the females appear in public; that is, above water in view of other races. Thus most legends and sailors’ tales speak only of mermaids. The "Legend of Echra" tells of one possible origin of the merfolk; a human female who was cast down into the sea for daring to love the Sun.

Their spoken name for themself is Baovveche; their spoken language, Mermish, is simplistic, heavily aspirated and used only above water. It is technically a pidgin - a combination of two languages, mostly coastal human dialects mixed with Mersong. Below the water they communicate in a series of whistles, fluting sounds, sub- and super-sonic pulses which humans cannot hear. Elves, however, have managed to hear and even translate a few words of Mersong. It is thought that whales, dolpholk, and other large fish may also hear and comprehend this language.
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View the Swamphags

SWAMPHAGS, THE ("MOORCROCKS", "TWILIGHT FOULS")
Swamphags, Moorcrocks or Twilight Fouls[1] - all those names tell of one of the most ugly and possibly evil known creatures of Sarvonia. Living in moors and bottomless swamps, they are believed to be the personified disaster of any sentient being which dares to get near their realm when the night approaches.
 
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