Guide to Merpeople - Chapter 1 Picture

CHAPTER 1: GREEK MERMAIDS

Greek Mermaids are the variety of merpeople that magic and muggle mythology has traditionally addressed. They do posses all the physical traits that make them noteworthy and have made of the material for great legends of beauty and mystery. It is this kind of sirens that were said to lure sailors to lost islands and the wreckage of their ships with the enchanting sound of their voices.

At an anatomical level, they are also without doubt the most resembling humans, as their colouring and skin tone never stray far from humans of Caucasian origin. Contrary to other species of merfolk, greek mermaids have rosy pale skin and their silky manes range from black to white-blonde, and are almost never read-haired.

The lower half of their bodies does not imitate any particular form of sea life, but their tails are generally fanned and relatively rigid, and do not have any other kind of fins aside of the caudal one. This makes them surprisingly inept to dwell anywhere else than the relatively calm water of the Mediterranean, as their lower anatomy doesn’t allow them much in the way of manoeuvrability. Plus though their tails are strong and muscled they remain relatively small (always compared to other races) by the length of their bodies which always fluctuates in the same range as regular humans.

Their superior bodies are easily distinguishable from humans though because their ears are pointed at their tips in a most peculiar manner, as if long strips of cartilages folded upon themselves. Also, there is the presence of characteristic black rings of skin around their fingers, at irregular intervals upon all the length of the appendages. The pattern is never the same for two mermaids; and these marks are a means of identification in the way human fingerprints are.

Despite their likeness to humans in appearance, this race does not sing their songs any differently than any other race does: which means they don’t sing or speak in any other language but mermish. The intriguing quality of their voice, as in many other species, is that when underwater their speech translates magically and with total clarity to the mother-language of the listener.

They inhabit shallow relatively warm waters, mainly the close to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. They never venture far into deep waters, as it makes for difficult orientation them, and they don’t enjoy covering long distances. Instead they keep close to where they can easily surface from the bottom of the sea, as they deeply enjoy the availability of natural light. Also, they tend to establish their colonies closer to sandy stretches of land than near cliff-hangers and rocky places.

The existence of male specimens has been documented although the encounters seem far and between. Usually males are found dead and stranded upon beaches, if seen at all. The rarity of ever seeing one is what compelled former naturalists to believe that male mermaids didn’t exist, and to the fact that the word mermaid is often only associated to the female of the species.

There are several reasons for this phenomenon. It is speculated that for once, there is a more reduced number of males than females in this communities of merpeople. The reasons for this are still unknown. Factual information seems to point out that Greek mermaids construct matriarchal communities, from which males are often absent, although not forbidden from. Male specimens seem to prefer colder deeper waters (without going into high seas) and meet their female counterparts somewhere in between when their need to mate is strongest. The process by which a female attracts a male, for it is like this and not the other way around, and allows herself to be romanced away is hazy, but there seems to be a consensus that this seems to be one of the uses for the famed siren’s song. This difference in behaviour and preferences seems prompted by the fact that the male doesn’t have to incubate the eggs. The female does, carrying them inside of her in the uterus. They carry only one egg, which grows larger without being very noticeable on the mother until the very end. The egg ecclosionates inside the mother and the young is expelled from the body along with the remains of the eggshell through the same orifice it would come out in case the mermaid ovipositioned.

Most female mermaids seen by sailors through history seem to have been carrying an egg, because it is scarcely before it becomes visible that they swim extremely close to surface seeking desperately for the warm rays of the sun. Carrying the egg within themselves seems an logical step evolution-wise. This way, the egg is in far less danger of being lost and it takes profit of the mother’s mobility and body heat to secure an optimal incubation. Remaining inside the mother allows for the young to develop further, to larger dimensions and to the greater safety of the younglings when they are born, this also means that the egg grows larger in turn. This way the egg seems to have become too big to be laid anyways, so it can’t come out intact.

Culturally their inclination in dress patterns tends towards sobriety, which is rather unique in merfolk. They, in fact, tend as a general rule towards total nudity, and they use their abundant hair as a manner of cloaks when the waters become too cold. Seahorns, seem to be the only visible decoration they ever wear, but even that seems to have a practical use as they apparently serve the purpose of summoning other members of the community to fish banks.
Despite gentler aspect they’re quite ruthless carnivores. In groups that oscillate between five and twenty members they attack fish banks and eat their capture on spot. Unlike humans they know not to cook their meals, and every member hunts for her or his immediate family. They can be a scourge in the areas they inhabit, and they compete not with any other great fish, as great sharks quite rarely come in contact with Mediterranean mermaids. They will eat anything at anytime, and also prowl the seabed in search for seafood and other edible things.

Despite their aggressiveness as hunters, they are especially friendly with dolphins as a general rule. This cordial interaction of both species doesn’t include the taming of dolphins; instead it is customary that young adults swim with these cetaceans upon reaching adulthood. The taming of hipoccampus, is a regional tradition only these sirens practice still. They use these creatures as draught beasts, for food and in the few inter-colonies conflicts that arise in these isolated waters.

The communities in which they live their lives are old, and remain in the same place unmoved by time and tide. They are generally quite smalland auto-sufficient, and lay sprawled on rocky submarine beds. The permanence of these underwater towns is assured by the solidification of the ventos, which is achieved donning the deposited fine sand of the seabed with their saliva, which they can produce in abnormal amounts and has wondorous unexplored properties. These towns rarely accept strangers, and those they do accept have to submit themselves to a trial period and later to an ceremonial hunt for acceptance.


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Please note the concept of the text and the art are both completely mine, thus remeber not to use any of it without authorisation.
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