Darkwater Maro (daark-waa-tr mair-oh)
Among the Maro kingdoms exist a whispered rumor of another civilization, a culture of Maro who turned their back on the sunlight and descended deep into the trenches of what the Anfirma (drylanders) named the Savaville Abyss and the Stenneford Depths. Known as the Darkwater Maro, they are very real, living in the cold, lightless depths below the thermocline. At first glance, they resemble surface Maro in most ways, with humanoid torsos and piscine tails. Closer inspection reveals adaptations to the dark, cold, and pressurized depths: lighter skin that is slightly transparent, shaper, retractable fin spines as well as retractable spines extending from the ulna where it meets the humerus bone. Another feature unique to the Darkwater Maro is their ability to run an electrical current through all or a part of their body, causing bioluminescence.
Major language groups and dialects
The Deepwater Maro speak a dialect of Aquan, a very fluid and flowing language full of subtext and nuance so removed from its parent language as to be frustratingly complicated to translate.
Shared customary codes and values
The Deepwater Maro are extremely territorial and mildly xenophobic. They guard their trenchside settlements with ferocious, lethal force and enslave any weaker creatures they encounter. They are extremely focused on the familial bond and form their homes and lives around the eldest living members of their family as patriarch or matriarch.
Common Etiquette rules
Within each familial school, the eldest command the highest regard and respect. This decreases with youth, based on the premise that the young have not yet earned respect. Outside of the families, the tradition continues but only as a token of one's age. The Deepwater Maro are a conniving, backbiting people and always look for weaknesses and scheme to usurp another family's power or prestige.
Common Dress code
Deepwater Maro, regardless of gender, do not wear clothing, insulated instead by their skin and scales.
Funerary and Memorial customs
When a Deepwater Maro dies, their flesh is consumed by their familial school, allowing for the family's continued survival. Deepwater Maro participate in Ancestor Worship, venerating the dead with shrines and monuments that incorporate their bones and small possessions, considering their spirits to be a part of the home, and will speak to them as if they were still present.