Merfolk

Merfolk are a humanoid, underwater living species found in the various seas of Gaia. Merfolk have various societies, each with its own social order and way of life. These societies include Taruan Merfolk and Cantarian merfolk.   For most nations, merfolk have simply been a myth or a legend. However, during the Second Armada, the Taruan merfolk gave up their anonymity in exchange for helping Taruan Humans to end the war, which in turn, saved the merfolk's ocean home.   Many merfolk across Gaia suffered greatly during the war, and although their presence is now firmly understood by humans, they often prefer to keep to themselves. That said, curious merfolk may venture onto land and easily integrate with other humans if they choose to. As merfolk swim towards shore, their tails change into legs. This is not a permanent change, and merfolk will easily transform back and forth when necessary.  
Meili - A playable character in the Sea Hears visual novel by Sailing Ocelot Studios
While on land, merfolk may be easily recognised by their unique ears and barely visible gills. While merfolk don't tend to sharer much about their biological capabilities, many researchers believe that the out ear allows merfolk to detect sea temperature and current strength, which may in turn help merfolk avoid storms. Their ears may also help with learning their unique melodic language. Under closer inspection, the skin may shine a little on their cheeks. When in the sea, their face will have light scales.  

Magic

  All merfolk have access to unique magic skills and abilities, while also being able to use calling magic. Much of their magic is dependent on being in the sea... Or so that is presumed. Most merfolk have no interest in living on land.  

Sirens

  Just like how some Human may be magi, some merfolk are sirens. Sirens have the ability to use Song to various effects, such as influencing someone to perform actions, luring them to sleep or inducing hallucinations. The abilities of a siren are more potent towards other species, such as humans.

Civilization and Culture

Beauty Ideals

These significantly vary between the seas.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

When the Han sang to his peers in Song, Qing felt his cheeks dampen. The melody the Han carried was powerful, yes. But it also carried along something else, perhaps the history of his people? A lament of the war? A solemn speech about today's morals and challenges?   Qing took a glance at Serene, who seemed bemused. After the Han finished his sentence, she leaned towards Qing's shoulder to translate.   "He said the sky is bright today."   It was then that Qing realised words were simply not meaningful enough.
  The merfolk language is called 'Song'. Each merfolk has a unique voice which, when sung, can express their thoughts, feelings and personality alongside the spoken words. Song is seen as a sacred gift for the merfolk. Due to fear of Sirens, both sides during the Second Armada would snag merfolk in their nets and would cut out their tongues.  

Tongue-less

  A tongue-less merfolk creates mental agony not only for themself, but also towards their peers and comrades. The magical essence that provides Song's unique qualities leaks out from tongue-less merfolk and emphasis an encompassing death or void-like feeling to those who can detect it.  
"It's screaming at me, and there's nothing I can do." Meili cried. "It's not his fault. But I can't stop hearing it! I hate this."
  Because of this, tongue-less merfolk are likely to segregate themselves away from their communities and live alone or in settlements on land.  

Soulful Song

  Merfolk that are born without voices are still capable of Song but will learn alternatives way to express it. These merfolk, often nicknamed 'Koi', learn a delicate art in manipulating the colours of the scales, the environment around them and their hands to express Song. While voiced song uses spoken words, Merfolk with and without voices can understand each other through these different forms of Song regardless of their hearing or voice.   Koi are often esteemed in Merfolk societies as being graceful in the arts or spiritual, although many Koi may be equally esteemed in other skills and positions just like any other merfolk.  
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Geographic Distribution
Related Organizations
Related Ethnicities
Meili is the first known half merfolk and half human. She is a playable character in the Sea Hears visual novel. Meili prefers her ocean home and hates the idea of having to attend a school on land.   Bohai Hàn is the leader of the Taruan merfolk, and father of Meili. Bohai worked together with Lo Chen to end the Second Armada and protect the Taruan sea.   Unique merfolk magic is little understood by outsiders. As a half-merfolk who has spent most of her time at sea, Meili will have a good foundation understanding. She will know that merfolk magic is emotional and attuned with one's surroundings. Its affect will depend on the emotions of the user and the light or shadows in their current environment.       Hui Shu is a tongueless merfolk who teaches Defence Against Magic. Meili struggles to endure the class, as every breath Hui Shu takes leaks corrupted song. Hui Shu is frustrated that administration thought it a good idea to assign Meili to his class, and realises that they lacked awareness of merfolk, and the brutal human history against merfolk which caused his condition.   Hui Shu prefers to distance himself from his kind in order to protect them, believing that merfolk can simply not overcome the mental agony he cannot help but cause from his existence. Hui Shu is informed that his beloved merfolk brother had chosen to leave the sea and work in The Chalk and Cider, a pub that is secretly accessible via a door in the school, but has refused to visit him.  


Cover image: by Pixab
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Comments

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7 Dec, 2020 03:54

This is lovely. I specifically like your first quote and the last section Soulful Song about the Koi using color and body language. 1 question though: are the tongueless naturally so, or is this some sort of punishment inflicted upon them or accident?

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Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
7 Dec, 2020 13:16

Thank you very much for your comment! During a great battle, human navy armies on both sides of the war caught merfolk in their nets and would cut out their tongues in fear that they were sirens. It was believed that sirens were responsible for summoning kraken and other terrifying sea monsters, as well as having the power to manipulate and control humans to their untimely deaths. Your comment has made my day, thanks again!

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9 Dec, 2020 01:09

The art on this is fantastic, and I love the way you've blended various legends together. Well done!

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Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
25 Dec, 2020 05:39

Thank you! :)

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
5 Apr, 2022 23:22

I love these so much! I feel bad for the tongueless merfolk! Fantastic article, wonderful images, I'm now wanting to read more in this world :P

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Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
6 Apr, 2022 08:37

Thank you very much :)

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13 Apr, 2022 15:49

Poor tongueless merfolk. :( That must be so hard.   Great overview of the species!

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
14 Apr, 2022 10:15

Thank you for taking a look, Emy!   It is a sad situation for the tongueless merfolk :( A lot of the humans can't comprehend the physical reaction the merfolk feel when hearing the corrupted song, hence possibly why the human administration in Taru International Academy scheduled half merfolk Meili to attend a class by the tongueless merfolk Hui Shu. I hope to explore this further in the visual novel!

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
8 Aug, 2022 00:37

What a truly enjoyable read, you have brought a piece of the kingdoms below the surface alive for me.


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Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
8 Aug, 2022 09:38

Thank you very much for taking the time to read the article ^^ I'm glad you liked it!

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