We thought ourselves untouchable. We played our games with the dirt world and their people. We sang to them, led them into storms, rocks and waiting fangs. Just as they would snare us in their nets and drag us to the dirtland to die. But, we always had the upper hand. We had our homes below the ocean to swim to. Dirtlanders on their whales of wood were at our mercy and we decided their fates. Most we let live, others we played with, a few we ate. Then they found their Golden God and we learned that even the oceans can burn.
Tairos was once home to a true cornucopia of intelligent life. Some were native to this land, others brought into existence by forgotten gods or ferried here by The Gates on ships from across the oceans. Most of those people are lost to time, forgotten by the modern world and every trace of their existence buried beneath layers of dead civilizations. Though some survive as myth and legend, kept alive in extravagant tales told around campfires by fanciful storytellers. The Sirens are one such race.
The few scholars that take the stories of Sirens seriously believe they swam forth from one of the undersea gates from a place beyond Tairos. Their theories are based on some of the surviving writings from the time of Skyrir. These fragments say they came from a distant world of water and lush island chains. A terrible disaster was said to have struck their world like a hammer blow from the heavens. It cast debris into the sky that robbed their world of the sun. Their oceans became icy prisons that slowly closed in on the Sirens and escape was the only option open to them. These old texts say they came to our oceans by the hundreds and as the warmth of Tairos's sun touched them for the first time they would erupt in joyous laughter and pure, perfect, glee.
While mysterious, beautiful and sensual there was also a less pleasant side to the Sirens that came to live here. The natives would discover a rather capricious race who thought little of the sanctity of life and were very fond of lethal "games" which they'd play with sailors who crossed into their territory. The Sirens were as likely to speak and laugh with the crews of passing ships as they were to sink them and drown the people on board. And... on rare occasions eat them. To the Sirens themselves this was perfectly reasonable behavior dictated by their moods, needs or perception of the travelers. Life in the waters of their homeworld were harsh and unforgiving. Death was a guarantee and they had no time in their brief lives for grief, sorrow or despair. They assumed that this was the same for all living things here on Tairos so it came as a surprise to them that the "Dirtlanders", as they called them, took the killing of their kind so personally. In fact, they believed they were being very kind neighbors by offering good hospitality to the majority of those they came across. After all, they held no ill will for the Sirens killed by Dirtlanders during their "games".
The Sirens built homes among the coral reefs just off the coast of what would become Limdrak and Skyrir. There they found the warm, tranquil waters to be very much to their liking. They multiplied, spread their territories and explored the waters all along the southern side of Tairos. This was a golden age to them, the very height of their civilization. For the primitive natives of the region the sighting of a Siren became an auspicious omen, one that was as intriguing as it was terrifying.
This blocking of the waterways would be a considerable factor in keeping early Skyrir boxed into its home peninsula. This would change after their great temple to the Azuras, the Golden God, was built and their city transformed from a tribal gathering place into the grandest city the world had yet known. As his peoples' grew and Azuras' grand work came underway the need to eliminate or assimilate the obstacles that stood in the way of Skyrir's growth became paramount. The Sirens were one such hindrance . He did not know this race, as they'd arrived in the time Azuras was journeying the stars but he was not particularly impressed by their potential. Their short-sightedness and dizzying devotion to immediate gratification brought him to the only logical conclusion. Extinction.
The vast Coral Nations of the Siren were never forced into the same drawn out war for survival that races like the Centaurs found themselves in. The Sirens didn't have the protection of totem spirits, sleeping gods, powerful immortals or other such benefactors like many of the other enemies of Skyrir. The Golden God himself ended the Coral Nations in but a single day. His followers spoke of the day the sun rose beneath the waters to bring purifying light to the corrupting depths. The dragon devastated their settlements, drowning countless Sirens in flame and divine magic. The handful of survivors that fled this apocalypse vanished into the deepest and darkest recesses of the ocean or swam far and fast from Tairos, leaving it behind for the unknown of the open waters. Silence returned to the coasts and the Sirens became little more than memories.
Yet, not only are their stories remembered but they're being told anew and with increasing frequency. The outlaws and pirates of Far Harbor are reporting sightings of Sirens in the waters around the Tairuk Island Chain. Elves from Melanthris have spotted similar creatures frolicking in the waters near Fort Orein and in Lake Lunarch. Some even say they've seen Sirens entering Tairos River. If this is true than they'd have access to Ghal Pelor, Homestead and even the frozen north of Frostmere should they wish to dare those cold waters. If these new stories are true it means Sirens are returning. For many, that brings an almost whimsical excitement. For those who know their history well it sends only shivers up their spines.
The Siren by Jorge Lobo
Most Sirens are female. Male Sirens are rare seen and seem to serve only as laborers, breeding stock and caregivers for children. Both male and female have humanoid upper bodies; including two arms, hands and a head. From the pelvis down they are have aquatic tails like that of most fish and display colorful scales. Some Sirens have patches of scales along their backs or arms as well
The most notable trait Sirens possess is the Siren Song. While both genders of Sirens are capable of singing and speech only females possess the ethereal, hauntingly beautiful and bewitching Siren Song ability. The song sung by females is capable of entrancing most simple life forms that can hear it and is believed to have been useful in hunting. Sentient species fall under a sway similar to a magical domination.
Genetics and Reproduction
Sexual reproduction between the two sexes are common. Sirens of both genders are also genetically compatible with most humanoid races and can reproduce with them. Most Sirens come from a pairing within their own species though they are equally eager to mate with "drylanders" as they call them. They do not reproduce with other aquatic species and generally view these types of races as competition.
The sexual organs of Sirens are mostly identical to those of mammalian species and mating occurs via penetration and fertilization. However, several days after a successful mating females will release fertilized, doorknob-sized egg the color of a milky pearl. This is often given to one of the Male Sirens to protect if a male is available to do so, otherwise the mother will carry the spongy egg with her till it hatches. Eggs will grow to accommodate the human-sized embryo within. These eggs are often carried in small nets made of seaweed or satchels recovered from Dirtlanders.
Growth Rate & Stages
Sirens grow rather quickly compared to surface dwelling humanoids. Their eggs will reach full size after about two months. Once they reach peak size the embryo within will finish up with all vital development before the young Siren within emerges roughly a month later.
Ecology and Habitats
Sirens are fully capable of breathing both air and water but in all cases prefer water. They despise cold temperatures and avoid them when possible.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Sirens are carnivores by preference. They possess teeth identical to those of most humanoids which allows them to bite and chew flesh as well as vegetable matter if no other options are present. Their teeth and jaws are much much stronger than typical human specimens though. This is likely because of the raw foods they must often process which include the hard shells of crustaceans, scales of fish and blubbery hides of ocean-going mammals. Dirtlander flesh does taste particularly exotic and "sweet" to them. They enjoy cattle, poultry and game of all kind including the flesh of humans, elves, gnomes and other humanoids. Dwarf meat is the only commonly known flesh they find unpalatable. They think it tastes pithy and extremely sour.
Sirens do not tend to go through seasonal changes aside from when their waters become particularly cold. If they cannot migrate to warmer waters or find geothermal vents to relocate near than they often will enter states of extreme lethargy bordering on hibernation. This leaves them extremely vulnerable and they go to great lengths to avoid this or at least find suitable places to hide till it passes.
Females occupy the pinnacle of all social and hierarchical structures. They also enjoy full freedom and privileged in their culture. Males are treated more like property or slaves.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Sailors and black marketeers have always believed Siren Flesh to have medicinal properties though this has never been proven.
Female Sirens have long heads of hair while males are bald.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
The Coral Nations of the Sirens used to exist along the southeastern shores of Tairos
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Sirens have an excellent sense of touch which allows them to feel subtle movement in the waters they swim in. They also possess an echo-location like ability that uses their Siren Song to survey the surrounding area and report information back.
Civilization and Culture
Females are responsible for naming all newly born Sirens. The right falls to the birth mother to whom the egg belonged to though often she will defer the choice to her the eldest female of her family. Females are generally named after beautiful things in the waters or given names found in Dirtlander artifacts or from the walls of sunken temples. Anything that sounds pleasant, musical or aurally pleasing in some way. Little thought goes into a male's name and generally refer to their purpose, scale coloring or are simply numerical or numerically related in some way. Common female names might be: Pearl, Coral, Phoebe, Maise, Tethery, Una and Ripple. Male names might be something like: Grey Scale, Eight, Chamberlain and Seventh Servant.
Sirens did not have any large organizations of note. The most important groups to them were family groups and friend circles. These are always female-only groups and generally led by the most charismatic or physically powerful member. Males will gather with the rest of their gender/family group when they are not in use.
Beauty is one of the most important factors in the lives of the Sirens. They cherish all things aesthetically pleasing or interesting to them and strive to be equally so as well. Beauty or interesting appearances will often be a deciding factor in social interactions with other races. They will generally spare beautiful things. Generally.
Females in Siren society are the undisputed rulers. Females are expected to be the driving force behind the growth and strength of their family and nation.
Female Sirens do not need court their males, part of their duty is to breed and serve. When it comes to the Dirtlanders a female may want to mate with they general observe their prospective choice from afar for a while before approaching them. If they want more immediate results for their efforts they'll simply use their Siren Song. This is not employed on anyone they wish to genuinely interact with. Those under the effect of a Siren Song are not very compelling company.
It is rare for a Siren to engage in a relationship for very long. Their attention is short and they bore easily without stimulation. Only the deepest emotional connects will have any chance of holding a Siren's attention.
Average Technological Level
Sirens are not capable of much technological or industrial advancement. The watery nature of their chosen habitat combined with their flighty personalities make such efforts next to impossible. They do make considerable use of discarded technology, magic and natural elements.
Major Language Groups and Dialects
Sirens are extremely astute when it comes to language. While they generally communicate with each other using song communicating using the language of other races comes to them very quickly.
Common Dress Code
Sirens rarely wear clothing other than adornments in their hair, jewelry and piercings.
Culture and Cultural Heritage
Much of Siren's culture is adopted. They pull from nearby societies, sunken temples, derelict ships and such. It's unknown what, if anything, the original Siren culture was like.
Interspecies Relations and Assumptions
Other species are either seen as food or a source of entertainment. It is perfectly normal for a species to be different things to different individuals and for that status to change frequently. While this is perfectly normal to the Sirens it is often a source of concern to other peoples.
Extraterrestrial or Extraplanar
Varies between 200 LBS and 350 LBS
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Female scales are often very radiant and often with decorative markings that distinguish individuals. Males tend toward bland silver, grey and brown scales with few, if any, decorative markings.