Everyone is familiar with mermaids, but merfolks are a surprisingly diverse group of individuals. Octopi, sharks, jellyfish and more can be found among the ranks of this race of aquatic beings.
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Please note that all Racial Tome entries are based on Ember's personal UPG and may not reflect yours. Merfolk, in this incarnation, are exclusive to Three Souls.
Merfolk is an umbrella term used for many different kinds of aquatic species that take on a semi-humanoid/demi-aquatic form. Typically this will present as some sort of fish, but can occasionally encapsulate marine mammals. While there are countless sub-races that exist (and breeding among subspecies is not unheard of), the ones Ember predominantly work with are the shark and the octopin subspecies. Regardless of the specific animal they emulate, most merfolk live in large coral cities and co-exist with other “less evolved” ocean life much like humans do with animals we see around our own cities and towns. The vast majority of the merfolk population are quite content to live a safe life within their cities, but there are scavengers and counter-culturalists that prefer the open waters over a cushiony and stable urban-esque underwater life.
Octopins, on the other hand, have a high percentage of scavengers among their ranks. It seems Octopins have a natural desire to ride the currents and see where the pull of their watery universe will take them. As scavengers, they make their living through offering services to others, with a typical focus on divinations, often using seashells in order to read fortunes. Some even use the swirls of sand or the formation of coral to read omens.
Those that are not nomadic tend to find their ways into positions of power. Unlike the octopi that we are familiar with, in this watery world, Octopins are seen as wise sea witches and warlocks (for many have latent magic abilities) who can offer a great deal of worldly wisdom to younger generations. It is just as likely to see a turtle as it is an octopus serving as the head of a council or political group, or even running a city. In their world, the species they evolved from are very long-lived, and an Octopin’s’ lifespan is arguably one of the longest of all the merfolk. They often live to see multiple generations come and go before they pass. They serve as a great resource for myths and fables, passing down traditions to the young, and often recorders of history.
Unlike the sharks who have very little variance from one subspecies to the next (meaning, all great whites look roughly the same, as do all hammerheads, etc), Octopins have a wide range of appearances and colours available to them, and some are even bioluminescent. While the sharks have certain personality archetypes that they seem to fall within, Octopins are incredibly varied in their individual interests and personality quirks.
In companionship, Octopins tend to prefer working with water or storm magics, or at least with someone who actively enjoys being around bodies of water, but bonding can be as simple as enjoying the rain, taking a bath, or listening to ambient underwater music. They are also really great at helping to ease open the svadhisthana chakra (aka, sacral chakra). They are aids when it comes to helping people get past their fears and blockages revolving around the concept of death, and can help people live their lives more fluidly and authentically.
Sharks tend to make rather spunky companions who push their human counterparts to be more indulgent and pleasure seeking when they notice them slipping into a slump. Shark variants are much more in touch with their beastial sides, and there is a particular stigma that comes with being a shark. Many are falsely labelled as being berserkers who are bloodthirsty and impulsive. This often false stereotype has pushed a lot of sharks to live in their own cities away from prying eyes, as there are a lot of tensions between them and other “prey” merfolk.
Sharks have, over time, developed their own unique culture, which can at times--to us humans--appear as being harsh or unforgiving, including territory fights, dominance displays resulting in skirmishes among males, or even rough and public mating practices.
It seems that the sharks, overall, are happier away from the other types of merfolk that simply don’t understand how they uniquely bond with others of their kind. There is never any expectation for outsiders to join in and adopt their way of doing things, but there is an expectation for mutual respect.
These beings are ultimately very closely linked to their predatory instincts, and much like watching a nature program on television, individuals that are more sensitive towards the cycle of life may find some of their ways a bit difficult to stomach. For this reason, sharks are often marked as dark or black in alignment as they require a companion with an open mind and understanding of a very different way of life.
In companionship, they bond well with people who like a good roast, or aren’t afraid to say what’s on their mind, but can also be drawn to people who are more reserved and quiet. They’ll push you to really come into your own, be unabashedly proud of who you are, conquer any shyness you might have, and aid you in becoming unafraid to take up space. They can help those who are more servile, timid, or mousy demand respect for themselves and learn to say no. Sharks are also quite carnal in nature, as sex (platonic or otherwise) is seen as way to strengthen bonds.
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