Mer are the creatures who inhabit the waters of the world and were first created when the sea goddess, Neria, gave the people of Atlantis tails and fins. They have either tails with fins, crab legs or generally armoured bodies of crustaceans and even pincers, sea horse tails, or octopus and squid tentacles that start at the bottom of their torso. The modern mer are the descendants of those that were saved during Atlantis' downfall, being transformed by Neria.
To describe female mer, the word mermaid is used, but the word woman can also be used in some cases. Instead of girl, the word merl is used. Male mer are said to be mermen. To describe children, mer-kids can be used.
Merpeople were created during Atlantis' downfall. They were humans that came from every continent in the world, even from civilizations that had no contact with one another. Merrow, Serafina's ancestor, had come from the Iberian Peninsula, which is now modern-day Spain, Pyrrha was from the shores of Atlantica, in Hornos or Cape Horn, an archipelago in Southern Chile, Sycorax was was from China, Nyx was from the shores of the Mississippi River, Orfeo from Greenland, and Navi from India. It was mentioned that the first Swamp Queen was a Native American who traveled all the way to Atlantis, before being transformed and returning to the waters near where she had been born. Together, these various peoples had built a great civilization that made Athens appear as 'a backwater', Rome as a 'dusty hill-town' and Thebes 'a watering hole'. In Rogue Wave, it mentions that Atlanteans were the first to pipe water. When his wife Alma died, the age Orfeo, one of the Six Who Ruled, went mad with grief. In order to bring Alma back, he started sacrificing people to Morsa, to create Abbaddon, the monster who destroyed Atlantis.
As one of the Six Who Ruled, Merrow begged Neria, the sea goddess, to save the Atlanteans from drowning. Neria responded by transforming them. It was mentioned that as the waters swallowed Atlantis, they struggled and fought her at first, screaming as their legs knit together and they sprouted marine features. Some tried to breathe underwater, most could but those that could not had their bodies washed away by the tide. Most were given the tails, scales and fins of fish, others were given octopus or squid tentacles or sea-horse tails, and some the armoured bodies of lobsters and crayfish. Afterwards, led by Merrow, they founded the first mer civilization: Miromara. Later, many of the merpeople decided to live in the waters off the shores where they had been born as they were homesick. Merrow was the first regina, or queen, of Miromara and founder of the Merrovingia dynasty. The mer that had come from inland or landlocked areas returned to the rivers and lakes where they had been born, including Nyx's descendants who eventually ended up in the Amazon. All the rivers, lakes and ponds became known as the Freshwaters. The mer of Scandinavia, and Orfeo's descendants who were from Greenland, went North to the arctic to found Ondalina. The East Asian population of Atlantis, including Sycorax's family, created Qin. The Indian and African population created Matali, ruled by Navi's descendants.
Mer have the upper body of a humans and the lower body of a fish or other marine animal. They most commonly have tails (featuring scales covering their torso) with fins, including a tailfin, in a variety of colors. Some tails are based off certain types of fish, such as a koi fish like Ling, or in Astrid's case, an orca. Others have octopus tentacles or the legs and torso of a crab. Tavia, Serafina's nursemaid, had the legs and torso of a blue crab, with pincers. Some mer have tails like sea horses.
They have a variety of different skin tones, from human skin tones to blues, grays and brown with markings.
Mer have the internal and reproductive organs of humans, being pregnant and giving birth in the same way as humans. Their stomachs are shown to be adapted to life underwater, as they are able to eat underwater foods that normal humans can't. Additionally, they breathe by taking in water through their mouths and noses and absorb the oxygen from the water in their lungs. They also have incredibly strong voice boxes to be able to speak and sing underwater. Another thing to note is that mer can cry. The difference is that mer are amphibious, able to breathe above the water level. All mer have magic within them, even Astrid though she believed she lost her magic, it was merely trapped inside of her, the coin she swallowed prevented her from songcasting as it was lodged between her vocal chords.
Mer eat mainly worms and underwater fruit and vegetables. They eat small marine animals additionally and also have soups and drink mainly tea. (See; mer cuisine).
The common language of merpeople is Mermish, but there are many dialects. Mer also replace human phrases with more appropriate underwater terminology, such as 'one step at a time turns' into 'one stroke at a time' and 'something's afoot' turns into 'something's afin'. Mermish gradually evolved, like all languages, over the centuries, in particular, the closer they lived to human shores. Miromarans have a degree of Italian, Latin and Greek in their dialect and vocabulary. Words such as 'anarachna', Miromaran for spider, are derived from Greek and Latin. Alítheia is Greek for 'truth', and Latin phrases such as 'quia Merrow decrevit' are used. Italian words such as 'regina', 're', 'principe' and 'baronessa' are used to describe Miromaran royalty and nobility. The closer a mer settlement is to a country, such as France or Italy, the more words and phrases they borrow. The same can be said for Matali as their dialect of Mermish is tinged with Sanskrit phrases, words and derivations, and the Freshwaters, as Ava speaks Brazilian Portuguese and Baba Vrăja uses Romanian words. Qin's Mermish uses Mandarin and in Ondalina, Scandinavian languages including Danish and Norwegian are used.
The style of mer clothes varies in each realms but are based off human culture, which resonate deep into the underwater world. Mermaids wear skirts, tops, long vests, dresses and gowns, with pale green being the colour of wedding gowns. Mermen wear long vests and tunics. Additionally, mer wear jewelry such as: necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and piercings, most commonly on the tail fin, but this is generally viewed as a negative thing. Some rebellious mer, called swashbucklers , "flip a fin" at society by dressing in black and grey, edgy clothes and having piercings. (See, Mer Fashion)
Buildings and furniture Edit
Mer live in buildings underwater made from a variety of materials, but all have doors and windows, and can gave many floors. It is general etiquette that mer swim only through doors and not windows. Royalty live in buildings made of precious stones and coral. Furniture is the same as humans, with only a few differences, such as materials. They have tables, chairs, beds, bowls, plates, cups, draperies and all of the same furniture humans have and beds are padded from sea anemones. The most common materials for clothes and blankets are sea silk and sea flax.
Porcelain and mirrors are often salvaged from shipwrecks along with wood which can also be gathered from driftwood. In Sea Spell, Enzo said that his family salvaged beams from shipwrecks and driftwood to carve into beautiful statues, tables, frames and other things. Metals and glass is provided through trade by the Kobold tribes- the Feuerkumpel who mine and refine magma into lava and the Höllebläser who blow glass. Lava is used the same way humans use electricity. Waterfire can be used too, but only for campfires and magical purposes.
The main mode of travel is by tail, but some mer have hippokamps which are half-horse and half snake, which are kept in stables with sea straw, and are ridden sidesaddle. Another mode of transport, especially in Matali, are sea elephants which can carry howdahs, which are carriages on the back of elephants in human culture. Additionally, orcas can be used, especially in Ondalina and are very fast but hard to control.
The mer were given the ability to use magic by Neria. They sing their spells, instead of waving wands, as songspells carry better in water than wandspells. They sing it, because even humans who do not believe recognise the power in whalesong, the sound of the waves and the cry of the gulls.
There are several types: Canta Prax spells such as for camouflage, echolocation, speed and ink clouds. Canta Mirus which are more challenging, that could bid light, water and wind, and embellish old songspells or create new ones. Canta Malus or Darksong is illegal, as it is used for causing harm, even killing others. Canta Sangua is even more heinous than Malus, as they often require a person's death for the spell to be used. The latter two were given by Morsa in mockery of Neria's gifts. (See; Magic).
The mer worshipped the same gods as the Atlanteans. Neria, the sea goddess is the most beloved and venerated. Ava mentions that in her home the gods weren't just worshipped once a week, people were close to them. Horok was the Coelcanth god of the Underworld and Morsa the scavenger goddess who was held responsibility for many disasters in the series and before including the destruction of Atlantis and the invasions and takeovers of Miromara and Matali. (See, Mer gods)