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T L A N N T, Atlante
Other names: Merfolk, Naiad, Oceanids, Nereids, Sea Elves, fishy
Kingdom of Tlann Edit
Geographic Distribution Edit
WIP material original from Hepatizon's story in deviantArt , Edit
Between Zarhuy and Hieyoks in the Northern Muhbahr Gyre, a large system of rotating ocean currents, lie the waters the locals call the Sahray Sea. The Sahray Sea is named after the sahray seaweed which floats en masse on the surface of the gyre. There are many stories of ships who have ventured into seaweed so thick the ships get caught in the seaweeds and never get free again, becoming yet another wreck in a floating graveyard.
There is a core of truth to every wild story. The seaweed itself can capture no ships, but it conceals the many sudden shallows and rocks of the area from sight, causing many shipwrecks among those who don't know the safe paths. Yet many traders will persist, for to circle around the Sahray Sea would prolong to journey for month or more, and some harbours of the Southern Hieyoks would be wholly inaccessible. The clever will hire a local pilot who can lead the ships around the dangerous waters.
And in the deeps of the Sahray Sea hides from land-bound sight the Kingdom of Tlann...
Cities: Ssulot. Built in the Great Grotto and carved into the coral reef that stretches across the sea bed in a riot of bright blue, blood red, delicate purple and warm yellow.
The common halls where the merchants' shops and great houses, carvers, weapon smiths, turtle slaughterhouses and innkeepers are all housed that runs through the entire city, disappearing within the embrace of the stone and appearing out in the open again. The lamps that the sorcerers of the Lǃkion fill with magical glow lights the sea as bright as the creation of the world. There is the Terrace of the Dead circles the Palatial district, with snarling stone scar seals along the Sacred Way to the altars. Fish even brighter than the corals swim in the gardens of combgrass that sways gently in the ocean's currents and the bright hunter flowers.
There is the Great Square and Royal Palace, and there is the Temple of the Dreams, built of huge blocks of black lava glass and coral, truly a fitting reflection of the Ancient Vision of Oceans, Ancient Dreams and Cycle of Life and Death.
Religion: The Gods Who Dream in the Deeps the day the Dreaming Gods awaken again and a new world will be born from their words. Dead of the Family: Honourable dead. The High Priest Longest night, the Night of the Dead
Terrace of the Dead. We had a home altar for our offerings of food, but this was a celebration that called for more grandeur than a slab of whitestone with a few bowls carved in it. Father allowed me to carry our death flute and I took great care to not drop it, lest somemer swimming by us might kick and break the precious, delicate instrument.
"We all have two souls, the hhlan and pǃk. The hhlan, light, ethereal and intellectual, ascends to become an ancestor at death. We pray to them for help, not to the Gods Who Dream in the Deeps,"
"Because Gods Who Dream in the Deeps shall dream as they will and no prayers from us can change this,""We must respect them and fear them, but the only help in life comes from our ancestors as they can whisper in the ears of the Dreaming Gods, to try and influence their dreams."
"the pǃk soul, dark, gravid and sensual, becomes a wandering spirit in the cold waters of the north and if we disrespect our ancestors, they shall return from the north and wreak havoc among the living."
"I will carve out your eyes and make an offering out of them. My sharks shall eat the rest of you and no funeral rites will be performed. Your hhlan will never jon your ancestors!
Economy, Culture and professions shark trainer. He didn't train the yellow-bellied sharks or the great white death, for those can never be trained, but the smaller dotted sharks and the bigger fleet sharks, and those are difficult enough to train as they are. We train them so that we can ride on them and set the smaller at our enemies when we battle the Wildpeople of the South. They have no waters of their own at all, but wander and pillage like some kind of terrible black current that causes destruction wherever it goes.
wear silk, protected from the salt water by clever spells
Politics High Tide Party, dusky pearls, importance of parades parades, Low Tide party.
Army: use of sharks. .
History: These are dangerous times and they were more dangerous still during the reign of King Ahǃino who couldn't keep the political fighting under control, and his wildmer guard was only interested in protecting the king and his family. The Great Square was like those smokers of the deep that pollute the water far and wide. After every parade there were races and when the Low Tide sharks won, they celebrated all around the city, killing unfortunate night guards, breaking into houses and stealing what they could carry, raping women. When the High Tide sharks won, they avenged themselves and so the waters were red with blood, calling for sharks from the wild, and the chaos reigned endless.
The day after the Night of the Dead was yet another parade, yet another chance for the parties to posture; surely no other kingdom has held as many pointless parades! So I danced with the sharks and they played their tricks; hoops and tunnels, weave poles and catch the prey. So came the night of the tooth and blood, Those men, out of their minds with jewel cells, came for me as well,
Queen Aǂhhrite, King Ahǃinuss and the High Priest rubs the consecrated whale fat upon my forehead.
The Low Tide Party has hardly done well lately and they shall do even worse now, and they know it. The trash curses my name when I swim past them, surrounded by my guards, for all know whom I blame for my father's death, but none dares to touch me. Yet the High Tide has no love for me either, for I shall be no-one's attack shark. The fight between the parties is what killed my father and I shall see the fangs of the both pulled off.
The Coralclave still insisted on Lǃkion sorcerers performing an examination in front of the lawful eight witnesses and all were equally disappointed when no sign of witchcraft was found.
Living outside a settlement isn't an uncomplicated matter. The first question was light; Whiǃiit and Kttǂo, my dear dotted, needed to remain close to the seafloor. I could still see, somewhat, but I was used to the bright lights of Ssulot. There were wild sharks and other threats from poisonous fish to the Wildpeople and I must remain alert. Another was cover and I made a home for us in one of the sunken ships the landbound need to travel over the waters and the light was better in the shallows too, but the food was the biggest problem.
new fashion, whale curlshells. Usually they attach themselves to the whales or big sharks, but now people had begun to attach them on their skin. I wondered how they thought to get rid of the ornaments when the fashion inevitably passed, by skinning themselves? The whole thing did nothing to make me feel more comfortable.
But a woman alone has precious few choices. I could have become a fisherwoman or a tortoise keeper, but neither occupation would go well with keeping sharks as well - and giving them up was no option. I could have become a musician, but I would have spent too much time among the people, too much time in the city.
When I was a child, our widowed neighbor was a weaver. She would thread supple fish bones to overlap each other and drill little holes into seal and whale bones to make baskets, ornamental knots and other needful things. At one point there was a fashion for women where a woven cone would be clasped around the waist. It was dreadfully difficult to swim in, I imagine, for there couldn't have been much give in a cone of bones, but people are prone to strange things. First thread a fishbone through the joint bone of a seal, my neighbor used to say, and bend it into a ring. The base of the first and the second fishbone on the opposite sides of the curve, it's easy. But despite this nugget of advice I had little idea how to weave and in any case I would need at least a weaving spike and a bash, whatever that was; bashing bones didn't seem like a terribly good idea to me.
Prostitution was no option; the dead of my family would have died a second death out of shame. In my desperation I even considered joining a tribe of the Wildpeople, as I had heard that they make no difference between men and women; I don't see how they could afford, in any case, living as they do vulnerable and far from the safety of permanent settlements. All kinds of people, and people who aren't exactly people as well, lurk outside our borders. And not all of them the sort of folks you'd want as visitors; there is no trusting a demon. To become a groundsider was safer, and open to women as well as men, for they must take any willing to leave the sea. But I would have had to leave my sharks behind.
Following the arc of the dream woven for me to live, now I found myself immersed in a passing I didn't at first understand, that didn't even seem to belong in the same story. Passing are important, passings are those moments that change your life either for better or worse, and the wise keep a careful eye for those and prays to their ancestors for advice. As I pondered my life and future, my passing almost left me behind as the shadow of a great ship literally passed over me. This happens sometimes even in the city and mostly people pay no attention as long as there is no danger of the ship coming down on their heads, but I...
I followed the ship for a reason I don't know, perhaps little more than idle curiosity. I saw as the ship slowly - and it wasn't slow, not really, but I felt like it took forever - neared a peak hiding just beneath the surface of the water. Do you know the sound of wood tearing apart against a rock, inch by inch by several tails? Louder than whalesong, the noise was a rough drag, one that drew sharp, mean attention to the breaking hull. I watched in silence as water rushed in and the ship swayed like a mer high on jewel cells, slanting over rock and empty water. Something heavy crashed inside it and I heard screams, muted though they were by the air.
I waited and watched as the tiny boats the groundbound use to save their lives dropped to the water. They bobbed on the waves and I couldn't help but marvel how vulnerable they seemed, how easy it would have been to topple one. Oh, it wasn't something I wanted to do for a moment! I merely wondered why these people insist on travelling overseas when they are so very vulnerable. My sharks circled the boats, but I called them back. I think they could smell blood, for not everyone got out of the ship alive. But as ridiculous contraptions as they were, there was bravery in it, or perhaps just foolhardiness. In either case, there was death.
And as I saw the ship slowly slant more and more until the fabric strung high - sails, I would later learn - touched the water, I thought of what I had learned of the patrols. Sound carries far, but the patrol would be here the next day, around the midnight at closest. I wasn't certain which noble house or merchant held the raiding rights in the area, but I should have enough time to take first picks.
And to be a poacher might be dangerous, but it could be profitable as well. I couldn't see what I had in Tlann, but there were the groundsiders to consider and I had heard they didn't ask too many questions. One good poach and I might be able to make a household for myself.
The waiting felt like hours, though in truth it was probably only one. Finally with one last scraping the ship's descent shuddered to a halt, the stern of it hitting the sand and the prow resting precariously against the rock. A few good kicks took me to the wreck, Whiǃiit and Kttǂo already swimming in through the long, jagged hole in the of the ship. It wasn't quite big enough for me so I took a big rock in my hand and begun to hack at the already broken wood, and a command for my soldier and his girls had them burst against the breach as well as though it had been a narrow door to open. With a few more cracks we were inside.
There was death inside, men draped in such amount of fabric only a noble or the richest of merchants could have allowed it in Tlann; those protective spells weren't cheap. Their eyes were open in the dimdark of the hold and their hair floated around their heads, here was a leg broken where a some kind of container had crushed it against a ship's wall, there an arm caught in ropes. My dears ate their due and I whispered words to the poor men's ancestors that their souls might join their family's; I didn't want any vengeful pǃk to come after me.
"Hail to the Gods and Goddesses who Dream in the Deeps. Your dreams illumine all things," I chanted a fishbone rite, hoping I had understood to take my flute with me. "Hail to all ancestors who might intercede for the relief of these souls. I know not their names, or families, and they have died in a faraway kingdom, alone. Grant them awareness that they might find their way to you."
"May the First Father and First Mother and other helpful ancestors give them the strength to persevere in their ascension in all good resolution, to meet the tests of life lived rightly and well. May these benevolent words mitigate and soothe their anger and fear, and may all know I did not take their lives."
"Holy, holy, most holy! Death who severes us from the living, yet joins us all in the end! Give us to our own and deliver us from fear, for eternity is our fate and our joy. From sea to flesh, from flesh to sea and from sea to spirit, the never-ending sacrifice and the sacrament of the sacrifice!"
No proper rite was it and no proper funeral at the bottom of a shark's gully, but as I didn't know their names, stopping my sharks just wouldn't have been worth the trouble. I hope my prayer had convinced the human ancestors of my sincerity. I counted a hundred heartbeats of silence before I turned to the cargo.
There were huge rolls of something white and soft that wasn't fabric, but wasn't thread either. It was all wet and I didn't know what it would be worth in that condition so I swam past it; an experimental shove proved they were also heavy. I was much more interested in the smaller bundles of deep blue, fluffy strands far longer than wider, tied tightly with many strings, and I thought I might take perhaps ten with me, dry them in the sun and then see what they were worth. I used those same strings to tie the bundles tightly on top of Aniih. But the many barrels and bottles, both water-tight, were what I was mainly interested in. Both Sǃeefinn and Aleǃunǃess got one barrel to carry each and I carried twenty bottles, bundled in the fabric than hung limp from the ship poles.
It was a day and a night's swim to the nearest groundsider settlement, with a short night's rest taken into account. I played my flute that night for the men, the eerie sound drifting through the seaweed like the silvery side of a fish. My dreams were strange that night, the shape of things yet to come. I saw people whose faces I didn't know, I wore pecious pearls and swathes of bright fabrics at one point and then I swum like wilds sharks were nipping at my fins, terribly certain I must be somewhere in time, though I knew not where and why.
The next day I dragged my body to a shore and it was an all-around nasty experience. The first thing was that in order to breath air I must cough my lungs empty from water. I convulsed on the white sands from the force of the coughing, water coming from my eyes, wondering if I was going to die as my midriff ached. And I knew how to walk, in theory, but I hadn't imagined how much water supports her children before the air refused to do the same. She knew me not as her daughter and I could barely stand upright a moment without swaying; to take a step was entirely out of question.
So I dragged myself to the brown and green, hardy plants - shrubs - and spread the blue, fluffy strings to dry on them, for the length of the entire beach. The sun burned my skin and I rolled in wet sand to protect myself, dragging myself back to the sea every time the sand dried and fell off. Eventually, eventually everything was on the beach, the strings and the bottles and barrels, and I begun to wonder how I would now find somemer to buy them off my hands.
"Well, you are a new one. And not of a family with raiding rights, as plain as a day." She had approached me from behind, walking upright with ease and grace. She wore two pieces of white cloth with a coloured strip at the border, the lower one worn below the navel and around the hips and the other one worn diagonally from along the right hip to the left shoulder and across the midriff. She wore a golden ring through her nose and she had pierces her earfins with pearl strings and she looked frankly filthy rich.
"Is that a problem?" I asked tersely, but she only laughed and shook her head.
"You aren't the first who has begun as a poacher and you won't be the last. A little competition is good, it keeps the prices lower. Let's see what you have got, the indigo is good," she said, running her fingers through one fine fistful of strands. "But in the future, you need to worry about birds stealing it away for their nests. You are lucky it isn't spring."
Her name was Awaah of Water's Edge, but everymer just called her by her human name, Arwa. I don't know how old she was, but at some time in her life she had learned a little magic and her house was shrouded in perpetual illusion, as though the light that poured in through the windows had shone through water. Anymer was welcome there and Arwa offered a cup of hot, dark tea, fish or red meat warmed with fire and fruits in exchange for a few dusky pearls.
The bundles of blue strands turned out to be indigo plant fibers, used to make indigo dye, which is fairly expensive. The barrels and bottles were even better, though. The barrels had sticky brown paste that Arwa told me was poppy tears. Humans and elves use it for the same purpose our people use jewel cells, though they usually burn it and breath the smoke instead of eating it. Usually; the bottles were full of herbal wine, which Arwa said is made of poppy tears, something called cloves and white wine. Drinking in and of itself was a strange thought to me, but Arwa assured me it was very necessary on land.
"We don't get all we need from eating fish here, the sun beats on us fiercer. But you have a good first catch and if you play your cards right, you can become a very rich woman indeed," she told me, all the while wrapping the indigo back into bundles as I lay down on the sand and felt myself as helpless as a baby. It occurred to me that if Arwa wished to simply take what was mine, I couldn't stop her, not when I couldn't even walk.
"You see, valuable on land and valuable in the sea are two different things. Take my clothes, for example!" Arwa twirled around and the fabric fluttered around her legs. "In Tlann this would be a queen's dress, but here is no need for expensive preservative magics and cotton is cheap. In Tlann gold is a needful metal because it doesn't rust and doesn't darken, but it is soft as well and pearls are more precious. Here pearls are much cheaper than gold." Her eyes were very dark for a mer, but now they shone like the sun rising above the horizon.
"I could buy cheaply from Tlann and sell here with profit and vice-versa," I breathed as the enormity of it dawned on me. "But why aren't the merchant houses a lot more wealthy then, than they are?"
"Because they don't understand what things are worth here, and don't care to live on land; it wouldn't be respectable. Because they look down on us, call us a lot of vagabonds and tramps who don't know their place. Because they have no interest to learn to live with other races and look down on us, yet would use us for their own ends. Many of us were poor once, many of us took a risk and poached to have a way out. We look after our own, Aǂhhrite of Shoal, and if you betray this bond we will string you to dry in the sun and eat your flesh. No funeral rites will be performed and your hhlan will never join your ancestors." And there was no laughter in Arwa'a eyes now.
"I have no reason to give them as much as a greeting, and good terms with you can only help me," I told her entirely honestly. She hadn't taken from me when she could have and I pay my debts.
I haven't betrayed their trust, not even now that I am to wed my sweet king, and I don't intend to. Sometimes people need a way out, a chance for better life if they are brave and clever and can make good of their chances. Now those merchants scorn me for having what they might have ambitiously dreamed should be their daughters' and I scorn them back. I will not betray my brothers and sisters on ground.
My catch was carried to the warehouses and I was carried to Arwa's house, where she had a ridiculous amount of furniture. Chairs, tables, chests, stands and soft, soft beds, some things are easier to have on ground.
"Couldn't I tempt you into staying for good? This would be a life of luxury for you," she asked me, but I shook my head, though with some regret.
"Maybe I would learn to walk, but I can't leave my sharks behind," I told her and she jumped at my words. "Please don't tell anymer, I may or may not have stolen them from the army," I continued and then she laughed, convinced I was jesting with her.
She was convinced otherwise when I slipped into the water the next day and she saw the fins cutting the water. I carried with me a huge pouch made of enchanted leather, filled to bursting with pearls, a smaller one with dusky pearls for the purposes of making smaller purcases, several enchanted clothes, five glass mirrors and a carefully wrapped porcelain dish set. I was ready to set myself up as a wealthy woman of mystery.
Of course the wealthy woman of mystery had to live outside Ssulot because I still must hide my sharks, but at least my ship home wasn't a hovel anymore and I didn't have to hunt so often - though I still hunted, out of honest enjoyment. I bought gold with pearls in Tlann and pearls with gold on ground and I was frankly baffled how easy it all was. I even considered buying a necklace of jewel snails, but that would have attracted more attention than I knew how to deal with. I was content, if not quite happy.
To be content means that I have enough rest and food so as to be not in any kind of discomfort. To be content means that there is nomer or nothing to outright make me unhappy, but it still isn't the same as happy. I lacked a goal, something to do other than idle my life away. Maybe most people would have been happy, but I found I needed something more.
The year I became seventeen years old King Ahǃino died and his son Ahǃinuss succeeded him. All common people considered this to be a very good thing, for where Ahǃino had been helpless to pacify the kingdom, his son's hand was firmer and struck fiercer. For the first week of his reign, a week he should have dedicated to silent contemplation and mourning, there were fourty-seven executions in Ssulot alone, a hundred and two in the whole kingdom total, for the crimes of murder, rape, kidnapping, assault, looting, rioting, vandalism of the crown's property and obstruction of the crown's agents in their duty. Basically whatever could be pinned on the person accused was, every single crime a judge could think of, and the harshest sentence possible was doled out regardless of their birth. The shockwave of it left Low and High Tide both reeling and people cheered.
That something else I had yearned came one night near the northern edges of Ssulot. I had hunted with my sharks every day for a tenday and I was comfortable leaving them at the outskirts, now certain they wouldn't abandon me. I carried a knife beneath my clothes and I was assured of my safety regardless of the night already falling. That something else came when I saw a small party of mer, five soldiers and a noble accosted by a group of at least twenty men.
I didn't much care which party they were. I remembered the night my parents had died and I smelled the blood in the water and before I knew it I had already dived into the fray. I was startled, in a distant, muffled kind of a way, by how easy killing those men was. They were so slow and disoriented, nothing like the smooth, sleek efficiency of a fleeing school of fish, and they may have had swords made of steel that would never rust, but no shark that slow to strike would ever have caught their prey. I slashed a long cut at one ribcage, cutting right into the bone, twisted my body and struck my fingers into eyes for the lack of gills.
It was so noisy. They screamed as they attacked and they screamed as they died, and so did the noble's guards and the noble himself - screamed, that is, he didn't die. I alone was as silent as a shark, but the noble wasn't a horrible fighter either, merely a bit... slow. I pulled back a man's head from the fin and when he cut the man's throat, our eyes met for the shortest of moment, a rapid heartbeat. Then the moment was over and I struck my knife between two ribs of a mer almost twice my size and right into his heart.
And then it was over. The noble and one guard yet lived, both reasonably unharmed. I had seven kills to my name and two men were injured too badly to swim away. Easy to question them, I thought and wondered that I once would have been so scared of them.
"To slay an old nightmare," I muttered and thought that perhaps I was now a nightmare. It amused me. I fear father wouldn't have been as amused.
"You have my deepest gratitude, your ladyship, for your valiance and the strength of your arm. Now tell me who is the mystery woman who has so risked her life to save her king's, for I haven't seen you at the court."
How could I have guessed he was the king? I had never seen his face before, and his red and golden robes were fine, but he wore no crown, not even a necklace of jewel snails.
"I am no ladyship, your majesty." I immediately leaned back so that the the long arc of my undefended belly was bared, feeling almost obscene though I knew in this context it was the position of deep respect and submission, not a proposition. "I am Aǂhhrite, daughter of Tǃton, of the dead and living of Making a Home by the Shoal. My father faithfully served your father in the army before he was murdered in one of the raids you have brought an end to." The position is surprisingly difficult to maintain for any length of time without drifting away, but I did my best.
"To bow your head would have been enough, your ladyship, for I owe you a great debt. You fight as fiercely as do the Wildpeople - and please don't take my words as an insult! They are the best warriors this ocean has ever seen." And he reached for my hand, pulled me into an easier position. Our eyes met again. He had bright, cuttingly clever eyes and the features of a man of strong character, with a thin-lipped mouth and a long, straight chin suggestive of resolution.
This is the story my ancestors whispered into the ears of the Gods Who Dream in the Deeps. A beautiful maiden saved a handsome king and received his hand in marriage and a considerable amount of power. Now my sharks live in the palace with me and people fear me all the more for them. That is good, for Ahǃinuss has many enemies. There isn't a law that states a king cannot marry a commoner, of course; who could tell a king what he can or cannot do? But certainly people try, and as they tried and were disappointed with me, they resent that unlike his father, Ahǃinuss doesn't let them grab for power that isn't their to take. The assassination attempt I intercepted was the first, but it wasn't the last.
Of course it wasn't as easy as simply plucking me from the wilds and putting me on a throne; I needed to learn first. The first lesson I learned was to fake it and delegate a lot to capable people, and keep faking until I was capable. One of the first things trusted to me was to manage the Coralclave meetings, at that point very uncomfortable affair for everyone involved. Every available surface of the chamber, ceiling and floor included, is plastered with carvings depicting mer engaged in various heroic acts wearing expressions of steadfast noble purpose. A cynic might say that none of the mer gathered there have ever performed a valiant act in their life so the craving for vicarious pride was understandable.
My valiant act has already been carved near the entrance. This has made none of the nobles very happy.
"He doesn't need the magical light because his town is close to surface? Are you kidding me? Do they not also need to preserve their food? Or would he perhaps like to establish a ground colony and store his food there?"
I let the words wash over me, arguments and counter-arguments over tax relief petitions blending together into a wall of noise. It was rather relaxing once I ignored the words. A bit like listening to children at play, really. He should have been thinking about economics and parliamentary procedure, but frankly I was counting the little magical clock's slow ascence towards the end of the meeting.
"Where precisely does he think that the funding for magic for his slaughter houses comes from? His own coffers?"
"Well you can tell that pompous old crabgrubber that the 'Historic Independence of the Shore People" is a load of turtle shit!"
Nothing quite teaches you respect of the political process like sitting through sessions like those. Perhaps that is why Ahǃinuss made me do it. He used to worry about my self-esteem quite a lot. And wasn't it a surprise to learn that his own great-grandfather used to be a Wildmer from the south, and that his grandfather had married a wildmer as well? I had always thought that their bloodline was as old as the Kingdon of Tlann itself. Nomer ever even whispered differently, and I know how people love to talk.
"People like to conveniently forget things they don't like. Nomer likes to think how weak Tlann was, those days, that the Captain of the Royal Guard might become a king himself," he told me when I asked. And Tlann had been weak after his father, but now Tlann will be strong again. My sharks circle the assembly and the people watch them with fear - they will learn to live as sharks as I did, or their children will, but listless, blind starvation of virtues will not be tolerated among those who are responsible for protecting the people. Nomer is irrepleaceble.
Now Ahǃinuss takes my crown from the High Priest and sets it upon my brow. It is a heavy golden ring adorned with pearls and jewels snails that hang in long chains and settle around my head. I would have liked diamonds better - my tastes have become a little grounsider - but pearls and jewel snails are what my people will understand. His lovely, strong mouth is curved into a smile as I straighten myself.
Regarding the ancestor worship, people generally worship the ancestors of their father, though their mother continues to worship hers. Sometimes exceptions will be made, of course, if there is nomer left in the mother's family to honor the dead and see to the rites - or if the mother temporarily needs a representative to worship them in her stead. Bodies are needed for the proper funeral so that the dead can be honored. They are put to shallow indents in the coral or rock outside the cities or towns and rocks are piled on top of them into a mound. Names are also needed to properly observe the rites, but sometimes, if the names are not known or the bodies are missing, the mer may give so-called "fishbone rite" to the dead in hopes of placating them and showing them respect as best as they are able.
Regarding the lesser and greater names: "I am Aǂhhrite, daughter of Tǃton, of the dead and living of Making a Home by the Shoal," is the formal introduction, Aǂhhrite of Shoal informal. The lesser names are used for everyday life and business, the greater names for religious rites, court functions, blood feuds and judical processes.
Yellow-bellied shark - tiger shark.
Great white death - great white shark.
Dotted shark - greater spotted dogfish.
Fleet shark - dusky shark, named so for being so fast, fleet.
Scar seal - sea lion, named so because the battling bulls are often scarred.
Dusky pearl - a molluskan pearl that has no luster or iridescence, can be polished, but still a lesser pearl.
Jewel snail - a snail that makes its own shell from sand and pieces of coral, they are farmed so that the snails have the most colourful buildding materials and used for jewelry. Since the snails only shed their old shells once every two years, the shells are the most expensive jewelry in Tlann.
Whale curlshells - barnacles.
Whitestone - limestone.
Death flute - a flute carved from the bone of a dead relative, only played in rituals held in honor of the dead. Played for a living person, it is a death threat.
Hunter flower - a name for different species of sea anemone.
Yellowfin - a species of tuna, actually named that in English too.
Jewel cell - a blue, red and yellow ctenophore with hallucinogenic neurotoxin, which is sort of deep-sea LSD.
In my world of Aiers, I have basically two "undersea" species: Merfolk -Tlannts- and Mermaids.
The true it's that I hadn't ever defined much neither of them.
For the Tlannts, I have two ideas: One is to make them not fish people, but related to sea mammals -as whales, dolphins, or even sea lions- or instead, as an amphibious ovipare race, related to sea dragons.
In both cases, they have legs because they don't live only in the sea.
Despise my indescition in them being mammals or ovipares, they are some of the few creatures, aside of elves, demons and dragons, to have maná, and therefore, "magic".
Because of this, sometimes they are called as Naiad, Oceanids, Nereids or Sea elf -thought they aren't related to elves-.
For the Mermaids, I have sometimes wondered, of making them or a myth among a mythical world -as pixies in Aiers- or make them some people