Merfolk (singular forms: "merman" and "mermaid") are The Land's third fully intelligent race, created by a team of Sorreters led by Eric and Nyza. The project to create merfolk began in LY 807, and the first success came in 810. The first generation of merfolk lived outside Sorret, in West Ocean (in an area that came to be known as Aquaton in 833). In 854, a group of second generation merfolk migrated to First Sea, where they founded New Aquaton. Another migration occurred within West Ocean after the Coming of the Order, when a number of merfolk moved to an area of the ocean nearer Woodstockade, where they founded Freewater.
Note, just as elves use the term "sorcery" instead of "sorretry" to refer to the practice of magic, merfolk use the term witchcraft. Mermen who practice magic are referred to as warlocks, while mermaids who practice magic are referred to as witches.
Inspiration & DescriptionEdit
Much as the creation of elves is thought to have been partly inspired by one of the plays of Tooblan, the creation of merfolk is known to have been partly inspired by another of his plays, The Tempestuous One. Of course, as with elves, the creation of merfolk was also greatly inspired by stories from Earth. Of course, as with all mythical creatures on the Land, it is assumed that they never existed in reality on Earth. Certainly the physiology was difficult to perfect, and the Sorreters involved in the project consulted extensively with both physicians and marine biologists. Merfolk have lungs like humans, and are capable of breathing air. However, they also have gills like fish, which allow them to breathe underwater (and they can close off the airways to their lungs, which prevents them from drowning). Other than these gills (which are located on the neck), their upper bodies appear entirely human. However, everything below the abdomen has the appearance and functionality of a koi (which means the coloration of individual merfolk may vary greatly). Their reproductive system works the same as that of oviparous fish, and therefore merfolk do not engage in sexuality in the same sense as do humans. However, they are capable of attraction, and are understood to engage, privately, in human activities such as kissing and hugging. (It has been said that the team that created the race "tweaked" their psychology in some way to make it easier for them to accept the impossibility of sex, which has also led to their having a somewhat bawdier sense of humor than that of most Landian humans or elves.) Another important physiological difference is that merfolk are homeothermic, whereas humans and elves are endothermic.
While the majority of merfolk never wear clothing of any kind, there are those (such as members of the Marine Corps or Congressional delegates) who may frequently come in contact with humans or elves. For the sake of modesty in inter-species relations, such merfolk commonly wear "swimshirts" which are made primarily of latex. Such clothing may also be used to help protect them when visiting colder waters than they're used to, though their homeothermic nature also provides help in regulating body temperature.
Merfolk are capable of human speech, though this form of communication is impossible underwater, and so they also use sign language, a form of communication done by making different shapes with their hands. This language was taught to members of the project that created merfolk by spirits, and these members later taught the language to the first generation of merfolk. However, there have been rumors that merfolk witches and warlocks may have devised telepathy as an alternative method of communication underwater. (This rumor also suggests that the "tweaking" of their psychology may have somehow made telepathy easier to achieve than it would be for humans or elves.) It should also be noted that, like elves, merfolk possess a slightly different psychology than humans, not only because of the tweakng done by their creators, but also because they are not subject to the punishment of The Fall.