Sirenia

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Sirens are an aquatic race that dwell within the sea in numerous clans scattered across the world, though they often explore on the surface world. While their appearance varies depending on the particular sub-species, common identifiers are their webbed hands, guills, and sharp teeth. All siren are born with a 'water spirit'. They're viewed as their own personal guardian angel, and the Sirenian takes on personal and physical traits of the animal they match. Although they can sometimes manifest representations of their spirit via their magic, communication is purely done emotionally rather then through words. It is very similar to how cosmic magi have stars and can bond with them.

As for physical traits, all Sirenia have fragile sharp teeth that are serrated. It is not uncommon for teeth to break and grow back again within a few weeks. Molars do not develop until a Sirenian enters their mid-teens, and do not grow back like the rest of their teeth if broken. A Sirenian may choose to either cut raw meat into strips or unhinge their jaws to open their throat space to swallow it whole until then in order to work around their inability to chew. They need a heavy meat diet to survive, and things such as to many vegetables or desserts can make them ill. Although their 'human' forms are all very similar, it can be easy to tell the difference as each subspecies has subtle cues.

Sirenian blood is green and thick. It has a more coppery taste to it than regular blood due to excess iron. Recovery rate is higher for the Sirenia, healing a quarter to a third quicker than humans. However injuries from fire and other magics they are weak to have double the recovery rate. Their skin color ranges from pale grey, to greenish yellow, to blue, to very dark. Although quite varied in color, it always has a hint of unnaturalness to those who normally live on land.

Perhaps most notably, a siren's tail only shows itself when they're deep in water, while on land their legs form allowing them to move about and such.

Species[edit]

Mermaid[edit]

Children of Galene.

The most common of the Sirenia. They take on aspects of any type of fish, such as sharks, flying fish, tuna, that sort of thing. Mermaids are often the most social of the species, choosing to live off of coastal cities. They have translucent skin that has a greenish quality to it. Gills along either side of the neck, and ears are either pointed or in the shape of fins. Either or both fingers and toes are webbed. Their hair often has strange but bright coloration as well, which matches the color of their tails.

Anguill[edit]

Children of Scylla.

Sirenia that usually live in the deep sea. Their aspects are varied between eels, sea snakes, and in rarer cases, sea slugs. Their tails are long and flexible rather than finned. Their eyes are sometimes a little far apart, and their skin seems clammy, a little sticky and somewhat moist. They also have very thin lips but wide mouths, with their ears are often smaller and more rounded than a humans. They also have longer and broader noses then most as well.

Selkie[edit]

Children of Leucothea.

Nearly all Selkie live inland, in rivers and mainly the swamp. Their creatures are of aquatic mammal nature, seals, otters, walruses, manatee. Sea Selkie often have traits of orcas or dolphins, and are the rarest of all Sirenia. They're the only Sirenia who cannot breathe underwater. Their nails are colored black or a dark hue and very thick, with fur around the fingers, hands, and feet. Eye coloration tends to be pitch black, and their eyes have a glassy tone to them. Bushy eyebrows and beards are also common. Those with whale spirits do not have any fur or hairy traits at all, but are prone to having annoying laughs.

Society[edit]

Water Spirit[edit]

The water spirit is an entity that is born and dies with the Sirenia. They often choose to be invisible, or show themselves using magics that the Sirenia is familiar with. Such as a Mermaid's spirit might be made of water.

The animal that is born with a Sirenia is not related to anything other then species. However the type of spirit you have can greatly affect your place in society. Those with more powerful animals like sharks are expected to take positions in the military, and those with more intelligent such as octopus are expected to be scholars. Smaller animal spirits are considered to be useless, it is not uncommon for parents to abandon children who might be weak as a result of their spirit affinity.

Water spirits play a vital roll in the coming of age ceremony for Sirenia. The Sirenian sings for their spirit and asks them for more strength. In serious cases, they may choose to attempt to strengthen their relationship further by binding their mana circuits together. However this can be a dangerous process and requires a channeling stone to help focus the spirit's energies. They also play an important ceremonial and practical purpose in reproduction, regulating a water spirit's parasitic qualities during the act in question. Reproduction outside of the Sirenian race will always lead to a Sirenian child, though a half blooded fishman will be lame and weakened until they forge a bond with a water spirit, lest they live a life neither truly Sirenian, nor ever a pure human. Mating outside of the Sirenian race is often fatal for the non-Sirenian partner due to the innate symbiosis and mana parasitic qualities of water spirits; a non-Sirenian would require a strong will and excess reserves of mana to survive the act.

Spirits are practically invulnerable to all magics except those that directly harm the soul. Using such magic to destroy the spirit will kill the Sirenian as well.

Names[edit]

Although any Sirenian may choose to have a last name, it is not a part of their family structure. Thus any last names tend to be over the top and extravagant, not always passed on to any children they choose to have. Instead, a name of a child is traditionally a mesh of the two parent names. Example, Zaniyah being a construct of Zabor and Galniyah. Those whose parents do not wish to pass their names on often have single or double syllable names, like Rise.

In place of a surname, they do sometimes give themselves titles, such as 'Waterblessed' or 'Sharkheart'.

Old Atlantis, Kerdanhel[edit]

Where Marendille’s city once proudly stood there is nothing but ruin. The floating coral structures had degraded long ago, leaving only corrupt purple husks that even the sea refuses to wash away. The normal currents of the ocean seem to have no effect here; as if time was frozen, that which rests in this cursed zone will remain there for eternity.

No natural marine life passes through Kerdanhel. Any fish or whale unfortunate enough to bumble into it is killed if they are lucky; if not they are doomed to succumb to the tainted whispers below the ground and the corruption of the waters, becoming husks of their former selves that thirst for the blood of all living things.

The water of Kerdanhel is icy cold and extremely thick; even sirens have trouble breathing here, and they cannot dive far. While all know the stories of what happened, none have to this day seen what truly rests at the bottom of the gulf, even though it is well within the reasonable diving range of an anguil. The prison of the Deep One may be ‘shallow’, but it has never been reached, at least not by those who retained their sanity. It is forbidden to travel to Kerdanhel for obvious reasons, and anyone even mentioning it is usually dragged away by the secretive Liveyal’s Chosen and never seen again. Bands of Royal Guard constantly patrol its perimeter, yet looking into it little can be seen due to the unnatural foggy thickness of the water. Occasionally even they hear whispers, at which point they are immediately recalled to Atlantis and examined over several weeks to check for corruption.

One thing they have been able to report is the formation of giant pillars of crystalline rock that were certainly not there when the city was founded. These crystals were deep purple and laced with scarlet-like veins. Of the few samples that were found outside the quarantine zone, all were seized by the Chosen and those that gathered them had to be destroyed as the substance was deemed extremely mind altering. This strange crystal would later become known as Morigul, or the Deep Ones Blood. Despite common belief, the highest in the Chosen order know that it is possible to survive and even thrive in Kerdanhel. It is the place where many outcasts or defectors travel when they have nowhere else to go, becoming another mouthpiece for the sealed Deep One and leaving to spread its cult. For a hundred years and more the Royal Guard and the Chosen have kept vigil to ensure as few sirens as possible fall prey to Kerdanhel, but there are always those that escape the net.

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Sirens that live in Kerdanhel are all cultists without question. They are corrupted in terrifying ways, their skin bruised and purple, their gills rotten and sight stolen long ago. Many harbour mutations such as tentacles, warped tails or claws, even the ability to spit acid or poison. The dark mutating effects of the waters make the fallen sirens many times stronger than their kin. Magic-wise, they seem to have a tendency towards cosmic magic, yet they do not call upon the stars for mana-- they draw it from the Deep One itself. This is something that they themselves proclaim yet the Chosen vehemently deny. There is no sanity nor order in the depths of Kerdanhel. Even human ships who are foolish enough to sail across it are almost assuredly damned, their vessels sinking to the bottom of the ocean and never seen again. The sailors pray for quick deaths lest they become mutated into something revolting. Those that survive often stumble upon the nearest shore, mutated beyond recognition, drowning constantly from water trapped in their lungs yet unable to die to all but the most serious wounds. This cursed water is therefore avoided by sailors; to human kingdoms it is known as the ‘Hanged Mans Reef’. They have many rumours of what may lay beneath, but none know the truth for the Chosen will never share it with an outsider.

One discovery by the Chosen is that there are cultists among the land dwelling nations of the world. It can only be theorised that some of the Sirenia of Kerdanhel escaped to spread their mad teachings to sailors, who in turn took it with them to the various countries of Eternia. It is a fickle situation to deal with, as the rulers of Atlantis have no intention of spreading awareness about the cult, and they only hope that the human kingdoms are wise enough to strike it down themselves when they catch wind of it.

New Atlantis[edit]

The Kingdom of Atlantis, the World's Capital for Sirenian kind, was designed much like the first, built around a small and isolated set of islands. On these islands the selkie could sleep and lay their eggs. Below the waters, blessed coral would be used to create winding, floating towers for the mermaids and anguil to thrive in. The latter would have their own towers somewhere further from the coast, but not so deep as to provoke the wrath of the deeper things that still scurried along the darkest ocean floors.

Atlantis was a city both tiered and incredibly spread out; the seas were bountiful, after all, and the further they cast their nets (literally and metaphorically) the more they could catch. If all of its territory were to be taken into account, the city could be more adequately compared to a large country, though most of it is simply open water. Mermaids tend to build their floating residencies up to a few hundred feet below the surface and farm coral and pearls on shallow ground. The deepest anguill homes rest at over a thousand feet below the surface, where sunlight is scarce.

The city is ruled by a small council made up of representatives of each race. Together they oversee the military, church and day to day government collectively, though recently there has been a noticeable split in responsibilities rather than a cooperative effort.

Atlantis’ military is the Royal Guard, made up of sirenia of all species and swelling each day. They patrol the waters, report any unusual patterns in fish migration or habits, keep sailors away from their homes and deal with the occasional threat. They are also partially responsible for ensuring that hunters and gatherers practise sustainable harvesting methods. The church of Atlantis is led purely by priestesses, who organise the yearly rituals and events while also purifying any corrupted water or minerals that they find. They possess power unique to their kind, able to sense even the faintest amount of evil mana thanks to the blessing of Yama… or whoever it was that was watching over them unbeknownst to the sirens. In Atlantis, everybody plays their role. Citizens are either gatherers, labourers or guardians nurturing eggs and youth. Communal families mean that young sirenia grow up with a host of positive influences and are safe from the typical fears of the ocean that might plague smaller tribes, such as sharks, orcas or even wicked minded sailors.

This has led to an exponential population increase and a constant expanding of Atlantis despite the sustainable efforts… but it can’t go on forever. With so many eggs being laid and no natural threats to reduce their numbers, overpopulation may become a serious issue. Rumour has it among some radicals that the government is even poisoning some sources of food to reduce numbers.

Sirenians in Atlantis are separated into clans-- the most minor may house a dozen members, while the largest have several hundreds. The rulers of the city tend to be selected from the most prominent clan. Since there is no true economy (other than the occasional trading with human sailors for trinkets, or gathering of meteorite and other valuable building materials), it rests on clans to prove their deeds to the current council. To this end many go out seeking danger that would have otherwise left them alone.

All in all the city is a safe, but busy place to live. Most sirenia don’t have much foresight for the future and just live day-to-day.

Nomadic[edit]

Not all sirenians live in Atlantis. There are dozens of clans that live across the entire world, migrating from ocean to ocean when the seasons are right and living off of the land. These ‘feral’ sirens typically have their own differing dialects and culture, though they adhere to many of the core beliefs of the sirenia. The oldest clans are hundreds of years old, from before the fall of the first Siren city at the hands of the mimic meteorite. There are many other, younger clans after the failure of Marendille’s original Atlantis.

Infant mortality tends to be much higher in these clans, as their numbers are small and they must move regularly. Only the strongest survive, leading to rugged members and a survival of the fittest mentality. These feral sirens are as likely to befriend sailors as they are to kill them, and some wicked sailors also try to capture sirens as exotic pets-- a difficult task as they are all attuned to magic to some degree. The local beliefs and upbringings of the nomadic selkie clans are wildly varied, and players are encouraged to make their own-- but they will not wildly differ from the common held beliefs in Yama and the goodness of the ocean. There are no cult nomadic clans.

Religion[edit]

In the first age, dominion of the ocean was granted to divine dragon Jormungandr, a titanic creature with magical scales that never dull or fall. He created the primordial Yama, a shape-shifting serpent, to assist him. Nearly all Sirenia worship Yama as their deity, though festivals to Leucothea, Scylla, and Galene are often held by their respected tribes. Priests of Yama are known to sacrifice their enemies or volunteers to the deity. The ritual forces the victim's soul to travel to Yama where they must help him gather stones and weigh the sins of others for a hundred years before they can rejoin the lifestream. They do this to ease Yama's workload and so he is never lonely. It is a simple ritual that involves singing the song of Yama as the living heart is carved out of the body, before being swallowed whole while it still beats.

There is no strong concept of marriage for Sirenia, however birthing religious rights are considered to be very important. A thanks is made to the water spirit born with the child, and a blessing is asked of the Mother deity of the Mermaid, Anguill, or Selkie born. Burial rights are also nearly non-existent. Often it is just a song that asks for the stones Yama uses to weigh the sins of that who has passed are light in weight.

Inki and Yama[edit]

In the beginning, many primordials explored the world and shaped it to their desires.

Among them was the great whale Inki, who looked down at the flat land and saw what could be. He dug his tail into the ground and created mountains and valleys. His brother, Yama, who had been granted the same space, mocked his effort, but Inki continued until his world was shaped. But there was still nothing. Just mounds of mud and holes in the earth.

Tired and worn, Inki laid in a trench and cried. Years passed, and eventually his tears flooded over him to create riverlands. Yet he was still lonely, so he gathered the salt of his tears mixed with mud and formed life.

Yama came to mock him again. His brother had spent most of his energy to craft such useless things and still felt nothing but pain and suffering. So he in turn took the salt and the mud and crafted a creature that somewhat bared their image, the Selkie. The first of the Sirenia, named Leucothea who was gifted with an ivory porpoise tail. A creature with a beautiful voice who could sing away any worries that Inki felt.

But all he felt was jealousy.

Inki fled to the land and created the lakes and the rivers, and the creatures that live in them. Yet he was unable to create anything that sung as beautifully as Leucothea. Meanwhile, Yama created the first Anguill, Scylla, and the first Mermaid, Galene, so that Leucothea would not feel lonely. And he gifted them each with their own water spirit so that they will always know he loved them.

While Yama enjoyed his time in the seas, Inki began to grow jealous. The seas he loved had been overrun by the children of Leucothea, Scylla, and Galene, and the lands had been overtaken by other gods. Even though he had helped craft the world through his body, he found no place for himself in it.

In short, his wrath was turned on Yama, the one who mocked him and stole his place as a worshipped deity. Inki traveled to the land and convinced those there to rage war with the sea. The land creatures built boats and poisoned the waters, the Sirenia in return sunk the boats and poisoned the water on the land. Yama gifted his creations with the ability to walk on land to attack the people there. In return Inki captured Leucothea, most loved by Yama, and her children. He robbed them of their ability to breathe underwater so they could never return to their true home. Inki then altered their forms to grow fur so they more closely resembled the land creatures they had grown to hate. Leucothea blamed herself for what had come to pass. She attempted to return to the ocean to seek out Yama, but drowned in her attempts. Scylla took her Anguill and fled to the deepest parts of the ocean to hide out of fear of something similar happening to them, and only Galene with her Mermaids remained to fight at Yama's side.

Yama succeeded with negotiating with the land gods to stop the war, greatly pained by what had happened to Leucothea. He challenged Inki to one on one combat. Inki agreed, resulting in a giant storm that plagued the oceans for many centuries.

In the end, Yama was triumphant. However Inki had anticipated such and destroyed himself casting a terrible curse that launched Yama into the deepest depths of the netherworld where he could only meet again with his beloved creations in death. It is said he guards the coral gates that all Sirenia must pass before they journey to the afterlife, and gathers stones for which to weigh the sins of all life with.

The Enemies of the Siren[edit]

The sea is treacherous and full of predators, a number of which have been marked as high level threats by the warriors of sirenian clans.

Rasska[edit]

A terrible watery dragon with a dozen heads and a body as tough as adamantite, the Rasska was one of the early threats to Sirenian expansion once the barriers had weakened. It swam as fast as a shark and could dive to the deepest depths of the ocean. The Rasska was finally slain at the hands of Marrendille.

Leviathan[edit]

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The children of Jormungand, the Great Leviathan that flooded the world and created the ocean. The Leviathan are the original enemy of the Sirenians, the destroyers that took many of their homes, and one of the few that still roams the seas. It is a massive creature, dwarfing the greatest ships of man. Still, the monster rarely leaves its nesting ground at the bottom of the deepest gulfs of the ocean. It is said that seeing the Leviathan rising above the surface is a terrible omen and a warning of flooding.

The Deep One, That Which Should Not Be[edit]

In Atlantean language and rituals, the Deep One is referred to as the Mori. This name is never spoken outside of sacred rituals performed by priestesses; they simply refer to him as the Deep One in the common tongue. Though its physical presence was short lived, the cult inspired by the Deep One nearly brought about the end of all of Siren-kind. If it weren’t for the intercession of Liveyal and the spirits which she channelled, the creature and its cultists would have waged a bloody war on the surface and claimed countless lives.

None have seen the true form of the deep one. In murals and artistic pieces it is usually painted as a massive, squid-like creature with a single burning eye and hundreds of serrated teeth. Its tentacles can topple ships and towers alike, and its voice has the power to shatter the minds and bones of its opponents. The most dangerous aspect of the Deep One is its whispers. Legends say that those who are foolish enough to travel to the forbidden zone of Kerdanhel can hear the multi-layered voices of the monster, tempting it with power and freedom. Through ancient magics that the modern world cannot comprehend, the Deep One has the ability to control and warp the minds of mortal creatures as easily as a man taking breath.

Such a foul creature cannot be said to be of Kraus’ design. In Sirenian legend, the Deep One is often referred to as a reincarnation of Inki, a material manifestation of all his hatred and anger at the world that had abandoned him taking form into a creature that would never be defied again.

Kraken[edit]

The spawn of the Deep One, perhaps his offspring, or cultists so far gone that they become monsters themselves and fester at the depths of Kerdanhel only to rise to feast on unsuspecting naval ships. Even a young kraken can tear a large boat in two with its many powerful tentacles.

Legendary Figures of Atlantis[edit]

Marendille[edit]

The First King of Atlantis and hero of the sirenian people, Marendille was blessed with visions of his ancestors and brought to a secret shrine where he uncovered a weapon of ages past. Using this weapon he defeated many great beasts and brought the sirenian tribes under his rule. His reign was firm but just for many decades…

In his old age however he fell under the influence of the Deep One and began planting the seeds of darkness within his city. Over the next few years it would escalate until he finally revealed his true colours and brought the Deep One out to consume the city and all its inhabitants. Slain by the high priestess Liveyal, the legacy of the first king is one that has split the sirenian population.

Liveyal[edit]

The High Priestess of Atlantis. Liveyal was born into one of the many nomadic tribes that were united under Marendille’s rule and trained to be a priestess at a young age. She held a great passion for her work and stood out amongst her peers. Unfortunately the selkies were a very petty bunch and standing out only made her the subject of rumor mongering and ridicule. Despite attempts by her colleagues to drag her down, the priestess continued to distinguish herself and played a useful role in purifying the waters upon which Atlantis would soon be built. She continued to serve faithfully in the ranks for many decades until she was finally promoted to High Priestess.

When rumours began spreading of cultists and the corruption of the White Coral far below Anguill lands, Liveyal would investigate despite Marendille forbidden it. Her instincts proved correct and she was able to interrupt a meeting with several other priestesses and capture the cultists. Unfortunately they were unable to extract any information from the mad men before they killed themselves or simply expired to strange, decaying magic.

Suspecting that something was wrong with the king, Liveyal went to report it to the public rather than to the sirenian court. She and her party were however intercepted by loyalist sirens and thrown into jail without trial, where they would remain for many years.

Once the Deep One finally emerged from its ancient slumber, the destruction of Atlantis and its prisons allowed Liveyal to escape despite all odds. At this point the city was teeming with cultists and vile mana, chanting their praise to the Deep One and preparing themselves to advance in its name upon the surface world. The prison had been enchanted to allow her to breathe, but these waters were dark and oppressive; Liveyal only had a few minutes to hold her breath before she would need to retreat for air. She chose to try and make a difference.

Sneaking through the blood filled waters, Liveyal managed to catch Marendille unprepared and wrestle the trident of Gallene from his control and slew him with it. As the other cultists turned around in surprise and prepared to descend upon her in a frenzy, Liveyal lifted the trident and uttered one final prayer to Yama and all the divine beings that still watched over Eternia. Her trident glowed with light, fixated on the Deep One so many thousands of feet below, unseen to the naked eye but unable to escape its judgment.

Though Liveyal was promptly torn apart, the trident struck true, powered by her mana and the prayers that left her lips. It pierced the blackened fog and shattered the impenetrable hide of the Deep One and the earth below it, forcing the shallow ocean floor to splinter and erupt into lava before consuming the beast and imprisoning it once more.

Liveyal is a martyr for all that the Sirenia believe in, the greatest figure for priestesses to aspire to, an embodiment of bravery and sacrifice. Her deeds are celebrated every year in the new city, and the highest enforcers that stand vigil against any re-emerging cults are known as Liveyal’s Chosen.

Materials of the Siren[edit]

Meteorite[edit]

Across Eternia’s timespan, many meteorites have sunken to the bottom of the ocean and rested there undisturbed for centuries. Unlike those that tend to crash on human lands and splinter into a thousand fragments, these underwater meteorites have their descend cushioned by the waves and are often in far more pristine shape. Due to the nature of the stars and cosmos, they are more than simply rocks; mana is intricate to their design. Weapons and armour made of meteorite will never rust, and they lend their support to the mana of the user. Most meteorite can be comparable to steel with the added element of buffering magic capacity, though some high quality armaments saved for kings and great heroes from the earliest meteors in existence are far more potent.

Blessed Coral[edit]

The sacred white coral of the sirens is what has been used for most of their floating structures, which are typically reserved for sleeping inside and for privacy. This specially grown coral can be infused with the prayers of a priestess and made to float at certain depths depending on the strength of the enchantment, making it perfect for any siren. The coral grows only at the deepest depths, closer to the core of the world and its magic... glowing a faint, aquatic blue in the darkness of the ocean.

Sea Stones[edit]

The jewels of the ocean, there are many different sea stones that vary from region and climate, as well as the influence of magic over the centuries. Many sirenian explores love to dive and collect a trove of gems to bring back to Atlantis as an offering. Sirenia like to collect these magical gemstones, and other such shells, shiny and vibrant things. They also like to exchange tales, stories, braggings to each other from other continents or cities.

Morigul[edit]

The ‘Deep Ones Blood’ are giant crystals that grew in the aftermath of the Deep Ones imprisonment and radiate all the corruption and malice one might expect from such an ominous name. These crystals are a brilliant purple with red veins scattered all across the surface, giving it an eerie appearance. Contact with Morigul is an immediate death sentence in Atlantean society.

Even holding it briefly is enough to begin to hear faint chatter in the back of your mind; to don it as armour or use it as a weapon is to damn yourself to corrupting voices that only the most strong willed of warriors can ignore. It evokes the emotions of the user and preys on them, making him second guess his every move. As such weapons and armour made out of Morigul are unreliable for use unless the user has succumbed to its darkness.

This mineral is never found outside of Kerdanhel, though rumour has it that a few exceptionally stupid humans may have stumbled upon some fragments floating on the surface. If they did, they are sure to have hidden their precious prize.