Encyclopedia Realmgardica: Sea Folk

While few reasonable people in Realmgard doubt the existence of mermaids and their male counterparts, such doubts can be excused due to the fact that very few people living on land have ever met or even seen one of the Sea Folk.

Guillaume d’Arquestone and the mermaid: a popular, but possibly apocryphal, episode in the history of the Darkstone family.

“The stories say that somewhere that some Darkstone somewhere along the line supposedly married a mermaid.”

Kat Darkstone, in reference to the incident in the above picture.

While few reasonable people in Realmgard doubt the existence of mermaids and their male counterparts, such doubts can be excused due to the fact that very few people living on land have ever met or even seen one of the Sea Folk. There are, after all, several obvious difficulties presented by the attempt to establish diplomatic relations with a society living underwater. Thus, most people in Realmgard know about mermaids only through stories. Many of such stories, often romantic and frequently tragic, involve a mermaid falling in love with a sailor, or a fisherman, or someone else of a similar nautical persuasion.

The truth of the Sea Folk is generally less impressive than what is established by the stories, not being really that different from the peoples dwelling on land. The Sea Folk are generally understood to be a kind of Wilderling, whose ancestors utilised magic to take on shapes suited to the exploration and settlement of the depths of the seas of Terrace.

Indeed, the Sea Folk are able to change shape to suit their environments, adopting the human-bodied, fish-tailed “mermaid” shape while in the water and gaining legs while on the land. This allows the Sea Folk to travel onto land with significantly greater ease than the land-based peoples of Realmgard can venture into the depths.

In their land-based form, there is no obvious indication that one of the Sea Folk has come onto land, except perhaps a mild awkwardness and clumsiness as they acquaint themselves to legs and an inordinate fondness of water and keeping hydrated. This allows the Sea Folk to essentially hide in plain sight on land, no doubt to escape from the incessant questions of the land-dwellers.

As a final note, though “mermaid” is the most common word used to describe the Sea Folk, strictly speaking, a mermaid is, by definition, a female. Even more strictly speaking, a young, unmarried female (as in “maiden“).

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