Merelew as depicted in Hollow Eve Festival 436 promotional material.
Merelew are willowy and graceful, akin to Elves. However, Merelew are covered head to toe in fishlike scales, which vary in color. Merelew possess gills behind their ears which allow them to breath diffused gases in the water. A modified circulatory system enables this additional form of respiration to operate in parallel with a standard land-based cardio-pulmonary system
Merelew males are always bald. Merelew females have swathes of hair that grow down the center of the scalp. Wearing it to the right denotes royal status, and all others wear it to the left. While some Merelew do have eyebrows, they are considered a recessive, unwanted trait that most Merelew lack, though all have eye ridges. No Merelew grow facial or body hair.
Merelew do not blink, in the normal sense. Typically unblinking while underwater, the Merelew possesses nictitating membranes.
Merelew scales are generally more "metallic" looking (shimmery, sheen) than a S'Kra Mur, and "fishlike" rather than lizardlike -- meaning that they are more smooth, whereas a lizard scale has a keratinized epidermis. Merelew fingers and toes are webbed.
Scale color hue ranges: White, Black, Gold, Silver, Green, Brown, Blue
Scales may be patterned: limned, spotted, striated, spangled, glittered/glittery
Natural Eye color range: clear, silver, green, blue, dark
Natural Hair color range: white, silver, blue, green, black
Merelew nasal features are often considered snubbed, short or small. Merelew do not have the nasal capacity to allow for "large, beak-like, aquiline" etc type noses.
Merelew prefer robes, togas, sarongs, loincloths, and bandeaus (cross shoulder style). Merelew do not wear footwear in general while on Andreshlew but do understand that "drylanders" find the practice of not wearing shoes "strange" and so will wear comfortable footwear such as slippers, clogs, mules. Most Merelew will remove this footwear as soon as they deem appropriate (which isn't always when the drylander would think appropriate). On dry land, Merelew also have been known to wear dresses (some male Merelew who are not "in the know" that this is generally a female clothing type have shown up in dresses as they are the most comfortable "drylander wear"),
Merelew tend to love jewelry. Both sexes have been known to kit themselves out in bracelets and bangles. Chokers are more popular than long necklaces, and within the last few years after Arilana's marriage, piercings other than ears (lip, eyeridge never nostril-area/noses) have become more popular with a younger set (or those more willing to be adventurous). Hand web tattoos are preferred over rings.
While The Merelew by Pralel Eirgowia is useful, it does not cover the full scale and threshold of Merelew society or people. Through the ages, rumors have been swirling about the Merelew being Elves, lost at sea. It is unknown if this is the truth - that history has been lost to the ages, as the Merelew themselves are older than the Seven Star Empire.
What is known, however, is that the Merelew share quite a few similarities to Elves, both in physiology and in culture. Some say that the Elves found the Merelew, across the Ocean - and found them uncultured, almost savage and began to teach the Merelew their Elven ways before abandoning the Merelew to their own devices. Merelew history, however, relates that they were created by Lemicus directly.
Merelew, like Elves, are able to lifesculpt - their domain is coral, pearl (nacre), sandstone, shells, and cuttlebone. Andreshlew was created via this form of lifesculpting (depth shaping), and while thought to be attached to land at some point, was (for unknown reasons) detached either on purpose or forcibly.
From Pralel’s book...
"The island then floated off with the currents. The Merelew refer to this time as the Exile, as it was a period of great change and upheaval. Andreshlew suffered numerous damages during the Ocean crossing, and many Merelew were killed. It was during the Exile that the Merelew first found the need for an organized government.
A few leaders stepped forward and directed their people, in the damage control and rebuilding, in the hunt for food. It was the organization of the new Merelew King that allowed their people to flourish so far away from the land they had once depended upon. When the first king of the Merelew died of old age, his firstborn was given the leadership of the people. It is interesting to note that the Merelew opted for this form of government, just as the River Elves have done. The current Merelew royals also oversee trade agreements and gain first pick of salvage as a privilege of their rank.
In time, Andreshlew arrived in the Reshal Sea of the Five Realms, though the lands were not known as such then. The Merelew proceeded to begin massive lifesculpting to enhance their city, as well as repair parts of it damaged during their long voyage. Never before had so much Lifesculpting been performed on one thing so much as this, and the results amazed the Merelew. Andreshlew gained a form of sentience. The city, they discovered, had become ill. Andreshlew floated to the sea's surface while the Merelew desperately searched for a cure."
Before the Seven Star Empire was formed, Merelew traded infrequently, but freely with drylanders -- particularly River Elves. Metal, which the Merelew did not have the ability to create at that time was an especially prized commodity. A small village near what is now Riverhaven was often used, some Merelew even lived there for a time.
However, once the Empire formed the belief was that the Empire ruled everything. Merelew were ordered to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Empire. They did not, and so left. Merelew trade all but ceased, with sporadic contact with River Elf clans they felt close to.
Some Merelew consider this the Second Exile. After this point, Merelew lived mainly under the sea on Andreshlew, until the island itself became ill and the first Feast of Eluned was established; a reward offered by King Lithralia II for the cure to heal the island.
Afterwards, Merelew contact again became sparse.
Rather than disease, it was love from King Galpelus' youngest daughter Arilana that brought about the third Feast of Eluned. Her marriage to Prince Vorclaf of Zoluren (382 AV), the story of which has been recounted elsewhere, was the occasion for Andreshlew's most recent return. As a ruling Princess of a province after the marriage, and with ties to Andreshlew's own royal line, Arilana acted as a bridge to ensure trade with the Merelew became slightly less sparse.
After Arilana and her two children were moved to Andreshlew for safety during Lyras' invasion on Kermoria, more and more Merelew are both venturing to the mainland and taking an interest in becoming part of that world.
While in the past there was a belief that Andreshlew rises naturally every one hundred years, this is appears to be a mistranslation of the time during the Seven Star Empire when trade was nearly non-existent between Merelew and Kermoria, but did still exist at a rate of approximately once every one hundred years.
Since most Merelew reside on Andreshlew, they speak (and write) their native tongue - Asaran. Asaran shares many commonalities with Ilithic and its ancient counterpart, Chui'lana. Most Merelew understand Ilithic at a very basic level. Since the marriage of Princess Arilana to Prince Vorclaf of Zoluren, many Merelew have also undertaken to learn Common as a secondary language.
Owing to the origins of Merelew, and their subsequent self-sequestering for many thousands of years, the primary religion of the Merelew was that of the aspects of Eluned. After the Exile, the religion of the Merelew amalgamated and thus the Merelew version of Eluned, (like the western religions of the Rakash and Prydaen) became Aluna. Thus, for many years primary worship fell to Aluna, although the two names Eluned/Aluna are interchangeable.
Aluna is goddess of the sea - Aluna is the moonlight streaming through the kelp on the ocean floor, and the silvery moon-kissed crests of waves in the dark. She is depicted in Merelew culture as a stately female Merelew with pure silver scales and bright green hair. In representations, symbolic or otherwise, Aluna is often depicted as riding a gigantic sea turtle in her Merelew form or as a crescent moon being carried in the jaws of such a sea turtle.
Increasingly during recent years, due to exposure during the First and Second Feasts of Eluned and Arilana's marriage, some Merelew have begun to re-branch out with worship of the full Kermorian pantheon. However, Aluna/Eluned worship firmly remains the most dominant among Merelew society.
Andreshlew. Merelew have no current outposts.
Andreshlew line of succession is "absolute cognatic primogeniture" or "lineal primogeniture" in which the oldest living child regardless of gender is in line for the throne. The current house, House Deladriel has been unbroken since the First Exile.
Points of Interest
These materials have a cultural connection or history that originates with Merelew.
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