The problem with mermaids is that everyone wants to lump them up like they be some sort of sea monster. One mermaid is just like the next, they all sing men to their deaths, and they all have green fish tails. It's a bunch of bilge. Near as I can tell, the seafolk think the same of us, doesn't matter what flag we be flying from our mast, one human is just the same as the next. T'is true there be plenty of those green tailed ladies of the sea, and for the most part, they don't mind us if we don't mind them. They've no love for fishermen, they can get a might tangled up in the nets. But usually the fisherman loses his net and both cuss each other's mothers for the rest of the day. But lad, you've got me telling fish stories and that's not what I aim'd to do. There be tribes and races of the seafolk. You know the Greentails the best. But there is another group ye got to keep your eyes out for. They be the Cecaelia and they've not got tails. Their mother be the Sea but their father be strange beasts of the deep. They've got tentacles like the squid and the octopus. Their hair, it be dark like raven's wings or hull tar. Their faces are pale and their breasts are full. But from their waist down they grow a great squirming swarmin mass of tentacles. They can climb the side of a ship in the night, and if they catch a man unawares they can easily take him and choke the life from him. Their minds are like their bodies, dark and roiling things. The Cecaelia don't like us surface folk. That's why the ships lamps be in locks, so a sneaky lass with a squid fer an ass can't just tip it over and burn the ship down.
Griegor, Ship's Watchman
"We come from the deeps, from the great grottos where the sun cannot reach even with its great might. The gods of fire and sky have no reign there," she says and I can hear something scraping across the bottom of the boat, I know it is her. "And in those lightless depths Kun, the great mother, gave birth to us from her dark dreams. Our fathers have no names you know, for they are of that world and this is another unto them. Just as they know not of your kind. Be thankful that the Kanaloa, the Lords of the Deep, do not know of your kind. The Kanaloa are not kind, and as their children we are not kind. The Tangaroa are kind and playful, and the Namakoa are almost like your kind with their games and toys," she regards me with those cold eyes. They are the eyes of a shark, hollow of any human emotions.
"The Namakoa are the seafolk who breath from their heads, you call them dolphins. The Namakoa wear the form of the dolphin and have his grey skin and spend their time making songs and games and following your ships to ride in the waves from them. And the Tangaroa are the greentails, I know of them well. They have no love for us, as we have no love for them, nor for your kind."
"No, I wish for you to take your written words to the shore, so that the men there know that the sea is not empty. Their claims of domain are meaningless and that they are trespassers into our domains. Those who continue to do so shall do so at their own peril. Some of the Kanaloa have awoken to your intrusions and are not pleased. Sometimes your ships that do not return have been claimed as prizes by the Kanaloa, not by the seas and storms."
"Kanaloa, but Kraken also seems a suitable name for the lords of the deep." She smiles, her teeth are sharp, and she slips back into the water and vanishes. I row for the shore and it is nearly a year before I venture out onto the sea.
<span sans="" ms,cursive;"="">from the biography of Vane Seascribe, Navigator and Historian
The Cecaelia are a rare type of mermaid. Their upper body is that of a humanoid woman, usually with dark hair and a light complexion. They are commonly remarked for having very round eyes, large breasts and soft features, appearing plump and cherubic. From the waist down their body becomes a mass of tentacles. The majority have the appendages of squids, a great mass of tentacles and two larger tentacles easily capable of using weapons and tools. The Squid cecaelia tend to be more aggressive and forward in nature. Most adult cecaelia are of normal human size from the waist up, their tentacles can reach as long as 20 feet. They average around 600-900 pounds, owing to their dense musculature. They also have very flexible skeletons, meaning they can fit through small openings and into tight spaces. The octopus cecaelia have eight muscular tentacles all of which are capable of using weapons or tools. The octopus cecaelia tend to be more devious and deceitful than their more violent squid sisters. Thus far all cecaelia encountered are female, and claim to be the progeny of a common sea goddess Kun, and the krakens of the oceanic depths.
Unlike the piscid mermaids and the cetacean mermaids (fish and dolphin) the Cecaelia have a remarkable dislike for humans. There are tribes and clans of the piscids who have warred with man, such as the Sirens, the majority are neutral towards humanity and other seafaring races. The encounters with these races can be playful, informative and even profitable in terms of trade. The Cecaelia are the opposite. They actively seek the destruction of human ships, and some disasters, such as the mysterious fire that destroyed the shipworks and most of Port Calante are now possibly the work of malicious cecaelia. They are cunning tool users, patient planners, and sneaky as thieves. It doesn't help that out of water the cecaelia lack the helplessness of the other merfolk. While they still require a constant source of water or risk dehydrating, they can more freely and easily. Their tentacles are quite strong. Experienced cecaelia can climb vertical surfaces or even adhere to the ceiling or overhead structures.
Faith of the Deep
The Cecaelia venerate a sea goddess named Kun. This goddess has no temples or followers on land. According to mermaid lore, Kun is the spirit of the ocean and the mother of all that lives in the sea. The different sea gods mated with Kun to create all the species of the sea, ranging from fish to the merfolk themselves. The merfolk priest caste decorate themselves with seashells and necklaces of sea goods such as pearls and the like. The priestesses of the cecaelia are unadorned save for having elaborate tattooing on their bodies. How this is done is unknown. They have predictably potent sea magics commanding water, summoning water elementals, and beasts of the sea. A high ranking sea priestess can summon a Kraken to drag a ship underwater. They are also adept at illusions, spells of charm and enchantment, and a small number can shapeshift. The cecaelia can mix sorcerous magic and clerical magic easily.
Weapons of the Deep
The squid-bitches have two ways they come at you, both at night. They can see fine in the dark where we cant. The first way is they come howling and screaming out of the water hacking and slashing about with axes and swords, spears and harpoons. Some of them were taken from dead men, others are fashioned from seastone and the bones of whales studded with shark's teeth. These are short bloody fights. They are strong and fast, but they get dry quick and then right back into the sea they go. We dont follow them, obviously. These sort of raids can happen two, or three times a night. They wear you down, bleed you out.
Then there are the sneaky ones. One squid-bitch'll sneak up the ass of the ship, find a way inside. You might find a watchman with a crushed neck, or you might not find anything. Then, the bitch'll start cutting lines, fouling the rigging, and their favorite trick is fire. They love fire. They will start a fire and might kill a sailor or two to keep the alarm from being spread in time. Ship's fires are desparate and terrible things. And the worst part is that they are waiting below the water. No survivors.
So, when you know you're in sea bitch waters you keep a good watch, and your men on deck armed. A man who can see in the dark, elf or orc, is worth 10 marines. Keep your steel sharp.
Sgt. at Arms Keargan Bail
Populations and Kingdoms
The numbers of cecaelia cannot be calculated. Fantasies of underwater castles arejust that, fantasies. The cecaelia aren't land dwellers who can swim and breath underwater. They don't make much in the way of tools, they don't farm and they don't raise sea cattle grazing in kelp fields. They are predators, and while it is known they prefer crabs, shellfish, and fish, they are not above consuming humans. They have a loose clan family structure, and the squids and the octopii generally don't mix with each other. They are usually only found in waters over a mile deep, though the octopii will move into tidal waters to suit their own purposes. Unlike the fish mermaids, they do not have kings, kingdoms, royalty or other common human notions. A hunter of the woods once said that the cecaelia are like bears, or wolves. They are dominant predators of their domain. Rather than using giant claws they have magic, tool and weapon use, and they are easily as intelligent as men. Perhaps moreso since the cecaelia have mastered several human languages, weapons, and styles of magic (thankfully fire magics remain unreachable to them) while humans are ignorant of the cecaelia language, spoken or written.
There is little chance of trade between the clans of Cecaelia and humans, as neither has anything of value the other wants. The cecaelia are obligate carnivores and have no interest in grains or crops, and they won't trade with humans for meat when humans themselves are made of plenty of it. The Cecaelia are a non-metal using non-economic based culture, so they do not have any sort of export. They seldom own more than they can carry at one time, and this is generally limited to a basic knife tool and maybe a bit of jewelry they find pretty. Given the toughness of their rubbery flesh, cunning intelligence and magical aptitude, they dont wear armor or clothing of any sort. The concept of indecent exposure doesn't exist among creatures that lack external reproductive organs.