I suppose I can start by telling the story of a young mermaid, and a male human. It is considered an urban legend, many are unsure if it is true, either way, it is told to young mer-children as a cautionary tale, of sorts. To prove that no matter what, relationships between a human and a merperson will always fail. It is a bitter-sweet story, not unlike the human tale of Romeo and Juliet.
The actual name of the girl is of course in mer-speech. Mer-folk tend to name our children after things, objects, or abstract concepts, then slightly change one or two of the sounds, or add new ones. When using human tongue, we would call the mermaid “Uravity” or something similar, as her name meant “gravity” but with a slight variation at the beginning.
The name of the human is unknown, so, to honor him, the merfolk gave him a new name. One that follows the same pattern as a typical merman’s name Which is an honor no other human can claim. He is known as the one good human that existed, and so his name meant “good”, with an additional syllable at the end, as is common among mermen. The syllable I have chosen to add for a human translation is ‘da’, and so in this story, we will call the man “Iida”.
Despite the fact that her name meant gravity, Uravity was known to be trusting and airheaded. Though her one unique element was, in fact, gravity, so some debate whether her original name was in fact ‘Uravity’, or whether that was a nickname of some kind. One day she was caught unaware of her surroundings, and injured, far away from any who could help her. Except the humans. She of course knew that humans hate our kind, but she was desperate. She was exceptional at transformative magic, and gave herself the body of a human girl. She came across a human in that town that was willing to look after her, and didn’t harm or try to take advantage of her. She was cared for there, for a time, and decided to tell the man the truth, so that he wouldn’t worry when she decided to leave. After preparing her magic in case of anger at her betrayal and lies, as she assumed the human would perceive it, she showed him the truth.
He was not disgusted, and continued to care for her until she was fully recovered. Their relationship blossomed to friends, then to love. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. People were growing even more determined to hunt down mermaids, and those who had seen Uravity enter the village, soaking wet and completely without clothes, naturally grew suspicious of her.
She fled, with the help of her lover, who, despite the heartbreak it caused, was determined to keep her safe. Being a powerful man, who was given even more strength, via the magic of his wife, he was able to hold them back, until his wife escaped. This was not the end of their misfortune though, as leaders do not take kindly to merpeople who break the rules. Back then, merfolk were a lot more barbaric, and more aggressive towards humans.
They accepted Uravity for a time, until it was revealed that she was expecting a child. She was given a choice then, kill the child at birth, or be banished from her family, her entire community, forever.
Despite the pain, she couldn’t bring herself to give up the child. So she fled back to land. She managed to find Iida without incident, who panicked and told her it wasn’t safe for her on land. She tearfully told him that she was expecting a child, Iida said that he would be willing to never meet them, as long as they both were safe. She explained that she didn’t have a choice, that she couldn’t bring herself to do as her kin wanted, and that she had nowhere else to go. Iida, being the kind soul that he somehow was, agreed.
He didn’t just watch over her, but left his entire life behind, to live in the forest, so that no human would ever discover them. Humans are known for their greed, and selling merfolk out, to have an easier life, so the fact that he had no reservations about giving up everything for his mermaid lover, is considered extremely unique.
However, fate does not treat mermaids kindly whilst on land. Two years after their child was born they were discovered. A man who had seen them flee had sold them out. The man had simply waited until he was offered the right price to sell them out. A price so high, it wasn’t offered until the royals were desperate, after a different group of merfolk sunk their ships.
The man wasn’t given a name. They say he had a cloth around his neck, red, as though it were soaked in blood. He is a blemish on human society. Merfolk who claim that humans are not entirely, or even mostly bad, though those are very few, are fond of saying that humans like him taint our view on the species. When merfolk do refer to him, they use a specific word that humans don’t have. What they refer to him as roughly translates to this; ‘the man who is like blood from a fish, that stains a favorite white seashell permanently a tainted pink’ which in mer-tongue, is significantly shorter, and for this we shall simply call him ‘Stain’.
Stain sold them out, and they were ambushed. Uravity was a powerful magic user, and Iida was as strong as humans come, but they were overpowered, outnumbered, and outgunned. Iida wasn’t going to sell out the woman he loved for any of the money, land, or jewels he was offered. However he would sell her out in the end. When the stain had cut his shoulder open, leaving only one arm usable, when his lover, his wife, had exhausted herself. Iida did sell her out.
For their child, only two years old, held captive with a knife to their throat. The men had them cornered and the parents were exhausted, and unable to fight back. Uravity looked Iida in the eyes and said, “I’ve already sacrificed everything for my baby, I wouldn’t let him die then, and I’m not letting him die now. Make the trade.” Iida was hesitant, he didn’t wanna lose the woman he loved, or their child. “Make the trade or I’ll NEVER forgive you! I’d do it myself, but I don’t have the strength to stand. So do it! Do it NOW!” Uravity ordered, crying now.
At his wife's request, he helped lift her trembling body, and with a heavy heart. Made the trade. His wife was killed in front of him, as he turned their child away so they wouldn’t have to see.
Stories vary upon what happened next. It all depends on the community of merfolk that you ask. Most claim that afterwards, both Iida and the child were killed as well, since humans, never keep their word.
Some claim that as the humans were trying to kill them they were killed themselves, by the two year old, half breed, that likely inherited magic. (though this is seen as unlikely by many, as being a half breed would likely generate weak magic)
Some claim that Iida was able to flee from there and raise the child.
Some claim that Iida was killed but the child survived.
Some claim that as Uravity was dying she was able to use a last bit of magic to buy time for her family.
Some claim that the legend isn’t even real, so it doesn’t matter which version you believe.