|Common Nicknames||Water Gremlins, Swamp Goblins|
The Maerrow are small, Maiar-like fishpeople that hail from Essalonia. These carnivorous beings are known to steal the bounty of fishermen on the ocean and in rivers for themselves while also hunting down singular or small groups of targets. They are also known for their hideous, tooth filled grins which they maintain throughout their lives. Figures of malice in Colonial culture, it is likely that they will go extinct in the coming years if they maintain their low population density, spread across the waterways of Essalonia.
The Maerrow share a similar history of discovery to the Kelp, the other major aquatic predator in Essalonia. Shortly after the founding of the New Ceardian Colonies, several scouting parties went missing leading to the discovery of the Maerrow as one of the prime causes. Originally they only acted in self defence, but the overt hostility of these groups and later settlers resulted in the Maerrow learning to respond aggressively to these hostile peoples. Unlike the Kelp however, who were already rare in Essalonia, the Maerrow was populous and a constant threat. This led to colonial operations that nearly wiped them out, forcing them even further into seclusion. When the Maiar were eventually revealed in Hadaria, there was initially some confusion as to if the Kelp and Maerrow were simply different subraces of them. Maiar themselves have ruled out this theory, though some scholars theorize that all three species are somehow related either by a common ancestor, or that the two animals which live in Essalonia originated as Maiar who became stranded or stayed on the continent, gradually adapting into the two creatures known today. Regardless of this, the Maerrow now lurks in the unexplored areas of Essalonia as well as in some dark parts of explored and settled areas, ready and waiting to carry out their revenge against those who nearly caused their extinction.
The Maerrow are smaller than Dwarves, standing between three and a half to three and a quarter feet tall with a weight of 40 to 45 pounds. Their head is their most distinguished feature, and it is the part of their bodies most commonly seen. Their heads possess anywhere from one to three pairs of head-fans resting behind or around their “earhole”, sometimes with a set of head-fans protecting the organ. Their heads are bald and smooth, lacking any ridges, and is only punctuated by the aforementioned fans, two small, squinting, green-tinted eyes, and their large mouths. Inside of their mouths sit rows of jagged, sharp teeth, which are often on display as the Maerrow lacks lips. This leads them to appear to be constantly, evilly grinning. As for the rest of the body, it is formed to slip through the water with ease, an additionalset of fans sitting on their arms and thighs to help them steer in the water. Their spine slowly warps with age and they grow more hunched over time. They are aided in aquatic activities by a set of huge lungs, as while they are more reptilian than fish, they need air but can stay submerged for up to twelve hours. Their hands are small and four-fingered but possess sharp claws which they use to cut through fishing nets and attack larger prey. Their skin meanwhile is made up of smooth scales and their entire body is covered in murky brown and dark green splotches in a random pattern. In the sunlight, these colors lighten and the species is overall believed to have a weak camouflage ability.
Maerrow have very little difference between the two genders as females do not possess mammalian gender indicators though males range on the higher end of the height spectrum than females. Their age is also determinable by their head-fans, one to five years having one fan, five to ten years two fans and any age past that having three. Their gender birth ratios are equal in number.
Life Span and Development
Maerrow are born in clusters of eggs each an inch wide in diameter, which adhere together and float on the surface. They hide themselves on or inside aquatic plant life and plant growth from the land into the water such as tree roots or rotting logs. After a period of three months, the young Maerrow emerge and swim downward where their pack greets them if they are still alive. The young Maerrow are then taught all they need to know over the next nine months. By one year of age, they reach their full size and are able to reproduce though most wait for at least another six months. They have a max lifespan of fifteen years though are more likely to die by age five due to Colonial Ailor and others hunting them.
Maerrow are wild animals and are hostile to outsiders and sentient races. They do, however, get along well with the Kelp whom they sometimes share waterways with. Some even consider them partners, though this is not wholly true as the most co-operation the two species possess is that one will sometimes allow the other to feed off of their scraps. Beyond this, they are known for being tricky, stealing nets of fish for themselves and avoiding traps laid by hunters to catch them. Among their own race, they are generally caring as the older and more proficient Maerrow leave to hunt and provide for the others. In the hunt, they prefer to wound prey and to attack prey that is isolated. They then follow their victim slowly, heads poking out of the water as they do so, slowly revealing more of their grin as the subject dies, an overall horrific end to any caught in their dark trap.
Territory and Groupings
Maerrow existed once in large communities, however, with humans hunting and exterminating them, they have since retreated into more reclusive and smaller communities. These groups are hostile to the Alorian races that harm them and function in a hierarchy of larger males acting as the hunters for the dens, bringing food and other necessities back home to the others. Such groups number anywhere from ten to twenty and are most commonly found in swampy waters. They are not territorial to others of their own kind though they resist such groupings to ensure their survival.
- Maerrow are largely unfit for the consumption of most races. Not only do they have a general lack of substantial meat, but their constant exposure to stagnant and dirty swamp water has caused their flesh to become foul. The few brave or foolish enough to consume Maerrow meat have come down with food poisoning.
- Maerrow were once assumed to be the male partners of the Kelp, and still appear as such on the majority of Colonial art.
- Maerrow sometimes use their claws and teeth to mark docks or water-based structures of settlements if they are too close to their territory.