Meet the Character: Famia Mercius

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Murkmire is filled to the brim with countless weird and wonderful creatures, places, and people, but could the strangest one of all be an outsider? Learn about Famia Mercius in our latest Meet the Character!

Taken from the works of Talen-Nakal, Bright-Throat Storyteller

A hatchling once asked me, “Deelith, what is the strangest creature in Murkmire?” She looked up at me with moons-wide eyes, expecting a tale of some stark-white haj mota or a two-headed wamasu.

I twitched my tail and replied, “Little-heart, you already know this creature well—the strangest in Murkmire.”

She scrunched her snout and flicked her tongue incredulously. “That cannot be, deelith. My feet have carried me no farther than Lilmoth. I have never tasted the water of the Deepmire, or swum in the eddies of the Ree-An-Wo. What could I possibly have seen that is so unusual?”

“Have you never stepped inside Lilmoth’s old-time house?” I said. She had, of course. Everyone knows this place and its great piles of old, useless things. “Have you not met the soft-skin who lives there?”

“Famia?” she snorted—as if the very idea was a wasp in her nose. “But she is just a smiling, crazy person.”

I shook my head. “Not crazy, little-heart, but strange all the same. You ask why she is the oddest creature of all? Consider the turtle.

“The turtle walks slowly and wears armor on her back. Her soul is cautious, just as her body is cautious. The hoop viper sleeps in the tree, striking when it suits him. His soul is fickle and slippery, just like his body. Every bird, beast, and person in Murkmire acts according to their nature—except for Famia.”

The hatchling’s questioning-spine quivered and she leaned forward, sniffing out the truth in my words. “But many soft-skins come to our lands looking for old statues and useless treasures. She collects broken pottery and dusty jewelry, just as they do.”

“True,” I replied. “But you must consider why. Many soft-skins come to rob us of our land, our secrets, and even our lives. Others come to ‘educate’ us—convinced, as they are, that we are fish-brained savages in need of their pity and guidance. To both the robber and the missionary, we are inferior. Our goods and traditions are novelties. Not so, for Famia.”

I lifted the hatchling onto my lap and placed a hand over her left eye. “Famia sees with a chameleon’s eyes, little-heart. One gazes down the dry-path. It seeks musty ruins, and old xanmeer vaults. Always examining, preserving, and cataloguing. Never seeing.”

The hatchling giggled and squirmed in my lap as I uncovered her left eye and pressed my palm over her right. “The other eye stares ever downriver. It sees the truth of our people. It looks upon our works, and songs, and traditions as glorious and beautiful. It yearns to know the will of the Hist, as we do.”

“And despite all this,” I said, as I placed her back at my feet. “Despite her forked soul and unbalanced eyes, Famia lives joyfully. She dances on life’s shore with one foot in the water and the other in the sand. A child of neither, and a child of both.”

I looked into the little hatchling’s eyes, and I saw the first flickers of understanding. “So, do you see how strange she is now?”

Her lips curled into a Saxhleel smile, and she nodded. “I do, deelith. Perhaps strangeness is not so bad.”

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