Ichthymorph (Ick-thee-morph) is the term that describes what, for ages, sailors called “mermaids” or “merfolk.” Their origins are quite similar to werewolves in that magical practices interfered with generation after generation of children until automorphosis was possible from the moment the individual left the womb. Ichthymorphs fall under the category of “automorph”, along with lupomorphs, felomorphs and a handful of other known half-human groups. In contrast, vampires are not automorphs because they are a biological hybrid, not a product of biomagical hybridism. Ichthymorphs share some automorph qualities of werewolves, but are still unique beings. They are exceptionally strong, very spry in water, and as opposed to experiencing hyper-recovery, their bodies are highly resistant to harm. Their scaled skin is not unlike armor, and it is very thick. Of course, these features apply in full only when transformed, as is true with all other automorphs—as well as vampires, for that matter.
Because the oceans are so vast and deep, it is tempting to assume that many tribes of ichthymorphs exist, but what I have learned is that they are no more numerous and varied than other half-human societies. The largest concentrations live between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The only exception is the Nu’yr (Noy-er) tribe—a specially adapted people living in the Arctic Sea. Not much is known about them. This is mostly due to inaccessibility.
Ichthymorphs are most associated with aquamancy—a specific brand of water-based elemental sorcery that most relies on Scriptic and spoken spells. Second to this, their next most common practices are faunamancy and floramancy, or in other words, animal and plant-based magic. Mortals have always feared their will over the sea and have avoided contact with them more fervently than with werewolves or vampires.
Oi’alli (Wee-all-ee) was born into Jaega Indian society. Her parents were both ichthymorphs, but her father, a high priest, rejected the notion of living as such and attempted to raise her on land against her mother’s wishes. The Oi’tan (Wee-tahn), living offshore, claimed the right to Oi’alli because her mother belonged to their tribe, and they came to land to seize her during a raid. Oi’alli, who disliked her life on land, readily left with the raiders. As a Oi’tan she learned Scriptic and greatly enjoyed the art of magic. Perhaps because of her father, she was gifted as a spiritual conduit, and she was able to rise to the position of chieftess of the Oi’tan before the age of twenty. She had great potential, being the only one of her kind able to control a beast as ferocious as Dun-Tok (Duhn-took, the Leviathan that Thomas and Molly had overcome).
June 30, 1833