Portents of Mother’s Gate

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Appendix V: The Cultural Impact of Prophesy

Prophesy infiltrates nearly every aspect of merfolk life. They treasure the concept of time and relish discerning the future as the ultimate accomplishment. Story books of interpreted prophesy like this one are considered the epic poetry of the merfolk, and oral readings are a popular pastime, often enhanced with musical accompaniment.

The merfolk have achieved nearly 10,000 years of unbroken documentation. Their earliest texts recount their creation by the deity Mother, who sends them sacred messages through their prophetic Gift:

At first, all mers were blue and all men could prophesy at will, without a trance and a scribe. The ancients built great libraries of prophesy at Gaweh, but some merfolk conspired to attack Gaweh and take the libraries for themselves. Blood spilled, and Mother intervened.

She made sharks to discourage bloodshed. She banished the traitors from the cities and turned them green, marking their treachery for all time. She stripped them of her Gift and left them adrift in the flow of time.

Then, she punished the blue merfolk for their hand in the bloodshed. She stripped their prophesy entirely and granted them potion instead, which allowed them to hear words of the future but caused great pain as well.

The merfolk dreaded life without knowing the future, so Mother made them a promise. For grave dangers, she would speak the future through them until they grasped her warnings. But the speaker would not remember, and a scribe would document the words for sharing with all.

The mer civilization is built on this promise that every prophesy is an early warning of grave danger from their deity Mother. With devout conviction, they have been documenting, interpreting, and tattering prophesy into chronological order for countless generations. For the pious, it is their highest duty and spiritual honor. For cynics, it is the way of the world, and a common saying is, “The future is always right.”

However, this divine promise also underscores a long-held tradition of racial apartheid between blue merfolk and green merfolk. The basis of this prejudice is that green populations lack the prophetic Gift, but exceptions to this rule have been known, and downplayed, for centuries.

In fact, skintone and prophetic Gift do not correspond genetically. Akin to the genetics of eye color, mer skintone is either blue or green, with blue skin dominant. The prophetic Gift, in contrast, ranges from weak to strong, with a stronger Gift dominant.

Interbreeding of blues and greens has been discouraged for many generations, so blue individuals rarely carry the green-recessive gene, and what little interbreeding that does occur goes undetected. For the same reason, green-skinned individuals rarely receive dominant stronger-Gift genes to pass on to the next generation.

Only a few instances in all history cite blue parents bringing forth a green child, and in all cases the mother was accused of spawning with a green. The merfolk also concluded that Mother must be judging each unborn child, and that traitorous souls lose their Gift and blue color before birth.

As abominations marked green by Mother for all to see, each of these infants was abandoned in the open ocean. However, two known individuals survived, and both grew to display strong prophetic Gifts that defied conventional theology. Both survivors were eventually discovered, escorted to a blue university, and never seen again.

A somewhat less rare occurrence is the birth of a blue child to a green mother. The child is almost always a bastard with a blue father who won’t acknowledge paternity, and blue infants are generally surrendered to a university, since even an orphan blue lives a better life than any green. Surrendering the child also eases the financial burden on the mother.

Culturally, the merfolk view green-born blues as proof that Mother judges every child before birth, and that She only marks green those with traitorous hearts, regardless of their lineage. This belief extends their prejudice into a very personal realm, where each individual green is personally deemed unworthy by Mother herself.


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D.N.FROST is an author, artist, and spiritual counselor from central Texas. She writes uplifting fantasy adventures to change readers’ lives through vivid storytelling, and she creates useful how-to books to share her expertise with others. She also offers workshops, tarot consultations, cartography commissions, and a number of other products and services to promote creativity and overall well-being. You can find out more about D and sign up for her newsletter at dnfrost.com.

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