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Water-Dwellers

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Water-Dwellers are one of the sub-types of the Ogre seeming. These changelings resemble the legendary water-demons of many cultures, from life-demanding river spirits through to the trolls of coastal caves and under-bridge shadows. Theirs is the blessing of Lie Under the Waves.

OverviewEdit

Consider the river after a rain, pounding mercilessly at the banks. Consider a stagnant millpond, deceptively still but full of tangling reeds that might drag a careless swimmer to his death. Consider the raging sea, where undertows and whirlpools so easily claim lives. Water-Dwellers are born of the fear of dangerous waters, monsters that share that cold hunger for the warm breath of a victim. They were taken themselves into the water, and most made it back to the mortal world the same way. Now living among humans once more, Water-Dwellers find themselves finding ways to stay by the water, working garbage scows and fish farms, squatting under bridges and dredging the riverbed for murder victims. Though Water-Dwellers may have reason to fear the waters that took them to Arcadia, in their hearts they know they have a better chance in water than on dry land. Water-Dwellers are easy to distinguish from their fellow Ogres; the mark of the Water-Dwellers’ aquatic nature is always upon them. Green skin is quite common, sometimes with patches of scales or barnacle-like warts. Their hair, if any, is like matted river-weeds or kelp. Many have webbed fingers or toes. A wide mouth with shark-like teeth is a common mark, as might be gills on the neck. As their Wyrd rises, some may even drop salty or dank water wherever they go.

DuranceEdit

Dark, cold caves deep beneath the water’s surface were the Water-Dwellers’ lot. Fed only on whatever meager scraps of fishbone and frog their Keepers would throw to them, some took to lurking by the water’s edge in hope of catching something warm and tender, something they wouldn’t have to share. Others were made into brutish guards for the brightly lit palaces of serpentine Fae water-monarchs, wearing armor of living sea urchin, barnacles clinging to their reshaped skin. In some cases, their escape was made possible by a shift in the current, allowing them to outswim their captors for just long enough to make it through the Hedge.

FolkloreEdit

The water-dwelling Ogres are close kin to the terrible river-crones of British folklore such as Peg Powler and Jenny Greenteeth, just as they’re close to the hideous Russian vodyanoi and the malicious Japanese kappa. Grendel’s mother would be very similar to a WaterDweller, one whose den could be reached only by one as strong as Beowulf. Even the bridge-troll out of children’s stories might have been one of these Ogres. Legends depict river-dwelling monsters and crones as fairly stealthy, prone to take their victims quickly and without overmuch fuss. Some may take more appealing form in order to entice prey near; and Ogres are, after all, just as adept with Contracts of Mirror as any other changeling. Water-Dwellers aren’t restricted to fresh water, of course. The legendary Norse goddess Ran rose up to cast her net over ships and drag drowning sailors down to her waterlogged halls; changelings may be spiritual kin to her nine daughters, the billows of the sea. The merrow are male Irish merfolk, ugly as Ogres though generally seen as more kind than monstrous. By compare, the Fomorians were seen as monstrous giants who came from the sea to pillage Ireland. The maimed Inuit goddess Sedna lives at the bottom of the sea, and an Ogre might share her fate.

FrailtiesEdit

Repelled by rhyming song, cannot comb hair, cannot resist a bribe of gold, poisoned by honey, may not kill an animal by drowning, must offer gifts to those who flatter their appearance.

ReferencesEdit

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