There was a group of Necromancers that moved into the coastal area that an ancient species of water dragons inhabited. The Necromancers had a grasp of fishing, and began to try to make a living off of the land, but the dragons wanted what little resources they could gather for themselves. They warred for a short time before a treaty was struck. They were both new to the area, and the Necromancers were slowly losing their grip on the spirits that sustained them. The pelagic dragons were out of their element in the mud, and the battles took a toll on both sides. They knew that for both of their peoples to survive they would have to work together. So, using the little bit of magics they both had left, they changed each other, to fit both one another and their surroundings. Forging a great spell that would tailor them to the surrounding marsh They became Aolong and Nialo.
Slowly the magic took effect, shaping them both into totally new species. Marsh Elves came of the necromancers, Nialo, and Aolong came of the sea dragons. They were forever linked.
Nailo society is led by a High Council of 6, usually equal parts Aolong and Nialo They oversee daily decisions with the regard to the actions and opinions of the people. Council members are voted in by the tribe members. Fishing is the staple of Nialo society. catching ones first fish is a celebrated day. Worth is not decided by your gender, but by your skill in fishing and your contributions to the tribe as a whole. Outsiders are generally regarded neutrally here, and border on cordiality when purchasing fish or related goods.
Six is an important number, their counting system is sextesimal. They have an inner currency system made of shells from a deep dwelling, mud eating mollusk. The shell is iridescent and very strong, with beautiful patterns.
Marriage and Bonding
The common marriage ceremony is a walk. The Nailo and their Aolong start at the end of a long pier. As they walk they are challenged six times, once by each elder and/or their bonded, and asked why they want to be trothed, and what they would do in six different situations. When a Nialo marries, their Aolong will normally take the other as their partner, but sometimes it is the Aolong that bring the Nialo together.
Birth and Death
The designated Birthing witness, usually a female from the council, watches over the mother as she labors. The mother is sunk into a specially dug pool, Nialo to their waist, and the father providing comfort and support as the child/ren is/are born. They emerge from the womb and are immersed in the marsh water, beginning their life as one with the marsh.
When a member of the tribe dies their body is re-positioned and tied into the fetal position. They are smeared with a paste made of animal fat and red clay, replicating the red blood of birth. The body of their Aolong is wrapped around them and they are lowered into a deep mudhole, in a part of the marsh that is reserved for just this. They do not fish here, for they believe the plants and fish are directly linked to their loved ones for six years, until their spirits disperse into the marsh waters.
Making The Pact
One can argue that true life does not begin until one is bonded to the Aolong. Around 13-215, when they come of age, they are made aware, in a dream, or by contact, who their bonded is. They gather in the middle of the village, around a great bonfire, and participate in a recreation or The Pact. Plied in excess with psychotropic drugs they relive the deep set memories of the last battle of The Pact. The two parts of one whole fall into a deep slumber, where their minds become one in a long dream. When they wake they join the ranks of the adults, and begin to build their own house.
Of course they have a native dialect but they are all taught the common dialect spoken in Robins Nest.
They usually live to be about 1700 years, dying with their bonded.
They are built like most elves, The Pact taking them in the natural way that Egivelyn would've shaped them in the long run. Hair colors are mostly blond and other muddy browns. Very rarely will one be born with rufous or burgundy hair. Their eyes are usually a stunning blue or bright grey, concentric with their elemental affinity.
They are most likely to posses Nature magics and the element of Water. Earth is not uncommon as an elemental affinity, and air is very rare. There was only three recordings of a Fire affinity since The Pact, and they all possessed amazingly orange eyes.
They live in the marsh and encroach on the coast. Their houses are built on platforms connected by catwalks. They are layered outward from a large, central platform containing a large stone cairn used for fires. Living quarters are farthest away from the center, Nialo are a private people. The shops and official buildings are usually on this central platform.