Long ago, creatures known as merrow evolved into a thriving and prolifically creative race. Conscious of their existence and gifted with the use of tools, the merrow began to build houses and schools and even playgrounds where they gathered with other creatures. They prayed to the gods of the sea to maintain their harmony with the world around them. The individual, the community, the spirits of the animals, and the very ecosystem in which they lived, all of these were held equally in the minds of the merrow.
After many years, the merrow propagated and spread over large distances, creating vast cities under the depths of the sea. Blessed with keen intellect and the power of free will, the merrow gradually began to yearn for even more control over the world around them. As their knowledge grew and spread, the merrow gained more and more control over the environment and the creatures in it, but very little could change by the hand of a single merrow. Like their cousins, the dolphins, these intelligent creatures bound together in tribes, accomplishing feats impossible to the individual. Great tribes banded together under the aspiration of greater power, and each family began erecting magical spires that housed the knowledge of their clans and amplified their collective spheres of influence. As these families grew larger and larger, they began engulfing smaller clans and either dispersing them or inviting them to join the larger tribe. As the power of the merrow grew, it became clear that there was little that could halt the rise of a grand empire beneath the waves.
It was during this time, their power undisputed and far-reaching, that catastrophe struck in the most unexpected and insidious of forms. Undetected at first, fissures erupted in the ocean floor that brought forth creeping, suffocating tendrils of dark viscous liquid. By the time that the merrow had begun to take note of this new threat, the bountiful array of sea creatures and plants they had worked so hard to cultivate had been consumed and rendered fruitless by the inky corruption. Worse yet, the places that had first begun to spew with this growing malady were only growing in size and intensity so as to threaten the very civilization of the merrow themselves, unaware of how to combat the creeping darkness through the seas.
The leaders of the great families met to discuss the issues plaguing both the ecosystem and the economy and blamed themselves for everything. Although they controlled great power, these leaders looked back at their humble origins and mourned the loss of their mystic companionship with the environment, and their deities, in spite of the marginal advances in technology. Thus, to take responsibility for their actions, they formed a plan to best preserve the ecosystem, while still preserving their heritage. Each of the clans formed great slabs of rock where they inscribed the secrets of their clan’s power, as well as their history, for future generations to follow. The plan was simple: find a way to contain and remove the corruption, build a sanctuary to teach young merrow about their predecessors’ flaws, as well as the depth of their abilities and how to control them, and then seal every merrow back into their fetal form, locked in a regressive hibernation. Upon learning the history and abuse of power that led to the civilization’s downfall, the clan leaders intended future generations to use the clues on the stone slabs to locate and seal the fissures that continued to choke life from the creatures of the ocean while preventing their own mistakes.
Upon the completion of their grand cleansing scheme, the neglected gods of the sea laughed at the merrow’s petty attempt at self preservation and lack of faith and used their powers to crumble the great stone slabs containing the history and knowledge of the merrow culture. They spread these pieces to all corners of the sea and waited patiently for the inevitable return of the immature race of sea creatures. When the sealed eggs finally began to hatch again, the merrow had no memories of their past lives and awoke as mere children, unaccustomed to the movement of their bodies and bearing no knowledge of where they had come from or why. Instinctually, the merrow used what resources were left in the sanctuary and banded together for food and shelter. They lived among great ruins with no guidance except the teachings of the other hatchlings and no form of communication save for the seemingly telepathic impulses that sent out emotion like signals along with pieces of the broken stone tablets that provided their only link to the history of their people.