The Wheel Turns...
The Sea Folk, or more properly Atha’an Miere (meaning “People of the Sea” and pronounced a-tha-AHN mee-AIR), are a seafaring people who live on ships and the islands in the Aryth Ocean and Sea of Storms; indeed, they take every effort to be born, give birth, marry, and die on board one of their ships. They only show up on the mainland to trade goods, until prophecy seemed to be fulfilled (see Coramoor, below). They typically have a dark complexion, and are seen as “exotic” by mainlanders.
The Sea Folk control several islands and archipelagos. The known Sea Folk islands are: the Aile Somera and Aile Jafar in the Aryth Ocean (it is assumed but unconfirmed that the Aile Dashar are also inhabited by the Sea Folk); and Tremalking, Qaim and Cindaking in the Sea of Storms. Two additional Sea Folk archipelagos are known to exist, one some considerable distance to the south-west of Tremalking in the southern hemisphere, slightly closer to the Land of the Madmen than the Westlands, and another on the equator south-east of Mayene, roughly a thousand miles west of Shara. The names of these islands are unknown.
The Atha’an Miere are headed by a Mistress of the Ships, roughly equivalent to a queen, but without a fixed geographic territory. Her consort and/or male counterpart is the Master of the Blades, responsible for trade and security concerns. Under this leadership, the Sea Folk are further organized into clans, headed by a Wavemistress. The male counterpart at this level is a Swordmaster. The current Mistress of the Ships is Zaida din Parede Blackwing.
The Atha’an Miere have a hierarchy that is very strict and, in some cases, complex. The rank of a Sea Folk can be determined, among other things, by the number of earrings (typically ear and nose, with a chain in between for higher ranks) a man or woman has and the number of medals the have on their honor chain.
Making a contract, or Bargain, with a member of the Atha’an Miere is a very serious affair that is steeped with formality. They are also renowned to be fierce negotiators and the chances of coming out with an advantage after making a business agreement, or any agreement, with a member of the Atha’an Miere are slim.
Sea Folk porcelain, including cups, teapots, vases, and possibly sculptures, delicate and graceful objects of art, are highly prized by mainlanders, frequently costing their weight in gold to obtain. Their vaunted porcelain is actually created by the Amayar, land-dwellers on the Atha’an Miere islands, though this isn’t common knowledge in the Westlands.