Discover Niemela: Glossary

WARNING: This page contains spoilers from Book 1 and Book 2.

Niemelan society, culture, and artifacts
Locations and geography
Niemelan Sayings
The Darkness
Florence’s Surface World


Allteo: Animal trainer master. He was killed during the failed attempt to kidnap novices. {Book 2: “Luminaire”}

Arturo Plemis: Master of the guardian life path. Able to cloak.

Ayva: Mermidor with the ability to lock people in powerful dreams.

Balamar: Warrior novice.

Bellen: Guardian.

Benimuss: Yolee’s favorite whale.

Borealis Niemela: The first king of Niemela.

Cornelius Meridian: human man featured in a portrait hanging within the Mermidor ship.

Dorsimer Pavalus: Captain of the warrior life path.

Florence Evangeline Waverley: Human teenager kidnapped by Malachiro.

Iriego Niemela: Former king of Niemela. He was injured during the lamprey attack in Niemela {Book 1: “Florence”}. He now spends almost all his time in the healing tower.

Kiren Niemela: Mer Prince; youngest son of Iriego. Florence saw him die in the lamprey cavern {Book 1: “Florence”}; however, he is later revealed to be alive {Book 2: “Luminaire”}.

Lenaya: Sentinel who is able to cloak.

Lhuella: Mermidor with the ability to crystallize objects and people.

Liya: Animal trainer novice.

Malachiro Macorra: Warrior. The mer who kidnapped Florence and dragged her to Niemela.

Marilenna: Warrior. Daughter of the Guardian Master Provonox.

Mercer: Guardian.

Mikel: Worker responsible for meal waylan.

Pahlo: Warrior.

Pireena: Mermidor with the ability to control others.

Piribus: Healer.

Provonox: Guardian master.

Rolan Niemela: Mer Prince; oldest son of Iriego.

Serillico Serismo: Animal trainer; close friend of Kiren.

Spiros: Warrior novice.

Tavani: Former thinker master.

Wynn: Guardian. He was originally a thinker novice, but failed to qualify for the thinker life path; instead, he was offered a place as a guardian.

Yolee Niemela: Mer Princess; only daughter of Iriego.

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Ancient Mother: An old octopus who tends to mer eggs.

Breathing Polyp: Animal that allows land creatures to breathe underwater.

Cleaner fish: Rainbow-striped fish that peck away at dirt and algae.

Coral: Colorful animals that eventually turn into limestone (which can then be carved).

Dumbo octopus: Glowing, bell-shaped octopus with ‘ear fins’ and tiny tentacles.

Hatch-light: Chandelier-shaped nest for baby fish. Hatch-lights are planted in areas with minimal currents (such as the royal dining room).

Jellyfish (Meridian: “Jullyfish”): See-through creatures that defend Niemela and provide illumination [See: Coral Dome; Armband (jellyfish)]. They can also be used to record and play images and videos.

Kelp: Plants used by the mer for food, clothing, and shelter.

Krill (Meridian: “Kryl”): Tiny animals that gather in clouds.

Parrotfish: Fish that have the ability to crush small rocks with their teeth. These animals are often used to carve tunnel holes.

Planar: Stingray.

Polyp: The animals that make up a coral colony. Note: a breathing polyp is a very special kind of coral polyp found only in Niemela. [See: Breathing Polyp]

Naribranch: Sea slugs with neon patterns. They secrete a variety of nutrient-rich pastes; however, one must always be careful not to touch their skin.

Sea fern: Creatures used for shelter, wave-breaks, and privacy. Niemela’s sea ferns are animals not plants. They can change color.

Sea strand: Another name for the hairlike strands within the fronds of a sea fern.

Sidarians: Deadly sea-scorpions that are extremely hard to control.

Stingrays (Meridian: “Planar”): Animals that the mer ride upon from time to time.

Waylan: Whales.

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Niemelan society, culture, and artifacts

All-Tide, the: The invisible tide of thoughts, dreams, and energy that links all creatures on the planet. The mer have an awareness that it exists, but humans do not. It is said that a mer’s lifestream comes from the All-Tide. The All-Tide is not to be confused with the Great Wave.

Animal trainers: Merpeople who train animals to defend and serve.

Armband (life path): A colored band made of metal and engraved with a specific symbol. People wear these bands to show which life path they belong to. Gold bands are worn by royalty.

Armband (jellyfish): An armband made from the tendrils of a glowing jellyfish. Such items are worn in addition to life path bands.

Armored jerkin: Long-sleeved jerkin covered with bits of shells and bones.

Bodymark: Birthmarks that many Niemelans possess.

Bone spear: A weapon carved from bone.

Borealis Niemela: The first king of Niemela.

Builders: Architects who maintain (and add to) the city.

Breathing Polyp: A creature that allows land-based lifeforms to breath underwater. Florence has a breathing polyp at the back of her neck. There are some animals in Niemela that also wear breathing polyps due to their inability to spend all their time underwater (e.g. Seals).

Cloaking: The rare ability to create cloaking bubbles. Most Niemelans who possess this ability become sentinels.

Companion: The Niemelan term used to describe a life partner.

Concord, the: Rigid rules that govern Niemelan life. Some of the rules include:

1. Every being must have a purpose in order to belong in Niemela

2. No Niemelan may leave the valley without permission

3. No Niemelan may harm another mer.

Council of Concord, the: The council formed by Borealis to follow the rules of the Concord.

Coral Heart, the: [See: Hidden Heart]

Familiar (common): An animal assigned to a merperson in order to help him or her carry out a specific duty (e.g. whales paired with workers).

Familiar (coronation): A land creature brought to Niemelan to serve as a gift for a newly-crowned king. These ‘pets’ are quite conspicuous amid the spartan conditions of Niemela. It is believed that Iriego’s long-dead familiar was a black cat.

Farlight: Person responsible for lighting the dome corals upon the completion of a duel. [See: Luminaire]

Firstmeal: Breakfast.

Floom: Deep inside Niemela, there are hidden streams made of bubbles and water. These streams are known as flooms, and they travel through some of Niemela’s hidden caves and chambers.

Floom Nexus: The central cavern where almost all the flooms intersect.

Fyre (term): Term used to describe a person’s inner spirit. The word is derived from ‘Sea Fyre’ [See: Sea Fyre.]

Gift (term): A special ability such as cloaking or enhanced swimming. Such gifts can play a critical role in a person’s life path selection.

Great Famine, the: A time when food shortages forced Niemelans to eat the towers of the Grove.

Great Wave, the: The enormous wave that destroyed almost all the mer centuries ago. It is said that this wave ripped open the earth and let out monsters, thereby creating the shadow-realm known as the Darkness.

Guardians: Merpeople responsible for order, justice, and peace-keeping within Niemela. Guardians almost never leave the dome. They are known for their secretive ways.

Habilus: A form of armor made of flexible, lightweight kelp. Habiluses are worn by novices in the maze.

Hatchday: The Niemelan equivalent of a birthday.

Hatchling: Name used to described mer infants.

Healers: Merpeople responsible for the health of Niemela’s citizens.

Hidden Heart: It is rumored that Niemela has a hidden heart made of red coral. This heart is said to be a giant chamber guarded by glass fish.

Keans: Florence’s bespoke kelp jeans.

Kelapiri: Common food item made from kelp.

Kelp noodles: Nutritious kelp item.

Lastmeal: Dinner.

Life path: Niemela has seven life paths: warrior, animal trainer, builder, healer, thinker, guardian, and worker. Everyone has to adopt a life path, even members of the royal family (e.g. Rolan and Kiren belong to the warrior class). However, rulers of Niemela never wear life path bands, and technically a king belongs to an eighth life path—monarch. To receive a life path, a mer has to study as a novice (within one of the life paths) and then successfully complete the Life Path Tournament.

Life Path Maze: the main challenge designed to test each novice. The elders watch the events that unfold inside the maze, and it is their decision as to what life path a novice qualifies for. Guardians have a significant role in the management and creation of the maze.

Life Path Tournament: [See: Life Path Maze.]

Limestone: A substance secreted by corals. In particular, hard corals produce limestone skeletons, which they leave behind long after their coral polyps have died. Additionally, dead corals (e.g. through exposure to the elements) can also become limestone.

Luminaire: The person responsible for lighting the corals at a coronation.

Master: The leader of a specific life path.

Meal parcel: White cake wrapped in an edible kelp wrapper.

Meal waylan: Whale specifically tasked to deliver meals.

Meridian: The language of the Niemelans. Highly similar to English, with the exception of some foreign words.

Mermidor: Mer who are punished for horrible crimes. They are often too dangerous for the Niemelan prison, and are therefore exiled to the darkest corners of Niemela.

Midmeal: Lunch.

Morn: Morning.

Novice: a young mer who spends his or her days training within one or more life path clans. The ultimate goal of a novice’s studies is to allow him or her to join a life path as a fully-fledged adult. [See: Life Path Maze.]

Nocturne: Night.

Portal (Maze Portal): a one-way portal that allows mer to move from one chamber to another. Some portals are opaque and others have different degrees of transparency.

Qualifier Test (Life Path): Novices have to pass at least one qualifier test to gain entry into the Life Path Tournament.

Revolution (term): Unit of time. One revolution is the amount of time it takes for our planet to revolve around the sun [See: Solar Orb]. The term ‘revolution’ is highly formal, and most mer use words such as month, day, and year to describe time. It is unknown how many days are in a Niemelan month.

Rifle: A weapon carved out of limestone. May contain darts, spears, and bullets.

Rules of the Concord: [See: Concord, the]

Sea Fyre: Underwater fire produced by deep-sea volcanoes (Volcamia)

Secoria: The Niemelan word used to describe a coppery color.

Sedation dart: A dart used to sedate monsters.

Sentinel: A merperson responsible for patrolling the outskirts of Waterfyre. Sentinels rarely engage in direct conflict. A sentinel is a special type of warrior.

Solar Orb: The sun.

The Host: Another term for Niemela. Niemela is in many ways a living creature, therefore it is also a ‘host’ to the mer.

Thinkers: Scholars of Niemela. They live and work almost entirely inside the Repository.

Thought-command: The means by which merfolk telepathically command animals to do their bidding.

Understanding, the: The manner in which all animals and mer co-exist in peace.

Warriors: Fighters who defend Niemela.

Wave Dagger/Sword: Ceremonial weapon with a wave-like blade.

Withering, the: The aging proccess, as experienced by a Niemelan. As they grow old, Niemelans begin to wither. They do not wrinkle like humans.

Workers: A merperson responsible for general tasks. Workers function like a support-team. (e.g. they often assist builders to maintain the Oceanarium.)

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Locations and geography

Coral dome: The giant mound that houses numerous caverns. Much of the dome lies underground.

Coronation arch: Yolee’s artistic creation.

Coronation courtyard: A courtyard on the outskirts of the Grove.

Eastern Pass: A gap found in the eastern part of the Waterfyre Valley.

Grove, the: City made of kelp.

Healing chamber: A tower within the Grove.

Jellyfish bell: The bell that protects Niemela’s coral dome. This structure is made of a million jellyfish, and it shields the dome from the elements and also functions as a defensive layer (stingers).

Northern Pass: A gap found in the northern part of the Waterfyre Valley.

Oceanarium, the: A cavern full of animals, merfolk, and coral balconies.

Prison: A place yet to be seen by Florence.

Repository, the: A cavern where thinkers live and work. The Repository is full of kelp scrolls that document life in Niemela.

Rolanama: The largest and most fiery of all the volcanoes. Rolan was named after this volcano.

Sleeping grounds: The place where Niemelans sleep amid sea ferns.

Volcamia: Deep-sea volcanoes that spew ‘sea fyre.’ (Singular: Volcami.)

Warriors’ courtyard: A training ground found in the eastern part of the Grove.

Waterfyre, the Valley of: The valley surrounding Niemela. From afar, the walls of this valley appear to be made up of giant, dark mountains; however, these peaks are actually deep-sea volcanoes. The overall structure resembles a giant ring. There are gaps in the valley that allow creatures to wander in and out.

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Niemelan Sayings

“All corals must spawn eventually”: A phrase used to describe the inevitably of a situation.

“By Borealis!”: An expression of awe, shock, or surprise.

“By the All-tide”: Another expression of awe, shock, or surprise.

“Fair tides”: Niemelan equivalent of “Good day!”

“Good tides”: Same as ‘Fair Tides.’

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The Darkness

Azemars: Giant starfish monsters. Unlike the Borgamonts, the Azemars have vaguely humanoid mannerisms and each of their limbs is capped at the end with a claw-shaped hand. These beings can stand on any two of their five limbs, and they are able to wield swords. They often rip open their chests to hurl their guts all over their prey.

Borgamonts: Enormous, grisly starfish. They have a hound-like method of moving across the seabed.

Darkness, the: The realm beyond the valley. This term is often used to describe the monsters within it.

Lampreys: Reclusive monsters with hundreds of teeth. They are large creatures who are very different from their counterparts in the human world.

Vessels and Riders: Narwhals (Vessels) with skeletons (Riders) hidden inside them.

Wise Ones: Originally thought to be another name for the lamprey; later revealed to be something far more sinister. Many mer believed that the Wise Ones control the monsters of the Darkness.

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Florence’s Surface World

Appleby Books: Second-hand bookstore half-hidden behind a huge ficus.

Catseye Beach: A beach on Hamilton Island. Florence’s ‘uncle’ owns a house here.

David Waverley: Florence’s father.

Hamilton Island: A large island in the Whitsunday region of Queensland, Australia. Hamilton Island is located near the Great Barrier Reef.

Harrison, Mr.: Florence’s science teacher.

Jane: Student at Welham High.

Louisa Estrada: Florence’s mother.

Madison: Student at Welham High.

Michael: Student at Welham High.

Sea-Brite: Underwater camera.

Susannah: Student at Welham High.

Uluru: Landmark in Central Australia. Florence and her father visited Uluru when she was younger.

Welham High: Private school on Hamilton Island.

Wolseley Road: One of the richest suburbs in Sydney, Australia. Florence and her father used to paint houses in Wolseley.

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© 2013 by Ciye Cho. All rights reserved.