| || Adin knew that he was the one who must fill the medallions in the belt.
Mere is in need of more information! Mere is lacking a complete history.
Long before the time of Adin, the Mere walled the Shifting Sands to prevent them from spreading. The Mere people were somewhat savage in the distant past and would often execute prisoners by throwing them into the Sands. However, they stopped the practice long ago, and do not like to be reminded of their past cruelties.
Tales of Deltora
When Adin asked for the Lapis Lazuli to be added to the Belt, Zillah said he could have the talisman if he could journey into the Sands and bring back the head of a Sand Beast. Adin agreed to the deal, not knowing that the Mere believed he would die trying to accomplish the impossible task. The Rithmere leaders were greatly surprised when he returned unscathed with the head, but upheld their word and gave him the gem. The Mere also gave him two traditional pieces of Mere clothing—a blue and silver cloak and a black leather helmet.
The Shifting Sands
The Valley of the Lost
Return to Del
The Mere are infamous for their gambling and superstitious nature. Mere will bet on virtually anything, though their favourites are dice and card games, wrestling matches, and horse races. The Mere have hundreds of superstitions, all of which are taken quite seriously and affect the way Mere folk dress and live their daily lives. It is rare for money to be taken by force in the Mere territory, but Mere folk are often talented pickpockets.
While not unkind, the Mere are uncomfortable around someone they see as potentially unlucky, so travellers in their territory are encouraged to carry at least a few lucky charms. The Mere place great emphasis on the influence that fate and fortune has on their lives. A large number of Mere make their living by gambling in Rithmere, though others work by mining silver or fishing. There are always three leaders of the Mere, elected by the people of Rithmere every year.
Mere folk had a reputation for being savage and ferocious fighters before the unification of Deltora, but since the time of King Adin they have accepted outsiders kindly, with the exception of the Plains folk. The Mere and Plains tribes have a long history of animosity and dislike each other immensely. Mere guards are trained to ask visitors to Rithmere if they arrived in Lapis Lazuli territory from the Plains; if the traveller has come from Opal territory, then the guards detain him or her for lengthy questioning, though the guards do not like the extended interrogation and will not mind being lied to. The Mere have been slowly overcoming their hatred of the Plains tribe and do not genuinely expect any trouble from their neighbours any longer, but maintain their tradition as a precaution.
Superstition is a defining factor of Mere culture. These are just a few of the innumerable superstitions typical Mere folk believe in:
- When a drink is partly spilled, the offender must quickly drink what is left in the cup and turn the cup upside down; otherwise he or she will be met with ill fortune.
- Mere do not state plans for tomorrow as if they are certain; they always assume that fate can intervene and change plans, and prefer to say "All being well, I plan to do this."
- Lapis Adder skins are extremely powerful and expensive talismans and are often handed down as family heirlooms and worn from a Mere's belt.
- King rats may only be killed by drowning, or else one will suffer a rat infestation. In addition, it is very bad luck to step on a mouse.
- Pouring sand in one's boots at night ensures a good night's sleep.
- Mere regularly salt the earth around their homes to ward off bad luck.
- A clove of garlic carried in one's pocket wards off illness.
- Waist-length hair is very lucky for both males and females.
- If a person's shadow falls across a stranger's (or vice-versa), they will both suffer bad luck unless one of them quickly taps the other on the nose.
- Sneezing three times in a row while in a Mere home is one of the most unlucky things according to Mere superstition, for it brings bad luck on everyone in the house. To remedy this, the one who sneezed must exit the house, turn around three times, and then reenter the house the same way he or she exited.
- Mere carry small charms on their person to ensure good luck. They often buy as many as they can afford, and it is not uncommon to see Mere folk jingling with hundreds of charms dangling from their hair and clothing. Clay charms are cheaper than silver ones, but silver charms are thought to be more powerful. Each of the countless charms has its own meaning.
- A cup ensures that the wearer will not go thirsty, while a loaf of bread ensures the wearer will not go hungry. A coin will bring money and a die will bring luck in gambling. A fireplace brings peace and comfort to the wearer's home and a cradle protects the wearer's children. A dagger defends against violence and a snake with its tail in its mouth guards against snakebites. A heart ensures that love will come to and stay with the wearer.
The Mere are tall people, sometimes rivaling the Jalis in height. Waist-length hair is common among men and women, as it is a sign of good fortune, and members of the Mere tribe are scarcely ever seen without some amount of lucky charms dangling from their hair or clothing. The charms can be silver or clay trinkets or even family heirlooms, such as Lapis Adder skins.
Traditional Mere armour consists of a black leather suit of armour with a helmet that covers the upper half of the wearer's face; from the nose down, the wearer's face is bare. Traditionally, the leaders of the Mere wear long, dark blue robes covered in silver specks and paint blue swirls on their faces and the backs of their hands. Their hair is curled into ringlets and they wear heavy silver chains. Before it became part of the Belt of Deltora, the Lapis Lazuli was held by one of the Mere’s leaders, kept in a silver necklace shaped like a star.