Merewives are - to utilize the hackneyed SRD’ism - the puissant offspring of the Elohim Kastenessen and the mortal human woman Emereau Vrai, and, well, technically belong to the taxonomic group of mermaids. How the extra “e” after “mer” affects their status when compared to the commonplace fishtails and in what fashion “wife” diverges from “maid” remains a matter of heated speculation. Of course, everyone strives to make their omg-so-original creations at least the breadth of a sushi slice different from the bare-boned stock species...
Mere is an obsolete term for the sea, but also for a small pond of standing water. Ware not to utter the latter definition within hearing range of the fishy femmes fatales, for it might not tickle their pride.
Appearance and Character
Merewives - also known as The Dancers of the Sea - are never actually glimpsed by the reader in the Chronicles, so their physical appearance is entirely veiled. What is known is that they are marine beings, entirely at home underwater. What is guessed - or perhaps "fondly imagined" would be a better way of putting it - by any human male with a pulse who has heard their singing is that merewives are all the ultimate in underwater hotties (think a cross between Angelina Jolie and a haddock here). However, whether this fevered fancy is indeed sooth or not has never been established, since once anyone's actually taken the opportunity to find out, they're never seen again, having been dragged down to drown in the depths of the ocean. One can only nervously hope that such erotic efforts were worth it, though the haunting suspicion is that, for all the pornographic promises whispered breathily within their songs, merewives are actually all butt-ugly, with faces like a bulldog chewing a wasp,
Anyhow, famed for their compulsive phallomania, the merewives' single goal in life is to seduce men - any men (they're not picky) - with their song and bewitch them to hop into the frothing brine, never to return. Perchance their level of experience in certain matters explains why they are named wives instead of maids. However, women and Giants are immune to their cajolements. Either that, or the merewives merely desire neither. Poor submarine sods, they ken not what they have missed...come on, now, what kind of a straight female would not fall into the throes of an instant girlgasm upon beholding one of those bemuscled oaken wights with their huge...everything? And what is wrong with liking girls as well? One can be omnivorous during these modern times!
Merewives have other means at hand, apart from their groin-tingling warbling, to lure unwary sailors into their demi-piscine grasp. They are also innately capable of conjuring up squalls to drive any nearby sea-going craft towards them.
As has been noted, the readership never actually meets these dancers of the waves tête à tête. Perhaps then the more interested, nay obsessive of fans should pluck up the... pluck, eat a basketful of Foul Despishrooms and plummet headlong into the Land with a snorkel in hand. Rest assured, however, that one shall not meet Ariel down there where it’s wetter, singing about dinglehoppers and wanting to be a part of your world. On the contrary, the sea seethes with sirens screwy enough to have befriended She Who Must Not in the waiting room of the same shrink. Yes it's true... for some forgotten reason, as intensely as they're never-endingly drooling with lust, all merewives equally boil with a scarce-suppressed and eternal rage at all things male. Given this conflicted mental schism, it's little wonder that these seriously pissed briny beeyoches are always so batshit bonkers.
Role in the Chronicles
During the events described in The One Tree, both Brinn and Cail of the haruchai are utterly ensorcelled by the sultry sung promises of the merewives whilst aboard Starfare's Gem and throw themselves into the salty main in a desperate attempt to get jiggy with the fishy females. They are only rescued by the quick actions of the First of the Search and Heft Galewrath, who go snorkeling after the horny duo and grab them before they can start bumping uglies. Famously, at the close of the Second Chronicles, Cail announces that he was so smitten by the sensual songs of the saucy sirens that he's going to go back to the sea to remake their acquaintance (presumably taking with him a lifetime's supply of Viagra™ in a watertight carton, a pair of flippers and at least an inflated inner tube, if not full SCUBA gear).
How long this orgiastic "relationship" lasted is never revealed, but it can be presumed that, despite his natural haruchai hardiness, Cail kicked the bucket fairly quickly, either through drowning or due to sheer exhaustion. However, the fact that there was at least one consummated encounter is obvious - since in the Third Chronicles, the much-conflicted Esmer reveals that he is the frankly unlikely fruit of this union.