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Captivity - Family - by Atrieisan Captivity - Family - by Atrieisan
Dawww... look at him~  :iconwantdannyphantomplz:

This is just a snapshot of what Danny's family looks like in the AU, Captivity, seeing as a bunch of people were curious as to what the others looked like, and it will be some time before they're introduced into the written story. This scene is very early in Danny's life, only about four months old, which can be noted by his still faded coloring. Jazz is about three to four years older in comparison. Maddie's forlorn expression is somewhat of a foreshadowing of the harsh events that will occur, seeing as the Matriarch of her shoal, she is forced to choose between a sickly child, or the safety of the others.
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This also leads me into the topic I was wanting to bring up and work through, which is family structure, and overall social standings within a shoal. I had the poll up for extra opinions given I had a few gender names in mind, but I was curious of what you all thought of. Though I may have worded it wrong, using the terms alpha and omega, which I shall explain below:

Each mermian shoal is ruled over by a Matriarch, an adult , usually older, stronger female. The Matriarch serves as a sort of revered mother, or overseer, using her knowledge over the years to guide the shoal. While her rank can be challenged, she will usually only be replaced upon her death.

The shoal itself consists of small family groups, Big and small males, and unmated or single females.

Small family groups are usually a mated pair and their young. Some only stay together for the season, while others are lifelong. The length of time spent together depending on the male's determination and will to stay with a particular female. Mates are usually wooed with a mix of 'dancing' display, and/or 'charms'; gifts found or made by the male in attempts to show his devotion. The female will either be impressed and accept the gift and thus his right to mate, or turn it down entirely. The value of the gift often determining whether or not they will remain lifelong mates. Pearls in particular are highly valued as they are extremely difficult to obtain, usually involving the male giving up several 'seasons' to coddle a batch of oysters in hopes that they will produce, and even then the chances of them doing so are very slim. Display and posturing is generally only a seasonal thing, less followed by a gift.

There are no Alpha Males within a shoal, but are separated into two types, or classes based on certain features and behaviors; Bulls, and Drakes

Bulls are the large, aggressive males of the shoal; usually defined by their bold colors, sharper features, and barbed fins or other offensive traits. They serve mostly as the guards of the shoal; holding a territorial and naturally violent nature, they're quick to defend what they consider their claim. However this can lead to problems with fights amongst other males within the shoal, as bulls tend to have a harem gathering mentality, especially during the breeding seasons, which can quickly turn the reef into a battle ground. They are also the most vocal mers, constantly calling out their territorial claims against other males, or calling for mates. While they can be protective of their harems, they can quickly become intolerant of the young, often resulting in killing of the more demanding guppies.
 
Drakes are smaller, gentler natured males; featuring an almost feminine appearance due to their size and usually soft, flowing fins; the only real give away is their brighter coloring. Drakes tend to take the sneaky, less aggressive approach in the arms race to obtain a mate, using their 'disguise' as a means of slipping past the larger males into their harem, the bulls, usually mistaking them as females, guard them like the others, providing the drake with protection and access to possible mates, so long as he doesn't get caught. They tend to serve often as nannies, seeing as they are less likely to kill the young out of intolerance, like the Bulls, as well as caretakers for the sick or injured. This often puts them in favor with females, along with the display of their fins. However unlike the bulls, they will most often lose their right to mate if challenged, as they lack a decent offense. Though not as vocal as their larger counterparts, but they are gifted with the ability to 'sing', their eerie, but serene calls often heard in the dark of night, either in loneliness, or in their own search for a mate if bold enough.

Females, unlike the males are not classified into multiple types, but are simply known as Dames. Whether or not they have barbed or flowing fins is simply based on their parentage, but overall doesn't change much in their effectiveness, as they are often armed with some form of stinger. Overall their color scheme is darker than the males, though they can still bare a large variety of colors, a number of them are usually muted, more so depending on the region of their habitat. This is more a means of defending their chances of survival and that of their young. Dames, while not as aggressive as Bulls, are not pushovers; fiercely protective of their young, whether it be against predators or their own mates. They are also incredibly skilled hunters, often working in groups similar to lionesses. 

Guppies are the young, until they reach about twelve years of age, where they become adolescents (though they are often still referred to as guppies until about nineteen). Guppies will stay close to their mothers side for the first three years, during which she will refuse to mate; to ensure the survival of her first; then they move off into small groups with other youngsters of a similar age. From there they tend to have their own little pecking orders and look out for themselves. Though they still remain under the close watch of their mothers, and nannies. Guppies have an unusual set of traits considering that they remain small throughout most of their youth, whilst their cognitive understanding grows quickly, enabling them to quickly assess their surroundings of danger, and if it is present, they can still hide within the nooks and crannnies of the reef where they cannot be easily reached.

Lastly you have Phantoms, also known as Dark Mers, which are not so much a social class within a shoal, so much as the name given to sickly, faded mers. The most common form of it appears closely related to Rage syndrome, or SOA (Sudden Onset Aggression). Most of these mers are either killed at a young age or chased off from their shoal for fear of it being infectious, or possibly leading to the death of the shoal.
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:iconmryingyangdreamer:
MrYingYangDreamer Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2017
at least Jack and jazz don't seem to mind Danny's colors...
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Notice how Maddie is the only one in the picture who is not smiling.... She knows what those colors mean..
Reply
:iconmryingyangdreamer:
MrYingYangDreamer Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2017
one would think jack would also.....so why does he look like he doesn't mind?
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:iconmattusprime33:
mattusprime33 Featured By Owner May 28, 2017
So wait, how old do mers need to be till sexual maturity? Is that when they hit adulthood exactly, or are they capable of going into season in their teens. The reason why I'm asking is because I don't know Danny's exact age and the fact that Jazz has three kids, but is only four years older than Danny. To me, this suggests that, depending on her brother's age, she either went into season a little bit early, or had twins or triplets, as you said that they won't mate again until the first three years of the Dame's guppy is passed.  Three guppies suggest one of those two routes. Which one is the correct one?
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Danny is around 20 in the beginning of this story. Jazz is 24. Caribbean mers reach maturity in their older teens as most animals do when reaching adolescence. As for young, They can have litters of up to three. Jazz did in fact have triplets.
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:iconmattusprime33:
mattusprime33 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2017
Gotcha. Thanks for clearing that up. So 18 to 19 with maybe 17 iswhen they reach maturity then. I'll remember that
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:iconknightowl247:
KnightOwl247 Featured By Owner May 21, 2017  New Deviant
He is soooooo cute! I have literal tears in my eyes from how adorable he is. 
Reply
:iconsnortharnk:
snortharnk Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2016
Um Atrieisan. I posted a drawing of a few mers I made for fun. Was that ok? Ill take them down if not. Sorry if you don't want me to. I just loved the design and I've had artist block rage me so I took this as inspiration.
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
It's quite alright. If anything I find it sweet. :3
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:iconsnortharnk:
snortharnk Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2016
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconsaturngrl:
SaturnGrl Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2016  Professional General Artist
Nice designs and I love how you defined a social structure! Judging by the way the are sitting, their tails swing in a side to side manner instead of the classical vertical fluke? Is that correct?
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
That is correct. You've got a sharp eye for detail with only this picture. :3
 I have an anatomy page listed here: Anatomy of a Mer. by Atrieisan if you're interested. I tend to be a lover of adapting science into species.
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:iconsaturngrl:
SaturnGrl Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Professional General Artist
I was a Biology nut in school. If it was science, I was all over it.
I designed a mermaid species once. Long time ago. Here is the old sketch, I'm surprised I still have it after all these years: Mermaid: Cuttlefish+Angler by SaturnGrl
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Not bad. I never really cared for tentacles myself though. <<
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:iconsaturngrl:
SaturnGrl Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016  Professional General Artist
Thanks, it was just an idea...and I liked cuttlefish at the time. heh.
Don't think she'd be particularly cuddlesome. XD
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Probably not. As far as I'm concerned, most mers are probably not cuddlesome. Danny definitely isn't.
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:iconsaturngrl:
SaturnGrl Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016  Professional General Artist
Reading through your Captivity story, he sure doesn't seem so.
Cuttlefish mers, if I had to gauge, are probably more deep ocean types.
Mers like yours would probably not encounter them unless they got lost from their reefs or were swept out to sea in a big storm.
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Sounds about right. Most of the mers listed in captivity are Carribean mers, which prefer warm waters and plentiful reefs.
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:iconfangirl79:
fangirl79 Featured By Owner Edited Feb 18, 2016  Hobbyist
Am I the only one who thinks that Jazz looks like the Pokemon Vaporeon? And that Danny's eyes are supposed to be green?
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
His eyes become green. In this AU his eyes were gray when he was first born. When they turned green the aggressive illness that drove him away becomes active.

As for jazz, she's actually based on a tuna/swordfish.
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:iconfangirl79:
fangirl79 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2016  Hobbyist
Thanks for clearing that up.

I understand that she's based off of a tuna fish, but to me, with the ear-fins and the way she's been posed, she still looks like Vaporeon.

Needless to say, this is amazing, and I'm a ridiculous person.
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:iconanimationcrazed:
AnimationCrazed Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2016  Student Artist
Aww! they're cute li'l fishies!
THIS IS WHY I DON'T EAT FISH, PEOPLE!!! GET OVER IT! *ahem* anywhom.
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:icongalaxya-13:
Galaxya-13 Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2015
I can't believe that Jack is a Drake, he was always so big... But his personality makes more sense as a Drake... Does SOA make mer also attacks their mates?
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
SOA is an epileptic disease that affects the memory and emotion portions of the brain. It results in the infected becoming extremely alert and attacking anything that moves, and then afterwards not even remembering that it has occurred. Thus Danny would end up attacking anyone and anything around him.
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:iconmonocheshaa:
Monocheshaa Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
And Danny is still THE CUTEST THING IN EXISTENCE
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:iconameliahalfdead:
AmeliaHalfDead Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2015
SO FREAKING ADORABLE
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:iconim-stuck-in-a-well:
Im-Stuck-In-A-Well Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015  Student Interface Designer
I WANNA HUG ALL OF THEM!Hug 
Is it just me, or does Jazz look like a kitten? :happybounce: 

Aw, poor Danny. He's being shunned for something he can't control. Waaaah! 
Reply
:icongirlfish01:
GirlFish01 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015
So is the black-tailed one going to grow up to be a Bull of sorts?
Reply
:iconrytheria:
Rytheria Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2015
Aww! Danny's just so ADORABLE! It's horrible that he was forced to leave his home! I feel so bad for him!
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:icongirlfish01:
GirlFish01 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015
Right now, Jazz might be a Dame-Guppy....
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:icongirlfish01:
GirlFish01 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015
You know, I think Jazz might be a tuna...
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:icongirlfish01:
GirlFish01 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015
Cool. :-)
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:iconbleachcrater:
bleachcrater Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015
love the picture and your description of the meer folk
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:icongirlfish01:
GirlFish01 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2015
I might not know if the male is a Bull or Drake, but i DO know this a really well done picture!!
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Jack is a drake.
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:iconmysticmyra8:
MysticMyra8 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2015  Hobbyist
sooooo CUTEEE!!!
Danny!!Kljksckjnc omg, i want him!!
Reply
:iconkiomori:
Kiomori Featured By Owner Edited Feb 22, 2015
First, the picture. I love seeing the whole family before things went wrong. Though if Maddie had to make the choice for the shoal? It had to have been tough. Jazz is absolutely adorable here though, and I like the colors you chose for Jack.
Edit:  Are Jazz's earfins a different type than the rest? They look a bit more unique compared to the rest of the family.

The background information on the shoal dynamics was very interesting to read! I really appreciate the fact that you're developing your AU's world so much. :)
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Jazz's fins come from a prior hereditary trait, either her grandparents or great grandparents. So yes they hold a unique shape. She and her brother are speed based.
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:iconthrone-king-master:
throne-king-master Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015
Oh, poor Maddie. The choice is simply to difficult.
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Indeed it is. It's a real struggle for her, between the survival of the shoal or her love for her child.
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:iconprayergirl1:
PrayerGirl1 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015
THIs is awesome!!
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:iconanauspice:
anauspice Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
ahah the thing with bulls and drakes sound a lot like the ruff bird 
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You're actually correct, their behavior is actually based off them.
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:iconanauspice:
anauspice Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
oh hey! thats really cool heheh
Reply
:iconwindstorm-5:
Windstorm-5 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I love this! It's adorable!!!
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:iconthemarginalthinker:
TheMarginalthinker Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Had danny been born normal, what sort of male do you think he'd be? 
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Actually, wait.. ._. I did my calculations wrong. It's actually a 50% chance, if taking into consider the equation. With Maddie being a Bb, and Jack being a bb. It looks a little like this:

        B       b
b|      Bb      bb
b|      Bb      bb
Reply
:iconthemarginalthinker:
TheMarginalthinker Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Huh. I guess there isn't a real distinction between matriarchs and regular dames other then rank and hierarchy position? Between the bulls and drakes, there is clear behavioral and biological difference, but any female can become a matriarch if she had the determination and sway to do so? Also, I like how you have blue as a dominant color scheme, like how certain traits are common in human families the farther down the line you go, like hight or hair type. 

I realize I'm asking a lot of questions, but do we get to see Danny and Jazz interact before he went mad? Would jazz even understand something was wrong with her brother in the first place? 
Im sorry! I just enjoy this au and story so much! The thought you put onto all of these aspects is really amazing! 
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I like your questions! I prefer to have educated and interesting comments over the common 'It's so cute! :heart:' ones...  It's nice to know that people are interested and curious about hwo the story works as a whole, whether or not the pic is cute. .__.

The biggest distinction for a matriarch is that she will usually be older/ larger that the rest of the dames within the shoal. But most of this is due to experience, knowing how to acquire food, what's safe and what's not, where to go during certain seasons. In some sense, yes any female can become a matriarch if she has the determination and strength to do so. But what keeps them there is determined by their knowledge, whether or not a shoal survives depends on the decisions of the matriarch. Most do not have the years of knowledge and experience to retain the postion for long and either end up losing their shoal or getting run off by oppressive bulls. Female mers that strive to become a matriarch have to focus on both knowledge and strength, finding the right mix between the two.  In that sense, dames are the most balanced in comparison to the others, but the matriarch herself is the one who's figured out the winning formula.

I did notice that blue is a very dominant color in Danny's family. .__. Even the old concepts I had for Maddie's father were a shade of slate blue. I guess that's just another part of the genetics. In some sense the concept for Juno looks very close to what Danny could have been, though the fin shape and color would of been vastly different, and he'd not be nearly as shiny.  Colors in general for mer populations can vary dramatically, more so depending on the habitat they originate from. Some regions have murkier, more earthy, rustic shades, where other places host brightly colored shoals. Common colors so far have been blue, red, gold, and neutral shades in between.  Usually red mers, especially on large males is a sign of prowess and strength, seeing as it is one of the flashier colors to display. Most blue and gold colors counter the bright shade with a more reflective sheen, blue especially, seeing as they can otherwise appear to fade into the background.  Gold is usually countered with duller colored fins.

I may make a few pics involving Jazz and Danny, though most of them would be very young. Danny was so young when he was run off to where his shoal didn't think he'd survive; which is young enough to where the guppy remains very close to its mother, often hiding under one of her hip fins and clinging there as they cannot swim as well. (He was old enough to not have to cling, but still pretty much a hip hugger.)  Considering how observant Jazz is, both of her surroundings and of the emotions of those around her, she would probably know that something was wrong, picking up the concern and anxiety that would hang around her mother, as well as the other mers that were close to the guppies. Though considering that she is still young, and while guppies may be quick to pick up on things, they are still inexperienced, especially with something as rare as SOA.

And once again, I'm really glad that you've been enjoying the story so far. I've absolutely loved working on it.
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:iconatrieisan:
Atrieisan Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
That's actually a tricky one, depending on which personality you prefer to base him off of. If you consider his human half, he'd probably of been a drake, considering his usually gentle/ shy outward demeanor and willingness to help others. But if you want to play the parentage game, he has about a 25% chance of being a bull, considering the heritage here. (this is going off of his father being a drake, and his mother, who's father was a bull.) At least if I'm doing the genetic grid correctly.  I personally find his phantom half is a bull, simply by a territorial and protective nature.  But if he'd been born a young healthy mer, I could see him as a blue scaled drake, trying to take on more than he can handle.
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