Merines is a title for an extremely important person in Tales of Legendia. The Merines is a Ferines who has fused their consciousness with the colossal ship known as the Legacy and can control it at will. They are also in direct contact with Nerifes, the soul of the sea, and acts as the conduit for its voice and will. A Merines, regardless of who they are, has great social standing among all of the Ferines in the world, and upon their ascension to the position, will most likely become the new ruler of their people.
Becoming a Merines
Becoming the Merines is not an easy prospect. Only specific Ferines are capable of even attempting the Rite of Accession, a purification ritual that places the Ferines in direct contact with Nerifes, and even then, the Rite can fail, which may result in the candidate's death. Shirley Fennes, who failed the Rite of Accession on purpose in order to protect Senel Coolidge, fell into a coma and was only saved due to the influence of the Tear of the Sea. Even after waking up, the seawater and sea breeze became poisonous to her and almost caused her death on numerous subsequent occasions.
The Rite of Accession can be attempted multiple times, assuming the candidate survives the first attempt. It is even possible for a Ferines to hear the voice of Nerifes and become the Merines without completing the Rite, as Shirley Fennes did when her second try at the Rite was interrupted by Gadorian soldiers. Accession to the power of Nerifes can also be forced, even upon a Ferines who is unconscious, as long as she is powerful enough and Nerifes approves of her strength. Vaclav Bolud somehow managed to artificially elevate Stella Telmes to the status of Merines, even though she was comatose, close to death, and frozen in a cryogenic capsule, and through her had great influence over the Legacy before the story even begins.
The Merines has absolute control over every part of the Legacy, able to direct the ship however she chooses, aware of every place and person aboard it, and even capable of defying the laws of physics within its area. Stella was able to summon pillars of light across the Legacy's surface, project her Teriques anywhere aboard the Legacy she pleased, and even snatch Senel Coolidge from the brink of death more than once. Even as a failed Merines, Shirley was occasionally able to bend the Legacy to her will, managing to raise the Legacy's Bridge from its secret hiding place. Also the Legacy seems to react to the Merines. According to one of the legends of the Kingdom of Terises, "when the pillar of light appears, a new Merines shall arise".
More importantly, the Merines is the avatar for Nerifes, and as such she possesses all of the sea's great power. Once she completes the Rite of Accession, Shirley "takes back the blessing of Nerifes", thereby revoking the ability of "every single eren on the Legacy" to use eres. She is able to use the full power of the Legacy, including the Nerifes Cannon and the Wings of Light, and the power of her Teriques is vastly boosted, allowing it to travel anywhere and perform almost any task the Merines could wish of it. The Merines is also capable of unlocking the incredible power of the ancient-high eres Tidal Wave. The power of Nerifes manifests itself most purely in eres, which causes the user's fingernails to glow. The power of the Merines is so great that the light of eres shines not only from the keratin of her nails, but also that of her hair.
The Rite of Accession and the position of Merines were most likely discovered by the ancient Kingdom of Terises, as this was the civilization to create both the Legacy and the Relares language, from which, as previously stated, the word Merines comes. The ultimate goal of the Merines is clear: complete the work of the Terisians, and wipe all land from the face of the planet. Shirley purposefully failed the Rite of Accession and, at the end of the main story, willfully rejected Nerifes and her Merines status because she refused to destroy the Orerines friends she ever made: Senel.
- Merines means "Shining One" in Relares.