Just before it reaches the state of the same name, the Mississippi splits in two- one river above, and one river below. The old waterway’s underground sister diverges into numerous caverns, most of which prove to be dead ends. One of these branches spirals downward for almost a mile, however, into a vast, subterranean kingdom where borders of the nations above have no meaning.
This strange underworld, known to the the locals as Eaunoire, is a drain into which the world pours. The waters of the Biblical deluge are said to have settled in its depths, and to have brought with them the bones of all the sinful creatures who drowned therein. New life has since emerged in this sun-spared realm, yet it scarcely resembles that of the world above, and is as pale as anything dead.
Here, there are mermaids, but not of the sort that seafarers would recognize. These are a freshwater variety, colloquially known as "bottom feeders," born of the putrid mud of inland America. Their tails are like those of sturgeons, and their lips are bordered by the long barbels of catfish. As one might expect, their skin appears human from the waist up, yet it is more often than not coated in a thick layer of ooze.
Much like their saltwater cousins, they make a sport of drowning humans; before they do so, however, they demonstrate extraordinary hospitality. They have made lounges from abandoned riverboats along the shores of many southern rivers, where they serve grand feasts to all who are brave enough to visit. They roast the legs of giant frogs and slather them in rose butter, then serve them alongside crabapple wine.
These mermaids have no need for seduction; all those who enter their parlors do so voluntarily. Extraordinary guests who manage to please the sensibilities of their hosts are allowed to come and go freely; however, those who prove less than satisfactory as company find themselves with a bit too much to drink.