Okay, after I posted Adventurers Transporting Mermaids, I realized I had made an embarrassing mistake: I had neglected to post a question about how adventurers would recruit mermaids to travel with them.
See, even though there are good transportation options, most mermaids aren't really going to want to travel with an adventurer. Why?
It's Dangerous Adventurers tangle with things like goblins (many small, weak but still quite deadly monsters), dragons ( a single, big, powerful monster), bandits, rogues, and slave traders all the time, along with the occasional crazy mage or royal. Quite simply, it's not safe.
Adventurers (generally) Don't Have Good Motivation Most adventurers are men (as helpfully pointed out by Brad0440, this is because of society and sexism working together) and there are a handful of reasons the typical adventurer will want a mermaid to accompany them:
A. Coolness-Yes, trophy mermaids are a thing. Plenty of adventurers show off their mermaid companion, for much the same reasons one would show off a trophy wife or a dragon pet.
B. Magic-If you aren't a mage, the only way to get magic is from a magical creature. Mermaids are magical, and therefore can be an ample source of magic (magic can be obtained over time by unharmful means, otherwise mermaids wouldn't be okay with this). However, most mermaids don't want to share their magical essence with someone else.
C. Company-Sometimes adventurers want company, particularly female company, the latter often for not-so-good reasons. Mermaids know this, and sensible mermaids, therefore, avoid adventurers.
D. Practical Reasons-Mermaids don't have to be paid so much as cared for, they can go places where ferries can't, they can defend themselves, and they can vouch for you when you encounter other mermaids.
E. Money-The darkest of all the possible motivations. Mermaids can be made to do street performances and so on, which can pay very well. Mermaids can be an even more ample source of coin if one is unscrupulous enough to sell her pearls (naturally formed, they contain part of her very heart and soul), shed scales, and so forth, and one can similarly gain some money by, well, trafficking a mermaid. Because of this bad behavior, mermaids generally avoid and have a low opinion of people.
So, How Can An Adventurer Recruit Mermaids To Accompany Them? My question exactly. This recruitment method has to be feasible for the medieval period, it has to result in a mermaid willing to accompany an adventurer (free will is key here, otherwise the adventurers are no better than the monsters they fight), it should not be magical (though sheets of Plop paper can and probably should be used), and it should be:
- Efficient Use the least amount of labor, effort, and/or manpower
- Effective It should result in the most loyal, cooperative, helpful mermaid companion possible.
I really appreciate your input and feedback, so don't be shy. If you decide to VTC or downvote, I would appreciate your constructive criticism. Thank you for your help and advice! (Oh, and if it needs another tag, please let me know what it is....I wasn't sure what would fit.)