Nine in Water, Many Beyond

In the tongue of the Karicarya, their world means 'Adoring Sunrise'. In the Saenoch's speech, it is 'Open Palm'. The name of this world is unknown as of this writing, but most other subjects...well, that's a different story.

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8. A Family Forged - The Sherel

"Oi! Oi, you! Sandy! Been ages since I've seen another Sherel in here! So what are you in for, some tech go wrong? Bet you miss Shamni's sand dunes, I know I do. Say, you got a wife back home, right? Bet she's a real beauty. She must be so lonely, with no big, strong man to comfort her as she waits the days away. You know...I'm getting out soon. Perhaps I'll pay her a visit. You know, keep her company. Don't you worry, I'll take good care of her long after you're gone. Oh yeah, that's right! You're going to die in here! This is the end for you!"

Any explorer that dares to traverse Shamni's ever-shifting sand dunes may mistake her for being abandoned. Yet if they were to look inside her sandy caves and tunnel networks, following the clanking of metal and hissing of steam, they would discover entire cities of a people full of life.

The Sherel. The desert people of Shamni are of average height, around five foot nine, with sandy, flaxen skin and warm brown eyes set with heavy, flat monolids. Their hair is often black and soft, and they have athletic, sturdy frames designed for surviving amongst the dunes.

From cradle to grave, a Sherel learns to hate and distrust magic. Shamni being located between Pellen and Remand means their Land is caught in the middle of every Evemeni-Karicarya war, and often Sherel civilians get hit with a stray acid spray or magma volley. The unnecessary casualties caused by their neighbours' magical wars has left them with a deep-rooted hatred of magic. Turning away from the arcane, the Sherel turned to steam and pixels, mastering the modern arts of technology. And master them they did. A Sherel in their early teens is more than capeable of forging metal into complex devices and coding their own personal blogging platform for their online diary.

To a Sherel, the one thing more important to them than technology is family. The family as a whole is prioritised over the individual, and the heads of large and powerful families often hold positions of power in their underground communities. Such a focus on family came from the casualties left behind after the Evemeni-Karicarya wars, and the Sherel realising that at any time, from any direction, a life could be cut short. The devotion to the family extends even beyond death, with Ancestors' Day held sacred as a day for honouring dead relatives and being thankful for living ones. Places are left at tables for the departed, candles are lit, and all-day feasts are held. The Sherel respect the dead like the living, but there was a time when the dead did not respect the living in return.

In the formative years of the Sherel people, thirty years before the calendar was established, the first Queen of the Sherel was Vynestra Doxthippe Father-Suffers-During-Mother's-Labour. Beloved by her people despite the war between the Evemeni and Karicarya, Queen Vynestra was betrayed by her court mage, Yosh'Oreto-Bola, and had her soul torn out by a spell of his. He had her buried alive in a tomb of golden hands, usurping her throne and claiming her death in war. Many believed his story about her being killed by a stray acid spray, until over a thousand years later when the tomb of Queen Vynestra was excavated by Shamni's established Explorer's Guild.

As the seal on the burial chamber was breached, she awoke, breaking through the golden bonds holding her body in place. In life she was beloved, in undeath she was monsterous. With one strike of her bare hand, she slew the archaeologist that broke the seal, casting his corpse aside and piercing through his guildmates with the darts of bone she had been buried with. When all intruders within her tomb lay dead, she turned her attention to their bodies, fashioning within them the unlife that she had been cursed with when Yosh'Oreto-Bola tore her soul from her chest.

Only false life surrounded the former queen as the first army followed her into the desert night. In the days to come she would attack Shamni's capital city of An Rumia, turning the Halls of Parliament into a fortress of the dead, picking off the cities of Shamni one by one. If it weren't for the Land sending the soul of Yosh'Oreto-Bola into a reincarnated body, Queen Vynestra would have forever disrupted the bond shared by the Sherel and their Land. Once the villain, Yosh'Oreto-Bola's soul became a hero to the Sherel people, sent by the Land as a blessing. For when harmony is achieved, all sides benefit.

Whilst the Sherel live in harmony with their Land, blessed by Shamni and in turn blessing her, there is another race in constant conflict with theirs. Those of the iron grey seas know that life is a constant battle, during which one must turn to barbaric extremes...

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