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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6. Fire and Colour - The Evemeni

"Oooh, look at the little Evemeni hot shot! It's a bit chilly in there, isn't it? A long way from the lava rivers and burning earth of Remand, right? And now you're stuck in the chill, how very sad. I'd shed a tear for you, but it'll only freeze when the guards come in and hose you down! The cold breeze you feel? That'll freeze the water solid on you! The guards will pull out all your teeth one by one to stop them chattering! You won't be able to manage a single bite and you'll starve to death! You hear me! You're going to die in here!"

Their land knew the burning flames of wrath from the beginning. Remand is regarded as one of the most hostile of the Nine, with ash-choked skies, rivers of lava, and barren landscapes filled with strange flora and stranger fauna. The few cities are built vertically, with buildings stretching up like teeth to bite holes in the red ash plumes, and canopies of thick leather covering the alleyways between spires. Even if you were sharp-eyed enough to spot the precious rubies and glittering rhodonite geodes poking through the rocky ground, you'd still be hard pressed to spot Remand's native mortals.

The Evemeni. The glowing-eyed natives of Remand. Outside the safety of walls and leather canopies, the wise Evemeni shields themselves from head to foot in a thick leather cloak, peeking out through a clear panel of heatproof plastic. Any Evemeni venturing out into a storm uncovered is foolhardy at best. Any other race doing the same is suicidal. A particularly brutal ash storm is more than capeable of scraping flesh off bones.

Evemeni compliment their Land in more ways than one. Their charcoal grey skin matches the baked earth beneath their feet, and their amber eyes glow like lava spilling out of the three volcanoes. Male Evemeni are slightly taller than most other races, coming in at just under six foot tall with wide hips and more developed thigh muscles. Female Evemeni tower over their male counterparts though, approaching two metres in height with very broad hips, narrow shoulders, and thick thighs. Both sexes traditionally cover themselves in vibrant tattoos full of colour and detail, adding more and more tattoos until they have scarcely an inch of clear skin left. After all, a land covered in ash has very little colour, and if Remand won't be creative, her people have to be. Creative in appearance, creative in culture, and creative in courtship.

The courtship rituals of the Evemeni people are unique amongst the Nine. Unlike the uptight and restrictive Karicarya, the Evemeni actively encourage emotional and sexual relationships during adolescence. A healthy knowledge of one's own body, mind, romantic attractions, and sexual attractions during adolescence leads to healthy and well-developed adults, or so the Evemeni believe. Yet relationships supported during adolescence are homosexual ones. While most of the Nine accept all sexualities, Evemeni are unique in actively encouraging homosexuality during adolescence, discouraging heterosexual relationships. They claim it's a way of allowing sexual relationships whilst preventing unwanted teenage pregnancies, but this can cause problems for the heterosexual youth of Remand forced into identities they do not fit, and regarded as immoral for risking the conceptions of unwanted children. It may seem like an extreme practice, but after the second time a Saenoch interfered with the Evemeni people, they need to be careful.

Before Menti had frozen her first race in ice, and before Shamni had even emerged from the oceans, tensions were rising between the Evemeni and the Karicarya. Nobody's exactly sure why tensions rose, but it's suspected the Karicarya's obsession with maintaining their race's so-called perfection had some influence. Whatever the cause, the Karicarya struck first, aiming to hit the Evemeni right in the gene pool.

In the fourth month of the first attempt at a calendar, every Evemeni man, woman, and child in Qohamn - Remand's sixth largest city - vanished overnight. Not one spark of Evemeni life remained in the city, as the empty towers stretched up through a heavy blue mist that hung over the barren streets like a canopy. For sixty years the ghost town of Qohamn remained one of Remand's greatest mysteries - its streets blanketed in volcanic ash, wild animals made homes between and inside the towers, and the blue mist remained suspended over everything - until, as suddenly as they vanished, enough Evemeni to fill a medium-sized city appeared from the blue mist as it shriveled into nothingness. Though they weren't the original population of Qohamn, the Returned shared similar features and medically were too close to the originals to not be their descendants. Wherever the originals of Qohamn went, they were able to have at least two generations of children. Yet they were...wrong.

The Returned were quick to anger, even for Evemeni, and they delighted in the destruction and suffering left in their wake. Sometimes they would attack without warning, spitting fire at anyone who dared look at them the wrong way and laughing as their victim burned. Many theories were proposed for what caused the Returned's lack of compassion. Some wild, some plausible, but all put to rest when a Returned woman in the capital city of Hareppur raped a man and became pregnant with his child. When questioned, all she said was that Thixur's blood would live on further.

The worst fears of many Evemeni had been proved right. Thixur, Saenoch of Ravage and Immorality, had stolen the population of Qohamn and used them as vessels for his blood and spawn. The very essence of Thixur had spread, turning ordinary Evemeni into predators hiding in plain view. Over time, the level of aggression and cold-hearted malice in the Returned diluted as they bred and mixed with regular Evemeni, but there's still a chance of walking past a cold-hearted child of Thixur as one goes through their daily life.

Thixur's second influence over the Evemeni wasn't nearly as positive as the first, but it wasn't his own idea. No, the Evemeni's closest rivals deliberately set him on the people of Remand, aiming to strike at their heart and sabotage the bloodlines of the hot-tempered race. Yet despite their inner fire, the Evemeni know that revenge is a dish best served cold...

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