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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15. From the First - The Nakleel

"Aww, little fishy no swim? Not even a wet patch of earth under your feet? It's like a desert isn't it. A far cry from the swamps and waterways. Yeah, well get used to it! Get used to the burning in your throat, as it'll only get worse! They don't give the prisoners water down here! You'll slit your own throat just to feel the wetness of your own blood! You're gonna die in here, Nakleel! Die!"

Though they became sentient in the swamps and marshes of Hateya, they weren't created by her. No, Hateya's mortals originally came from Pellen, but they were not in human form. They started life as fish, who made their homes in the marshes. The unique flora growing upon Hateya provided the perfect catalyst for the silver fish to change and become human - the Nakleel.

Their aquatic ancestry shows, even to this day. The Nakleel have cool coloured skin - from silver to teal to turquoise - and have patches of fine scales over their hips, shoulders, knees, and elbows. Both male and female Nakleel have broad, barrel-like chests with strong lungs, long limbs built for propelling them through the water, and have gill slits between their ribs. When the shyest Nakleel peek out from behind their long, silver hair, their large, silver eyes shine like moonlight on still water.

Even the most extroverted Nakleel could be described as shrinking violets, hiding away within the thick foliage and canalside cities that dot their land. Nobody's sure if the Nakleel's timid disposition comes from their early evolutionary days or as a reaction to hunters who see them as sub-human, but it's common for at least half of all Nakleel in a room to dart into the foliage when a stranger walks in.

Don't mistake their timidness for unfriendliness. Adventurers who choose to settle and become established on Hateya describe her people as being friendly like an Amaena, yet as noble and refined as a Karicarya. It just takes a while for the Nakleel to warm up to a person, which after recent events is understandable.

A few decades ago, in the deepest swamps where the were-crocodiles are banished to, black wisps of wicked smoke began weaving through the mangroves. Those afflicted by the Twisted Blessing at all cycles of the moon began to hear whispers, saw glimpses of wandering adventurers setting up camp and discussing rumours, and saw packs of hunters stalking beneath the vines. Formerly trusting, the banished lycanthropes and vampires on Hateya thought nothing of it, until the waters of the swamp they had been exiled to turned red. Saenoch Cimozar had allowed her blessed to hunt at will when the water turns red, the moons eclipse the sun, and regular mortals turn upon her gifted. The prey feeding the predator is all part of the circle of life, and it is to be expected.

At least in the regular sense it is. The warping of Cimozar's blessing by Thixur had made the lycanthropes into the ultimate predators, and the mortal races upon Hateya made for their prey. No Saenoch can undo what they have done, so the hunt could not change. Predator must hunt prey. Deep from within the exiled swamps, the afflicted lycanthropes and vampires emerged and descended upon the nearby town of Zozuhr, blind to all but the thrill of the chase that came with Cimozar's gift. For the three nights of the lunar eclipse the lycanthropes of Hateya hunted by night and were hunted by day, until the fog cleared, and Saenoch Cimozar herself descended from beyond the barrier in a cloud of black smoke.

At least until she removed her face, swapping it out for her original form. The lunar-bound of Hateya had been decieved by Saenoch Tinur, mocking Cimozar's omens of a hunt and lying to the lycanthropes and vampires. The massacre they had caused had amused the Saenoch of Omens and Deception, and she wished to reward her entertainers. The lives of the slain were returned to them and they awoke, turning upon the lunar-bound and either slaying them, or driving them fully out of Hateya.

To this day, there are no lycanthropes on the wet land of Hateya, and the Nakleel are still distrustful of any strangers. Most knew not about the lycanthropes in the exiled swamps, and saw it as an attack from within. If their own people could not be trusted, neither could anyone else. A massacre like the one in Zozuhr could not happen again.

Lycanthropes turning upon regular mortals is rarely heard of, despite influence from Saenoch Thixur. That comes from the original source of their blessing. A Saenoch who represents life's blessings and curses, taking its toxic medicine and remedial poison.

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