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.


10. Ice Hunters - The Nythelori

Go exploring in the frozen caves and glacial crevices upon the Land of Menti and you're sure to find signs of them under the layers of snow and ice. Tools and weapons set with bone, thick furs and pelts sewn into clothes, and sheets of wood carved with a strange language. If you're lucky, you might stumble upon one of their early cities, with hide tents encased in frost and early markets still with meat and hunting tools upon the stalls. At first glance you may think you've stumbled upon an early Kjolica settlement, but a closer look at the white shapes within the icy walls of the cave will reveal the truth. The Kjolica weren't the first people on Menti. That misfortune belongs to the Nythelori.

From the few Nythelori chiseled out of the ice and put on display as curiosities, we can gather the Nythelori were short and skinny, only reaching four-foot-six at full height and weighing eighty four pounds. Their skin was as white as the snow surrounding them, and their long hair was a deep, blood red. Judging by what the frozen Nythelori were found wearing, Menti was a frigid place even before the deep freeze, and many layers of leathers and furs were required to survive.

Don't let their appearances fool you. The discovery of arrows, daggers, jewellery, and various tools made of animal bone and feathers may give the impression that the Nythelori were wild, primitive folk as savage in nature as in appearance. This couldn't be farther from the truth. In the short time they were present on Menti, Nythelori culture had become far more developed than the cultures of other races in the same time frame. While the haughty Karicarya and intelligent Praxefia spent the first few generations learning to hunt, farm, and build crude shelters, the Nythelori mastered the basics fast enough to move onto architecture, language, politics, and religion. Though we know simple traditions of the Nythelori - like how a man will kneel on an arrow shaft when proposing, or when two close friends wish to become blood-brothers they forge a steel ingot with a drop of their blood - historians and archaeologists knew very little about the inner cultural workings of the Nythelori people. Aside from temples dedicated to the sacred beasts of the Nythelori - the leopard, haliae, fox, fae, wolf, bear, snake, shark, and eagle - the only concise source we have on Nythelori culture was thawed out just a few years ago.

They thought he was just another curiosity, frozen in the ice of Menti deep inside Mardbann Cave. The redhead clad in pelts seemed completely unchanged since the day the ice claimed him. The archaeologist society who chipped him out expected a few rays of sunlight to melt his ice block a bit. What they never expected was for him to blink. Slow and weighed down by the ice, the awakening Nythelori faced an onslaught of screams both of fear and excitement. An extinct race lived - culture, language, and faith - and it lived in him.

Trouble began to emerge soon after the sole Nythelori, who revealed his name to be Thawe, was dug out. The blizzards common to the North began to spread south, even covering the sacred tomb of Ask Jesbarnkes. The iron grey seas went from their normal calm to churning and deadly. Ice storms became arctic hurricanes, freezing the land solid and encasing the hardy flora in ice. Menti's wrath was stalking the land, her Fingers searching out this lone Nythelori. The Nythelori race had harmed her precious creations in life, flaunting their kills in the pelts they wore, weapons they hunted with, and wooden tablets they wrote upon. To Menti, one Nythelori allowed to live meant many more could plague her, and more of her precious creatures could be harmed.

Menti would stop at nothing to rid the world of Nythelori. The race of hunters could not be allowed to live and damage her further. In an act of direst cruelty, Menti encased the Kjolica city of Nackken in a blizzard, freezing the town in a dome of ice and trapping the population in with Thawe. Menti's Fingers of storm, ice, wind, famine, pestilence, flood, predator, poison, isolation, and madness showed their true and deadly forms, stalking outside the glacier prison of Nackken and attacking any and all mortals with their respective curses. Having learned about the fate of his people from his residence in the Nackken Museum of Natural History, Thawe knew that he was the cause of Menti's wrath and that the Land was attacking because of him. So taking a bone dagger from an exhibit on her people, he held the fate of the Nythelori within himself and pierced it clean through.

The second Thawe pierced his own heart, the barrier of ice surrounding Nackken melted, washing away the thick snow the Land's blizzards had caused. With Thawe died the Nythelori people, but also the wrath of Menti and the troubles that stalk the living Kjolica. Many mourned the extinction of the Nythelori, allowing Thawe the honour of a private burial in a coffin of solid ice on display at the Nackken Museum he came to love.

For their time, the Nythelori were one of the most advanced and intelligent races across the Nine, picking up politics, philosophy, communication, architecture, and survival remarkably fast for the short time their race was allowed to live. Were they allowed to thrive, the Nythelori may have culturally surpassed the Nine's current intellectuals...

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