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.


20. Mirror Mirror - Saenoch Tozahr

A school during the holidays, an empty airport at midnight, rooftops just before sunrise, and anywhere on the border between spaces. Alone with just thoughts, the mind begins to grow, taking on a life of its own and becoming full of thoughts. Those pocket moments, liminal spaces, belong to them.

Saenoch Tozahr. They who is between, who makes motion and forbids return. Tozahr stands guard over the spheres of betrayal and the mind, and frequently the two overlap as illusions and shadows, flickering just out of sight in the spaces where mortals both can and cannot see. Paranoia, deception, and confusion serve as their weapons, and their followers know their sweet sting better than any.

Gender means nothing to all above mortals. That petty squabble is reserved for those down on the Lands. For the Saenochs, gender just indicates a form they can take. Unique amongst Saenochs though is Tozahr's preference for taking a constantly bilateral gynandromorphic form. No matter the form they take, from the silver-haired warrior to the black-winged bat, Tozahr is always exactly half-male and half-female, split vertically down the middle. Their most common form is that of a warrior with blood red skin and ankle-length silver hair, wearing a cape made of giant bat wings, black, knee-high boots of lion fur, and wielding a spear made from obsidian. A binding of silver silk studded with mirrors covers their breast, and a black iron circlet rests upon their brow.

Don't expect Saenoch Tozahr to remain in that form for too long. They enjoy change more than their fellow Saenochs, switching whilst in the middle of their interactions with mortals and leaving them struggling to process what they experienced. Such is the purpose behind Tozahr's Mind-Feast. One by one, a member of each of the nine races is taken without warning and forced down a labyrinthian gauntlet designed to test the minds and beliefs of the unwilling competitors until they are driven mad or expire at the claws of her many Gemini servants that roam the gauntlet. Only one competitor can win, and it is rumoured that Saenoch Tozahr picks the victor before the Mind-Feast even begins. One hero of Paliephor reported that competitors faced a wall of Gemini firing bolts of lightening from their hooves as the passages changed and shifted, nightmarish visions appeared, and images of loved ones attacked all the competitors. All that is, except for themselves. All they faced was a long and empty passageway leading straight to Saenoch Tozahr and their reward, the Obsidian Spear.

The Obsidian Spear has buried its broadhead into many key parts of history over the years, not just from mortals wielding it. Saenoch Tozahr has been notoriously stab-happy with it, carving their mark into the history of the Nine and shaping the Lands to fit their fancy. It was the Obsidian Spear that pierced Remand, causing the wounds that became volcanic with infection. Infection that came from Tozahr's true enemy.

Despite their mutual love for cruelty and disdain for the mortals of the Nine, Saenoch Thixur is considered the sworn enemy of Tozahr. Where he sees the mortals as having every right to exist - for the more that exist, the more lives he has to ruin - Saenoch Tozahr believes that mortals have to earn the right. An act of no return is a clear demonstration of a will to exist, and therefore live. What exactly determines an act of no return is Tozahr's decision, but accounts from her worshippers mention a lot of blood and the betraying of those once close to them. There are rumours of a banned book flitting around Kazidzo, detailing how the mass proving of over two hundred and thirty nine followers of Tozahr was the true cause of the Five Night Civil War. Whether it's all true is another story however. It would be very fitting for Tozahr to betray an entire Land and their belief in their history.

Saenoch Tozahr's enjoyment of betrayal and twisting the minds of mortals has been known to cause no end of trouble for the people of the Nine. Much like another Saenoch, whose black tongue has become a needle weaving silken lies through the tapestries of mortal fates...

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