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.


3. Queens and Pawns - The Lands

Previously, you learned about All Father's tear forming the ocean of Deosedea, who created nine distinct lands that could create in turn. Each land is seen as alive, the way you or I lives and breathes, and each is as individual as the mortals upon them.

The first to be created erupted from Deosedea with a cloud of colourful birds, perfumed air, and undeniable beauty. Pellen, the First-Born, is a tropical paradise, who turns the waters around her as blue and clear as sapphires. A forest of tropical plants dominates the centre, with cities of marble and gold poking through the canopy like flowers on a bush. Her coasts of white sand plunge into the sea between rice fields, orchards of tropical fruits, and marble cliffs housing veins of precious metals and geodes of sparkling gems. The first creation of the oceans is the jewel in the waters and the warm sand beneath your toes. It is often assumed that the naturally beautiful who know of their own beauty are often stuck-up and vain, and while in most cases this is completely untrue, Pellen has proven time and time again that her arrogance and feelings of superiority will never fade. She openly admits that she is superior to all other lands, and that her creations deserve the best simply because they are the best.
Pellen's creations, the Karicarya, were made when she took the golden coral of her hair and sculpted it into human form, breathing life into the coral figures. All Karicarya are very tall, averaging at nearly eight feet in height, with fine, wavy hair, and blue or green eyes like sapphires or jade. Karicarya have soft, pale golden skin that shimmers when they move, similar to the beautiful coat of an Akhal Tekke horse, with slender physiques, high cheekbones, and delicate features. Karicarya are often assumed to be vain and stuck-up, obsessed with their appearance and remaining superior for the entirity of their long lives. Very often this is true, and who can blame them. When one is simply the best, one does everything in one's power to remain in such a desirable position.

The second to be created arrived with some reluctance. Shy Hateya saw Pellen and was left insecure, covering herself from head to foot in thick mangrove forests, swamps full of reptiles and buzzing insects, and bayous carving through the thick flora. Unlike Pellen, Hateya did not deliberately create her own mortals, rather they created themselves. Tiny green fish originally from Pellen swam up the bayous, developing first lungs, then limbs, and then finally the breath of sentience from the plants around them. Before Hateya knew it, the Nakleel were born.
Being originally from Pellen, the Nakleel are tall and lanky, averaging at almost two metres tall, with broad barrel chests, long limbs, and powerful muscles built for fast swimming over long distances. Originating from fish has left them with tiny but functioning gills between their ribs, teal skin, and patches of scales on their chests, shins, thighs, and arms, with some Nakleel even having webbed digits. Some less-tolerant members of other races say the Nakleel aren't truly mortals, and are instead still no more than common animals. Yet when dealing with naval combat, nothing can beat an army of Nakleel destroying a warship's hull from beneath the waves.

The third and fourth were created at the same time, like twins, but Paliephor was the first to create her own mortals to live in her wild grasses. Yes, Paliephor turned herself into the open plains of a savanna, with long, yellow grass, sparse but broad trees, and a smattering of watering holes all stretching north towards cliffs of black rocks. Orchards of tropical fruits and fields full of vegetables dot her landscapes, and beasts either roam wild or are farmed for food and hides. The southern coasts of Paliephor are almost like deserts, and snow dusts the very tops of the cliffs. Paliephor is a very varied land, just like her mortals.
Unlike Pellen, who had a very clear idea on how her creations should look, and Hateya who had no control over hers, Paliephor was undecided. She couldn't decide whether to create her mortals from the white snow atop her cliffs, the red earth around her watering holes, the beige grasses blowing in the wind, the earthy brown wood of the sparse trees, or the black rock that formed her cliffs. Undecided, she let all of her creations roam her land, as the Areadil. The Areadil are extremely varied in skin colour, eye colour, and hair colour, ranging from white as snow to black as granite. They are short, averaging at around five foot four, with athletic builds, and powerful legs. At their core, an Areadil is a long-distance sprinter, able to run at maximum speed for far longer than any other race. This variation within the race extends through to lifestyle, with the most bitter difference being in dietary lifestyle. The differences between carnivorous and vegan Areadil may seem minor to an outsider, but blood has been shed and civil wars have been fought over this one simple difference.

The fourth to be created took longer to create her mortals as the conflicts between those already created were starting to rage, and she wanted no war to know her. Herlenne is one of the more kind-hearted lands, and displays her warm nature in her landscape. From head to toe, Herlenne is a beautiful and temperate countryside, peppered with cool forests of fruit trees, fields of golden wheat and corn, and sparkling rivers filled with silver fish. The climate on Herlenne is neither too hot nor too cold, fresh rainstorms keep the plants and forest creatures upon her alive and happy, and the wild bushes are always laden with fruit come harvest time. Herlenne's calm tranquility is not just for her own benefit, for she gave her mortals such a peaceful land as a gift to them.
Herlenne's mortals are known as the Amaena, and they are an amiable sort. Their average height is about five foot nine, their skin is pale yet pinkish, like rose petals, with light coloured eyes, and more often than not they have red hair. They often have fuller figures, and there seems to be an innate connection that the Amaena have with the powers of magic. Even newborn Amaena can make tiny sparks appear at their fingertips, and the oldest and wisest can create whole underground cities overnight through reshaping the very flesh of Herlenne.

By the time the fifth emerged from the waters, the Saenochs had began to take interest, and had torn several holes in the barrier to take a look, creating the first few stars. All of the other lands had already created their own mortals, but the fifth, Remand, was still brushing off the ocean water from her landscape when Saenoch Tozahr landed from the first constellation. They were enraged by Herlenne's decision to let her mortals live peaceful lives - undeserving of the right to exist in Tozahr's opinion - and if Remand's mortals were planning on doing the same, they too did not deserve to exist. Upon Remand's barren landscape was where Tozahr and Thixur first fought over the right for mortals to exist, for he leapt upon the young land and flung himself at Tozahr in a laughing, snarling mass of fangs, horns, and claws. If all mortals have the right to exist, that means more will come into being, and he has more lives to ruin and souls to claim.
Some accounts say the two Saenochs fought with spear and claw for a matter of hours, others say they battled tirelessly for months, but at some point during the battle, Tozahr's obsidian spear stabbed into Remand's flesh three times, at one point impaling Thixur clean through before piercing the land. The blood of the Saenoch of Immorality entered Remand's wounds, infecting them and causing them to swell with burning pus until they formed three volcanoes that erupted with clouds of thick ash and rivers of lava. Unable to fight any longer, Saenochs Thixur and Tozahr fled back beyond the barries, leaving the injured and infected Remand to be cloaked in the choking ash. Yet Thixur and Tozahr had sent down the spark of life in their battles. The sulfurous gases released by her infected volcanoes dried the lava running down her body, cooling it into human shapes that gained sentience. With the warring Saenochs' help, the Evemeni were formed.
Their skin is a dark basalt grey, their eyes glow orange like fire, and they bleed lava when injured. The tall and broad-hipped Evemeni are described as being fire in human form: reckless, hot-headed, proud, lustful, and quick to reveal their explosive tempers. They seem to wear these labels with pride, like the multitude of colourful tattoos and piercings adorning their body, and enjoy all manner of combat both in war and in sport. If provoked enough, an Evemeni can drink a shot of oil and spit it at the offender, resembling a dragon breathing fire upon a brave knight, and melting the face off of the offender. Their creation won't be the last time a Saenoch involves themselves with the Evemeni, though the next interference won't be nearly as beneficial.

Emerging as Thixur and Tozahr left the nine lands, Aquentor knew she had to work fast. Her landscape also resembles the countryside, like Herlenne, but only in patches. For many canals and rivers cross through her fields of corn and moors of heather, providing perfect trade routes leading to the sea. Aquentor is beneath most of the glittering stars caused by Saenochs visiting the lands, and such developed a way of harnessing the night sky as not just a means of navigation, but also of life. She caught the starlight in a thunderstorm, trapping it in the raindrops that fell upon her, giving them form as her own mortal race, the Praxefia, and teaching them what she had learned in her time creating.
Her Praxefia are of average height around five foot nine, and are well-built and healthy. Their peachy skin has a radiant glow from within, their sleek, black hair shines, and the deep brown fathoms of their eyes flash with wisdom. Though the Karicarya believe they are born the best, Praxefia intend to develop themselves to be the best. The best artists, the best scientists, the best athletes, the best achievers. No matter the field, from painting to physics to the pole vault, every new innovation, discovery, and record is lauded. The Praxefia understand success in every field is to be praised, for all work together to advance their society. If there is one speciality of their race though, it's trade and relationships. Praxefia are masters of the art of commerce, utilising their many canals and rivers as trade routes through to the other lands. If it can be traded, it passes through Aquentor.

Many had forgotten of the Saenochs warring over Remand, and the seventh land of Kazidzo believed she was safe to create as she wished. However, Saenoch Tozahr had licked their wounds enough to break through the barrier once more, landing on Kazidzo and raking several deep scratches into her flesh, returning before their sworn enemy Thixur had registered what Tozahr was trying to do. Yet despite being scarred, Kazidzo was determined, and swore to create where she had been denied. Kazidzo turned herself into a barren and rocky desert, with canyons as red as terracotta, hot winds that whipped up the rust-toned sands, and plants rougher than the rocks. Yet at night, Kazidzo plotted a scene of pure beauty, where stars would glitter and constellations would waltz together to leave all stargazers awestruck at the beauty of a desert night. Though harsh, her landscape was rewarding, and required the ultimate survivalist. Kazidzo plucked the barren hairs of growing tumbleweeds from herself and clawed at the wounds that Saenoch Thixur had left behind until they bled. Though she hissed and winced in pain. Kazidzo dipped the spindly plants in her blood, moulding the dripping twigs into humanoid shapes. With a breath of life she let her mortals, the Tsalena, run free and thriving in her rocky badlands.
The Tsalena are short and athletically slender at only five-feet-five tall, with dark brown, almost black skin like the desert night sky, deep, piercing eyes, and wiry hair. They already mirror the night sky in beauty, but some Tsalena have tiny, white pearls embedded in their skin in constellation patterns. They are natural survivors, able to cover long distances for long periods without stopping, and are famed for their agility. A Tsalena can leap from ledge to ledge while scaling cliffs as easy as walking, and can perform complex movements in the air. Some highly-trained Tsalena have twisted and flexed their spine so much that they are capeable of turning themselves while falling so they land on their feet. What really sets the Tsalena apart as survivors is Kazidzo allowing the Tsalena to try again if they fail. A Tsalena soul will reincarnate nine times, and each reincarnation remembers every detail of their past lives. This allows them to look back at how their previous incarnations solved problems and apply those methods to similar situations.

The eighth land emerged not in water, but her own blood, struggling to not be created. For though she started creation deep in the waters, she heard the mortals and what they did to their lands, vowing to herself to never let that happen to her. When Menti emerged in blood, she was already hostile, with cruel mountain ranges, frozen plains, and icy tundras. Menti swore to make herself into a land of wild nature, with innocent, non-destructive creatures free to live without fear upon her. Yet in her struggle to not be created, she inadvertedly created a race of people known only as the Nythelori, who had two precious generations of life on her before Menti covered herself from head to toe in thick ice and clouds of snow. From the Nythelori dug out from the ice, we can assume they were short with willowy figures, skin almost blueish-white, and deep red hair. They dressed in crude furs, hunted by stealth, and somehow angered Menti enough for her to blindly cover herself in thick ice and snow, creating another race as she destroyed. From the frozen winds whipping and sculpting the chunks of hail, the Kjolica were formed.
Built to resist Menti's icy wrath, the Kjolica are nearly seven feet tall with skin as white as ivory, pale blue or grey eyes, and white blonde hair. All Kjolica have barrel-like chests containing large hearts and lungs capeable of handling the frigid air, thick muscles, and broad physiques. Even an adolescent Kjolica is capeable of picking up a lofty Karicarya with one hand. In their tongue, 'Kjolica' means 'lucky', for they are lucky to be allowed to exist. Menti had planned to freeze them solid like she had the Nythelori, but a lone hero - almost regarded as a god by the Kjolica - convinced the land to let the Kjolica live as long as they followed a strict set of rules that Menti herself set down. A very strict - and very barbaric - set of rules.

The last to be created arrived willingly, trying to be good after the troubles of Menti, yet was wary of creating her own mortals. The Karicarya and Evemeni had recently set Saenochs on each other in a fit of jealousy and retaliation, and the ninth land of Shamni had been created right between the two warring lands. In the hopes of preventing her mortals from being caught in any crossfire, Shamni constructed caverns within her perfect for cities, and covered herself in a thick cloak of desert sand the same soft golden colour as crystallised honey. The dunes shift to conceal hiding spots, and sandstorms are frequent in case of invasion. Yet if any invader did try to annex Shamni, they would have to deal with her mortals, the Sherel.
Of average height with athletic builds, the Sherel have flaxen skin, heavy epicanthic folds around warm brown eyes, and soft black hair. They are slow to trust others outside of their family - and family plays an integral role in their society - but are known for being fiercely loyal once they have reason to be, and are masters of technology. The infant Sherel plays with cogs and springs alongside building bricks and dolls, and have built and modified their own computer by adulthood. Yes, Sherel rely on technology a lot, but they have no other option. Their people despises magic at its very core, for despite Shamni's attempts to cloak her mortals in the shifting sands of the desert, the multiple wars between Karicarya and Evemeni have caught many unwitting Sherel in the crossfire.

The mortal existence would not be possible were it not for the lands, yet for some the Saenochs played a vital role. Yet which deserves the most reverence? Lands, or Saenochs? Whichever you decide, there's bound to be entire guilds of other mortals who feel similar.

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