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.


9. The Welcoming Sea - The Kjolica

"Big, brawny, and savage-looking...yeah, you're Kjolica through and through. Bet you sailed here, right? And cannibalised a few of your own people too? No wonder people have nightmare about the Kjolica! It'll be an improvement when the guards beat your face in, leave you lying in a pool of your own blood! Even when you choke on the stuff, your rotting corpse will look like a garden of roses compared to now! Yeah, you heard me! You're going to die in here! Slaughtered like a man-eating bear when you're mistaken for one!"

One of the most unwelcoming Lands, Menti's biting winds, thick snow, and rugged ground has claimed more lives than any other Land. Open in her hatred for mortals, it's only through an act of heroism that she allows her people to survive at all.

A resilient and sturdy race, the Kjolica are well-suited to the harshness of Menti, tolerating the cold like no-one else. If their pale blonde hair and tall frames don't give them away, then their thick muscles, pale skin, and broad physiques definitely will. Each day for the indigenous Kjolica is a battle with the Land, whether setting up a small town for those tired of nomadic life, to fending off the wild creatures of Menti that have learned not to fear her people. The Kjolica have fought tooth and nail not just to survive, but to thrive upon the Land of Menti while following her strict Eye and Flesh Pact - much to her dismay.

Even the most traditional and strong-stomached Kjolica becomes queasy when reminded about the Eye and Flesh Pact. Drawn up by Menti after she failed to kill the fabled hero of the Kjolica, Ask Jesbarnkes, the rules of the pact are very clear. Harm not the plants that grow on this land, nor the creatures that walk upon her, nor the birds that fly above her, nor the fish that swim through her lakes and river. Nothing to be consumed can be wasted, and the body of Ask Jesbarnkes must never go without being looked upon with unblinking eyes. Before the people of Menti were considered worthy of trading with, the only native food source they had was each other.

With the ban on hunting for meat and harvesting plants for food, this leaves fellow Kjolica as the only source of food and resources. This single food source, hostile environment, and the Ten Fingers Of Menti stalking the land means the Kjolica drop like flies, and there is always enough to go around. These savage rules of the Eye and Flesh Pact turned many other races - even the tolerant Amaena and intelligent Praxefia - away from the Kjolica's plight. Nobody was willing to sell imported meats, fruits, grains, or vegetables to a race forced to eat their own kind, even in exchange for valuable bronze, iron, and blue fire opal salvaged from Menti's jagged mountains. Cast out by the other mortals of the Nine, the Kjolica would have been left abandoned were it not for one visionary.

Embla Vulsa, also known as Vulsa the Wooden Skimmer. All Kjolica hoist the main sails at birth, but Embla Vulsa was never more comfortable than aboard her simple ship, skimming over the waves like a marine bird searching for fish in the oceans. A mother of two, she had been witness to the other races turning the backs on the Kjolica, heard the rattling breaths of the diseased and starving, and was determined to give the Kjolica some sort of support. And she succeeded, just not in ways her people had expected.

The Night of Plate Armour came with a shifting in the oceans. Tides climbed up the stony beaches, and Embla Vulsa dragged her ship up the beach. Aboard were mounds of silver fish, scales shining like steel plate armour, killed and gutted by strange tools. The Kjolica of her village questioned her on where she had gone to hunt without fear of Menti's wrath, and she explained that she had not harmed a single one. Instead, she gestured to the iron grey waters, and let the real hunters emerge.

Haliae. A race of ocean-dwelling creatures with the torso of a human but a fish tail for legs, the mer-folk of the frozen waters had been eager to learn more about the stranger in her wooden ship, and even more eager to offer an exchange. The Haliae would hunt the oceans for the Kjolica, offering an alternative to devouring the flesh of their dead. In return the Kjolica would bury their dead at sea, allowing the Haliae the chance to examine Land-born mortals and satisfy their insatiable curiosity for anything not of the waters.

With a simple deal, the Kjolica had been able to out-wit Menti, allying with the mer-folk to survive. Their name meaning, 'lucky', proved to be accurate once again. For before the Kjolica, another race existed on Menti. The snow-white hunters, who can still be found in the ruins of their cities on Menti. Sealed in ice, frozen in time...

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