This is Tzod. She is the queen of the tribal denizens of the great swamp Bastal, a dreaded and impenetrable northern bog that has spawned so many grim tales that the few travelers who return from its treacherous banks have come back to civilization calling it The Allsorrow. But to Tzod, adorned with her giant toad’s skull crown, it is home.
Each new moon, her tribe gathers to see the swamp’s dreaming mind turned to visions in the bonfire when Tzod ignites the sacred leaves that are entrusted to her, passed down from mother to daughter.
Now, however, her tribe grows small - heedless of the legends, an upstart from the distant Empire has settled on the swamp’s outskirts, and, as they harvest the swamp’s resources to build their settlement, Tzod’s tribe has tried to repel them and met with deadly opposition from the settlement’s hired mercenary forces.
What guidance will the swamp reveal to her to in flames? What forces will compel her to ascend the frozen peak?
In The Spine of Night, Tzod is portrayed by Sydney Matthews. She imbued the role with savage ferocity and stoic purpose, a woman burdened with responsibility not just for her tribe, or her home, but, perhaps, for all of life itself.
Next time on the blog: the scholar, Ghal-Sur.