Hinori comes from a race that identify as neither male or female, but a balance of both. Hinori’s life is changed one day when they investigate a strange village to find a community that enforces strict gender roles amongst its people. An outcast from this society, genderqueer youth Mateo, discovers Hinori and asks to tag along with them on their strange and wonderful journey to protect the Balance… and find it in one another.
Hinori’s Journey was written for a prompt as part of the Goodreads M/M Group’s Love Landscapes Event of 2014. You can read the original prompt letter below:
An androgynous man stands with a curved blade in hand. He is clearly a warrior who treasures grace and beauty as much as the art of war.
I am from a race that is both masculine and feminine in one corporeal form. Our life’s journey determines which traits end up being dominant. Please tell my story and how I find my perfect partner. I ask that the setting be sci-fi/fantasy and that my MC is a warrior, anything else goes.
Genre: fantasy, science fiction
Tags: hurt/comfort, prison/captivity, interspecies, coming of age, warrior, pregnancy, masturbation, spacemen/alien, genderqueer/genderfluid characters
Content Warnings: violence, death of non-main characters
Word Count: 14,515
Free Download: M/M Romance Group website
I sat amidst the underbrush, listening to the soul of the Mother-Father as They moved through the life-force of every living thing. I had to break my fast soon; the hunger eating away at my belly was a sign that I had come too far and too fast on my Journey.
I felt the pulse of the deer as it drank from the stream. The sound of rippling water covered my footfalls as I approached the beast. I watched its majesty as its great antlers dipped into the water. A shame to kill such a creature, but the Mother-Father understood that some things must be done. The Naha’i, blessed by Their strength, have been allowed to live on this planet in harmony with life. We give back what we take as much as we are able, but these few years have seen a thinning of the wild beasts that roam these forests.
I slit the beast’s throat with one deft motion of my honed hunter’s knife. A warrior kills in one motion. We do not take pleasure in torture or torment, but do what needs to be done with as little suffering as possible.
I ate the meat raw, blood running down my chin and across my small breasts. I did my best to keep it out of my blond hair, which was braided down my back in the traditional style of the Naha’i. I could not risk a fire amidst the dry underbrush, especially so close to habitation. The Oracle had sent me to spy on a newly-built settlement called Nemway Two as part of my ritual Journey into adulthood. I intended to do so without being detected. Unsettling rumors had spread about the people who called themselves the Nemway, saying that they did not honor the Balance and instead split themselves into groups based on gender.
If the Mother-Father placed this strange village in our world, They must have had a reason, no matter how unusual and single-minded the villagers might turn out to be. The Oracle insists we learn as much about these people from the north as possible before deciding whether they constitute a threat to us.
My meal complete, I washed in the stream before crossing. It would not do to have Nemway Two’s tamed beasts smell the scent of blood on my lips. I crawled up the small ridge upon which the village sat and watched with awe and fear as the people went about their business. The settlement was like nothing I’d ever seen. The buildings were shaped like domes, made out of steel like my blade. The people wore tight clothing like a second skin, blue for some and pink for others. They wore strange sticks attached to belts at their sides. Odd devices— not living, yet moving without life-force— transported people about the village so that they did not have to walk.
How strange the Nemway were, I thought, and how sadly separate they seemed from one another. Those clad in blue were clearly their warriors. The Nemway in pink were the nurturers, walking the streets with children at their sides and babes in their arms. The two groups seemed at odds with one another, arguing over trivial matters as I watched. I was surprised I could even understand their language, but it was a relief to know I would not have to learn new words.
As I lay in the brush watching them communicate, it seemed almost as though they were speaking a different language from one another. I learned that the two groups were referred to as “male” and “female” from signs on a building. I wondered if perhaps there had been some split in the holy Mother-Father deity to create such a species.
To the Naha’i, one being is both of these two tribes. I am both “male” and “female.” I cook, I hunt, I mate, I clean— if I achieve Balance, I will be able to bear children or father them. The people of our tribe have always been this way— one body, two souls with the purest Balance of Mother-Father. Some lean more one way than the other, depending on their life’s work, but equity has always been the key to the Naha’i way of life. To swing one way or the other too strongly is to surrender one’s self to savagery or vanity according to the Oracle. To cut off one half of our deity is to throw away a part of one’s self.