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Tokoroth

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A Tokoroth is a creature of evil represented in Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series (which is set 6000 years ago in prehistoric Europe during the Stone Age). These creatures appear frequently as minions of the Soul Eaters.

Description

A tokoroth is one of the most feared creatures the Forest has heard about. Only few know about it and even fewer talk about it. It's a human child that has been raised in solitude and darkness as a host for a demon (a dead creature that has lost all its sense of right and wrong, living only for killing and destruction). It's believed that the dark art of creating a tokoroth has been forgotten, but the Soul Eaters have rediscovered it at some point.

First a child under certain age is taken. It's trapped in darkness and total isolation for months with barely any warmth and the only meal being rotting bat meat tossed in its own excrement. Eventually the child forgets its mother's touch and its own name. When the child is just an empty shell, the captor calls a demon and traps it inside the child's body. The child's own souls are trapped by those of the demon and they remain trapped until the tokoroth is killed.

A tokoroth makes no difference between good and bad, right and wrong. It feels no mercy in the slightest because it's been taught to hate the entire world. It obeys only its creator.

Tokoroths are masters of stealth, stealing, mutilation and fear-mongering. Despite having the stature of a child, they move very fast, and are very quiet when they wish to be. They are also incredibly athletic, able to leap long distances.

Many of the tokoroths presented in the series have wild hair and stick-like limbs. Their nails in both toes and fingers are long, yellow and sharpened. Their teeth are also sharpened and brown.

Role in the series

Tokoroths first appear in Spirit Walker. Tenris the Seal Mage had created two tokoroths - a boy and a girl with faces adorned by leaf tattoos - at some point while keeping low profile for years after the Great Fire. In order to find the destroyer of his another creation - the demon bear -, he sends his two underlings to spread sickness - another creation of his - by poisoning the Forest's juniper berries. Torak and Renn repeteatedly sense the tokoroths hiding in shadows. One of them bites Renn's hand at one point. Another follows Torak on his way to the Deep Forest in search of a cure. It shoots an arrow at a boar that has befriended Torak, leading it to attack him in pained fury. When Torak is captured by three Seal boys and taken to their island in the west, the tokoroths hide in the boys' canoes and continue stalking Torak in the island. At one point they set a seal net which almost causes Torak to drown when he stumbles into it in nighttime.

When Tenris finally reveals his true colors to Torak and traps him to the Crag (a sacred cliff that stands over the Sea) with the intention to eat his heart and gain his spirit walker powers, the tokoroths assist the Soul Eater in tying Torak to the altar and preparing a fire wall to separate the Crag from the island. When Wolf arrives to save his pack-brother, he lures the tokoroths after him and causes them to fall off a cliff. After Tenris' death, Wolf leads Torak, Renn and Bale to the dying tokoroths. With the demons driven away by Wolf, Renn places death marks on the children, letting them die free. The Seal Clan buries the bodies to the Sea.Stop hand

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In Outcast, Seshru the Viper Mage reveals her daughter Renn a terrible secret. The Soul Eater had gotten herself pregnant by Renn's father in order to make her own newborn a tokoroth. Before she could summon an elemental (the strongest type of demons) and trap it with the Fire Opal into Renn's body, Saeunn the Raven Mage rescued Renn. Renn is described as having little sharp teeth, possibly referring to her prevented future as a tokoroth.

In Oath Breaker, while Thiazzi the Oak Mage does his schemes in the Deep Forest, he captures several children both from the Deep Forest and the Open Forest. After his death, Wolf and Darkfur find the captured children in holes dug in a hill behind the Sacred Grove. The five children are thin as sticks, teeth sharpened and minds as bare white as a mistletoe's berries, yet they're still children. Unfortunately, one child has already become a tokoroth and fled towards the eastern High Mountains where Eostra, the Eagle Owl Mage - the last Soul Eater and the most powerful of them - is hiding.

In Ghost Hunter, Eostra has created several more tokoroths from children of the Mountain Clans. They assist her throughout the last book, but they are destroyed by Torak, Renn, Wolf and Dark along with Eostra.

Trivia

  • Michelle Paver has based the idea of tokoroths on certain African beliefs and customs about monsters created from children who are brought up alone and in darkness.  In Malawi, the author's birth country, they are called “tokoloshe”.

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