Pnartaxwala - The Manticore/Sphinx

Nature: A very complex & advanced Living spell from the Temple of the Seven Towers
Pillar: Quicksilver / Hermium / Mercury / Three / Tower of the Glass Book
Composition: ●Mind, ●Spirit, ●Matter, ●Knowing, ●Patterning, ●The Mysterium
Mythically remembered as: Sphinx, Manticore, The Cheshire Cat, Kanaima
First Encountered: 6.8 "Footprints on the sands of time", where PC's met it while exploring the temple
Notable Appearances: 4.6 "Body of knowledge". 6.6 "And Eternity in an Hour" / I2 "Tangled Fates - As seen on TV" (where it was instrumental in the scheme to entrap the PC's forever in the hallucinatory

Info: This creature has thus far not been encountered, but Divinations performed by Hermes at once point indicated that they cabal would not only be meeting it, but also that it would kill at least one of them when that happened, namely Nobel. Interestingly enough it would accomplish this by stinging him with a barbed/spiked tail-like appendage which injected a poison causing the victim's spine to rupture, practically exploding within the body.

Any actual appearance or further details were difficult to ascertain, as the beast seemed to be lurking unseen in the dark, but was perceived as rather big and predatory, from the impressions given. Among the facts gleaned, however, was that it was encountered in the Mithraeum of the Mysterium, their sacred chamber/cave of initiation. The questions as to why the entire cabal were intruding into the holiest and most sacrosanct institutions of the Order, or why such a beast would be lurking there, remain unanswered thus far.

The final detail discovered was (what is assumed to be) its name: "Pnartaxwala". The initial 'P' sound is technically closer to what we would classify as an 'F', and is pronounced similarly to the 'P' in "Phoenix" or "Sphinx".

Thorough linguistic research by Skadi indicated that it is either an amalgamation of words and concepts from Sanskrit, Middle Persian and potentially Thai, or conversely that it's an older concept that in time mutated into these different forms in the various parts of the world, making it a root-concept to all of these. In any case, the correlations which her studies and her Attainment-power allowed her to make are as follows:

Plot 6.8 Update: Has been encountered, where it almost liquefied Dorian, decided to encase Nobel in iron instead of injecting the spine-rupturing toxin, and in general did its best to take out the intrepid explorers, before it was finally dealt with by trapping it within a small phantasm-bottle.

It was discovered that the creature could exist both materially, spiritually and as an astral entity, probably because it was created to be a symbolic representation of the transformation between those three states of being.


Part of Name: P narta xwa la
Middle Persian: 'Martya' + 'xwar' = 'Man' + 'to eat', which became 'Martikhoras'
Later Changes: When adopted by the Greek this became "Mantikhoras", was then latinized to "Mantichora", and eventually "Manticore" in English

Part of Name: P nar t axw ala
Sanskrit: 'Naravirala' —> 'Nar av ir ala' = 'Man-cat'

Part of Name: Pnar taxwala
Sanskrit: 'Purushamriga' —> 'Pur ushamriga' = 'Man-beast'
Meaning: Both of these are names for a ''sphinx''-equivalent mythological beast, the latter one from South India, though also found in the Tamil language. It is found depicted in sculptural art in temples and palaces where it serves to drive off or ward away evil, just as the "sphinxes" in other parts of the ancient world. It is said by the tradition, to take away the sins of the devotees when they enter a temple and to ward off evil in general. It is therefore often found in a strategic position on the temple gateway, or near the entrance of the Sanctum Sanctorum.

Part of Name: Pnar ta xwala
Thai: 'Thepnorasingh' —> 'The pnor asingh'
Meaning: The name under which the "sphinx" is known in Thailand. They are depicted as upright walking beings with the lower body of a lion or deer, and the upper body of a human. Often they are found as female-male pairs. Here, too, the sphinx serves a protective function.

Greek: 'Sphinx',
Origin: from Σφίγξ, from the verb σφίγγω (sphíngō), meaning "to squeeze", "to tighten up", in this context read as ''to strangle''. This name may be derived from the fact that the hunters for a pride of lions are the lionesses, and kill their prey by strangulation, biting the throat of prey and holding them down until they die.

However, the historian Susan Wise Bauer suggests that the word "sphinx" was instead, a Greek corruption of the Egyptian name "shesepankh," which meant "living image", and refers to the Sphinx statue at Giza, and how it might have been considered the ''living image'' of the original, mythic beast.


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