[A6I5] ==>

You see, when a young cheru8 hatches, it would appear that only one creature has 8egun its life. 8ut the appearance is not to 8e trusted. The young cheru8 actually consists of two completely distinct 8eings, a male and a female each sharing one 8ody. The two halves are endowed with polar opposite predispositions as well. One predisposed toward malevolence, another toward 8enevolence. Good or evil, if you prefer to deal in simplistic terms, or at least those which are convenient for the sake of this story! I prefer to view the dichotomy as a kind of moral alignment, like an attri8ute that dict8tes the choices a character makes in certain types of games I used to play. The male and female halves can 8e aligned either way, as long as they differ from each other. The resulting conflict 8etween the two personalities is central to life as a cheru8, 8oth 8efore and after predomin8tion.

Shortly after hatching, the two halves 8egin vacill8ting, taking turns controlling the 8ody. The only physical differenti8tion 8etween the two is the color8tion of their cheek swirls, which indic8tes alignment. There is otherwise no way to tell male and female apart 8efore a cheru8 predomin8tes. The vacill8tion process is demarc8ted 8y sleep. When the male goes to sleep, the female wakes up. And when the male wakes up, again the female sleeps. And so it goes, 8ack and forth like this, as the two identities vie for dominance over the other, and ultim8tely, permanent control over the 8ody. They grow to detest one another, and develop a view of social interaction centered entirely around animosity and confront8tion. For good cheru8s, this readies them for a long life of isol8tion, as they will prefer to avoid the sort of conflict that comes with social interaction as they have 8een conditioned to understand it. 8ut for evil ones, the contentious up8ringing only serves to fuel their inclin8tion to harm others.

And though this duality makes for a tormented childhood, the inner conflict it cre8tes is an extremely important part of a young cheru8's life. The defining part, actually. It is the struggle a cheru8 must overcome to mature, and this process culmin8tes in predomin8tion.

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