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Blooded

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Artwork by nebezial
A Withered Rehk
Height: As Base Species
Weight: As Base Species

While the celestials, in order to fight their wars, had to create beings to do their killing for them, their enemies had no such laws binding them. Indeed, demons rarely, if ever, purposefully create anything at all. Instead, their very presence corrupts and destroys that which is around them, and it is this effect which has brought the Blooded into the world. While the demi-celestials were completely created out of nothing in their forms, the blooded take the forms of corrupted versions of their original forms. As such, all of the blooded are merely "templates," modifications of their base species. This is fortunate for the world, as an entire species of blooded would surely spell the doom of their neighbors.

History

For as long as the mortal species have existed, so have the Blooded. When a demon visits the material plane, it always does so with a purpose. Either it has been called to the material plane by some sort of summoning, in which case it is the summoner’s purpose to which the demon will have been called (assuming the summoner is skilled enough to bend the demon to their will,) or it has somehow found a way onto the material plane through its own devices. Either way, demons tend to be bad news. Having a demon in an area for a period of time longer than a few days will cause physical warping of the plane. Crops will start to grow strangely, sometimes they’ll grow twice as fast, sometimes they will appear to grow normally, but when you cut into one it is filled with hundreds of dead insects instead of the flesh of the crop, and sometimes they will just wither in the field. Similarly, wild animals (and the most savage of beastfolk) will begin to go mad, behaving in unpredictable, unnatural ways, or sometimes simply becoming uncontrollably aggressive. Their presence within a few miles can spark the spontaneous outbreak of new diseases, can rapidly age mortals, or suddenly generate mental illnesses within people if they’re allowed to stay in a place for long.

Finally, their mere presence in a place for a long period of time has the ability to corrupt infants in the womb, or cause people to only produce offspring with demonic characteristics. On top of this, some demons directly create offspring through an unknown magical ritual, though these tend to be the most normal-looking demonic offspring of all. Further there are some demons who create offspring through the more traditional method. Their offspring, even tens or hundreds of generations past, still show strong demonic characteristics. The most common of these offspring are listed below.

The Seeds of Evil...

Through the result of demonic influence in the mortal breeds, a great variety of Blooded can be created, leading to the various subgroups. While demonic beings always corrupt the world around them, this is less the case for the blooded. Demonkin and withered, the most demonic of all blooded, have a relatively strong effect, becoming noticeable in six to ten phases, while the lesser blooded, halfbloods and the deceived, have much less noticeable effects, adding up to at most a 1% increase in the probability of catastrophe befalling the place they live for an exceptionally unlucky one. Soulless do not generate corruption.

  • Halfbloods: "Halfbloods" are the most common form of Blooded. When someone corrupted by demonic forces has offspring, their lineage is permanently stained, and forever more, Halfbloods are the result. Though the number of demonic features they display is highly variable, they almost all display some form of signal about their ancestry, even if it is just an unusually powerful constitution and a fiery temperature.
  • The Deceived: The Deceived are a curious bunch. Generally, they appear simply as more pale versions of their default species, with only vaguely circular pupils, which constantly wiggle in their orbs. They also occasionally have seizures and visions, and live their entire life in a low-grade hallucinatory haze. Most magics do not effect them, with the exception of fel magics, which are significantly more effective.
  • Demonkin: Demonkin are so named for their strong resemblance to the demons from who they hail. Indeed, demonkin are the only type of blooded which necessarily come from the copulation of mortals with demons, and they are the only type of blooded who will always produce a child who is obviously one of their own kind. Because of their looks, and the foul temperaments they inherit, they are almost always cast from society or even hunted down.
  • The Withered: The withered are a sorry sort of being, cursed to constantly use fel magics which drain at their soul and drip agony into their bodies for their entire existence. They age three times as fast as their base species, and they always obviously display their demonic characteristics, with an extra pair of horns, pale, withered skin and physique, and burning hot flesh. What's more, the withered have access to fel magics, a type of magic no other type of mortal can access, which allows them to use exceptionally destructive, corrupted forms of normal truths.
  • Soulless: The soulless are perhaps the most sinister of all the Blooded. They always appear to be members of their own species with no demonic characteristics, and they are, to a one, very charismatic and intelligent people. Unfortunately, they're also programmed, somehow, to take actions which will set themselves and those around them on a horrible course, and most of them are sociopathic monsters, extremely skilled in the arts of deception and lies. The vast majority of them have no idea that they are even of the Soulless. The only way to find out if someone is a Soulless is to look through their personal history, if they share enough of it, and attempt to confirm the details. When a Soulless is created, it is created with memories, and a childhood which it fully believes it experienced, usually set in some faraway place which they left some time ago. The reality, however, is that this is all lies, which even the Soulless itself usually believes. You cannot choose to play a Soulless, though it is possible that any character is a Soulless. It is nigh-impossible to know.

Notable Blooded

Though all of these Blooded are part of the Old World, a couple of them are interested in Anoma, while the rest are merely facets of the lore of the world of Gaia. Don't expect to see any of these people in person, but it is very possible some of them could send agents to influence things.

Xerius, the Withered Blood-King

Though most Withered in Rehk society are cast out for being deformed, on rare occasion their potential is recongized, and they are properly raised. One such instance was Xerius, a God-King who was born withered. Though his skin was stretched and grey, he unmistakably had the golden markings which marked him as a divine, a bright golden 8-pointed compass star stretching across his face. He grew fast, as all the Withered do, and learned to master his fel flames early on. It is said he made a pact with a deceiver to uncover the Truths of the rest of the fel magics. He used these powerful magics to take a Rehk kingdom, challenging its God-King on his claim to the throne by ancient rite of martial combat. It is said that Xerius heaved a single lightning bolt with a wave of his hand which tore his foe to pieces, and ascended to his throne in hours. Within weeks, the kingdom had changed, becoming more warlike, and bringing Xerius ever more prisoners and slaves to be test subjects. Xerius learned much from these experiments, and much more from the sacrifices he made to demonic masters. His empire grew, and his people, despite his clear cruelty, loved him for the riches he brought. All was not to be well forever, though, and Xerius' misdeeds crashed down on him after only a decade, in the form of the Drakofrys, who uncovered what he'd been doing by word of mouth. Their war was brutal, but short-lived, and afterwards Xerius was executed for his crimes.

What was a short-lived Dynasty had long term ramifications, however, as Xerius had created many artifacts of war, and many golden Phylactery Golems to roam the sands and help in his war efforts. Golden, magical trinkets of Xerius are sought after by any who are interested in Truths, and the Tomes of Xerius are positively mythical items, rumored to contain fragments of the powerful Truths Xerius wielded in life, along with methods to contact many demons.

The Walking Man

The Walking Man is, as far as anyone knows, a tall, nondescript Gravican man with close-cropped hair and a friendly demeanor. It is said that The Walking Man has lived for several centuries, travelling from country to country in the old world on foot, entering new cities, meeting new people, and ruining their lives. It is said that he attempts to make deals for his demonic masters, something he is forced to do to repay the terms of a deal of his own, and that these deals always, unerringly end in disaster. Though there are other servants of demonkind who perform similar tasks, none have been so successful as The Walking Man, nor are any as intricately destructive as those wishes that The Walking Man fulfills. He always seems to appear when the ground is most fertile for his destructive influence, and pull just the right strings for disaster to strike. Sometimes, it is not even in the life of the person that makes the deal that the final disaster strikes, but a couple of generations down, perhaps a magical trinket will cause strife, or perhaps the great-grandson of someone made into a lord will be a brutal tyrant. It is hard to tell, and The Walking Man has many faces, making him something of a boogeyman.

The Cult of the Kindred

The Cult of the Kindred is one of the most vile and hated organizations on the face of Gaia. Unfortunately they're also extremely adept at escape and evasion, and have a bad habit of turning up where they're least expected and even less wanted. Their cult is a group which seeks to constantly recruit followers by offering them all sorts of things, from magical goods, to riches, to everlasting life, or anything else someone might desire. There is always a price, however, and the price of the Cult is always high, whether it costs in treasure or favors, the Cult always gets what it desires. They have been known to set up plans eras in advance, laying corrupted people in place like the pieces of a chessboard, and then, when the time is right, putting their plans into motion, causing havoc and destruction untold. In the past, they've burned hundreds of towns, released plague phoenixes, caused riots and famines, and even wars. The Cult contains a great many Demonkin, and very frequently seeks to gather more of them.

Zarathustra

The Story of Zarathustra is a sad one, but also a story to which there is little, if any evidence for being true. Nonetheless, it is frequently recounted, and so when a Deceived child is born, they're usually allowed to live and brought up, with everyone paying them some heed, but never quite believing what they had to say. Zarathustra, it is said, was a child born in a small village who was very troubled. Sickly, short, pale and prone to seizures, Zarathustra was not a perfect specimen. Nonetheless, he carried on, somehow making it into adulthood despite that his parents had died very early on in his life. He was known to have strange visions frequently, of the future and the past, but they were always strange, flawed visions, and so none payed him any mind. Finally, he began to plead with the people of the town, telling them of an upcoming disaster of hideous proportions, but they had heard enough of his false omens, and so they cast him out. For a week, nothing happened, life continued as normal, until people began to disappear at night. More and more got snatched up in the night, until the people wised up and retreated to the town's keep, guarding over one another while they slept.

The following morning, the first to leave the keep was an elderly farmer and his sons, who had to work their farm. As they left on their oxen-drawn cart, the shadows of the nearby empty homes and shops were empty and silent, having been totally abandoned. The only noise was their ox's hooves impacting on the cobblestone streets as they got further away from the keep, those within watching on nervously. As they got a hundred and fifty meters from the walls of the keep before a mass of imps poured from the nearby buildings, descending on the men in a quick, red cloud. They and their oxen were quickly stung and paralyzed, and then carried off, far from the safety of their homes, never to be seen again. Though the keep was meant to keep its people fed and alive for some time, there was no keep that could protect its people for eras, and the siege was neverending. Anyone who left was stung and carried off. In the end, the imps simply waited until the keep was too weak to fight them off, and descended upon them, stinging those few who needed to be stung, and carting them all off to share the same fate as the lowly Zarathustra. The moral of the story is that sometimes the Deceived are not completely blind to the truth, and that listening to them may cost very little but reward very much.

The Order of Purification

In the whole of the Old World, there is only a single organization which welcomes the likes of Blooded which is not reviled by the nations around. This organization is the Order of Purification, a priestly order of the Brother Church, which has spread throughout the Old World, even into the lands of other species, who view them as an excellent way to get rid of the ugly stain that was having demonblood in the family. The Order of Purification takes in all forms of Blooded, and attempts to teach them meditative and philosophical techniques to turn them away from the more destructive urges their demon blood frequently inflicted upon them. For the most part, they are very successful in their mission, if they can get the Blooded as a child or the Blooded is willing to go through their program. Unfortunately, their code teaches an extreme form of pacifism, even in the face of certain death, and this makes it extremely difficult to actively spread their ideals, though they get around this, at times, by hiring people to do the violence in their stead. After all, they have the full ascent of the Armusian church's coinpurse, and this gives them a political might that they could never achieve through force of weaponry. It is very likely that they will show up in Anoma, at some point, to see if their mission cannot be expanded to new shores.