Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold: Tieflings, the Unwanted Children

Tieflings: The Dark Orphans
Unto every generation are born those who bear the Taint.  In ages past, such children would be killed upon birth, and rarely would they find their way to maturity.  Even Priests of the Summer Rose frowned upon such creatures, their bodies not human, not dhampir or ursyklon.  Horns, tails and scales.  Glowing red eyes.

They were killed without remorse.  Over and over, for generations.  This continued until Mikel's Revelation, something which altered the generations-long practice of infanticide.  Mikel was a priest of the Black Rose, and he journeyed beyond the mortal sphere, ascending into the planes beyond this one.  He returned after five decades of discussions with outsiders.  His seminal work, The Tiefling Soul, raised immediate controversy.

The Tiefling Soul describes how those born with taint come into being.  Prior to this explanation, Tieflings were thought to be born to parents or lineages tied to devils or demons, their fiendish taints manifest in their children.  Mikel refuted this, instead explaining how Tieflings were born from the souls of those who'd escaped the lower planes.  By being born into the world, they had found a way to try and find escape from their eternal prisons.  There was no reason for why they were born to who they were born.  Tieflings were old souls, tainted by hell or the abyss, seeking a chance to escape.

This still raised questions, but many nations after the release of the Tiefling Soul banned the practice of infanticide, especially in cases of Tieflings.  Churches like that of the Twins, would offer to take Tiefling orphans and raise them.  This was done out of a urge to offer redemption to long lost souls, by allowing them a chance to escape the fiendish bounds that had left them born with fiendish deformities.

In the current age, Tieflings have their own private communities.  Drawn together by their mutual taints, such communities have found that Tieflings breed true, often breeding more and more Tieflings in further generations.  Some speculate that this is because Tiefling pairings make it even easier for more cursed souls to escape into the mortal world, whilst others claim its the same series of souls, struggling to find redemption in one form or another.
Most Tieflings are still abandoned at Birth.

Crux: The largest community of Tieflings is on the outskirts of the City of Curses, the Wish Quarter.  Known for its prominent temple to Shraxes, the Wish Quarter also holds host to the Wish Festival every year.  More of a ghetto known for its water gardens, the Tieflings of the Wish Quarter enjoy their privacy.

It is also home to the Orphanages, places where parents of Tieflings give up their unwanted fiendish young.  Set up long ago by the Church of the Twins, the Orphanages have long been understaffed and underfunded.  The Demon's Orphans often protect theses Orphanages, attracting more young Tieflings to their numbers at the same time.  Rife with the Demon's Orphans and the priests of Shraxes, non-Tieflings tend to give the Wish Quarter a wide berth, scared of its vicious nature.  The Tieflings there like that, and use that discriminating distrust to maintain some measure of privacy.
Tiefling stats for Crux can be found here.

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