Some call them the Star-Lepers, the Plagued, the Phage-Carriers. Their name in Elder Tongue is Helogaemh which means “The Corrupted”. The youngest race in the history of the Avalon Cluster, is also the most tumultuous and chaotic since the creation of the Soulgiven. Born not from genetics, nor from manipulation or even a cult the Helogav are a pure mistake birthed from good intentions gone horribly wrong. Their bane or curse is a horrendous disease known as the Nanophage, a nanotechnological disease that causes the systematic mutation and eventually burning of the life energies of the victim in question. The very disease itself is fairly rare, but has caused an unshakable change in the political and religious landscape of the entire Triad.
The history of the Helogavish race is thus short, and violent at best. Living as test subjects for most their lives the name Helogav itself arose as word of derision and hatred. To the followers of the Silver Creed or even the religion of Deuxianity those who fell to the “Corruption” were paying the price of hubris. To others the disease was merely another horrendous act visited upon the Faerin peoples by their immortal enemies, the Voidkin. Whoever created the original disease was quickly forgotten as the primary focus was finding a cure. What few realized, and many now know however is that there is none. Once a victim is cursed with the page they are doomed to a life of mutation, transformation, and rebirth in the fires of elemental energies that aim to consume them.
For this very reason a word that once was met with hatred was retaken, and became the name of all who fall to the phage. No longer would they be pitied, but sought after, desired, and even more. The Helogav took their woe, and trial and in turn built one of the most powerful political machines in the Triad since the Artur Dynasty sat the Ancestor throne. This was the Amaranthine Court.
The Stages and the Encryptions
Life as a member of the Helogav often begins with initial infection, and either a worry if the individual will become symptomatic. No matter what attempts are made, to be infected by the Nanophage is to eventually underogo the three stages of mutation that are associated with it. First is the Skeined, a phase marked by geometric designs covering the skin that seem to crackle with Psi power being unlocked in the body. Next comes the adoption of the Mantle or the elemental appearance that is signature to a given subgroup of Helogav known as an ENCRYPTION (Helogav Subrace). The Woven Phase marks the individual looking less like a normal Faeru and appear like a Dryand or an elemental Naiad out of ancient legend.
The final stage of the Nanophage is known as the Thrice-Bound, and it marks a Helogav coming into their own as a full wrough elemental. Hair is replaced by either smoke or even frozen snow, and skin becomes almost magical in nature. This is a pure expression of the Mantle as it pulls the victim further towards becoming a living embodiment of the elements.
Helogavish subraces are known as Encryptions, a reference to the nanites embedded within their very bodies. Ifrit are firey elementals whose encryption is split into the Hexes (ethnic groups within the subraces), while the Undine are individuals who exude water and a carefree attitude. Then there are the Gnomes a rock-like or plant-like people (depending upon the Hex) who have an often stubborn or simply down to earth viewpoint onthe world. How a Helogavish individual evolves with their state mentally is known as the SPRITE (Soul Personnel Residual Identity Tested Encryption). SPRITE is a series of after effects that change the personality of the victim with traits often seen by those within their Encryption.
The only thing that prevents a Helogav from being utterly devoured by the Nanophage are a series of specially crafted bands, that balance the inherently chaotic energies unleashed by the diseased. Even with the specially crafted technology most Helogav eventually cannot hold by the storm within. Their only hope is a cure to the phage, or at least a redirection of the Nanites within to be far less destructive.
The Amarathine Court
Communities of local Helogavana (the plural of Helogav) are known as “Collectives”, and the largest of these is the Amarathine Court. The Court itself is was founded by powerful members of the Sylph Encryption who secretly lobbied for funds from various noble Houses. From this was formed the Amaranthine Court, or the Court of Midnight Blossoms. From therein the Court organized a series of services into lesser collectives known as “Circuits” all named for a season of old Aru and Elys (Summer, Spring, Fall, Winter). Each offering to employ, and support the various Helogav who served within them. The power of the Court is not great enough to rival the greatest of the Guilds, but it has enough weight to defend its own.
Those who refuse to follow Amaranthine are known as the Courtless, and they have a much harder life compared to the Amaranthine. Most Courtless live solitarility within their own families, or leave to join with regional members of their Encryption or Hex to form a Collective.
Feature art by LethalIndustries.