The Acheri are an Adhene of the Denizens.
In India, the myths hold that the acheri live in the mountain tops and bring sickness to humans unless appeased. In other regions, they go by different names: the aerika in Greece, the Ma-mo in Tibet, the lamatsu in ancient Babylon, or as the macachera of the Amazon. They have been feared and reviled throughout history as wicked bringers of disease and corruption... both of the body and the soul. "Inflammatory prejudice!" object the acheri. While not denying their role in the world, the acheri stress the importance of the ordained order of things. Disease is simply part of the natural balance... a way of clearing out the "deadwood," and the acheri its humble functionaries. Weeding out the sick leaves the strong to flourish. Likewise, when questioned on their penchant for ethical corruption, they point out that without temptation, how can one test one's faith or purity? Whatever their justifications, most acheri simply have contempt for any life beyond their own... though there are occasional exceptions to this rule. Their brethren see acheri who don't further the world's pain as traitors to the cause, though they are verbally abused more often than physically punished. After al, such "vile" humanitarian sentiments are just another sort of corruption.
Whether in the Waking World or in the Dreaming, the acheri rank with the redcaps as the most loathed of fae. An itinerant adhene, the acheri followed humanity's migrations in the days of old. More knowledgable about humans and human weaknesses than many Denizens, the acheri first cast their darkling shadow during a time when illness was not a matter of germs and viruses, bur of curses and evil spirits. Times have changed, and the acheri have kept a careful eye on humanity, lending its corrupting touch to human progress whenever possible. Indeed, there are almost as many acheri among the Evanescent as there are aonides, though the later group is more welcomed by the Kithain. Those fae dedicated to preserving life typically see the acheri as abominations. Changelings attempted, unsuccessfully, to exterminate the acheri who remained after the Tessarakonta. In the aftermath of their banishment during the Miririm, some acheri continue to serve what they saw as their cosmically ordained role, though many follow their own petty desires. A very few eliminate the ugly, mean-spirited, and irredeemable from the world despite their fellows' mockery. Spirits of corruption, they are themselves particularly susceptible to temptation.
Creatures of extremes, acheri may be tatterdemalions living lives of ascetic denial or hedonists wallowing in creature comforts. The first category see the second as dilettantes, not adequately committed to their holy task of scourging the planet. The second type sees the first as abysmally depressing. Acheri tend to be loners, rarely associating beyond a superficial level even with their own kind. Acheri family life is about as close to hell as one can come; most acheri are both abusers and abused. They may, however, seek out companionship to feed their thirst for sensation. In order to make themselves more acceptable to companions, many acheri claim that they are the benign exception to the rule or insist that they as a people have been horribly maligned. More familiar with the human world than most adhene, Evanescent acheri seek proximity to professions where they can perpetuate their corruption and garner wealth to further their lifestyles. Doctors who don't heal, psychiatrists who drive men mad, and district attorneys who propagate, rather than punish, corruption are but a few of the professions they pursue.
At first glance, acheri look like normal humans, typical of whatever cultural group first dreamed them. They may be attractive or ugly. They tend to dress at the far ends of the class spectrum, in either very rich or very poor voile. In every Ariá, the acheri has an unnaturally cold and dark shadow. This is even true, though to a lesser extent, in the waking realms.
Acheri in their Dioniae personality exude spiritual corruption. The actual physical signs are small, the impression more subliminal. Many people don't make the connection that there's anything out of the ordinary about the acheri, instead feeling their own baser instincts on the rise in their presence.
In their Araminae Ariá, the acheri's physical corruption boils to the surface. They have an unhealthy look; their skin may be very pale and clammy or red-limned with blisters and sores. Although this does not impact negatively their abilities, their Appearance drops by one point.
In their Apolliae form, the acheri's shadow covers their fae mien, making them visible only as a black silhouette with pale white or red eyes. The living embodiment of sickness and corruption, acheri in this Ariá forget for a time their own petty pleasures and dedicate themselves to their appointed profession (expressed through their dominant Legacy).
Birthrights & Frailties Edit
- Affinity: Actor or Fae
- Plague Nervosa: The acheri are masters, some say progenitors, of chimera known as Plague Nervosa. By spending a point of Glamour, the acheri can send their shadow away from their body to infect someone with a particularly potent chimerical disease. The acheri makes a roll against their current Glamour (difficulty 6). The shadow takes form for one turn per success. The shadow has all the speed and combat skills of the acheri him- or herself. Anyone whom the shadow manages to touch during this period falls prey to a chimerical disease (Storyteller's choice). The acheri may infect any given person only once per day. Furthermore, by invoking the Wyrd, acheri can create particularly virulent chimerical diseases in the real world, a worrisome prospect since some chimerical diseases have no known cure in the Waking World. The final advantage to this power gives the acheri a widespread immunity to both disease and poison.
- Enticement: Acheri embody spiritual as well as physical corruption. Whether their role is as a destroyer or tester, they work to tempt their targets from the ideals they hold dear. To this end, whenever using their guile to lead someone off the track of virtue, an acheri adds +1 to their Charisma and Manipulation dice pools (+2 in the Dioniae Ariá), even if this gives the Denizen a temporary Attribute over 5. This level is illusory and not marked on the character sheet since it is only useful for corruption. The "truly virtuous" may actually have a negative reaction to the spirit once they figure out their true nature (-1 or more to all of the acheri's Social Attributes to that person only). Such people make very challenging and tempting targets for the acheri.
- Rebound: The greatest victims of the acheri's corruption influence are the acheri themselves. Many acheri cultivate their vices like fine wines and find it difficult to fulfill any long-term plans that don't involve their baser pleasures in some way. Every acheri must take one addiction of some sort. Whenever directly confronted with the object of their desires, they must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 7) or pursue that pleasure until sated. While the acheri is in their Apolliae Ariá, this difficulty is reduced by two or more. Their self-hatred for giving in to temptation in this state can be doubly distressing. Some acheri revel in this corruption; the more ascetic ones give in reluctantly, the punish themselves for their weakness in orgies of auto-flagellation or self-mutilation. Even those acheri who revel in their decadence frequently possess a good deal of self-loathing.
- The Scarlet Ban: Because of its holy status, acheri will never use their Birthrights against anyone wearing an article of red clothing or a prominent red accessory (small amounts of red mixed in with other colors won't repel them). Because of this ban and their inherent purity, the Knights of the Red Branch are particularly hated by the acheri. Acheri may, of course, use other Arts or physical means against someone wearing this color, but they may not attempt to physically remove the article of clothing. The Frailty lifts as soon as the target removes the protective clothing. Putting something red on after the acheri has struck has no effect. The acheri keep quiet about this frailty and it is not widely known.
- Aonides: Such delightful hedonists, they tempt humans for their own pleasure, making our jobs all the easier.
- Fir-bholg: Our leaders of old in the days of the Tessarakonta. If they choose to lead again, we may follow, though the past has proven they are no more immune to our persuasions than any other fae.
- Fuaths: Inconsequential.
- Keremet: Beware. These living corpses are largely immune to our persuasions. They have caused almost as much death as we, but take no pleasure in their work. Pity.
- Moirae: Arrogant hypocrites. They serve Fate in their way and would best give us leave to serve it in ours.
- Naraka: We remember them of old, even of they do not remember themselves. They have become creatures of blind destruction and seek to reconstruct their past. Perhaps we will aid them in this, perhaps not.
- Changelings: The flesh they wrap around themselves may protect them from Banality, but not from us. They're little more enlightened than humans.
- Humankind: They give us birth with their dreams; we kill them with ours. Nothing personal, it's just the way of things.
From the ashes grows life anew...but someone had to make the ashes in the first place. The Acheri see themselves as perpetuators of the cycle of life, an outside force to weed out the weak and let the strong prevail. To this end, they have mastered all forms of disease and temptation, and exercise these skills liberally amongst themselves and others. If ever questioned on the ethics or morals of their actions, Acheri usually counter with an argument that death is merely part of the cycle of life, and the cycle is a necessary thing for the world to continue turning.
Acheri look almost entirely human, a member of whatever
culture imagined them. Their voile tends toward extremes —
rich and decadent or ragged and poor — and in every Ariá they
have an abnormally dark, cold shadow. This even holds true,
to a lesser extent, in the waking worlds.
Birthrights & Frailties Edit
- Plague Nervosa: Masters of disease, Acheri have command of chimera known as Plague Nervosa. With this, an Acheri can infect someone with a chimerical disease.
- Enticement: Acheri corrupt not only physically but spiritually as well. Whenever trying to tempt someone off a virtuous path, an Acheri gains a bonus from this Birthright.
- Carriers: Acheri are easily tempted by vices, and every one without exception has some kind of addiction.
- The Scarlet Ban: The Acheri closely guard the secret that they cannot use their Endowments on anyone wearing predominantly red clothing or accessories. Any other skills or Arts are fair game, but they cannot entice or infect anyone wearing the holy color of red.
- CTD. Denizens of the Dreaming, pp. 45-47.
- C20. Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition, pp. 386-387.