Beware, this post was meant to be repulsive.
The Kankreest are humans born out of a godly whim, and a desperate wish. Among the many gods, there is a powerful, but little worshipped one, that gives nothing for free. And to this god prayed a woman in a terrible time, when all gods seemed to have abandoned the people. War raging around, abused by runaway soldiers, seeing diseases and poverty ravage her beloved ones, she prayed for some help, any help, that could relieve the suffering. And if there is price to be paid, she would. And so she received a child, the first of the Kankreest, as the legend speaks.
Appearance and Behavior
All Kankreest are deformed, without exception. Unseemly skin conditions, deformities of their hands, feet and head are but the most common, afflicting them at random. Despite this, they do not look like just having some part deformed or mutated… there is a certain symmetry to the ugliness, like they were supposed to be this way, mockeries of the human form. They are not mentally disabled - a pity according to some.
Because of their appearance, many prefer to hide their bodies as possible. Some on the other hand like to expose themselves fully, to gross out any viewers, and make them flee in fear.
Then there are the… appetites. Due to their form, they have little chance for intimate contact of any kind, unless you count beating. Even so, many seem to develop sick tastes sooner or later, and they all are well known as perverse and disgusting in nature. Those that have not money to pay for their services, have often found themselves haggling for more or less objectionable sexual techniques.
That is a part of the price.
As no Kankreest can ever live a normal life, they often despise the normal people, and resort to games of trickery, oh, they so love to feel power above others. Still it is known that a Kankreest has a great diffilcuty harming anyone, apparently an insurance built into their very nature, so they stray not too far from their duty. The few of them known to do serious harm have lost their abilities, and that is known as well.
The birth of a Kankreest, while often with a frightening end, is easy and without complications. If not killed, it will soon exhibit healing powers, able to cure scratches and the like with a touch. Recovery of any wounds or diseases will be faster in its presence, not dramatically.
As the child grows, its powers will magnify with the onset of puberty, and his potential slowly grows with age and training. Old Kankreest can be powerful healers indeed, rivaling all but the most blessed priests in their ability.
Their services, however, are not for free. The healed person - or someone else - must willingly give up, or sacrifice something of value for the touch to work. Otherwise, a Kankreest has only the healing power of its childhood years.
The healing itself usually consists of laying on hands, but the more skilled Kankreest are able to use psychic surgery and other treatments, and often compliment their techniques with herbs and more. Few send a patient to another doctor; some like to inform the patient that death is very close if they cannot help.
It is widely believed they have the evil eye, which they can use on those who hurt them.
Birth of one is usually seen as a bad omen, as one wouldn’t be born if it wasn’t needed soon. Numerous births in an area practically foretell a catastrophe of some kind. Since it takes time for them to grow to adulthood, and full power, many wait in fear of what will happen one day… a plague, a calamity, a war?
Few will be friendly to such a symbol.
Many Kankreest live close to larger settlements, in primitive conditions, with animals that are not bothered by their visage. Those living in the civilization are often pushed into the slums to ply their trade, but are well known outside their place. Some stay just secret as possible.
Male or female, they are mostly addressed as “it”.
They are cursed, there cannot be any doubt. It appears they cannot seriously misbehave without loosing their powers. Also, with all the wickedness and at times cruel behavior they cannot refuse a call for help easily, a fact they will conceal. Often they resort to complicated schemes where the cured person has to give up something very personal, haggling on the exact conditions until they feel satisfied.
The Kankreest are not very religious, given their existence. Still some do intensely worship their creator, with all others paying at least lip service. To other gods and religions they are reserved, but know well that any real opposition would be suicidal, and alliance useful. Hence, they are likely to petition churches for protection, in exchange for services, and the promise to behave. Such relationships rarely last long, but there are a few tolerant churches now, recognizing their value.
Depending on how you look at it, either all or none of the Kankreest are priests of their deity.
From a supernatural point of view, they are not demonic or ‘magical’ in any regard, just human.
Biologically, they are human as well, so at most a subrace, fully compatible with their base species. The mutation/blessing/curse comes up once in 100.000 people or less, but variations are known and feared. Children are extremely rare, sometimes they are fine, sometimes another Kankreest is born.
- Do you require healing, but have not the means for a doctor, or the good standing with a church? Then a Kankreest may be the answer - just prepare to sacrifice something you value.
- One of the Cursed was badly beaten, after enjoying himself with a poor relative of someone. Now he wants justice, and has paid a few thugs to do the right thing - but they have beaten the man to death and escaped. This has inflamed the conflict between two clans, and upsets the peace in a whole town. Someone has to clean up the mess, without a lynching at the end if possible.
- Several Kankreest have been born in an area. Some have just ‘vanished’ right after birth, but people in charge know, and are afraid as the ‘creatures’ grow up. And so they hire somebody to investigate a few old prophecies, check if the neighbouring kingdoms plan a war, or stack on medicine in case of a plague. Could it be an accident, or is really something in the works?
- A noble has finally received a son he so much hoped for… but it is a Kankreest! Broken, the father approaches his faithful friends, who shall secretly deposit the baby in some monastery far away, while he announces it stillborn. A rival has gotten wind of it, and would dearly love to expose this scandal to public. Of course, he needs the child first.