The Elethria "The High Ones" / The Insumbri "The Fallen Ones"
Origins: The Elethria have passively floated around the planet since the dawn of recorded time, although they sometimes enter into "associations" with particular civilizations, like this one. They do not claim to be from any particular place. The Insumbri are also from all over the planet, although they tend to cluster in highly populated areas of great wealth, openly or in hiding.
Characteristics: Elethria (singular Elethrion) are very tall (6-8 feet), slender, and pale in color, with skin tones ranging from cream to pale blue-green to faint gold. They weigh approximately 30-50 pounds despite their height, due to hollow bones and their natural magic, which makes them float. Most have two eyes, but some have a third central eye or two pairs of eyes, depending on their bloodline. They do not have noses, and their ears are long and angular. They have limbs similar to a human, although fingers vary. They reproduce sexually and by choice, but without pleasure.
Elethria do not eat food, but absorb light for nutrition. They do not sleep, but remain mostly stationary during the day, floating through the sky and gathering light. Then, at night, they descend to earth, glowing gently, to drink water (and occasionally obtain other trace nutrients like gold, calcium and phosphorus.) Even on earth, Elethria appear to float or hover rather than walking.
Elethria are incredibly magical creatures. They possess a natural telepathy, which they prefer to use rather than speaking, although most know multiple mortal languages from passively absorbing the unguarded thoughts of mortal beings. Any Elethrion is capable of discharging some of his or her stored energy in blasts or beams of light, although overuse can cause the being to become exhausted. Elethria often master other magical systems with ease, however. They are immortal, and some Elethria have existed for thousands of years. Their individual mental capacity is extremely high - some say even limitless.
Personally, they tend to be somewhat apathetic towards mortals, with the full range of their emotions only expressed to each other in their natural telepathic language. Due to their beauty, wisdom, age, and radiant nature, they are often worshiped by mortals, to which the Elethria mostly shrug their shoulders. Some, however, prove willing to provide knowledge, raw energy, or even leadership in return for tributes of the often rare minerals they require to survive, and for assistance with things like constructing shelters and manufactured objects that the Elethria are too physically weak and detached to make for themselves. [The two eldest Elethrion are over thirty-two thousand years old and rule a major human theocracy on the other side of the world, or rather it rules itself in their name.]
The Insumbri are born from the fall (literal and figurative) of an Elethrion. Although the origin of the transformation is shrouded in mystery, with multiple legendary and religious explanations as to why the Elethria suffer this curse, the transformation process is very common knowledge among scholars. If denied access to light for a long time, or through perennial overuse of its natural magic, an Elethrion begins to become intensely hungry for another food source. After about a week of deprivation, the cravings ultimately become strong enough for the Elethrion to attack a mortal being or an animal. If it successfully drinks even a small quantity of the mortal's blood, the transformation process begins, and cannot be stopped.
Their skin darkens, generally to a dull reddish hue, although variations have been observed. This is accompanied by an increase in muscle density and strength, causing the newborn Insumbri to be incredibly physically fast and powerful by mortal standards. They also tend to be incredibly beautiful. The natural light-based magic of the Elethria is also changed to blood magic. The Insumbri use their own blood as a weapon, conjuring any manner of objects from shields to whips from a single droplet. They also possess the ability to disguise themselves as mortals of other races.
The Insumbri lose the ability to fly, which they secretly long for, and are forever cursed with an intense desire for mortal blood: The more accomplished or beautiful or magical or powerful the mortal, the richer the blood. The desires of the Insumbri are generally described as "tasteful gluttony:" They desire the best of all things. Be they rich clothing, impressive magical artifacts, beautiful courtesans, or simply the adoration of beautiful followers, the Insumbri want more of it, and their greed is matched only by their intelligence, their narcissism, and their instinct for self-preservation.
The Insumbri are not only born from the fall of an Elethrion; they can also create children of their own by producing children with mortals, or in rare cases, each other. However, these second-generation Insumbri, while still incredibly powerful, lack the strength of the original Fallen One, and are born with their father or mother's mark on their forehead. They also owe magical loyalty to their parent, unless released. Younger Insumbri resent this deeply, and there are documented cases of children turning on their parents. Successive generations of Insumbri are each weaker than the one before, until the ninth or tenth generation are little more than dark-blooded humans (or whatever race) with a penchant for greed and some extra charisma.
The Elethria collectively view this corruption of their own kind to be an abomination, and did everything in their power to exterminate it. They chased the Insumbri to the ends of the earth, with supportive mortals marshaling crusades below. But the Insumbri fought back, sacrificing legions of their own spell-bound mortals in wars that approached cosmic levels of destructiveness, and took down several empires along the way. About four hundred years ago a great peace treaty was signed, and the Insumbri and Elethria have mostly sunk into a long-term cold war since, the Insumbri relying on assassination, while the Elethria encouraged mortal states and religions to pass laws restricting their resident Insumbri, many of whom went into hiding.
In the modern era, there are many more Insumbri than there are Elethria. Most scholars estimate about 4,000 Elethria on the planet, with a new one born every few decades. The number of first-generation Insumbri (the true Fallen Ones) is about 150, but they have had thousands of children, who have in turn had thousands of children, and so on. One estimate for the total global population of second and third generation Insumbri is 300,000, but as many live in secret to avoid persecution from hostile races, religions and states (of which there are many), the true number is impossible to know.
Religion: The Elethria do not worship, but have a certain special reverence for, the two eldest Elethria and (to a lesser extent) their first generation of children, who are the ancestors of all the Elethria on the planet. A major human religion worships these two as god and goddess of light. Generally the Elethria are agnostic about other gods, and about their own status as 'angels' for many mortals.
The Insumbri are said to have a secret cult that they do not divulge to outsiders. Rumors abound that they worship a particularly powerful demon god, but most who have gotten close and escaped tend to report that the only real Insumbral gods are themselves. The eldest Insumbri all perished in the war, and the truth of their dark gods may have died with them. Or perhaps not...
Brief History: When this part of the world was opened to mortal settlement, a large chunk of land surrounding the Fissure was granted to a certain group of Elethria who patronized the exploring government. They still technically "own" the entire area, and lease it to the local government, maintaining a 100% hands-off approach. They could care less about the city or the mortal politics; their only interest lies in the Fissure. Approximately 20 Elethria monitor and study the Fissure, doing things to it that they typically say, when queried: "You wouldn't understand, even if we explained it to you." They have, however, claimed that they are keeping it from consuming the entire world, which everyone generally appreciates.
Since it is one of the largest permanent populations of Elethria in the world, a very large and multiracial segment of the mortal-run Church of the Luminance has also moved in to venerate the Elethria, which the Elethria are only slightly annoyed by, since it gives them a political proxy with which to manage the Insumbral Problem.
As for the Insumbri, unlike their need to hide in large segments of the Old World, the lack of religious restrictions attracted them to this region in large numbers. Although a surprisingly large number of Insumbri have attempted to "go legitimate," there is a general suspicion placed upon them due to their magical charisma and their tendency to consume mortal blood, which they are allowed to purchase legally in the open market. They have clustered in the affectionately-named Little Hell, which doubles as the red-light district and entertainment area. Unsurprisingly, they are also at the top of many of the city's underground occupations like scams, crime and mortal smuggling.
The Luminant Church is not in any way okay with this, and actively pushes for the institution of the "white laws" common in the Old World: Expelling the Insumbri from the city, or at least registering them, and more heavily restricting the drinking, gambling, and prostitution. For their part, however, the Insumbri, led by three of of the original Fallen Ones who have created a financial conglomerate which has diversified into banking, real estate and shipping rather than the traditional benighted and glorious prince of lust route, and have encouraged the Fallen community to try to rein in their worst proclivities to avoid another crusade, which is, of course, terrible for business. They employ a lot of lawyers.
They have formed a political party, and are active in the city council with a platform that includes lowering municipal taxes (which is popular) and legalizing slavery (which is less so). Religious parties tacitly accepted by the Elethria are some of their most vicious opponents in local government, and their "Remember that time they treated us like literal livestock?" attack is moderately effective, although often condemned as medieval scare-mongering by the Insumbri faction, who have augmented their natural seductiveness by trying to bribe their way to the top (and in many cases, succeeded).
Primary Location(s): TBD.