Young child murdered,
For selfish gain.
Those that took part,
Shall face punishment strange.
The Dassen Origin is a story known by both dassen and zokex races. It’s a tale that took place before the awakening of The Goddess Scara, back when Das was still whole and unshattered by the Island Mover.
It’s the tale of a shape shifting zokex, named Adoration, who started a nurlak-worshipping cult. The cult did a lot of morally questionably actions during their formative years and, after being banished from zokex society, moved on to outright horrible acts. Their most famous crime was the mutilation and murder of a young nurlak child whose body they used to create a form-changing potion. This potion was supposed to turn the members of the cult into nurlaks, but due to the brutal nature of the murder, the ancient nurlak gods punished the zokex and their potion only half-worked, leaving them stuck halfway between nurlak and zokex; the first dassens.
The Dassen Origin
That was what she called herself.
Her old name from her mother was lost long before she came to Das. Nobody knew who she used to be. All they knew was the name she called herself. And the name they whispered behind her back.
For Adoration did not adore. She obsessed.
She obsessed on stories of old. And of new.
She obsessed on tradition. And obsessed on change.
And she obsessed on magic. Oh, did she obsess on magic.
She bothered alchemists and spell-casters until they would hide from her. Though she would always find them, when she wanted to. She was incessant. Unwavering.
But though she obsessed on stories and traditions and magic, there was nothing she obsessed about more than the nurlak in the temples.
She would seek them out. Risking the lives of whoever would be foolish enough to travel with her through the jungle to their lands.
It didn’t take many deaths for the locals to start avoiding her.
And only a few more before travellers learnt to do the same.
It was the last night of the hot season when Adoration disappeared into the jungle.
Most assumed she had been taken by the nurlak she dared linger by. Others said they could still catch glimpses of her, adorned in stolen clothes and animal pelts as her obsession grew.
Nobody was sure, at first, of what was true.
Until four years later she returned to her people.
She was said to be a horrible sight.
She a colour never known to zokex kind. Swirls of red and black and yellow covered her body, looking like an infected wound that would not heal. The membranes in her wings had been sliced away and her eyes had all but turned white, her pupils so constricted she looked frantic as she stood at the settlement’s edge.
It is said bone was visible from her gaunt form as she stepped forward. Slow. Deliberate.
The zokex had forsaken life-giving soulstone that nourished her kind; instead, she had taken on a diet of meats and fruits, scavenged from the edge of her obsession’s territories.
She spoke in a new voice. Mimicked from the foreign tongue of nurlak. And she spoke of a salvation that would come to all her kind, if they followed her.
The serpent-god that the nurlak followed would bring them a life of forever, if they did as they were told.
It was only a few, at first, that listened.
She would stand in the centre of the settlement, shouting her obsessions to the small group that stood before her.
Slowly, more would come. More would listen.
Until it was too much.
She was forbidden from her speeches.
She was forbidden from speaking in the nurlak tongue.
She was forbidden to speak of the nurlak at all.
And, eventually, she was forbidden from returning to the zokex home.
Banished, she and her followers prowled between the edges of territories of the zokex and the nurlak. Stealing, preaching, recruiting.
Growing their cult to dangerous numbers and forsaking their nature to impersonate that of the nurlak.
It was like a satire of the sickly, some said. That would soon kill them and destroy all that they could reach.
And so, the peaceful zokex left. They knew better than to stay near such a group.
It wasn’t long before the cult began to test their boundaries, and Adoration did the unforgivable.
The old sun set in orange and pink, and in the dimming light of the night she stole a nurlak out a temple’s window.
A child, no more than a decade old, who was stripped of their skin while still alive and torn apart by the ravenous dragons.
The blood and flesh of the young one was used to create a serum of change. Magic imbued into them from the gory ritual, the zokex shared the foul drink and called to the nurlak gods for their rewards.
The serpents were disgusted.
At first, Adoration and her zokex were convinced the transformation they were undergoing was a blessing.
That they were becoming the immortal nurlak they sought to be.
But soon, it was apparent to them; this was not the blessing they had sought.
They were not becoming nurlak.
Nor were they staying zokex.
The serum had only changed them halfway; the serpent gods had been so appalled by their actions that they had not stopped the transformation before it was complete. The gods would not allow these creatures to become nurlak— Nor would the old zokex spirits let them to return to their draconic forms.
Not the zokex nor the nurlak wished to take the monsters as their own.
They were being punished.
It was a curse.
And so the dassens came to be.