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The ben'Hiyyah.

Long before the flood, before the great punishment that was to wipe the Earth clean of all the corruption that was begotten by the Nephal and their patron angels, the children of Hiyyah were the seraphs of piety and martyrdom. On the day of the great flood, their patron father, Hiyyah, tried to stop his twin brother Hivvah from fighting another Nephal lord, one that would have killed him easily. He could not stop him from going, thus followed him to the battlefield. Hiyyah placed himself in the path of a blow meant for his brother and suffered an agonizing death for it.

His brother, empowered by this, defeated Hiyyah’s killer, however the price had been paid. Since then, Hiyyah’s children have endeavored to follow in their patron’s footsteps, with acts of sacrifice and piety. It has begun to cost them greatly, in both a personal manner and in numbers. But they are harboring a dark secret lately, and many suspect that it has to do with one of their own who has succumbed to his own martyrdom, and the “absorbed” damnation of others. Some are beginning to look to the ‘Ben-Hiyyah’ with suspicion in regards to the darkening of the sky and the terrible plagues that now abound.

As is now, the Estate does not have a single nation they call home, they live the lives of holy pilgrims called ‘anahavah’, doing good where they can. Not an easy task in this age as strangers are suspect enough, and those who offer their aid for nothing are doubly so. There is word that the ancients are stirring, that they have spoken and want their children to build a dream.

A Zaddik elder spoke of a vision, a revelation whispered through the lips of a sleeping ancient, it said that the children of Hiyyah must build a holy place, a shrine, a city to where all could come to, and seek enlightenment and redemption. This news would spread like wildfire within the Estate and would be done, were it not that they are so widely scattered.

Even throughout the ages, the ‘Ben-Hiyyah’ have found little respite and even fewer havens. Many have sought them out for their talents, to rid themselves of their own darkness. Some were even coerced and obligated to help. Some say that the ‘Ben-Hiyyah’ are not to be truly trusted, that they are withholding a great secret, something that could save all Nephal, possibly even all of humanity. Many have pointed the finger at them, with the single thought of “what right have you to leave us damned, by what right do you condemn us all?”

The ‘Ben-Hiyyah’ are a very close knit Estate. They are socially organized as wandering familia. Great gatherings are held each year, with celebrations that last for days, including great feasts, weddings, birthdays and dancing, culminating in a day of respite and solemn remembrance of those no longer with them. Privileged members of other Estates are invited to these events as honored guests. It is at these great gatherings that most of the social interaction of the Estate itself takes place.

Although it is common practice for acolytes and warders of all Estates to keep watch over their mortal brethren when not involved in warding and tutelage, the Estate of the ‘Ben-Hiyyah’ in general has always kept close ties with its family members, even with the distances placed between them by their wandering ways. An intricate network of communication allows them to remain in touch with one another via secret message locations and wandering Zaddik. Mortal family members are kept ignorant as to their ilk’s immortality until they are deemed of an appropriate age, till then they are told that their people are blessed with a long life so that they may keep look upon their families with great love and wisdom. Amongst the Estate the elders, be they mortal or Nephal, are deeply cherished and seen as a source of great wisdom and knowledge.

The greater majority of Hiyyah’s children have naturally charismatic personalities and a soothing presence. They retain with them an air of innocence that beguiles their deep wisdom, and quite often care little for material riches, dressing in the simple clothing typical to the indigenous or nomadic peoples of their region. They are nonetheless graceful and sometimes elegant in their simplicity, with their broad smiles and open mindedness.

There is a legend that is still told around campfires to this day, of a Ben-Hiyyah desert people’s princess, who’s smile was said to make the sun rise early, and who’s laughter made the birds sing and the rivers babble.

The one common thread in all the children of Hiyyah is their selfless and giving nature, regardless of how much they try to hide it. This may well be their greatest gift of all, but can also become a dangerous practice in a world that so readily takes advantage of those who are willing to give. Although most Ben-Hiyyah are from common folk, they do not discriminate against any creed, ethnicity, status or beliefs. Their common nature is what binds them together to those they love, although recently, they have become somewhat cautious in regards to whom they open their doors. Perhaps this is a sign of the end, a sign that they will no longer be there at the whims of others, that times have become too dark for even the laughter of the Ben-Hiyyah to dispel.

Unfortunately, there are still those who point the finger and say it is further proof of their dark secrets and true nature. ‘Ben-Hiyyah’ begin the game with 7 Redemption points and only 2 points of Sin, this is to reflect the general Estate’s selfless nature and the great steps taken to reach true redemption.

The Tutelage:

Ben-Hiyyah of generations past have left a powerful legacy to their future generations in the form of many sacred texts and unique writings. These are safeguarded in a sacred place that only the eldest know of, and a select few warders may frequent. It is said to exist between the real of this world, and the veils of the otherworld, wrapped in a perpetual shroud of dusk and dawn, hidden in the sands of a distant desert land.

All young pupils are brought on the holiest of pilgrimages to this place, to learn and help transcribe the ancient writings passed down from generation to generation. These words, spoken by Hiyyah’s lips and originally taken down by his first two sons, Sihon and Og, were saved from the disaster of the great flood. They are well guarded and no non Ben-Hiyyah eyes have laid sight upon them since the terrible day of the flood.

Warders are instructed to wander the world with their charges for a time of no less than forty months, during which the young apprentices perform acts of piety and mercy with their instructors. During the last months of the journey, the warder will take their pupils to the great desert, and leave them to fend for themselves for forty days and forty nights. It is said that if their hearts are ready and pure, the temple will reveal itself to them, unfolding as the desert rose does to the morning sun. Therein they will continue to perform their duties and learn for eleven months. After that time, they will receive the anointment and be fully accepted into the folds of their brotherhood. Once done, the Rite of Rebirth will take place. Very few refuse to join the Estate, and the offer is seen as a formality. The truly gifted are given the opportunity to stay, and continue their work within the hallowed walls, however, it should be noted that this honor is reserved only for the truly gifted.

The Goety of Hiyya:

The Children of Hiyyah have mastered the one Goety that is the envy of all their immortal brethren: the ability to remove the cursed darkness of Sin from the soul. This Goety has gained them animosity and mistrust amongst many of their brethren Estates who believe that they should be entirely devoted to saving their kin, and not the rest of the world. In their apprenticeship, the young immortals learn to gauge the levels of Redemption and Sin in individuals. As they progress, they learn to manipulate and take into themselves these energies, till finally, they can do so without harm to others or themselves.

‘Ben-Hiyyah’ also benefit of a minor Goety in the form of an inner calm said to stem from their convictions, sense of purpose and their faith in their forefather Hiyyah’s selfless sacrifice. As a result of this, any selfless act performed to aid another with no benefit to themselves will receive a +1 bonus to the difficulty marker per dot of minor Virtue.

Hiyyah’s Curse:

Hiyyah’s children cannot avoid that which they are, healers and martyrs. Regardless of the difficulties that life places before them, they cannot escape the path and lineage they were born to, nor its powerful blood ties. They must and need to help others to feel fulfilled. For every time that a Ben-Hiyyah willingly and knowingly walks away from someone who is in need of aid, they suffer a great impoverishment of the soul. This will haunt them continuously until amends have been made to those who have suffered. As a result, consider them to suffer a loss of their minor Goety as well as suffer a difficulty penalty on all rolls equal to their age modifier. This will continue until they have helped the individual in question, directly, or indirectly.

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