Ifriti

Ifriti are a race of elemental fey based in fire. They tend to be tall, strong, muscular creatures with their most astonishing physical features being a set of horns on their head and piercing, yellow-gold eyes. Their skin colors range from pale ash to black as night, and their hair might be any hue of flame: gold, yellow, red, orange, even blue or white on occasion. Their horns are usually black bone, sometimes spiraled, sometimes twisted, sometimes like a ram’s, sometimes like an antelope’s. They have pronounced, angular facial features. Their chosen sense is hearing; their love of sound is particular and deeply felt. An Ifriti home is incomplete without a different kind of chime on every clock, a different bell at every door, and a wide variety of musical instruments readily available.

Their high house is House Ardeo, led by the incomparable Luminessa Ardeo, one of the primary directors of the Mechanica Guild. Her husband Mephanis is a pacifist, a gentle scholar who heads a dueling club called The Lantern House, where students do not just indulge in defensive martial arts but also debates of philosophy, theology, and other intellectual pursuits. Their studies are called the Flickering Flame, and are widely regarded by sporting duelists to be a joke, although academics find the combination of study and physical discipline fascinating. They have two children, Cindra and Caspher. Cindra is apprenticed to Troubadour Van Claude, a popular Weather Master, and Caspher is a brooding artist; although Caspher’s knack for mechanics follows his mother’s skillset, he uses it for sculpture, art, and other expressions rather than for utility or function.

Ifriti childbirth is a high pressure affair, to say the least. There is a great deal of care taken to ensure the mother is kept as warm as possible. She usually undergoes a kind of fever which gives her a chill, thus requiring extra layers, blankets, hot furnaces, stoked fires, and so on. After three months of pregnancy, the Ifriti mother will descend into the lowest room of her house, or perhaps a local birthing kiln, specially furnished for such times with an extraordinary furnace, carefully selected stones and ash, everything to keep the mother hot and comfortable. After another week or so she will give birth to the child. Ifriti are not known to have twins or other multiples, but their gestation is so short that they may have more children in quick succession. An Ifriti child’s horns begin to grow in around age ten.
An Ifriti may live to be 500, if they’re healthy. When an ancient Ifriti prepares for their passing, a great event is held in which their friends, family, and neighbors may come to visit, say goodbye, and offer something to ease the passing: perhaps a favorite flower, a bit of music, a taste of their favorite dessert. During the event, the Ifriti sits or lies on a special hearth-chair, growing hotter and hotter, flames dancing along their skin and hair. At last, when all goodbyes have been said and felt, the Ifriti allows itself to ignite, with all of the visitors and well-wishers watching. When they are gone, there is nothing left but cold charcoal, which is then used by the family to prepare for the next birth in the house. Their deaths usually result in a great deal of cold charcoal, which is why they ideally lie down in a special hearth before passing. Essentially, Ifriti are capable of creating their own funeral pyres.

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