Washu and the Ascension Transformation
The Ascension Transformation of Washu has been a tradition within the nation for as far back as Washu’s history can recall. Legend states that millennia after the great kami came and created the lands of Washu, they also imparted the humans that lived among them a method of binding themselves to the native kami, bringing them forever closer to the lands, rivers, and mountains upon which they reside. This process forever kept a secret from outsiders by the noble families of Washu, became known as the Ascension Transformation. With its introduction, the entire cultural landscape of Washu was forever changed. Natives of Washu would forever seek to attain their own personal Ascension Transformation, allowing them to become part of not only the ruling class but also forever a part of their homeland of Washu.
The Ascension Transformation is a process in which a kami willingly binds a portion of their innate spirit to the soul of a native of Washu, changing both their physical form and their spiritual form forever. The Ascension Transformation is a closely guarded secret by the natives of Washu which has never been documented as being performed on a foreigner throughout the history of Washu. Those who have performed the ritual before are aware of the intense amount of detail and circumstance that must be attained before even attempting such an arduous process. For starters, the individual who seeks to undergo the Ascension Transformation must find a willing kami capable of binding their soul with, and very few kami forge the kind of personal connection to a mortal that is required by the Ascension Transformation. However, some family lines have local kami, or house kami, that watch over the family, and they, in turn, are willing to undergo the Ascension Transformation with any of the progeny of the family that they deem worthy of doing so. In turn, a single kami could theoretically bind themselves to countless mortals, allowing one line of descendants to all become bound to the same kami. Beyond this knowledge, the secrets of the Ascension Transformation become vague and undiscoverable due to how strict the Washun are with guarding it.
Those who have undergone the Ascension Transformation find their bodies altered markedly, becoming what is known as a tiefling. Their exotic Washun appearance is combined with the characteristics of their bonded kami. Their skin tone changes to various color shades, depending upon their kami. Rounded or angled colored horns sprout atop their heads. Talon-like nails and even claws can sometimes appear. Tails sprout from their rears and some Washun tieflings can even retain some prehensile nature to them. Uncommonly vestigial leathery wings grow from their backs, typically matching the color of their horns. In the rarest of circumstances, usually reserved for powerful kami and the tiefling bloodlines they have become bound to, these wings might actually be capable of keeping the tiefling aloft and be fully functional. The iris of their eyes become shifting pools of molten color, bright and vibrant.
Those who have successfully undergone the Ascension Transformation and become tieflings breed true. In turn, their descendants are born bonded to their house kami. As such, powerful families and bloodlines have emerged throughout Washu, and typically these houses become influential members of Washun society, industrial sector, and governing body. The everyday citizens of Washu view their native tieflings as the physical manifestation of the will of the spirit world whose notice and relations are highly sought after.
Throughout the lands and culture of Washu, one bloodline is considered above the rest, eternally mystical, and believed to be anointed by the great kami themselves. The imperial bloodline of Washu has flowed through the veins of Washu Emperors and Empresses for thousand of years, unbroken. However, after the First Empire Wars, the imperial family was placed in a figurehead position and lost all governing capability. Once the Aurezians took over the occupation of Washu the imperial family found themselves even more sheltered than before, as the Arcane Trust was placed in power to rid Washu of the exalted imperial influence. During the Darkest War the imperial family was thought to have been killed entirely, and only in recent years has rumors of a young new empress begun to be whispered behind those still truly loyal to the imperial family.