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[2E Kami] Hyochakushin, the Drifting-Ashore Gods

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  • [2E Kami] Hyochakushin, the Drifting-Ashore Gods

    There is no one Hyochakushin; it is a name, referring to a phenomenon, and the divine beings which precipitated it. Long ago, in Japan it was the case that most seagoing vessels were not suited to deep or open waters, so whales - vast creatures of the open sea - were regarded as sacred and beyond reach of hunting or whaling. On occasion, though, a whale might find itself drawn on-shore by currents or some other factor, and either beach itself, or find itself within hunting-range of sailors. This was a rare and auspicious event, as a single whale could provide enough food for a whole community, and they often came into the shallows following schools of fish, and thus their appearance became an omen of plenty. The arrival of such a leviathan could save a village teetering on the edge of starvation - what could such a creature be but a god which sacrificed itself for them?

    Being whales which sacrifice themselves, or sacrificed themselves long ago, Hyochakushin do not, as a rule, create Scions by direct descent. The whales' bones were most frequently buried in sacred mounds, kujira tsuga ('whale mounds'), which became shrines, and the will of Hyochakushin most often manifest around these shrines. As they are associated with prosperity and bounty, they may choose to bless one who prays for a child at a nearby shrine, or appear in the shape of a priest or shrine-maiden to deliver such a blessing - and occasionally a prophecy to go along with it. There are also tales of Scions created by carving from the sacred whalebone, or even of young whales descended from a Hyochakushin coming ashore themselves and shedding their whale-skin to reveal a human infant.

    Scions of Hyochakushin cannot usually expect great aid directly from their parents or patrons, but the goodwill they inherit can be a blessing all its own, and whalebone can make potent Relics. They are living omens of good fortune and prosperity, and that can open many a door. Many are unexpected children themselves, or - if they were created by unorthodox means - adopted, while others are more feral, haunting the whale-shrines and feeding themselves from offerings, or taking on the aspect of whales and spending their childhoods in the ocean. Some few may never come ashore at all, but all feel a tugging within them, an irrepressible drive to do good for others - and if that means drifting ashore, then so be it.

    Callings: Guardian, Healer, Liminal

    Purviews: Water, Prosperity, Fortune, Fertility, Beasts (whales, seabirds, fish), Death


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