Ondine

Creatures of fluidity and fancy, ondines are haunting but shy beings who talk a great deal without telling you who they are. They are the wistful children of mirrors and secrets, crafters of bottomless masks and shifting webs of misdirection, and their beauty is both wild and illogical, awkward but touching in the way of all such fish out of water.

Of all the Inanimae, the ondines' phylum is best suited to concern itself with the Heart Riddles and other matters of the human soul. Some say that this is the reason that the wave kings and queens cast the ondines out of the sea in the first place, so that by walking dry land like meat they would be better placed to understand the secret depths of meat and, perhaps, eventually bring a soul back for the Empire of Tears. Others, more cruel, less poetic or both, doubt that entities as large as the depthless would concern themselves with something so nonsensical as the "soul," and instead argue that the ondines were exiled from the waters as punishment for their weakness and their lying ways.

The truth, needless to say, depends on the listener. The depthless do not speak with land voices and the ondines prefer not to talk about themselves. What can be agreed upon as fact is that the ondines dwell on land now, and that this dry environment is a constant and often painful struggle for them.

Every ondine labors under a handicap of some sort, an unending reminder to them that dry land is not their native country. For most, this generally manifests as a difficulty in walking — a twisted hip, severe asthma, or the inescapable feeling that every step they take on the land is as painful as walking on razors or as precarious as walking on eggshells.

Appearance: When maintaining a Husk, ondines appear almost perfectly human to all but the most keen observers. The only distinguishing marks are the universally sad, haunted eyes and the noticeable difficulty walking. Of course, these traits are not exclusive to the Heart Collectors, who sometimes surround themselves with red herrings in phylum to discourage unwelcome attention. Behind the mask, ondines are made of delicately tinged water, and, therefore, tend to shimmer and blur like damp watercolor paintings. Their coloring can be any combination imaginable, bur they prefer cool tones and pastels. Build tends toward slimness, often taking on a somewhat "undernourished" look by meat standards.

Lifestyle: These shy creatures spend much of their time in the company of their own kind. Rarely do they seek out others. Yet they have a fascination for the world of flesh that often overcomes their inherent shyness and causes them to venture out into the world.

Childlings: They are the most shy of the ondine and only in the rarest of circumstances do they leave the company of their own kind.

Wilders: At this "age" an ondines curiosity begins to overcome his natural shyness. It is often the ondine's curiosity about the nature of humanity that causes him to venture forth into the world. Such questions (like what is the soul, and is there such a thing as true love) overwhelm the ondine as he seeks answers to the Heart Riddle.

Grumps: Ondines who have reached this age often come to believe that there is no answer to the Heart Riddle. Far too often, those who have come this far choose to retreat once more into their Anchor and can be difficult to rouse.

Affinity: Aquis

Birthrights

Watery Form — Ondines can slip through even the smallest cracks by allowing themselves to become fluid. The ondine is still vulnerable to physical attacks while in this form. Use of this Birthright costs no Glamour; changes, however, last only long enough for the ondine to slip through a crack or other aperture — the ondine cannot remain in this form. This Birthright can never be used in the presence of mortals.

Song of the Siren — Most ondines have incredibly beautiful singing voices and can charm other beings with their singing. Any who are within hearing distance of an ondine's singing voice may be affected. The ondine must roll Manipulation + Performance (difficulty 7). Each success causes anyone in the audience to become entranced with the ondine for one hour for each success earned. Anyone under the effects of the Song can make a resisted Willpower roll to shake off the effects. Those under the effect of the Song become susceptible to suggestions of the ondine. Almost any suggestion will be followed as long as it is not suicidal or directly in conflict with the character's beliefs. This Birthright can be used at any time, even in the presence of mortals.

Outlook

Glomes — Strong, powerful and slow. They are the wisest of our kind.
Kuberas — Beautiful creatures, yet they are too self-absorbed.
Parosemes — They dance in the skies and among us. If they could learn to stand still for even a moment there is much we could learn from them.
Solimonds — They will destroy us all if given the chance. They live for destruction and nothing else.
Mannikins — They are strange and unknowable. They avoid both our kind and the Kithain.
Kithain — Perhaps we avoid them because we covet their meat bodies. They are constant reminders that we do not belong in this world.

Frailty

Wounds — Ondines were not meant to walk on land and each of them bear a stigma because of this. All ondines have a permanent disability of some type and it is often painful. It may be a painful limp, bad asthma, open wounds that will not heal, massive scar tissue, etc. Anything the player can think is allowable, though they must always be approved by the Storyteller.

Quote: I missed you. Time seems to be passing by so quickly — is the world growing older or are we simply moving faster? Have you been well?