Elven House - The Coalhearts
The drow of House Coalheart made their home beside the magma chamber of Mount Addosh, the massive active volcano at the center of the mountain range in the Southern part of Undam. This House has the insidious reputation for being a cult of demon worshipers.
The Coalhearts have crimson colored eyes that give off the impression of burning coal. More rarely, some Coalhearts have orange eyes the color of molten lava.
A realistic black heart made of stone with lava oozing from one large crack down its middle.
Right half of the face is burned, the burn mark the shape of a hand print. Arith dips her hand in lava and applies it to the Aitha’s face. Oddly these Aitha think of their mark as a special privilege because they got to be touched by their savior.
Arith The Savior
They were not always demon worshipers. Five hundred years ago, Mount Addosh erupted. Normally powerful magical barriers protect the House from most of the volcanic activity, but this particular eruption broke through the magical barriers. As lava rapidly approached the city, a renowned sorcerer at the time named Arith quickly made new barriers before it could reach the city. While her choice saved House Coalheart from certain doom, it came at a grave personal cost. Creating the barriers gave her too much corruption and turned her into a balor demon. The Coalhearts consider her their savior and believe Arith and her fellow demons will continue to protect the city as long as they worship her.
A Test of Loyalty
Before she can assume the title every upcoming Coalheart Matron must prove her loyalty and dedication to Arith. Using an elevator-like magical contraption the Matron willingly lowers herself down into the magma chamber up to her knees. She must stand there until the lava has burned away the lower half of her legs. The elevator-contraption has a built-in harness that keeps the Matron upright through out this painful ordeal, regardless if she has legs to stand on. Being so close to the lava it is not uncommon for the Matron to catch fire, leaving her with severe burn scars over many parts of her body. Afterwords she is pulled back up by Arith and given prosthetic legs made of magically reinforced obsidian. Since this process can easily be lethal, if the Matron dies Arith resurrects her with her body completely healed. Once revived the whole ritual begins again. This will not stop until the Matron finally survives it.
At the Mercy of Demons
Public torture is a common occurrence and is done to appease Arith. Like other demons Arith is in constant pain and relishes in watching members of her House suffer. Her need to inflict pain is fueled by intense feelings of resentment. If she could go back in time and do it all over she would not have saved her House. She along with the twenty or so other demons who visit the city from time to time are the ones who conduct the torture. Trying to help someone chosen to be tortured, or the chosen person resisting said torture is a criminal offense punishable by death.
On the surface it may seem the entire House is obsessed with demons. In reality it is mostly the upper classes fervently worshiping them. The lower classes go along with it if they wish to live long, though that is not a guarantee given the demon’s love of sacrificial offerings.
Each year one powerful magic user is chosen by Arith to be turned into a demon. This process takes an entire week to complete, during which time the whole House throws a festival to celebrate. The last day of the festival is the anniversary of Arith turning into a demon.
Death by Fire
Since becoming demon worshipers execution by spider pit has fallen out of practice in favor of raising the corruption level of the prisoner to about half way and then killing them. They are killed by being slowly lowered down into the magma chamber until their entire body is immersed in it. The Coalhearts do this using the same elevator-contraption implemented by their Matrons. They consider it a good omen if the executed person rises as a demon.