The Khikhikan'ye

"Laugh if you wish, traveler. Some mirth before that which is yet to come may do you good. It will not protect you, no, but it may lessen the pain."
  In Vralsk society khikhikan'ye is a form of malicious laughter, often at the misfortune of others, that is said to draw the attention of evil spirits. This attention is directed at the source of the sardonic amusement and the one who expresses it, and is believed to bring calamity to both parties. The spirits may be placated by an apology from the person who laughed or by both parties sharing a drink and pouring a third of each cup on to soil.   Any who observe khikhikan'ye occur are expected to say "net khuda bez dobra" -- 'a blessing in disguise'. This wards the party who is or has experienced misfortune from the attentions of the spirits, focusing them solely on the one laughing. This is seen as a form of justice -- any who laugh at the cruelty of others will be punished. Historians attribute the source of this belief to two folk beliefs; the vedma koldunya -- an old sorceress who lives in the woods -- and likhoradka -- a one-eyed spirit that is misfortune manifested.   The khikhikan'ye is considered impolite because life in Vralach is hard enough without further intervention from malevolent spirits. Whether or not the khikhikan'ye actually brings misfortune or is simply used as an explanation for events that would happen regardless, is something that cannot be definitively explained.  

Vedma Koldunya

The vedma koldunyi are magic-using women who have been seduced by the Everforest. They have partaken in a dark rite to give them the ability to transform into any female creature on Vralsk soil. It is said that they can manipulate the fate of any who laugh at their wordplay, cutting their lives short. When a vedma koldunya kills in this way, she adds the lifespan of her victim to her own.

 

Likhoradka

Likhoradki are personifications of ill fate. They are gaunt, vaguely humanoid cyclopean creatures that are moderately common in the Everforest. Their jaw is slack and can open shockingly wide. They devour the good fortune of their victim by inhaling the air about their heads. This in itself is not fatal, but the bad luck that follows can be. As they inhale, they make a trilling sound that vaguely resembles laughter.

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