Pulheki is a little understood condition that affects residents of nearly all nations in Elotia. Individuals affected with pulheki are not always born with the condition, though it is more common in babies and children than it is in adults. In some cases, children "grow out" of pulheki and appear to become "normal" adults, though some children with pulheki also die of puzzling causes. People with pulheki are often treated as outcasts, though there are some religious groups who readily take in pulheki and view their condition as a blessing rather than as a curse. People affected by pulheki are also sometimes called "false godlings", "half-godlings", "half-formed", or other denegrating names that demonstrate disdain for the condition.
Transmission & Vectors
Pulheki is not a contagious condition and there are no clear reasons as to why a particular person may be born with it (or even acquire it later in life, though this is much more rare). Pulheki is widely considered to be a magical infliction, likely due to its strong association with godlings and the creation of existence through the magic of shadow and darkness.
Some peoples, especially in the Borian, believe that pulheki only afflicts those who are born at night or who are born in dark spaces. However, there are clear records of those born with pulheki who have been born according to the traditions of their people (in full light). In those cases, it is often said that the baby "spent too much time in darkness", either in the mother's womb or during the pregnancy. In truth, the cause of pulheki is unknown. While some people with pulheki end up with physical transformations that do resemble godling-like changes, given that godlings are not born in the usual sense, the connection between godlings and pulheki is dubious at best.
Pulheki is marked by physical augmentations and transformations that tend to have magical affectations, yet these conditions are less severe or substantial than one would note with a godling. For example, a baby born with pulheki may have a single small horn, a short tail, or skin marked by regular patterns of some kind. These mutations tend to exude magical energy (and also absorb it ocassionally), but they do not hurt or otherwise negatively affect the child. All major drawbacks of pulheki come from societal ostracization and the odd death conditions that seem to bear on some afflicted by pulheki during their teenage/young adult years. Some people who claimed to have been godlings have later been proven to have pulheki, and godlings can easily recognize if someone is affected by the condition or if they are, in fact, another godling.