Though humans reign supreme, the world is awash in beings and spirits that long predate them. Best seen as both fae and fiend, the nechist' are 'unclean' creatures who strive to reassert their primacy, at least at the margins of human habitation. They rule over forests, streams, lakes, swamps, and fields that separate human settlements from one another. Some of them can even be found in the villages – the huts, yards, barns, and bathhouses, where they command beasts and the very hearths that allow the humans to perpetuate their kind. A popular Church story envisions something approaching distinct earthly Realms in the story that accounts for the origin of nechist'. When the rebellious angels fell, those that landed in human abodes became Domovye - somewhat close to humankind, and not entirely unreasonable. Those that landed further from human habitation exhibited more chaotic and violent tendencies, while those that landed in the forests, bogs, waterways, and wilderness far from human habitation came to exhibit truly monstrous behavior. The forceful presentation of the cross to these creatures causes them to flee, because it reminds them that Gaal is the true Tsar of the World. Not necessarily evil, nechist' are driven by goals that are inscrutable to most people. On occasion, they mate with humans, whether out of desire, spite, or in pursuit of some other purpose. Products of such unions usually grow up with nechist' parents, but other times, they are secretly used to replace human babies, that are then taken by the nechist' parent to their own domains. The children that are left to grow up in human households are known as changelings, and they possess both human and nechist’ nature.
Civilization and Culture