favored souls are mortals who are born with a spark of divine power from one of the Nine in them which usually manifests as they enter puberty. While some priesthoods do not afford much special status to their affiliated favored souls, favored souls of Khemra, the sun goddess, are the rarest favored souls and are afforded much special status. While most of the Nine have an uptick of favored souls born in their Zodiac Year, Khemra's favored souls are only born during her Zodiac year. During a typical Zodiac year, three or four favored souls of Khemra are born, pretty much always to parents who are fervent Khemra worshipers. Every eighty-one years, there is what is called the Year of Khemra Ascendant in which case ten to twenty favored souls of Khemra born, sometimes in unlikely place but never to families that are openly hostile to Khemra. Khemra's favored souls are frequently but not always born during or near a solar or lunar eclipse, thus earning Khemra's favored souls the title "Eclipse-Touched." Even if they are not born near an eclipse, they are considered spiritually eclipsed touched. Khemra is a very hidebound goddess very protective of laws and tradition but even Khemra acknowledges that changes and revisions are sometimes necessary. Eclipse-touched Keepers have the rare legal ability to propose and implement changes in ecclesiastical law and tradition. They can also act relatively free of the restraints of the Keepers' normal chain of command. Some Keepers work hard to influence Eclipse-Touched to push forth reforms that are favorable to their interests and others try to sideline Eclipse-Touch so they cannot push forth reforms. Sometimes, Eclipse-Touched are "encouraged" to join adventuring parties to gain experience and spread Khemra's light to the masses but in reality this is often to get a meddling Eclipse-Touched out of a temple's collective hair. Even Keepers who dislike having Eclipse-Touched around would not normally dream of sending one on a suicide mission.
Rebel Eclipse-Touched?It is common subject of speculation among theologians, minstrels, and lay people at tavern hearths alike about whether or not favored souls have the ability to act against their deity's interests. There are no accredited stories of an Eclipsed-Touched acting directly against Khemra, but there have been a few who espoused that the current world-wide organizational structure imposed on the Keepers by the Pentarchs of the Tower of the Sun is flawed and that less organized Khemra-worship is preferable. These Eclipse-Touched occasionally found their own schismatic Khemra worshipping factions outside the Keepers normal hierarchy. Because the Keepers cannot directly oppose Eclipse-Touched, they have not labeled these schismatic groups as heretics though they almost never endorse them. Most of these schismatic groups collapse after their Eclipse-Touched founder dies and as of yet, the few that have survived afterwards have yet to grow very large in numbers or influence.
Transmission & Vectors
Eclipse-Touched do not normally pass on any unusual hereditary traits. Since most are staunch Khemra worshipers, they tend to instill Khemra-friendly values in their children, many of whom grow up to the clergy or holy warriors or even theurgists, but this is a product of their upbringing and not their blood.
Eclipses-touched often have golden skin or other sun-like features in their physiology. They always have divine magical aptitude and are usually magically potent. Sometimes Eclipse-Touched have unusual handicaps or flaws, or in RPG terms Flaws but this is not universal and nearly all Eclipse-Touched consider their minor handicaps a small price to pay for their magic and status.
This is generally viewed as a positive condition, not a negative condition. Eclipse-Touched tend to became magically more powerful as they get older.
Khemra's favored souls are usually born to Khemra worshipping married couples. They are never born to parents actively hostile to Khemra's values. Eclipse-Touched are equally likely to be male or female. In the Third Age, the vast majority of Eclipse-Touched are Swynfaredian humans or elves. It is not unheard of for Eclipse-Touched to pop up in other races but it always an unusual and noteworthy event. Generally, eclipse-touched are treated the same regardless of race or sex because all Eclipse-Touched are rare gifts from Khemra regardless of their physiology.
Amongst Khemra worshiping cultures and subsets of society, Eclipse-Touched are treated with high regard, often able to routinely sup with high lords and ladies. In circles that dislike Khemra, Eclipse-Touched may find themselves the subject of discrimination or worse, but even then it is often considered bad luck to slay a Eclipse Touched.