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machine hands

The strict Tactilist beliefs on which Miridaswi was founded hold as their highest ideal the hands of the One. All members of the Sacred Hands are thought to have chosen their path in life before their birth. When a baby is born, one of the first things the parents do is inspect her hands to determine what choice she made. Normal hands mean the choice was for the One. But if the child has extra or missing fingers, or fused joints, or webbed digits, or any other deformity, it is taken as a sign that she has chosen machines and that they have damaged her.
When a child has machine hands, parents usually respond in one of two ways: either they distance themselves, providing minimum care but otherwise ignoring their child, or they intensify her religious training, hoping they can change her mind. In either case, affected children are often more frequently scolded by adults and shunned by their peers. Many leave Miridaswi when they reach adulthood. It is against the community's tenets to expunge anyone, but the weight of mass disapproval, even unspoken, applies a powerful pressure.
It is not completely impossible to rise above the stigma of machine hands. Bejoi, one of the most respected healers of Miridaswi, was born with a shortened finger on each hand. Her parents were of the distant type, but two of the Tradition Keepers took an interest in her, and she apprenticed at a young age. Her machine hands proved a boon to the village in an incident in 2016 Vol, when Kezlaf entered Miridaswi looking for a pair of escapees. Bejoi was chosen as spokesperson, and during their meeting Kezlaf was clearly disturbed by her appearance. Noticing his reaction, she made certain to remain in his presence the entire time he was there.  He conducted the search of the village with unusual speed and, most out of the ordinary for him, without harming any of the residents.
Chronic, Congenital

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