Rephaim (pronounced: REFF-eye-im), also called Rephs and Rephaite (pronounced: REFF-ite), are a powerful race from the Netherworld, who came to Earth in 1859. For two hundred years they have controlled Britain from Sheol I, a penal colony located in the city of Oxford. They are led by the Sargas family, which has two blood-sovereigns, Nashira and Gomeisa Sargas. Nashira is the Suzerain behind the puppet government of Scion.
Rephaim are biologically immortal humanoids, known to feed on the aura of clairvoyant humans. Their spoken history has been distorted, but they are thought to have been in the Netherworld for "time immemorial". As a result of being immortal, Rephaim are unaffected by the passage of time and are never children. Instead, they emerge from the Netherworld fully formed. When Warden called Thuban a "child," he meant he was inexperienced, not because of his age in years.
Rephaim are tall and have chartreuse eyes. Their eyes change color to reflect the aura of the person they're feeding on. Their eyes are bioluminescent. Instead of blood, ectoplasm runs in their veins. Their immortal flesh is called sarx, which does not age and cannot be extensively harmed by amaurotic weapons. It has a slightly metallic sheen that is either silver or gold. They are immune to bullets. They tend to dress in head-to-toe black. All Rephaim wear gloves in the corporeal world, apparently out of disgust toward all matter that isn't as eternal as they are. Touching a human without gloves is especially taboo.
As revealed by Warden, the Rephaim are unable to digest dense substances thicker than broth, as they would throw up after swallowing it. He also claims that Rephaite hair does not grow back, therefore the act of cutting it is irreversible and only attributed to the Ranthen.
The Rephaim were originally mediators between Earth and the æther, sending psychopomps to guide the spirits of dead humans into the Netherworld. However humans became so divided and fought so often that the ethereal threshold rose to dangerous levels. The Rephaite star-sovereign, Ettanin Mothallath, decided to send Rephaim into the physical world to lower it, against the counsel of the Sargas. After Azha Mothallath crossed the veil successfully, the Mothallath made a rule that they would never reveal themselves to humans, but this rule was broken and consequently the Waning of the Veils began. Clairvoyance entered the human world, the Emim appeared, and Rephaim were no longer able to exist on æther. War began in the Netherworld and the Mothallath were defeated by the Sargas. Those who supported the Mothallath called themselves the Ranthen after the amaranth, but most declared loyalty to the Sargas after their defeat to save themselves.
In the year 1859, the Rephaim and Emim came to Earth from the Netherworld. In exchange for protection from the Emim, the British government made a deal with the Rephaim that they would give them voyant slaves, thereby leading to the establishment of Scion. The majority of the Rephaim agree with Nashira that it is humanity's fault that the veils between the Netherworld and the corporeal world tore because humans can't stop killing each other. This is their justification for subjugating the human world in order to prevent further damage.
The Rephs are very secretive about their relationships, anatomy, etc. They are led by two sovereigns, known as the blood-sovereigns. Just as there is a male and female blood-sovereign, there is a male and female blood-heir. The blood-sovereigns are always Sargas, but they aren't mates. Rephaim touch their foreheads together instead of kiss to show affection. Kissing is something they do when they're already mated with someone. Touching foreheads is considered an intimate gesture that speaks of equal partnership and the desire to know someone on a spiritual level.
The Rephs generally speak in a dispassionate, precise, and technical manner because English is not their first language. They avoid contractions, adhere to proper grammar, and choose their words with precision, making them sound conspicuously formal. This serves to highlight their distance from human society as well as the fact that they've had two hundred years to perfect their English skills. Glossolalia, also known as Gloss, is the Rephaite language. It is the ancient language of the æther and the language of spirits. It's implied to be impossible to learn for humans, with the exception of polyglots. The Rephaim favor impassive stares and speak at a steady cadence, making them difficult to read. This seems to be partly cultural, as they place great value on their own dignity and self-possession, and partly just a natural difference between humans and Rephs. One of their more disconcerting mannerisms is the tendency to hold eye contact without blinking.
Rephaim are never eat food or drink, except for wine, especially the Ranthen. Instead they live on aura. When they haven't fed for a while, their irises become increasingly dull. Their culture is heavily based around not touching anything of the mortal world. Human blood has a natural immunity against the half-urge, a kind of infection fatal to Rephaim.
The Rephaim are not born the way humans are, instead they emerge fully formed from the æther, and exist indefinitely without every aging. The Netherworld produced the same number of Rephaim in each swathe per spawning. Members of the same family emerge from the same place in the Netherworld, and they all look similar and share similar gifts. Like the Netherworld, they are untouched by time and sometimes find it difficult to understand the concept of time. They cannot die of “natural causes.” That being said, they are not indestructible, nor are they immune to certain types of sickness.
Some Rephaim have a psychopomp, which is the spirit form of their companion creature known as a Chol-bird. Chol-birds are winged sarx-creatures. Rephaim can mask their presence, even from dreamwalkers.
There are at least seven Rephaite families:
- Ettanin Mothallath
- Azha Mothallath
In the Old Testament, the branch of the Nephilim who are the inhabitants of She'ol, also known as hell, are called the Rephaim. They are also mentioned as a race of giants. The Rephaim named themselves after stars when they established themselves in the corporeal world, especially the ones named in the Bible. Their language, Glossolalia, is also known as the universal language of pre-Babel times, and referred to as the language of angels.
- Rephaites are nocturnal.
- One of the gravest insults in Rephaite culture is calling someone a rotmonger.
- The Mime Order: Chapter 16
- Official Tumblr
- The Mask Falling, chapter 1, p. 18-19
- The Mask Falling, chapter 13, p. 223
- 75 days; author's reply - Official blog