The Redeeming Blades
Demigoddess of Redemption
Arising in the wake of the liberation of Godsfall in 211 AC, the Redeeming Blades are the ascendant beings embodying the concept of redemption and forgiveness, serving Melara, the Lady of Mercy. Seen both as two beings (one human, one angelic, both female) and one being of ambiguous (although humanoid) form, the Blades preach that even the most sinful person may be cleansed and reborn free from that taint...at a price.
Life and Fall
In the time before the Cataclysm War, the previous god of redemption, atonement, and rebirth, Maelek maintained a tower/temple in Godsfall. Here, his priests and followers purified repentant sinners. Those that sought forgiveness would bring sacrifices to the temple. While for minor sins these were merely monetary (which money was given to the poor), those guilty of major sins gave up everything. Their path to redemption started in the great hall--penitents, stripped of all their worldly possessions, rank, and even name fell into ritual pool in the basement, where they were washed clean of their prior self. Having forgotten all of who they were except their sin, they slowly climbed up the tower, stopping at different stages to reflect and repent until their old sins fell away and they were reborn to a new personality.
This process was overseen by the High Priestess, who at the time of the Cataclysm was a human woman known as Viltis. A woman of great faith and personal power, she also had many enemies (those who refused to accept that the penitents she sheltered were truly forgiven). To protect her and her work, Maelek sent a servant, the deva known as Dezhuura. While not one of the Angelic Host, she was similar in stature and obedience to duty. In time, the forgiving Viltis and the unbending Dezhuura became friends...and then more. The pair served among the leaders of Godsfall
Then came the Cataclysm War. As the chaotic legions marched closer, Kul'Asad sent his agents to infiltrate Maelek's Tower and bring down Viltis from within. Taking the form of Viltis, they deceived Dezhuura into believing her a traitor and a demon-worshiper. Betrayed and despairing, Dezhuura confronted her lover in her chambers at the top of the tower and plunged her blade Redemption into her breast. As she died, Viltis's last words were forgiveness and love. Realizing she had been deceived and had betrayed her duty and her god, Dezhuura cracked. Summoning an avatar of her god, she condemned the tower and all of its inhabitants to an eternal cycle of death and rebirth, unable to permanently die but forever suffering. Driven completely mad, she spent the next two hundred years alternating between flying endless grieving circles around the tower and torturing the cultists who deceived her while Viltis's body remained impaled by Redemption and Maelek's avatar remained chained, his tears and blood powering this unholy abomination of a ritual.
After the ritual that turned Godsfall into a prison for Kel'dan and the army of chaos, Kul'Asad tapped the endless font of energy of Maelek's Tower as a beacon for his temporal machinations, letting his seers find their way home through time and space wherever they went. His army prevented any other group from approaching the tower and disturbing the situation there.
Liberation and Rebirth
In 211 AC, as part of the liberation of Godsfall, the Godsfall Champions entered the tower from below (with Isshin's help). Progressing through the tower, they discovered that Viltis had foreseen this betrayal and had put aside an artifact of resurrection. With this artifact and the help of Maelek's avatar (revealed to be Maelek itself), they raised her from the dead and redeemed Dezhuura through Viltis's love.
As a last act of divine grace, Maelek granted them his remaining power and Melara accepted them as Her ascended servants. Thus the Redeeming Blades were born. Redemption itself was cast aside, taking into itself the grief and guilt of the murder of Viltis. It has since passed into Shadow and taken on a life of its own.
The Blades preach that all that sin may be forgiven and reborn through sacrifice. An organization of followers (clerics of Melara, paladins, and other devoted souls) has sprung up throughout Noefra. Headquartered in Godsfall (although not at Maelek's Tower), the Blade-bearers seek out repentant sinners throughout the land. Those that are truly penitent give up all the benefits of their crimes and are washed clean by forgetfulness and rebirth. Minor sins only require the rewriting of part of one's personality; major sins require the death of the person-that-was and a complete rebirth as a new person.
This process requires sincere penitence. Those that try to cheat and shortcut the process die in excruciating agony as their minds and souls are ripped asunder on the holy blades.
Legal Status of the Reborn
In the Duarchy of Kotimaa and the Holy Kaelthian Republic, total rebirth is legally equivalent to a death sentence. The reborn person is not held to account for the sins or crimes of the person-that-was, but cannot also inherit any status or goods of the prior self. Lesser rebirths are often carried out as part of a sentence for those that have truly repented. Other nations do not necessarily absolve the reborn of all consequences of their crimes.