Jun 01, 2017

IO: If a Swi demon is particularly unhealthy or suffers constipation, its gut can become host to manifestations of the Weak, who will grow within the creature and will require excision if the Damned become too large. Most are or can be flushed from the demon's system naturally and further transported to the Warren's dumps to complete development and eruption. Those that are not naturally flushed will eventually become problematic as they grow, requiring intervention for removal. As a Swi's body is quite hardy and fast-healing, most Swi simply deal with this inconvenience by themselves, performing impromptu gastro caesareans to rid themselves of their unwelcome "garbage weight". For this reason, most Swi travel with a small collection of knives, thread, and hooks for self-surgery.

Especially large Swi generally do not bother with these tactics, as their sheer size generally prevents blockages of this nature unless the volume of manifesting Weak is especially unreasonable. The reason for the Damned of the Warren manifesting in this manner is unknown and is, as of current knowledge, unique amongst Damned and Demonkind alike.

As a species, Swi are hermaphorditic, possessing a set of two primitive genitals for reproduction. Cycles are fast and regular, resulting in a cultural attitude towards sex that largely amounts to "marginally less acceptable than a hug from a stranger." Pairs will do their business in public with barely an onlooker batting an eyelash, provided the pair are not being obnoxious, interrupting work, or damaging goods or services.

Gestation of infant Swi is primarily external. Parents lay small, hard-shelled eggs that curiously resemble iron pellets. These eggs are densely packed with proteins. With the frequency of intimate encounters amongst the Swi, individuals generally lay their eggs in a bucket to be brought to a nursing location later. Nurseries are equitable to gardens, with Swi essentially "planting" their eggs in Hell's mantle as one would the seed of a crop. Nourished and warmed by Hell's layers, the eggs erupt fruit-bearing vines that contain the progeny of the demon. Each egg can boast upwards of several hundred infants. The volume of offspring and regularity of reproductive cycles of the Swi exist to combat high infant mortality, caused by predation by the Weak, Abyss Life, weather damage, and cannibalism via competition for survival. Once born by falling from their uteral tree, Swi newborns will subsist on an internal yolk for one day, growing and developing rapidly during this time until the yolk is exhausted. Once fully absorbed, the infant will have budded teeth, and will begin to prey on other developing infants or anything else similarly defenseless nearby. The speed of development in the infant will continue at a breakneck pace for two weeks, driving the young demon's body to vastly grow in size - from a mere inch to up to a full six feet - in record time.

During this rapid physical development, a Swi's skin and muscle is surprisingly supple and delicate, easily damaged in scuffles and fights for food. Healing comes rapidly, but redirected resources result in chaotic scar tissue development and lopsided growth, leading to vast stretches of dermal malformation and a wide range of physical deformities (stunting of limbs, asymmetry of muscle / fat deposits, etc). Once this explosive growth period ends, the infant will become sluggish as their metabolism tanks. This is the most vulnerable time for a Swi infant, as they will be unable to hide or truly defend themselves from even small opponents. Young Swi at this stage will instinctively attempt to leave the nursery. Adults patrolling the nurseries will ignore or otherwise make no attempts at aiding the young, as the survival and escape from the nursery is considered a rite of passage. Adult Swi demons will not lift a finger to aid a child until it has cleared the nursery's edge by several feet, upon which the infant will be approached, carefully gathered up, and taken to any one of multiple Rearing Houses, communal edifices dedicated to the care and education of Swi children.

Swi children are kept in isolation until their aggression, previously fueled by an intense requirement to feed, subsides with their plummeting metabolism and cooling development speed. Once completely over their initial state, Swi become highly receptive and social. Childcare is communal, with the concept of single-parenting being utterly foreign to the species.