Grail Maidens are practically instinct. They used to be found all over Ga'leah. Every kingdom had a place where Grail Maidens would gather. After their genocide the Grail Maidens went into hiding. Much of their history was lost and often times people don't even know that they are grail maidens or have such ancestry. They are believed to be simply a myth.
Grail Maidens were the handmaidens of Olwyn, Mother of Magic. They are beings made of pure white magic and thus have very special healing abilities and powers. They are neither human nor fae. A Grail Maiden's blood can heal any illness or wound thus it was highly sought after. It was also rumored it could grant immortality and bring the dead back to life. Because of the purity of a Grail Maiden she is practically impervious to all curses and black magic. However, if a Grail Maiden's blood were to be corrupted in anyway her blood would become poisonous not only to those around her, but eventually it would poison even her.
All grail maidens are born with blonde hair, regardless of skin color, and have bright blue eyes. They range from tall, short, fat, or thin. Each grail maiden has a star shaped birth mark than can appear on any part of their body. Legend has it that a grail maiden born with the star on her forehead is destined to find the lost temple of Olwyn and re-establish it in Ga'leah.
Grail Maidens are all but extinct. They exist mainly in legend as many of them do not know they are grail maidens at all. At their height they were respected and even worshipped by some. Sometimes grail maidens were referred to as Olwyn's daughters. Grail Maidens would travel all over Ga'leah serving the people whereever there was a need. Some were healers, others were teachers, and some even advised leaders.
Grail Maidens had a hierarchy. The oldest among them, known simply as the Old Ones, were held in high honor. They advised the Shield Maidnes and nothing was ever decided without asking the opinion of the Old Ones. Below them were the Shield Maidens. The Shield Maidens were grail maidens that had had children. They were the protectors and the ones who assigned tasks to the younger grail maidens. They trained them and helped them find suitable husbands.
Almost all grail maidens were expected to get married. Only a few grail maidens took vows of permanent chastity. Those that did were housed deep in the Hyadies where they lived lives of contemplation and prayer to Olwyn. They were also prime in comforting and rehabilitating their sisters that were traumatized. They were often referred to as the mystics.
Grail Maidens were expected to wait till marriage to engage in sexual intercourse. Those that did not wait were sent to the Hyadies for a year. Grail Maidens that were raped also went to the Hyadies for a time of healing with the mystics. Raped grail maidens were allowed to stay in the Hyadies for as long as she needed to heal from the traumatic experience. When she was ready she would be allowed to return to her sisters. The perpetrator was hunted down and severely punished.
Grail Maidens first existed with the Fae. Olwyn created these Fae to mirror her abilities and temperament. Grail Maidens were created with the unique duty to be servants of virtue. They were made of pure white magic and were the first to learn it. Olwyn taught the first Grail Maidens personally and established her first and only temple where they might be housed. Olwyn also asked the God of Time, Aethanryke, to create an order of fae that would protect her Grail Maidens from harm. These were known as the Knights Templar. It was not uncommon for a Templar knight to marry a Grail Maiden. The male sons of the couple would become the next generation of Templar Knights.
When the War of the Fae came about there was a rift in the Grail Maidens. Some were not satisfied playing the servant and thus plotted against Olwyn. Those loyal to Olwyn tried to weed out the troublemakers, but not in time. The Grail Maidens who rebelled destroyed the Temple and sold their sisters as traitors. The same rift occurred in the Knights Templar. The Knights who wished to remain loyal were ambushed and killed. A small group of Grail Maidens were able to escape and Olwyn shielded them from their fallen sisters. As punishment for their betrayal Olwyn stripped the traitorous Grail Maidens of their white magic reducing them to ordinary Fae.
When the war was over the Grail Maidens who had remained loyal chose to go to Allutheria to continue their service to the Fae. Olwyn did not want them to go, but they were insistent.
When the age of humans came about Olwyn created a human version of her Grail Maidens. The Knights Templar was also created to protect them. The same rules applied to the Grail Maidens as before only this time their magic was not as great. Olwyn was careful to give these women a bit more freedom in hopes that they would not rebel nor grow impatient with their lives.
The Grail Maidens flourished. They traveled all over in groups, set up outposts, married and had children, and served the people of Ga'leah in whatever way was needed. Those that chose a life of permanent chastity or simply wished to have a more contemplative life were able to retreat to the Hyadies. This golden age of Grail Maidens was a great time of peace and harmony in Ga'leah.
Unfortunately it did not last. War soon began to crop up all over Ga'leah and the Grail Maidens became targets. Witches, sorcerers, and others that wanted their power began hunting them down. Grail Maidens picked up a pretty penny in slave routes, their blood was a commodity wanted by the vain greedy nobles, and their magic was coveted by black magic users. It was at this time that the Grail Maidens dispersed and erased themselves from history. The Shield Maidens set out to destroy the memory of the Grail Maidens. Daughters that were born were never told what they were and were never taught about their heritage. Eventually the Grail Maidens faded into legend.
Grail Maidens reproduce just like humans and fae through sexual intercourse between male and female. A Grail Maiden will only have one daughter in her lifetime as the magic is passed down to the female. She may have as many sons as she wishes or is able. The male offspring of human Grail Maidens have not magical abilities, but are stronger than a typical human. Fae male offspring have magic, but no more or less than any other fae.
Grail Maidens all use white magic. Grail Maidens is most specifically the name for the young unmarried of their species. Grail Maidens have the strongest healing abilities and access to their white magic. Once married and producing children a Grail Maiden is known among her kind as a Shield Maiden. Shield Maidens can still heal, but are not as strong. They are more useful in offensive white magic. It is their duty to protect the young grail maidens and work alongside the Knights Templar. As they get older their magic gets weaker and they join The Old Ones.
Due to their blood coursing with pure magic it has special healing properties. It can heal almost any wound or disease. If the wound or disease is egregious enough though it could take several grail maidens to cure.
Grail Maidens are gifted with long life. They typically live for 100 years. The oldest grail maiden was 150 before she finally passed away. Grail Maidens have brilliant blonde hair at birth that changes to black, brown, or red after they have a daughter. Then as they age their hair silvers normally. Once their hair has lost all color the woman joins the Old Ones.
Grail Maidens weaknesses vary depending on who they are. They can be cut down with a sword if the wound is egregious enough. They can sick, and if the illness is strong enough it can kill them. Anyway you can hurt or kill a human can be done to the a grail maiden.
If a Grail Maidens blood is polluted enough with dark magic that it cannot purify itself the blood become poisonous not only to others, but the grail maiden herself. She will eventually succumb to the blood poisoning and die. Blood corruption of this kind can come about through a dark magic caster or by the grail maidens own choice.