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The demigods are immortal individuals that protect our reality from eldritch abominations, such as Cthulu, Niggurath, etc, on a plane that exists between our world and theirs. These battles against these eldritch forces and their minions happen on a daily basis to prevent them from breaching our world.

A demigod is born with a divine spark in their soul, which matures as they age and blooms around puberty, when it reveals itself. At this point, they are taken from their families by the demigods and put through a process that turns then into true demigods in order to control their power. This process suppresses their memories as a human, in which they exist as a vague, half'forgotten dream.

In our world, we hear of and see our governmental forces doing things to protect their people, such as engaging with terrorists or enemy soldiers or crimminals. These confrontations are well-documented in media and public officials, so we know they happen. In contrast, battles of demigods against the darkness are not seen by the world's inhabitants, as they happen outside reality. They are also not meant for public consumption. Laying eyes on an eldritch abomination, even through filtered media like photos or video, is dangerous to the human psyche because of their otherworldly nature. Simply being too knowledgeable about their existence can invite them into the mind and twist an individual. Therefore, information is suppressed.

These creatures crossing into our world is rare, with centuries or even millenia passing between incidents, which means the gods are doing their job. The problem is that since people don't really know much about what they are fighting, their necessity becomes questionable. At some point, people begin to question the demigods' true motives, seeing them as just child kidnappers who simply want to create more of themselves to further their own motives. At best, they are an out of date organization past it's glory days, creating soldiers against a threat that has long passed, similar to how people of westeros felt against the night's watch. This can lead to resistance among the public against them.

How can this perception be prevented?

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  • $\begingroup$ Great question! I have one too: can these demigods come back to our plane of existence from time to time and perform 'magic' or 'miracles' with their powers? $\endgroup$ – cyber101 Sep 7 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ how about holy book? and do the family or friend remember the demigod? if they remember, they may can help spread the teaching like a disciple, or imam/priest, before the demigod ascent to create religious fanatic member. also are they just guarding? or do they also teach/give some benefit to human? like morality,rule,can goes to heaven or hell after death? $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Sep 7 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ "These confrontations are well-documented in media and public officials: this is so adorable. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Sep 7 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ If "information is suppressed," then you already have ways to affect cultural views. Use those ways. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Sep 8 at 2:31
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The demigods have many exciting stories about their lives and deeds. People tell and embellish these, setting them to music, devising plays depicting the actions. All of this is true in our world for Christian saints.

wolfgang and devil

source: http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2013/12/the-battle-for-souls-mystic-saints-vs.html

Depicted: Saint Wolfgang and the devil. I was looking for Saint Dominic and the Demon Ape (because I dig demon apes) but got this first. There are hundreds of saints in the Catholic pantheon. Each has an associated story about the events qualifying him or her as a saint and many have many stories. These are seriously exciting stories: monsters and angels, freaky visions, torture (garishly depicted in paintings!), suffering, triumph over huge adversity. Historically a church or neighborhood or town would have a patron saint or two that was special to them. And what are saints but demigods - superhumans with powers they use in the service of God to help humanity.

This is how it is for your demigods. The specifics of the actual horrors they face are not important, but a story about individual good guys fighting monsters will not weaken the minds of those who hear them. These stories bind society and religion together. It does not matter how closely these stories are related to things that actually have happened, as long as they are compelling stories.

It helps that your demigods actually show up from time to time to collect a teenager. They should not catch people by surprise when they do this. It is a big deal, this ceremony of ascent for the teen. Visiting demigods (each known by name and deed!) can lay on hands, bless buildings, lead prayers and marches, and other things of that sort.

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Once per year, the demigods will use chimneys to enter buildings and leave gifts.

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  • $\begingroup$ Are they also required to wear red and white and have a signature sound? $\endgroup$ – cyber101 Sep 8 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ I guess they prefer to not be seen/heard to leave room for human imagination. Except when there's carbonated soft drinks marketing involved. $\endgroup$ – Juraj Sep 8 at 20:09
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I love this question! There's a few ways you can handle this.

Change nothing

In real life, most religions persist despite the fact that there isn't too much evidence of a divine being in recent years. This is not a criticism of religion - I am somewhat religious as well - but this is a feature of humanity. It would be incorrect to say that everyone who considers themselves insert religion here perfectly believes it. In fact, I would argue that there aren't many people who are 100% faithful to a religion (if you could even quantify that sort of thing). But one thing we can agree upon is that religion does bring people together.

In your case, the magic is real - divine beings are born every now and then. Even if the eldritch forces do not breach our reality ever again (even though the battles are constantly taking place), if taking the occasional divine child does not exert too much stress on society and to have such a child is culturally accepted as an honor, this belief will persist. In fact, in this case these demigods could end up becoming worshipped by the people of our plane, and this would vary from place to place depending on what these kids were like growing up (I'm assuming they never come back).

Will there be resentment? From some, yes, but in our real world there also is, but this hasn't effectively killed many belief system - interestingly, some beliefs go out of fashion when impractical, regardless of whether there was any resentment towards the belief.

Make it ceremonial

I kind of hinted at this idea already, but make the act of having a baby demigod a mark of honor. I understand that this isn't obvious until later, but when such a person is found, make the demigod recruiters have a ceremony to properly induct this new recruit. In a way you can think of this like how in parts of Southeast Asia boys become monks for a part of their lives - or even all of it. It is not seen as a punishment - none of us would think so, and many of them become monks despite not being 'forced' into it.

The most important part of the ceremony: make everyone see it! If this ceremony is done in accordance to a primary or local religion, it holds fast better.

Visitation rights + Retirement

Make these demigods come back every now and then. Allow them visitation back to our own reality, and even retirement. I understand that this is not the Jedi way, but we know what happened to them. The Sith got it wrong too, by being overly passionate, so it would be best if these demigods got to go home and help out their families and communities. To make this more real, give many of these demigods some kind of PTSD. Give them bizarre scars too - nothing too graphic, but enough to prove that something is happening in the other realm. Even if they won't go mad like normal people, what kind of person can fight eldritch horrors and come back the same? What if they lost loved ones on the line of combat? Make sure they keep coming back and keep telling their stories.

Let the older warriors stay back and exist in society in constructive ways, like teachers, administrators, and more. Let them use their powers (if they have any left by then) for the good of humanity directly - not in combat. You can make retirement optional, but provide the option. As populations will grow, the number of divine children will grow, and the ratio of divine:normal humans will remain the same. If a significant number of these divine children come back and take up helpful roles in society (not as warlords or anything) maybe people will continue to respect them.

Lie + Remove Exploding Teenagers

You pointed out that these kids will explode if not transformed into proper demigods. Make this organization a community that helps these kids in need, or have them interpreted like the body-carriers in Black Death - a terrible but necessary job in society. Make everyone remember why these kids get removed, because even if everyone believes the demigods, the demigods are likely to still miss a child every now and again, causing explosions. Even if they don't believe, they would be pretty big on not having their village destroyed because some kid hit puberty. You can add a coming-of-age ceremony here, with those 'passing' it being the kids who don't show signs of exploding in the future.

These special kids will be hated by at least certain cultures, and could make some demigods unwilling to fight harder against the eldritch forces, as humanity had been cruel to them in their memory, adding additional complexity to different characters.

Keep in mind, all of these ideas will only keep interest in this effort for so long. There will always be people who think these guys are a remnant of the ancient times, even if they aren't baby-snatchers or anything. In fact, there will even be people who hope the eldritch forces eventually win. But don't make these beliefs uniform and a defining point for all of humanity. If you do pick any of these ideas, don't work with that for all humans and their communities. Europe is a pretty small continent, but even they have a variety of cultures living near one another. Make sure different cultures exist in the human world and make their treatment of these demigods differ in different ways.

I hope this helps.

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    $\begingroup$ "In real life, most religions persist despite the fact that there isn't too much evidence of a divine being in recent years." I would say there is no evidence of any sort of divinity, and yet religions, or at least religious belief, still strongly persists and, some SF writers' opinions to the contrary, doesn't look like it will be going away anytime soon (if in different forms), which actually reinforces your point. If you have actual supernatural entities, even if they only drop by now and then, that belief is simply stronger. Anyone who didn't believe would be a Flat Earth Atheist. $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Sep 7 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ I know we don't look too kindly upon Flat Earthers, but they still exist. I wanted to accentuate the fact that there will always be doubters because that's just how humans are. It's just a question of how much power they gain. $\endgroup$ – cyber101 Sep 8 at 19:13
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    $\begingroup$ "Flat Earth Atheist" is a TVTropes term for someone who denies the existence of magic/the supernatural/deities even when they are physically interacting with them. $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Sep 9 at 14:42
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The old ones (begin to) return.

A potential demigod child is trained to fully control and harness the power within. This is for a very good reason.

The old ones require a conduit to enter this world, a vessel to inhabit - else if they enter they would possess no power - a human child or adult possessed by an old one could easily be locked up or disciplined by their parents - but an old-one in possession of a demigod, their power is multiplied many-fold. Reckless use of such a being's power could destroy civilization and render all the other gods to dust.

This can be seen to emerge at puberty, this is when the divine spark is sensed by the old ones, they sniff it out, feel it's presence and know that there is a chance for them to emerge. They create a breach within the child's mind, small at first, but enough to find a way to insinuate their wishes into the child's thoughts and actions.

The greater the child's power grows, the bigger the breach, allowing more and more influence - for the child's power to grow it must have an outlet, it must be released into this world in the form of extreme rage and violence, often accompanied by unexplained localised destruction. The old ones want out of their cold prison and into the world of light, heat and tasty flesh, and will the breach to grow.

I figure that people will notice at some point, hopefully before the stage of leveling quarters of the city or killing hundreds, and call-in the old demigods. As long as they succeed in getting there in time, calming or overpowering the semi-possessed one as necessary, then the people will see that an old one was close to being released and will call upon the demigods sooner next time.

Training then begins. This is to close the breach, to control the power within - the eternal battle for all people and demigods throughout history to keep the old ones at bay for all time..

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The demigods let some abominations into the mortal world from time to time, in a controlled manner, so that the mortals don't forget what they are up to. Whenever some mortal group starts questioning too much, an abomination appears near them, rampage for some time, and the demigods come and kill/banish/jail it.

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    $\begingroup$ "You idiot that wasn't a tier 1 Abomination! Anyone can see it was a tier 5! well at least it is only near the mountain by Pompeii, what's the worst that can happen?" $\endgroup$ – IT Alex Sep 10 at 15:19

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