Brief Summary: A darkbeast is an animal that is magically bonded to a child on that child's first nameday, in a ritual completed by a priest of Bestius, using the herbs ladysilk and mudroyal. All darkbeasts are black. Most are unpopular animals, such as snakes, rats, and spiders. Darkbeasts are able to speak, mind to mind, with their children.
When children exhibit faults, they are told to take their failings to their darkbeasts. The darkbeast then magically assumes the fault, relieving the child of that weakness. After the ritual offering up of a fault, a child feels "darkbeast magic", a sense of floating or lightness, accompanied by a pleasurable tingling in the fingers and a humming sensation in the mouth and lungs.
When children become adults, on their twelfth namedays, they must execute their darkbeasts inside Bestius's godhouse. In villages and some towns, the darkbeasts' bodies are then preserved in some form, to forever remind the adults about the faults they once offered up.