On the nature of spirits
On the nature of Spirits. Selena Hearthkeep, Graceful Clan, Taskmage. Summer 476
With the recent advent of the beings referred to as 'spirits' or 'gods' and being in a reasonable position to provide commentary on the subject, I've prepared this document to be presented to any being that wishes to learn more about them. I refer beings to Svetlana's paper for the most common questions that may be asked, as this paper includes several elaborations on topics discussed therein.
Indeed, this paper is a revised version of a text I was preparing to submit before I was presented with her own work. Kudos to her for so quickly presenting a document on the matter.
First and foremost: What exactly are they?
While this is still a question that cannot be answered to an acceptable degree, the 'spirits' appear to be entities that exist in a separate realm, capable of crossing into ours for short amounts of time given the appropriate stimuli. While they don't seem to be made of energy as a shadow, I find it difficult to refer to them as 'corporeal' in the same sense as a being.
They are immensely powerful, regardless of how one views the matter. Each spirit seems to preside over a particular 'domain' within which they have influence. For example, the spirit Kendrac seems to govern battles from a tactical standpoint. Shailia governs over fertility in the sense of motherhood. Adrestia, another example, presides over vengeance. These common qualities are likely what Svetlana's paper describes as a 'Focus', however this is again conjecture and will likely be ascertained in future.
Additionally, all of the spirits I have personally encountered bear an extreme prejudice against the Old ones and any items or artefacts related to them. This would be due to animosity between the two; the Spirits do not condone the actions of the Old ones, and the Old ones seem to seek to subvert that. While it is unclear how far the dispute runs, it is a subject I would gladly inquire about in future when the opportunity presents itself.
It seems that they divide themselves into several 'courts', as they have referenced in past. I am not aware of the specifics of this system, however it would seem that the 'courts' are much like our clans, if inferences are to be made. As Svetlana's own paper discusses, these seem to be further subdivided based on the spirit's own relationships with each other.
How does this effect a being? Why should we care?
Initially, I was sceptical about the intentions of the spirits, particularly after being informed that the kindcraft are directly tied to the kin of the aforementioned spirits - the 'Corrupt Court'. However, granted this knowledge it's fairly clear the spirits have more to offer than words, to which any being dedicated to a spirit could confirm.
To defend ourselves and to keep the old ones' collective influence from spreading – given past tragedies such as the events that transpired at Mossy Stone and Heartfall, I believe I can speak for any sane being that it these are both noble goals that – for the time being – coincide with the spirit's own. They have a deep-seated hatred of the old ones, as mentioned above.
Why they cannot act on such a vendetta themselves is unclear. However, I present the hypothesis that it is a direct result of carrying with them an amount of power that makes combat impossible without pyrrhic victory as the optimal outcome. Additionally, it is possible their interaction with the beings of promise directly is a statement of fighting honourably
They claim to be aeons old and while it is an extraordinary claim to make, the alterations they can make with such little exertion and their effect on beings simply by being present cannot be turned aside. If they are indeed as old as they claim – and I for one would believe it – then they may also prove invaluable allies in whatever endeavour their pact benefits.
I refer beings again to Svetlana's paper for postulation on the subject of chakra crystals and their relation to spirits. To paraphrase her document, she believes the chakra crystals are formed of and by spiritual influence. Therefore, it's possible the spirits have been indirectly effecting the population of promise for far longer than we were aware.
This raises several questions regarding their intentions in past, for the Old one chakra were – to my knowledge – present for longer than those in Mossy Stone. This would imply the spirits pre-empted the Old One's action against promise, or that there was another reason for their interaction with the world.
However, it is also clear the chakra can have effects on a being that are not governed by any known spirit, as documented in Svetlana's paper. I urge any beings that intend to use chakra tainted by Old Ones to read that segment of her paper immediately.
None of the spirits I've yet seen have been quick to anger, however they do react to strong emotion. In one instance Shailia was 'scared' off when I had a particularly keen flash of anger at another being. This would further corroborate that the spirits do feel emotions, if in a different way to our perception of them. Beings should act accordingly in order to avoid angering a spirit or causing its sudden disappearance back into the aethers.
Particular care should be taken with spirits that govern over such aspects as vengeance, then – drawing their ire may occur if a boundary is overstepped, given their inherent nature. It is notable that when asked about reclaiming Mossy Stone from the Old One, Shailia believed the land required love and nurturing to be healed while not commenting on the abundance of undead in the area. This suggests a spirit's perception of the world is skewed in favor of their teachings or aspect.
How does one interact with a spirit?
I will make this brief, as much of it is covered in Svetlana's paper. However, I amend some points here from personal experience with the spirits that she may not have had access to.
The easiest way to go about this is to locate a 'caller' of the spirit you wish to interact with. That is, any being that has dedicated themselves formally to the spirit and has been titled thus. This may or may not be identical to a simple supplicant of the spirits, given that there is no other title bestowed upon a dedicated being yet.
If you must go about seeking a spirit yourself, however, several factors can be accounted for to increase the chance of encountering a spirit.
-Fewer beings in the area. As Spirits seem to react to emotional energy, as absurd as that sounds, being in a place such as the eastern forest gives a greater chance of encountering a spirit than walking around town. It's far easier to hear the footsteps of one being alone than in a crowd, if such an analogy is relevant.
-Knowing the name of a spirit may enable a 'connection' to be made more easily. I can't confirm this myself, however it seems that names have a great importance to the spirits, being a 'beacon' they can follow to their dedicant's locations. For example, when I was initially seeking out Kendrac in the eastern forest shortly after another being had formed a pact with Shailia, a simple statement that his presence was desired was enough to being him to manifest.
Actually talking to a spirit is simple – converse as though it were another being. They can understand our language and are content to speak it. However, given the nature of these beings I would still recommend against idle banter. They be longer lived than any being, but their time is likely still occupied with their own strange activities.
-How can a pact be made with a spirit? What does this mean?
The transference of power is a formal occurrence, not something someone can simply will to be. Before any more regarding formally dedicating to a spirit will be explained, I must state explicitly that this is not something to be taken lightly. The consequences of attempting to revoke a pact are not yet known, and I doubt it would be taken lightly by other spirits, as the bond does not appear to be easily made.
Exemplifying this would be a comment from the first time I encountered a spirit, that this pact was akin to a marriage. I reiterate that it is not to be taken lightly. While it would seem making multiple bonds is possible, such an arrangement is not a normal occurrence and requires exceptional circumstances to be made.
A spirit will offer some form of ability to be used to meet an end. That is essentially what the pact is, an agreement to act towards a goal using the spirit's abilities to hasten the achievement of that goal. Each spirit has a separate pact, and they seem to follow a similar syntax: a being is bidden to do something, tied to the nature of the spirit in question. They explain their offering, then further elaborate on the nature of the agreement. One is then given the opportunity to accept. Should they do so, the pact is made and the being making the pact is usually marked in some way by the spirit – these marks seem to be permanent once made.
Shailia's mark is linked to emphasising the 'fertile' aspects of those dedicated to her. Kendrac's is the etching of glowing patterns into a being. They can take some getting used to, as there is no compensation for side-effects of these marks. I, for one, had trouble sleeping for the first several nights of being dedicated to Kendrac. A friend of mine dedicated to Adrestia, however, doesn't have any outward changes in her appearance. It's possible there's simply no mark, or it manifests differently.
Some spirits appear to leave a material object in the possession of their callers as well. These may or may not have any additional power, as their role is entirely dependant upon the spirit.
Kendrac, for example, provides an odd, baton-like weapon that serves to cleanse any being corrupted by Kindcraft and provides the side-effect of shattering any tainted chakra in that being's possession at the time.
Shailia gave an item of jewellery to her caller, however she did not state any purpose of the item other than simple decoration.
In at least one instance, the pact also has some effect on the dedicated being's personality or social facade, though it may manifest itself differently depending on a being's predisposition. Keep in mind that this is not a degenerative change, unless one is seeking to consort with the Corrupt Court. I hope that any being seeking that path would reconsider.
I encourage any being that has formed a pact with a spirit and become a caller to provide their names to the Freesword's guild.
I believe this would allow more beings to interact with the spirits and in turn, bring more spirits to light and is the only aspect of Svetlana's paper I found lacking. Communal effort should provide more information than a single being searching for information alone and this is something our community should adress.
As the unknown is often more frightening than the truth of the matter, I would long to know that beings have a better understanding of this new phenomena between the new papers on the subject.