Spirits: a dissertation
By Svetlana Kuznetsova, Graceful Clan, journeyman artisan
Dated July 17th, 476 SA
Greetings, reader. I am Svetlana Kuznetsova, journeyman artisan currently in the employ of Sally's School of Artisans. Recent events concerning the manifestation of these spirits have swept much of Promise, or Firmament at least, and it is for posterity, and also under certain pressures that I pen this simple essay for the edification of all beings lest they remain uninformed. Were I a spirit or a dedicant of a spirit, it would certainly try my patience to be repeatedly asked the same few questions by a multitude of different beings!
Nevertheless, as others are no doubt compiling their own information on spirits and are addressing the most common questions, I have decided to dedicate my time to chronicling the more obscure aspects of spirits which have been revealed to me via personal observation of several spirit manifestations.
While it is my intention that I remain as objective and impartial as possible on this topic, I, as others, am fallible, and apologise in advance as to any biases on my part which may creep in. I have also seen fit to include certain conjectures of my own in this essay, but in such cases I have boldly stated them as such, and my justifications for these guesses.
Without further ado, then, let us begin.
What are spirits?
Unfortunately, I do not have any concrete answers to this question. They may appear as we beings are, in my experience, but certainly are capable of taking other forms; they certainly show intelligence and mind as any other being does, and yet neither think nor reason along the exact same lines as we do. Where did they come from? Who are they? Where are they going? What is their ultimate goal? Such questions remain largely unclear, and it dismays me as much as the reader that I have no real answers to give save guesswork and conjecture.
However, there have been a few hints dropped by the spirits themselves. To quote the spirit Shiela: "we are born of focus, in times long past, before any could hope to remember." Perhaps I should have taken the opportunity to question the spirit further on what "focus" meant exactly - was the spirit using the term in the context of a central point of activity? A point of origin? Concentration, after a fashion? This is unclear, and I will have to remember to clarify this at the next opportunity.
Nevertheless, there is a clear consensus amongst the who have knowledge of spirits that they are ancient, are possessed of knowledge and learning we as beings have yet to grasp, and are not quite like us. Furthermore, they certainly possess power beyond our understanding and are not constrained by mere notions of space - they come and go as they please, materialising and dematerialising with speed and nonchalance.
Since the only thing we know concretely about spirits is that they are possessed of power and the capability to wield it, even those amongst their number who are benevolent and slow to anger should be treated with the appropriate deference as befits their station.
How long have the spirits been consciously interacting with us? While the public manifestation of spirits is a relatively recent thing, the recent appearance of a spirit calling himself The Puzzler suggests that they may have been influencing us in subtle ways for longer than we know. Said spirit claims responsibility for the numerous trapped treasure troves sometimes found by beings in the wild, which have existed for some considerable time already. Who knows what other phenomena, previously left unexplained, may be attributed to these mysterious beings?
Spirits and chakra
One of the more interesting asides is that there seems to be some relation between spirits and chakra. This section is largely conjecture on my part, but there are some facts that I do know. On my first encounter with the spirits, I had been entrusted with the safekeeping of a chakra crystal originating from the undead in the ruins of Mossy Stone - for further study of course, and not for use. When asked to examine the chakra in question, the spirit Shiela was clearly disturbed by its presence, saying it bore the taint of her "lost kin", implying Mossy Stone was - and still is - under the thrall of a malevolent spirit. I have forayed into the catacombs underneath Mossy Stone, as well as into similarly affected places such as the Kindcraft Mining Operations, and what I have seen there certainly lends credence to the spirit's words. The chakra in question has since been destroyed.
During the same encounter, a certain fox was brought into the presence of the spirit Kendrac; this fox who had been using similar chakra to save his life and was subsequently plagued with dreams for the better part of a month, visions of entities he called the "Old Ones", which were recognised by both Shiela and Kendrac as malevolent spirits. He was subsequently purged of their taint and full sanity restored to him.
It is hence my conjecture that chakra, the origins of which are certainly a mystery to us and in the words of a certain rabbit, "we'd destroy the lot of them if they weren't so useful", are at least connected to, if not part of, the spirits' powers themselves. More inquiry into this avenue of thought is required when time and circumstances permit.
Spirits and the Creators
Spirits are certainly aware of the existence of the Creators and their hand in fashioning us, and have referred to them as our parents in passing. However, save for one reported instant of a spirit manifesting itself to a Creator youngling, who would easily be dismissed by her parents as having had flights of fancy, they have not chosen to show themselves to the Creators that Firmament is currently hosting, for whatever reasons of their own.
Questions have been raised as to whether the Spirits or Creators are owed our primacy. Certainly, I know at of least one priest who has reconciled her veneration of the spirit she serves with her respect for the Creators in that she believes the Spirits to be creators of the Creators - in that sense, it might be inferred that the Spirits do indeed take precedence over the Creators. Hence, there is no contradiction or tongue-twisting necessary to serve both the Spirits and the Creators. However, this is but the beliefs of one priest, and the Creator Church as a whole has not yet released any definitive statement on their stance on Spirits, so I would caution against taking this stance in public. Nevertheless, I imagine the existence of Spirits is causing as much consternation within the Church as the recent arrival of the Creators and all that has transpired since then has been.
Contacting a spirit
While I have yet, despite my numerous contact with spirits, found one that I feel comfortable dedicating my life to, you may feel differently. Be forewarned: spirits are not gifts to be opened, nor are the powers they bestow candies handed out by kindly priests to children at noon mass; they are not here to grant wishes or perform magic tricks. From what I have observed, all of them at the very least demand a code of conduct to be honoured by their followers in exchange for powers bestowed - in short, their power has a price. The exact nature of this price may vary from spirit to spirit - while the two spirits I have thus far observed in person, Shiela and Kendrac, have only demanded such a code of conduct from their supplicants, I suspect other spirits they have spoken of may have different arrangements.
In short, if your head is filled with heroism or impulsive desire, do not seek out a spirit. Just yesterday at noonday mass, I saw a spirit - Shiela, to be exact - question a potential supplicant as to why she wished to give her life over to said spirit. While the supplicant had a good answer, I imagine it would nevertheless be rather embarrassing if one did not have a proper reply. Even so, no direct answer was given to the supplicant in question, and she was left hanging as to whether she would be accepted into the spirit's fold.
But if you are determined to dedicate your life to a spirit, then the following steps may be taken:
If you know of someone who has already given themselves over to the spirit you seek, then it is a small matter to request the supplicant to call up the spirit to grant you an audience. Most, if not all, of the spirits' vows include a promise for the spirit to come at the dedicant's calling, and vice versa.
If you do not already know someone who has given themselves to the exact spirit you seek, but know of someone who has given themselves to a spirit, then it may still be helpful to ask for an audience, as spirits may speak with one another. However, like us beings, they seem to form cliques of their own, so the more similar the spirit is to the one you seek the greater your chances of success.
If you are not acquainted with anyone who is a supplicant to a spirit, then the most you can do is to go to a secluded place, meditate, and hope for the best - for reasons unknown to us, unless called by their supplicants, spirits dislike manifesting themselves in largely populated areas. Thus far, Eastbank Forest has been the most popular spot for hopefuls, given the relatively short distance from Firmament proper and being home to the greatest number of spirit sightings "in the wild" thus far, as it were. Yet, I suspect that if one were to go spirit seeking in a place more suited for a spirit's appearance, one would be more certain of success.
On their part, spirits are certainly capable of calling out to potential supplicants. In fact, that was how I chanced upon my first encounter with them - I, along with several others, were drawn to Eastbank Forest by a strange compulsion. There were others, too, who did not feel this compulsion, and yet followed us out of curiosity. It was there that I witnessed firsthand a number of supplicants being accepted.
If you are successful in getting the desired spirit to manifest before you, my general advice is to be strong, state your intentions clearly; appeal to what the spirit represents and do not hesitate, stutter, or otherwise waste a spirit's time. Some are forgiving of fear, others less so. It is best to err on the side of caution. If the spirit accepts you, so be it. If the spirit finds you lacking, there is little you can say to change their decision. Ask for what is with fault in you, fix that, and try again at a later date.
As an aside, be reminded that a pact with a spirit will always leave some sort of physical mark on a supplicant, even though it may not always be obvious, as in the case of supplicants of Adrestia, who do not manifest their markings unless actively pursuing vengeance. That being said, the change may not always be convenient or flattering, as I am assured by at least one dedicant of Shiela. Happily, one may observe an existing supplicant of a spirit to get some general idea of what the marking will be, but extents and forms may vary.
Conclusion - for now
Thus ends my short essay on the lesser-known aspects of spirits. Additions and revisions will be made often as new facts are discovered and old ones viewed in a new light, as is befitting a topic that is completely new to us beings - how exciting! - and I expect this document to be longer than it is today. With that, I shall leave you to consider all I have written.
July 17, 476 SA