Beyond our world lies the t̸ru̷t͠h. We are not the masters of this world, they are! They rule the s͡to͠ǹe ̸a̵nd ́t͜he ͠sh̛adows͠ and we are n҉҉͏͝o̸̷͡t̵͘h҉̵̛́i̵̛͢n͏̵͝g̨̨.Spirits are ethereal beings beyond reality that lurk unseen and unheard in the world of Araea. They are facets of the true nature of Araea, born into alien shapes and with minds beyond mortal comprehension. Little is known about these enigmatic creatures and few dare court their attention by learning more. Only the boldest or most desperate go hunting for the spirits born in deep darkness.
A Thousand Dancing Shadows
No matter where I turned, the shadows didn't look.. Right. The angles were all wrong; instead of falling away from the light, they fell towards in, like teeth. I never thought a shadow could look so... Solid.Spirits come in a thousand different forms, each different and unique. The form of spirits are usually amalgams of various elements of the world, haphazardly collected into a single creature. Others are entirely formless, taking the shape of thoughts and fleeting, alien emotions. They are not constrained by the same laws of reality that bind mankind to flesh and their shapes are always alien and strange. A few takes shapes that depend on who is watching or exist only as reflections in silver or similar, esoteric forms that are not strictly physical even when manifest. According to the Key of the Black Star, spirits come in three forms: least, greater and primordial. While some argue that even these distinctions are artificial, imposed by humanity to try and force order where there is none, it is what most Theurgs agree upon.
Some spirits are more akin to phenomena than living creatures, fizzling out once their birth has concluded. One such creature is the least spirit that sometimes forms as the last light leaves the eyes of a creature who meet their death by violence, fading as it does. More poetic minds hope such manifestations are helpful, the sign of souls being taken to some other, better place. Others have far more fatalistic views on this.While the least spirits might share form and function, all others are like no other. The greatest of spirits have forms that can only be guessed at; titanic things in The Far Deep whose passing shadow is enough to warp the land it passes. No matter the form they take, the spirit are ethereal and beyond the reach of mankind until they manifest into the world. When they do, they interact with the world differently. Some swim through stone like it was water while others shift from shadow to shadow. To date, whatever determines a spirits form can only be guessed at.
You may as well ask what the sun wants or what secret desires this rock hides from you.Spirits do not think or act like humans. Their motives are inscrutable and their strange behavior follow bizarre patterns, when there is any at all. What little humanity knows suggest that spirits act according to their own personal set of rules that change even how reality itself work around them. Each revelation has only raised more questions. None have ever managed to communicate with one, or at least none that have told the tale.
With the power they hold and their ethereal nature, some chose to believe the spirits to be the only gods Araea has - or devils. Most, however, show no particular notice in mankind and remain blind to worship or sacrifice. When they do, it is rarely to the benefit of the faithful few.When they take physical shape in the world, they have shown themselves capable of a range of strange and reality-bending powers. Often enough, just their presence is enough to change how the world works, causing shadows to become jagged and solid like knives or water float like bubbles. Most effects are more subtle, particularly those of the least spirits, which might only make stone soft or flames flicker unnaturally.
In the end, spirits are alien creatures that are bound to the essence of Araea itself. They are the cause of many haunted caverns or strange places. When they do turn their eyes to humanity, the result is usually tragic. While Least spirits seem nearly mindless, the greater and primordial spirits are all individual entities with their own behaviors and their own alien rituals.
Spirits in the World
Fear them. As you might a cave-in or raging storm.
The Choum A powerful spirit known by many names in the Key of the Black Star, the Choum exist everywhere there are multiple reflective surfaces facing each other. Its form change according to who is looking at it and multiple observers can all see different manifestations. The Choum is not hostile (or perhaps even aware) of mankind but theurgs often credit it with both creating and destroying. Read more about the spirit Choum
ThaumaturgySpirits are the source of power that theurgs use to fuel their spells. They pierce the veil between worlds to draw the reality-warping ichor of spirits into their bodies and through that into the world. Out of any person most likely to interact with spirits, it is the theurg. Most of the time, these parasitic power-thefts go unnoticed by spirits but not always. Introduction to Thaumaturgy
Corpse-RidingNot all spirit have the ability to manifest into the world unaided or without trouble. Some use dead flesh as vessels which they can inhabit and through that manifest in Araea. These vessels do not stay in their original shape very long, but is rapidly twisted and changed by the spirit's very nature.
Devil or God For the most part spirits are not malicious by their nature. Most are blind to mankind and others treat humans as humans might treat ants or spiders. Even those who draw their nature from violence or death do so without malice. Spirits are not evil, nor good. For the most part, they simple are - akin to a force of nature, no matter what names humanity chose to assign them.
Slaying a SpiritNo matter what horror they see, there are those who still raise their blade and seek to bring battle to the most dangerous beasts. Spirits can be slain once manifest in our world and some few have done so. Least beasts are the most common type of spirit for a mortal to encountered and against them, enough physical abuse seem to do the job. There are only whispers of those who claim to have slain a greater spirit and the aftermath of such a killing. If humanity can be counted on anything, it is to try and test the mortality of even the strangest opponent.
Spirit-Touched PlacesWhile most spirits seem to roam Araea at random, unhindered by the miles of rock that keep humans to tunnels and caves, some are more stationary. In time, these creatures warp the places they live in much like a manifested spirit might though the effects tend to be more subtle: winds blowing where there should be none, cave walls that bleed when struck and stranger things still.
The Key One of the few sources a theurg can reference when it comes to spirit is the Key of the Black Star, a strange tome of unknown origin and authorship that returns every time destroyed. Those fortunate enough to own a fragment of the Key speak of the secret it holds about the unknown and unnameable spirits. Read more about the Key of the Black Star