Thursday, October 25, 2012

Satyrs, Naiads, and other Spirit-folk

The category of spirit-folk encompasses a number of creatures that dwell in Arunia. Primarily, spirit-folk are those corporeal beings created by the gods to act as servitors in the world. They tend, on a whole, to represent an embodiment of some kind of natural environment. Most spirit-folk are servitor races, thus discluding creatures such as Minotaurs and Centaurs from this category.

There are a number of sylvan spirit-folk, most of them made by Eminia or Aloran. These include naiads, dryads, fauns, and satyrs all of whom are associated with forests (more or less: naiads are rarely found in heavily populated areas). Strong differentiation needs to be drawn between spirit-folk and those creatures that come from some other source, for they hardly belong in the same category. It is possible to include Raksha (the evil shadow-spirits of Mother Night) here without breaking the definition of the spirit-folk.

The defining characteristics of the spirits run as follows:

  • Deific servitor race
  • Corporeal
  • Possessing, however, not insignificant magical powers
  • Generally tied to a natural feature
Right away we can see that Raksha are the exception rather than the rule here. Mother Night most likely did not create them (but she uses them) and they have no ties to nature other than their associated with darkness and night. However, they do possess a number of the secondary features common amongst spirit-folk, the most important of which being that they have no desire to form societies of any complexity nor do they value civilization.
Satyrs. One of the most instantly recognizable creatures of this category, the satyrs are woodland spirits that dwell in the tranquil forests of Atva-Arunia. Their primary haunts are Silversong and Tailimisia, two of the greatest woods in the northern world. Satyrs were created to serve Eminia and Aloran in the wild places and to act as priests, agents, and (in some cases) demigods that could protect the wilderness. 

This creatures were actually known as fauns. Very early in their history, however, they were approached by the god Salan, master of wine and revelries, and given a choice: he would grant them their freedom (why no one can say: Salan sometimes acts in ways that are incomprehensible to the world) but in exchange he would take away their control.

The story runs that they didn't understand the meaning of this bargain but that it caused great strife in the community of fauns. Those who were devoted to Aloran and Eminia above all else (probably the faunish priesthood) tried to convince the others to eschew Salan's bargain. However, many fauns agreed to this gamble and when the deal was complete they found that Salan had not taken the control over them, but rather their control over themselves.

Satyrs are known as Salan's Chosen, and they are a rollicking and riotous (sometimes dangerous and always horny) lot. While there are still fauns living deep in the wood and worshipping the gods of nature, they are much rarer now than they were in the dawn age and, consequently, individual fauns have much greater power than any individual satyr.

Aurae, Asteriae, Hyades, Nephelae, Alseides, Aulonaides, Leimakides, Napaeaae, Oreads, Anthousai, Nereids, Oceanids, Cocytiae, Lampades, etc. These creatures all belong to a single classification—that of "nymph." Unlike satyrs, the nymphs were not created by Eminia or Aloran. They existed long before the new gods (the Aelio) woke and began to write their changes upon Arunia. It is theorized that they are the children of an ancient gigantine sea-god and one of the gigantine earth goddesses, though whether or not that is true is up for debate amongst ancient theologians. What is true, however, is that nymphs are particularly tied to a certain locus which they have great trouble leaving. This is how one can differentiate a nymph, generally, from a sirine—though they share many characteristics, sirines may come and go freely as they please and are not tied to a specific locale.

Nymphs may serve any deity, though they will only ever worship gods of nature due to their own character. They can commonly be found serving Aloran or Eminia, the two most prominent nature-gods, though on rare occasions they may serve Vodei or even the Earthfather. They inhabit trees, streams, and coasts and are strongly tied to the natural environment. This leads me to believe that they were not "born" of any gigantine gods, for if they were would a dryad die when its oak tree was destroyed?

However, gigantine manuscripts do speak of these creatures and make note that they inhabit the wild places of Arunia. They cannot be one of the Uncreated Races (as far as I understand it) primarily due to their immobility but also owing to the fact that they themselves never developed a system of magic, even though they have potent magical abilities inborn to them.

Sirines. A special case, Sirines resemble some of the changing, growing races of Arunia (though they are not) in that they can move freely where they chose and were known to exist before the time of the Aelio. Records of seducing and harassing giants come down to us from the ancient settlements of Storm and Reef giants that have long since been abandoned.

In this day and age, however, sirines generally serve either the ancient gigantine goddess Dinismayl or the Quartain god Vodei (one of the four most powerful of the Aelio, along with his brothers Haeron, Eiri, and Aros).

The Raksha. Shadows. Servants of Mother Night. Demigods in their own right. These beings are dangerous beyond imagining, old as sin, and completely devoted to their goddess, the mother of Night, Nyxos the Unending, the Devourer of the World and the Quencher of Light. There is not room to describe them here, for they would require an entire treatise of their own. Suffice to say that these are amongst the most powerful of the spirit-folk, and the most hated.

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