Have you ever tasted the air after a hard rain, and stood perhaps in awe of a clarity of presence, filled with light and reverence for life everywhere? Have you ever experienced the way a forest of dripping leaves fills itself with a sibilant percussion that empties your head of words? If so, then you may have already encountered a Rainspirit and received its blessing. Rainspirits, or the "Yaamūr" as they are known in Nybelmar (pronounced: yaaah-moor), are benevolent presences which are said to possess the power to empty the head of words and bless people with the gift of silence.
Just as a human spirit wears a human body, a
Rainspirit wears the body of rain. But not all who travel in
human form are humane, and not all rains that
fall on the Disk mark the passing of one of the Yaamūr.
So how does one tell a Rainspirit from ordinary rain? After all, it is not possible to give an accurate account of its appearance, for a Rainspirit is not something which can be seen, but a presence that is felt.
The surest way is to have received its blessing (for more on this: see Special Abilities below). The next best route is to observe: Unlike regular rain which must follow the wind and conform to customs of temperature, a Rainspirit moves with the frankness that comes from solitary habits, free to follow its own rules, as if it rejoices to be alive and outdoors again.
And remember always that to glimpse the Yaamūr you need observe with more than just the eyes. Between the evidence of the senses and the mind that assembles it there must be a mediator, and this must be the listening heart.
The Yaamūr are said to have the ability to empty the head of words and give
people they encounter the gift of silence. Those blessed by a Rainspirit agree
that the most prominent memory of the experience was a sense of clarity, as if
in that moment a fog was temporarily lifted from their minds and the world laid
bare before them.
Here is an eye-witness account, recorded roughly seven years prior to the penning of this entry. The encounter took place near Cloudforest in southern-Sarvonia, which lies between the AjNuvic Grounds and the Aetryam Sea:
You know how, after three days of south-westerly winds, all fog and moisture disappears from the air? And what remains is such a naked clarity that you think you can almost spot donkeys across the bay making their way up the mountains? I think thats the only way I can describe it to you. Only it wasnt a clarity of air or vision, but a clarity of the soul. A clarity of being.
The Yaamūr travel with the rain, and therefore can, we posit, appear anywhere
that is graced by rain. However, they are more frequently encountered in
woodlands, in quiet places and the depths of nature, playing hide-and-seek in
valleys and secluded mountaintops
Like most sane creatures, they seem to prefer
the forest to the madness of the city.
Judging from the prevalence of eyewitness accounts, the Yaamūr seem to frequent the continent of Nybelmar more than any other place on the Disk. Perhaps they take well to the weather there. Or perhaps the Gondolwain are simply better recorders of history.
Rainspirits also appear in the lore of various other races across the Disk. For instance, they feature prominently in the beliefs of the Antislar Men of Northern Sarvonia and their worship of nature spirits (see Lore below).
Habitat/Behaviour. Unlike demons with their grisly habits or ghosts which at any rate have such terrible manners, the Yaamūr are a beneficent presence - a force for good in a world beset by demons, and monsters, and cruel hearts hid in ordinary men.
As to what they do when they go about their business: The most we can say with certainty is that they have never been known to harm those they encounter, be they man or dwarf, elf or orc, wicked or kind.
What motivates them? What makes them appear here and here, but not there? To withdraw from the greatest forests of a country for years, and then one day emerge out of nowhere, gracing a barren wasteland in the middle of an endless desert? Hard for a human to ever know that mind.
Diet. According to folklore, Rainspirits consume mental chatter for sustenance, that anxious, disapproving voice at the back of your head providing a running commentary on every nook and cranny of your life. They drain their prey of deleterious emotions, leaving the silent ground from which all that is wholesome grows.
Mating. Unknown. And unlikely.
Myth/Lore. Krean monks from the faraway continent of Nybelmar believe that the true gift of the Rainspirit is to remind us that silence hosts all sounds as the blue sky hosts the birds flying through it, and that no sound is so great (or so small) that silence cannot host it. This is the teaching of the Rainspirit: to hear the music in silence, and the silence in the music.
According to Krean lore, one of the Twelve Signs of the Enlightened Mind is that sense of pure and naked awareness without words or concepts which we associate with sightings of the Yaamūr. Likewise, receiving the blessing of a Rainspirit is seen as the first of the Seven Encouragements on the Way.
Ximaxian mages have also observed that sometimes a larger-than-life feeling of elevation comes over people after a hard rain. However, some among them do not consider this to be the work of a spirit. Instead, they postulate that the condensed residue of magical energies carried with the winds draw away loose thought threads, and thus clear the mind.
The Antislar Men of Northern Sarvonia have several Rainspirits, each associated with a different type of rain: Vaclu, who sows chaos and discord among men, rules over the thunderstorms. Jewisha, child of Vaclu and one of the snow spirits, rules the autumn sleet showers. But it is Amoora, the spirit who rules the soft rains of spring and summer, that bears the strongest resemblance to the Yaamūr. She is aligned with soothing introspection. Even her name is thought to be linked to the Yaamūr. It would not be uncommon to spot an Antislar Mari (a magic user) meditating in a soft rain, hoping that Amoora might soothe their thoughts, allowing them to focus their powers of Koraya. Of all the Rainspirits, Amoora is considered the eldest and most friendly. Though there is no proof, many believe her to be the original Rainspirit from which all the others were derived.
Researchers. A good portion of the literature we have on the Yaamūr comes from Krean monks of the Way of the Wind and Water. The authoritative text on the subject is Teachings of the Rainspirit, written by Master Kao of White Mountain. Since its publication two decades ago, quite a few of Master Kaos aphorisms have entered common usage in the Santharian Kingdom. Perhaps you will recognise this line: "The soul sees through a heart that listens." (Literal translation: "A heart that listens sees with the eyes of the soul.")