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Author Topic: The Rainspirit  (Read 7512 times)
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« on: 01 November 2012, 05:52:42 »

Inspired by Rayne's short and sweet submissions. This one is dedicated to Barbara Kingsolver, the author of "Prodigal Summer". :)

Query: Should I have posted this in the Cosmology forum instead?

EDIT: Oh, and I kind of stole Art's signature.
EDIT 2 (post-Ath): And Shaba's opening. Possibly.




The Rainspirit (“the Yaamūr”; “Sound of Silence”)

Categorisation:
a) Bestiary: Apparitions
b) Bestiary: Mythical Beasts
c) Bestiary: Sentient Beasts
d) Bestiary: Magical Beasts
e) Cosmology: Beasts: Apparitions

Overview
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.

Appearance
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.

Special Abilities
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 Aj’Nuvic 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 that’s the only way I can describe it to you. Only… it wasn’t a clarity of air or vision, but a clarity of the soul. A clarity of being.”

Territory
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 Norhern 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 Kao’s 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.’)
« Last Edit: 11 November 2012, 16:20:10 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged

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Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
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« Reply #1 on: 01 November 2012, 06:18:23 »

Quote
Between the evidence of the senses and the mind that assembles it there must be a mediator, and this must be the listening heart.


Nice :D

Doesn't matter where it is posted!
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Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #2 on: 01 November 2012, 06:49:00 »

Will be stealing this later for the Antislar who have Nature Spirits in abundance  rolleyes
Love it so far.
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« Reply #3 on: 01 November 2012, 07:48:18 »

Also nabbed Shaba's opening?

Very, very nice so far.
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #4 on: 01 November 2012, 23:16:09 »

Talia, Alt, Ath: Thank you for your kind words!

The entry is now finished. The "researchers" sections could do with some polishing, but I ran out of steam. :P
« Last Edit: 01 November 2012, 23:17:47 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

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"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
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Artimidor Federkiel
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« Reply #5 on: 02 November 2012, 04:36:30 »

Comments ahead!  cool

- "Benevolent presences/good spirits": Well, we don't really have such a section yet, but spiritual beings (see Mystran) are also put under "Magical Beasts". So I'd put your Rainspirit there as well. If we get more spirits we might open a new section called "Spirits" and move Mystran and Rainspirit there to have them all together, good or bad.

- The Overview is only an introduction, but should contain at least one or two sentences of hard information, which Shabakuk also provided in his Gigglepebble entry. Otherwise this overview part wouldn't work properly when used in overview pages - and that's one of the main functions why we have the the Overview section.

- Territory: Is this a Caelereth wide phenomenon? Does a certain culture/tribe/race believe in the existence of such spirits? The name "Yaamūr" for example sounds exotic, but no indication is given where it comes from. A few pointers/ideas in this respect wouldn't hurt. (I see you mention more further down, but this is something Territory should also contain.)

- The guys over there in Nybelmar are apparently more spiritually oriented and have labeled the phenomenon they observe with "Rainspirit". But I wonder if in other parts of the world such a feeling of elevation after a rain that seems a bit off might not be explained in entirely different ways. After all spirits cannot be seen, so maybe Ximaxians might see it as entirely differently... say as... "condensed residue of magical energies that are carried with the winds and draw away loose thought threads, thus clearing the mind". Or something like that :) Maybe at least a hint regarding other interpretations could be made.

- Aside from the mentioned points this is a lovely contribution of something rather unique. And it's short and sweet - while made by a whole Coren it's just a fraction of a Coren entry-wise. :) Also makes one think the next time a rain passes... ;) And that's the beauty of it - that an observable phenomenon is taken and creatively transformed into something that fits into a fantasy world, very cool!

Aura +1 of course for this new idea! thumbup
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #6 on: 02 November 2012, 04:47:24 »

Thank you, Art - these are great ideas. I will work on them tomorrow. Glad you like the entry!
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« Reply #7 on: 02 November 2012, 05:17:14 »

01.11.12 at 22.00:

- Category; Overview: Comments incorporated.
- The first and last paragraphs of "Lore" moved to "Territory" instead, where they belong. Well spotted!
- The "Ximaxian doubts" idea is brilliant! Added a paragraph under Lore.

Edits marked in turquoise. Also attaching a Word (.doc) version. :)
« Last Edit: 02 November 2012, 05:19:14 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
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« Reply #8 on: 02 November 2012, 13:57:33 »

Assuming that belief in the existence of rainspirits is mainstream in Santharia, could the part about Ximax be altered so that it only represents the views of a minority of the mages?  I don't really see the beliefs of Ximaxian mages as being particularly different from that of other Santharians, and they are definitely not anti-theistic.  They're just (mostly) more interested in figuring out the mechanics of how things work than in cataloguing deities and spirits. 
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #9 on: 02 November 2012, 17:23:44 »

Art/Mina: Would this work?

"Ximaxian mages have also observed that sometimes a larger-than-life feeling of elevation comes over people after a hard rain. However, they 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”.
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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
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« Reply #10 on: 02 November 2012, 17:36:01 »

Sounds good to me.   :)

So does this mean that people in Santharia believe in rainspirits too?  Maybe you could be slightly more specific about how widespread such beliefs are. 
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #11 on: 02 November 2012, 18:15:42 »

I don't develop for Santharia, so that is a decision which will have to be made elsewhere. I tried to keep things vague to open up possibilities for future development. Just let me know if you would like a specific mention of Santharian beliefs, and I will incorporate it. All I need is chapter and verse, or better yet: the actual passage to be inserted :P

Thanks again :)
« Last Edit: 02 November 2012, 18:35:05 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
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« Reply #12 on: 02 November 2012, 19:09:15 »

Fair enough.  I'm not that familiar with Santharian beliefs either, aside from what I've already said about Ximax, so I'll leave that to people who are.   ;)
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« Reply #13 on: 03 November 2012, 17:17:34 »

Personally I would recommend not to make it a general Santharian belief as well, because then a concept that comes from Nybelmar (or is observed and named there by people) somehow becomes a worldwide thing and we lose the differences of the cultures. Ximaxian mages are learned people, so they might have heard of that phenomenon and as is their way they try to observe and explain it as well, but this doesn't mean that the common Santharian is even aware of it.

Right now it's also mentioned that the Antislar Men of Northern Sarvonia believe in spirits of nature, and the conclusion here is drawn that these are exact the same rainspirits as we're talking about here. I would tone this done somewhat as well and only suggest that there's probably a strong connection, because beliefs can be very different, and the more the difference is stressed, the more the single cultures can develop as such.
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« Reply #14 on: 04 November 2012, 04:51:20 »

 :D  Would it help if I wrote a small peice n the Antislar belief in the rainspirit with their name for it, so that Coren can compare and contrast?

Or, conversely, Coren can simply delete any mention of the Antislar, then later if I or someone does an entry on Antislar nature spirit belief, we can then reference Coren's entry.
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