Spirits

“Nature does not understand good and evil. She understands only balance, and imbalance.”
- Lord Mage Septimus Franke

Spirits are incredibly varied, primarily manifestations of ideas, emotions and concepts. Spirits have existed since the dawn of time. In the beginning Spirits were primordial and wild, living in the clash of tectonic plates and the churning of the Earth. But Spirits come and go as history progresses. Some spirits can directly influence the physical realm and therefore the course of history. But only some. For the most part, spirits are passive, existing in the abstract, beyond physics. But as nature changes, so too do Spirits. Humans, with their conscious thought and grasp of language, were the first creatures to influence the Spirits. As human civilization progressed, new spirits were born, spirits that the world had never experienced before.

And the balance shifted…
The Nature Spirits became corrupted or began to decay… New Spirits polluted the world. There were too many. Balance had to be restored.

Assyrian Vampire creation myths state that vampires came into being to counter-balance human influence in the world. However, it should be emphasized that the origins of Spirits are utterly unknown. There are many different theories. Animistic beliefs of the world’s aboriginals, Hindus, Buddhists and Pagans all conflict (but sometimes agree…) on their purpose and nativity. Christians might liken them to Angels or Ghosts, or maybe Devils and Demons would be more apt, as while the great many of spirits are benign to mankind (in the same way rivers are oblivious of ants), and a few are even virtuous, many are callous, fickle and cruel, if not absolutely psychotic.

Just as their origins remain shrouded, so too does their intent. Spirits are intrinsically tied to their nature, compelled to act in accordance with that that they exemplify. Doing so makes them stronger, while a failure to operate as they are obliged weakens them. Spirits do not posses normal skills and attributes either, they simply grow more powerful and better at what they do by doing it. Some even grow so powerful as to expand their influence, so a simply flower spirit, given enough time and nurture may grow to control an entire forest. In this way a Spirit of Motion might rest in a river or a subway tunnel, drawing potency from the rushing current or daily shuffle of passengers. It might even feel compelled to influence its surroundings to further its raison d’etre, flooding the river banks in search of a new stream or closing subway doors abruptly to hurry on the trains departure. Some particularly powerful spirits, having grown strong on the essence of their being can even posses other creatures, sometimes snuffing out the previous inhabitant in the process.

The 52

According to the Algonquins, at the beginning of time, animals ruled the world and all things co-existed in peace. Then something evil came into the world, an incident happened, and animals started fighting with each other. This got the creator mad, and he decided to flood the world and start a new one. Following the big flood, with the entirety of the world almost submerged there remained only one group left, the first men, and to them fell the work of rebuilding the trees and grass and land. The Spirits that surrounded the Algonquins are the remains of everything from the first world, their bodies long since dead, they roamed the land freely. Some good, some evil, but for many years the first Nations lived with them, respected their power and honored their place in the order of things. When the Europeans landed, they brought many spirits with them. Some followed the ships, others were inside the supplies, or possessed the vermin, livestock and even a few of the passengers on board. Many glutted on the New World, while others withered and died in the unfamiliar habitat, and still more fell prey to the Spirits who already resided here. Of those spirits that lived here though, many changed. The Europeans brought with them ideas and feelings strange and new, and this proved too much for some of the native spirits. While spirits are not human, not even near-human, and do not even come close to being understood in our physiological spectrum, many seemed to go ‘insane’ for lack of a clearer understanding. Winters grew more unforgiving, animals hunted men, disease wiped out villages and the land became more extreme. Mournfully,Shamans, Druids and Medicine-men of the Algonquin tribes gathered at the Edge of the Great River, and began preparing powerful spells of binding, with hopes of vanquishing these twisted spirits from the earthly realm. Drawing strange runes in the earthworks and ritual mounds in the area, they began dangerous rituals to draw the spirits near, bolstered by spiritual allies of their own, some helpful by nature and still others twisted to their human master’s will. At the centre of a massive maelstrom, drawing in much of the cacophony, the spirits were sucked down, imprisoned within the soil below the magical runes and mounds, locked away for what should have been all time. Some of the mages that night pledged to stay behind, guarding over the Careens, while the rest scattered back to their tribes. Few surrounding spirits escaped that night, their numbers shrivelled almost instantly, setting off a chain of events that saw even more Spirits dissipating in the time to come, cut off from their lesser prey. Of those that were trapped, many more would die, wasting away without purpose. Only the strongest were able to influence the surrounding world, reaching through their prison for just a taste of the outside influence they craved. Many of the good-aligned spirits suffered the same fate, and much magic left the world that night.

The Canal and the Fire

Centuries passed since the White Man first visited the great river, and those tribesmen who knew the dangers of the area were revealed when XXXX, the first explorer to the region, turned back, heeding the warning of dangers that lay here. It was with great dismay that in the 1800s when Settlers first came to the region that they too did not heed those same warnings. Many of the tribes were actively chased out of where the town would be built, overpowered by the Settlers, and then later pushed farther back by Lieutenant Nicks and his Royal Engineers. Who knows if it was Man’s own folly, or the Spirits trapped in their Algonquin prison reaching for freedom, that created the Canal as it lay. Many attempts were made to delay or sabotage the Canal’s construction, and the Algonquins found themselves working with nefarious allies in their quest to halt the flow of the River, but progress is progress. Sure enough, the creation of the Royal Victoria Canal upset some of the long buried runes, breaking their charms, and unleashing long starved Spirits on the surrounding environs and its denizens. It was a miracle that more did not escape, and that many of the runes held fast as the ground around them was torn asunder. Weakened by their long imprisonment, the spirits were slow to assert themselves in this strange new world. Some adapted, more perished and a few thrived. Amongst those who the new world favored to their nature was “The Big Sky”, a spirit of monumental change, allied with the Algonquin since olden-ed times, swelled with purpose. It’s nature set in motion the disastrous fire of 1900, as it tried to cleanse the European settlers from the land, and it was only through the intervention of a myriad of supernatural forces that the “The Big Sky” was imprisoned again. These events were if nothing else monumental, changing both the physical and political landscape of the city. Factions who had before thought the city of fringe interest, now viewed the City as a precious relic, sitting on top a reservoir of incredible power. Plans were set in motions, plans far surpassing the average lifespan of a man, that would see these spirits harnessed for their own nefarious purposes.

Spirits

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