Table of Contents


Spirits are a big part of life to the Squats, and indeed to Tribals too - each Tribe has a Totem spirit that they sometimes call on, using their own Ritual Synthesis, or contact using Aspects. Spirits range in power from insignificant to utterly mighty, and have no Flesh component to them whatsoever. They can do all sorts of things that might otherwise be considered impossible, like communicate without regard for distance, affect the very landscape of the River, or even physically transport people, Flesh and all, into the Dream. Each spirit is different and has its own abilities; in general, though, the more powerful a spirit is (aside from a Tribal Totem), the less interested it is likely to be in people.

All spirits either fear or hate the Z'Bri for their perversion of the natural order. Spirits are also very concerned about the pressure on the banks of the River of Dream. The below is a sample list of various different spirits, but is not exhaustive.

Tribal Totems

Den Mother: Den Mother is the embodiment of Life and the love that such life carries with it – an ideal Totem spirit for the Evans. In almost every case, Den Mother appears in visions accompanied by her eight beloved cubs. Den Mother is closely associated with protection and warmth, a calling that goes beyond life and love. Den Mother is a caring Totem, going out of her way to protect those she communes with like her own cubs. It has influence over life, protection and empathy, and a taboo against abuse and causing pain.

Great Owl: The Great Owl is the totem spirit of the Terashebans. Proud and watchful, no deed escapes its gaze or its swift vengeance. It has come to understand that Tera Sheba must make, and learn from, Her mistakes, and so does not usually intervene in matters. Still, the Owl is concerned for its people and has decided to become more actively involved with them; as a predator, though, it will not come peacefully to its children. For a Terasheban to receive assistance from the Owl, the need must be great and the cause must be just. It has influence over wisdom, truth, knowledge and night, and a taboo against lying.

Great Raven: The Great Raven Spirit is the Yagans’ guide, its form so intertwined with Baba Yaga as to be almost indistinguishable from Her. It is, like Her, regarded as the embodiment of fate and the servant of death, and for this reason it is regarded as one of the most powerful dream spirits.

Hare: Born from Mother Moon with his eyes open and his ears keen, Hare is one of the cleverest animals. Fearless and tricky, Hare can change colours with the seasons, climb trees and outrun most other animals – at least over a short distance. Hare is also wise, as he keeps his ears and eyes open and stays quiet while all of the bigger things blunder about and call out with great voices. The older of Agnes’ Children say that Hare can teach good children about luck and games as well, lessons which he learnt from Mother Moon.

Hearth Minder: The Castle at the centre of Xstasis is home not only to Magdalen, but also to swarms of well-cared-for cats. The cats make ideal pets for the Tribe of Magdalen; they are often solitary creatures, keeping their own counsel, but always craving companionship. For this reason, the Totem cat spirit Hearth Minder makes her home in the Castle, sitting in Magdalen’s lap. The spirit is possessive, hedonistic and vain, but she is also loyal, caring, and protective of her “pets” – including Magdalen!

Phoenix: Phoenix, who rises from the ashes, is the Tribal Totem of Dahlians. A bird of fire that blazes around the sky with life and light, Phoenix is beautiful and bright beyond description. Phoenix is also fearless and proud, never hesitating to join a challenge or test. There is another side to Phoenix that few ever see – the powerful need to burn everything to ashes, that it may rise again. In the stern, golden eyes of Phoenix the world has become soiled, dirty and unworthy. Just as Dahlia would, Phoenix wants to burn the whole world and let new life grow out of the ashes.

Teddy Bear: There are times when Agnes and every member of Her Tribe yearn for comfort, for the tender words and love that only a mother could bring. Teddy is a cub of Den Mother, but he is a disobedient and rebellious child who identifies far more with Agnes than with Eva. Teddy is a Totem of warmth and kindness. He is the Totem that Agnites turn to when in need of comfort and love, and it is said that even Agnes Herself finds Her soul eased when cuddled up against Teddy.

White Viper: White Viper is a relatively unknown Totem that associated itself with Eva many years ago. White Viper embodies the cold necessity of Evan love, the need to perform vicious acts in order to prevent even more horrendous events.

Winter Wolf: Joan has an intimate relationship with the Winter Wolf. It taught Her much about the world and She upholds this relationship. The Joanite Guild of the Winter Wolf directly worships the Tribal Totem, but anyone can benefit from its teachings. The Winter Wolf approves of loyalty, passion, and living off the land, and eschews selfishness, betrayal, and disregarding authority.

Other Spirits

Great Forest Man: A major spirit, the Great Forest Man (a moose spirit) walks throughout the Outlands. Many Squats worship this silent and ancient spirit, though he answers few, for he believes that all must make their own way in the world. He wanders through the River of Dream, always alone, his purpose to watch over the forests and ensure that no one destroys the life that they hold.

Great River: Even things normally thought of as inanimate, such as rocks and trees, have a collective spirit. Some things, whether by the weight of their presence or the sheer number of lives touched, become a powerful and influential force in the River of Dream. The Great River, while slow to rouse, becomes even more difficult to control once moved to do something. It has influence over travelling, providing (through farming or fishing), purity and separation, and a taboo against striving to oppose the natural order of things.

The Great White Spirit: Though a solitary albatross spirit, the Great White Spirit has missed the presence of humans upon the waves of the Oceans it observes. With the coming of the Eighth Tribe, it has decided that it is time for humans to once more return to the high seas. To this end it is sending visions to various Fallen, trying to seduce them to sail the Oceans as their ancestors once did. To those willing to join this spirit upon the Oceans it would be likely to give great gifts of knowledge.

Little Brothers of the Marsh: These are the combined spirits of all the frogs of the Great River lands. Individually, they are very weak, but together they have become a powerful spirit, important to those who would use the Great River marshes. They are intolerant of anything that pollutes the waters, punishing those responsible.

Play: This minor otter spirit frolics near places where the River of Dream touches physical rivers. Play has a particular and some say peculiar sense of fun, and enjoys playing tricks on people. How dangerous the tricks are is related to how much the target annoys or displeases it. Many perform a ritual sacrifice of fish before travelling the rivers to appease Play, on the off chance that it is displeased with something they have done. It has influence over capriciousness, fishing and river travel, and a taboo against polluting or misusing rivers or the animals withing.

Trailrunner: There are several wolf spirits of varying disposition, but Trailrunner (despite being a loner) seeks out the companionship of those it feels worthy. As a moderately powerful wolf spirit, it represents both the lone hunter and the loyal pack member. It has influence over hunting, survival and pathfinding, and a taboo against killing without reason or need.

Tuttut: An important husky spirit of the Nuit Squats, Tuttut interacts with humans a great deal, and is a keen judge of their nature. She follows her tribes in their migrations, ready to defend them against harm, but is curious about the wider world. Tuttut feeds exclusively on the sacrifices the Nuit make, but her wolf-like appearance makes her look more aggressive than she actually is.

Photos by Oliver Facey and Tom Garnett

spirits.txt · Last modified: 2015/03/08 21:03 by ellie
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