Old Lore Spirits
Spirits in Verdict are the closest one can get to a true god-like entity, or to a deity in general. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the majority are thought of as towering, magically-brilliant creatures that roam the Old World and protect their domain with their "lives". Overall, this is a harsh generalization, and only a handful are truly so powerful and mighty. Most are somewhere between said colossi and simple Sprites, though the specifics of this definition will be explored later, further down. In some cultures, Spirits are attributed with the concept of "karma", where a litterer or vandal would be considered a hostile trespasser in a Lesser Spirit's domain and, some time later, would disappear into the night.
As a collective, Spirits are usually revered by humanity as their creators, and, while experiences may vary, most have proven to be kind to their two-legged tag-alongs. At a point, they were plentiful across the Old World, though most kept to themselves and couldn't be found without extensive searching. Now, though, after the Void Crisis, it's very difficult to say what happened to them. Whether they escaped into some distant Void portal as well or if they were simply slain with the Old World in the blink of an eye is nearly impossible to say. All that can be said is that the Patron Spirits were responsible for humanity's survival and sudden magical growth, and that there's (currently) no hope of even attempting to contact them.
Types of Spirit
Of all Spirits, none are more fantastical and grand than the Greater Spirits. Even amongst brilliant and talented mages of great age, Greater Spirits are exceptionally rare- thus, they live almost entirely in rumor and myth. Of what is known, though? They're said to be mighty, taller and far more grandiose than the richest of castles by far. How they could ever manage to hide in the Old World's limited caves and forests is truly a mystery, but it is no less one that continues to fascinate humanity to this day. Most layman creation myths originate from Greater Spirits in one way or another.
- Main Article: Patron Spirits
Patron Spirits are, in all fairness, physiologically no different from any other Greater Spirit. That being said, they are uniquely defined by the fact that each Patron Spirit has "claimed" one of the four primary human races. They are by far the most well known, and have even been recorded "communicating" with select humans a handful of times throughout all history. Four are chiefly understood, though it's possible other Greater Spirits have taken on smaller groups of humans throughout the ages.
Amada - Torchbearer
Commonly considered to be a Spirit of the hearth or of the fireplace, Amada represents, to humans, the healing, life-filling aspect of fire. While fire can take away so, so much, it can also staunch bleeding, keep you warm, cook food, and more. She holds domain over the largest forest in Rhyst, where she is known as veritable royalty. Humanity tends to paint her in a kind, warm light, and said forest is supposedly one of the most fertile lands in the world. Legends tell of the place as a farmer's dream.
Helios - Ashbringer
And while there are kind aspects to flame, so too are there destructive ones. Born of magma and volcanic rock, Helios represents, to humans, the burning obliteration of fire. He is often considered a reckless Spirit to worship, as even in battle do you desire your own survival- for Helios, absolute ruin is all that should remain. There is a smaller sect that believe he is a kind soul as well, however, and many among these folk worship him as a Spirit of rebirth instead of one of destruction.
Samsara - The Rotting
One of the most overtly "evil" Spirits, at least from the perspective of humanity, would be Samsara. In truth, though, his personification is rarely directly vile, and he sees more worship than even Helios. As the representation of decay and disease, Samsara holds domain of a country-wide swamp and bog, and is usually attributed more with absolving sickness than he is with causing it. While Helios is said to be a Spirit of rebirth (a focus on the new), Samsara is akin to a Spirit of decomposition (a focus on the old).
Melous - Cloudwalker
Of course, water isn't all terrestrial. Much of it remains in the atmosphere, and Melous stands to serve as a representation of that fact. Holding domain over a generous portion of the skies, she is said to bring torrential rains where they aught not to be. Desert denizens will pray to her to bring rare rainwater to their sands, and so too will sailors beg her for a stormless trip. In this sense, she has one of the widest scopes of any Greater Spirit, reaching nigh-all other domains.
Zephyr - The Morning Breeze
Zephyr is a rarer sort of Spirit that, like Vaiel, doesn't retain itself to a single form. Unlike Vaiel, however, does Zephyr opt to never take a form at all. Instead, it serves as a free-flowing gale, difficult to see even for the most adept of mages. It represents freedom and acting on a whim, its image serving as a symbol for behaving however you like at a given moment. Zephyr's followers claim that their worship is as meaningful as tracing the direction of a breeze- truly, it never will or did matter at all.
Zeal - Frigid-Winged
In the opposite direction lies Zeal, a representation of the wind's furious power. Despite their reportedly small, moth-like figure, they command tremendous ability and supposedly linger about the northern pole of Rhyst. They are deeply associated with the arctic and frigid winds, and are said to represent frostbite and preservation alike. Their followers aim to adapt to cold rather than resist it, snuffing flames and otherwise in favor of embracing the chill.
Delta - Kingmaker
Claimant of the highest peak in Rhyst, Delta is often related to great kings or emperors. Around the base of his mountain, numerous villages and even cities lie, all built in worship of the great Spirit of the earth. Mind, he remains just as obscure as any other Spirit, but his solitary, unchanging position makes it easier to believe one is "close" to him. These settlements constructed rules and laws around the idea of Delta, allowing his orderly and upstanding personage to spread like wildfire through throne rooms and other areas of authority.
Silva - Undergrowth
Upon Rhyst, there are only a handful of dense jungles. And of those, even fewer expand over dozens of square miles. Silva is the owner of the largest of these, laying claim to a monumentally-large tropical forest that lathers itself over almost all of a small island continent. Few humans have ventured here as the present wildlife is typically too overbearing for even a small group of soldiers to manage. Of all of the known Greater Spirits, Silva is likely the least worshiped. It is a creature of intrigue and mystery, tucked away in forgotten corner of the world.
Kymio - Spritely
Unlike most Spirits, Kymio does not seem to have a claim over any given biome. It appears apparently at random, with reportedly outrageous teleportation capabilities. If the legends are to be believed, Kymio is a creature fascinated by humans, who often tries to spread knowledge and technology among them. It is positively tiny- about the size of a cat- and heralds itself as the king of Lesser Spirits. Whether that's true, who knows.
Curda - The Masked
Curda is by far and away the most mysterious of all of the Greater Spirits. Few have heard of them, and among those who have, even fewer recall the stories correctly. All that is maintained nowadays is that Curda was a starkly humanoid creature that wore a mask and thick robe at all times. As of a few hundred years ago, they vanished for as-of-yet not understood reasons. Some say mask-casting is significantly more valuable when using Curda as a target, but that may just be simple rumor.
Elae - Of the Lunar Valley
A mysterious spirit who holds dominion over a valley that follows her namesake, Elae has welcomed all forms of life into her home. The people who have built villages within Elae's lands often look to her to guidance or worship, but the spirit rarely actually offers much in return. She's primarily seen near a central lake on nights where a full moon filters through the canopy, but has been spotted all over the forests and rivers within the valley itself. She is seen as a mother to the lesser spirits known as Laeites; small, wisp-like creatures that number in the hundred. These curious entities act in Elae's will and valley-dwellers often meet them outside of their cities at night.
The term "Lesser Spirit" is largely a catch-all for anything between Patron Spirits and the lowliest of Sprites. These Spirits can be anything from mischievous woodland nymphs or dryads to ancient, vengeful wraiths that stalk drought-stricken waterways. Their most well-understood facet, though, is that many serve in the courts of Greater Spirits as underlings or apprentices of some kind.
A Sprite is usually attuned to a specific aspect or element of magic in practice, body, and mind. A Fire Sprite, for instance, might take the shape of a flickering flame, would utilize primarily fire magic, and could certainly prove a thousand times more aggressive than a Water Sprite. Their key uniqueness as Spirits originates from the fact that they're known to linger around human mages of a similar aspect; a fire mage, for instance, might find himself surrounded by interested Fire Sprites if he practices his magic near a forest fire or volcano.
Strangely, humanity took this as an opportunity: many mages are now known to "adopt" these Sprites as pseudo-familiars! The relationship is almost always symbiotic, where the Sprite feasts on the excess aspects of the mage's magic to fuel its growth (and prevent its degradation), while the human mage relies on the Sprite to keep his wasted aspects low. This is incredibly important, as practicing (and incautious) mages with a plethora of experience will find their magic to be body-warping. It twists and contorts the flesh after extreme use, largely due to the wasted aspects involved. This process is known as Backlash, and can be prevented near-singularly by Sprites! Staves, tomes, wands, and similar magical implements are really the only other way of honing the aspects used and wasted in magical casting.
While extraordinarily rare, primarily due to the extant rarity of human magic, Djinn are easily one of the most interesting breeds of Spirit. In truth, they're very close in structure to a Sprite. They feed off of the magical waste of humans, and humans benefit from said magical consumption and clean-up. However, despite these similarities, a Djinn could never be mistaken for a lowly Sprite; they are comparatively huge, typically larger than a human, and can often rival their partnered mage in both intellect and ability. Their talents, skills, and personalities are distorted reflections of said partnered mage, with their overall power growing proportionally to the mage's own.
Djinn are usually strong enough to hold their own against other human mages, but nothing is truly guaranteed. They're, as mentioned, very uncommon, and thus little is known about their actual limits. Some have been found to be mightier than the greatest of human wizards, while others only barely eek out over a top-tier Sprite. If nothing else, though? Djinn vary as much as their pactees, and their opinions of said pactees can vary even more. Some are trapped, some are honored. Some operate simply side-by-side, without considering the symbiotic nature of their relationship whatsoever.
Shades are strange, warped contortions of what you'd typically imagine when presented the word 'Spirit'. Very little is understood about Shades, and even less has been recorded. The general rule-of-thumb is that Shades are the Spirits borne of the lingering aspects between planes, in the same way that a usual Spirit would be borne of the plentiful aspects in a planet's biome. Whether this is true cannot be said for sure, but- from what is written? They're truly a horror to behold regardless.