In contrast to the four “neutral” spirits, who are viewed as being predominantly balanced in their overall actions (while also being moody), the “bright” and “dark” spirits are viewed as being overwhelmingly skewed in their actions towards the humans of Askaya, either for the good or the bad of those involved.
The bright spirits are generally benevolent and kind, while the dark spirits are manipulative and deceptive.
The Bright Spirits
Zori, the Mother of Life, is the spirit that is historically associated with all of life on Askaya and all of life is viewed as her “children.” From the lowliest grass to humans themselves, Zori is the spirit that has given life to everything.
Zori is often represented as a giant dove of pure white, but is equally thought of as a radiant, ever-pregnant woman. She is active in the lands of Askaya and learning healing magic from her domain is considered one of the easiest ways to approach gaining skill in magic.
Zori was widely worshiped in the ancient empire before it fell and was the official “national spirit” of the empire, with shrines to her honor in almost every town. Demri, Father of Blood, is her archenemy and disciples of the two are often in open conflict.
Soci (pronounced as SOH-chee)
Soci, the Father of the Pure, is the spirit of light. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that he was the spirit of light. No one knows for sure if Soci is still alive, if he sleeps, or if he has simply chosen to not interact directly with humans. For more than 2000 years, Soci has been silent. His followers insist that he is still active and involved, but unlike the other spirits, he has not been heard from directly.
Regardless of the status of Soci himself, his disciples are still able to tap into the elemental power of Light to cast spells, both of a healing and damaging nature. And followers continue to make offerings at his shrines, often receiving tangible blessings for a short time.
In art, Soci is almost always portrayed as either the Sun or as a perfect, golden sphere, radiating an almost blinding light.
The Dark Spirits
Demri, Father of Blood, is the vindictive and bloodthirsty spirit of suffering. In Askaya, pain is viewed as just as much a tangible expression of the elements as earth or water, and Demri is the spirit that inflicts hurt on the world.
Demri is always depicted as a giant spider with blood dripping from his mandibles. His cult of followers are appropriately called the “Spider Cult,” with many disciples surgically adding spider leg appendages into their backs. These appendages cause constant, tortuous pain…part of the bargain to tap into the dark, suffering magic that Demri offers.
Anyone interested in drawing power from Demri must understand that his power comes with the price of blood. The blood of you or your enemy…it doesn’t matter to Demri, but he hungers for blood and cannot be satisfied.
Maleasti, Mother of Death, is the ruler of the underworld and keeper of the dead. It is said that she was once kind and gracious, but that the scope of death over millennia have driven her mad. Whether she was once benevolent or not, she is widely regarded as completely insane today. She is highly unpredictable and though not as bloodthirsty and depraved as Demri, she is completely inured to death, and the suffering that usually precedes it.
Maleasti’s domain is that of shadow, which puts her followers in opposition to the disciples of Soci. The “Shadowborne,” as her cultists are called, are convinced that since death is the one unavoidable end for all of life that Maleasti is the powerful of all spirits. They tap into her power to cast shadow-powered magic that touches and corrupts the soul.
Maleasti is sometimes pictured as a beautiful young maiden with jet-black hair, pale gray skin, and eyes in the shape of crescent moons. The Shadowborne use the symbol of the crescent moon to represent her in their rituals and idols.