The Arkati are mysterious and powerful humanoid beings, only corporeal by will, dwelling always half in the Spirit realm, and said to have been born from the breath of the Great Drakes. Whether this is true, or the Drakes merely focused the nebulous Arkati, each Arkati came into awareness with the birth of a Drake.
Through the years, as the Drake grew in strength and power, so too did its Arkati grow. The Arkati was in many ways an extension of the Drake's soul,acting more or less at its commands and in its interests, and at the death of the Drake, its Arkati usually, though not always, dissipated.
Arkati, being spirit beings, cannot be killed by mortal means, including magic. When in physical form, they can be injured, but such injuries are passing and can do no more than force them into their spirit form for a time. Only beings of immense power, such as the Drakes or other Arkati, can have any lasting affect upon an Arkati. In theory, an Arkati could be "killed" by extreme dissipation, but this result rarely occurs from external forces.
As spirit beings, Arkati have never followed the same psychology as mortals. They were almost literally, the spiritual breath of their creator, and as such, their personality, powers, and appearance mirrored the accumulated traits of their creator, rather than developing as the personalities of other creatures do. Thus, the Arkati of a malignant Drake would appear as a dark cloud, delight in torture and pain, and have great powers of destruction. One whose Drake favored a forest region might appear to have leaves for hair, and have power to commune with plants.
From time to time, when a Drake expired for natural or unnatural reasons, its Arkati did not dissipate, but became a free spirit. These free Arkati continued to exist, drawing their life-essence not from one Drake, but from Drakes generally, and in some cases, from the collected spirits of the lessor races. When the great War between the Drakes and the Ur-Daemons came, it was primarily these Arkati who survived.
With the passing of the Age of the Drakes, the Arkati who remained found themselves drawing sustenance from the spirits of lesser mortals. The remaining Arkati, few in number compared to earlier days, found that they were nourished and shaped now by mortal desires and emotions, rather than those of Drakes. Some Arkati found their new roles mirroring those of their earlier lives, while others found themselves almost fully reborn into new and different beings, a traumatic process to say the least.
Different Arkati took different views of their newfound symbiosis with the mortals. All drew strength from these lesser beings in proportion to the number of beings with whom they experienced resonance and the force of their spirits. In some cases, the Arkati viewed these mortals as their charges, to be protected and guided gently towards a greater degree of harmony with them throughout a lifetime.
Other Arkati found that they received the greatest sustenance from mortal souls in the grip of some great passion such as love, hate, or death. The mortals worshipped many of the Arkati as gods, erecting temples to them, pledging their lives to them, and dying in great wars for what they believed to be the wishes of the Arkati. Other Arkati were feared and propitiated with offerings, in hopes that they would not devour the mortals. The Arkati, for their part, are the spiritual mirrors of the aspirations of mortals, both sinister and celestial.
In short, the Arkati are the gods of Elanthia. While they come in many forms, they can be divided roughly into Greater Gods, Lesser Gods, and Spirits. The Greater Gods are divided among what mortals call the Gods of Light and the Gods of Dark. Among the Gods of Light are Arkati who typify what mortals most often view as "good," including virtues, good-fortune, strength, growth, and life. These Gods draw their strength most commonly from the faith of their worshippers, although some draw strength from some more abstract source.
The Gods of Darkness typify in many cases darker mortal emotions, and forces of nature that are destructive, or at least feared by mortals. More of the Dark Gods are of the latter sort of deity, drawing their strength not primarily from worshippers, but from mortals who have entered their sphere of influence, voluntarily or otherwise. Thus, Luukos devours the souls of the dying, Mularos delights in jealousy and ill fated desire, and Andelas revels in pain. Some of the Dark Gods are worshipped, although often in secret, and these are more likely to protect and nurture their charges, although not always with so gentle a touch. Mortals often view these Gods as "evil." As the word was coined by mortals and not Gods, it will be left to them to define it. Still, it is important to remember that the Dark Gods need sustenance as much as the Gods of Light, and therefore even those with large appetites do not often rush to devour all the mortals of Elanthia.
Not all Arkati were created, or have remained, equal. There are many of a stature below the Greater Gods. Some of these are Lesser Gods or Demi-Gods, of a nature similar to the Greater Gods, but subordinate to them, or simply of lesser stature.Voln and Onar are two such Lesser Gods, powerful in their own way, but limited in scope. There are also many Arkati who are only a shadow of what they once were. Such Spirits may be localized and debased almost below awareness, little more than will-o-the-wisps, while others are avatars to the Gods, and still others have retained great power, but have lost focus over the years, settling into the land and becoming the spirit of a forest, a mountain range, or the night sky.
GM Stump Stumblebum
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