In the course of the Creation War, an unexpected event developed that has significance to mortals even today. As the war raged across Stormfell, gods and primordials alike experienced a number of inexplicable setbacks and attacks from an unknown foe. These attacks occurred either on Stormfell or the Feywild (and to a lesser extent the Shadowfell), and were directed at both sides in the conflict. Right under the noses of gods and primordials, a new (or in some ways, very old) participant entered the war on its own side, opposed to the others. Eventually, the gods referred to this new adversary as the primal spirit, sometimes known as the “World Serpent.”
No one, not even the gods, truly understood what the primal spirit was or how it developed. Some gods believed but one primal spirit existed while others argued there were dozens or even hundreds different spirits, all unified in common cause. In combat, the primal spirit manifested as one or more powerful entities, usually connected to a major element such as water, earth, or wind. These creatures, although seemingly unintelligent, fought with tenacity and ferocity on every occasion. Without hesitation, they fought to guard or protect physical areas of the mortal world or its echoes. When gods and primordials started a battle, the primal spirits soon joined the fight and attacked both sides, fiercely defending their home.
Conducting research, Ioun concluded something remarkable had occurred: the mortal realms had developed a defense mechanism against invaders; in this case, gods and primordials were the intruders. He described this nascent entity as a “primal spirit” – a spirit actually composed of thousands upon thousands of individual spirits. Somehow, the Stormfell, the Feywild, and the Shadowfell had gained a level of sentience and the will to survive. It perceived the destructiveness of the Dawn War as a threat to its existence, and thus evolved a way to fight back. To combat its enemies, the primal spirit unleashed legions of lesser spirits in physical form, drawing them from air, water, sky, earth, and fire. The primal spirit fought with beast spirits of all kinds as well.
Perhaps most intriguing of all, Ioun believed the primal spirit grew stronger and more self-aware the more it felt moved to self-defense. Each time the primal spirit manifested in physical form, it gained power and learned more about its enemies and surroundings. Ioun postulated the disturbing notion that, sooner or later, the primal spirit could slay a god under the right circumstances; it can certainly inflict injury.
No one can say whether the primal spirit shortened the Dawn War or not. Regardless, it remains alive and powerful to this day. It does not possess the full self-awareness of a god, and in the absence of major threats from gods or primordials it remains somnambulant. Minor spirits, serving the needs of the mortal world, exist in many places and in countless creatures across Stormfell. These nature spirits protect the natural world from invaders and destroyers and keep watch for the day when the primal spirit must awaken once more.
Major Primal Spirits of the North
Throughout the world, there are perhaps six or seven known major primal spirits. Beyond these, however, the primal energies of Stormfell manifest most often in the form of intermediate and lesser spirits. In the vicinity of the Duchy of Anderland, those with connections to the primal world are aware of several such spirits, as described below.
Cairn, the Spirit of the Snake: Often seen as a dangerous, unpredictable, and untrustworthy spirit, Cairn seems unwilling to appear on request. She has a vengeful streak, and for this reason is also called by individuals seeking revenge. She is one of the fastest spirits, and one of the hardest to see or hear. Although many people consider the appearance of this spirit as a bad omen, it just as possible they misinterpret her appearance. Does she bring misfortune and tragedy wherever she travels, or is she drawn to such things?
Durscain, Spirit of the Water: Before the attack of the Night Dragon some 20 years ago, the Spirit of the Water in this region was an entity devoted to healing and life. Somehow, after the Night Dragon’s death, Durscain changed drastically. Although the Council of Druids has yet to reveal what they know about the change, the rumors and dark stories suggest that the Spirit of the Water has become corrupted, destructive, and vindictive. According to folklore, Durscain can appear wherever there is a quantity of standing water, and it can use it as its portal of entry. Thus, there are few places where Durscain cannot reach or make its power felt should it so choose. It strikes with almost total stealth, almost always with complete surprise. It kills quickly without warning, and then disappears again. The Spirit of the Water has supposedly given to a number of lesser water spirits that, like their parent, are corrupted and insidious. Fortunately, sightings of Durscain remain rare to date.
Falx, the Spirit of the Fox: Although he appears small and harmless, the primal spirit known as Falx possesses great cunning and impressive stealth. He is known to steal food, shiny baubles, and small items from people, but he never takes food from the sick or starving. He almost never comes when called, preferring instead to put in seemingly random and unexpected experiences. For this reason, he is sometimes referred to as the “Falx the Unlooked For.” He is mischievous, with an apparent love for coming to the aid of the underdog or the victim. If Falx breathes spirit into an individual, that person is likely to experience a sudden flash of inspiration when it is most needed. Falx delights in tricking and misleading bullies and those of a cruel nature.
Gulseer, the Slithering Worm: This primal spirit, its name seldom spoken out loud, is a warped and twisted primal spirit. Once a spirit of the deep earth, Gulseer became corrupted by the Blight and now is an aberrant entity. It is insane with self-loathing and hatred of all normal life. Although blind, it “sees” and senses through the worms, spiders, and insects of the world, as well as through other vermin. It is a near-mindless, gibbering entity that holds nothing but contempt for the world above ground and things that live in the daylight.
Molmoth, the Spirit of the Owl: When he appears, this primal spirit appears much like a large owl. He is nocturnal, rarely appearing during daylight hours. He is sometimes known as “Molmoth the Vigilant,” as he watches and observes everything, and possesses the uncanny talent of knowing many things. People have been known to call upon Molmoth when they need inspiration, when they must recover something lost, or when they need to know something immediately.
Sarba, the Spirit of the Mountain Lion: Sarba is the true hunter. This spirit enjoys hunting and following prey, and it enjoys the kill. Even so, it is not malicious or evil. Sarba possesses a quick and fiery temper, but her wrath dissolves quickly. If angered, she is one of the most lethal and unforgiving of primal spirits, and one of the most difficult to defend against. When the spirit of Sarba possesses an individual, that person typically gains remarkable senses, including heightened eyesight and sense of smell. People sometimes call upon Sarba for quick bursts of energy, or when they need to make the kill.
Ursula, the Spirit of the Bear: Ursula manifests primarily in the spring and summer months. When actually seen, she appears as a ghostly bear of terrifying size and strength. She moves with absolute stealth, but when she attacks she does so with an ear-shattering roar. She is most likely to appear to protect those in desperate straits. She also has been known to protect mothers and children. She is slow to anger, but when roused she represents a devastating primal force. Ursula and the spirit known as Falx do not get along, and avoid appearing in each other’s presence.