Seekers of Lore
The Kreshtar Nomads were among the first to realize and accept that the gods were not reliable. Some gods might be predictable, but the predictions were usually dire and such gods only courted under greatest need. Others might not be so antagonistic, but were likely to lack any interest in well-being of the mortals. Orospeal was the most sympathetic before his death at the hand of Hrundal the Deceiver, but even he could not be counted on.
The Kreshtar would still try to propitiate the gods as needed, but after the death of Orospeal they no longer had a champion among the gods. They fulfilled their duties toward the gods, but quietly sought alternatives. The Kreshtar explored the world of spirits.
They found that the Shaitami, the spirits of earth and of water and of wind, of forest and of mountain, all could be approached and bargains struck. The power of the spirits was often constrained by their spiritual anchor — the spirit of a river only had power within reach of the river, the spirit of a forest might be unable to reach outside it — but within their domain they could be potent indeed. The Shaitami tended to be somewhat sympathetic to the Kreshtar, partly because of the compacts made and partly because they occupied the middle ground between mortals and the gods. The Shaitami were likely to live as long as their spiritual anchor existed, which in many cases made them functionally immortal as long as they were not killed, but changes to their spiritual anchors would be reflected in them. Though Shaitami would not die naturally, they still could be killed, which could corrupt their spiritual anchor unless another could bind to it and replace the Shaitami.
As the Kreshtar learned to recognize and deal with the Shaitami, they discovered that other spirits existing. Foremost among them were of the Kreshtar themselves. The mightiest warriors and wisest leaders could live on past their deaths, after a fashion. Where the greatest enough among the Kreshtar had strong associations, a spiritual anchor could form. This was sometimes to a place, much as the Shaitami, but more often it would be to a particular item or family. These other spirits, the Morrtami, were often comparable in power to the lesser Shaitami and rarely could they be considered a challenge to one of the major Shaitami, but unlike the Shaitami they could be capable of acting anywhere their spiritual anchors could reach. A Kreshtar warrior bearing a weapon belonging to an ancestor might be able to call on the power of the Morrtami, and those with the knowledge might be able to call upon the Morrtami of her family without such tools.
To this day, among the Kreshtar it is common to identify a person by their relationship to a venerated figure, usually Morrtami but sometimes, in the case of a truly eerie or uncanny person, a Shaitami. The relationship is often simplified to a common one such as ‘daughter’ or ‘nephew’. At times where a person is not truly related to a venerated figure another relationship is used, such as ‘stepson’, to show that the person demonstrates properties consistent with the spirit despite not being related, and is still usually considered an honor. Rarely are such relationships presented in a negative light because the spirits are close to the mortal world and are best not angered; it is better to find a relationship to another spirit than the present a negative relationship. For instance, Tahibi is identified as the ‘daughter of Parlee’ rather than of the Chieftess Shaeleth because her ideals are closer to those of Parlee than to those of Chieftess Shaeleth.
Though the Kreshtar continued to propitiate the gods, they quietly shifted their veneration to the spirits of the world and of their ancestors. When mortals as a whole turned from worship of the gods, the Kreshtar were prepared.
There were also… other spirits. The Daetami, the Niltami, the Entami… but to be discovered dealing positively with such vile spirits could mean having ones powers bound, soul cursed, and body purified by flame and the ashes dispersed on the winds. The less spoken of such things the better.
— Andruidael the Elder