Primes and Spirits

Every animal that has ever lived continues to have a presence in the Spirit world. Even long-extinct creatures including fish, bugs and dinosaurs that lived millions of years before humans. The dinosaur Primes have only begun to inhabit their hosts - belief supports their existence, reinforcing their presence. As long as people continue to dig up dinosaur bones and name the species, there will be a new Prime out there somewhere.

This is true of any breed, color combination, phase or type of specific creature. A cat for instance, can come in a staggering array of colors and builds - for almost every registered breed or color, there is a Prime. Enough to go around, so it seems. Exotic animals and large extinct predators are a bit more rare, of course. But even the exotics pale before the mythological ones.

Any creature - even ones which have never actually walked the Earth - may appear as a Prime. It is purely the belief in that creature, that brings it into existance. Phoenixes, dragons, winged horses, mermaids... Exotic creatures such as the winged snake of the South American myths, such things appear now, only in the form of the Triptych host.

There is little consistancy to the timing of Prime appearances. But generally speaking the smallest of their three Primes will manifest first, followed by the mid-sized one, and lastly the biggest. This is not hard and fast, and not everyone actually manifests all three Primes. Some only have one, or some may refuse another form, in favor of keeping two or none at all.

With practice, the host may learn how to shift into their Prime shape at will. Some people just never get the knack, some can do it instantly and many cannot control their shifting while under stress. Each person's reaction varies, and obviously, they vary in terms of usefulness of those Primes. Someone with a wombat shape might not really learn to appreciate the presence of that extra layer of fat and untamable wiry coat. While others just don't understand what on Earth they are meant to do as an okapi.

Generally one of the Primes will be a bird, another will be hoofstock. Anything goes for the third. Most of the time, there are only one of some particular type of creature - so far only a handful of "all birds" or "all felines" have occurred that we know of. (We, of course, meaning Polygen research.) When there is a bird shape, or a mammal or other type with flight ability, the Triptych form will have wings big enough to support at least gliding flight if not fully-powered flight. Whether this means hollowing bones, or just a gigantic wingspan, that is largely up to the Host.

Most hosts do not combine straight animal forms - when in their Prime shape, generally that Prime spirit is "in charge". But sometimes they might share, and you might see a rhino with hornbill wings, or a cobra-hooded elephant.

Jokes seem to be common among spirit Primes, just look down the Character listing for some unusual combinations. Essentially, though, Prime spirits are not quite sentient and cannot really be "reasoned with" as such. They only truly exist when they are inhabiting a Host.

The host bodies of the spirit Primes seem to be more durable than normal humans. This dramatically increases when a Prime form has manifested, and is even more apparent with the full Triptych shape in use. Wounds gotten while in a half-shape, as the werewolf myths would suggest, heal very quickly and often only certain types of damage get through. However, the down side to this is that the Tripper in question must not revert to their normal human form, in this time. Their wounds may overcome them, or appear in places that they aren't on their Prime. (Wings, for instance, or long tails, might revert to damage on the side of the body or the rump/legs area.)

Triptych women who become pregnant may still shapeshift fully - though they must be extra careful not to over exert themselves or take any damage. The baby will be born normally if they are in human form. Otherwise, their birth may be complicated by size issues.

999 out of 1000 full-blooded Triptych babies are born entirely human. However, once in a great while there is a birth that stuns the locals if they aren't also Trippers - born as a cat?! Why did you give birth to a raccoon? This is highly unusual though, and never happens to half-blooded or newly Hosted triptych.

The spirits themselves are somehow able to detect their host at an appropriate time. The same spirit might be passed through a bloodline, say, of "golden lions". But this will not be a direct lineage, unless the lives of the Hosts are quite short and/or overlap with a death of the elder Host at the puberty of the younger one. More often, a generation or more will skip, and a grandson or great-neice will recieve the spirit as the elder Host grows too old to use the shape any longer.

It is possible that the spirits may up and leave their Host in favor of another person. You'd really have to have abused the privelege of having a Prime in the first place for that to happen. If there is a much more preferable Host available, say good bye to the powers and privelege of being a Tripper.

The Tripper's primes may usually be worn in quick sequence, jumping between them. Apparently, size and mass have very little to do with the Primes and shapeshifting. Clothing and goods close to the person will change with the person - perhaps the spirit's idea of 'fashion sense' kicking in so that the Tripper doesn't ruin all their clothes bursting into a big Prime, or lose them in the woods as a tiny one.

The actual Triptych shape is a misnomer: it combines four things. Three animal Spirits, and the Human. However, Triptych they remain. (There was no name for them before Faust titled them.) When choosing a triptych shape, the host is able to select from features of all three of their Primes, as well as their normal human body. So most often, the shape is upright on two legs, having fur, scales or hide, perhaps with extra limbs such as a long prehensile tail or a pair of wings upon their back. Traditionally, bird primes blend with their others in the shape of merely adding wings or colorful feathers, but many Trippers like having beaks on. The bird primes are the only ones to truly add limbs, as a tripper with their full Triptych shape on has six limbs instead of four. Perhaps angels were triptych. They are commonly represented as bull, lion, eagle ... seraphim and the like have appeared as Primes. Why not?

Starting at whatever age the first Prime manifests, at a regular rate after that the host might gain their second and third Primes. Mentioned elsewhere, stress or puberty tends to bring these on. If a Prime manifests into a very young child, or someone who is completely unaware of their bloodline, the individual may become "stuck" in their Prime shape until someone helps them out of it. The Snow Rising medicine den is often used for this, ritually gathering many Trippers together and shape shifting all at once.

Any given Triptych host will know another, with proximity. If they are aware of their own bloodline and abilities, they will recognize the intangible spiritual presence around the other person. To normal humans, there is nothing at all out of the ordinary to a tripper in their Human form. It takes one to know one, in other words. Unless you're Faust.

The lake of the purple waters, Tsalagi tradition says, heals all animals who need to hide from hunters. This lake exists and is tended by the splinter tribe who did not remain on the east coast. The Cherokee "became men", while their cousins remained with the animal spirits intact.

Right now, there are at least 3 Trippers who live full time in the lake itself. They need more healing than it can give, though.

It is impossible to "kill" a Prime spirit. It is only possible to kill the host, or chase it to another body in some way. Faust has tried many techniques to 'capture' these spirits, but to no avail. His family will never have the ability - they are well known among the spirit kind. Known, and hated.

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