The Fanseeth believe there are vaettir in everything, that all things have a spirit which must be considered and honored (or, more often, placated). Offer to the skipvaettir, the spirit of your ship, to increase the likelihood of safe travel. Offer to the hylvaettir, the spirits of the mine, in hopes of safe mining. Offer to your knife to turn its hunger from your flesh to the flesh of your foe.
And offer to the wild things, the dark things, the hungry things, in desperate appeal that they won’t hunt you.
Because there is a spirit in everything, and there are spirits that are not kindly inclined towards humans. The Fanseeth lead harsh lives on harsh environments, and they make meaning of mine collapses and shipwrecks through tales of the dark vaettir who were surely responsible.
The Fanseeth have several kinds of spiritual advisors and intercessors to deal with the vaettir. Sometimes these are full-time jobs and the practitioner’s only professions; in other clades, these are part-time roles only, and the practitioner also is a pilot, miner, or does other jobs on the side.
- Speakers are the spiritual leaders of the community, translating the needs and wants of the local vaettir to the community, and speaking for the community to the local vaettir.
- Vaettirthegn are spirit-servants, spirit-sworn. They are the hands and feet of the vaettir. They provide quieter service to the community, often teaching, raising children whose parents are dead or unknown or away at the mines, doing small rituals to placate the vaettir.
- Vaettirthralls are… strange. They are devoted entirely to the vaettir to a degree of intimacy unmatched by the other roles, and are often under a series of taboos and behavioral restrictions. In some ways, they are like nuns or monks in other traditions, but more solitary. Vaettir-touched, vaettir-sworn, perhaps vaettir-possessed. They are often avoided by many members of society, though they are believed to have power from the vaettir and sometimes approached warily for good-luck charms, help with a curse, or spiritual healing.
Every clade has its particular tales of hostile or mischievous vaettir, as does every mining site, each factory, each ship. Parents, teachers, and nurses tell kids to behave, or a particular local vaettir will get them. Kids have fears of the troll under the bed or the goblin in the closet. When little annoying things go missing on a station, it’s a wight’s fault. When ships malfunction, it’s because of the gremlins in the pipes and wires.
And there are worse stories.
The Gap-Huldra, invisible vaettir of the space between stars and stations that wanders the void; she consumes ships whole and cannot be reasoned with or bargained with.
The Storm-Giants, spirits of the radiation storms that swirl over the planets and moons, beautiful and deadly, dancing the auroras in their wake, observable only from the safety of a clade’s shielding but they’ll eat the flesh from your bones if you are outside the shielding when they arrive.
The Nacker, who plays music so sweet that it’ll draw you out of the station without your suit, and reduce you to gibbering hallucination. (This may be an explanation for the star-madness that sometimes comes from being asteroid-bound too long.) Tales say that some have managed to survive him by offerings or bargaining or entertaining him, and some have sought him out to learn his musical gift.
The cave-trolls, a sort of hylvaettir, believed to live deep in the asteroid mines and who jealously guard its resources. They abhor light and want to be left in peace to their asteroid homes, so flooding a mine with light is believed to keep them away. Lights going out, cave collapses, and any number of mining accidents are attributed to the cave-trolls. If too many of these accidents happen, miners will murmur increasingly about this mine being a vaettir-place full of angered cave-trolls. Some unions have organized strikes until a vaettirthegn, a Speaker for the Vaettir, can be brought in to pacify the spirits.