And then there are these guys, who aren’t bothered by it at all.
Rereading this particular arc, I’m not entirely sure that I’m handling it as well as I could be. I’ve cut certain scenes just for the sake of NOT dragging this on forever, but by cutting the unnecessary parts I fear I’ve also lost a bit of the nuance of what’s going on. Plus there’s just a lot going on and up until now no one’s bothered explaining any of it to Ten (and vicariously, you guys.) I could be wrong – you guys might be following along just fine – but just in case you’re a bit confused, here’s a few points that might clear things up:
Ten doesn’t know Vahli and Nolar. He recognizes the names and the general idea behind them, much the same way that the average person might recognize the name Poseidon and be able to recall a thing or two that name is associated with. He has no precise knowledge of what they’re like, what parts they’ve played in his species’ myths, or whether or not they’re trustworthy.
Ten’s not entirely with it at the moment. He was so overwhelmed by what he was experiencing and the possible implications of it, that his body was starting to react badly to the mental and emotional strain. Rather than risk him dying, the twins decided to step in and try to force him to calm down. They did so rather indelicately and with only a vague idea of what they were trying to do, resulting in his current sedated state. To him, it feels like being in a haze – like being on the verge of falling asleep, or tipsy after too many drinks, or waking up after having anesthesia. He can’t really think straight or focus, but he’s trying to fight through it and care about what’s happening with varying degrees of success.
The spirits. Oh god, I could write a whole damn book about THEM. I’d leave this to be cleared up later along the line, but I know there will be questions about this and it’s not something I have to be coy with so as not to give away plot, so it’s best to explain things now.
The spirits are a WIDELY diverse group. They don’t all work the same. There are various loose categories they can be grouped into, and within those categories are individuals who all have different strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and needs. Some spirits, like the twins, are able to travel where they want to, when they want to. Others need bridges to do so. For example, an air spirit might only be able to travel where there’s air, a water spirit only along waterways, and something that feeds off of emotions might need a host to carry it around. And then there are other spirits that are bound tight to physical things. Tree spirits, for example, are bonded to a single tree and never stray more than a few yards beyond its branches or roots their entire lives. This also applies to various planes of existence. Some spirits are bound to a single plane, others can travel freely between two or more, and some can only move between planes at a great expense of energy.
In terms of what this means for the spirits on the station… When the kilm built the place, they needed to fill it up with landscape and all that. While they used a lot of “filler” from other places (crushed asteroid debris or material from uninhabited worlds perhaps), they kept the important parts that they would see and interact with “home-grown”. They scooped up sand and water from Kathmith, packaged what living things and air they needed for the initial setup, and shipped them off to the fledgling station. Some spirits got caught up in the mix either because they had a specific physical feature they were bound to (such as a rock or a seedling), or they were just unlucky enough to be in the area at the time. If there were powerful spirits in there, they would have slipped away no problem – it’s the lesser ones with few abilities and little power that got helplessly swept up and carried away far from home.
Now the particularly horrible part about this, which I tried to make clear with the twins’ conversation with the tree spirit, is that most spirits (there are some exceptions) don’t do well away from the planet. They, especially the more elemental ones, need the planet to live properly. Spirits are only “born” on or very near Kahmith. Being away from the planet is a bit like being in prison for them. They’ve been forcibly removed from where they really belong, thrown into a place where many of the things they lived their lives by (natural day/night cycles, monthly moon cycles, wind currents, storms, etc.) don’t exist, and where there is no hope for change or freedom. In all likelihood, they will spend a very, very, very long time stuck there until something that can kill them happens along and puts them out of their misery. Some spirits are lucky enough to not have the self-awareness to be bothered by this. Others are only all too well aware of their situation. After a few hundred years of this, it’s not surprising that some of them aren’t well in the head anymore.
Finally, the soul-eater. Soul-eaters live in hell. Well, it’s actually more of a house arrest than anything else, but that’s a whole other thing. The important thing is that the soul-eater that grabbed Ten forced his way out of hell and across a few other planes to get to where Ten was, burning through his own energy to do so, to the point where he was little more than a shell by the time he reached his goal. He had just enough energy to jolt Ten out of his own plane of existence, but not enough to make a full return trip. Had the twins not intervened, he would have begun breaking apart and eating Ten’s soul to replenish himself for the trip back home, where he could eat the rest of Ten’s soul at his leisure. He’s not the first to try this, but the twins do their best to make sure there are no repeat offenders.
Hopefully that makes a few things clearer. 🙂
Don’t forget that I’m also collecting questions for the comic’s birthday Q&A! Read more about it and submit your questions HERE!