No one knows the exact reason why some souls gifted with a connection to aether are more highly revered by the spirits than others. Nevertheless, those increasingly rare individuals known to the Alabaster Order as “whisperers” have cemented themselves in a pivotal role within their ranks. The Order has a long history of believing in the sanctity of human willpower over divine strength, but after their fall at the hands of the previous Ascended’s arrogance the role of the whisperers became that of diplomats instead of subjugators.
Spirits do not communicate in human languages until they reach full sentience and inherit their followers’ native tongue. Even then, what they speak is only a simulation to facilitate a clearer understanding between both parties. A spirit at any level communicates through direct impulses to one’s soul. The human mind interprets these impulses and can respond through speech or prayer.
Unfortunately, the human mind is a terrible, muddled thing that often sends incomprehensible messages back through their soul. The simplest phrase of welcome can come across as the abrasive garbled screams of a lunatic, causing spirits great confusion and annoyance. The words of a whisperer, however, come across in soothing, pleasant tones that even the most raucous spirit would be inclined to converse with in amicable exchange. Some whisperers choose to obscure their natural senses with blindfolds and incense to further increase their success at interpreting speech filtered through the mind’s eye.
Mere words alone are not enough to make an effective whisperer. As spirits gather strength and gain increasing levels of sentience their personalities come into play. A spirit of war is unlikely to be open to peace talks with one whom bears gifts of flowers instead of bladed steel or tries to fool it with a silver tongue. But take caution when being too direct or you may find yourself challenged to a duel to the death against an immortal being.
While many lower tier spirits have little to offer in the way of stimulating conversation—their intellect matches that of a house pet or human infant—the familial bond that forms is not easily forgotten when navigating the later perils of diplomacy and protocol. An offering of aether from a whisperer’s personal reservoir may entice such novice spirits to follow them as a child would their parent, but there are risks associated with any whisperer that becomes overzealous in their otherworldly socializing. Not all spirits get along with each other and knowing which are more apt to coexist could save you from being caught in the crossfire or losing a trusted companion.
Fortunate is the whisperer who forms a deep bond with a spirit before their transcendence to godhood. Mortals often pray to deities for boons and may be met with begrudging results or none at all if they fail to impress. Deities are more likely to extend pacts to the friendly whisperer that include heavenly blessings such as knowledge, wealth, and power. They may even go so far as to resurrect a long deceased companion to transform them into their avatar or bring them to sit amongst the gods in the afterlife should they have association with a proper underworld or their own life-giving powers.
Whisperers of the Order were expressly forbidden from communing with deity-level spirits for centuries after the schism that lead to their falling out. Only recently under the new Ascended's reign has that restriction been eased to allow for greater communication between allies.