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E-hige-i-masu by GenreChowderStudios E-hige-i-masu by GenreChowderStudios
E-hige-i-masu

In Ao Lai culture, E-hige-i-masu is the child spirit of natural and benign fire. He is able to control fire and cause it just as easily, yet he never does this to harm. E-hige-i-masu is said to be the first, and illegitimate, child of the evil fire spirit, A’mechukohontsu. He has two younger siblings, brother Ka-i-gemasu and sister Ka-i-jemasu, the child spirits of deliberately dangerous fire and accidental fire respectively. His name meaning “natural fire,” E-hige-i-masu is almost universally believed to be male, yet to which part of Ao Lai he is native to is disputed.

E-hige-i-masu is believed to have a human father, a man from Ao Lai and a different man than his two younger siblings' father. From where is not known, but it is said that he was born in Otherworld as opposed to in Ao Lai as his siblings were. He never met his father, according to the ancient texts, who was brutally killed by A’mechukohontsu. The evil fire spirit is said to have been aiming to produce four children to cover the world in fire, but at first, she did not know what to do with the child that kept following her around; she wanted him to leave her alone. In the end, she appealed to Huang Mu, who allowed him to live in Otherworld if he used his talents for flame-based healing to help the land of Ao Lai grow and prosper.

Aside from being able to control fire, E-hige-i-masu is immune to harmful heat. Although he can modify this, he is also said to radiate an intense heat wherever he walks. His duties are to purge forests with fire and allow them to flourish anew. Scholars note that he is widely believed to be very good about completing his duties well and on time. He is not said to just be a spirit of natural fire but of benign fire as well. While he doesn’t cause candles and lanterns to be lit, he is said to be present around more or less harmless fires. Alleged “sightings” claim he sometimes sits with various families around their fire-pit in the form of smoke, shadows, or even as himself. E-hige-i-masu typically stays in his “house” in the clouds of Otherworld whilst off-duty with his aunt, Xixekonohotse, the cloud spirit, Kintonkegatse, and his siblings. It is said that during one of Kintonkegatse’s rages, he throws E-hige-i-masu plummets to Ao Lai in the form of lightning. Given his far more major involvement with fire, E-hige-i-masu is not usually considered a lightning spirit; the role is often given to Kintonkegatse, a spirit frequently associated with weather. But scholars are in dispute over who should actually hold the title of “lightning spirit.”

E-hige-i-masu is widely believed by almost all Ao Liese to have one form, though there are a number of different interpretations of this form, i.e. different hairstyles, slightly different height, etc. The most common iteration of the child fire spirit is a lean boy with scarlet skin, black hair that reflects orange, and tall, stick-like pale orange eyes. He is a yi’e’non, or one of “those without vision or direction.” Because of this, he is portrayed with blank eyes. When portrayed by artists of Ao Lai, this spirit is often portrayed to have an intensely blank/innocent or curious expression. Because his mother does not vigilantly attend to his needs, including that of clothing, E-hige-i-masu is often portrayed as nude; however, scholarly artists in Nippon portray him with more modest attire when displaying him in non-fine art areas. Here he is portrayed with the pants of a black jinbei and a pink obi. His age varies from portrayal to portrayal, though he is usually around 12 or younger.

Far different from any of the other fire spirits, the child spirit of benign and natural fire is said to be a very calm boy. He takes his work very seriously and works hard to complete his tasks on time and in spades. Texts describe him as being thankful and gracious. Perhaps his gratefulness to Huang Mu is what keeps him working so hard. Or it may be his work ethic, which scholars say is very strong. Unlike many children, he is content to sit still and quiet for long periods of time. Despite his very mature behaviour, E-hige-i-masu has the curious streak of a child. His wide-eyed depiction often gives hint to this side of him. As he helps tend much of her domain, this child spirit is very close to Hyohimeiji, the child of grass and trees. His moral character is thought to be the ideal for a young child; his completely different personality is said to be brought on by his human father, who is believed to have been a virtuous but naïve man tricked by A’mechukohontsu into fathering E-hige-i-masu. His standing as the first child in accompaniment with his good character is indicative of traditional Mainland and Nippon values: the first child should always be the most outstanding. The people of Xiu Janyang Province, however, do not hold these beliefs and instead see E-hige-i-masu as simply being considerably less evil than his mother as opposed to not at all. In popular culture and literature, E-hige-i-masu is “the good child.”

The child spirits of Ao Lai hold a special place in Ao Liese consciousness. Children are crucial keys to the future in Ao Liese culture. For unknown reasons, child spirits with one or more siblings have certain symbols associated with them. E-hige-i-masu’s symbol is the fire-pit.

The child spirit of natural/benign fire is a resident of Otherworld. He lives in the clouds with his siblings, his mother, his aunt, and their housemate, Kintonkegatse, the spirit of clouds and storms.

-Taken from Strange Ao Lai Rules/Traditions-
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January 24, 2013
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