Tokotna Register


Go to Search

The Spirit Falls

Freezing cold in winter, but green and rather warm in summer. Sunlight is rare, but does occur. Sometimes, at night, the aurora can be seen, its bright colors shifting and reflecting off of the falls.
The Spirit Falls are a series of massive waterfalls that have combined to form a wall of rushing water that flows down several irregular cliff faces and rocky protrusions, more than a mile wide and half a mile tall. No one has ever climbed to the top of the falls; every attempt has been thwarted by natural barricades, and it appears that it is unreachable, at least by foot. They were named because they are never frozen, not even in the deepest winter.
To witness the rushing water in the coldest part of the year, when one's own breath frosts the air and turns to ice mid-exhale, is something of a chilling experience. In recent years, the phenomenon has been explained by science; due to the sheer mass of the falling water, not to mention the height of the falls, the temperature has not yet dropped to the point where the water is sufficiently frozen enough to form crystal lattices, and thus freeze. Any crystals that are formed are immediately ripped apart by the energy of the falls. The falls do not feed a river as most waterfalls do; the water pools at the base of the falls before crashing down through a deep ravine, returning deep into the earth. Trackers dropped into the water have never been found; even electronic tags have stopped giving out signals almost immediately after passing out of sight. The assumption is that the ravine is so deep that the signals cannot reach the surface.
  • The falls are nearly 2-km wide and 0.8-km tall. Although the waterfalls uniformly across the width of the falls, there are breaks where rocks protrude from the cliff faces, and also secondary waterfalls where a ridge in the cliffs forms a smaller shelf from which the waterfalls again.
  • Although science has explained the mystery of how the falls never freeze, the locals still prefer the traditional explanation.
  • Long ago, before humans populated this land and made it their own when the first tokotas roamed the snowy landscape, the spirits walked upon the earth and did not hide, the way they do now. They had no need to conceal their presence, for they lived in harmony with the beasts of the north. When humans began to explore and discover the secrets of this land, the spirits held a huge conference here at the falls. The concentration of magic they brought with them sank into the glacial river that once stood here, before the falls came into being, and created here a permanent aura of mystery. They agreed that the secrets they had preserved for millennia were not for humans to know; secrets that would wreak havoc upon the delicate balance of nature if a human with a cold and immoral heart happened upon them. They were guardians of these secrets since the dawn of time, their detached natures the perfect keepers of such important secrets. Joining their power, they created the falls and hid behind the rushing water their secrets, concealed in caves whose entrances would be forever sealed by the curtain of icy waters of the falls. Many of the oldest, most powerful spirits willingly followed, imprisoning themselves with their secrets so that in the event that the falls failed, the secrets would still be safe. Interlopers would be met by spirits whose power was great enough to burn this icy landscape to ashes. After millennia, they would be powerful indeed, with nothing on which to spend their energy but to wait, eternal guards to secrets so important that their safety united a community of minds so diverse in thought and nature that they would never agree on any one thing again.
  • So the story goes, and it seems, on a particularly gray day, that there are dark places behind the falls where the entrances to caves might be. When the sun is high in the sky, the falls sparkle like a thousand diamonds, a beautiful sight that has inspired both a glassmaker and a jewelry maker to attempt to mimic the shattering of starlight in their own works. For the tokotas, the air at the falls is sharper, crisper, full of mystery, and a scent that is both familiar and unfamiliar, like a long-forgotten dream. Even the most placid of tokotas become fractious and difficult to handle, breaking free from their handlers to stand before the falls and stare at the crushing wall of water spilling down. It can take hours for them to become responsive again, and when they do, they seem different. Some are stronger, others smarter. Some develop a keener sense of smell, a faster lope, or knowledge of hidden valleys where the prey is bountiful. This fuels the legend of the spirits behind the waters, for how else could such a phenomenon occur, if not by magic? Such a gift is rare, for the journey to the falls is perilous, crossing a vast, open slope bare of any shelter, lashed by winds and riddled with glacial crevasses from which there is no return. Sometimes, when the wind is particularly strong, one can hear something like high-pitched voices screaming in the rushing wind, air spirits whose task is to guard the falls, which in turn guard the guards of the greatest secrets of the world.
  • If one stands before the falls, that tokota will be blessed with a gift of mysterious properties and magnitude. The gifts, when they manifest, always reflect the tokota's personality and prior skills, as if the spirits in the waterfall have looked into their hearts and bestowed upon them the gift that will bring them greater success in life. It does not do to ask for a gift, however. Those who do are struck down, cursed rather than blessed, forever fated to face failure wherever they turn. Only those pure in heart and spirit, with loyalty and humility, are said to receive a gift after reaching the falls.
  • The falls are a beautiful sight, but the journey to stand at their base is fraught with peril. Only the strongest of tokotas and their handlers even dare to brave that freezing desert that protects the falls; more than one tokota and their handler have perished, either frozen on the snowy slope or swallowed by the ravines that lace the path to the falls.

  • Original location inspiration by SeaCrest-Star
    Location art by Foxjot