Millions of years ago, the
earliest ancestor of primates evolved in North America and spread out across the world. Some of their number wandered through doorways leading them into the Worlds of Shadows and to a world called
Va'albara. Continuing their evolution, they eventually returned when those same doorways reopened allowing them to return to Earth where they found humans had evolved in their absence. Where humans lived much shorter lives, they bred much faster leading the
Wild Men (
Wudewas) to fear them and to conceal themselves in wilderness regions while learning how to escape into the
Spirit World. Possessing
ape-like forms, they continued to evolve as they spread across the planet becoming known by names like
Gitche Manitou (Great Spirit) who represented the life force of the planet itself, the
Sky Father, the
Earth Mother and other spirits that included the Wild Men. The good
Manitou were called the Aashaa and the bad were known as the Otshee of which one was the spirit of a baboon slain while attacking a demon becoming twisted in death into a demon itself. Hungering to feast upon the living, it possessed one of the Wild Men transforming it into its own likeness with large canine teeth, four arms, and a slender body up to two to three times stronger than modern humans. Satiated with human sacrifice to satisfy his hunger, he passed his curse onto them and even humbled Wild Men transforming them into the first of the
They were the ultimate predators fighting with tooth and claw as well as crude weapons adapting stone, bone, and wood for their needs to kill. And they would kill! Possessing the minds of primitive men, their primal savagery led to endless violence and carnage where they built great mounds to sacrifice victims to hungry gods gaining powers in return. Humans learned to summon the Aashaa who possessed them to loan them their powers and to train them how to fight back ultimately hunting the Otshee Manitou into extinction. However, the Aashaa could not remain within their human host for more than a year without becoming Wendigoes themselves as the corruption within human souls will defile them.
But the Otshee Manitou left their mark as humans began worshiping the same hungry gods and spread to particularly the south where untold millions would be sacrificed. In what is now Louisiana, there is a hidden place where the Otshee Manitou tore open pathways into other dimensions and created Hell on Earth where the greatest of evils came to exist. Known to humans as "The Land That Bleeds", the Otshee Manitou sacrificed millions to their dark gods saturating the land with the blood and bones of the dead. Any to become lost in this place will find they are trapped forever, being reborn from death to find themselves subject to nightmares where time and reality seem to yield unto madness.
While banished into the Spirit World, the Otshee Manitou remain connected to the physical world where those near death might hear them offer renewed life. Some practitioners of witchcraft can also hear them becoming
Skinwalkers, shapeshifters with various powers granted to them by the Otshee Manitou to help in their release from the Spirit World. Skinwalkers can also become Wendigo to prevent their own deaths using their knowledge and willingness to commit acts of cannibalism to do so. It is, however, a curse they seek to escape because a Wendigo's hunger for human flesh is a weakness and gives the Otshee Manitou access to possess them ending their existence among the living.
The Otshee Manitou
Wendigo are elemental beings embodying Winter even in the warmth of Summer often being ape-like or wolf-like forms often mistaken for werewolves. They prefer concealing themselves in wilderness regions where their powers are at their height and their enemies are less likely to find them, they can prey on victims for decades before their true nature is discovered. Survivors of their attacks can be chosen by The Great Spirit to be possessed by Aashaa to stalk and destroy Skinwalkers, Wendigo, and Otshee Manitou. Even the dead slain by them might become vessels for the spirits of more successful Hunters (they have no other real name) if they are not devoured or damaged too greatly.
Their greatest enemy is one called The Golden Child because she bears her own unique curse being Unforgiven and a powerful champion for humanity known to the modern world as Goddess! She became aligned with The Great Spirit in one of its many other forms in Europe and came to the Americas in ancient times where her long golden hair made her a legendary figure. Her elemental powers are equal to most of the Otshee Manitou and the fact she cannot be killed and can travel between worlds makes her the bane of their existence. But, she is not alone as there are several wielders of elemental sorcery who exist to oppose them but this does not mean they are always successful.
Weapons of silver tend to be most effective against these beings as long as the proper enchantments are present and such weapons tend to be most powerful if used successfully over centuries or even thousands of years. But silver cannot kill them, it injures and thus weakens them at which point they must be beheaded and their body cremated to destroy their physical remains sending their souls into the Spirit World. If this doesn't happen, they can regenerate or possess a new host who innocently handles their remains. The Wendigo is a conduit through which Otchee Manitou may escape back into the world of the living often forming new bodies from pieces of corpses both animal and human so that they reek of decay.
Because those cursed as Wendigo also will sometimes seek to escape their curse, they will aid in their own destruction. But they cannot commit suicide because suicides are doubly damned to be resurrected with the Wendigo more in control and they become serial killers stalking their human prey while in human form until escaping into the wilderness where they can revert to their true form. A huge difference between them and normal serial killers is they will often use their teeth by become partially transformed and then they will eat their victims which is why so many disappear without a trace. They are often called "bone eaters" for this reason as they will even devour the bones of their victims because their hunger has no limit after a kill.
They would also become known to others in the world such as the
Martu in Australia where they became known as the
Ngayurnangalku to the
Anangu who populated South America in ancient times. Trapped within the Spirit World, the Otshee Manitou became more powerful with some evolving into even greater nightmarish forms. For the Otshee Manitou, the Earth is a hunting ground to feast upon and there are various ways they can escape the Spirit World but they rarely do so more than one at a time. But female Otshee Manitou who escape often brings with them their less evolved counterparts to serve more as attack beasts and guardians often treated more like trained dogs who actually possess a higher human-like intellect.