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Yakshas were particularly fierce illuminated beasts, both in appearance and their martial prowess. To quell the lingering hatred of fallen gods from the Archon War, which caused plagues, curses, and miasmas all over Liyue, Morax called upon the yakshas to help wage a never-ending war against the monsters and other such manifestations of the gods' hatred.[1][2]

Over time, this task stained them with karmic debt which wore away at their souls and sanity. Madness and despair overwhelmed the yakshas: Some turned on each other, others succumbed to the darkness, and yet others vanished. Now, only one yaksha remains: Alatus, who currently goes by the name Xiao.[1][2]

Overview

Appearance

The five foremost Yakshas' masks

Unlike most of the Mighty and Illuminated Adepti who take on completely beastlike appearances, the yakshas seen so far have all taken humanoid appearances.[2] However, they retain beastlike qualities through their masks and attire, and each is associated with an animal as well.[3][4]

The Yakshas don Nuo masks during battle,[2] although it is unclear if this is a trait shared by all yakshas or if it was exclusively used by the five foremost Yakshas. Notably, the symbols on their masks are cruder than, but still resemble, the elemental symbols of The Seven.

Powers and Abilities

Because Xiao is the only yaksha left in modern times, it is unclear how many of his techniques were common to all yakshas and how many are his personal abilities. For example, Xiao's Elemental Burst, Bane of All Evil, is the time-honored "Nuo Dance of Evil Conquering" used to purge demons and divine karma.[5][6] Given that its Chinese name directly references Nuo (Chinese: )[Note 1] and that Yaksha Masks are based on Nuo masks, it is likely that "Nuo Dance of Evil Conquering" was a technique practiced by several yaksha, each with their own version.

As adepti, yakshas are capable of performing adepti arts such as Dream Trawler, used for self-cultivation,[6] and Mortal Lingering.[7] Bosacius uses their arts to seal their treasures in the region of Minlin,[8] although it is unclear which parts of the puzzles in The Yaksha's Wish were created using their arts.

Story

History

Yakshas were illuminated beasts of "dreadful appearance and warlike temperament" who "spared no brutality" to perform their duty. For this reason, the Geo Archon, Morax, called upon them to fight the demons that spawned from the remains of defeated gods after the Archon War. While there were many yakshas, five were considered the foremost yakshas for their strength and capability: Bosacius, Indarias, Bonanus, Menogias, and Alatus. Those five became known as "The Yakshas" (Chinese: 仙众夜叉 "The Yakshas of the Adepti").[1]

Though strong, the yakshas were not all able to handle the darkness they faced. It's said that "some were given unto their rage, others unto a madness which fear mongered. Many turned to the slaughter of their own, others were bewitched by shadows of the soul." In the end, all but Alatus either perished or disappeared by the time of the game's start.[1][2]

Of "The Yakshas," Bonanus, Indarias, and Menogias have died. While it is not yet possible to attach names to the Yakshas shown in the Yakshas: The Guardian Adepti story teaser, it appears that the Pyro Yaksha succumbed to madness while the Hydro Yaksha was slain by the Geo Yaksha.[2] It is unclear whether the third deceased Yaksha, who died in defense of The Chasm during the cataclysm 500 years ago,[9] was the Geo or Electro Yaksha. Whichever one was left was Bosacius, who chose to disappear and left behind their treasures in the region of Minlin.[8]

Legacy

All things are impermanent, and to exist is to suffer. We yakshas have no need of sympathy or tears. My comrades who have passed on would see your tears as a stain on their legacy.

Xiao[6]

Amongst the adepti, the yakshas were greatly respected for their strength. Xiao holds a "high level of seniority"[10] and other adepti refer to him by his title Conqueror of Demons out of respect,[11] and some adepti like Ganyu even go to Xiao for training lessons. However, the task he has been entrusted with makes him keep his distance from even other adepti; Ganyu remarks that "all the people he's ever agreed to team up with are no longer with us,"[12] indicating he never worked closely with most non-yaksha adepti even in the past. His curt interactions with her are professional at best, leading her to find him somewhat unapproachable.[13] However, this is partially because he believes he is not a suitable mentor for her due to the bloodshed and karmic debt that accompanies him.[14]

By contrast, Xiao appears to be fond of his fellow yakshas. He quickly grows reminiscent after Paimon and the Traveler reveal that they met Pervases, a long-dead yaksha who used the adeptus art Mortal Lingering to temporarily manifest in modern Liyue. He later decides to try Grilled Ticker Fish, Pervases' favorite food, despite his usual distaste for mortal foods that aren't Almond Tofu,[15] and repeats Pervases' catchphrase before getting caught up in his memories.[7]

The yakshas seem to have held a special bond with Morax. Xiao was freed from his enslavement to a cruel god when Morax defeated them and took him in as one of his own,[16] leading to him to become fiercely defensive in matters related to the Archon.[17] The names "Xiao"[16] and "Pervases"[7] were both personally bestowed upon them by Morax, suggesting that this may also be the case for all yakshas. Zhongli, Morax's current mortal vessel, regularly prepares medicine for Xiao in hopes of alleviating the pain incurred by his karmic debt, and appears somewhat wistful over how diligently he holds to his duty.[18]

Amongst mortals, yakshas were once highly regarded as the protectors of Liyue. Large statues depicting them, such as those seen at Luhua Pool, were erected across the nation, and people conducted rituals involving chants and food offerings to alleviate their pain and help them continue their mission.[19] As their numbers dwindled over time, however, the Yakshas have faded into obscurity in the mortal realm.

Part of their obfuscation appears to be deliberate for the safety of mortals. Hu Tao states that stories about the miasmas and curses caused by fallen gods are seen as the stuff of legends nowadays, and if common people were to find out that they really existed, it would incite panic.[20] Xiao avoids interacting with the mortal realm beyond his duties to purge demons, as his karmic debt can cause monsters in his vicinity to become stronger and more vicious.[6] Simply being around him was enough to stain Paimon and the Traveler with his karmic debt, which allowed Pervases to identify him.[7] Furthermore, unleashing his full strength to deal with the remnants of fallen gods is incredibly destructive, and any mortal in the vicinity would be "lucky" to survive the encounter.[10]

Over the ages, the yaksha statues have been damaged and have had their features almost completely destroyed.[19] While books such as Yakshas: The Guardian Adepti and the "Ode to Windborne Wraith" chapter of "Tour of the Land of Liyue" exist to preserve knowledge about the yakshas, they appear to be rather unpopular due in large part to the archaic, wordy writing style of their authors, who are scholars at Sumeru Academia.[21] For unspecified reasons, the "Ode to Windborne Wraith" chapter was among the chapters deemed "mystical and magical" for the Liyue edition and was cut from their version of the book.[19] As a result, the yakshas have remained a subject of scholarly interest rather than something widely popular among the general public.

That said, the yakshas have not been completely forgotten. The Wangshu Inn at Dihua Marsh was established by the Liyue Qixing's secret agents as a front for their true mission of assisting Xiao in his duty.[22] Chongyun and Hu Tao, due to their lineages, have greater knowledge of Liyue's history than most and have interacted with Xiao.[20][23][24] Starsnatcher's grandfather, a folklorist, researched the yakshas in the past and imparted tales about them to his grandson, which led him to develop an interest in them himself.

Known Yakshas

Name Chinese Name Titles Element Status
"The Yakshas"
(Chinese: 仙众夜叉 "The Yakshas of the Adepti")[1]
Alatus (Xiao)
(Male)
金鹏 Jīnpéng
("Gold Peng")
Golden-Winged King
Conqueror of Demons
Vigilant Yaksha
Anemo Alive
Bosacius 浮舍 Fú Shě
("Abandoning Excess")
? Missing in action[8]
Indarias 应达 Yìng Dá
("One Who Arrived at the Answer")
? Deceased
Bonanus 伐难 Fá Nàn
("Suppressing Danger")
? Deceased
Menogias 弥怒 Mí Nù
("Overflowing Spirit")
? Deceased
Other Yakshas
Pervases
(Male)
铜雀 Tóngquè
("Copper Bird")
? Deceased

Trivia

  • In Story Teaser - Yakshas- The Guardian Adepti - Genshin Impact, the elements for the other four of the five Guardian Yakshas were Pyro, Hydro, Electro, and Geo. However, too little is currently known to determine which Yaksha is which.
    • Notably, the Yakshas predate the seven-element system established by The Seven. The symbols on their masks, as well as the symbol on the Vision-like object on the Hydro Yaksha's hip, are cruder than the elemental symbols of The Seven, indicating that their elements may not strictly follow The Seven's.
    • The Hydro Yaksha's Vision shape is vaguely similar to the one worn by Childe, a Snezhnayan Vision bearer. The symbol on it also resembles the Cryo snowflake more than Hydro's water splash, though her darker blue color scheme and the bubbles depicted around her lend more to Hydro. It is possible that, like Andrius who can manipulate both Cryo and Anemo, she had multiple elements and/or did not follow the elemental scheme established by The Seven.

The yaksha mask-like design found on the Nine Pillars

  • The pillars seen at Cuijue Slope, in their unbroken form, are adorned with what appears to be a yaksha mask. Approaching the mask and inlaying it with a Stone of Remembrance is a step in completing the World Quest Nine Pillars of Peace, and causes both the mask and a portion of the pillar to shatter. However, the yakshas have not yet been explicitly mentioned in relation to the Cuijue Slope area, leaving this possible link a mystery.
  • The Yakshas' masks are inspired by the masks worn in Nuo opera ( Nuó). Nuo operas contain many different aspects, including songs, dances, ceremonies, and sacrifices. These operas were performed to drive away demons, diseases, and evil influences, as well as petition for blessings from the gods.

Etymology

  • In Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist texts, the yakshas (feminine: yakshinis) are a broad class of nature spirits who are often worshipped as guardian deities. They serve Kubera, the god of wealth and prosperity; in some Buddhist beliefs, he is known as Vaiśravaṇa, the god of war. Both of these epithets are ascribed to Morax.
  • Of the five known Yakshas, only Alatus has any clear connection to a mythological yaksha: Garuda (also known as Suparna), the golden-winged eagle who is also the basis for the Chinese Buddhist mythological figure Golden Winged Great Peng.
  • The other four Yakshas' names seem to be completely made up, both in Chinese and in English. They appear to be derived from a mixture of words and suffixes in Latin and other languages, based on the meanings of their Chinese name; alternatively, they are Latinized from the pinyin of their Chinese names.
    • Bosacius' etymological roots are unknown. It may be a combination of Spanish bosar "overflowing" + Latin masculine suffix -acius.
      • Their Chinese name, Fú Shě, roughly translates to "abandoning excess."
    • Indarias' potential etymological roots are a mystery; it may come from Indra/Indara (Chinese: 因达罗 Yīndáluō), one the Twelve Heavenly Generals worshipped by some Buddhist denominations. Alternatively, it may be derived from the Hindu deity Indra (Chinese: 因陀罗 Yīntuóluó), who is the god of thunder, storms, and war. Another possibility is that it is a combination of Latin indo "to bestow, impart" + feminine suffix -arias.
      • Their Chinese name, Yìng Dá, roughly translates to "[one who has] arrived at the answer."
    • Bonanus may be derived from the Latin adjective bonus, meaning "good" or "brave," or the noun bonum "moral good" + masculine suffix -anus.
      • Their Chinese name, Fá Nàn, roughly translates to "suppressing danger."
    • Menogias' name may be based on the Ancient Greek μένος ménos, "spirit, vigor, anger" + Latin feminine suffix -ias.
      • The characters in their Chinese name, Mí Nù, roughly translates to "overflowing fury" or "overflowing vigor."

Gallery

Notes

  1. In the Chinese version, Xiao's Elemental Burst is named 靖妖傩舞 "Nuo Dance of Evil Conquering" and its description says this is the technique's name, which is corroborated by Xiao's Vision story in both Chinese and English. However, the English version translates his Elemental Burst to make the term consistent with the way it was translated in his first Character Story, where it is used as a title to describe Xiao's experience and expertise in slaying demons. The English description for Bane of All Evil was altered to reflect the term's use as a title.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Yakshas: The Guardian Adepti
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Story Teaser - Yakshas: The Guardian Adepti - Genshin Impact
  3. Pervases, after his death, had his spirit indwell a crane statue, as seen in Insights of Drifting Dreams. His Chinese name, 铜雀 "Copper Bird", further points to his birdlike aspect.
  4. The Chinese name for Alatus is 金鹏 Jīnpéng, "Gold Peng", after the mythological bird. The tattoo on his arm, which vaguely resembles a bird viewed from behind with its head in profile, depicts an illuminated beast and is related to his true form. (The full tattoo can be clearly seen on his Developer Insights.)
  5. Xiao, Vision story
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Alatus Chapter Act I, Part 3: The Purging of Evil
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Alatus Chapter Act I, Part 4: Insights of Drifting Dreams
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 World Quest: The Yaksha's Wish
  9. Artifact Set: Tenacity of the Millelith
  10. 10.0 10.1 Xiao, Character Details
  11. Archon Quest Chapter I, Act III, Part 8: Turning Point
  12. Ganyu's Voice-Over: About Xiao
  13. Sinae Unicornis Chapter Act I, Part 1: The Illuminated Beast of the Sea of Clouds
  14. Xiao's Voice-Over: About Ganyu
  15. Xiao's Voice-Over: Favorite Food
  16. 16.0 16.1 Xiao, Character Story 2
  17. Xiao's Voice-Over: More About Xiao: IV
  18. Zhongli's Voice-Over: About Xiao
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Xiao, Ode to Windborne Wraith
  20. 20.0 20.1 Papilio Charontis Chapter Act I, Part 2: In Pursuit of a Phantom
  21. Alatus Chapter Act I, Part 2: Glimmers of the Vigilant Yaksha
  22. Xiao, Character Story 3
  23. Chongyun's "About Xiao" Voice-Over implies he has directly spoken to Xiao before, and certain dialogue options in his first Hangout Event, Signs of Evil, reference Xiao.
  24. Xiao's "About Hu Tao" Voice-Over indicates he is familiar with her, while Hu Tao's Voice-Over for him has her playfully feign ignorance, claiming "that kind of stuff is top-secret!"

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