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Yakshas were a race of particularly fierce illuminated beasts,[1] 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.[2][3]

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.[2][3]

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.[3] However, they retain beastlike qualities through their masks and attire, and each is associated with an animal as well.[Note 1][Note 2]

The Yakshas don Nuo masks during battle,[3] 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.[4][5] Given that its Chinese name directly references Nuo (Chinese: )[Note 3] 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,[5] and Mortal Lingering.[6] Bosacius uses his arts to seal his treasures in the region of Minlin,[7] although it is unclear which parts of the puzzles in The Yaksha's Wish were created using his 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 "Five Yakshas" (Chinese: 五夜叉),[1] or simply "The Yakshas" (Chinese: 仙众夜叉 "The Yakshas of the Adepti"),[2] with Bosacius, the eldest of them, as their leader.[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." Of the Five Yakshas, Bonanus, Indarias, and Menogias all perished, while Bosacius grew weary of battle and left his treasures in the region of Minlin,[7] only to later succumb to his karmic debt and go mad.[1] During the cataclysm 500 years ago, monsters of the Abyss were sent by the people of Khaenri'ah to attack Teyvat, with The Chasm in Liyue as one of their targeted locations. Despite his insanity, Bosacius was drawn to the bloodshed and fought alongside the Millelith in defense of Liyue. Because he no longer remembered his own name, legends of the battle at The Chasm referred to him as the "Nameless Yaksha."[1][8][9]

Now, only Alatus remains among all the yaksha.[2][3]

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[5]

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.[6]

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"[6] 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.[5] Simply being around him was enough to stain Paimon and the Traveler with his karmic debt, which allowed Pervases to identify him.[6] 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][Note 4][Note 5] 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.

Two of Yelan's ancestors, Boyang and his younger brother Rongzhao, fought alongside Bosacius at The Chasm. Boyang perished alongside Bosacius inside the mysterious domain, while his brother returned but went insane from karmic debt, only temporarily soothed by passing Wangshu Inn, where Xiao lives. The mysterious circumstances behind her family's past gave Yelan a great curiosity regarding what happened at The Chasm.[23]

Known Yakshas

Icon Name Chinese Name[Note 6] Element Titles Status
"The Yakshas"
(Chinese: 仙众夜叉 "The Yakshas of the Adepti")[2]
Character Xiao Thumb.png Alatus (Xiao) 金鹏 Jīnpéng, "Golden Peng" Anemo
Anemo
Golden-Winged King
Conqueror of Demons
Vigilant Yaksha
General Alatus (Chinese: 金鹏大将 "General Golden Peng")
Alive
NPC Bosacius Thumb.png Bosacius 浮舍 Fúshě Electro
Electro
Marshal Vritras (Chinese: 腾蛇太元帅 "Marshal Téngshé", lit. "Marshal Soaring Snake") Deceased[1]
NPC Indarias Thumb.png Indarias[Note 7] 应达 Yìngdá Pyro
Pyro
General Musatas (Chinese: 火鼠大将 "General Fire Rat") Deceased
NPC Bonanus Thumb.png Bonanus[Note 8] 伐难 Fánàn Hydro
Hydro
General Chizapus (Chinese: 螺卷大将 lit. "General Curled Snail") Deceased
NPC Menogias Thumb.png Menogias[Note 9] 弥怒 Mínù Geo
Geo
General Kapisas (Chinese: 心猿大将 "General Xīnyuán", lit. "General Mind-Monkey") Deceased
Other Yakshas
NPC Pervases Thumb.png Pervases 铜雀 Tóngquè, "Copper Bird" Unknown Deceased

Trivia

  • In the cinematic shown during Glimmers of the Vigilant Yaksha, the elements for the other four of the five Guardian Yakshas were Pyro, Hydro, Electro, and Geo. The Electro Yaksha was stated to be Bosacius in At Tunnel's End, Light.
    • While not explicitly stated in-game, the identities of the Yakshas and their corresponding elements are confirmed by their voice actors; Indarias' and Menogias' Japanese VAs have stated that they voiced the 炎夜叉 (flame yaksha)[Note 7] and the 岩夜叉 (rock yaksha)[Note 9] respectively. This leaves Bonanus as the Hydro Yaksha.

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 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 have no discernable basis and seem to use original names; the English localization opted to Latinize their Chinese names to fit in with the decision to translate Xiao's title, 金鹏 Jīnpéng, "Golden Peng", as the Latin word Alatus, "Winged."[Note 6]
    • Bosacius (Chinese: Fúshě) uses the Latin masculine suffix -acius.
    • Indarias (Chinese: Yìngdá) uses the Latin feminine suffix -arias.
    • Bonanus (Chinese: Fánàn) uses the Latin masculine suffix -anus.
    • Menogias (Chinese: Mínù) uses the Latin feminine suffix -ias.
  • All of the Five Yakshas' titles make some kind of reference to an animal in the original Chinese text:
    • Bosacius' title, 腾蛇太元帅 "Marshal Téngshé", lit. "General Soaring Snake", refers to the Téngshé (Chinese: 腾蛇), a flying dragon in Chinese mythology.
      • His English title, Marshal Vritras, is derived from the Vritra, a Vedic serpent that personifies drought, evil, and chaos.
    • Indarias' title, 火鼠大将 "General Fire Rat", refers to the mythological fire rat, a large rat from the southern volcanoes whose fur is fire-repellant.
      • Her English title, General Musatas, is derived from the Latin word musatus, meaning "mouse-like".
    • In Bonanus' title, 螺卷大将 lit. "General Curled Snail", the character refers to any aquatic snail. Her English title's derivation is unclear.
    • Menogias' title, 心猿大将 "General Xīnyuán", lit. "General Mind-Monkey", is derived from the Buddhist term monkey mind, used to describe someone who is capricious, restless, and cannot be contained. It is often associated with, and embodied by, the mythological figure Sun Wukong.
      • His English title, General Kapisas, is derived from कपीश Kapīśa, lit. "Monkey God", one of the names of the Hindu god Hanuman.

Gallery

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. The Chinese name for Alatus is 金鹏 Jīnpéng, "Gold Peng", after the mythological bird. The tattoo on his right 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!"
  6. 6.0 6.1 Without further information, it is impossible to determine the exact pinyin or the possible meanings for the other four Yakshas' names. An estimated pinyin reading has been included to show the Latinization of the names.
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Japanese VA of Indarias confirmed in a tweet that her credited character is the 炎夜叉 or Flame Yaksha.
  8. All other voice actors of the yakshas with uncertain identities have confirmed their credited yakshas and their corresponding elements on Twitter, leaving Bonanus as the Hydro Yaksha.
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Japanese VA of Menogias confirmed in a tweet that his credited character is the 岩夜叉 or Rock Yaksha.

Other Languages

LanguageOfficial NameLiteral Meaning
EnglishYaksha
Chinese
(Simplified)
夜叉
Yèchā
Yaksha
Chinese
(Traditional)
夜叉
Yèchā
Japaneseしゃ
Yasha
Yaksha
Korean야차
Yacha
Yaksha
SpanishYaksha
FrenchYaksha
RussianЯкса
Yaksa
Thaiยักษา
Yaksa
VietnameseDạ XoaYaksha
GermanYaksha
IndonesianYaksha
PortugueseYaksha

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Archon Quest, Interlude Chapter, Act II: End of the Line
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Book: Yakshas: The Guardian Adepti
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Story Quest, Alatus Chapter, Act I: Glimmers of the Vigilant Yaksha (Cutscene)
  4. Xiao's Character Story: Vision
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Story Quest, Alatus Chapter, Act I: The Purging of Evil
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Story Quest, Alatus Chapter, Act I: Insights of Drifting Dreams
  7. 7.0 7.1 World Quest: The Yaksha's Wish
  8. Artifact Set: Tenacity of the Millelith
  9. Artifact Set: Vermillion Hereafter
  10. 10.0 10.1 Xiao's Character Story: Character Details
  11. Archon Quest, Chapter I, Act III: Turning Point
  12. Ganyu's Voice-Over: About Xiao
  13. Story Quest, Sinae Unicornis Chapter, Act I: 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's Character Story: 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's Character Story: Ode to Windborne Wraith
  20. 20.0 20.1 Story Quest, Papilio Charontis Chapter, Act I: In Pursuit of a Phantom
  21. Story Quest, Alatus Chapter, Act I: Glimmers of the Vigilant Yaksha
  22. Xiao's Character Story: Character Story 3
  23. Archon Quest, Interlude Chapter, Act II: At Tunnel's End, Light

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