A spirit-talker is quite simply, a person who talks with spirits. The very first spirit-talkers on The Land were the first two people, Connor and Brigid, both of whom talked to God throughout their lives. After they died in LY 52, there were no spirit-talkers until Brist was contacted by Lucifer, in 100. It was then that Brist began spreading the concept of religion, along with other spirit-talkers he met in 105. Brist himself coined the term "spirit-talker," and retroactively applied it to Connor and Brigid. He and his fellow spirit-talkers also began compiling a record of some of their conversations with spirits, which they called the O'Gas. In 404, the majority of the world's spirit-talkers officially organized their religion, calling it The Order, and founding the village of Monab, which would serve as the seat of religion in the Land. Though it should also be mentioned that earlier, in 271, the village of Sorret had been founded by a group including spirit-talkers who had conceived of the possibility of learning magic from spirits. People who studied and used magic came to be known as Sorreters, and much of the structure they established for themselves would later be used as a model for the organization of the Order.
In 902, the Protestant Movement was formed when a number of spirit-talkers broke away from the Order to start their own religious faction, even though they agreed on the fundamental principles of religion. The Protestants were heavily involved in one side of the war known as the Coming of the Order, in 903. But after the war ended, in 904 the Second Order was established, and amnesty was granted for all Protestants, who had lost the war. Around this time, a third religious group started, known as "Independents," though they are not quite as organized as the first two religions; they merely wish to worship in their own way, without worrying about politics or taking sides in any religious disputes between the Order and the Protestants. (Many Sorreters consider themselves Independents, though there are also plenty of Sorreters who remain loyal to the Order, and many non-Sorreters who also think of themselves as Independents.)
Becoming a spirit-talkerEdit
It isn't clear what distinguishes spirit-talkers from any other Landian; there's nothing special about them, no innate quality which they possess and others lack, that grants them the ability to converse with spirits. Anyone on the Land is equally capable of talking with spirits (though just doing so doesn't automatically make you a spirit-talker). It's even possible to have spoken with someone without having been aware that they were a spirit, for there's no rule that compels spirits to declare themselves to be such (and while their natural appearance, assuming they have one, is not the same as humans, they invariably appear on the Land in human form). By the same token, it's also possible a human could tell you they're a spirit, whether as a joke, a lie, or a delusion. Of course, it is most likely that non-spirit-talkers would converse with spirits if they happen to be in the company of a spirit-talker. As for how one becomes a spirit-talker, it may vary from person to person, but it generally involves a decision on the individual's part, and also on the part of spirits to agree to it. Most commonly, a potential spirit-talker will begin by being introduced to spirits by an established spirit-talker. Those spirits may introduce that person to still other spirits. In a way, it's no different from meeting people and becoming friends with them, which is how most spirit-talkers think of the spirits they know. Naturally, every spirit has its own personality and interests, just like humans, and so the development of bonds with spirits tends to be based on the same kind of compatibility as the development of bonds with other people.
Once a bond between a spirit and a spirit-talker has been established, that spirit-talker will be able to mentally call out to that spirit at any time, and it may or may not respond (depending on mood, availability, or other factors). However, such calls do not constitute actual telepathy, as no words or complex concepts are communicated. Spirits are capable of telepathy among each other, and spirit-talkers are trained to tap into this potential in a limited capacity; they can send a signal that is received by the specific spirit they're thinking of, and that spirit will know who is calling. A signal can be returned in either the positive or negative, if necessary (or a spirit may simply appear soon after receiving the signal). It is equally possible for a spirit to mentally call upon a spirit-talker, to inquire if it would be acceptable to appear for a visit, who may also respond with a positive or negative signal. Spirits, naturally, are capable of any seemingly magical ability which may be learned by Sorreters, and much more; therefore they will automatically know where the spirit-talker who's calling them is, so they may translocate to that place. Of course, it isn't always this signaling that is used to make contact between spirit and spirit-talker; sometimes they may simply meet in a perfectly natural way, such as planning a visit or running into each other by chance.
While the relationship between spirits and spirit-talkers is often casual, and need not ever involve anyone else in any way, many spirit-talkers become religious leaders in their communities; people to whom others can come for guidance, comfort, or information about the will of God. This was true from the earliest days of Brist and the first wave of spirit-talkers, and all the more so since the organization of the Order. Meanwhile, whether or not a spirit-talker chooses to take an active part in the Church or even just offer personal guidance to friends or family, their association with spirits may sometimes lead to things of interest to other people on the Land. This includes the spreading of knowledge about other worlds (most popularly Earth), such as their history and culture. (Though an effort is always made to avoid overt cultural appropriation.) Some spirit-talkers have published stories or books from other worlds, provided to them by spirits, or even just spread such stories orally. Literature is the most common form of off-world entertainment to be made available on the Land, but other things such as music have also been provided; as long as the knowledge or entertainment is in a format which already exists on the Land. (Therefore, off-world literature became more common after the invention of the printing press in 390, and other things like music after Sorreters began selling spell-devices such as bubbles to non-Sorreters during the Coming.)