Today I'm dedicating this article to two of our staff writers here at TCGplayer, Doug Zeeff and Loukas Peterson. Doug and Loukas, the talented deck builders and innovators that they are, have been running Spirit decks recently and chalking up some impressive results. In today's crude, new and hawt issue, we'll begin answering a question Doug's posed to me pertaining to the new monsters from Legacy of the Valiant, Nikitama and Aratama!

(I know, I know – I discussed Aratama in the Spirit article already, but unfortunately without Nikitama it was harder to convey the point I was going for. Now with both Spirits available I can give you all a better understanding of the Aratama and Nikitama.)

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Nikitama and Aratama are a part of Kototama, which is an old Japanese belief in the power that words can command when spoken. Think of it as almost like casting a spell. At the same time, Nikitama and Aratama can also be considered the personalities of deities.

The Nigi is the blessing of the gods and when a god is 'pleased' the Nigi is then divided again into Kushi and Saki Tama. Each of these provide different blessings and bestowments to those who worship a specified object or god associated with said being or object. When you look at Nikitama the monster, you'll see that after you have gracefully accepted it and allowed for its Summon, its effect 'blesses' you with the Sakitama (meaning to providing fulfillment), which is the extra Summon effect. When you give tribute to the deity of worship by Tributing or sending Nigitama to the graveyard the deity of worship – symbolized by your control of another Spirit monster – blesses you with the Kushitama (divine knowledge and wisdom). Consider the blessing to arrive in the form of drawing a card, furthering your knowledge.

The monster itself is Light because we associate blessings with 'the divine light' or the general cultural notion that light is always good. The color green's usually associated with serenity, growth and bounty. The monster's encased in or emanating a green flame from its own head, in fact you can see the outlines of its head and facial features within the flame. Look closely and you'll see the benevolent version of the deity smiling back at you. The creature itself is an artistic personification at best, and such personifications can be found in many forms of media including Shin Megami v video game series, where the 'tamas' are depicted as magatamas. The extra summoning of the Spirit monster is actually symbolic of a few things. The Spirit itself could be some ancient long lost deity, which is the case for most of the Spirit monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh. However, if you summon Aratama, you're officially receiving the benefits of a single deity reaping as much bounty as you can. What do I mean by that? Well, it brings us to the next monster, Aratama.

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I'll paraphrase myself here, referring back to the article I wrote which included Aratama.

Aratama's another monster derived from the idea of Kototama, the power of words, and it's another aspect of the related deities. This aspect is one of wrath and Misfortune. Not all is lost though, as the Ara also brings the worshippers protection. By calming a deity's Ara, it's said you'll be rewarded with Nigi. So when you Summon the Aratama, you've calmed the wrath and gained a card to your hand... possibly Nikitama. Interestingly, you can't add more Aratama to your hand with this monster's effect, probably to keep the card balanced. But I wonder if it's because eventually even Ara must be culled?

Much like Nigitama, Aratama's personified by the Little Deity within the flame. It's defense symbolizes the protection offered by the Ara. The monster's Dark because we associate dark influences with destruction and evil. It's red because red is associated with destruction and anger, though also courage.

Next up we have the Fabled archetype that Loukas was interested in just a few weeks ago. In the OCG, they bear the translated misnomer of 'Demonic Roaring God' to describe their utterly nonsensical theme name. Most of the information I've found on the Fabled monsters – after many years of research since their initial release in the OCG, I might add – comes up Null and Void. Nothing even remotely close to anything related to many of the cards exists in any fable, folktale, storybook, or work of demonology or angelology. No divinities with names that come even remotely close exist either; nothing, zip, zero.

So I decided to turn to the forgotten languages and the words that built up the languages we speak now and, with some luck, the ordeal did bear some fruit. Of course, I can't find something for everything which makes me doubt even my best theories at times, so take what you will from this section on the Fabled monsters.

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Fabled Krus' name itself is a hint to her origins. Her name is Spanish for 'cross,' not just any cross but the crucifixion cross specifically (etymologists makes sure to stress this point). Her inspiration could be of Mexican or South American origin, and seems to draw inspiration from La Llorna, the weeping woman. If you don't know who La Llorna is, many versions of the tale exist but they all speak of a woman named Maria who killed her children by drowning them. Why did she do that? So she could be with the man she loved, of course!

How could this plan go wrong?

Evidently, the man rejects her in all versions of the story and she commits suicide out of grief. When she's to be judged at the gates of heaven, she isn't permitted to enter until she finds the souls of her children. She's thus forced to wander the earth for all eternity looking for her drowned children and while she does, she constantly weeps and moans. Some stories say she'll kidnap children who resemble her missing offspring in a futile attempt to find salvation. At night, she rises from the rivers or ocean and if you're unlucky enough to hear her cry, you're destined to perish.

Her story's meant to be a cautionary tale for misbehaving children who sneak out at night. With that in mind, I'll ask you to take a very good look at Fabled Krus' card art. You can see that she's crying softly, grieving, and unlike the other Fabled monsters she's very human and fragile. She's dirty and dressed in an oddly human and very old style of clothing. Perhaps Krus is one of La Llorna's children?

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Now a lot of you are going to say "Fabled Grimro, she's obviously a reference to the Grimoire!" In this case, yes, I'd agree with you as it would account for her in-game ability, but there's another secret hiding within her beauty.

If we rearrange the letters in Grimro we get the name Morrig, or more specifically the Morrigan, a demi-goddess of battle, strife and war in Irish mythology. Her status as a creature of divinity is widely debated and she's considered more of a fairy tale figure and not an actual deity. Her name can mean quite a few things including 'Phantom Queen' or 'Great Queen' and she's been known to take the form of a crow, flying over warriors in battle much like the Valkyrie. Note that she wears an awful lot of feathers and has raven wings.

Morrig was also thought to be the inspiration behind Morgan Le Fay from the King Arthur fables, but all in all the etymology of the name has been lost to the ages and the best that scholars and theologians can do is speculate. She's said to be made up of a triad of goddesses, Badb, Macha and Anand, but this theory's very inconsistent and pertains only to a pseudo historical text of Ireland's origins. Throughout most stories, especially those that pertain to Cu Chulainn, she's depicted as a single individual in which she foretells his death and even goes as far as to hinder him herself.

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When Fabled Ragin was brought to the TCG and his name was not Fabled Legion like we all suspected it would be, many of us were flabbergasted. After much research into both how the name would and could be translated and why, and even with the assistance of a Japanese speaking accomplice of mine, the final conclusion was that the precise naming was probably very much intentional. I doubt Konami's localization team would make a Mistake as far as name translations go. Shortening the name or the honorific of a monster is completely understandable giving the ridiculous nature of some OCG names, but I don't think that's what's going on here.

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Fabled Ragin's name comes from the old Germanic word Ragin which means advice or to give council, specifically to a lordly person. Essentially, in most cases in Yu-Gi-Oh, whenever a card has something to do symbolically with knowledge or wisdom, the card grants you a draw and that's essentially what Fabled Ragin does. When you Summon him, if you have few to no options left, he advises you, grants you more cards to your hand and now you're rearmed and ready for combat. Perhaps though, Legion was simply considered too risque for one strange reason or another.

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Oh, the strangeness that is Fabled Valkyrus' name. Obviously, Valkyries come from old Norse mythology; they can only be women and our Fabled Valkyrus is definitely not female.

Following the idea of etymology as seen with Fabled Ragin, I broke the word down and what we have is 'Valr,' old Norse for 'the slain' plus the Greek 'Kyrios,' meaning 'lord.' Essentially, Valkyrus is the lord of the slain.

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Fabled Dyf (Fabled Dip in the OCG) shares some coincidence with the Dip from Irish mythology.

Tales of many black dog demons and ghosts are rampant in European mythos, and this black dog of Ireland is said to hunt down and drain the blood of its victims.

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The Fabled Ashenveil, as far as my years of extensive research is concerned, has nothing to do with any fable or any mythology. Its name could be derived from 'covered in ashen' (blue tinged skin) whose etymological roots date back as far as Gothic and then some. This monster's face and skin are definitely tinged in blue but even that's a bit farfetched for me to believe.

Now, contrary to everything I said above about the design team possibly wanting to avoid religious iconography, we do in fact have Fabled Leviathan which is most definitely tied to religious folklore. I won't deny that, and in fact this one card is the reason why I question my own research for this particular monster family. While I'd like to believe that there was an easy answer to who the Fabled are, I don't know if there truly is a definitive explanation aside from the one stashed away in Konami's secret vault somewhere.

This was a shorter article this week but I figured I'd share with you all the knowledge I've been keeping pent up in my mind and scribbled notebooks. As time continues on and I have some amazing eureka moment, I hope to some day tell you all more about the Fableds...if there's anything to tell, that is. Join us for the next issue when we go undercover and unravel the sordid lives of Japan's OLDEST team of royals!

-Franco Ferrara