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Type Splinters of Virtuosity
Used for bound spirits, hion
Sapient Yes
World Komashi
Universe Cosmere
Featured In Yumi and the Nightmare Painter
This page or section contains spoilers for Yumi and the Nightmare Painter!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.

The primal hijo, also known as primal spirits, or simply as hijo, are Splinters of Virtuosity found on Komashi.[1] They naturally reside underground, and are attracted by thoughts, emotions, and artistic expressions.[1] They can be bound by a yoki-hijo into useful tools and devices,[2] or be utilized to produce and supply hion.[3]


Hijo typically take on a teardrop-shaped form roughly the size of a person's head.[2] They glow brightly like molten metal with a swirl of red and blue colors.[2][4] They have no eyes or other discernible features, though they do seem to sense their surroundings and are able to speak audibly and telepathically.[2] The spirits which are bound to the father machine have an ice-like appearance, and undulate to an inaudible rhythm.[5]


The hijo are related to Komashi's strange geothermal activity, apparently being directly responsible for the intense heating of the ground in the region of Torio.[2] Their level of activity seems to vary somewhat. They are especially active every thirteenth year during the Festival of Reveals.[6]

Primal spirits are attracted to human thoughts and emotions expressed through art, in accordance with the Intent of Virtuosity.[1][7] Many different forms of art can attract their attention, though not all are known to do so.[8] Though painting appears to be one of them, it could indeed draw Hijo, and it is simply the commodification of the art through Painters, which minimizes the pure artistry of painting, which causes it to fail to draw Hijo.[9] A musical performance such as a rock concert, for example, could summon spirits.[10] In Torio, a yoki-hijo stacking stones was known to be the best way to attract the spirits.[8] Following their freedom from the father machine, the hijo have also shown interest in historical dramas and perhaps other hion viewer programs.[3] Some locations prove better for attracting the spirits than others, such as a place of ritual, but they can be attracted elsewhere.[8]

According to Yumi, yoki-hijo must typically create twenty stacks of approximately thirty stones each in order to summon the spirits, though smaller stacks are also sufficient if they have increased complexity.[11]


Stories speak of the spirits granting boons, which are always associated with adventure. In practice there is little direct contact between spirits and humans aside from the yoki-hijo and so the truth of these stories is difficult to discern. One spirit is able to create a unique Connection between Yumi and Nikaro, however, suggesting the spirits are perhaps capable of these mythological abilities.[12]


The people of Komashi rely on the hijo for their ways of life, and are able to use these spirits in several ways.

Bound Spirits[edit]

When a yoki-hijo summons a spirit, they may request that the spirit be bound into some device or tool. They do this by offering, along with their artwork, a measure of their own Investiture, and mentally projecting an idea of what they wish the spirit to become. If this is not done properly, the spirit may become confused or be frightened off. If successful, the stack of stones becomes strengthened, and the spirit transforms.[2] The scholars of the Institute of Mechanical Solutions are able to bind spirits by showing them pictures of the things they wish them to become.[4]

Bound spirits typically take on either a stone or metal form, and always seem to be divided into two parts.[2] Spirits typically remain bound for five to ten years.[2] Spirits bound by the prototype machine, seem to have operational issues much sooner and may not remain bound as long.[13] This is likely due to the machine consuming a portion of the spirit's own Investiture in order to operate.[13]

Common types of bound spirits include:

Repelling statues
Involves two statues, one female and one male, with grotesque features.[6] These statues behave similarly to reverser fabrials, with movement and forces of one affecting the other in an opposite manner. These are most often used to levitate vehicles or structures above the hot ground in Torio.[2] In some cases, however, they may even simply be used for religious purposes--to be put on display to give people comfort by reminding them that the spirits are watching over them.[14]
Spirit lights
The spirit divides into two balls that fit into the palm of a hand: one a bright orange and the other a dull blue.[2] When the balls are separate, they glow, and are commonly used as a light source in Torio.[2] Touching the balls together turns the lights off.[12]
These devices include the flyer itself--a hovering device approximately two feet across with insectile wings--and a handheld controller portion.[2] These are commonly used in Torio to corral plants and to drive threats away.[15]
Spirit saw
Presumably a simple device for sawing. It is unclear what the two halves of the device are.[2]


With some measure of human intervention, the spirits are able to produce and power the hion lines which sustain modern life on Komashi. The original hion lines are produced by the machine, which harvests the Investiture of the hijo to create hion lines emerging from the ground. After the father machine is destroyed, some hijo voluntarily continue to power these hion lines.[3]


In Yumi's time, the hijo were considered essential for human civilization in Torio because the bound spirits were vital tools necessary for survival. Accordingly, the spirits, as well as the yoki-hijo who summoned them and bound them, were greatly revered.[2]

When the father machine was activated, all of the known spirits on Komashi were bound to that device. They congregated around the machine and were unable to leave it for approximately 1700 years.[16] During this time, the surface of the planet cooled and the machine used their energy to produce hion. At one point, some spirits managed to escape and contact residents of Futinoro, in an event which would come to be known among the scholars as "the Incident".[17][18] A few decades later, Yumi was able to free another spirit, which granted her Connection to Nikaro and ultimately enabled the yoki-hijo to destroy the machine and free the hijo.[16][12]

Freedom of the hijo caused the surface of Komashi to heat up once more, but only to a lesser extent as the spirits voluntarily supplied some of their power to continue supplying hion in response to hion viewer dramas.[3]


  1. a b c Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 17#
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 4#
  3. a b c d Yumi and the Nightmare Painter Another Epilogue#
  4. a b Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 24#
  5. Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 39#
  6. a b Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 2#
  7. Secret Project #3 Reveal and Livestream
    Arcanum - 2022-03-22#
  8. a b c Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 22#
  9. Shardcast Interview
    Arcanum - 2023-07-30#
  10. Secret Project #3 Reveal and Livestream
    Arcanum - 2022-03-22#
  11. Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 20#
  12. a b c Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 6#
  13. a b Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 31#
  14. Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 13#
  15. Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 8#
  16. a b Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 40#
  17. Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 23#
  18. Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chapter 36#
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