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The importance of bathhouses (or saunas) in Saxa and Finnar culture must be understood before explaining
the origins of the bannik. Sweat bathing is a popular Saxa and Finnar pastime; especially during the long winter months.
Saunas are typically made of logs and covered in turf for insulation. Even in material short areas of the northern wastes, saunas with dirt or straw covered floors can be found manufactured out of clay or turf or dug into the sides of hills.
The bannik is a fey creature which haunts saunas. This mischievous spirit is said to look like an old man with long-nailed, hairy paws. Hiding behind the stove or under the benches, it punishes disrespectful bathers who have intercourse, lie, boast, swear, sing too loud, or talk excessively. The bannik is also known to pick on visiting strangers and newcomers.
A knowing Saxa or Finnar utters a quick prayer to Eira to protect him or herself from the bannik and never enters a bathhouse when purring noises are heard. This is when the bannik is entertaining unnatural guests, perhaps even devils.
When angered, the bannik may throw red hot rocks from the stove or boiling water or change steam into poisonous gas (if the stove uses peat instead of wood). Worse, the bannik is known to skin bathers and wrap their bodies around the stove. The bannik uses all of its powers to avoid direct conflict, but since it cannot leave the sauna, it fights to the death if given no alternative.
If the sauna is burned down or destroyed, the bannik returns to its plane of existence and only returns if a new sauna is created over or near the site of the old sauna.