Having a Telesma's one thing. Convincing it you're ready for the coming challenge, that's something quite different. There's a point in your life where you have to do something special, your first heroic act. That's when you hear the voice in your head for the first time, the spirit of your Telesma finally revealing itself. What it says depends on its personality - spirits are like people, just without a fleshy meat-sack to carry around. They have personality, for sure. In fact, sometimes being inside a gemstone gives them an excess of personality, like it built up over the years.
It comes down to this: you're a true hero and with the help of your Telesma you can traverse the many portals through the Veil and navigate the Pulse currents of the Maelstrom beyond our mortal realms. The gods of the universe rather hope you'll live up to the trust they put in you when they forged you a Telesma. You're supposed to go out, group up with other heroes, and do good things. Gods may have missions for you, if you're willing, and not every god defines "good things" the same way.
Until recently, that's all there was to it. Then the Tempest turned up and things went screwy. Now every day as a hero you'll run the gauntlet. One wrong step this way and the regular horrors of the universe ambush you; one wrong step the other way and some Tempest minion buries a lightning-infused knife between your shoulder blades.
We're heroes, right? We're expected to handle that sort of thing. Maybe so, but when the Tempest can suck the magic straight out of your Telesma, or even straight out of your soul, things go bad fast. It was a death sentence for many heroes in the first days after the Tempest turned up. That's when the gods hunkered down in their god realms, "planning a suitable response". Hiding.
It was a dead guy who threw us a lifeline. Cornelius Brogue had lost the rest of his hero team to a Tempest hit squad. It was already clear by then - some Tempest servitors can sense the use of high-powered magic and rip it out of the host. The more powerful the magic, the greater the damage, so you can see why the gods are particularly edgy about it.
Cornelius was a hybrid mage/shaman, a pretty rare combination. He realized the aura of a hero and their Telesma is like a beacon to these Tempest trackers. To combat it, he had a stroke of genius. The soul-bound spirit of a Telesma could be fully fused with the hero's soul by binding the Telesma into the hero's forehead and, with a special arcane ritual firing at just the right moment, the magical aura of the two halves cancel each other out - no more aura, no more trackers. However, the magic itself stays just as strong - heroes remain heroes, but without the telltale glow in the spirit world. Sadly, Cornelius was caught and killed just before he completed the ritual on himself, but he'd already sent his notes to another group of heroes.
They tried it, and it works. Those of us who've done it since call ourselves Awakened. We've got a new lease of life, ready to strike back at those who previously hunted us. Sometimes we're spies, looking for information. Sometimes we're guerrilla fighters, behind enemy lines. Sometimes we're assassins, stealthily taking down enemy leaders. For most Tempest forces it's the same thing right back at us. Whoever wins will control the very Pulse of the universe.