Author Topic: Death and the Dead: A Brief Guide (Headcanon)  (Read 163 times)

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Death and the Dead: A Brief Guide (Headcanon)
« on: November 17, 2015, 08:06:56 pm »
What happens to one's self when one dies?  First, a summary of terms for the uninitiated.

Glossary (Non-alphabetized)

A Body is a physical form inhabited by a Spirit.  It is the vessel by which a Being physically interacts with the world.  A Body is near-ubiquitously biological in nature and there exist schools of thought that any structure not biological is not truly a Body.

A Spirit/psyche, commonly mistakenly called a soul, can be called truly the essence of a Being, the controlling force or the Being itself.  A Body without a Spirit is inert, though not necessarily dead, and a Spirit not inhabiting a Body is largely impotent, unable to properly act on the world.

A Soul is the term ascribed to the proper union between a Spirit and its Body.  When separate, the Body and Spirit are powerless.  When together, the whole is greater than the sum of their parts.

The breaking of a Soul by splitting the Spirit from the Body.
----Natural Death
The occurrence of a Soul splitting when the Spirit becomes too weak to inhabit the body or the Body becomes unable to host a Spirit.  For purposes of this explanation, this includes even unnatural causes, as the result is largely the same.  Going through Natural Death is very taxing on the Body or Spirit when the other fails to maintain the Soul.
----Artificial Death
The occurrence of a Soul splitting when the Spirit becomes separated from the Body when both are still viable.

The state a Body is left in when it is still viable when the Spirit leaves it.  Without a spirit, the Body will usually become unviable shortly.

The state a Spirit is left in when it is still viable when separated from its Body.

The term used to describe when a Spirit leaves the world.  It's commonly believed that good, virtuous Spirits have a paradise awaiting them in Heaven while the evil, malicious ones have an eternity of torment awaiting them in Hell.  The truth of it is completely unknown, though, as no Spirit has ever returned from Ascension.

A Possession is what happens when a spirit inhabits a body it is not native to.  This can happen for a myriad of reasons, the most common form being post-mortem.

Used by Necromancers and Vitamancers alike, Corpomancy is magic pertaining to the Body.  It consists of magic that affects or detects the physical forms of Beings without affecting the Spirit.

Mainly the realm of Shamans and Mediums, Phasmancy is magic of the Spirit.  Very few are able to use it and fewer still are able to understand it. 

Likely the rarest and least understood form of Magic, Animancy is the intersectional magic of the Body, Spirit, and Soul.  An Animancer is able to affect Bodies' bonds with Spirits and vice versa.  Most master-level Unicorns are able to attain only a minimal grasp of Animancy over the course of their lives and there is no record of any true masters of the craft.  In theory, a master Animancer would be able to attain immortality and facilitate true Resurrection, circumventing death altogether.

So, now that we have some common terms, we can begin the lesson.

In natural reproduction, at some point between conception and birth a Spirit is joined with a Body to form a new Soul.  This Soul is what is recognized as being the Being which inhabits the body.  However, as we all know, nobody lives forever.  Eventually, the Body breaks down until it is no longer habitable by the Spirit.  Oftentimes, the Spirit also weakens during its tenure in the body.  At any point that either becomes too weak to maintain the union, Natural Death occurs.  It's common knowledge what happens to the Body at this point.  Less-commonly known is what becomes of the Spirit.

Death and the Fate of the Spirit

The biggest contributing factor to the immediate fate of the Spirit is the relative strength of it when it separates from the body.  If Natural Death occurs when the Spirit becomes too weak, most of the time it will immediately Ascend, moving on to whatever lies after this world.  Oftentimes the Spirit will also Ascend if the Body is the failing member of the Soul, as Natural Death is very taxing on the Spirit.

However, it's not entirely uncommon for a Natural Death to occur when the Spirit is more than strong enough to maintain itself even through the traumatic experience of separating from its Body.    When this happens, the Spirit enters a state of Revenance, where it will remain in the world on something of a separate plane of existence from what most know.  While in this state, the Spirit is fully able to observe the world but, with a few exceptions, unable to act upon it.  Most Revenants use this time to reflect on their lives and attempt to prepare for Ascension.

When separated from their bodies through Natural Death, Spirits decay until they are no longer capable of staying in the world.  In most cases, this decay is much faster after Death than before, with roughly 20 years of decay per year they spend as Revenants.  When their strength is run out, they leave the world and move on to whatever is next.

Circumstances of Revenance

As stated, Revenance is the state that falls on a Spirit when the Soul is broken but it remains viable itself.  However, what happens to a Spirit during its stage of Revenance is quite variable.  Physical barriers mean very little to a Revenant, but not all can travel at will.

Sometimes the bond of a Spirit isn't completely broken from its Body.  In cases like this, the Revenant is unable to stray too far from its Body.  It's because of this possibility that graveyards are the most common gathering places for Spirits who have not yet Ascended.
At other times, a particularly strong emotional bond may exist between a Spirit and a loved one, perhaps a significant other or family member.  In such cases, the Revenant may be bound to the other, forced to stay close to them throughout its Revenance.  On the other end of the spectrum, a bond of malice or hate toward another can stop a Revenant from approaching too close to a certain Being, place, or object.
At other times, Spirits have been known to, after Death, inhabit objects.  Sometimes completely random, but more commonly an object of significance to the Being or, in the cases of violent deaths, occasionally the object used to end their union with their Body.
In extremely rare cases, Spirits have entered another Body after Death.  Results of this union are a form of Possession, though the extent of each Possession varies.
If not one of these kinds of Revenance, a Spirit is able to roam the world at will until they Ascend.

The most accomplished Animancers are able to start their cycle anew through reincarnation, though most of them are unable to retain their memories from previous lives.

Revenance and Actions After Death

Most Revenants are completely powerless to affect the world around them, but there are circumstances where a Revenant can have profound effects.

All Revenants have slight ability to influence feelings and emotions of those around them.  This is most evident for Revenants near their anchor points if they have one.  It's only enough to shift mood, though, never enough to change emotion completely.

If a Revenant is restrained to a certain area, around their body or loved one, they have limited ability to affect events and objects.  The closer they are to their anchor point, the greater influence they have, though it's still usually severely limited.  The most ability they have in most cases is to flap cloth, lift extremely light objects, or shift very light objects.

If a Revenant inhabits an object, they have a limited form of communication with any Being in direct physical or magical contact with their habitation.  In some cases they can use actual words, other times they can only communicate with raw emotion.  Some Revenants that inhabit objects also have greater power to move the object they inhabit, able to alter the course/momentum of a weapon or tool for example.

In the case of Possession, the amount of power the Revenant holds is highly variable.  Some have only the power to observe through their host Body's senses.  Others are able to communicate with their host or influence the functioning of their Body.  The most powerful are even occasionally known to take partial or complete control of the body.

In all cases of Revenance, there are circumstances that can enhance their power and ability to act.  The more Revenants in a location, the greater each one's power becomes.  There is some magic that can empower them as well.  However, the best known (though still not very known) contributing factor in Revenants' power levels is time.  Nightmare Night's date isn't entirely coincidental, as it was placed on an annual date of importance.  On Nightmare Night, all Revenants experience an increase in their ability to influence the world for unknown reasons.  There are other times that affect their power, but Nightmare Night is the most important.

Interactions with Spirits

Most of the Living go about their business with no idea of the Spirits in the world around them.  There is, however, magic that can be used to see and communicate with them.  This is the realm of Mediums and Shamans through the use of Phasmancy.  Medium is used to refer to any Being who can communicate with Revenants, and most are unable to do any more than that.  Shamans, though, are able to empower and direct Revenants to do their bidding, oftentimes fueling their magic with the power of the Revenants themselves.

Any variety of Revenants' bonds are able to be molded or muted by trained Phasmancers.  They can capture Spirits, put them into objects or other Bodies, feed off of their energy, exorcise them from possessed Bodies or cause one to possess a Body, or any number of other things.  They can ward against them, empower them, or some of them can even force Ascension.  However, most forms of Phasmancy are considered one of the blackest kinds of magic and frowned upon greatly.

Any Phasmancy that would put a Spirit into another body or remove one also requires there to be a Corpomancer present as well, though not always.  Most Corpomancers who would do this are Necromancers, another quite reviled branch of magic.  For this reason, Phasmancy is one of the most secretive and regulated schools of magic.

Animancers, however, are able to combine Corpomancy and Phasmancy to produce different power entirely.  Though there are no records of any truly skilled practitioners of Animancy, theoretically a master Animancer would be able to manipulate life and death to a great degree, to the point where, if they chose, they could exist outside the cycle entirely, becoming immortal, or even enact True Resurrection, reforming Souls from their component parts of Body and Spirit.  It's likely for the best that nobody has ever become truly skilled in it.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 02:08:18 pm by Clairvoyance »

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Re: Death and the Dead: A Brief Guide (Headcanon)
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2015, 08:07:22 pm »
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Re: Death and the Dead: A Brief Guide (Headcanon)
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2015, 08:09:16 pm »
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