see also Aura and Monsters

Aura is the fundamental building block of the physical realm; out of varying mixtures and patterns of its seven elements are all things made. The four material elements — Earth, Air, Fire, and Water — confer physical substance, while the three fundamental elements — Space, Time, and Mind — dictate more abstract properties of existence. As the vast majority of aura is admixed into objects, accumulations of pure elemental energy are rare indeed; where they do occur, landscapes change and monsters arise. Rarer still are aura crystals, energy concentrated into solid form that is both aesthetically captivating and magically useful, yet also a potential hazard to everything around it.

Soul and Identity

see also Soulscape and Dreamwalking

A soul is the fundamental essence of a thing, its purest and truest definition, its Ideal. In this respect, all things have souls, from people on down to rocks and water. Souls are differentiated by their complexities, layers upon layers born of accumulated experiences and interwoven into distinctive patterns. It is generally understood that the souls of nonliving substances are simple and thus likely young, while living things are underwritten by more complex souls, and intelligent beings even more so.

Souls exist solely in the spiritual plane, the soulscape; they have no substance, no physical reality. Instead, when a soul projects into the physical world, it creates ripples analogous to how a rock disturbs the stream flowing around it. This pattern is the Identity of an incarnation, attracting layer upon layer of aura with elemental compositions that define the particular characteristics of its physical self. The end result is the manifestation of the soul within reality. This manifestation is never a wholly accurate representation, in the way that a black and white photograph does not capture the true colors of a scene; the physical plane simply cannot render all the details of a spirit. Thus does each incarnation of a soul differ from the last, while still remaining true to its central principles, its core Ideal.

An Identity takes its fundamental shape from the soul that casts it, but is much more malleable; it can change and develop over time, its contours adjusted by events and choices. Thus do things grow, change, and learn. Unlike the shadows and ripples it might be compared to, Identity also has the capability to change the soul behind it. These changes are typically minor in and of themselves, but can add up over multiple incarnations to become profound shifts in self.

Death and Reincarnation

see also Ghost

Bodily death disrupts the parts of an Identity that interface with material aura. As a result, the soul lets the remnants of its Identity dissolve, withdrawing into the soulscape to consolidate its experiences and prepare for its next incarnation. As time is a facet of the physical plane, when a soul reincarnates is highly variable; its return could be a matter of days or generations by the accounting of reality.

Because successive incarnations are products of the same soul, they share fundamental characteristics — but just what makes a fundamental characteristic differs from one soul to the next. Some always manifest with Identities of the same gender or species, while others carry forward particular passions, and still others pursue the same goals from life to life. Certain life events that may reshape the soul itself, such as deep relationships, Unity bonds, and Aspects, may also be echoed across successive lives as they become entrenched in the soul's nature and thus future Identities it projects.

Ghosts are a deviation from the normal process of death. A ghost is an Identity that has refused to surrender its existence and instead doubled down on its interface with the fundamental elements of aura. It thus lingers in the physical world as a disembodied entity, defined and driven by whatever obsession has prevented it from dissociating completely. Notably, ghosts never originate from simple fear of death, as that is wholly a product of physical existence; what drives them to remain is born from the shape of their soul. They may be driven to avenge their death, to protect family or friends who survived them, to complete some unfinished task, or by any of a number of other objectives. Ultimately, the only thing keeping a ghost in reality is their own choice, and they may end their existence and reenter the cycle of reincarnation at any time simply by changing that decision.


see also Dreamscape and Dreamwalking

Dreams take place one step outside reality, occurring at the interface between the physical and the spiritual. The dreamscape is a bubble that exists only as a construct of those who dream, transitory and changeable, shaped in reflection of the Identities that created it. In dreams, the laws of physics are decided by consensus, plausibility and rationality are irrelevant, and everything else to do with reality may be left by the wayside because there is nothing physical about the dreamscape — although it is indeed very real.

Dreams are the contemplations and experimentations of Identities, where the particulars of their patterns are tested, adjusted, and perhaps remade. In this way, dreams are the media of change, the mechanisms by which one's essential self integrates its experiences and absorbs the lessons those experiences taught; thus anyone who does not sleep (such as a ghost) finds it difficult indeed to change. By the same token, dreams may also serve as tests and trial runs, encapsulating worries and concerns the self holds close; through them, the Identity may prepare itself against events possible and impossible alike. Finally, because dreams exist nearer to the soul — to one's essential Ideal — than does consciousness, they can also be mirrors of hidden truths, reflecting inner secrets and past events that the waking mind finds disturbing or unwanted, things they would far rather ignore and forget.

Finally, dreams may be shared as different Identities brush against one another in the space outside space, a place where distance is meaningless. Those who have established connections and relationships, especially those with linked souls, are very likely to share dreams, but even complete strangers can find themselves together in the dreamscape — though such experiences generally dissipate from recall upon waking, just as with any other dream.

Divine Archetypes

see also Religion

A divinity, referred to by natural philosophers as an Archetype, is a persistent impression made by an Identity in the fabric of a world. Most things leave only ephemeral impressions of their existence; like ripples in water, the impressions soon smooth out and disappear, fading into the greater background of the world's energy. Archetypes originate in those who are impassioned and dedicated, who commit the greater part of their life to some ideal — and do so with such energy that the world itself retains echoes of their Identities. It is also necessary for such a person to bring others into the same fold. No Archetype — no deity — may exist in a vacuum, isolated from all others; because an Archetype has no soul backing it, it requires worshipers (Followers) whose commitment and dedication to the same ideals reinforce the patterns of the Archetype's Identity, preserving it through time.

Followers are also the means by which an Archetype continues to enact its goals. Being a soulless and bodiless echo, an Archetype has very little ability to affect the physical world. At the same time, its uniquely liminal existence as a self-contained Identity permits an Archetype direct access to the workings of other Identities. Thus, an Archetype can communicate with its Followers through the dreamscape and also reshape the patterns of their Identities to grant special abilities, many of which cannot be duplicated through either the spiritual magics nor with aural energy.

The Workings of Magic

see also Shamanism and Witchcraft

There are two independent mechanics that can be (and are) termed "magic". First is aural energy, the base material of physical existence, which in its pure elemental state wreaks spontaneous changes in the environment, creates monsters, and can be used as a component in certain magical workings. Aura can also confer uncanny abilities on items, though the process for doing so is not well-known. Second are the disciplines of shamanism and witchcraft, both of which are concerned with manipulating Identity and using it to realize desired ends.

Shamanism refers to a group of magics in which the practitioner works with Identity as a holistic concept. Its focus is on reshaping Identity wholesale, on using principles of similarity and sharing between Identities to effect desired ends, and on using one's own Identity as a conduit to access deeper levels of existence. The chiefest risks and consequences of shamanism involve large changes to the practitioner's Identity, ranging from inadvertantly reshaping their psyche to completely overwriting their Identity with another, such as that of an animal or even a stone.

In contrast, the various disciplines of witchcraft use rituals and foci to enact relatively precise changes in the target Identity. Witchcraft depends considerably on physical tools and reagents, and has difficulty making permanent changes due to the localized nature of its effects. As a large part of the subject Identity remains untouched, the affected portion tends to be spontaneously reshaped into its original form once the external influence is ended. A practitioner of witchcraft is susceptible to permanently changing facets of their own Identity, or even losing elements of it piecemeal.


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