Faith has a special place in soul theory and clockwork theology: Those who have intensively studied the makeup of the Great Clockwork
and the human soul either through classic clockwork theology, meaning the intensive study of Yilik's scriptures, or modern clockwork theology, meaning the experimental study of the soul, have discovered that genuine faith directed at a soul can actually affect that soul.
In the Scriptures of Yilik, an often overlooked passage elaborates on the significance of faith. In it, Yilik quotes the Avatar of the Great Clockwork, Jamphel Yeshe (which was its name before it changed to the current day Sanatana):
"Tell me then, do you desire my devotion? Should I spread word of your glory and have those beneath you bow their heads in worship?" I asked the mighty apparition.
And Jamphel Yeshe looked onto me with great indifference in his eyes: "I have no need of your faith or anyone else's, but it is a potent lens through which the soul can light a mighty fire."
"And when it does," I replied, "what does it burn?"
To this, the apparition only smiled.
Experimental research by Miyako Fluxum clockwork theologists has shown that genuine faith directed at artificial souls placed in an appropriate totem will lead to measurable changes in the De Vries Field
of such souls and, by extension, souls in general.
The influence exerted on such souls expresses itself in the following ways.
- The soul begins to grow more powerful as measured by an increase in both soul power and soul flops.
- The individual footprint of the soul begins to change slightly.
From these observations and additional research, these two fundamental aspects of soul theory were formulated:
The Pillar Theorem
When achieving certain stages of enlightenment, people can behold the Great Clockwork and in turn gain the ability to peer into it when they concentrate. Peering into the Great Clockwork, coupled with certain training, can allow such people to divine present and future events and detect 'moods' in the fabric of destiny.
Not content with having to conform to esoteric practices to observe and research the Great Clockwork, researches of the United Ocean Belt Technocracy developed a powerful technamagic device called a R.E.A.L-C. (Reality Eroding Active Lensing Chamber), which allowed them to forcefully reveal parts of the Great Clockwork for inspection.
This allowed for the study of the GC in a controlled laboratory environment and lead to a number of seminal discoveries, which would later enable the UOBT to develop their impressive jump drive technology.
During their observations, clockwork theologists realized that the gears as which the souls within the Great Clockwork were visualized were different from each other in appearance: Notably, some were smaller while others larger, and other yet had the shape of enormous, turning pillars that seemed to take up prominent spots in the metaphorical machinery.
Clockwork theologist Dr. Svetlaya Ester theorized and gave mathematical and empirical proof (using the R.E.A.L.-C. of the Van Maxwell School of Logic and Sciences) that such pillars could be created by projecting faith onto souls within the Great Clockwork.
While the faith of a small number of people would likely have only a marginal impact, in large enough quantity, souls subjected to directed faith could grow significantly in power. This, while being only one way of empowering souls, is the only way to do so with souls that are part of the Great Clockwork. Other methods require the soul to be bound up in a human being.
Among the most powerful souls bound to living beings are those belonging to the Old Gods and their Valkyries.
This is because during the Old World, the Old Gods drank of the Well of Wyrd, an intersecting point between reality and the Great Clockwork, granting them supernatural power and agelessness (id est immortality, albeit they could still be killed if enough effort was put into it). After the shattering of the well, fragments of Wyrd were still kept and treasured by the Old Gods and implanted into the souls of their Valkyries, granting them comparable powers.
The Wyrd within their souls altered them to be strongly connected to the Great Clockwork and directly draw magic from it as though they had permanently opened inner gates. While making them immensely powerful, it also lead to unexpected consequences: As an indirect part of the Great Clockwork and the canon of faith they themselves created to ensure their rule, their souls became subject to large amounts of that very faith, growing more powerful but also being altered over the millennia.
If interviewed today, Allfather Odin would be hard pressed to remember his life before he partook of the Well of Wyrd. He no longer knows that neither "Odin", not the many other names attributed to him were ever his real name, and he no longer remembers how he rose to power. This is not because he forgot over the ages, but because his soul was fundamentally altered by faith projected onto it from both the living and the collective subconscious, a sub-layer of the Great Clockwork.
Ancient ideals and believes from worlds long lost were slowly projected onto Odin's soul, twisting and changing it to turn him into the embodiment of the stories that were being told about him.
This phenomenon was classified as the so-called "Weird Soul" conjecture. Such souls slowly erode their own spirit, id est, their personality, turning into a living pillar of the Great Clockwork. However, the process is very slow and subtle and only eternal beings like the Old Gods and Valkyries eventually fall victim to it completely.
Key souls such as the Five Keeper souls, which generate their own pockets of faith by virtue of the deeds of their many incarnations, are also affected by the Weird Soul phenomenon, but due to their regular life span, it generally manifests itself only via minor expressions of certain personality traits, called "Paragonization".