The Spirit World in Cairne | World Anvil

The Spirit World

From the moment the gods left Cairne and its realm was cut off from the rest of the multiverse, no soul has moved beyond the borders, instead remaining trapped here to wander endlessly within the misty gloom of the realm between life and hereafter. This state of perdition affects every soul in its own way, and the realm in which they subsist is unique to each somehow, most remaining tragically unaware of their situation, what remains of their spirit trapped in a strange feedback loop of sorts, causing them to repeat a prevalent moment from their lives again and again. Regardless of the situation of their extended stay within these borders, the dead hold many secrets, and retain many things they had in life. Due to the uncanny nature of the Void to alter all it touches over time, some rare individuals have gained an acute sensitivity to these lost and wayward spirits that fill the world, unseen, and who's numbers grow by the day. The first documented case of this mutation was an unfortunate story, as the young girl was thought to have gone mad. It was not until some time after that Belinda Gray was discovered to have had this gift and it could be properly researched and eventually understood.   The Spirit World of Cairne overlays the mortal one in a perfect palimpsest, coexisting as one though hidden and invisible to all but the Spiritualist and the denizens of that realm that retain enough awareness to see it. Within that realm are points of variance as well, though these are extremely rare to find. Most are the result of something with tremendous power dying there and their spirit lingering on for some reason, saturating the location with the remains of their power and purpose and creating a lasting stain that even mortals without the gift of the Spiritualist can sense. These are divided into two categories, and both present unique opportunities and experiences for the Spiritualist that finds them.  
  • The Empathic Nexus is what occurs when a being of enormous power or presence dies and their spirit remains trapped in a place by some type of even that they are unable to find release from. Over time their residual power seeps into the location causing a disruption in the borders of the mortal realm and the Spirit World. In the event of this occurring, many spirits will be released to roam free among the living. While this has no real world impact generally, as most of these will be harmless spirits and remain unseen to the eyes of mortals, it will disrupt the area enough to cause disquiet, unease, and a general sense of foreboding among all who pass through the area. In the event a more powerful or malignant spirit find this however, this can change drastically, as once freed these more dangerous entities will go out of their way to do harm to any that cross their path. Should a Spiritualist be able to sooth or release the powerful entity that causes the nexus, the effects will fade over time and the border disruption close, sealing off the area once again and restricting passage between the two worlds.

  • The Black Gate is the result of a powerful and most often malignant spirit forcing a breach between the two worlds in an effort to come through into the mortal realms to pursue whatever vile purpose drives it. These tears in the fabric of reality are deadly, and the energy they create has the uncanny side effect of twisting any spirits that pass through it, changing peaceful and harmless specters, into dark and deadly versions of themselves called Shades. In these extremely rare cases the only way to seal this rift is by dominating and returning the offending spirit that caused it, or destroying the spirit entirely, though this is extremely difficult to do. If either end in achieved however, the tear will close rapidly, sealing the way. The Shades, however, will persist until destroyed.
  The Dead come in many forms within the Spirit World, most benign and unaware, some seeking help for some unfinished business, other existing and fully aware of their situation, and the rare and malignant souls that are either driven by pure evil and intense negative emotions, or those that were powerful enough in life that the bonds of death have only left them free to roam the world and continue to spread their malevolent intentions from beyond the grave. For those touched by this mutation, life is a seemingly endless and crowded place, and many do not survive it long, the constant awareness and unsettling nature of the presences around them too much to bear for the extent of their lives. Those that do persist, however, and learn to master this gift, become quite powerful and universally useful as well, gaining the ability to utilize the resources of the spirits around them as external sources of information, and even gaining the ability to invite of force spirits to work through them, and by doing so gaining access to the skills and abilities they had in life making a skillful Spiritualist very versatile. There are some cases where the Spiritualist can even push this gift further, using the spirits around them to fuel their own power or to even gain control of another living individual.   Over time, the Spiritualist learns of the denizens of the world that they alone can see, and what to expect from them, as the spirits themselves become aware of them as well granting them a respected place for most of the spirits that remain aware of their presence with rare exception, though it is the rare exceptions that make the Spiritualist's knowledge of these varying types of spirits such a key factor in their continued survival among the living.  
  • The Wisp is merely a leftover fragment of a soul either so old it has diminished, so young it has not had time to form completely, or so damaged that nothing of its former self remains. These tend to be almost playful, and while they are, in almost all cases unable to communicate, they will often lead the Spiritualist to something that they find interesting or are curious about. These spirits are general benevolent and harmless, though their lack of full cognizance means that the things they are curious about are not always safe or harmless in nature.

  • The Residual Spirit is by far the most common specter. While it is not impossible to communicate with them, they seem to be trapped in an ever repeating loop of an event or moment in their lives that was important in some way to them. Often this moment is that of their death, but not always the case. While communicating with them tends to only grant a minimum of information, this is not to say that they are not without their uses. Many a Spiritualist has been warned of dangers and pitfalls by the mere existence of these types of spirits, stuck in a loop that shows whatever hazard claimed their lives. These spirits can still be subject to invocation as well, as despite their state, they do still retain a great deal of memory and skill that they had in their lives, though these do tend to be the less powerful of entities to draw from.

  • The Undone are the spirits that have left behind some item, person, or event in their lives that was so poignantly incomplete, that it continues to be the sole focus of their existence in death as well. These spirits are communicative, but hyper focused on the thing they believe was left behind. They will assail the Spiritualist in many cases, begging or demanding that they complete this thing for them if they are made aware that the Spiritualist can understand them, though more often than not, these poor souls are bound to a location, allowing the Spiritualist to move on and ignore them if they so choose to...though this is not always the case, and some will ceaselessly follow the Spiritualist repeating their request or demands until they are either brought under the control of the Spiritualist or the deed is done. If the item of their request in honored, in almost every case the spirit will become docile and even helpful, freed from the binding drive they once knew.

  • The Watchers are a rarer form of specter, but for the most part content to let the living go about the business of their day to day lives as they linger. These ranks of the dead retain their awareness and memories from life, and for the most part are benign and can be convinced to help a Spiritualist if asked, though each retains an individual personality that must be navigated if the request of the Spiritualist goes against their nature. The Watchers tend to have been intelligent or skilled individuals in life, and some even retain abilities that can be manipulated through the inherent talents of the Spiritualist.

  • The Malevolents are aware of their situation, and angered by it. These entities, while generally bound to a location, go out of their way to cause mischief and mayhem in the lives of any living souls that happen into their paths. While the extent of their ability to manifest actions within the living world is limited, tales of poltergeists are usually a result of this type of spirit. Not unlike the Watchers in skill and ability, these are less likely to offer help to a Spiritualist. They will honor the Spiritualist's natural affinity for their world, but anyone traveling with the Spiritualist is fair game unless these remnants are brought in line by the Spiritualist and forced to behave. The upside of this type of spirit is that, while set in their nature, they tend to also be quite curious and will go out of their way listen in on conversations, and follow anyone or anything that moves through their bound locations, granting them an intimate knowledge of the area and the creatures that move through it.

  • The Malignants remain the the most viable danger in the Spirit World for the Spiritualist to encounter, as these rare entities hold no respect for the affinity of the Spiritualist to their realm. They exist only to seed pain and torment to the living and if given the chance, will attempt to overtake and wrest control over a Spiritualist's body in order to further be able to interact with the world of the living. These spirits are the remains of very powerful souls and are always bound to a specific location, requiring a physical form to escape it. They do offer tremendous amounts of skill and ability that can be drawn from if a Spiritualist is powerful enough to overcome and subdue them, but this is a dangerous game as the spirit, if left to do so, will eventually turn on the Spiritualist, often using devious means to force them into doing whatever they wish. They are extremely rare thankfully, are are often heralded by the stories of the living that they have torments, tales of violent hauntings and an some cases even possession. A Spiritualist should never take these lightly.

  • The Echoes are the remains of the old world, Cairne before the Blight. The spirits of the dead that remained in the world before the Void saturated existence are a much different kind of spirit, specters that had the opportunity to ascend to the afterlife but didn't either as a matter of faith, punishment, or choice. No matter the reason, they are always cognizant, aware, and retain both their intelligence and abilities from their former lives, though they can be fickle about sharing them. These spirits are not bound to the same laws as the rest, and while most will honor the affinity of the Spiritualist, there is not guarantee that they will. These should be approached with caution as the retain full free will and are seldom bound in any way to a location. Interactions with them can go any direction depending on the social skills of the Spiritualist, and even then can change over time.

  • Shades are what happens when events twist an otherwise harmless spirit into a cruel mockery of its former self, most often the result of them passing through a Black Gate. The creatures that are twisted in this way become visible as shadowed forms that are visible to the naked eye. They have an insatiable hunger for the living and will attack any mortal they see without hesitation, assaulting them relentlessly and draining their lifeforce entirely, leaving the husk behind which in turn twists the spirit of the slain individual as yet another shade, leading to an overwhelming pandemic of hungry Shades if not corrected quickly enough. To date only rumors of this type of event exist, but the threat is real and one that should be watched for. 

   


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