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[personal profile] gone_byebye
Ray works mostly with the spirits of the dead. They're simple enough. You start with a living person, with their thoughts; you feed them emotion, dedication, obsession, purpose- you give them charge and focus. Focus becomes attachment, a binding between the realm of the living and the dead; when the time comes and the person dies, their spirit fails to completely breach the Wall, and a part of them remains behind. Maybe it's an accident. They happen often enough. Maybe it's on purpose. There's records galore of this or that person who vowed to make their killers (or their families, or something) regret their deaths. What matters is that when the time comes, whether it's through thought or pure charged emotion, a part of them refuses to let go.

The ghosts that wander Ray's world are, for the most part, torn and incomplete beings. The low-level ghosts outnumber the high-level ones, because it's far more common for a person on the verge of death to have such a spike of regret, or of odd fixation on something that remains undone that the one part alone fails to let go. Such ghosts are creatures of emotional strength and little thought, their energies drawn from the etheric plane that sustains all spirits, swirling around a central cortex. The more potent ghosts are the ones born of purpose or of mental acuity. They have enough invested in themselves, or their world, or their lives that they actively resist the final crossing. Low-level ghosts are torn, failing things, forgotten selves with only aspects to draw upon; higher-level are incomplete, but still themselves. They have volition and will, where others have only impulse.

But they, too, are ultimately torn, because the world of the living is not for them. A living being is spirit and matter both; a ghost, spirit only. Even one of the innumerable other beings of the etheric plane, such as a demon or an Outsider, does not entirely belong in the realm of the living. They can be banished, barred; they can fall prey to barrier and condition and timing. For all their trying they cannot quite make the world of the living their own.

It leads to anger, and- yes- to fear, and suffering, both from those who've died and those who live on, wanting to know what lies beyond, or what became of others. And it leads to confusion and misconception, when it deals with spirits who never were of this plane to begin with. It's a bad situation all around.

It comes of having walls. What was meant as protection, or even only as filter, becomes challenge and insult and grounds for fear. There are other ways of separating realms, and Ray is familiar enough with one of them. He did, after all, note to Peter once that he was present at an undersea, unexplained, mass sponge migration.And the realm of the sea is as alien and strange in its own ways as the realm of the dead...

This is how you build it, then.

Whatever beings may live on the world yet unknown and yet unnamed, they are beings of mind and spirit as well as matter. Let their spirit world be present in their everyday lives; let the living and the dead interact, if they need to. But make it such that the strength of the spirits and their world surges and recedes, never touching all the world at once and leaving some areas alone entirely. Let there be spirit realms into which only the most potently prepared explorers can venture, and even then never for very long; else why live? Death and life are natural, and all that exists will die someday.

(He won't admit to the other possibility. A new world should not be built with a door for the Outsiders to intrude. Cthulhu and his ilk may touch on his universe from their own strange realms, but not this one.)

The spirit tides are a part of the new world's existence, and always will be- and with that metaphor comes another: the tide-pools. There will be places, times, spaces in the day when patches of the spirit realm's touch remain even though all the rest has fallen back. The tide-pools are where those unwilling to go into the Deeps and fully become spirit stay. Their own ecosystem, as it were- hard work to maintain, and only for the tenacious, but a place where living and dead can meet for a time and intermingle without wrongness. When the tides rise again, and fall again, they can leave or not as they like.

All life came from the sea in the beginning; all life returns to the sea in the end.
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Raymond Stantz

February 2014

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