It is said that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is especially true when it comes to things such as ecosystems and communities. A forest is not just a bunch of trees and rocks and animals, it's a being in its own right, with a soul of its own. The same goes for lakes and marshes and mountains. Add these all together and the land itself becomes a being of its own, also with a soul.
Composite beings, Spirits and the SoulEdit
These beings; forests, mountains etc, that are the result of groups of other beings coexisting, are referred to as composite beings. They have no physical body or sentience of their own, but are made up of all the beings that are part of it. Despite not having a body, a composite being will still have a soul.
Souls and composite beingsEdit
Souls are in and of themselves not able to interact with the world. They need a medium or a tool of some sort - both for input and for output. In almost all cases this need is satisfied by a body who handles both input, through senses, and actions, through muscles. Composite beings are an exception. They have no body to serve as interface between the soul and the world.
For input the soul of a composite being taps into the senses and emotions of all the individual beings it consists of. If an animal in the forest is scared by a sound the soul of the forest feels it. If a flower feels warmth in the sun the soul of the forest feels that too.
Output is different. As has been mentioned already composite beings don't have bodies of their own. It is generally not possible for them to use the bodies they are made up of to perform actions, as each of these bodies already have their own souls controlling them. Instead, composite beings act through manipulating the aether directly. They use magic.
The ability of composite beings to use magic has long been shrouded in mystery. Throughout history multiple attempts at explaining the magic wielded by composite beings have been made. While the theories do vary a bit the most common recurring theme is that of incorporeal beings, or spirits. What these theoris eventually boil down to is that the world is filled with invisible spirits who protect the land.
The idea that the land is protected by mysterious spirits is common in all cultures. It is a concept well understood and generally accepted as true. Throughout the ages scholars of all races have studied or attempted to study spirits; both to understand them better and to control them. Much have been written and much have been said. Spirits of different kinds have been classified, behaviour has been documented and experiments have been made. A lot of this information have proven to be both correct and even useful to people having to deal with the spirits of the land.
The true nature of spiritsEdit
Despite all this research the existence of spirits has always been shrouded in mystery. No one has ever been able to conclusively prove what spirits are or how they come to be. Priests, scientists, shamans, magicians and kinds of other learned people have been seeking this answer throughout all known history - and probably before that too.
Until very recently the search for the truth about the nature of spirits seemed a fruitless endeavor. Then finally a breakthrough was made. A research team consisting of scientists and theoretical magicians were eventually able to conclusively disprove the existence of spirits. Spirits as they were thought to be don't actually exist. The actions that have traditionally been ascribed to spirits are all really the consequences of magic wielded by the souls of composite beings.
The discovery was highly controversial in the academic world but was accepted with merely a shrug of the shoulders among the greater public. The common opinion seems to be that "the soul of a composite being" is just a convoluted way of referring to a spirit for all the difference it makes to everyday life. In some sense this is true. Just because spirits don't exist the knowledge about that which was believed to be spirits doesn't become obsolete. The soul of a composite being made up of a forest acts the same way it's always done, the same way the spirit of the forest was believed to act. For all practical intents and purposes they are the same thing
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Different types of spiritsEdit
Technically all composite beings are the same. However, when seen as spirits of the land there are some differences, mostly depending on the type of land. A spirit of a forest would share some behavioural traits with spirits of of other forests, but not with spirits of cities or mountains or deserts.
Below is a short list with names for different types of spirits.
- Tiived - spirit of the forest
- Tiiraved - spirit of the jungle
- Innastarn - spirit of the city
- Innastuhin - spirit of the village
- Plaskin - spirit of the swamp
- Grahim - spirit of the marsh
- Vissla - spirit of the moorland
- Tann - spirit of the mountain
- Untann - spirit of the plain
- Tannuhin - spirit of the hills
- Renu - spirit of the desert