Spirit Realm

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The World Tree, where the lifestream and all magic is said to flow from. Tens of thousands of planets branch out from it.

The Spirit Realm (also known as The Spirit World, the Netherworld) is an incorporeal dimension parallel to the physical plane of Eternia, where Spirits and other supernatural entities reside, unseen to most. When a creature dies, they're said to pass into this world for an unspecified amount of time, considered the afterlife and eternal resting ground of all living things. Countless myths and beliefs have accumulated regarding the unseen aspects of the Spirit Realm, given its magical and boundless nature.

The many realms of the netherworld can be seen within the distant stars at night, as if peering into it through the sky directly, as each individual star is another floating world within this plane. Indeed, the saying 'the dead watch over the living from above' certainly has merit. The color of a star correlates with the individual worlds, where a bright gold one might be a planet in Vanaheim, or a bleak black star (known as a void star) represents the desolate planets of Helheim. An endless cosmos that's as mysterious as it is enchanting.

While it's nigh impossible to enter the Spirit World without the aid of a highly focused, magically intense ritual (such as powered by a Starstone), there are known Points of Convergence through Eternia that act as a middle ground between the two. Highly unstable, magically charged regions that have supernatural mutations that vary depending on where it aligns with the Spirit Realm. This also acts as a gateway for incorporeal creatures to slip back and forth, with the more powerful of them able to sustain themselves indefinitely within Eternia.

Characteristics

The Spirit Realm operates on a different set of rules than the physical world. The realm is seemingly infinite in every direction, geographies vary radically and often morph on whim, and gravity is not always constant. A common sight in the Spirit Realm is the physical manifest of the lifestream in the form of tangible, spiraling streams of energy gliding around landscapes and horizons across the floating planets and endless sky. The realm is populated by both humanoid and non-humanoid spirits.

Realms

While seemingly infinite in scope and with a maze-like geography that's constantly changing, the Spirit World is defined by eight major realms. These are:

Yggdrasil, Tree of Convergence

The centre of the Spirit World where the flow of life-stream ultimately meets, weaving up against a trunk several miles tall. Its leaves shimmer brilliantly, primarily in silvery blues among the greens. The spirits of fae nest here, with newborns being produced from within the Great Tree before springing to life in the physical realm. The Angel Thediel theorised that fae often companion with humans with good intentions because of the conditions they're born under: "They know the lifestream and its complexities, its in their soul. And to know the lifestream is to know the heart of man."

High above, distantly, is a white star that resembles Eternia's sun in many ways. It's said that this is the final world of the ascended.

Vanaheim, Realm of the Exalted

The realm closest to Yggdrasil, and also the smallest. Nigh-impenetrable silver walls surround it and the tree, and the city itself is something out of a dream, surpassing any man-made structure. An essence may be permitted to enter if they've accomplished great deeds within their lifetime. The grand spirit entrusted with the governance of this realm is known as the Overseer, granted by the Divine Dragon Ryujin.

Joruheim, Realm of the Brave

On the outskirts of  Vanaheim's great wall is Joruheim, a large realm with many armored spirits acting idols. The essences of warriors that lived and died by a code often find themselves wandering here, with Joruheim's occupants mostly being made up of Wardens: the rangers of the Spirit World, tasked with protecting the borders of the other realms and enforcing the laws, as well as aiding in the protection of Vanaheim if need be.

Helheim, Realm of the Lost

An essence burdened by its actions in life will often unknowingly wander toward the borders of Helheim. The edges of the realm are bare and dry, the spiralling streams of life energy found within the Spirit World almost non-existent here. The deeper one ventures the colder it becomes, and the less likely they are to turn back as their guilt seems to entice them to keep moving.

The many fractured, floating worlds of Helheim are governed (or rather, controlled) by the the Nethradin, demonic spirits that often torment and feed off of the unfortunate. If an essence is able to overcome these troublesome creatures, they may realize the strength to escape Helheim, though very few do. The Nethradin themselves were once the same burdened spirits that failed to escape and eventually lost the memories of who they were, changing their form over the centuries that followed. 

The Marquis are Lords of Hel that control organized swathes of territory. There are never more than five, and on the rare occasion that they get together to throw banquets of debauchery and sacrifice, it has dire consequences for Eternia as a whole.

The long river Styx crosses through much of Helheim like a scar across its black sky. The faces of those desperate enough to contract with a demon can be seen beneath the waters, as well as the fallen essence's that chose to drown themselves in the river rather than seek redemption.

Alfheim, Realm of the Meek 

Alfheim is one of the biggest realms within the Spirit Realm, the lands in which the non-magi spirits go in death as well as those who desired a life free of conflict. It is a place of peace and recovery.

The land itself is that of a calm pastoral scene, a relaxing expanse of endless hilly grasslands and warm winds. To some, it could be seen as a paradise, the rains and cooling winds from Uraheim balanced with the drifting heat from Infraheim, underlied by the calm, neutral stability of Terraheim.

Small villages and settlements of spirits that once were common farmers, craftsmen, peasants and other regular folk exist within this realm, honoring the Wardens of Joruheim who protect them, and living out modest lives much as they did in life.

Uraheim, Land of Water

Uraheim is a land of ice and water, the cold to Infraheim’s hot. Great land-masses of ice cover the Land of Water, while spirits of the ocean and its denizens live under the surface.

Ifraheim, Land of Flame 

A land of fiery, mountainous volcanoes and endless smoke. Passion and life fuel Ifraheim, always bursting with energy.

Terraheim, Land of Mountain

Terraheim is a neutral, craggy realm that borders both Infraheim and Uraheim, giving balance to each by acting as a border with hundreds of stoney worlds. It is the land of elemental earth, the stability that grants form and resists the movement of air and the acceleration of lightning, while preventing the boiling realm of Infraheim and the icy realm of Uraheim from crossing into one another.

This land is a temperate balance of the forces, the endless rock containing minerals such as soul steel, which is said to help keep the Spirit Realm itself stable.

The spirits here of those of balance and compromise. To take something requires something else to be given in its place.

Types of Spirits

Divine Spirit

The Divine Spirits that helped to create the world. Each is the avatar of a particular aspect of Eternia.

Primordial

Ancient, powerful spirits that are either descendants of the divine or were present in strength prior to the mythical era.

Idol

Exalted spirits that govern a region in the spirit world; sometimes they amass followings in the physical realm. They are known to sometimes commune and even advise humans.

Essence

A human spirit! They retain their memories in life, though can adapt and change over their afterlife.

Elemental

For every river, mountain, or forest, there's an elemental in the Spirit Realm. While these are unseen in the living realm (unless a person has abilities that allow them to do so) these greater elementals are the 'spiritual' aspect of the physical.

Wisp

Small, lesser spirits. The spirits of most animals become wisps on death, varying greatly in size and shae.

Nethradin

Nethradin are corrupted Esssence spirits, often after spending many years in Helheim. They serve one of the five Marquis, the great rulers of Hel, and by extension the transcendental force of evil that humans might refer to as 'chaos' or the 'dark lord' that governs the realm with as much power as a Divine Spirit.