The Age of Man
The Structure of the Sentient Soul
Scholars at the College of the Inner Eye have long studied the very nature of what makes us who we are, what sets us apart from the simpler beasts of nature, and what happens to us when we die. Our research has shown conclusively that the souls of self-aware and sentient creatures are composed of three distinct parts, each of which reacts differently upon our deaths.
The Psyche is the part of the soul that is most strongly tied to the physical body, and contains our individual identity. The Psyche, in most cases, goes dormant upon death, fading away as the body decomposes. In rare situations, a creature’s psyche may refuse to recognize that it is dead, and may pull free of the body to linger in the places it roamed in life…such situations are the likely basis for tales of ghosts or haunted places. Without Spirit to enrich it, or Animus to fuel it, these reflections of a dead mind seek to parrot their habits from life until they accept the truth of their end.
The Spirit is the memory of the soul that records the experiences of life, internal or external. Upon death, the Spirit passes into the Bright Lands, where it journeys to the Lake of Souls. Within the lake, the Spirit is reintegrated into the whole, and those experiences become a permanent part of the whole. The College of the Inner Eye have unlocked rituals that allow a scholar to gain knowledge from the Spirits of the recent dead, and they theorize that it might one day be possible to tap into the Bright Land’s complete storehouse of experience.
The Animus is the engine of the soul, and it provides the spark of life that animates the flesh. Upon death, the Animus begins to dissipate…its energy slowly passing into the Bright Lands. There are methods within both science and magic to draw such dissipating Animus energy from the world in order to give brief life to inanimate objects, before the energy continues on towards its destination.
Non-sentient creatures typically have an Animus paired with a Psyche, though creatures containing an Animus and Spirit are not unheard of. In some rare cases, scholars have found evidence of a weaker version of a Spirit in creatures with a fully developed Animus and Psyche, but whether this is a sign of a creature evolving towards or away from sentience, or another phenomenon altogether, is currently unknown.