Souls whose flow between the afterlife and the antelife are broken, the Raen are souls who are doomed to wander through Vita. Unless they bond with a body, their soul begins to disintegrate, corrupting the world around its incorporeal form.
Being a Raen
A Raen, when not attached to a body, can only interact with the world in vague ways. They do not remember everything about their past life, only imprints of memories and emotions. The longer a Raen remains a bodiless soul, the more these memories fade.
As soon as the soul is detached from a body, the corruption process begins. The components of the soul begin to disintegrate, corrupting the world around it. While living beings cannot physically touch an unbonded Raen, the soul of the Raen forces the world around it to enter into a state of necrosis. Plants die, water becomes fetid, and living things become sicker and weak. The longer that the Raen has remained bodiless, the more devastating the corruption becomes.
For the Raen, the longer it remains unbonded, the more it forgets about its previous life, its personality, and its memories.
Becoming a Raen
In Vita, the flow of life is circular. Upon death, the soul joins the afterlife, waiting to enter the antelife (the stage of new life). For the Raen, however, that flow becomes broken. When the body dies, the soul cannot complete the cycle of reincarnation, and they become stuck in the spiritual world, unable to reincarnate.
Any race can become a Raen; it is simply a very rare happenstance. Some think that it is a sort of karmic retribution; that the inability to continue the flow of reincarnation is an indicator that someone was a bad person in life, but in actuality, it is just a random and unfortunate happenstance.
The Spirit Tendrils
Spirit tendrils are what the Raen call the fibres that bond them to a body, but in reality they are just malleable parts of the soul that are able to wrap around a body. Think of an octopus, but in the spiritual realm - their tentacles wrap around the fish, bringing the fish to the mouth of the octopus for dinner. In a spiritual sense, these are the spirit tendrils of a Raen.
The spirit tendrils are only active when the Raen is close to a body they wish to bond with. At other times, the tendrils are simply another part of the Raen's soul.
Bonding to a Body
When the Raen comes into contact with a body they wish to inhabit, they reach out with their spirit tendrils and begin to wrap around the other body's soul. The Raen can only bond with a body that has a living, sentient soul (of any race) inside: they cannot bond with a dead body, nor can they bond with animals. As a result, the Raen have a terrible choice. They can remain a soul that disintegrates and corrupts the natural world, fading away to nothingness, or they can bond with a body to survive - but in the process, kill the other soul.
If they choose to inhabit the body, it is a slow and torturous process for both the Raen and the other's soul. The Raen must seek out the soul in the body and begin to crush it. The other soul might fight back, and sometimes even fight off the Raen completely. However, it takes a lot of effort and requires the other soul to be extremely mentally strong. If the Raen is forced off, the Raen becomes weak and must wait some time to recuperate the strength needed to bond again.
If they cannot fight the Raen off, the soul is 'crushed' and they are killed in the process. The Raen then inhabits the body, ending the corruption process of the unbonded soul.
- Note: The Raen, to stay bonded to the body, must always consciously have a grip with their spirit tendrils on the bonded body. This means that in moments of great stress, or illness, the Raen might unconsciously release their grip on the bonded body, and their soul will go back to their incorporeal state. In this instance, the soulless body cannot be reinhabited, as it is now dead.
The Raen and the Bond
Once the Raen has bonded with a body, they have a choice. Either they can take the body and live their own life elsewhere, or, the more common choice, they can adopt the identity of the new body and continue living seamlessly as the previous soul.
The Raen often do not have any memories (or not very strong ones) of their previous life, and so will choose mostly to live as the stolen identity of the body they are inhabiting. Commonly the Raen will have observed the previous soul before bonding in order to seamlessly adapt their life.
A Raen can live, theoretically, indefinitely in the bonded body. There are two mitigating factors, however, which lead to the Raen leaving the body. Firstly, when the bonded body dies of old age or through combat, etc, the Raen will immediately be released from the bonded body and go back to being an incorporeal soul.
Secondly, and the more common reason for leaving a bonded body, the longer the Raen remains bonded with a body, the more insane and feral the Raen will become. The body attempts to 'reject' the strange soul from the body (hence why the Raen must maintain a conscious grip on the bonded body), and this wears mentally on the Raen. However, this happens gradually over time. Some Raen can withstand it for longer, leading to years of being bonded to one body, while other Raen are more affected, tending to body jump more frequently.
- Note: a Raen still has to eat and drink, though they themselves are dead, for they must keep their bonded body alive and healthy.
The psychology of the Raen are as varied as any other race. The majority of Raen feel a constant melancholy and guilt, for to ensure their survival they are required to kill other souls every time they bond with a body. Others, however, feel that it is their right to do so, and that their own survival is paramount.
Secrecy and introversion are common aspects of the Raen. Often they must keep their true identity a secret, in order to pass as the previous person. As a result, there are rarely communities of Raen, and it is exceedingly rare to be aware that the person you are talking to is even a Raen at all.
The Raen are more likely to adopt the culture of their bonded body for ease of secrecy and assimilation. For the Raen that choose to live their own life and identity, they most often become loners and wanderers, or hermits, for they do not truly fit into any culture.
A Raen can only be created through death. However, the bonded body can still reproduce (both as a male or female) with other bodies. The child created will be the DNA of the bonded body, and being a child of a Raen does NOT make it more likely that upon death they will become a Raen either.
Perception of the Raen
The Raen are despised by nearly all people, seen as murderers and imposters. A Raen revealing their true identity will most often be 'killed' or driven out of their community.
The Raen and Magic
Magic is a bit of an oddity for the Raen. When they are inhabiting a body, they have access to that body's magic from the previous life. The Raen can, technically, perform magic.
However, the mona view the Raen as an aberration, and will often reject or backlash against the Raen attempting to cast a spell. It is incredibly, incredibly rare for a Raen to perform magic successfully, and nearly never happens unless there is a special reason or bond with the mona.
If the body the Raen comes to inhabit is a galdori or wick, that Raen will technically have a field, but it will be weaker once the Raen inhabits the body and they will lack the ability to control their field in the same disciplined manner as a galdor or a wick. The field will become frayed and wild without use, fading only slightly away as the mona continues to reject the Raen's existence, but may occasionally flare to life again like a miniature diablerie of a passive because the mona is attempting to reject the Raen from its host body.
In an unbonded Raen, if it was a galdori or wick in its past life, the mona will still attempt to reject their existence. In these instances, the Raen becomes briefly visible in the corporeal world, appearing as a shadowy luminescent echo of their former self.
The Raen and Abilities
The Raen does not, however, have the ability to perform everything the previous soul was able to. If the previous soul was able to use a sword, the Raen doesn't inherit that knowledge. However, knowledge across bodies becomes accrued, and can lead to the oldest Raen being extremely adept at many different things.
A phasmonia, or "city of ghosts", is a small village built outside towns and cities to house unbonded Raen souls. The Raen (often called ghosts by living races) are feared and despised, but often larger cities will set up phasmonia as a way of attempting to appease the unbonded soul and convince them not to possess other bodies.
Read more about phasmonia here.
While extremely long-"lived", the Raen are not immortal. They can "live" up to 500 or so years, but eventually the souls of all Raen will disintegrate. This will not happen while bonded to a body, but as soon as a Raen is unbonded, their soul will disintegrate and disappear. It is not known what happens to a Raen when this happens, as they simply disappear, and do not rejoin the reincarnation cycle.
- You must start a Raen bonded. You cannot begin as an unbonded Raen.
- You may, however, write memory threads of being unbonded.
- Players cannot start a Raen any older than 200 years.
- You can possess PCs and important NPCs, but it requires moderator permission.
- You cannot start a Raen able to conduct magic. The body possessed can be magical, but it requires RP for the mona to successfully allow you to perform magic.
- You cannot memory thread as your previous life.
- Your name will be your name from your previous life. In posts you may adopt the name of the body you're inhabiting, but your account name will be your original name.
- It is possible to, through roleplay, die as another race and become a Raen. This requires moderator approval.