The Path of the Living

 

The soul within the flesh endures the pain of living, unconsciously looking for release. The spirit waters bathe every sentient mortal from conception to birth. Upon birth the soul is introduced in ignorance, eventually finding its way to understanding. The soul walks in flesh upon the Known World, maturing and awakening. Each experience gives substance to the soul, enriching it. Most people never live up to their potential, spending their days in idleness. Rarely does the soul mature to full enlightenment. The everyday person is born and dies, returning to the Well to be reborn again. Reincarnation is common among the living, though few are aware of it.

 

Mortals have many paths they might choose. They might walk the path of the hero; it is a lonely path, but one of ultimate reward. If a hero lives on in the memory of others, he may achieve immortality. His spirit remains on earth with his tribe or ascends to the Celestial Spheres. A few heroes even become gods.

 

A mortal might walk the path of the righteous, becoming a priest or holy being. Such a path has its rewards as well. This individual is close to her god, who may reward her and invite her into the Celestial Spheres. In the Spheres, servants of the gods, whether priests or heroes, may find a heaven where they dwell in eternal bliss.

 

A mortal might walk the path of the damned: a cursed road. Fate and the gods recognize those who would thwart their will. As each god has a heaven, each may also have a hell: a place of eternal punishment set aside for nefarious and unruly souls. Malicious souls without a god to mete out punishment find Fate at their doors. Some few escape their destiny and become Leviathans.

 

What each mortal does in his life affects his afterlife.

 

I have walked the path of the living many times. After seven lives did I realize my path: I am to walk with my goddess, Celundynn.

 

The Path of the Dead

 

Death is not the end; it is only the beginning of another journey.

 

Where a soul goes after death depends on the path it walked in life, though all paths lead in one of three directions: to the Well of Souls, to the Celestial Spheres, or back to the Known World, usually near the mortal’s race or place of origin. A mortal path of idleness or incomplete maturity leads a soul back to the Well of Souls. The righteous find homes in the kingdoms of their gods. Heroes and the damned might also travel to their gods, or they might remain in the Known World.