Today’s post is going to be about spirits, the restless dead, and faeries.
Spirits or “inbetweeners” comprise of things like ghosts (the psychic/spiritual remains of a dead being, typically humans), tulpas (thought forms), poltergeists (animate psychic energy), and similiar beings. All spirits live in the ethereal plane aka Between. Some groups are broken up into further classification. For example, ghosts can be death echos (essentially a psychic recording of a moment – commonly the moment of death – that is so important to them that leaves a mark on reality), spectors (powerful ghosts capable of affecting the material world), apparitions (ghosts who cannot affect the material world at all), and so on. There are dozens of subtypes of ghosts. Most spirits avoid the world of the living and eschew the living who try to interact with them. They exist in their own world (often in the place they died) and carry on ghostly repetition forever. Those who are aware they are dead or were never human in the first place rarely reenact the things they did in life.
This does bring up another point – inhuman spirits. Inhuman spirits are things like banshee, incorporeal demons, and even angels are technically spirits and can visit Between, but that is not where they are from or made. Such beings are detailed in their respective sections.
The fae have an odd beginning in Ceteri. They are the spawn of fallen angels and nameless ones (i.e, lovecraftian horrors from beyond reality). They eventually settled into the remains of the Garden of Eden (aka Arcadia). Being so close to the original home of mankind further changed them. In many ways they are what mankind was before the fall. This is most prevalent in the nobles of the fae, the sidhe, who are more or less simply better than a stock human.
That said, fae come in all types and sizes and from all corners of the globe. Most monsters endemic to legend in a culture are simply a brand of faerie. For example, the yunwi tsunsdi of Cherokee myth are just a type of demifey endemic to America. What most people think of when they think of the fae are those found in Europe and the surrounding areas. Afterall, the sidhe settled in Ireland and ruled from there. Which brings us to the split in faerie types: inlander (those born on Earth) and outlander (those born in Arcadia). The latter have been sealed away for centuries after the Great Departure between 1600 and 1700. John Dee managed to trick the High King into departing with his court back to Arcadia and many of his vassals went with him (though not all).
The fae are also divided into four courts – one per season – and ruled by two queens (Summer for Titaina and Winter for Mab) and two kings (Spring for Oberon and Autumn for the Erlking). All fae “belong” to one of these courts and owe their allegiance to one of the monarchs.
Among the myriad number of fae the sidhe alone deserve special mention. The sidhe are the most human-looking of the fae and are considered the ruling class by most. In general, fae love to make deals, compacts, and covenants with mortals, but the sidhe love it even more. The sidhe are also among the most magically powered races in existence owing to their unique heritage.
All fae are susceptible to iron and to a lesser degree steel and avoid it completely. They dislike loud noises and can assume a human seeming with ease. They can be bound using their true name and if asked something three times they must ensure that it is true. They dislike hearing their true name uttered aloud and must keep to the letter of any promises or pacts they make. They are affected by liminal energy and cannot enter a house uninvited (though some household fae such as brownies seem to be able to ignore this). Outlander fae can also become invisible at will and open portals to Arcadia/Faerie/Underhill as well. Outlander fae can be damaged by extremely loud noises such as church bells ringing.
In the Ceteriverse the term restless dead specifically refers to physical or corporeal undead. This might be zombies raised by voodoo ritual or magic or mummies who have been cursed to their current forms. It also includes other forms of vampires in the setting such as the penanggalan or jiangshi and other dead beings that have bodies. The restless dead typically got the way they are by curses or dark magic, but sometimes they just spontaneously occur. At least one mummy in the setting arose from the dead because he’d been in the wrong place in the afterlife and was sent back. A side effect of being one of the restless dead is that it cannot also have a ghost or spirit form, that is, you cannot have the ghost of a person and have their body being a zombie. The soul of the person either moves on to the afterlife it’s destined for (rarely) or is stuck in the body of its corpse until destroyed. The Conclave considers raising the dead (and most forms of necromancy) to be against its rules and it’s a surefire way to end up in the Donjon or summarily executed.
Picking Over the Bones
And that’s it for the fae, restless dead, and spirits. Up next are angels and demons.