18 October, 2018
There are numerous spirit realms, most overlapping two or three other in a vast interconnected labyrinthine puzzle. Most realms draw their stability from conscious minds inhabiting them, but some realms lie dimensionally adjacent to dozens of others, with doors connecting places that are with those that should not be. These realms leech energy from the living realms, and those that are most stable are those functioning as conduits and thoroughfares between more populous and vibrant parts of the multiverse.
Some of these realms attain notoriety in myth and legend, such as Yddragsil, or the River Styx. Other realms remain deliberately obscured from the wider community, such as the Eternal Stair and the crossroads of the Paths of Oblivion. Those who do know of the Eternal Stair, and the Paths of Oblivion, know that they intersect at a planar inn where spiritual nomads can find respite for a while on their journeys across the planes.
Those few who know of this hidden sanctuary also know that it has the most comprehensive collection of alcoholic spirits of anywhere in the known planes.
Some of the most beautiful gardens in the shadowlands appear to have delicate sculptures scattered throughout them. Observant wanderers in those gardens may notice that these sculptures still move ever so slowly, or may see them becoming one with the gardens as a ghost's mortal descendents start to forget their legacy. Those ghosts with a strong enough will, or self-awareness, learn to empower themselves through other means, eventually transcending their ghostly status to become something else entirely.
Across the realms, time can be an erratic commodity. In the physical world, time was regulated and harnessed by humanity, and in the adjacent realms time remains relatively constant, but in the far off realms it may move far more quickly or slowly than expected. Those who seek order across the realms have been known to install clock towers at crossroads and barrier thresholds. With dedicated monks tending them, they regulate the flow of time with chimes ringing out at specific intervals.
Such clock towers are always tended by conscious entities and are never automated, because it is observation from a divine spark that collapses the quantum wave and ensures reality remains intact. To maintain sanity, groups of monks are often stationed together, often working together to create musical passages with the clocktower bells. These musical passages reflect the changing hours, days and seasons, or may have encoded messages that secretly spread across reality.
Special thanks to Jeremy Smith for reviewing The Law.
17 October, 2018
Before their minds have been locked into societal norms and cultural paradigms, children are a wellspring of creativity and potential. Unburdened by the expectations of the mundane world, and still capable of following their deepest intuitions, they are often able to see through the barriers enshrouding the planes. They see the denizens of the spirit worlds as 'imaginary friends' or 'monsters under the bed', even though those same beings are unable to be seen by adults who have been programmed by the construct of 'maturity'.
The strongest children spiritually are often those who have a stronger affinity for the etherial and astral realms, this often means they are less attuned to the physical world, possibly rendering them physically weaker, or less mentally focused than the people around them. When forced to conform, they feel uncomfortable, socially awkward, and uneasy. Spirits value these children immensely, because they might have the potential to change the worlds with their dreams, or might have the potential to devastate them if they fall u der the influence of darker forces.
It's anthropocentric and arrogant for humans to believe that they are the only intelligent beings in the mundane world, many members of the ape family, many corvids, cephalopods, and tool using creatures scattered across the animal kingdom have enough of a divine spark to make their own mark on the spirit realms.
Perhaps the most powerful souls outside of humanity are the cetaceans, including dolphins and various species of whales. This might explain why a number of the spirit worlds consist of vast oceans with limited land masses, or with strange sunken ruins sprinkled across them.
There truly are some things in the spirit world that humanity wasn't meant to know.
The spirit realms often draw on the dreams of the mortals. Dreams of worlds that were, dreams of utopias yet to come, dreams of dystopias to be avoided, dreams of worlds that could have been but never were.
The native inhabitants of these realms naturally fit the environment where they are found, but when enough mortals stop thinking of a realm, those with self-awareness often flee to nearby realms and do what they can to masquerade their existence in a new home.
Animal spirits who lose their natural environments adopt humanoid forms in the urban spiritscapes, but retain their memories and the hardwired instincts of their former lives. Demonic succubi who have lost their hells take on more wholesome and sweet visages to blend in with the dreamscapes they now call home, but underneath linger the elements of darkness that formerly defined their existence.