Upon the death of any living being or creature in the Physical Plane, their corporeal body remains in the Physical Plane while their soul is carried to the River of Death, beginning their journey from the Physical to the Astral Plane to become astrals, or to the Void to be cursed forever.
While called a "River", what flows down the River is not actually water, but a cosmic substance that resembles a combination of mist and water. The flow continues down the River without the need for a gradient nor gravity; indeed all of the Precincts are utterly flat. Apart from the Eighth Precinct, the entire River is enveloped in a shroud of darkness, rendering it impossible to see clearly more than a few feet ahead.
A soul travelling through the Gates of Death is said to be under the "shackles of death", as they appear to travel down the River as if in a deep slumber. All dead souls have free access through the Gates of Death and pass through each harmlessly.
The Gates and Precincts Edit
The River of Death is separated into Eight Precincts by the Nine Gates of Death. Seven of the Gates separate the Eight Precincts from one another, with the First Gate between the Physical Plane and the River; the Ninth before the Astral Plane.
The "current" of the River constantly flows downwards from the First to the Ninth Gate, yet each of the Eighth Precincts has its own unique effect on the current's strength, temperature and the depth of the River. For example, the River within the First Precinct is only ankle-deep, warm and the current weak; the Fifth Precinct is much deeper and the River ice-cold to the touch. Similarly, each Gate of Death is also unique, with the Gates ranging from a wall of energy, and another an endless whirlpool.
Each of the Gates from the Second to the Eighth are protected by a Spirit of Death, each watching over the dead souls as they pass through the Gates. The Spirits of Death are also responsible for preventing any "awakened" souls from attempting to return back to the Living, as well as any others attempting to pass through the River who have not truly died.
The Spirits of Death are:
- Belisar (the Sleeper) of the Second Gate
- Varanis (the Waker) of the Third Gate
- Elkaroth (the Walker) of the Fourth Gate
- Khovat (the Speaker) of the Fifth Gate
- Dymani (the Thinker) of the Sixth Gate
- Orineth (the Binder) of the Seventh Gate
- Artavan (the Weeper) of the Eighth Gate
The Possibility of Resurrection Edit
Those souls who complete the transit through the River and enter into the Astral Plane are rendered completely unable to return to the Physical Plane in any way whatsoever.
However, by its very nature, while still travelling through the River, it is still possible to awaken deal souls through Death magic and return them back through the First Gate into the Living; this is termed a "Resurrection".
The awakening of a dead soul may only be performed by a Deathringer, or by those proficient in Death magic.
Though possible at all points along the River, the further down the River a soul is, the more difficult it is to awaken said soul and return them to their body in the Living. Other complications include the state of the corporeal body itself, which begins to decompose as soon as soul and body are separated. Consequently, returning a soul to a body too decomposed to inhabit renders the Resurrection ineffective, throwing the soul back into Death again, or creating abominations known as the "Dead".