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A theory on the nature of Heaven and Hell by the archmage Talbeln Veridimus.


== Presentation ==
Heaven and Hell are unique spiritual realms existing within the same universal array as Felarya.  While each has its own unique properties, they are somewhat similar because of their relationship to one another; not only do the realms sit in diametric opposition, but they each have a unique polarity of sorts. Both of them are truly immense and ever-changing worlds, arranged in a myriad of sub-worlds, too numerous to count. Heaven is a realm comprised of "positive" energy, inhabited by beings that are halfway between energy and matter.  Likewise, Hell is a realm of "negative" energy, where the dominant life forms are comprised of negative energy/matter. This species of positive beings are called Angels, while the species of negative beings are called Demons.

One of the more interesting properties of Heaven and Hell and their inhabitants is that they resonate on the exact same frequency as the souls of humanoid beings. In both Heaven and Hell, a soul become a physical object, one that Angels and Demons can easily see and touch; and even outside of their respective realms, an angel or demon can perceive the soul within a creature and interact with it, although with greater difficulty. It's possible to travel to Hell or Heaven via some dimensional magic spells, the use of such magic effectively "translating" a human or other being into a state similar to the residents of that realm. It's also possible to travel to Heaven or Hell by other means, such as Astral Projection. This can be incredibly dangerous however, because the inhabitants of these realms are capable of perceiving and interacting with astral constructs the same way they can with souls. Many people exploring Hell in such a manner have found themselves captured by a demonic creature, and few of them have returned.


== Harvesting Souls ==
Both Angels and Demons are strangely fascinated by souls. In fact, they model large parts of their societies after mortal cultures and mythologies, which is why at least some the realms of Heaven and Hell are so familiar to people from different cultures. Angels and Demons psychopomps "collect" the souls of the dead and bring them to their native realms. Indeed, mortal souls resonate in a particular fashion, giving off energy that is very pleasant to Angels and Demons, and contributes to the overall stability of their realms. For example, Heaven is composed of positive energy; Angels therefore collect the souls of "good" people, which they find pleasant to be around. In Heaven, a person is free to pursue their interests and do whatever they enjoy; this sense of satisfaction radiates throughout the realm, and provides a form of sustenance for Angels.  In Hell, it's the opposite; Demons are more interested in "evil" people, and often torment "damned" souls to bask in the energy given off by their suffering, which is very pleasant and calming to them, and they feed on it.  In general, one will not find "good" people in Hell, or "evil" people in Heaven.  Demons have little interest in true innocents, likewise, Angels have no interest in souls overflowing with negative emotions.  Souls strongly aligned with either end of the spectrum will almost always find their way to the "right" realm, unless there is some external factor preventing it.  Conflict sometimes does arise when borderline cases are involved, however; souls that straddle the line are fair game, and skirmishes and even wars between Demons and Angels have arisen over famous souls that are too close to the middle to call.

Because Heaven and Hell build themselves after elements from mortal cultures from innumerable worlds, it is possible to find an almost infinite variety of regions and sub regions and familiar places in both realms. For example, there is a Realm of Valhalla in Heaven, a place welcoming the souls of brave warriors from a Norse tribe in the world called Earth, or the Maze of Yautek in Hell, where traitors to the Ortalo Xast in the world of Wengbo are deemed to go after their death. Those regions or sub-realms are ruled by entities of various powers, partly determined by the numbers of souls in their realm, and the number that are brought in. Thus, Hell is full of demons, both minor and major, who project themselves as gods of the Underworld and Darkness in order to to get more people believing in them, and ensuring a steady supply of souls ending up in their Realm after death.  Some of these demons become successful enough to acquire real power from it, which allow them to carve out niches among the nobility of Hell. Having a cult is by no mean necessary but it helps and allow solid bragging rights

During her rise in power, the succubus Arale actually defeated several rivals who also happened to be gods. From her own admission, they were very minor gods though. In some cases, a demon pretending to be a "Dark God" is destroyed, and another demon will take the identity for themselves; this can lead to some fierce rivalries, when inheriting a cult of worship.  There have been several Hecates, for example, leading to much infighting both in Hell and among sects of mortal followers.


== Opposing energies ==
The positive energy of Heaven is typically referred to as "Holy", while the negative energies of Hell are "Unholy".  These energies have a limited impact in physical planes, but are far stronger in spiritual ones. In Hell and Heaven, the very essence of the plane itself is conducive to the release and spread of the corresponding energy. For example, the introduction of the soul of a great holy man into a Heaven realm would be strongly felt all over it and the presence of his spirit would be a large booster to the strength of that realm. The introduction of such a holy man in a hell would also be felt, but in the opposite way. His energies would be damaging, as it would be opposite to the realms nature. However, this damage would be pretty limited as the makeup of the plane prevent the spread of holy energies. This is why an angel wishing to enter hell would have to be extremely powerful to have a hope of surviving; once in hell they would find that their nature as holy beings would clash against the very nature of that plane. They would have to expend energy just to remain in existence and each step would prove hard. As a general rule "Holy" energy will weaken a Demon, and "Unholy" energy will weaken an Angel.  However, there are numerous factors involved, including the relative strength of the spell vs. the power of the Demon or Angel. The weakest angelic and demonic entities are vulnerable to strong curses and blessings, respectively; however, to injure an Archangel or Archdevil would require a tremendous amount of the opposite energy.  Not only are such beings capable of resisting the effects of the opposite energy, but they can even overwhelm it with their own Holy/Unholy aura. Also, because they are a source of such energies themselves, the most powerful Angels and Demons can be used as a source of power by the magic of their followers.  In effect, higher-level Angels and Demons can grant the prayers of, and bestow blessings or spells upon, their followers.  Thaumaturgy often relies heavily upon contracts with angelic or demonic creatures, but is very risky and those who deal with Holy or Unholy beings often find themselves being altered to suit that entity's purposes.

Angels and Demons are not capable of existing in physical realms in the same state they exist in their own realm.  For example, upon traveling to Felarya, a Demon has to actually change its state to be able to maintain a presence in that realm.  This takes a great deal of energy, and is a constant drain on them; they are not naturally part of Felarya's plane of existence, and the world rejects their presence.  This is why Angels and Demons often only come to Felarya for limited periods of time; it is difficult for them to maintain a physical presence there, the same way it is difficult for a human to keep a muscle tensed for very long periods of time.  "Banishing" an Angel or Demon is basically a matter of making it too difficult for them to maintain a physical form, which results in them being ejected back to their natural realm. As a general rule, the more powerful the demon and/or the more efficient it is with its energy, the longer it will be able to remain on a physical plane.  The very weakest of angelic and demonic creatures are capable of physically manifesting only for a few seconds at a time ( shoulder Angels and Devils fall into this category ); this time can sometimes be extended if they attach themselves to a mortal soul and siphon energy from it. In addition, some Demons and Angels are capable of possession, entering a mortal creature and temporarily fusing themselves to its spirit or soul. In this manner, they can escape the constant pressure the physical realm applies to send them back home; an Angel or Demon who possesses a creature can effectively remain on that plane until they are exorcised or banished, or the host manages to rid themselves of the influence.

There are exceptions though, and some Angels or Succubi have managed to make Felarya their permanent home.  The way or ways they have done this remain unknown, but there are theories, generally involving the particular nature of Felarya.  These theories usually make Succubi smile and Angels blush in denial!


== Host of Heaven and Hell ==
Angels and Demons are typically very difficult to destroy under normal circumstances, on a physical plane of existence.  Most of the time, destroying a demon's or angel's body on Felarya will disperse it and return it to its native realm.  Some demons or angels have special circumstances under which they can be permanently destroyed, even in a physical realm, but they typically guard these secrets jealously.  Many demon hunters find themselves "destroying" a particular demonic enemy several times, before they manage to find out the secret to the creature's true destruction.  A demon "killed" in the normal fashion may still return to the physical plane to seek revenge after it recovers from the experience and gathers enough power.

If you really want to kill an angel or demon, the surest way to do so is in Heaven or Hell.  Needless to say that venturing into these realms to fight the entity is extremely dangerous.  Archangels, or Arch-Demons have nearly god-like power in their native realms ! Becoming a ruler of a circle of Hell yields tremendous powers while in that realm, which is why so many Demons try to climb to the top of the hierarchy. Someone who rules a Hell plane may even be able to change the laws of the plane to their whims. Thus challenging Queen Faldhatée in Antarioch or Queen Arsinoë in Acheron is typically suicide. It's where they are most powerful, and unless you have an entire army or epic levels of power at your disposal, you don't stand a fraction of a chance. They would likely find the challenge amusing or hardly notice it at all. Queen Faldhatée has been known to continue tending her garden while would-be attackers spontaneously explode.

Many conflicts in Hell involve a lot of politicking, bribing to get more souls, backstabbing, and trying to make yourself look better while making your rivals look bad.  Trading favors is a common practice, and only those who have built a massive power base even dare to challenge one of the rulers; this process usually takes millennia, although some "rising stars" have been known to shoot towards the top of Hell's hierarchy in mere centuries.  Unfortunately, you can fall just as quickly as you rise, and when you're on the top everybody wants to drag you down. In contrast, Heaven is much more orderly and less cutthroat than Hell. There are some angels however, who are downright ruthless, fanatical and merciless, particularly among the Warrior Angel classes, and the opposite is also true for Demons.  Feeding on good or evil energies doesn't necessarily mean that you will become any more ruthless or orderly than you were before.

Moreover, there are the not so rare cases where a Demon or an Angel have completely switch sides.  These beings tend to be solitary, as they are seen as traitors by their former realm, and looked suspiciously upon in their new realm.  It's worth pointing that Fallen Angels are not Demons, and Ascended Demons are not Angels.  Magical effects that specifically target Angels will not work on an Ascended Demon, and vice versa.  However, effects that work specifically against Unholy or Holy creatures will have the appropriate effect on them.  Summoning a Fallen Angel has been the last act of many careless mages, who failed to make that important distinction. Finally, both Heaven and Hell have psychopomps.  They are low-ranking Angels and Demons who act as guides to bring souls to their respective realm.  They are often the working class of Heaven and Hell, and they do much of the hard work that keep their realms populated with souls.  These beings appear as Angels of Death, Shinigamis, Valkyries, etc, and take various forms depending on the culture of the person they've come to collect.


The Tenebris War

  • Credits goes to TheQuantumMechanic for writing the description of hell and Heaven and for the system idea, and to Anime-Junkie for bringing some precisions to it.

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