Soulology is a mysterious and inexact specialist branch of magical science. It is, in a sense, similar to the human field of psychology: continuously forced to prove its value as a science, largely scorned by the rest of the magical-scientific community and provokes either wariness or fascination in the general public. Soulology is the study of the fairy soul, incorporating the study of familiars. It's a small field with only a few dedicated researchers, and a very small number of soulology experts exist worldwide.
The souls of ordinary and original fairies are slightly different.
Ordinary fairies all have naturally split souls. This makes it easy for them to acquire a familiar, and such a practice is considered natural. Some fairies choose never to attain a familiar, which is also perfectly acceptable. The soul is naturally split into a fairy part and a familiar part, but the familiar part cannot take solid form without a little magical assistance. Historically fairies had to appeal to deities in order to create the spark of magic necessary to grant them a familiar, but nowadays coins can be used to the same end. A single coin is powerful enough to grant the familiar part of the soul a solid body as any natural, non-mythical, non-extinct creature. Once it has solid form, a familiar can converse aloud with any fairy and communicate telepathically with their own fairy. They share their fairy's thoughts and feelings and form an alternate personality to their fairy. The bond between fairy and familiar is exceptionally close.
Before a familiar takes form, the relationship between them and their fairies varies immensely. Some fairies are aware of their familiar's true form even before they exist, and some are even able to hear their familiars guide them at crucial moments. For some the familiar's true form is a mystery; for others it is predetermined but known to them; and still others play a conscious role in selecting their familiar's form. Once they have solid form, familiars take on various different roles, including that of a companion, guardian or advisor.
The part of the soul which remains with the fairy is always stronger and contains the inherently magical part. Because of this, familiars have no magic of their own and are dependent on their fairy for their lives.
By comparison, the original fairies are not naturally predisposed towards familiars. Their souls are complete, not split, and in order to attain a familiar they must first split their soul into two. This is a dangerous operation which rarely succeeds, and often costs the fairy their strength of personality; thus, few attempt it. The original fairies have much weaker bonds with their familiars, and their familiars generally don't feel the same sense of loyalty as ordinary familiars do to ordinary fairies. The originals are more likely to argue with their familiars, block their thoughts from each other or even go their separate ways. They cannot maintain a close link with their familiars over long distances, unlike high level ordinary fairies.
Searching for inspiration for a familiar? Try our Animal Database.
For a long time rens were believed to be a part of a fairy's soul, but soulologists now believe that rens are something else entirely. The word 'ren' literally means 'identity' in the ancient language. Rens are extremely mysterious objects which have been linked to ancient magic.
Soul splitting is an extremely dangerous practice which nearly always leaves fairies in a weaker state. Enormous amounts of magic are required to split the soul: divinity, ancient magic and the inherent magic in rips are the most well-known ways. When the soul is split, part of the person's personality is ripped away from their being. Ripping apart the personality makes it very unstable and weak.
Masters of the animus branch of magic are initiated with the secrets of soulology and have a strong enough power and great enough understanding to be able to split the soul without damaging it. Even so, this is a complex and difficult process which requires an experienced, talented and intelligent master with good concentration skills.
In the fairy world, ghosts are fragments of the soul which are left behind when a fairy dies. This is a rare occurrence which usually only takes place when a person dies suddenly or unexpectedly. The act of death opens a mini-rip through which the soul travels to the Realm of the Dead. If the fairy refuses to travel down the rip and clings to life, the mini-rip may split off tiny fragments of their soul in order to detach them and carry them away. These fragments are too small to take solid form or to have any power and generally linger over the corpse or place of death. Lots of different fragments of souls can lead to an eerie or chilled atmosphere, which gives the impression that a place is 'haunted': this commonly occurs in graveyards or old houses where lots of people have died.
A powerful enough fairy possessing the right kind of magic (generally, divinity or ancient magic is required) may be able to fuse soul fragments together with another soul (often an animal) to create a 'ghost'. The fragments are the driving personality, meaning that a weaker form of the deceased's personality is created in the body. Where soul fragments are fused with bodiless souls, the personality takes on an ethereal, non-solid form, similar to that of the ghosts told in human stories.
Ghosts are very rare. Those with solid form are usually considered to be the deceased brought back to life, but this is actually inaccurate. So far, nobody has succeeded in bringing a deceased soul back from the Realm of the Dead. Any dead person who has been fully revived in the world that they died is a ghost: that is, a fragment of their former self, clinging to life with an artificial body.
Occasionally, souls may get lost on the way to the Realm of the Dead. This is how a person may die in another world or life and be 'resurrected' in a new body in Shaman. This is not a ghost; this is a miracle. These souls are effectively given a second life in a new world.