the mind and its workings
This page holds information on our characters' minds, and how the mental planes work in BTACD.
The mind is a world that transcends physical boundaries and limitations; within each person, every mind is different, and the qualities contained within create a realm referred to as the mindscape.
A person's personality, desires, abilities and past all shape the inner world that exists on the mental plane. This can be anything - a spreading forest filled with crystalline flowers, eternal night lit only by glowing grass, a crumbling castle on the edge of a forlorn cape, a snow-covered plain stretching endlessly in all directions. Each one is unique to the person whose mind forms it, as all of their experiences and even their essence and being itself comes into play in a mental landscape's formation.
The purpose behind a mindscape is thought to be a method for protecting the mind from damage. How one discovers their own mindscape is greatly varied; some are aware of it from a very young age, usually those who are born with great presence of mind - others can discover it in a period of great crisis, withdrawing into it when their mental sanity is threatened to destruction. Even more live their entire lives without even knowing they have one. Regardless of discovery, every living creature has one, from the smallest mouse, the most average of humans, to the greatest of dragons.
Throughout an individual's life, their mindscape may change; for example, an elven child who begins life with a mental landscape of beautiful trees may go through a tragic experience, and as their entire outlook on life changes, so may their mindscape. It can change form rapidly; the trees may turn silver and the sky lose its sun, the leaves wither and die away, grass glowing white under a ghostly moon. Night and day also play a large part in these worlds, as time doesn't change in them. A certain light may be reflected as a manifestation of memory, perhaps, or the absence of light a note of despair.
Whereas the mindscape is a portrayal of a world shaped by one's essence, a mindbeast is a manifestation of one as a beast. Even if an individual is another type of creature, or aligned with a certain other form - such as a shapeshifter with only one other shape - it can be anything befitting that particular person. A dragon with a meek, shy, innocent personality could manifest as a mouse, or a courageous human boy as a proud lion. Very few manifest as what they are in the physical world.
Mindbeasts (or the 'daemon' as they are sometimes called), much like the mental landscape mentioned above, have the ability to change and evolve over time. Some may even shift into an entirely different creature; depending on what events may take place, if a certain person has a complete change of personality or gains an entirely new ability, this will affect their mindbeast directly. These manifestations feed on emotions and non-physical energy - even one's actions may change it in some minute way.
However, unlike the mindscape, the mental beasts are an incredible rarity to find and control. Most never learn what a mindbeast is or that they have one; summoning one is a nearly unobtainable quest in itself. They may manifest under extreme circumstances to protect the one each mindbeast represents, usually appearing at a point just before death. Outside of this, if one should learn what their mindbeast is, they can summon it and see it within their own mindscape.
To summon it any other way to the physical plane, a trinket with such abilities should be used; one exists in particular, called the fermyntia: a triangular crystal, a prism, clear and reflective as glass. It may be used as a pendant, or some form of odd jewelry. Its true purpose, however, is to take the reiatsu of the one who holds it and concentrate it into a focused form; this manifests as the individual's daemon, whatever animal they are within. However long the mindbeast lasts in the physical world is directly tied to how much energy the one summoning it has, or how much danger threatens the life of the person in question.
The creation of a fermyntia is an art lost by many. These gems are incredibly rare, and can only be made by the sacrifice of a soul of one dying for another. In the rare occurrence it is formed, instead of the spirit fleeing to the Soulplane, it stays and solidifies into the prism - very like to the creation of a Soulgem, except that a fermyntia is permanent and irreversible.
the Golden Threads
Every person has others they meet in their lives, from family members to lovers to friends and mere acquaintances. Each one of these forms a connection, however thin, one that lasts for the rest of their lives and well info the afterlife, before a spirit begins to fade.
Beneath the mindscape, in the deepest part of the mind, lay an area of nothingness broken only by a web of golden threads. Mortal eyes can't penetrate this deeply into the mind, and so knowledge of them is limited only to those who have immersed themselves in the mind's study for centuries, Ethers, and the gods themselves. These threads range in thickness and brightness according to the connection and its value; a parent, say, would have a much thicker thread than the wispy, hair-fine tendril of a new ally. These threads may build, but very rarely do they deteriorate, and only if by massive betrayal or something equally hurtful.
Breaking and severing one of these threads erases memories, thoughts and feelings of the person involved as if they never were. Both are affected, as the threads span across unknown, untouchable space, connected to both minds. For example, if the thread tying a dragon to a dragonrider is broken, the dragon would forget it ever had a rider; the rider would lose all sense of ever having a dragon as their bonded. This can come with great pain to both parties, if very brief, leaving both disoriented and wondering what may have just happened.
There are curses and spells to break these threads, but as they are so very unknown - usually mentioned in old books studying the arcane values of the mind and memory - these are rare and very powerful. Any curse wrought to do damage to the mental threads of another may inflict damage on the user as well.
These golden threads - the mental cords that form connections between lives - is what makes telepathy, telekinesis, relationships, magic use and many other things beside possible. Without these, the world would be a place without fellowship, full of solitary creatures with no reason to live.