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Defender Text: The Lab of one

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The following chapters will correlate and explain the natural and unconscious phenomenon that we often don’t question ourselves.

Chapter 1: Anatomy of the Soul

Our soul, though unseen, is just as real as our body. By our soul, we experience things in the psychological realm. In fact, the Greek word for soul in the Bible is psyche, which is also the root word of psychology. Our soul is composed of our mind, which enables us to do things like think, reason, consider, remember, and wonder; our emotions, which enable us to have feelings like happiness, sorrow, anger, relief, and compassion; and our will, which enables us to choose and make decisions. Our mind, emotion, and will make up our soul, which is our personality, who we are within.

So just how many “pieces” is a normal human’s soul made up of? What do they represent, what purpose do they serve, and what happens if one gets lost or stolen? 

There are three basic components for a human’s soul, without which the soul cannot live or even exist:

  • Body: The body serves as the vessel for all of these things. However, not all bodies are created equal, and there are dangerous things out there that want a human body so they can wreak havoc and indulge their vices. Some are simply incapable of being used for some truly powerful souls, usually ending in either the destruction of the body or forcing the soul to lose a lot of its power. Our body through its five senses contacts the visible, touchable, tangible things of the material world. It’s the most outward and visible part of our being, and by it we exist and experience the things in the physical realm. But of course, we’re more than just a physical body.
  • Mind: The seat of consciousness; the logical, thinking, planning decider. 
  • Spirit / Life Energy: We are even more than just a body with a soul within. We have a part that’s deeper than our soul—our spirit, which is the deepest and most hidden part of our being. If the body is an engine that the mind drives, then the fuel is the spirit. Its loss may manifest as rapid aging, becoming very sickly or just plain death. Usually considered to be the immortal part of you that continues to exist in the afterlife, thus destroying someone’s soul tends to have much more final effects than merely killing their body, up to and including cessation of existence.

Other components for a human’s soul can include:

  • Heart: The core component of the soul (hence the name; sometimes it’s even what’s meant with “soul”, with the greater whole being called “spirit” instead), and also the one that is capable of love and emotion. Heart is also attributed with the nature of motion and the activity of life. It is usually the morality chain or moral compass of a person. It also bears the part of a human that can create life and art. Its loss can have varying effects, turning people into cold, dead husks, or evil monsters.
  • Light: If a heart has parts, expect them to be Yin and Yang. The “Light” half usually represents the positive, caring aspects of a person. Its loss will usually make someone a very… dangerous person to be around, if not at least very unpleasant.
  • Darkness: Oddly, the “Dark” half isn’t a good thing to lose either. It’s not always evil, and generally contains all those useful survival instincts that turn to mushy pink feelings if it’s absent.
  • Breath/Wind: In many historical cultures, the concept of breath and soul were intertwined, related to energy above as well as movement
  • Dreams: Believe it or not, dreams are a valuable commodity. All you need is a few days of insomniac nightmares to realize the value of even the most mundane dream. More majestically, a person’s dreams represent their hopes and aspirations, so their loss represent a loss of drive and ambition. Perhaps more dangerously, the ability to sleep.
  • Memories: Past experiences that are kept in a person’s mind for future recall. Losing the odd memory here and there doesn’t always affect a person much but losing too many would result in amnesia. Sometimes, they can be transferred out, planted in, or altered. Do not always last beyond death, but when they do, they might manifest in a ghostly form or cling to the soul in the next life… Deja vu.
  • Inner Genius / Inner Spirit: A kind of separate entity that is nevertheless still part of the person. May manifest as an advisor, a guardian entity, animal totem, the owner’s divine spark, etc. It doesn’t have to be tied to any one religion, but if that’s the case, it may be known by different names.
  • Essence: A philosophical and metaphysical concept that more or less is what makes something what it is. Both people, animals, and even inanimate objects have this. It’s not usually directly named or addressed but a lot of stories reference it indirectly. Especially when related to magic systems that draw power from souls (or maybe even elements and nature). It’s a connection with essence that basically gives people the power to draw power from things because it defines what something can do and can become.
  • Shadow Archetype: Everything a person rejects or denies about themselves, which they will often project upon others. Essentially, a saint’s shadow will be a sinner, and a sinner’s shadow will be a saint, but that’s an oversimplification at best.

The loss of any one of these is never a good thing… usually. However, the case is usually that when any one of these is removed, the person becomes metaphysically incomplete. Their eyes hollow out, their conscience vanishes, and they operate on only the formalities of human behavior, having lost either the empathy, will, or self-control necessary to function as a human being. The very definition of a minion.

Whoever possesses one of these items usually gets one of the following: partial or total control over the owner, the ability to see their dreams, memories, or other secrets. If what they stole is replacing their own stolen or damaged goods, they usually gain at least part of the personality or morality of the owner. Then again, whoever stole it may be collecting enough “raw materials” either to extend their own life, rank up if it’s a demon or looking for just the right one to perform some heinous evil ritual. Of course, it might be their own soul or heart that they discarded to avoid all those “limits” a conscience (and mortality) imposes.

There is an interesting possibility of a Yin-Yang bomb if someone loses one of the above; learns abilities/powers that are granted in some kind of equivalent exchange / disability superpower and then they gain the lost soul part back. A risky method; and definitely uncomfortable; you’re going to need loads of willpower for this.

If the stolen, damaged, or corrupted component isn’t returned in time, you can expect the owner to either wither and die, go into a catatonic coma, or be incurably evil/homicidal. If the stolen/removed item is left loose, it may become a heartless, a living memory or even a ghost whose body yet lives.

Chapter 2: Life Forces

The fact that knowledge of energy seems to have developed mostly in the distant past, is related to what people pay attention to. In the modern world, we have all kinds of things that grab our attention, like devices, the thousands of items in our disposal, and easy access skill books. As people didn’t have all these in the ancient world, they were able to pay more attention to their bodies and feelings, so were better able to notice energy. The meditation techniques that were developed, also opened the way to a precise awareness of energies.

Energy seems to be all kinds of things. Although it seems to be something ethereal, it may be more practical to look at it as some sort of functional relationship. A mantra is performed, a sound made, and one feels a different energy. One increases some energy; one feels some energy; energy becomes unblocked. It’s all very much a functional relationship.

When we start our energy training, it is more often than not the one thing we battle to wrap our heads around… what is energy? Everything on our planet is energy, well actually… to be more accurate… energy is in everything – the entire universe. It heals us, helps us do things, gives us light, warms our bodies and our homes. It makes us grow and move and think. Energy is the operating system of your body and this energy system which includes your soul, aura, and meridians has different levels of power, speed, and abilities. 

The living body, human or animal, radiates warmth and energy. This energy is the lifeforce itself and has as many names as there is civilizations. This energy life force is known as Mana by Defenders. Referred to as the Light or God by Christians. Natives such as the Crools call life-force energy as Chi (Ki). Knowing this, many other natives could have different names depending on their views, use and understanding. 

The knowledge that our bodies are filled with life force energy and that this is directly connected to the quality of our health, has been part of the wisdom of many cultures for thousands of years, and has resulted in the development of many different forms of energy medicine and in our case manipulation.

Some of these require direct physical contact with the body, while others are taken into the body in various forms, such as herbal, homeopathic and flower remedies.

Of course, it is not only people who have energy bodies. All animals, birds, fish, insects, and plants have detectable auras so do what we might term “inanimate” objects, such as rocks, crystals minerals, metals, and water. “Energy is an omnipresent natural force within our universe. It permeates all things, living and nonliving, throughout the planets.” – The Archive of Energy

Humans can cultivate it, we are able to gather it from all things and to integrate the aura of our body with the energy of all things in the world, in order to enhance and adjust many imbalances. 

The amount of life force within you varies from day to day. There is a natural rhythmic ebb and flow in the energies within our bodies – but we absorb it in various ways in order to “top up” our supply of life force, as we naturally use some each day.

We absorb some in the form of food and drink. Remember all animal and plant life, and even water, is filled with it too. We also take it in from the air we breathe and absorb it through our auric fields. Energy is everywhere; it is the connective force of the universe so there is a limitless supply.

Sources of life force energy (there might be more):

  • Solar: from sunlight, is invigorating and promotes good health through sunbathing.
  • Air: absorbed into lungs through breathing and also absorbed by the energy centers of the body. More air means more ambient energy can be absorbed by deep, slow, rhythmic breathing than by short, shallow breathing. It can also be absorbed through the pores of the skin.
  • Ground: this energy is absorbed through the soles of the feet. It happens automatically and unconsciously. Walking barefoot increases the amount of ground ambient energy absorbed by the body. Instead of this process remaining unconscious, one can learn to make it conscious and draw in more ground energy increasing one’s vitality, capacity to do more work and ability to think more clearly.

Chapter 3: Shrines, Planet Hearts, Ley Lines

Certain trees such as old and gigantic healthy trees exude a lot of excess energy, similar to the one in Forest of Wisdom. Harnessing of the sun’s energy, concentrating, and transforming into oxygen and ambiental energy. It acts as collector, storing the sun’s energy until it can be used. But like all containers, if filled, they overflow. The harnessed energy from the sun then acts upon the water absorbed by the roots of the plant. Energy exhaled by animals and humans, as well as cruor is then absorbed by the plant’s leaves and paired during the same process. Tired or sick people can benefit by lying down or resting underneath these trees. Anyone can learn to consciously absorb the newly transformed energy and oxygen from these trees, such as the body would tingle and become numb because of the tremendous amount of energy absorbed. This skill can be acquired after only a few sessions of practice.

During bad weather conditions many people get sick, not only because of the changes in temperature, but also because of the decrease in solar and air life energy. Thus, a lot of people feel mentally and physically sluggish, or become susceptible to infectious diseases. This can be counter acted by consciously absorbing energy, from the air and the ground. 

The levels of life force in our bodies have an impact on our inherent healing ability, as it helps to nourish the structure, organs and systems of the body, supporting them in their vital functions and contributing to the healthy growth and renewal of cells. However, the amount we absorb is not constant, and can depend on many factors, so we don’t always sufficiently replenish our supply of it.

If this happens over some time our energy body can become too depleted, and this is when we become weaker and more susceptible to illness, the ageing process and even physical death, because our aura, or life force, is what defines us as living beings. Without it we would not be alive.

This means that when our aura is high and flowing freely around our whole energy body, we feel healthy, strong, fit, and full of energy. We also feel confident, ready to enjoy life and take on its challenges, and are much less likely to become ill. However, if our aura is low, or if there is a restriction or blockage in its flow, we feel weak, tired, listless, and lethargic, and are much more vulnerable to illness, disease, or corruption. 

Chapter 4: Potential and Kinetic Energy

Energy is the power to change things, it is the ability to do work. It is neither created nor destroyed and when we use energy, it doesn’t disappear. We only change it from one form of energy into another as it has always existed in one form or another. Is a state of continuous flux, transforming endlessly from one aspect into another. It is neither created nor is it ever destroyed; it simply changes in its manifestation. Energy makes everything happen and can be divided into two types: Stored energy is called potential energy and moving energy is called kinetic energy. The following example will enable you to better understand the two types of energy. Carts run on fuel be it gas, electricity and so on which can be viewed as the potential energy (stored). You get behind the wheel of the cart and drive which means the cart is moving and this can be viewed as the kinetic energy (motion of material body). Our bodies work pretty much the same way – fed the correct potential energy for example food, ambient energy, potions, etc. your body will be able to use that potential energy as kinetic energy to heal better, move better, cope with stress and emotions better and generally be much more healthy. 

Dealers are experts of this concept, they transfer their own energy into liquids, materials, etc. Whoever uses the end product (potions, armors, weapons, jewelry, etc.) benefits from them as they are able to access that stored up energy or better utilize their own energy through those items.

Since everything seen or unseen is energy in motion, it would be logical to assume that all well-being ultimately involves energy, and we know that this energy of everything is controlled by thought. Just think about it, your consciousness is not only the transmitter of energy but also has the power to direct enough force to destroy or create form and thereby create either disease or health. Combining meditative focused breathing techniques, movement, visualization, and intention to promote whatever outcome you want to achieve. The skillful practices can all help to cultivate and purify energy. This enables us to build strong foundations, root stability and support for ourselves which, in turn, will then enable us to more easily cultivate and hold energy, so that ultimately, we will become a powerful conduit for our soul.

Chapter 5: Specialized Aural Training / Manipulation

Let’s get cooking. We are the internal alchemists, practicing to affect physiology in ways that we believe can magnify or transform own aura. Just as the action of water and heat on rice will either cook it properly or not, internal alchemists believe that the metaphorical “cooking” greatly affects what lies within an individual. This is also similar to the process in which trees undergo to transform life force energy into another and act as energy generators or engines. Sounds similar again? Our souls act the very same way.

Common types of manipulation can be seen in every job class but those that choose to train differently have been able to achieve greater feats. For muses, channeling is one of them, but for others noticeable in Gaburieru and Felito:

  • Sensing (Haki of Observation): Can sense the energy of others, can tell where they may be and how powerful they are.

–     Aura Vision: The ability to “see” and sense the life energy of others, as well as the ability to assess how strong, or threatening they may be. At higher levels, it even allows one to read the target’s emotions, or sense when they’re in the presence of evil.

–     The Empath: Sensing the feelings of others by their aura.

  • Self-Enhancement (Haki of Armament): Used to boost own physical body, becoming stronger, faster, and tougher.

–     Super Toughness: The refined mana flowing through your skin makes it hard as steel, or attacks are cancelled out by a wall of mana that surrounds you.

Their trainings although quite different, do share the same fundamentals. They both have their own way of meditation, mantra, and/or way to focus, accompanied with breath work and intention of change. Felito referring to his energy as Hamon, while Gaburieru referring to it as Haki.

Chapter 6: Elemental Attunements

Attuning our inner selves. What I mean with this is that us defenders have a natural attunements, elemental attunements to be exact. Our flow of energy and how we manage to easily control it leads us to believe our bodies are naturally attuned to water. Our emotions, breathwork and movements affect our blood flow as well as our energy flow. When we pay focused attention to our bodily sensations, we can recognize the ebb and flow of our emotions and, with that, increase our control over them. Defender trainings teach how to control such variables and are able to achieve the flow’s benefits while maintaining composure. Clerics are able to manipulate allies’ flows directly without affecting their emotions and having a more constant effect. Water being the element of change and adaptability; capable of taking any form similar to our trainings and disciplines.

What about other elements? When we want to be able to control more mana, we feel an intense energy burning in our souls. To support this statement, here’s an example. While escorting a researcher named Xanira in the Oblivion Temple, something was noticed. Defenders normally use a device to travel to another floor with ease, yet the researcher was having problems. It wasn’t working for him. To be able to be teleported by this device, fire was required. A hieroglyph depicting a “bag over fire”, which in turn means contained fire. Ikaness staff that were fire casters had no problem using the device, but the researcher had to consume Hime to be able to get to the other side. All this leads us to believe that our souls are naturally attuned to fire. Fire having positive connotations like warmth, light, purification, and even rebirth. 

As mentioned in chapter 2 (Life Forces), air and earth are already part of our life force cycle. Most defenders don’t think about it because its unconsciously done. Think about for a second. How are all classes able to curve their skills once casted? A bullet, a weapon, etc. if thrown and the targets moves out of the way. Still manages to land because of your attunement and focus on that target, sometimes might miss but just by a little. When it comes to earth, soldiers are the most common examples and Warlocks being the rare cases. Connection to ground limits the build-up of static electricity when handling electricity. An effective electrical ground connection also minimizes the susceptibility of interference and reduces the risk of damage due to lightning. In effect, an electrical ground drains away any unwanted buildup of electrical charge. When a point is connected to ground, in our case our feet, that point tends to stay at a constant voltage, regardless of what happens elsewhere. The earth, which forms the ultimate ground, has the ability to absorb or dissipate an unlimited amount of electrical charge. 

Chapter 7: Aural Expanse

Chapter 8: Augmentation 

Chapter 9: Channeling


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