Spirits originally came from Aetherius. In the ancient times of the planet Nym's forming, one of the three lesser shards that broke of from the greater Worldshard after Sol shattered it was to become the Spirit Realm. Sol's warmth melted the shard-piece into a mist, which wrapped itself around the planet Nym after the Worldsoul awoke and pulled it in. From the combined energies of Aetherius, the Worldsoul and the magical Worldsea were born the first spirits, who entered into the Physical World and mingled with its Primordial lifeforms.
There are many kinds of spirits, having evolved over the many thousands of years since they anchored Aetherius to Nym through the Spiritstone and the Nymshards. Their interactions and involvement in affairs pertaining to the world as a whole led to the creation of life and sentience, but their meddling also created forces of despair, such as the Elemental Titans and Darkspirits.
depend on the world just as much as the world depends on them. They
protect the world and its many aspects, guided the first Primordials and
gave purpose and instinct to them; and in return energies from the
world helps to keep them alive. A spirit's life is long, and upon death
is is reborn anew from the soul that helps sustain their form, and in
that sense they are perhaps the only truly eternal beings that inhabit
Without spirits the world would likely not have taken a hold and it would have died long ago from the lack of spiritual guidance. The Worldsoul might have shrunk and diminished into nothing, Primordials would have had no purpose or interest in maintaining the world, and it would have been a short-lived world absent of life; barren and lifeless. In many ways spirits helped create the first iteration of the world, and laid the foundations for its future growth at the hands of beings that came after them.
Spirits that reside in Aetherius are known as the First Spirits, but are more commonly referred to as the Aetherial. They were the first of the spirits to exist, and all spirits come from them. The Aetherial are the guardians of the Spiritsoul and protectors of Aetherius; ensuring that the Spiritual Plane remains anchored to Nym, and that the Nymshards stay closed to outsiders. If an Aetherial dies, it is reborn from the Spiritsoul in Aetherius.
The natural spirits of the land. The World Spirits typically inhabit the land itself inbetween the Physical Realm and Aetherius. They are the spirits that remained on Nym after the Nymshards were shut by the Aetherial. World Spirits would become one with animals, plant-life, and inject themselves into almost anything, even stones; the latter of which creates Aethra stones. The Kal'Mar is the better known and the most powerful of the World Spirits, who aids in keeping the World Spirits under control. When World Spirits die they are reborn directly from the Kal'Mar.
Similar to the Elemental Shadjin, but not to be mistaken for them, as Shadjin are more physically materialized and more intelligent. Elemental Spirits are the animalistic descendants of the Elementals the Elemental Titans created to serve them during the War of Titans. Elemental Spirits might inhabit various places in Nym, infusing those sites with elemental energies. But the greater majority of Elemental Spirits are found in the Planeworld of Elementum, where their energies are more easily regrown with their access to the Elemental Souls. When Elemental Spirits die they are reborn in Elementum's Ascension from the Elemental Souls.
Faeric spirits that inhabit Malendii's Dream and otherwise serve Malendii in her Dreampact. They frequent Wyldtrees and other powerful sites of nature. They were once World Spirits, but after they helped Malendii plant and nurture the Wyldtrees, they became her loyal servants. Some Wyld Spirits are attracted to dreamers, often entering into the dreams of mortals, although in most cases it is either unnoticed or harmless. Common types of Wyld Spirits are creatures like Fey Wisps or Sprites. Wyld Spirits that die are reborn in Malendii's Dream.
The spirits of deceased mortals are known as the Ancestral Spirits. They are still attached to their souls either from still remaining in the world, or through a link maintained between the soul in the Great Fade and some kind of anchor in Nym. Unlike how common Mortal Spirits are separated from their ascending souls, the Ancestral Spirit is a spirit that remained in Nym as the soul it was a part of went to the Great Fade. This often creates Ancestral spectres or ghosts, but not necessarily violent ones like those created from Darkspirits. Once an Ancestral Spirit dies or is finally separated from its mortal's soul, it returns to Aetherius and is reborn as an Aetherial, to potentially await the cycle again.
A Nymborn mortal is only
given life when a spirit from Aetherius merges with a soul that is bound
to inhabit the unborn mortal's soul. Memories of the spirit are erased
before it merges with the soul, thus preventing any lucid connection
between the mortal and Aetherius. This process occurs with animals as
well. An Aetherial will typically latch onto and merge with a passing
soul as it returns from the Great Fade, and is only separated from that
soul when it goes back to the Great Fade.
an effect of its merging with another soul, the spirit prevents the
soul from being consumed by Endomundo's Darkspirits by bypassing the
Shadow Realm during the descent. But when the soul travels back to the
Great Fade, the spirit is weakened from years of mortal life, and has to
travel through Endomundo before it can reach Aetherius. It will use its
last energies to protect the soul from Darkspirits, but it won't always
succeed. If the soul reaches Aetherius, the spirit separates and
returns to the Spiritstone, where it can recover its strength and await a
new soul to merge with.
Spirits that hail from
Endomundo are known as Darkspirits, or Shazari; sometimes just simply called Shades. They are demonic spirits that
have been starved from the connection to the Spiritsoul, and are unable
to gain nourishment from Aetherius. Instead their desperation might lead
them to try to consume or inhabit souls rising from Nym, which in many
cases leads to the creation of violent wraiths, spectres and twisted ghosts. The
first Darkspirits became the Elemental Titans, which was a result of
their constant desire for more power and energy.
Wither Spirits, not be be confused with Darkspirits, are spirits who are lost and wander Nym aimlessly without purpose or thought. When spirits have been denied nourishment for too long, or had their souls taken from them, they become Wither Spirits. At this point their recovery is too late, as their weakened incorporeal forms can no longer hold onto the energies they need. Similar to Darkspirits, a Wither Spirit might seek out mortal souls for the purposes of consumption or possession, but won't be able to merge with the soul or gain anything from it. Instead a Wither Spirit will tear the soul apart, possibly in anger, which is what makes them dangerous.
Spirits frequent places of the long dead, suggesting that they might
also be created from souls that were unable to enter the Cycle. It is
also likely that these sites attract Wither Spirits because soul energy
is strong there. In larger concentrations of Wither Spirits, a
phenomenon known as a Withering occurs; a storm of many Wither Spirits
that collectively seeks out souls in its area until it eventually
dissipates and breaks up. Anyone caught in a Withering might have their
souls ripped apart, denying them from ever entering the Cycle again. Few
survive such an encounter, yet some manage to live even after having
their soul removed.