Hi everyone, I'm a pretty new player (started a few days after Rift Lite launched) and I've been having a pretty good time. There have been a few things about the setting, mainly revolving around the Ascended and "where mechanics end and cannon begins." Sorry ahead of time if these topics have been hashed out before
1) Souls. As I understand it, an Ascended is someone that's in possession of multiple "souls." Are these "souls" as we commonly understand them? As in the very essence of who a person is? Or is "soul" being used as a fancy shorthand for the powers a mortal held in life, which are now being granted to the Ascended?
If it's the former, then how does this affect Ascended psychologically? Are they basically the same person they were in life only super charged and totally rad? Is the Ascended an entirely new person altogether; a merging/mishmash of all of the souls/consciousnesses/personalities that now inhabit the same body? Or is it a mix of the two; the Ascended still retains the same personality they had in life, but their head is also sharing living space 7/8 other "people" that influence the Ascendant's thoughts or even momentarily assert their individuality?
As a parallel question, how many Souls is an Ascended actually "holding" at once? Is it all 8 at once, and the 3 Soul limit on builds is an example of gameplay and story segregation? Or do they only ever hold up to 3 at once, and the rest are all chillin up with the Vigil between uses? Are all of these Souls being "shared" by all of the Ascended (let's keep the discussion to the Guardians for now, rather than get into the Defiant's Soul-vampire Ascended), or does each Ascended have their own little cliche of souls?
2) Death. What's death like for the Ascended? Is death and the graveyard a game mechanic to punish bad play, and cannon wise Ascended literally can not be killed? If they die and at some point the Vigil is all "hey, no sleeping on the job" are they aware afterwards of their momentary stay in the afterlife (assuming there is one)? Or is it more like they're just asleep for awhile then they wake up with an arrow sticking out of their face? Also, how much of a "delay," if any, is there between when an Ascended dies and getting back up?
Finally, can a Soul be permanently "destroyed?" Even if the Ascended are immortal and never "die," is there anything that can truly threaten their existence?
Thanks for any and all replies I get. I realize that a lot of these questions may not even be within the scope of the ingame lore, but I figure it's worth asking anyway. If there's no definite answer, I'm also fine with speculation and any other discussions that are sparked