The cycle of reincarnation is imperfect. Some souls linger, refusing to pass on, chained to the living world by unresolved passions. Sometimes they’re held back by bonds of dark magic. Sometimes they’re simply caught on the fractured boundary of the land of the living and the land of the dead. Some are drawn to places whose existence has no place in the doctrine of the Immaculate Philosophy. These tarrying shades are known as ghosts, and the dark lands where they linger, the Underworld.
Ghosts come in a great diversity of forms, depending on the circumstances of their death, their fortunes in the Underworld, their lingering ties to the living world, and the strength of their will and spirit. The simplest restless shades are little more than repetitive echoes, anchored to Creation by a single inescapable memory or moment. They can rarely perceive the living, or even other ghosts, as they go again and again through the motions of their obsession. Stronger ghosts may be nearly as complex as a living person, with plans and passions to carry them through their lingering afterlife.
Others shades are little more than beasts; the most common of these are known as hungry ghosts. They are the lower, animal elements of the soul, turned vicious and feral by improper treatment of their mortal remains. Funerary practices are of vital importance to all cultures because of the threat posed by such restless spirits; it’s traditional for funerists to accompany armies on the march, lest the hungry ghosts of enemy soldiers left to rot on the field rise up and feast on their conquerors in the night.