Soul deconstruction

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Moogle-Girl, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. Warning: this topic contains imagery that some readers may find disturbing.

    So in this universe that I'm working on, most living creatures have souls. Your soul basically acts as a battery for the rest of your body, providing energy that keeps all your organs running. (It also contains the various energies that make magic work, but that's another story.) Special channels that run alongside your blood vessels carry unique life energy from the soul in your chest (right next to your heart to be exact) to whatever parts of your body need it.

    Now, this begs the question: what happens if this energy flow stops? Well, this is most often caused by a deadly process known as "soul deconstruction," which in turn is the greatest risk of artificially fiddling with the contents of the soul. In this universe, pure magical energy does not follow conservation laws; it replicates itself and sends the new energy through the body. (This process is subconscious with life energy, and conscious with elemental energy used in casting spells.) If the soul becomes unbalanced, this duplication may stop, and all the pure energy will simply flow outwards uncontrollably.

    Normally, the energy flowing through the body's channels becomes diluted so that it doesn't damage your internal organs. During soul deconstruction, however, the energy flows too quickly for this dilution to happen. The main side effect of this is internal magical burning throughout the entire body, which, as you can imagine, is painful. Pure energy is HOT. It can eat through flesh like any strong acid in high enough concentrations. Luckily (or perhaps not so luckily), the energy channels in the body are not thick enough to allow energy through in such a high amount. So you survive. But not for long.

    All that energy has to go somewhere. The main exit points for the energy channels are in the fingertips, palms, feet, eyes, and mouth. Pure energy doesn't give off any light (it's basically invisible), but the heat released as it breaks out of the body does. Bright white beams of light, pouring from these extremities, charring anything it touches in about a three meter radius. (Past that, the energy disperses into the air and is no longer harmful.) At this point, modern medicine can still help you, but you'll be covered in burn scars for the rest of your life. And the process doesn't end there.

    Without a soul powering them, the body's internal organs begin to fail. All of your body's systems can store small amounts of energy for use in emergencies, meaning this process isn't immediate. The least vital organs go down first, followed by the most vital ones (which have the highest priority in emergency energy storage), ending with the heart. Of course, since the heart is still desperately pumping blood as the rest of the body fails around it, whatever holes your soul's energy poked in you earlier will be bleeding profusely. But once the heart stops beating, finally, mercifully, you die.

    Thanks for sticking with me. Now, what do you think about this concept? Are there any egregious holes in my logic? Any curiosities that I can sate? And I do have a specific question: what would the final part of the process -- where all the organs fail one by one -- feel like? Would it be painful? Or would you be dead to the world by then?
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  2. This is pretty brutal. I love it.

    The only issue I see here is that you don't seem to be accounting for the physiological response to extreme pain. When someone feels sudden pain it tweaks their autonomic nervous system, which regulates blood pressure and heart rate. If the pain is intense enough (for which there is no objective measure, because while people have differing levels of pain tolerance it does not exactly correlate with pain tolerance) the person's blood pressure and heart rate can fall so low that they aren't getting enough blood flow to the brain, thus they pass out.

    Unless you're just saying screw physics because magical shenanigans, that heat being released from the hands/face/feet would also be present inside the body. If that burning heat is coursing through their whole body, I feel like it would first of all be a miracle for them to survive for more than a couple seconds, and even if they do they'd pass out almost immediately. However, you may be saying that the head doesn't happen until the energy exits it body, probably for the same reason creating a fireball with this magical energy system doesn't burn a magic user's insides, so that may be an irrelevant idea.

    Assuming the heat is just an exterior thing, if it's hot enough to char things three freaking meters away despite the natural dissipation it would experience, then the temperature at the source must be extremely high. I'm no expert in thermodynamics, but I'm thinking that this would require the source heat to be at least up into the four digit temperature range in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. After a quick search, it seems that just a couple seconds of exposure to 100 degrees C or 212 degrees F (the boiling point of water) is enough to cause severe burns. Ramp that up to 10 times the temperature and, well, pretty sure that most (perhaps all) people would pass out pretty much instantly due to the pain and autonomic nervous system response of their hands/face/feet being fried by raw heat.

    I think the person would be passed out by the time organ failure starts, so that'd count as dead to the world. The profuse bleeding might also off them before enough time passes for the heart to stop working, unless these emergency power supply things are scaled in seconds rather than minutes as it sounds. It's entirely possible that the whole organ shutting down thing would just be a matter of academic interest, perhaps an entirely theoretical possibility because nobody really lives long enough to go through it all, rather than actively contributing to the death of people who go through this process.
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  3. Hmm!

    Ooh, good point. If I wanted to be really brutal, I could say that the increased flow of life energy to the heart and brain makes up for this automatic response by forcing the blood pressure back up, and the two cancel each other out. And I do want this to be as brutal as I can without being downright unrealistic (relatively speaking). Otherwise there's nothing really stopping people from tweaking their souls to make themselves uber-powerful. :o

    Hahaha, okay, I'll crank that way down. I didn't realize heat dissipated that quickly. Maybe burning things a couple feet away would be more realistic?

    See, what's great is that there's one major character, a magical scholar with a moral compass that's questionable at best, who would be absolutely interested in things like this. It would be just within his power to artificially keep someone alive until they reach that point, just to see what happens. :D But it is good to know that the chances of them being dead (or at least passed out) by then are pretty high.
  4. A friend pointed out to me that any holes the magical energy would punch through you would probably be cauterized, so they wouldn't bleed. Good to know. :o