Possibly the Primals' most significant creation, the Aetherium is a sort of parallel 'metarealm' from which souls are born. What are souls, exactly? In simplest terms, they're a vastly imperfect recreation of a Primal; a consciousness without form, but lacking a Primal's vast creative power. Souls are constantly evolving, growing in power as they soak up energy in the Aetherium or gather experience and spiritual growth in mortal life.

When a mortal being is born, the empty vessel populates itself with an available soul in the Aetherium. (Souls always outnumber available bodies, so no data exists on what becomes of a body born with no soul to fill it.) Souls unlucky enough to not be born for long periods of time develop far differently than those that live mortal lives, and instead become spirits, known to many as fey. These fey seem strange and alien in nature to mortals because they lack the experience and mental framework of mortal life. In fact, their unborn nature means they have an innate ability to manifest on the Materium, more and more as they grow in power. A fey that dies in any place but the Aetherium will return there, but if they die in their native Realm their essence will fall apart, becoming nothing but inert Aetheric dust.

After a mortal dies, typically their soul returns to the Aetherium to await reincarnation. However, a soul whose morality in life was sufficiently good or evil instead travels to the Good or Evil Realms (proper names pending, suggestions welcome!) and souls who were especially devoted to a particular god in life are taken to that god's domain. Souls in the Realms of Good/Evil become beings of that Realm, known as Graces or Viles respectively, or perhaps are used by the Graces or Viles in other ways. Souls in a god's domain either become that god's celestial servants, or are sent back to mortal life, where they can strengthen faith in that god over their lifetime. (The significance of faith to a divine being is another topic I'll cover in its own submission.)

Lastly, sometimes souls don't return at all. This is usually the result of a soul with a powerful will, and can also be induced artificially through necromancy. Souls trapped on the Materium (or in other Realms where they aren't meant to linger) cannot return to the Aetherium naturally, and frequently end up damaged as a result. This can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness, especially if that soul returns to the cycle of reincarnation somehow.

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