The Soulbound exist in duality; they belong in death and in life, in the physical world as well as the spiritual world. They are beings who, born as a normal member of the human or elven races, nearly passed from the mortal realm and returned from the experience much changed. Whether from sickness, violence, accident or choice, while their last breath faded they were faced with a spirit, some poor soul who for unknown reasons had been rejected by Death. What transpired next is kept private by most Soulbound, but the end result is that each returns from the border of Death’s Gate as a changed being. Not dead but not alive, and no longer alone in their body. They are host to two spirits; their own and the one they encountered upon their death.
The relationship that the host and the rider develop depends upon the individual Soulbound. Some of them exist in an easy harmony, reporting that they feel more complete than they had before death. Others dislike or subjugate their guest, unhappy with the intrusion and constant companion.
Soulbound are a minority in the empire and their recognition as one of the Purposed Races did not come easily. It is not entirely clear when they first came into existence, but at their first appearance in the civilizations of the Purposed Races, they were hunted and killed. After nearing extinction a hundred years ago, the Soulbound were at last put under the protection of the church and the empire, with particular help from the churches of Jormic and Severrin.
As Soulbound slowly made their way into normal society, they were classified into two groups; the Shadowgeists and the Ghostwalkers. All Soulbound have the “Soulbound” and “Undead” traits.
Shadowgeists did not choose to become what they are; their fading mortal bodies were simply invaded by the extra soul. After their return from near death, many ‘geists show a particular propensity for vengeance and darker pursuits, especially when an opportunity to destroy undead arises. Shadowgeists have an unhealthy gray or pale purple pallor to their flesh and hair that has turned pale or black. They tend toward darker colors and many show a preference for straps and buckles on their clothing, as though trying to bind whatever is inside them.
Ghostwalkers are, for the most part, Soulbound by choice. They accepted whatever was proposed as they lay at death’s door and thus they tend to be of a lighter nature than their cousins. They are beneficial creatures, usually sustaining themselves by helping others. Ghostwalkers have an ethereal sheen to their pale skin, and pale hair to match. Most favor loose and gauzy clothing, as it feels more like their spiritual side.