People die in Edgewhen. All the time. What happens next depends on many factors:
A person can consecrate his or her soul to a particular deity. This makes a stronger bond between that person and that deity’s heaven.
But the bond to heaven can be strengthened or weakened by a person’s deeds. Every evil act weakens the bond with heaven. Good acts can strengthen the bond, if they are the right kind of act.
For example, a student who spends all day in the library studying hard will strengthen a bond with Knowledge. But that would weaken a bond with Kashram, god of battle. Kashram wants students to get outside and practice combat forms.
Circumstances of Death
The circumstances of death can create a strong pull on a soul. Someone who dies during an act of rage might have her soul pulled toward the Demon of Rage. Someone who dies singing might be pulled toward Lashrefi.
Because of all these forces pulling on a person’s soul, the deities taught their people how to perform funeral rites. A funeral involving the deity’s 3 dominant elements can send the soul on a journey to that deity’s heaven.
Some traditions say this is because the elements attract the attention of the deity, who then condescends to help the wayward soul. Other traditions say that the deity is already watching and the funeral rite provides the resonance necessary to help the deity collect the soul.
But there are other options. Souls can be consecrated to demons and rites can be performed to help ghosts go to Hell.
The final outcome is not always fair. A good person who was only a little evil may be in danger of going to hell. And a nasty person can sometimes be redeemed by a final act of kindness.
Especially important is the relationship between the contenders for the soul. Every deity is weak against a particular demon, and if that is the demon that has a claim on the soul, then even a good soul may have an uncertain future.
Souls that were not strongly tied to Heaven or Hell may remain as ghosts. Ghosts can become attached to objects or to places. If a ghost becomes permanently attached to a place, it becomes a nature spirit.
Consecration to Nature
People can give their souls to the nature spirits. This severs their default tie to Heaven and can also sever ties to Hell. A person who is strongly tied to nature will have the option to become a nature spirit after death.
Another option is reincarnation. This is available to all devout servants of nature and to animals as well.
Reincarnation is also available for souls that have spent time in Heaven and decided to return. They are usually reincarnated as one of that deity’s people, regardless of who they were in the previous life.
It is hoped that the demons are unable to reincarnate souls.