The unlearned and untrained eye will think of the soul’s composition as nothing more than some ectoplasmic, ghostly like essence. One can see where this misconception arises; after all, souls which do not pass on manifest ghostly forms similar to the bodies they held in life. However, in my many years of experimentation and study, I have determined the souls composition to be as follows:
The scaffold. This is an almost invisible threadlike structure that provides the soul’s structure and, if within a body, the binding to its form. Contained within the scaffold for a being that has not died before is the mortal tether. This is the piece of the soul an individual will have the least amount of control over; it is, after all, created by what ever caused a being to come into existence. For example, in humans, it would be derived from the person’s mother and father. One might be able, with enough knowledge with the structure of other scaffolds, to determine how related two souls are to one another.
It is also this part in which souls form links with each other. This is something I have not studied in as much depth as I have other aspects of the scaffold’s nature, but the key factor seems to be common strong experience. Also, it is easier to form these bonds where there are already structural similarities between the scaffolds of the souls in question.
Case study. There was a time where one fell dead during a great calamity, and the one who severs the thread of life did delay in coming. When such a thing happens, the soul is trapped within the body until it can be freed to go onto the afterlife. That being said, it still thrashes about in an attempt to escape. It was during such thrashings of this soul that I observed the scaffold most clearly for the first time. A nearly intangible fibrous mesh that it takes a trained eye or extraordinary circumstances to see. I noticed one thread, one thread stronger than the others with a fading glow drifting aimlessly from the back of the man’s neck. This, I deduced, was where the mortal tether connected the soul by the scaffold to the rest of the body. Perhaps if another such calamity should fall, you too can see the scaffold.
The core. This is the true seat of the soul, featuring the consciousness, memories, and anima the scaffold and seal contain. In time the structure is filled out by the experiences of the individual, however weak or strong. As such, this is entirely influenced by action; one cannot simply inherit a strong core as one might an inheritance or an estate. I suppose it is this, the core of the soul, that is the true equalizer of all beings.
However, I digress. How much anima the core can contain is determined in some degree by the scaffold and seal, but it can contain far more than the vast majority of individuals ever actually acquire throughout their lifetimes. Even the exceptional ones still could do far more to fulfill their potential than they actually do. As I have said, it is the right experience alone that makes a soul strong. Overcoming obstacles. Determination. Strength. Virtue.
Case study. There was a man who had done very well for himself - he had a great house, great wisdom, knowledge and power to his name. He wished to be a better man, and had grown virtuous, industrious and strong. He had strove to prove himself before his peers, and it was this determination that led him to gaining a ruling seat. Thus his soul was great and he rightly deserved his position. But, then he rested on his laurels. His virtue declined first - with his position won, he saw no need to work anymore. So too did his determination fade. And finally, that strength that carried him declined as well. The core is not static - it is always changing, whether for the better or for the worse.
The seal. This is the defense and gatekeeper of the soul, as it were. Some souls have thicker ones, resulting from and leading to a closed-off individual. Other souls have thinner seals, being more welcoming and open. Each sort of seal and everywhere inbetween has its own advantages and disadvantages. Thicker sealed souls have more defense against outside interference than a thinner sealed one, but as a result can become cloistered and closed off to new experience that may give them more strength than they would stand to lose. Likewise, a thin sealed soul has the chance to gain many more experiences, but is also far more exploitable to those with malice and trickery in their heart. The thickness is determined by the factors of the scaffold and the core themselves, a combination of inheritance and experience, and can change as a result.
Case study. There was once a woman who ran an orphanage to care for the downtrodden. One day I passed her by as I went to procure some supplies as well as observe the souls of the living (this, by the way, is a practice you should engage in to the best of your ability). A kind soul who had endured much hardship, and despite not possessing the power a soldier or mage might had great strength in spirit. Sadly, I later discovered that she had been slain. However, her murderer had little regard for what she had done, so set in his ways as he was. None of what she had done seemed to matter to him; while many of his brethren may have become strong despite the stain of their profession, he refused to strive.
Summary. The soul is tripartite, composed of the scaffold, the core, and the seal. The scaffold is the purely heritable component that forms the structure. The core contains the true essence, with anima and memories, and is shaped by experience. The seal is the membrane that protects the soul, and is a consequence of the other components.
And for those who considered slumber to be a better use of your time than accruing the knowledge to help you gain a stronger soul, you may feel free to peruse the entire tome this was taken from to gain what you missed in your sloth.