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I see dead people

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This isn't related to roleplay so much, to be honest. But it's about the lore, it's interesting to me, and I thought it might be interesting to you as well. I guess it could have implications on RP as well. I'm interested to hear people's opinions and input, anyway, because this is something I've been discussing with my friends lately and we're all as confused as each other.


Now, my understanding of the rules of Hydaelyn are that once someone is dead, they're dead. Once their essence has returned to the Lifestream, there's no way of getting them back (Tam-Tara Hard is a nice example of what happens if you don't pay attention to this) - "true" ghosts appear when someone's spirit fails to join the lifesteam to begin with, as opposed to being brought back from it after the fact. And yet...


At several points during questing as the Warrior of Light, we see... apparitions of dead people. Like, dead dead people.


The first such apparition I saw was the vision of Haldrath, the First Dragoon, that the DRG WoL conjures to banish the, um, Nidhogg-infused Estinien from the Steel Vigil. This apparition appears in a flash of light and superimposes itself over the WoL's form; Alberic is astonished as the apparition dives forward and banishes Estinien from the Vigil. It then disappears. Alberic explains that he saw you appear as Haldrath, and explains to you who Haldrath is, implying that the WoL didn't know until this point.



I'm mentioning Phoenix and Nael deus Darnus here because they also appear in the image of people who should be dead, but they're different from the thing I'm talking about here because they were prevented from returning to the Lifestream to begin with. They don't "break the rules" in the same way some of the apparitions I mention do, even if their appearance does appear to set new precedents for what's possible within said rules. (If you're an elder primal, anyway.)



I don't know whether to count Fray or not. From what I can tell (I'm still only level 40), it's completely possible that you are the only person who can see Fray (and that Fray's "spoken" lines while in the presence of others are actually coming out of your own mouth), whereas all of the other examples I'm listing here were visible by two people (and sometimes more, but most often two, of whom you are one). So while, yeah, as I understand it, you're seeing a dead guy, I don't think it's a "supernatural projection from beyond the void" type thing here so much as it is in the others. As far as I can tell, he's more comparable to the Coil spoilers than the DRG 50 spoilers.



The first and foremost examples, of course... Saint Shiva, Bahamut, Thordan and his Knights Twelve. Dead people that were "brought back", but at a horrible cost - the cost of summoning a primal. Ascians would appear to people in their time of direst need and convince them that this was a way to either return their loved one to life or to invoke the soul of a long-lost hero.


Since I learned of Saint Shiva's nature, I wondered if the apparition of Haldrath might not be a similar thing... and since I began learning of Thordan's summoning, my conviction that this could be the case only grew stronger. The idea that a thousand years of constant exhaltation and prayer could equal an offering of crystals makes the idea more plausible... as does the idea that Nidhogg's power can stand in for crystals as a source of aether for something like a Blade of Light. (It's possible that DRG WoL was drawing from the aether pouring off Estinien to do what they did.)




So then that leads me to why I'm making this post today, and not yesterday, or when I first noticed the connection between primal!Shiva and apparition!Haldrath... my friend allowed me to watch a stream of the MSQ cutscenes that were released in 3.3. Apparitions of Ysayle (last seen falling to her presumed death) and Haurchefant (killed on screen, buried and gone) appear to assist the Warrior of Light and their companion in a titanic task. The visual similarity, and similarity in purpose, to the DRG 50 apparition struck me... and really made me wonder: just what are these things? What are we seeing? And should we really accept them at face value..?



Can anyone think of any other examples? Anything that could rule out or support possible theories behind the less certain of these examples - assuming that the rules we know now ("once someone's passed beyond the veil they can't return") are accurate? Even examples of roleplay storylines or headcanons you have in a similar vein? I love hearing different people's takes on canon and I'd be interested to see what yous make of this.


(Sorry for all the nested spoiler tags. >.>)

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It could probably be understood that, similar to how "real life ghosts" are considered, someone with a sufficient enough willpower of duty left undone might be able to tether some of themselves to the planet. All of the examples listed as people of considerable power/strength/will/determination/whathaveyou.


That's about the only explanation I can come up with before coffee.

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Personnally I believe it's all about lingering aether signatures. Be it primals, battles or individuals, we know that all leave their mark on the land and that can even be measured by aetherometers.

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Well 2.2 quests there's that Sahagan that had the ability to move to a new body and transform it into his own. Whether it be true of all echo people isn't made clear...though considering the ascians all have the echo that might be why they can't be killed by conventional means.


Also I think Frey is a bit of a special case, though the final quest definitely shows he's real enough at least to interact with normal people.

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