WARNING: This concept has not yet had a chance to become canonical (in the new continuity).
A qidravem (from the kavkem words qi (soul) and dravem (holder / master)) or qis̈elek (from the kavkem words qi and raas̈elek (prison)) is a concept that exists in many kavkem mythologies and several variations. It is best translated as soul catcher.
The common theme to all descriptions of a qidravem is that it is a device that enables reincarnation. In almost all renditions of this concept in mythology, this occurs against the will of the reincarnated, the malevolence of which is likely better captured in its alternate name (qis̈elek). Positive or neutral narrative renditions of the concept almost exclusively refer to it as qidravem.
In Taaravahr, qidravema are a magic that belongs to the gods and allows them to discard one avatar in favour of another. It is central to the idea that the deities are immortal, and an important ingredient that separates them from non-deities. In many ways, it's the lowest common denominator of godhood - even if one chooses to disbelieve all stories of majestic power, the gods' ability to reincarnate is never disputed, and the mechanism by which they do so are are qidravema.
Whether this implies that mortals might gain access to this mechanism or not is a completely different question that even the faiths close to Taaravahr disagree on.
In those faiths close to Taaravahr but where the qidravem is not considered a pure affliction of the gods, aggressive, nightmarish variations of the theme exist wherein a qidravem (usually considered a device in this rendition) can be attached to the soul or mind of an adult kavkem and - when triggered - proceeds to consume it and hollow it out, turning it into a vessel for a foreign soul seeking a host. This version is always called 'qidravem' despite the negative connotation, due to the starkly different purpose of the device.
Presumably this version of the qidravem stems from past observation that the deities of the kavkem pantheon appear quite capable of rending and then inhabiting the mind of an adult kavkem.
Indeed, this is a very common interpretation of the theme and it's a good bet that if a kavkem is familiar with qidravema at all and has not discarded them out of their mythological worldview due to conflicting beliefs about the cosmology of the world (be it 'only relevant to deities' or 'does not exist at all'), they will believe this.
An important exception are the adherents of Tkanala'ned.
In Tkanala'ned, qis̈eleka are a common occurrence - indeed, effectively central to the faith. They are nebulous, spirit-like devices that every kavkem is necessarily afflicted with at least one of. Various variants have been proposed to exist:
To most adherents of Tkanala'ned and those who derive their ideas from them, the qis̈elek is a fundamental energy in the world, flowing through the fabric of tkanala and brushing the souls off the recently deceased, carrying them until they adhere to a suitable host. Often these energies are believed to sustain the soul, preventing deterioration and thus any possible escape from the cycle.
Nothing can inherently be done about this kind of intangible qis̈elek - other than to yield to the metaphysical pressures and attempt to 'solve' Tkanala'ned, of course.
The parasite theory presupposes qis̈eleka are sentients that reside in kavkema, effectively as dormant parasites. They consume memories from their souls upon death, only to search for a new host (a kavkem egg, presumed to be infertile until the interaction with a qis̈elek), into which they deposit the remnants of said soul.
Typically, nothing can be done about this kind of intangible qis̈elek, either. Even if an egg is not found by a roaming qis̈elek, the parents of the egg will have one, and it will be entirely happy to have offspring of its own before it lets the little ones go to waste.
Adherents of both Tkanaladaryr and the parasite theory may believe that Howlers can remove the parasite if persuaded to do so.
Spectral qis̈eleka are autonomous, invisible creatures that haunt Nekenalos in search for the dead or dying. As with the parasites, they strip the soul of its memories to feed, although their method of feeding is likened more to disassembly rather than full consumption. The soul becomes the seed for a future meal. It is attached either:
- directly to an unhatched egg
- to a live prey species likely to be consumed by a soulless host (where such a creature is presumed to exist)
- onto a fresh kill in the process of being consumed by a soulless host
- to a live prey species or fresh kill for consumption by a female kavkem that recently had sex
- to the unfertilised ova of a female kavkem
In this model, there is no rule that demands that a kavkem must have only one soul seed, though they are presumed to usually grow together as the kavkem ages.
In theory, spectral qis̈eleka can be avoided. Without a method of motion, a soul has no means to escape them, however, and rotting processes for souls are considered too slow as that it's feasible that they would go undiscovered for long enough to be unsalvageable by the time a qis̈elek does happen upon it.
Some might (choose to) conflate spectral qis̈eleka with Howlers.
The least frequent belief within Tkanala'ned is that a qis̈elek is a device placed upon laid eggs by kiikama. When a kavkem dies anywhere on Nekenalos, the qis̈elek attracts the soul and binds it to the egg, allowing it to hatch.
In theory this process is avoidable if all eggs are always cleansed of the devices.
Other mythological tie-ins
Of the notable kavkem cosmologies, the following presume qidravema exist in the one or other Taaravahr-derived form:
- Akynkulla in straight-forward application.
- Asara, where qidravema, if they can be obtained by previously mortal hand, might serve a positive purpose, allowing a kavkem to remain sane during paradigm shifts, albeit at cost of having to endure more of them, unable to ever go back on their decision to wield one.
- Leksharia, to whom qidravema are definitely a deity-only thing (except for the believers in Dynashari).
Cosmologies incompatible with the concept are:
- Ne͡imakanaas̈ consider the world to be illusionary but firmly transient. Souls make no fundamental sense in their framework - though it's possible (if unlikely) that an individual believer in the cosmology might become convinced that souls are part of the truth they seek, although it would then still take an additional step for them to believe in qidravema.
- Vahrs̈elos, which (usually) has no corresponding energy that a qidravem could grapple with or be represented by, nor any concept of reincarnation.
Finally, in Nitish Ynas sub-flavours, in a fairly strong deviation from the norm, the Tarnish itself may be considered a qis̈elek, reincarnating only those that were corrupted by its touch - giving kavkema an extra reason to avoid it.