In a plane of white light, Kuipter's form slowly materialized.
Kuipter found himself slowly drifting about in a state of near-consciousness. There was something all around him, and all within him, but he had no idea what it could be, or how exactly to make it out.
He slowly opened his eye, and found himself in a strange realm. He was surrounded mostly by a pure white light, though, in some places, he saw beams and shapes that were of some magenta coloring. Every magenta object seemed to be flaming. Kuipter could see beyond the shapes, there was nothing but a space of strange, unidentifiable matter, that appeared somewhat light greyish-jade in colouring.
"... where... am... I...?" Kuipter inadvertently asked, to no one in particular.
"Oh no..." Kuipter could hear a voice piercing through the surroundings. "You're here again..."
The voice sounded a bit distraught at the fact. Kuipter looked around, trying to do his best to identify the source of the voice. Kuipter saw that there was apparently some shape within all the pure white light, as fragments of a figure became obstructed and revealed within his sight.
However, soon enough, he came to see a familiar figure.
The figure was mostly red. The wore a rectangular visor, and had glowing red hair. The figure was shorter than Kuipter, though not as wide as him. He wore a dark red coat and dark pants. He wasn't wearing shoes, so Kuipter could see the dark red and blood-red patterned socks that he wore.
"Mura..." Kuipter spoke the name of the figure before him.
"Kuipter." Mura nodded to him.
"Wh... what is this place...?" Kuipter asked.
"You don't remember, do you...?" Mura asked, sounding a bit disappointed.
"..." Kuipter remained silent.
"... Kuipter... you died..." Mura informed him.
Kuipter felt a strange sensation within him.
"... how did this happen?" Kuipter asked.
"You were killed by Shenanigans, your servant..." Mura said.
Kuipter paused for a moment, trying to remember.
"... again?" Kuipter asked.
"... oh, I meant the first time you died... I didn't expect you to remember it already..." Mura said, giving a short, shy laugh.
"Did I perish again...?" Kuipter asked.
"... I don't know for sure. You could just be dreaming... or you came here alive."
Kuipter blinked. "How do you not know? Didn't you know last time?"
"I was with your dead-self last time..." Mura hesitated for a moment. "I don't know everything about this kind of stuff... sorry."
Kuipter sighed. "... why might I be dead or dreaming?"
"... are you sure you don't remember what happened recently before now?" Mura asked.
"... I... I find it hard to... remember anything past my revival..." Kuipter said.
"How were you revived?" Mura asked, with a soft voice.
"... I'd set up a device for if I died... and... a gridmask named Sand activated it..." Kuipter said. "... the next thing I remember is... trying to free our mother... and then..."
Kuipter contorted his face for a moment. He seemed to struggle in remembering most of what had happened.
"... is that when you died, do you think? Or, came here, anyway?" Mura asked.
"N... no..." Kuipter answered. "That's not it..."
"... do you remember any details after that...?" Mura asked.
"... I... I can vaguely remember fighting... the gridmask Sand, our brother... and the dragonkin boy..."
"Do you remember your brother dying?" Mura asked.
"... no..." Kuipter said. "I... I am to believe that he lived..."
"That's all that really matters, isn't it?" Mura asked.
"Wh... what do you mean?"
"As long as our friends and family are alive and safe, then it doesn't really matter if you're dead, dreaming, or here, does it...?" Mura questioned. "That's just how I think, at least. As long as my friends and family are fine, then I'm fine, as well."
"... hm... perhaps you're right..." Kuipter slowly sat down. "... though, I would like to know exactly what happened over the... however long it was that I was away?"
"Don't worry. I'm sure it will all come to you in time." Mura seemed to smile. "Until then, why not enjoy yourself in some way?"
"... are you still upset about something?" Mura enquired.
"I... I don't know..."
"... do you think that your brother still holds negative feelings for you?" Mura queried. "Are you regretful that you didn't imply your inner feelings while you were alive?"
"I... no... I feel as if... somehow, he knows the truth... or at least, he knows who I am..."
"That's good!" Mura said. "So... you have no reason to worry about anything... right?"
"I... I think I do..." Kuipter swallowed. "I... I fear for the effects of what I have done..."
"Wh... what you have done?" Mura queried.
"I know that I have wronged many in life..." Kuipter said. "I... I don't deserve even to stay within the bounds of this realm..."
"... do you think that this can be changed?" Mura inquired.
Kuipter looked taken aback. He stared at Mura for a moment.
"Ch-changed...? How?" Kuipter questioned.
"I mean... do you think that there's a way that you can turn things around? That you can end up atoning for everything that you've done, and then you can... at least deserve to exist in this realm?"
Kuipter merely stared at his brother, surprised.
"Or perhaps... do you think that a series of events can pass to which you'll deserve even to go to a greater realm?"
"... I... I have... I have never considered the thought..."
"Why not? A place like Heaven exists, does it not? And don't we have souls to inhabit it?"
"... I... never recall ever thinking that I would ever come to exist in such a realm..." Kuipter admitted. "I either never thought that I would come to die so as to have an afterlife for it, or I never considered my actions to be fitting to even deserve such a thing..."
"I... I definitely don't deserve it... not with all that I've done..."
"But you've shown change... remorse..."
"... what do you mean...?"
"I mean, if you know that you have a chance of bettering yourself... why not take it?"
"At least balance it out... try and do all that you can to have yourself be "deserving" of the Heaven that we both want to end up in..."
"D... do you really believe that this can be done?"
"I know that it can be done. If we work hard enough, we can change our final fate, for the better!" Mura smiled. "I know you're a good person. And I'll be here to help you all the way... we'll definitely end up in a better place and soon, we'll be joined by our family... one day."
Kuipter remained silent, as Mura released a fluttering breath.
"Ahh... I don't know whether I wish more for them to be here as soon as they can, or if I wish for them to come much later... I do wish for them to have long and happy lives, but it is kind of sad without them... I'm sure they feel the same way, but they do have lives to live... I kind of have nothing, here."
Kuipter continued to stare at Mura.
"You may not really get used to the thought, but the afterlife really isn't life at all. It's not with purpose, or extreme thought and divination, or a lot of outer existence. You don't do anything important and you never need to. That's exactly what "not living" is..."
"... This... this is the afterlife...?"
"Yes. At least, that's how it is in my experience! I don't know... maybe you'll have something else entirely. You'll experience it in an entirely different way... well, if you really are dead, that is. Sorry, I just have gotten so used to thinking that you're dead because you were when you were here before."
"... it's alright..." Kuipter said.
"Good... I'll try to get you used to it, first. Unless you wanna try to start working our way up the "judgement ladder" first?"
"I... I guess so..." Kuipter managed.
Mura then sat down, seemingly on a floor of undefinable light. He motioned for Kuipter to sit down, as well.
"... What are you thinking about?" Mura asked.
"... I wonder what happened to everyone..."
"Oh, you don't have to think about that. We'll know when we meet them. They'll just tell us."
"But... what about the gridmask... Doctor Jekyll Sand?" Kuipter asked.
"Oh... well, I don't know what happened to him. And I might never... I never met the man."
"Ah..." Kuipter managed.
"Was he a good person, though...?"
"I... I believe he was of good intentions..."
"Well, he'll probably end up receiving salvation." Mura said. "The pure of heart always get what they deserve. He should be no exception!"
"Is that so?" Kuipter asked.
"Probably, yes. Either way, we're highly unlikely to ever find out what happened to him. So, you can just receive solace in knowing that he's likely doing just fine."
"But... what if he's not?" Kuipter asked.
"Then, like I said, we'll probably never know. And I'm sure we'll feel better believing that he's perfectly fine." Mura smiled. "Even if he's not, then, well, ignorance is bliss, in this case!"
Kuipter stared at his older brother for a moment. "It... doesn't seem particularly idyllic to me..."
"Oh, don't be such a downer, brother. Everything is probably perfectly fine."
Mura smiled again, giving a sort of unsettling feeling for Kuipter.
"Until then... why don't we at least try to go somewhere with what we do know? Do you think you can remember what happened to you?" Mura asked.
"... I... I could try to remember..." Kuipter said.
There is not exactly a set way of judging morality. "Good" and "bad" is truly more than a simple sliding scale through which the morality and actions of an individual can be judged by. The shades of grey are hard to define, and even harder to attach to a soul. Even harder is the system of such, knowing that there is more than one soul to be judged every day.
However, there are a set of rules attached to the realms of the afterlife, as preordained by the creators of said realms and the Separ Dimension itself. And thus, despite whatever the judge of one may try to attribute to a soul, they will always be set to a number of rules in the afterlife.
Certain exceptions allow for the implied tying of souls to be enacted, thus sharing judgement in afterlife, though cases such as this are so extremely rare that only the one involving Mura and Kuipter has currently yet been documented. Though, perhaps, this is due to the mass amount of paperwork that had to be dealt with involving souls being sent out of Heaven and Hell to the same realm together.
Neutrality is a judgement far too often beset on souls. The obscurity and lack of great movement to either good or evil actions is one that is found far too common. There is a number of separate scales for judgement, such as realms designated for those with a connection to the infernal, those with connections to deitic forces, and those with connections to neither. The latter is considered the most neutral of them all.
There is a realm known as Herat, set for those souls with little to no deitic connection, and little to no infernal connection. Herat is a realm that is made for those who do not believe in the afterlife, and it is also made for those of higher intelligence and relevance. While it is not the neutral of Hell and Heaven, it is an equal to those realms in nature.
Simply put, Herat is a realm of nonexistence. The lands within the realm are known as the Fields of Asphodel, and the waters, though they make up more of the plane than the lands, have no known name. It is a realm where souls are stripped of cognizance, memory, and intelligent thought. However, they are allowed to remain in untainted physical bodies, thus making them wander around aimlessly.
It is not meant as a realm of torture, or as a realm of salvation. For it is neither, as those neutral kind have done nothing to truly deserve suffering, or anything to deserve pleasure. The beings cannot think or feel to wish to be alive, or feel pain and sorrow at their deaths, or any of the events of their lives. Reflectively, they cannot think or feel to enjoy peace in death, or to experience joy once more.
Needless to say, the realm is extremely overpopulated by mindless wanderers, who experience neither sorrow nor joy in their lifeless lives.
With one strange exception, that is.
"... hello...?" A voice pierced through and let out sound, something unheard in a plane where lack of sense allowed no being to truly hear at all. "Where am I...?"
Dr. Jekyll Sand was an unfortunate product of error somehow managed to experience existence in a realm of nonexistence.
"Anyone... listen to me...!"
He would call out to any of the wandering bodies, but he could receive no response. His actions would only invite a sensed echo of forgotten memories that belonged to the beings without nonexistence.
"Where is my daughter...?"
Even if he would manage to find another soul he knew in this realm, he would forever be unable to interact with it. It would only serve as a statue of false hope for him.
Without intending for his sorrow to ever exist, the very mechanics of the realm would cause him to fall into it.
"What is this...?"
He would be left in this state as he had been in life, all due to a simple error.
Truly, the kinds involved with Ludus are subject to interesting fates.
"... Jozitolph." Kuipter spoke.
"Hm?" Mura looked at Kuipter. "... oh, wasn't he the servant of our mother...? What about him?"
"... he was there, when I was trying to free our mother. It..." Kuipter suddenly glared at nothing in particular. "It was him."
"He's the reason why you're here, I'm guessing?" Mura asked.
"He... he brainwashed me... claimed to be under my orders..." Kuipter said. "... he made me go back to my old ways."
"Very old ways, aren't they?" Mura asked.
"... not exactly...?"
"... for me, at least. The flow of time here makes it feel like it's been much longer than a month or two." Mura said. "Not only because of the nonlinearity of the concept in this realm, but also because there's no sleep here, either."
"But, anyway... what do you mean by your old ways? What did you do?"
"... I started trying to conquer Ludus again. I was... going to make an army of dark matters out of the Ludusians, and then replace Sauphara. She was dying, so I'd needed to do that until I became a Ruler myself... and I was also trying to destroy Revelian's reputation in the process..."
"I see. Then what happened?" Mura asked. "Clearly that didn't work, so, why not?"
"Well... first there was the man named Jekyll Sand... he did all that he could to go against me... though he failed in the end, really..."
"Then, who ended up stopping you?"
"... I... I think it was... the prince Zachary Isles... and Revelian." Kuipter said. "It was mostly because of Revelian's actions that I was defeated, though. If Revelian had not escaped, I would have executed the dragonkin, and then Revelian would have been no match for me."
"So, it was because of their teamwork and cooperation that they overcame evil! How interesting." Mura smiled. "I've always liked the tales of heroism like that. They teach helpful morals."
"Mura... you seem... very different from what I've known you to be..." Kuipter stated.
"Well, people change." Mura said, simply shrugging at him. "I feel it's been almost half a year since I've last seen you, so, really, it only makes sense that I've adjusted to the solitude."
"... I guess it does make sense." Kuipter agreed.
"Now, what happened after that?" Mura asked.
"They defeated me with the power of Kaiser. Then they had to escape, as the dark star was about to explode... but... I... I managed to give Revelian the device he'd need to undo the damage that I'd done, with a message telling him about my regret... so... that's why I know he understood me in the end of it, at least."
"That's good to hear! Oh, knowing Revelian, he must truly know where your heart really was..."
"... I can only hope." Kuipter said.
"Then, I'm guessing you died in the explosion of the dark star?" Mura asked.
"I... don't remember. The last thing I do remember was hearing Jozitolph's voice again, saying something... and then... I'm not sure after that."
"I... I'm not sure if I'll know what happened then... I truly can't remember a thing after that..."
"Oh, well. Not much we can do about it, then. No need to worry about it, though, I'm guessing."
"... If you insist on thinking so."
"And insist, I shall!" Mura said with a smile.
A few moments later, a beige orb suddenly appeared, far below Kuipter and Mura.
"... what is that?" Kuipter asked.
"... that appears to be another resident of the realm." Mura said. "... someone's soul."
"Why is it here?" Kuipter demanded.
"Generally, all spirits are "here"... we just can't see them. Though, I guess it kind of is interesting that we can see this one..."
"... why can we?" inquired Kuipter.
"How can you be sure?" Mura replied. "Illusion? Figment of our memories? Error in the system? It could be anything."
"... why does it feel... familiar...?" Kuipter asked.
"It may very well be a memory. Or perhaps a person connected to us in life." Mura answered. "... but, it looks like it won't be here long..."
"Why do you say that?"
"It's moving... so I'm guessing that its fate is already decided." Mura responded. "If it's fallen to despair, then it's going to veer towards the OKTE... if it's trumped its own mind, then it's likely going to move on to either Heaven or Hell..."
"Where is it going?" Kuipter asked.
"I can't be sure..." Mura said, looking as the beige light moved from its position to closer near the outside of the area.
"But... I have a feeling that this is something we're actually going to find out." Mura said.