Seven Kingdoms: Seowyn's Crossing
During the Dawn War, the Gods were aided in their fight against the Primordials by their angels. When the Primal Spirits began offering alliance at the price of the gods remaining remote from Tol, some of the angels, who had become deeply emotionally involved with the mortals they had helped protect, made a pact to make sure they’d be able to continue their time on Tol after the treaty. They vowed to become mortal and live on Tol, living mortal lives and dying as mortals die. The gods, grieved at the loss of such passionate servants, granted this new race a special boon – when they died, they would not pass on as mortals do. Instead, they would be reborn, with their past lives only hazy memories at best. The angels were now gone, and, in their place, the first devas were born.
Over time, the possible price of this existence has become clear. Those devas that failed to live lives worthy of their angelic heritage became slowly corrupted by mortal living. Those who fell completely were reborn, not as devas, but as terrible, deceiving creatures called rakshasas. Most devas would choose to terminate their immortal existence entirely than suffer this fate, but the choice to do so is not theirs.
When a deva’s spirit departs its body, it enters a time known as the bodiless dreaming. Most of the time, when a deva reincarnates, its body is recreated out of elemental materials in the vicinity. Sometimes, however, a deva reincarnates into an existing human body, especially one that has just been killed in a particularly unjust or profane fashion. These devas still possess some of the memories of their previous human life, but these are no more important to it than any of the deva’s previous past lives. This often leaves a family torn…someone they love has come back from their unfair demise, but it’s not quite them. In many of these cases, the deva will distance him or herself from their mortal family in order to mitigate the pain their presence might cause.