The question of the moment; if, for the purpose of the series, I accept the premise that all sentient creatures have souls — (and I do — it’s at the core of the WORLD GATES series) — then what will be the difference between the creatures who have their souls intact, and those who have had their souls torn away from them?
Is goodness wholly contained within the soul, or is goodness possible in a creature who has lost his soul, and knows it, and knows that when he dies nothing of him will go on. Is positing the existence of virtue in such a creature beyond the reach of good fiction; is looking for those who have nothing left to lose and nothing to gain to do good more than anyone can accept?
I don’t know, but I’m writing such creatures — those who are aware of the fact that all those around them have a stake in immortality, but they do not. Most of the soulless seek power, physical immortality to cheat oblivion by cheating the death of the flesh. But some, in spite of an emptiness within and despite the powerful tug of evil, manage to creep from time to time into the camp of the good.
The Aquinas prayer comes to mind (badly paraphrased here) — “God, if I worship you in fear of Hell, then throw me into hell; if I worship you in hope of Heaven, keep Heaven from me; but if I worship you because I love you, don’t withold your presence from me.”
What would someone be like who knew there was an eternity, knew he would never have it, knew he would never suffer any eternal repercussions for any evil done and would benefit greatly from every evil done, who would never gain a bit of benefit from any good done, who could yet choose to do good?