Originating from the mental realm according to fractal theory, manifest are often referred to as a species but, due to the very different mechanics of existence in that place, defy most scientific definitions of species. It is more pertinent to call the manifest a 'people'.
Manifest are non-physical beings. As physical creatures, such as humans, have a solid body housing their mind - so manifest have a malleable body, subject to whims and emotion, housing an unchangeable 'drive'. This drive is the manifest's representative emotion, behaving something like a set of instincts. Older and more powerful manifest learn to resist the drive and behave as more rounded beings - some, like Master, are actively interested in limiting the power of the drive.
Each drive originates from the Tower, an extremely tall metaphysical structure that juts out of the dead-centre of the mental realm and cuts through the sky, visible on the horizon no matter where you are in the world. This building is the only way to create drives ex nihilo, although with extended exposure to the mental realm a soul gradually becomes a drive, possibly due to the Tower's influence. Manifest cannot breed as physical creatures can.
For protection from the wilder creatures, a freshly-released drive builds a shell of mental energy around itself, taking on form according to its own instincts. From here, the vast differences between individual manifest develop.
The mental realm, despite being decidedly not a globe and having no magnetic pull, is divided into 'North' and 'South'. The dividing line is generally considered to be Towerlegs, a river which runs the diameter of the mental realm.
Southern kingdoms rule over subconcious thought - Redwing's Kingdom, for example, influences nightmares, while the Pit controls repressed emotions and urges. Northern kingdoms are related to concious ideas - but unlike how one might expect, Northern manifest tend to be more abstract in shape. Compare, for example, Redwing with Queen of Spiralling Crystal - both of whom are as their name suggests, and little else.Certain kingdoms also have particular defining traits, usually developed as the ruler's power begins to influence their surroundings:-
The Pit, most famously, triggers the growth of a 'third eye' in the centre of the forehead (it is referred to as this even in manifest with more than two eyes) once a manifest reaches a certain level of power. Master is attempting to perform this process in reverse - create a third eye, which then triggers the growth in power.
The inhabitants of Redwing's Kingdom, like their king, have a black-and-red colour scheme and disproportionate limbs. The land is also very sparse and filthy. Back when the kingdom of nightmares was called the Kingdom of Uneasy Smiles, on the other hand, every inhabitant was afflicted with a near-permanent grin and the landscape was overrun with plant life.
The Wiselands are absolutely chock-full of spiral motif. From their ancient to their queen to their landscape to their people, if it's from the Wiselands, it is instantly recognisable due to the sheer abstract complexity of its twisted form.
Smokestacks' inhabitants are all made of smog, and little else - although, Smokestacks' inhabitants are few and far between.
Naturally, when a manifest moves to a new kingdom, its appearance quickly changes to suit.
The manifest had to start somewhere and, thanks to immortality, the first manifest are still around.
Referred to as 'ancients', due to their age these manifest have amassed power others can only dream of (whether manifest actually do dream is a hotly-debated subject), as well as wisdom, knowledge and respect. Without the blessing of the local ancient, a kingdom is sure to fail, and manifest often seek out their ancient for help, advice and protection. In short, the ancients are treated somewhat like gods.
Being formed of amassed mental energy, manifest do not have physical bodies which can fail and die. They do, however, have malleable bodies which can change and dissipate.
Manifest are immortal; their drive is not only unkillable, but it remains existing in the mental realm forever. But manifest are all too aware of the way the self changes, and many, after long eternities amassing an identity, see the drive not as them, but as merely a part of themselves. The effects of a new ruler, a drop in power, or being 'killed' (having one's body broken apart by force) often cruelly put an end to these thoughts, figuratively and often literally.
As mentioned above, a manifest can, in a sense, 'die' and reincarnate by breaking apart their body. They can, with enough power, do this themselves; they can also attract the ire of an ancient willing to kill. There are also rumours that returning to the Tower and, depending on the version of the story, entering or even touching the structure will not only destory the body, but reform the drive into a completely different manifest.
With a similar level of power, one can also do the opposite - go into stasis, preserving oneself from change. It is said in legend that this is what the ancient of the Pit, Mr. Rearranger, did when Redwing rebelled. The statue which stands near the entrance to the caves - life-like, unlike most heavily-stylised depictions of ancients, and apparently unbreakable - would seem to lend truth to this tale.
List of Known ManifestEdit
Queen of Spiralling Crystal
The Beard-made Fool
The Silent One That Is Loud