|Soul Society North Branch|
|Form of Government||Monarchy|
Soul Society North Branch (尸魂界・北梢局 (ソウル・ソサエティ ノース・ブランチ), Souru Sosaeti Nōsu Buranchi; ; Japanese for "Dead Spirit World North Office") is a spiritual dimension that manages the flow of souls. Unlike its eastern counterpart, which seemingly exists as a spiritual counterpart to Japan, and its western counterpart, which exists as a spiritual counterpart to London, the north branch of Soul Society exists as a spiritual counterpart to Scandinavia. It further differentiates itself from its counterparts in that it is far more focused on combating Giants rather than dealing with either Hollows or Dragons.
Soul Society North Branch is a reclusive branch of Soul Society. It has little contact with their the eastern or western branches and is rumored to be heavily distrusting of either. Unlike the western Soul Society, which is on the reverse side of London, the northern branch is more akin to its eastern Soul Society and exists in its own dimension. Within the spiritual realms, it is situated to the north of its counterparts, even though its Human World counterpart is situated to the south of London, where Soul Society West Branch is located.
A dimension-between-dimensions, similar to, and perhaps even an off-shoot of, the Dangai Precipice World separates Midgard (the Human World) from this branch of Soul Society. This dimension is known as Yggdrasil (世界樹 (ユグドラシル), Yugudorashiru; ; Japanese for "World Tree"). According to Raian Getsueikirite, much like the Dangai, Yggdrasil connects the worlds together and allows passage to the Human World, as well as Hell. It is unknown if Hueco Mundo can be reached through this dimension, but, as Raian states that "all worlds" are connected to it, then it is likely.
The north branch consists of Asgard (ソウル城 (アスガルド), Asugarudo; ; Japanese for "Soul Castle"), which is its counterpart to the eastern Seireitei, and Fólkvangr (広大 (フォールクヴァング), Fallkwang; ; Japanese for "Great Expanse"), which is its counterpart to the Rukongai. Asgard is a large, castle-like city, which is where the government and military of the north branch are situated. The Fólkvangr is a large expanse of mountains and fields beyond the walls of Asgard containing villages for souls who have died. Raian has noted that the northern Soul Society is "colder" than its eastern counterpart.
- The Human World is referred to as Midgard (中つ国 (ミズガルズ), Mizugaruzu; ; Japanese for "Middle-Earth") because it is the world between the spiritual realm (Soul Society) and Hell.
- The dimension of Hell is referred to as Helheim (ヘルヘイム, Heruheimu), or simply Hel (ヘル, Heru).
Walls of Ice
Soul Society North Branch is completely surrounded by three massive "walls of ice" (氷の壁, kōri no kabe). These three walls protect it from the Giants: spiritual beings, similar to Hollows and Dragons, which devour souls. It is the job of the North Branch's Shinigami, known as Einherjar, to prevent Giants from breaching the walls and to keep them out of the human world. The ice that composes the wall is made of a particularly dense reishi that give it properties similar to Sekkiseki.
The three walls divide the North Branch (more specifically the Fólkvangr) into three districts. These districts, and their walls, are detailed below:
- The first wall, known as the "Jotuun Gate" (霜の巨人関 (ヨツン関), Yotsunseki; ; Japanese for "Frost Giant Gate"), surrounds Asgard and its attended lands. The lands inside the walls are Giant-free and are inhabited by the military and governing officials of the North Branch.
- The second wall has no known name. Residents simply know it as "the Wall" (壁, kabe). The majority of the Fólkvangr's inhabitants live between the first wall and the second wall, and its lands are ruled by three of Soul Society North Branch's great houses. Giant attacks are rare here.
- The third wall, known as "Hel's Gate" (ヘルの関, Heru no Seki), is the outermost wall and contains all of the North Branch within it. The land within it is the most vast, but, despite being inhabited by four of the North Branch's great houses, it is the most sparsely populated. The lands between the third and second walls are known to be the most at-risk of Giant attacks.
The lands beyond the three walls are known as "Jotunheim" (巨人の国 (ヨトゥンヘイム), Yotounheimu; ; Japanese for "Land of the Giants") because it is populated by Giants. These lands are considered extremely dangerous, even for the military of the North Branch. Some of the worst criminals from the northern Soul Society are left out in Jotunheim to be devoured by Giants. According to Raian Getsueikirite, a large ocean exists at the edge of Jotunheim that can take a traveler to the eastern or western Soul Society branches.
While the three worlds are maintained by the Soul King, whose dimension, the Royal Palace, lies at the very center of the spiritual realm, the north branch of Soul Society does not consider him to be its monarch. Instead, they head the words of the All-Father (最高王 (オール・ファーザー), Ōru Fāzā; ; Japanese for "Supreme King") who acts as their king. In addition to acting as the ruling monarch of the north branch, the All-Father fills a similar role to the Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13: serving as the realm's commander-in-chief of the military. He is the strongest spiritual being in the north branch, though he is very reclusive. His will is carried out by the other leaders of the military, so few ever truly see or hear the All-Father. According to legend, his abilities are very similar to the Kidō found in the east.
Like eastern Soul Society, the north branch also has noble houses. These powerful families are known as the Great Houses (王室, Ōshitsu), of which there are known to be seven. Each Great House possesses a fortress in the Fólkvangr and are charged with protecting the souls around their holds. They also supply the majority of the armed forces of the northern branch and, as a result, hold considerable political clout throughout the north branch's realm. Ultimately, however, they still answer to the All-Father.
Main article: Einherjar The Einherjar (死せる戦士たち (エインヘリャル), Einheryaru; ; Japanese for "Death Warriors") were the counterparts of the Shinigami, as souls who were charged to defend the Human World and maintain the balance, as well as the organizational counterparts of both the Gotei 13 and the Wing Bind. Unlike the Gotei 13, the Einherjar were divided into seven divisions, each led by a lord rather than a captain. The souls who made up this spiritual army were said to be equal to the Gotei 13 in every way and were feared as dangerous warriors across the worlds.
The Sekisenshi (関戦士, Gate Warriors) are a specialized division of the Einherjar charged with patrolling and defending the three walls of ice. They also have the authority to allow souls through the gates or to bar them entry.
Main article: Valkyries The Valkyries (乙女 (バルキリー), Barukirī; ; Japanese for "Handmaidens") were the twelve most powerful Einherjar in Soul Society's northern branch. Traditionally, they were all female, though there were known to occasionally be male members. The Valkyries were the personal bodyguards of the All-Father and the defenders of Asgard. They also had more authority than the Einherjar. It was believed that each one had a power comparable to a member of the Royal Guard.