Unfortunately our abilities don't actually create these things – most powers that create stuff only do it temporarily, I think – but we do have a whole planet that's been doing it so people would probably be willing to pay stuff. Especially food, since that's relatively easy to come by, and people would probably be willing to pay the other things for transportation to a place they can be preserved?
It depends on how the preservation works, mainly – I don't think I've actually seen anything about it yet? I haven't been looking that much, though.
I preserve souls that are despairing and hopeless, upon the brink of death, and prevent them from fading from existence. They retain their memories, as well as some capacity for thoughts and emotions. Once they are preserved, the souls cannot be moved, and likely will last forever, unless they are interfered with. I tend to the souls I have preserved, and protect them, but I have preserved many souls in different places, and cannot always prevent others from destroying them. It would cost me more to preserve more souls at once, but I am willing to do so.
When you say 'souls', does this just refer to people or does this refer to something else? (I'm not sure people on our world necessarily have 'souls' as you mean, especially if it's a magic thing.)
How close to or far from death do they need to be?
How much is 'some capacity for'? Does it just take a long while, or does it actually cripple them in their ability to form them at all?
Where are the souls preserved? Are they embedded into an object (maybe something to do with your trees), or are they stuck in an area like ghosts? What methods have been tried to move them, things like that?
What counts as 'interfering' and who might do it and why?
What do you mean you 'tend' to the souls? Just that you communicate with them so they don't get bored, or you keep them preserved so they don't die, or…?
With "souls", I refer to the part of a person's mind that has thoughts, experiences, and emotions. All the people of other worlds I have met have had souls, including the witches of the SPQR.
The closer to death or despair they are, the easier they are to save. It is also easier to preserve souls that are actively trying to allow themselves to be preserved. To my knowledge, preservation does not harm a soul's ability to form thoughts or emotions, but they do seem to do so much more slowly.
Souls are preserved within living trees. It might be possible to uproot one and move it, but not without risk of hurting the soul. If the tree preserving a soul is killed, the soul is as well. The souls I have seen destroyed are most often killed by villages of humans and animal-people. They are not willing to tell me why. When I can, I preserve souls in the woods, far away from villages, but new settlements still arise.
When I tend to the souls, I find whether anything about their situation has changed, protect them if they are in peril, and arrange their surroundings to allow them to grow. I try to preserve souls near other preserved souls. When I succeed, they have each other for companionship.
Does the tree used in the process affect anything about the preservation process? (How slowly the person forms thoughts, that sort of thing.)
Can the souls communicate when they're preserved, then? (It sounds as though they can?)
When you say 'hurting the soul', does this actually mean damaging the soul in some way, or does this just refer to pain? (If damage, can it be healed or is it permanent, or does it vary depending on the damage?)
If the tree cannot grow properly, does this actually harm the soul or does it just damage the tree and damage the soul through that?
Are there any obvious downsides to the preservation process? (Possibly ones you haven't yet mentioned, things people might care to know before deciding to do it, ones other than the slowed thought?)
I'm not sure I can actually transport anybody, and I don't know how the witch thing would work – gold and gems and food should be available, but I don't know how they'd target my world or get here (and I'd have to convince people that this is for real, which should be possible but might take some doing).
Many people prefer being wholly alive and able to move around to being souls preserved within trees. People might harm or destroy their trees. Other than that, no.
They did not seem to need my help locating the Unknown, so it would depend upon their ability to locate your world. Even if you cannot arrange transportation for your dying quickly, there will likely be more later. I am willing to save your dying, even if their location cannot be ideal, with some forewarning.
Usually every few seasons, one or two that were preserved too near a village are destroyed, and near every twenty seasons, a large group are found and killed. The exact frequency depends upon the speed of the section of forest the soul is preserved in.
I am unwilling to risk traveling away from the Unknown, but if you wish to attempt to transplant your people while their trees are new, it may be possible to protect them in your world instead.
Approximately? What am I missing, then? (Sorry, it's just that this sounds like a 'really wonderful opportunity' for people with, e.g., terminal illness, but if they live forever I kinda want to make sure there's not some minor cultural thing we haven't covered or such.)
But otherwise, yeah, I think it might be good to move them here instead of leaving them there. We can probably protect them quite well.
The disasters don't affect everywhere simultaneously and usually aren't immediately destructive, or you get some warning beforehand, or you can place things in locations that are less likely to have disasters – we think? It's not really sure, but like, if you put a thing hovering over some part of the ocean, it's unlikely to be harmed by e.g. a volcano or an earthquake since it's hovering, and if it's hovering high enough it probably won't get a tsunami, and if it's able to move then it probably won't get in the way of a hurricane, though there are other things that can happen.
I'm imagining it being an addition to part of one of the bases of operation where the trees will be stored, which should hopefully work? I'm not sure, though.