A driftaloon is kind of spirit. Unlike other spirits which manifest individually influenced by their death, gods, and loose aether of the sphere, driftaloons are instead a kind of spirit that occurs rarely, but with enough frequency that the phenomenon has been identified and the cause isolated. Driftaloon appearances may vary with the circumstances surrounding their death.
It is now believed that driftaloon spirits are the restless remaining soul energy holding back consciousness as a result of a parent having outlived their child, particularly if their child suffered an unexpected or violent death.
There is a theory, explained in further reading in this report, that original origins remain unknown, but every driftaloon spirit now is the result of another driftaloon's actions.
Driftaloons are small-to-medium bodied, terrestrial spirit creatures who can be killed and possess the ability to float/fly. They are generally purple in color. They are mute and make no sound when in flight. Unless they have been injured, they will have two string-like appendages with small heart-shaped yellow nubs at the end. The small cloud tuft on their head aids in their flight. They are frail, and easily dispatched by puncturing, which will immediately deflate and eliminate the spirit into a whisp of purple smoke.
There is no known method of discerning which deceased person becomes what manner of driftaloon, so the link between death and becoming one of the spirit realm remains uncertain.
Driftaloon spirits will sway along with the winds influencing their direction of travel, and may remain inactive for long periods of time. When a surge of purpose takes them, they move closer to the surface of the sphere and wander listlessly through forest and over tundras looking for children alone or separated from their family. If they find such a child, they will attempt to hold the child, either by enticing the child to grab on to their dangling appendages or by chasing after and grasping the child. The mannerisms of the driftaloon could be influenced by the feelings their past life had upon taking death.
When the driftaloon has a secure grasp on the child, there is a kind of forced bonding that takes place--whether they knows it or not at this point, the child will not be able to let go of the driftaloon. After some time, the driftaloon will begin making its ascent, taking the child with it, where it will eventually the forced bond will break and drop the child or the child will perish due to atmospheric conditions. It is this loss of a child's life that could be linked to the creation of more driftaloon spirits, from parents who never got over the manner of their child's death at the hands of a driftaloon.
Because driftaloon presence cannot be brought to an end, parents are careful to tell their children cautionary tales of meeting driftaloons and not to be lured in by their other-worldly draw. Driftaloons are just one more reason elders give young ones not to roam anywhere on their own. Stories of abductions are usually over-exaggerated with flavorful terrifying details and contrivances to further drive home the point of avoiding this seemingly harmless creature of the nether.
When a string of driftaloon abductions lead to a number of child deaths in a populated area, bands of militia will form together and storm through mountains and meadows in attempt to hunt down the stray spirits. Because driftaloons are drawn to children, they are likewise repelled by an adult presence, and usually a small host of good archers and scouts moving quickly is needed to put an end to the alluring danger they pose.